Friday, August 15, 2014

FFB: NOT AT NIGHT! edited by Herbert Asbury (Macy-Masius/The Vanguard Press 1928)

Despite featuring two stories by Laurie Powers's favorite pulp writer, this anthology from Weird Tales magazine's early years is almost exclusively of historical interest (even given the paperback reprint of half a decade ago by Wildside Press)...and not inconsiderable historical interest, as the first compilation of stories from the magazine to be published in the US (and so clunkily sourced, apparently pirated, that it attributes its contents on the acknowledgements page to the Christine Campbell Thomson's British Not at Night anthologies, mischaracterized as Weird Tales as if that was the title of her books rather than of the US magazine that all these anthologies draw from). However, these should be added to the quick and dirty survey of Weird Tales anthologies that has been a running feature of this blog. The first two editors of WT, founder Edwin Baird and the first of the two legendary editors of the first inpulpation of the magazine, the eccentric Farnsworth Wright, are given a reasonable representation of their efforts in the first four years of the run, albeit with many of the best and best-known writers of Wright's era not represented (and some of them not yet contributing much, despite the presence of work from Seabury Quinn, Lovecraft, and Lovecraft buddies August Derleth and F.B. Long). I've just picked up a slightly battered copy of Not at Night US, for a rather inflation-ravaged $2 that it might've cost new (back when $2 felt more like $30 might today) (along with copies of issues 23 and 24 of the JDM Bibliophile, the venerable John D. MacDonald fanzine also at $2 each). I'm still reading Martha Foley's memoir, which becomes tangentially relevant in that Foley would read Weird Tales for stories for her volumes of Best American Short Stories, and that MacDonald's first short story was in Foley's magazine Story in 1946...but I'm glad to make mention of this one in this context.

For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday Music Question: is there an album or recording that simply doesn't hold up for you?

Who Charted? the podcast asked their guest this week that question, in choosing the question among those submitted from their listeners.

I'm not sure that there's a record I genuinely loved that I don't much care for any more, at least anything I've discovered for myself since about age ten. Even the likes of "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" by the Brownsville Station, the first 45 rpm single I bought for myself, while it strikes me as energetic and sophomoric (by every intent) now, struck me as energetic and goofy then (hey, I was as ready for punk rock as anyone, I guess--I certainly never could take KISS nor Sweet seriously, nor Led Zep nor Queen, which last at least didn't take themselves Too seriously...which didn't make them, nor, say, Meat Loaf, any more exciting).

Perhaps as close as I get would be my somewhat lesser affection for the Tijuana Brass and such imitators as The Brass Hat compared to how I felt in 1974, but I don't actually dislike their cheerful kitsch even now (I might even find the more adventurous records by the likes of Enoch Light--particularly with percussionist Terry Snyder--slightly better now).

Anything you've found you've utterly or at least somewhat outgrown?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: new links

This Property is Condemned
Below, the links to this week's reviews and citations As always, please let me know in comments when I've missed yours or someone else's...and, as always, thanks to all our contributors and to you readers...unsurprisingly, some thoughts about Robin Williams this week, and (more surprisingly) the second week running with an Another Dawn review.

And we'll also dedicate this week to the memory of Lauren Bacall.

Anne Billson: How to Spot a Goth Girl Heroine

I Married a Monster from Outer Space
Bill Crider: I Married a Monster from Outer Space  [trailer]

Brian Arnold: Robin Williams

BV Lawson: Media Murder

Comedy Film Nerds: I Am Road Comic, et al.
Phantom Lady

Curt Evans: Without Honor; Blackout

Doug Loves Movies: Kulap Vilaysack, Howard Kremer, Marc Maron and Kumail Nanjani with Doug Benson on Robin Williams (and not playing the Leonard Maltin Game, etc.)

Ed Lynskey: Farewell, My Lovely

Elizabeth Foxwell: Suspense (tv): "The Mallet"; Spycast

Evan Lewis: Philip Marlowe, Private Eye: "The King in Yellow"
Steve Allen's steady (and jealous) date

George Kelley: The Last Days on Mars; A Most Wanted Man

Iba Dawson: best current television

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Between the Lines (1977 film)

Jackie Kashian: Andy Ashcraft and Ed Baraf on game creation

Jacqueline T. Lynch: I'll Never Forget You

Jake Hinkson: Phantom Lady

James Reasoner: This Property is Condemned

Jerry House: Robin Williams: Live on Broadway

John Grant: Emil und die Detektive (aka Emil and the Detectives) (1931); The Bushwhackers; romantic countdown

Jonathan Lewis: The Law and Jake Wade; Fog Over Frisco; Wichita; The Spoilers

Kate Laity: LonCon and ShamroKon

Kelly Robinson: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; The Monkey's Paw; The Great Gatsby (silent)

