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The adjective "Runyonesque" refers to this type of character as well as to the type of situations and dialog that Runyon depicted.
He spun humorous and sentimental tales of gamblers, hustlers, actors, and gangsters, few of whom go by "square" names, preferring instead colorful monikers such as "Nathan Detroit", "Benny Southstreet", "Big Jule", "Harry the Horse", "Good Time Charley", "Dave the Dude", or "The Seldom Seen Kid".
The film Little Miss Marker (and its two remakes, Sorrowful Jones and the 1980 Little Miss Marker) grew from his short story of the same name.
Runyon was also a well-known newspaper reporter, covering sports and general news for decades for various publications and syndicates owned by William Randolph Hearst.
His expertise was in covering the semi-professional teams in Colorado; he even briefly managed a semi-pro team in Trinidad, Colorado.
At one of the newspapers where he worked, the spelling of his last name was changed from "Runyan" to "Runyon", a change he let stand.
Runyon's fictional world is also known to the general public through the musical Guys and Dolls based on two of his stories, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure".
His grandfather was a newspaper printer from New Jersey who had relocated to Manhattan, Kansas in 1855, and his father was editor of his own newspaper in the town.
If I have all the tears that are shed on Broadway by guys in love, I will have enough salt water to start an opposition ocean to the Atlantic and Pacific, with enough left over to run the Great Salt Lake out of business.
But I wish to say I never shed any of these tears personally, because I am never in love, and furthermore, barring a bad break, I never expect to be in love, for the way I look at it love is strictly the old phedinkus, and I tell the little guy as much.
His distinctive vernacular style is known as "Runyonese": a mixture of formal speech and colorful slang, almost always in present tense, and always devoid of contractions.
He is credited with coining the phrase "Hooray Henry", a term now used in British English to describe an upper-class, loud-mouthed, arrogant twit.
Runyon had promised her in Mexico that if she would complete the education he paid for her, he would find her a dancing job in New York.