The Golden Age Of Film and TV Tie-In Novels

Paperbacks from the glory days of the film and television tie-in novel.

In the days before home video, the best way to ‘own’ a film or TV show was through the tie-in novel/novelisation. These were either reprinted novels tied to the new screen adaptation, or newly written books based on the screenplay. Many were generic, basic retreads of the film, but some actually reinvented or expanded on the original material (people who think that Rob Zombie invented the back story for his remake of Halloween should read the novel – it’s all there), sometimes taking their cue from earlier versions of the screenplay (Jaws 2 is based on the rejected John Hancock and Dorothy Tristan story, for instance).

The tie-in novel has never quite gone away, but its heyday of the 1960s and 1970s is unlikely to ever return. This gallery – which will continue to expand as our collection grows – is the tip of the iceberg of tie-ins.

(These covers are mostly from the Reprobate archives and many are featured in our now out-of-print book Now A Major Motion Picture. Please credit us if you reuse any. Click individual covers to enlarge)

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  1. Wow, something I’ve always been aware of but had no idea of the breadth of them and the films covered. The question is how many were any good?

    1. More than you might expect. Quite a few are written by critically acclaimed authors (sometimes under pseudonyms) and a fair few that expand on the movie. You can make quite a provocative or epic novel from an average movie when freed of budgetary or censorial restraints.

  2. Greatness!
    I like the thought that most were prepared before the film was released, with ‘Now A Hit Motion Picture!’ on the cover.
    I had all the ‘Ape’ books, and the (surprisingly) many Euro-western titles.

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