April 23, 2015

Mr. Moto Author Marquand Honored in Newburyport, Mass.

Known more for its maritime history than a literary past, the Massachusetts town of Newburyport will salute its own home-town author John Phillips Marquand at high tea at the Custom House Maritime Museum on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

The “High Tea in the Marquand Library” will end the weekend’s annual Literary Festival, held in Newburyport over April 24, 25, and 26, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, in a variety of venues.

Featured at the tea will be David Adams, associate acquisitions editor at Open Road Integrated Media, who will discuss the upcoming digital revival of 14 books written by Marquand.

The event begins at 4 pm and runs until 5:30 pm.

The tea is free and open to the public, however, seating is limited.

The Custom House Maritime Museum is located at 25 Water Street in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Parking is available in lots beside and behind the Custom House. Directions to the museum, as well as information on hours and parking, are available on the Custom House website.

The full schedule of the Literary Festival, which began in 2005, is available on the Festival’s website.

Born in 1893, John Philips Marquand graduated from Newburyport High School, as well as Harvard. His family was prominent in trade and later with the abolitionist movement. The room dedicated to him at the Custom House Maritime Museum includes his black Royale portable typewriter, as well as pages of his manuscripts.

But Marquand is best known among Peter Lorre fans as the creator of Mr. I.A. Moto, whose adventures Marquand first published in the Saturday Evening Post and later sold to 20th Century-Fox, where the Japanese detective became Kentaro Moto in a series of eight movies starring Peter from 1937 to 1939.

Marquand also visited the set of the Moto films, where he discussed the character with Peter.

In The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (2005), Stephen D. Youngkin details the making of the Mr. Moto movies, including interviews with Norman Foster, who directed six of the eight films, co-stars Leon Ames and Chick Chandler, and stuntman Harvey Parry, who doubled Peter in all the judo and fight sequences.

Considering Moto a welcome change from the villain roles he was usually assigned, Peter initially loved playing the diminutive hero – but his interest disappeared as the series wore on, and he found himself appearing as Moto and no one else, including Moto sketches on several radio shows of the period.

All eight of the Mr. Moto movies have been remastered and released in two box-sets, which include several documentaries on the series, the Moto character, and Peter Lorre. More information about ordering the Moto films may be found in the DVD-VHS section of The Lost One website.

The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre is available in both hard-bound and soft-bound, as well as the Kindle and Nook.

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