Show Business: Killers Done to Death

Ernest Hemingway wrote The Killers before breakfast one morning in 1927, cabled it that day from Madrid to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, at Scribner's Magazine in New York, and has never changed one of its 2,000 words. Seen through the eyes of Nick Adams (i.e., young Hemingway), it is a brief, spare story that tells—mostly in a well-wrought ladder of dialogue—about two hired gunmen who have come to a small Michigan town to rub out a doublecrossing Swedish prizefighter. When The Killers appeared on CBS's Buick Electra Playhouse last week, the story's reading time of six minutes had been blown up...

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