Interesting, isn't it, how stories change over time. They get repeated in bars and cafes, and sometimes they appear in print, and sometimes people don't always remember the details precisely, and sometimes people embroider the story somewhat, to give it a better punch line.
If you've reached any age you will have heard stories in different versions. For example, only the other day I read a story in a Times obituary, a story which I first heard well over 40 years ago, attributed to someone else entirely. Briefly, the story is that a Cambridge academic attends a wedding and gives a speech. 'I am quite sure,' he says, 'that the bride and groom will be very happy together. I can say this with absolute confidence, because I've slept with both of them.'
This all comes to mind because today's Times has a short snippet in the People column about Elmore Leonard, who picked up the Cartier Diamond award. Elmore is quoted as follows: 'I got $90 for the film rights of 3:10 to Yuma . . . now they want to remake it with Tom Cruise, who wants to rewrite most of it. He’ll play the short bank robber.'
I wanted to refer to this quote under the general heading 'The riches that await us', or some such, but at first I couldn't find it in the Times online (though I now have). So I went a-googling, and came up with a slightly different story.
In 1993 Elmore was interviewed by Adam Sweeting for the Guardian. And there he says the following: 'I was 25... I sold everything I wrote. I didn't sell well - I got $90 for 3.10 To Yuma. I only got $5,000 for the movie, with Glenn Ford, but in the fifties that was OK.'
So, either Elmore changed the story for effect, or the Times reporter didn't quite get it down right, or whatever. Either way, there's a difference between $90 and $5000.