L'Amour's career flourished throughout the s and he began work on a series of novels about the fictional Sackett family. Initially he wrote five books about William Tell Sackett and his close relatives; however, in later years the series spread to include other families and four centuries of North American history. It was an ambitious project and several stories intended to close the gaps in the family's time line were left untold at the time of L'Amour's death. L'Amour also branched out into historical fiction with The Walking Drum , set in the 11th century, a contemporary thriller, Last of the Breed , and science fiction with The Haunted Mesa.
L'Amour eventually wrote novels, over short stories, and as of sold more than million copies of his work.
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By the s his writings were translated into over 10 languages. Every one of his works is still in print. The novel describes friendship and rivalry among pulp writers of the s. Many of the L'Amour titles have been produced in the "single voice" style. Together he and Bantam executive Jenny Frost created the concept of a series of "Radio Drama" style productions that would combine a large cast of actors, sound effects and music to produce a modern audio drama of each story. Between and the team had completed over sixty-five dramatized audio productions.
Several different styles of show were produced over the years.
The first several shows were "transcriptions", literal breakdowns of the exact L'Amour short story into lines for the different characters and narrator. Later productions used more liberally interpreted adaptations written by screenwriters, playwrights and a few film and theater students, who were taught the process by Beau L'Amour and the more prolific writers from earlier adaptations. The majority of productions were done in New York City.
In the early years the pace of production was six shows a year but in the mids it slowed to four. At this time the running time for all the programs was roughly sixty minutes. The cast members were veterans of the New York stage, film and advertising worlds and came together for a rehearsal and then a day of recording the show. Sound effects were created by effects man Arthur Miller in the studio as the lines were being recorded and narration was done.
Although many of the programs were written and produced in a modified "Old Time Radio" style, attempts were also made to modernize the approach.
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Whenever the story material supported it a more contemporary style was used in the writing and more and more high tech solutions to the effects and mix found their way into the productions. While hiring and supervising the writers, mostly out of Los Angeles, Beau L'Amour created a few programs on his own. This called for a great deal more editing, both in cutting the actor's performances and the sound effects, but it allowed for a great deal more control.
In the mids a series of the L'Amour Audio Dramas was recut for radio.
Louis L'Amour Theater  played on over two hundred stations for a number of years. The L'Amour program of Audio Dramas is still ongoing but the pace of production has slowed considerably.
Considerably more complex than earlier shows it had a cast of over twenty mid-level Hollywood actors, a music score recorded specifically for the production and sound effects completely recorded in the field in many locations across the west. Produced as sort of a "profitable hobby" Beau L'Amour and Paul O'Dell created the production while working around their day-to-day jobs. Since this allowed them no more than nine or ten weeks a year, the show took four years to complete. During the s, L'Amour intended to build a working town typical of those of the 19th century Western frontier, with buildings with false fronts situated in rows on either side of an unpaved main street and flanked by wide boardwalks before which, at various intervals, were watering troughs and hitching posts.
The town, to be named Shalako after the protagonist of one of L'Amour's novels, was to have featured shops and other businesses that were typical of such towns: a barber shop, a hotel, a dry goods store, one or more saloons, a church, a one-room schoolhouse, etc.
It would have offered itself as a filming location for Hollywood motion pictures concerning the Wild West. However, funding for the project fell through, and Shalako was never built. When interviewed not long before his death, he was asked which among his books he liked best. His reply:. I like them all. There's bits and pieces of books that I think are good. I never rework a book. I'd rather use what I've learned on the next one, and make it a little bit better. The worst of it is that I'm no longer a kid and I'm just now getting to be a good writer.
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