Travis McGee

John D. MacDonald
Character Created by JOHN D. MacDONALD

At one time I was trying to collect a whole series of beautiful leather-bound volumes put out by Longmeadow Press and one of the ones I picked up was an omnibus of 5 novels by John D. MacDonald and that's how I discovered Travis McGee, the self-proclaimed beach bum. He calls himself a Salvage Consultant and only works when he needs the money. When he has money, he's retired - preferring to take his retirement in small chunks while he can enjoy it. He lives on a houseboat that he won in a poker game and docks at Bahia Mar in Lauderdale, Florida. If you've lost something valuable and the police can't help you, and if you can convince Travis he needs the money, Travis can help you find it - with the understanding that his fee is half the object's value. He's kind of a private investigator without the hassle of licensing and such. He's very tall and very tough, although he usually takes at least one solid beating in every book - he has blond hair and spit coloured eyes - LOL!

The five novels in the omnibus all featured his best friend Meyer as a sort of side-kick, but reading from the beginning of the series, Meyer isn't mentioned till book 3 and we don't actually meet him (albeit, briefly) till book 5. He's a philosophical (and very hirsute) economist.

REVIEWS
Cover images are scans of my copies of the books
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01. THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY (1964)     [rate]

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02. NIGHTMARE IN PINK (1964)     [rate]

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03. A PURPLE PLACE FOR DYING (1964)     [rate]

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04. THE QUICK RED FOX (1964)     [rate]

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05. A DEADLY SHADE OF GOLD (1965)     [rate]

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06. BRIGHT ORANGE FOR THE SHROUD (1965)     [rate]

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07. DARKER THAN AMBER (1966)     [rate]

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08. ONE FEARFUL YELLOW EYE (1966)     [rate]

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09. PALE GRAY FOR GUILT (1968)     [rate]

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10. THE GIRL IN THE PLAIN BROWN WRAPPER (date)     [rate]

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11. DRESS HER IN INDIGO (date)     [rate]

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12. THE LONG LAVENDER LOOK (date)     [rate]

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13. A TAN AND SANDY SILENCE (1971)     [rate]

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14. THE SCARLET RUSE (date)     [rate]

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15. THE TURQUOISE LAMENT (1973)     [rate]

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16. THE DREADFUL LEMON SKY (1974)     [rate]

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17. THE EMPTY COPPER SEA (1978)     [rate]

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18. THE GREEN RIPPER (1079)     [rate]

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19. FREE FALL IN CRIMSON (1981)     [rate]

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20. CINNAMON SKIN (1982)     [rate]

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21. LONELY SILVER RAIN (date)     [rate]

Short Story Collections
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THE GOOD OLD STUFF (1982)     [rate]

Travis in Film??
From what I've read on the web, I think maybe two films have been made based on the books - one with Rod Taylor as Travis and one with Sam Elliot. Both got poor reviews, but as far as looks go, Rod Taylor would look a helleva lot more like the book character than Sam Elliot. Haven't seen either one, though.
DARKER THAN AMBER (1970) - Rod Taylor as Travis McGee - This one seems to have glowing reviews on IMDb - too bad Rod Taylor didn't sign on to make more. Is it available on video/dvd?

Answer: Yes, and no ... It is available on video but is out of print, so check out eBay for used copies. It is edited, though - evidently several minutes of the big climactic fight scene are cut out of the U.S. release. They are also pricey - the cheapest I've seen is $25.00. I picked up a Dutch video that is uncut but has Dutch subtitles. It is letterbox format, so most of the subtitles are in the black border and don't interfere with the picture.

Anyway, it pretty well follows the book, but seems a little slow-paced on screen. They never get around to explaining the title either - the book was titled for the color of the girl's eyes, but I think her eyes might be blue in the film ... Anyway, the big horrendous fight scene at the end is worth watching for.

THE EMPTY COPPER SEA (1983) - Sam Elliot as Travis McGee - This one seems to have moved Trav to a sailboat in California instead of a houseboat in Florida. I wouldn't mind seeing both of them some day.


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