Kliph Nesteroff: Don Adams, Joey Bishop and the Steve Allen Scandal: Television Comedy in the Mid '60s

Laura: Torpedo Run; The Sniper; Robin Williams

Lucy Brown: The Stars Look Down

The Sniper
Marty McKee: Striking Distance

Michael Shonk: Columbo: "Undercover"
Don't Bother to Knock

Mystery Dave: Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

Patti Abbott: The Dark at the Top of the Stairs

Randy Johnson: The Immortal;  Little Rita of the West

Rick: The Hallmark Hall of Fame; The Pleasure of His Company

Wagon Tracks
Ron Scheer: Wagon Tracks

Sergio Angelini: Don't Bother to Knock; My Friend Maigret (on French television)

Stacia Jones: The Girl and Death; Another Dawn

Stephen Bowie: Jim Aubrey, the Smiling Cobra

Steve Lewis: Bad for Each Other

Walker Martin: Pulpfest 2014  
(Pulpfest proceedings recorded)

...And, from a 1986 American Playhouse (PBS)-sponsored adaptation of the Saul Bellow novella:
Seize the Day

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday's "Forgotten" Book: Robert Arthur, editor: ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: STORIES MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME (Random House, 1963)

From the handsomely-done Alfred Hitchcock Wiki (which in turn all but credits ISFDB and Zybahn's Casual Debris for information):
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me


  1. Introduction by Alfred Hitchcock (ghost written)
  2. The Child Who Believed by Grace Amundson
  3. Just a Dreamer by Robert Arthur
  4. The Wall-to-Wall Grave by Andrew Benedict
  5. The Wind by Ray Bradbury
  6. Congo by Stuart Cloete
  7. Witch's Money by John Collier
  8. Dip in the Pool by Roald Dahl
  9. The Secret of the Bottle novelette by Gerald Kersh
  10. I Do Not Hear You, Sir by Avram Davidson
  11. The Arbutus Collar by Jeremiah Digges
  12. A Short Trip Home novelette by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  13. An Invitation to the Hunt by George Hitchcock
  14. The Man Who Was Everywhere by Edward D. Hoch
  15. The Summer People by Shirley Jackson
  16. Adjustments by George Mandel
  17. The Children of Noah by Richard Matheson
  18. The Idol of the Flies by Jane Rice
  19. Courtesy of the Road by Mack Morriss
  20. Remains to Be Seen by Jack Ritchie (as Steve O'Connell)
  21. The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles by Margaret St. Clair (as Idris Seabright)
    One of Dell's half-the-hc-content reprints
  22. Lost Dog by Henry Slesar
  23. Hostage by Don Stanford
  24. Natural Selection by Gilbert Thomas
  25. Simone by Joan Vatsek
  26. Smart Sucker by Richard Wormser
  27. Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon

UK edition
It's a very close call (due to their consistent excellence), but this might be my favorite of the AHP: volumes that Robert Arthur edited (Harold Q. Masur took up the task after Arthur's death in 1969, till Hitchcock's death in 1980).  Quite a large number of these stories have stuck with me over the years since I first read them, at age nine, in one of the first of the adult "Hitchcock" anthologies I took up, and it is a pretty striking slice through a range of many of the best writers of the time (we'd lost Fitzgerald, but not too many of the others yet) who'd done some sort of work in suspense fiction and related fields...the Jackson, the St. Clair, the Bradbury and the Davidson are (unsurprisingly) memorable horror stories (St. Clair's is her most famous story by some distance, and almost deservedly so);  the Matheson is Just this side of Reality, and not less unsettling (at least to the young reader) for it, even as one key aspect of Theodore Sturgeon's novel about a non-supernatural vampire did inspire some investigation on my part as to what the novel's resolution involved (hint: it isn't altogether unrelated to the previous post on this blog). Even if I mostly remember "The Arbutus Collar" for how puzzled I was as to how pronounce "arbutus"(I recall that the dictionary was not helpful), the balance of the volume, from writers as splashy as Kersh and Collier and Rice and Dahl (to say nothing of the South African Cloete--I wouldn't learn how to pronounce "Clew-tee" for years)  or as simply as assiduous as Hoch and Ritchie (though I didn't know it was Ritchie story till today) or as interesting  though overlooked as Thomas, collectively sticks with me as simply so much enjoyment and revelation, about the nature and range of storytelling one could find in these eclectic volumes.  It's too easy for me to cite a given volume of the various Arthur/AH series for FFB purposes, perhaps, but these books really should be remembered clearly, as an achievement on their own ticket, and as an example of how the task can be done...

Please see Patti Abbott's blog for today's prompter citations.