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Stephen King never cashed the $5,000 check he got for the Shawshank Redemption movie rights

The Shawshank Redemption/Facebook

In an article tracking the everlasting life of cable TV staple The Shawshank Redemption — which, among other things, continues to furnish some healthy residual payments to supporting cast members like Bob Gunton (the warden) — Russell Adams surfaces an interesting bit of trivia: Stephen King, who wrote the novella that inspired the script, never cashed the $5,000 check he received for the story's movie rights.

Years after Shawshank came out, the author got the check framed and mailed it back to the director [Frank Darabont] with a note inscribed: "In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve." [The Wall Street Journal]

In the years since he sold Shawshank in the late 1980s, King has made a habit of giving away his movie rights for virtually nothing.