The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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HBO acquires rights to Dr. Brady’s Opus

To add to the numerous and noteworthy journalistic achievements of Dr. Frank Brady, Chairman of the Mass Communications Department, he has recently sold the rights to his book on the life of World Chess Champion Bobby Fisher. The book, entitled Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy, is going to be made into an HBO film.

After having played in chess tournaments with the bright, young Fischer as an adolescent and having competed with him in the New York Metropolitan Chess League, Dr. Brady began to document the chess player’s aspiring career and authored the first edition of his book in 1964.

“I met Bobby when I started playing in chess tournaments-he was about 10 or 12, and I was older than he, but he was better by far,” laughed Brady.

Before writing this book and in between his ever-evolving academic pursuits-which resulted in four degrees from prestigious Universities such as NYU and Columbia University-Brady served as Executive Director of the U.S. Chess Federation and directed the 1963 U.S. Championship tournament where Fischer won 11 consecutive games against the best chess players in the country.

“This kind of victory had never happened before in chess history and has never been done since,” said Brady.

“As director of the Tournament, it was an incredible moment to witness. His accomplishment was publicized by all the media, and because of this, the actual game of chess was recognized as well.”

The HBO film, however, will focus solely on Brady’s account of the most famous chess match ever broadcasted- Fischer vs. Spassky in 1972.

With the U.S. Champion competing against the reigning World Champion for his title, Brady notes that the match was not only a dynamic moment in chess history, but in political history as well.

“It was a dynamic match in terms of two intensely engaged players, but it was really the Soviet Union and the United States battling against each other,” said Brady.

During the three months he spent living in Iceland to attend the match and collect material for his book, Brady was simultaneously doing on-air reporting of the event for PBSTV, ABC Wide World of Sports and documentary reporting for a variety of newspapers and radio stations, including KSAN Radio in San Francisco and the Icelandic Daily Newspaper. Brady explains his multi-layered involvement as a convergence of his main interests and his relationship with Fischer.

“I was a journalist and an author, so I knew how to write, I knew chess, and I knew it well, and I knew Bobby,” said Brady. “All of this evolved together and I was able to make a very decent
amount of money in 3 months,” he joked.

With the release of the film slated for 2009, Brady is serving as a consultant to ensure its accuracy. In addition to the HBO production, Brady sold film rights to the book to documentary film-maker Liz Garbus, co-founder of Moxie Firecracker Films, and is collaborating with her on a film that will recount Fischer’s entire life.

Brady humbly attributes the book’s lasting popularity to the extraordinary individual at its center, who was reported to have an IQ over 180, but became increasingly disturbed as he aged.

“The book has never been out of print, meaning you can walk into any bookstore and find it,” remarked Brady. “I’ve written 10 books and this is the only one that has maintained itself over so many years. People are interested in Bobby’s life, as outrageous as it may have been.”

Brady is no stranger to film consulting. He served as a consultant for the 1993 Hollywood film Searching for Bobby Fischer and a remake of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil.

There has even been talk of optioning another one of his books entitled, Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles.

“I would be very excited to do another film,” he remarked. “Over 50,000 books are published each year, so the chances of getting a film made are pretty slim. This proves that anything is possible.”

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