Who wrote the Dig Allen Series?


Who wrote the Dig Allen series? Well, according to the title pages of the books in the Dig Allen series, Joseph Greene did. Just knowing the name, however, leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Just who was Joseph Greene? Why did he write so few Dig Allen books? Did he write anything else?

For a long time I knew absolutely nothing about Joseph Greene. However, just recently his son found my web page and has sent me several e-mails that cleared up much of the mystery surrounding this man. I have asked him if he would let me post the letter he wrote to me, and since he has agreed here it is.



Dear Jonathan,

My family and I are gratified to know that readers continue to find pleasure in my father's work. He died in 1990. That this modest man's work continues to live beyond his years is comforting and amazing to us.

I was barely a teenager when he wrote the Digby Allen series, but I have many vivid memories of that time. I would come home from grammar school and read the pages created or rewritten that day. Sometimes I would hang around to read them as they came pounding out of his Royal manual typewriter. He always asked my opinion, but I don't know how, or if, he ever used my comments. After sending the drafts to his editor, I would wait for the return mail for the comments or galley proofs. He wrote only six because each required grueling effort and he never wanted his work to become a grind or become a "hack" himself. If my memory serves me correctly, the income generated just wasn't worth the effort.

I have no idea why he chose the to write this series or how he chose its subjects or meanings. He also did ghost writing for at least one of the Ellery Queen mystery novels, and I believe for other series also about adolescent boys. Not too long after writing the last of the Dig Allen series, he became an editor for Grosset and Dunlap where he could earn enough to send the first of his three children to college.

He wrote many kinds of works. In the 1930's through the 1950's, he wrote and acted as publisher for many comic books. I believe he also did ghost writing for a number of the most famous comic book characters. In the 1940's he was involved in the creation of the Tom Corbett Space Cadet series for television, novels and comics. There is some controversy as to whether in fact he created series, not Heinlein as is commonly believed. Actually, there are some fans of that series that are researching the issue using files I inherited. (It is clear that he owned the comic book rights and was involved in the project long before Heinlein.) Of his comics, my favorite series are "The Green Lama" and "The Golden Lad". He also wrote for newspapers and magazines. As an editor with Grosset, he was, I believe, most proud of his editing for a book by Judy Collins, her first songbook, a book about the cartoon, "Krazy Kat", and a book about a Pope and the sculptor who was responsible for casting the Pope's image for a variety of renditions; the title escapes me. One can see his versatility in that he also wrote political articles and biology texts.

I have quite a few of his unpublished manuscripts and ideas for stories, although I don't know if any relate to the Digby Allen series. His files have been sitting in cabinets because we don't know what to do with them and don't have the inclination to make some decisions about them.

 You sound like a mature and remarkably literate young man. I wouldn't be surprised if I discovered that my father had people like you in mind when he wrote.

Best wishes,

Paul Greene

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