|Following the publication of President Fu Manchu in 1936,
Sax Rohmer began
work on a screen play. It was to be set in Egypt and he was creating it with Marlene
Dietrich in mind. At least one of the Hollywood studios liked the proposed story and
Rohmer was invited to go to Hollywood to complete the script. He didn't go. Cay Van Ash
believed it was because Rohmer was afraid he would have an experience similar to "his
friend, P. G. Wodehouse, who, not so long previously, had been called to Hollywood and
paid to stay there for many weeks, doing precisely nothing" (Villainy 240). Rohmer rewrote the script as a novel and
White Velvet was published in New York by Doubleday and in London by Cassell.
New York, Doubleday, 1936. First edition, U.S.
London: Cassell, January 1937. First edition, England.
In 1937, White Velvet was also published as "The Sunday Novel . . . Complete in This Issue" by various newspapers on Sunday, February 28, 1937. The Philadelphia Inquirer cover .is shown. Copies of the Detroit Free Press and Herald Examiner editions are also known to exist. It was, as might be expected, an abridged version of the full novel, but it had a striking cover and eleven interior illustrations by H. E. Snyder.
In White Velvet, for the very first time, Rohmer allowed his characters to engage in premarital sex -- to "the marked disapproval of the Bishop of London" (Villainy 294).
Never a movie, White Velvet did go on to become a radio series featured on the B.B.C. from April 29 to July 1, 1940.The series included music and lyrics by Sax Rohmer. Cay Van Ash has written of his "nostalgic memories of the wistful 'Cold As Snow,' which [he] thought particularly appealing" (Villainy 240).
Go to Sax Rohmer's Titles
Go to Sax Rohmer's Serials
Go to The Page of Fu Manchu
Go to The Books of Fu Manchu
Go to Sax Rohmer's First Editions