Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and Other A/V: year's end edition: the links

Orphan Black
This week's selections for (usually) unfairly overlooked or obscure audio/visual presentations at the links below...and the possibility of a few more to be added over the course of the day. As always, thanks to all you who read as well as those who contribute these...and if I've overlooked your or someone else's review or citation, please let me know in comments.

**News bulletin of sorts: PBS and independent public stations in the US will have a new opportunity to run the 1990 original miniseries of The House of Cards in January and following months (thanks to BBC Worldwide Americas), the 4-part UK series the recent Kevin Spacey series is based on.

Flash Gordon
Bill Crider: Flash Gordon (1980 film) [trailer]; Dimension X

B V Lawson: Media Murder: TV Show Opening Sequences

David Cranmer: Flannery O'Connor reads "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

Elizabeth Foxwell: Four Star Playhouse: "House for Sale" (with Ida Lupino...on its 60th anniversary of first broadcast)

Evan Lewis: Kurt Russell's childhood ad campaign (1964) as "Agent Zero M"

George Kelley: Borgen; Orphan Black

Iba Dawson: Dirty Pretty Things

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Coming Distractions: Turner Classic Movies in January

James Reasoner: Warlock

Jerry House: Guy Lombardo: 1958 New Year's Episode

John Charles: More Brains: A Return to The Living Dead

Some Came Running
Kliph Nesteroff: Lenny Bruce addresses UCLA, 1966

Laura: Some Came Running; Columbia Pictures in the 1930s

Lucy Brown: Musical memories

Martin Edwards: Moonfleet

Killer Women
Marty McKee: The Trial of Billy Jack; The Numbers Station

Michael Shonk: January criminous US television (including the imports)

Mystery Dave: Half-Baked

Patti Abbott: All in the Family: "Archie in the Cellar"

Pearce Duncan: A Hatchet for the Honeymoon

Randy Johnson: A Woman's Face; My Name is Pecos (aka Due once di piombi)

Rick: 36 Hours;  Circus movies

Rod Lott: Belphégor: Phantom of the Louvre; The Kiss of Her Flesh

Ron Scheer: the ten best western films reviewed in 2013 on Buddies in the Saddle

Sergio Angelini: the ten best episodes of Columbo

Stacia Jones: They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? update

Stephen Bowie: The Invaders  

Stephen Gallagher: Social Notworking

Susie Bright: Not solely but also Holiday films

Tim Lucas, et al.: Our Favorite Discs of 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Amazon stumped in theft of Bill Crider meme: the back cover of TRIALS OF O'BRIEN by Robert L. Fish

If you bring up the Amazon page for this tie-in to the mid-'60s Peter Falk series (which had the ratings misfortune, in its only season, to be slotted against established fogey fave The Lawrence Welk Show and insurgent Get Smart!), the algorithm is flummoxed. Believe or not. (No doubt not uniquely, but I'm amused by the phrasing below.)

Believe it or not we don't have any recommendations for you related to
Trials of O'Brien
Clear selection

Saturday, December 28, 2013

new links: Friday's "Forgotten" Books: a slightly less abbreviated year's end edition

A 37th Anniversary...
Patti Abbott and many of the regulars are taking this week off, but not all...never all! So, a shorter list than is usual, or than we're likely to see next week, when I'll host again, and Patti will be back to hosting for the second January gathering. Please let me know in comments if I've missed your or anyone else's review for this week. Below, links to the year's end reviews:

Victor Berch: Masterpieces of Mystery, assembled and condensed by Arthur B. Reeve

Bill Crider: A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

Frank Cunningham: The Chinese Label by J. Frank Davis

William Deeck: A Blunt Instrument by Georgette Heyer

Martin Edwards: Arrogant Alibi by C. Daly King

Barry Ergang (hosted by Kevin Tipple): Fat Ollie's Book by Ed McBain

Curt Evans: 2013's Best Books Blogged

Ed Gorman and Bertil Falk: Leigh Brackett

Jerry House: Head Games by Christopher Golden

Margot Kinberg: Dead of Winter by P. J. Parrish

Rob Kitchin: Home Invasion by Patti Abbott

BV Lawson: Christmas crime fiction anthologies

Evan Lewis: Davy Crockett Christmas Book

Steve Lewis: Situation Tragedy by Simon Brett

Barry N. Malzberg: New American Review/American Review edited by Theodore Solotaroff

