Despite his many novels, William Saroyan (suh-ROY-ehn) is more famous for his work in the short story, the drama, and autobiography. Each of these areas received emphasis at different stages in his career. In the 1930’s, he made a spectacular literary debut with an avalanche of brilliant, exuberant, and unorthodox short stories. Major early collections were The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, and Other Stories (1934), Inhale and Exhale (1936), Three Times Three (1936), and Love, Here Is My Hat, and Other Short Romances (1938). My Name Is Aram, a group of stories detailing the experiences of Aram Garoghlanian growing up in a small California town, marks the culmination of his short-story artistry.
Most of Saroyan’s plays and his productions on Broadway were concentrated in the years between 1939 and 1942. My Heart’s in the Highlands was produced by the Group Theatre in April, 1939. His second major production, The Time of Your Life (pr., pb. 1939), was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and is still considered Saroyan’s best play. Hello Out There (pr. 1941), a one-act play, is also regarded as a fine drama.
In 1951, Saroyan and Ross Bagdasarian published a popular song, “Come On-a My House.” Saroyan also wrote several television plays, including an adaptation of The Time of Your Life. Starting with The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills (1952), Saroyan composed extensive memoirs, including Here Comes, There Goes, You Know Who (1961), Not Dying (1963), Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon (1970), Places Where I’ve Done Time (1972), Sons Come and Go, Mothers Hang in Forever (1976), Chance Meetings (1978), and Obituaries (1979).