Who’s the black private dick That’s a sex machine to all the chicks? (Shaft) Ya damn right Who is the man that would risk...

Who’s the black private dick
That’s a sex machine to all the chicks? (Shaft)
Ya damn right

Who is the man that would risk his neck
For his brother man? (Shaft)
Can you dig it?

Who’s the cat that won’t cop out
When there’s danger all about? (Shaft)
Right on

They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother – (Shut your mouth)
But I’m talkin’ ’bout Shaft – (Then we can dig it)
He’s a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman
(John Shaft)

–Theme from Shaft by Isaac Hayes

Mention Shaft and most people think of Gordon Park’s seminal 1971 film starring Richard Roundtree in a leather coat, walking the streets of Manhattan to Isaac Hayes’ iconic theme music. But the black private dick that inspired the black action cinema/blaxploitation film genre actually made his debut on the printed page as the creation of white novelist Ernest Tidyman, who was a seasoned journalist down on his luck when he decided to try his hand at fiction. Shaft was the result, giving Tidyman the break he was looking for.

The World of Shaft: A Complete Guide to the Novels, Comic Strip, Films and Television Series (McFarland, 2015) is based on the extensive research of Ernest Tidyman’s personal papers, and tells the story of John Shaft from the perspective of his creator the original source. The book also provides new insight and analyses of the writing of the Shaft novels, the films, and the television series. The World of Shaft also features first-ever coverage of the forgotten Shaft newspaper comic strip, and includes previously unseen artwork. Also included are Shaft’s recent 21st century reappearances on the printed page, in both comic book and prose form.

Steve Aldous is a British banker by day and an enthusiastic writer, film fanatic and avid reader of crime fiction by night. In addition to The World of Shaft, he has written a number of well-received short stories in a wide range of styles and genres, and has been short-listed in the Writers Forum magazine short story competition. His as yet unpublished novel, a crime thriller entitled Poisoned Veins, features a modern-day black Manchester-based private investigator Joe Gibbs, and is inspired in part by Ernest Tidyman’s Shaft. Aldous resides Bury, Lancashire, UK and is a proud father of three and a loving grandfather.

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