The press scandal put Tolkien’s face on Time magazine, and public furor over the professor’s predicament changed in the law, closing the loophole forever. Betty Ballantine acknowledged this as the impetus that shot Tolkien’s works from obscurity to widespread awareness. The original Ballantine paperbacks have a green box on the back cover, asking readers to favour the edition that paid the author a legitimate royalty.
No question, Tolkien’s works are an undisputed classic, time tested in defining the modern fantasy genre. Yet without the exposure on national news, could his influence have broken out to seed an explosive phenomenon?