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Nevertheless, the Eclipse portrayal is the one that stuck in Grand Junction craws. Rumors of public book-burnings persist, and the few copies that made it to the library were checked out and never returned. (Original editions have become sought-after collector's items, going for prices as high as $4,000.) Moreover, anger continued to flicker across generations. When author Bruce Cook visited Grand Junction to research a Trumbo biography, 1977's Dalton Trumbo, he found "a residue of hostility," he told Westword in 1993. "Just mentioning his name would often bring a negative response."

"One woman had to resign her job with the Mesa County schools because of that book, and she was dead within three years," elderly resident Josephine Biggs told Westword a dozen years ago. "And it upset a good many other people's lives. That story has never been told," she fumed, seconds before hanging up.

Biggs has since passed on, as have a lot of other Eclipse haters, giving admirers an opportunity to examine Trumbo's Grand Junction past with fresh eyes. Last November, Red, White & Blacklisted was staged at the historic Avalon Theater, which dates back to Dalton's days in that town, and Christopher says he was greeted warmly. In January, Mayne-Davis put together a course dubbed "Dalton Trumbo's Legacy," and "in eight crazy days, we watched eight or nine films, acted out his play, and read Eclipse and a book about his screenwriting career," she says. Fishell also took students on a van tour of locations mentioned in Eclipse, as well as to the Trumbo home.

For decades, plenty of Grand Junction residents 
thought Dalton Trumbo was for the birds.
John Swope/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
For decades, plenty of Grand Junction residents thought Dalton Trumbo was for the birds.

These activities provided momentum for the notion of resurrecting Eclipse, and so did Mayne-Davis's discovery that rights to the book had reverted to the Trumbo family when the London publishing house that issued it went bust in 1937. After Ken Johnson, former publisher of Grand Junction's largest newspaper, the Daily Sentinel, offered to handle the nuts and bolts of printing, Cleo Trumbo, Dalton's widow, gave her blessing. Other Trumbos have promised to pitch in, too. Daughter Nikola will write a forward to the fancier volume, which is expected to include a map of Trumbo's Shale City and background info about the models for Eclipse characters. Daughter Mitzi, a professional photographer, has committed to providing some family snapshots. Christopher is also keeping a hand in; he's in the research stage of what he calls "a personal biography" of his famous father.

As for Mayne-Davis, she's agreed to proofread the manuscript, which is being typed by one of her students at Mesa, and she is also lobbying for the construction of a Trumbo statue. "It's in the idea stage, and we'd have to raise the money," she says, "but I'd love it if a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon."

Oh, what a difference seventy years makes.

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