Walker Martin: The Pulp Collection, and its fate

Todd Mason: issues of Weird Tales edited by Dorothy McIlwraith and Fantastic Adventures edited by Howard Browne; Detective Story Magazine edited by Daisy Bacon and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine edited by Frederic Dannay (as EQ)

Neer: Outside the Box

Juri Nummelin: Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler

Ray O'Leary: Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years edited by Michael Kurland

John O'Neill: Nightmares by Robert Bloch

James Reasoner: The Emerald Land by "Livia James" (Livia Washburn and James Reasoner)

Karyn Reeves: The Eighth Circle by Stanley Ellin

Gerard Saylor: Pocket-47 by Jude Harlin

Ron Scheer: 10 Best Forgotten Books of 2013

Michael Slind: Recipe for Homicide by Lawrence G. Blochman

"TomCat": The Red Cavalier by Gladys Edson Locke

"Zybahn": The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December's Underappeciated Music: the links

Kirtsy MaColl and the Pogues
The monthly assembly of undervalued and often nearly "lost" music, or simply music the blogger in question wants to remind you reader/listeners of....

Patti Abbott: Tuesday Night Music; Friday Night Music; Saturday Night Music; The Pogues and Kirsty McColl: "Fairytale of New York"

Brian Arnold: A Different Kind of Christmas Music Mix 2013! 
The Weavers: "Children, Go Where I Send Thee"

Bill Crider: Song of the Day

Amber Frost: Nina Simone: "Be My Husband"

Paul Gallagher: Mingus

Ed Gorman: The Drifters: "White Christmas" 

Lee Hartsfeld: Public Domain Christmas

Jerry House: David Mallett

Randy Johnson: Motorhead

Ron Kretsch: Johnny Cash and the Cowsills: "Children Go Where I Send Thee"

Todd Mason:  Bluegrass (and such) infested with Beatles; Yearning/Journeys with Dengue Fever, et al.; Jim Hall; the Zombies' afterlife

Enoch Light: "Tabu" 

Richard Metzger: The Velvet Underground; "I'm Not a Young Man Anymore" ; The Monkees: “Ríu, Chíu” and (with Neil Young) "You and I";  Crass: Merry Crassmass

George Kelley: Allison Krauss & Natalie McMaster: "Get Me Through December"

Kate Laity: Button Box 

Lawrence Person: Shoegazer Sunday;  The Dropkick Murphys: "The Season's Upon Us"

Muddy Waters (featuring Little Walter and Otis Spann): "Don't Go No Further"

James Reasoner: Christmas Music I Like

Charlie Ricci: Leon Redbone: Christmas Island 

Ron Scheer: Oscar Peterson: An Oscar Peterson Christmas 

Prashant Trikannad:  Bryan Adams videos


David Hardy's Bhen (the BEM)

Happy Boxing Day!

And a great year's end!

(and considerate), but...

Be careful...

Have some fun!
Safe travels...even stationary ones!

David Hardy's site
Galactic Central, concentrator of cover imagery!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday's Overloooked Films and/or Other A/V: the (Western Xmas Eve) links:

This week's selections for (usually) unfairly overlooked or obscure audio/visual presentations at the links below...and the possibility of a few more to be added over the course of the day (even if we are at Sixes and Sevenses--see Stacia Jones and Walter Albert). As always, thanks to all you who read as well as those who contribute these...and if I've overlooked your or someone else's review or citation, please let me know in comments.

