Friday, July 4, 2014
“Paper Chase,” the book, movie, and TV series, feature the unforgettable law professor, Charles Kingsfield—a formidable character who resonates with the law school lives of many law professors and older law students. But on whom did author John J. Osborn, Jr. base the socratic master? Here’s one answer, according to Wikipedia:
During an event at Harvard Law School to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the book's release, the author said that the character was a composite of several of his professors at Harvard Law School, saying, "It wasn’t like it was hard to find role models." Many Harvard Law graduates believe the character to be a composite of Contracts professor Clark Byse  and Property Law professor A.J. Casner, legendary intimidating users of the Socratic method. Osborn has stated that Contracts was his favorite law school course. John Houseman, who played the role in the film and television series, said that he based his performance, in part, on stories he was told by former students of Earl Henry Warren, a professor at the law school from 1904-45. Warren, who taught a first-year property-law course, was famous at the school for his sarcastic comments during lectures and intimidating manner. Houseman's performance was also based on his experience as a professor and director of the drama department at the Juilliard School.
You can read more about the Paper Chase here.