He went by the name of Paul Cain for his hardboiled crime fiction, and Peter Ruric for his Hollywood gigs, but he was born George C. Sims, and that's how he's listed in the 1929 Los Angeles City Directory. Today's search for the homes of historic Los Angeles writers led me to a sunny courtyard apartment just north of Sunset where I snapped some shots of 1522 N. Serrano Ave.
Cain/Sims/Ruric lived here three years before he penned the short stories for Black Mask magazine that would become his groundbreaking hardboiled novel Fast One. However, Sims spent the 1920s working as a set decorator and production assistant, and running around with an "artistic avant-garde" set that included a struggling actress named Myrna Williams.
Sims suggested that she change her last name to Loy.
Around the same time his career with the pulps was taking off, he also started to get some writing work with the local studios. During the early 1930s, he wrote The Black Cat, which paired stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.
Fast One was published as a book in 1933, and featured one of the first hardboiled anti-heroes, gambler and gangster Gerard Kells. The New York Times said of it, "Publishers' blurbs are prone to overestimate the virtues of their respective products, but with the accompanying statement that 'Fast One' is 'the toughest, swiftest, hardest novel of them all,' we almost concur. It is in truth a ceaseless welter of bloodshed and frenzy, a sustained bedlam of killing and fiendishness, told in terse staccato style . . . there is no minute's let-up in the saturnalia of 'black-and-blue passion, bloodlust, death.'"
Very little is known about Sims, although it is generally acknowledged that he drank a bit. After several jaunts to New York and Europe, Sims died in Los Angeles in 1966.