Bill Crider: Francis (aka Francis the Talking Mule) [trailer] 

Brian Arnold: Alternate Xmas Music Video Compilation

BV Lawson: Media Murder

Dan Stumpf: Kongo; White Woman

Elizabeth Foxwell: Secret Agent X-9 (based on Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond's comic strip)

Evan Lewis: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

George Kelley: House of Cards (US and UK)

Iba Dawson: The National Film Registry 2013

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: The Lemon Drop Kid

Jackie Kashian: Ben Aller, zoo enclosure designer

James Reasoner: Christmas Twister (tonight on the Ion tv network in the US)

Jerry House: The Mandarin Mystery

John Charles: Morning Fog; Forever My Love

Lynn Bari
Kliph Nesteroff: General Electric Theater: "The Hold Out" (with Groucho Marx and Dennis Hopper); Laugh In: Christmas 1968; Jack Benny addresses UCLA students, 1973 

Laura: Lynn Bari centennial

Lucy Brown: Ann Vickers; Merrily We Roll Along

Maria Popova: Neil Gaiman reads the Dickens performance edit of A Christmas Carol (courtesy Bill Crider)

Martin Edwards: The Tunnel; Lucan

Marty McKee: Equinox; Lost (2005 film); ffolkes

Mystery Dave: Lifeforce

Patti Abbott: Columbo: "Etude in Black"

Pearce Duncan: A Hatchet for the Honeymoon

Prashant Trikannad: Best of the Year

Randy Johnson: Fasthand (aka Mano rapido)

Rick: Errol Flynn; Boarding-school films

Rod Lott: The Candy-Snatchers; Night of the Bloody Apes

Ron Scheer: The Appaloosa

Sergio Angelini: Book to Movie Challenge

Stacia Jones: S#x Acts (aka Six Acts aka Shesh peamim); Sex Kittens Go to College (w/one NSFW--or NSF"family gathering"--still)

East Side, West Side
Stephen Bowie: East Side, West Side 

Zybahn: The 4400: "Gone" (Part 2)

Walter Albert: Seventh Heaven (1927 film)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Katarina Rankovic reads Angela Carter...with permission?

An interesting situation...here, one Katarina Rankovic reads an Angela Carter short story, "The Werewolf" (collected in Carter's The Bloody Chamber)...but is this OK with the Carter Estate, it being on YouTube thus? (Rankovic has recorded herself reading a number of other Carter fictions as well.)

Thanks to Jeff Segal for bringing it to my attention.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Music Club: yearning/journeys

Dengue Fever: "Tiger Phone Card"

Maggie and Terre Roche: "Telephone Bill"

Paula Frazer: "This is a Song"

Stephanie Brazil: "Maid on the Shore"

Kami Thompson: "Little Boy Blue"

Stan Rogers Band: "Barrett's Privateers"

Kasey Lansdale Band: "At Last"

Faiport Convention: "Farewell, Farewell"

The Byrds: "Boston"

Friday, December 20, 2013

FFB: William Campbell Gault: uncollected short stories (online)

William Campbell Gault, the much-admired writer of mostly crime fiction by the end of his career, first made his mark as a sports-fiction specialist in the pulps of the 1940s and into the '50s...while also writing crime fiction, sf and no doubt other work (ISFDB apparently misunderstands the eventual agent Larry Sternig to have been a Gault pseudonym, as opposed to friend and occasional collaborator, in their early years together; Roney Scott was Gault's most famous penname).

As I've mentioned before here, I first read Gault's work in a couple of auto-racing anthologies, one (High Gear) all fiction, the other, The Great Auto Race and Other Stories of Men and Cars, a mixed group of short stories and nonfiction. Not too long after, I started finding the YA sports novels Gault wrote for his primary bread and butter by the end of the 1950s and through the next decade, until for some reason the market began to turn away from those (Bill Crider is probably correct in suggesting he was important in getting Gault to start writing crime fiction again, some years later). I read a few of those, and they helped give me further evidence that even though I wasn't all that interested in sports per se, that didn't mean great sports fiction wasn't worth looking into. (I preferred the short fiction he'd written for adult audiences, but the YA books were not too shabby.) And when, a few years later on (newly a sophomore at my second high school, the one with an impressive library for even a wealthy private high school), I was first reading Damon Knight's collection of critical essays and book reviews, In Search of Wonder, I came across his passage about how he had a positive antipathy to sports, and had found Gault's sf to be weak tea, but that the man was Hell on Wheels in the sports fiction field (where Knight was working as an editor at the Popular Publications line of pulps--Argosy, the Dime titles such as Dime Detective and Dime Sports, etc., and had duties across the range of magazines they published), the best he'd read, and that Knight liked everything about that fiction, except the sports element.

Now, what's a pity is that no one has ever bothered to collect Gault's sports fiction in any sort of best-of nor representative volume, in the manner of Bill Pronzini's Gault collection Marksman and Other Stories, collecting some of the best of his crime fiction. The sports stories remain buried in the back pages of the sports and general-interest pulps, and probably a few other magazines (Boy's Life? Playboy? Argosy after it went over to being the downmarket Esquire?)...but several are online these days, and you can enjoy at least the following, as I have had over this very busy week (where I've had no time to read nor reread any of Robert Barnard's work, alas...a man who was the same age as my parents when he died this year...).
Gault's initials typo'd.

Among those I've picked up over the last week:
"Sweet Chariot" from Argosy, 2 August 1941--a solid, early story of dirt-track auto racing. short and pretty sweet and swinging, indeed.
"A Colt for the Carlton" from Short Stories, August 1949--a longer and somewhat more complex story about aspirants on the less financially secure edge of the horseracing business. (Also, from the period where Dorothy McIlwraith was impressively editing both Weird Tales and Short Stories, though given the perceived manly audience for the latter, she was always signed as "D. McIlwraith" on the masthead.)

Romance and adrenaline go hand in hand (or hand on steering wheel and hand on reins) in these two stories, along with a easy mastery of the argot of the respective sports--I still need to look up a few terms from the horse-racing story, but it's not intrusive and one picks up what's necessary from context...Gault's prose is sometimes dismissed or at least underrated in some quarters, but he actually (at very least in most of his work I've read) is a lean writer without making a fetish of that, quite capable of turning a deft phrase and with an excellent eye for characterization in short focus. Ed, the jockey protagonist of "Colt," for example, is a young man of some emotional limitation, but not unaware of how to manipulate a situation non-maliciously, and not the kind of slightly-off-center character (without being at all a caricature) that the uninformed are likely to assume they could find in a pulp story...and neither of these stories is Gault at his absolute best, but are fine examples which reward the reading. As some more knowledgeable critics had noted, Gault is (at least) almost always good...and often better than that. (The first Gault crime novel I read was the version of the fine Don't Call Tonight in the Mercury Mystery issue above...reissued in book form as End of a Call Girl...not the kind of title his YA sports novels featured often...)

from WorldCat:

The great auto race, and other stories of men and cars 
Editors: Ruth Christoffer Carlsen (also illustrator); G Robert Carlsen 
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Book Services, ©1965.

The great auto race, by T. Mahoney
Old enough to drive, by S. McNeil
Wizard on wheels, by L.M. Nash
Rallye ride, by C.H. Rathjen
The hustling dream that ran on steam, by L.M. Nash
Won by inches, by M. Campbell
Greatest driver of them all, by Ken Purdy
The dream, by W.C. Gault

For actually book-length manuscripts for this week, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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

Joanne Miya (of Arrest and Trial)
This week's selections for (usually) unfairly overlooked or obscure audio/visual presentations at the links below...and the probability of a few more to be added over the course of the day. As always, thanks to all you who read as well as those who contribute these...and if I've overlooked your or someone else's review or citation, please let me know in comments.

Bill Crider:
The Mouse that Roared [trailer]

Brian Arnold: Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas Celebration; Xmas tv commercials

BV Lawson: What's My Line? "Erle Stanley Gardner"; Media Murder

Dan Stumpf: The Most Dangerous Game (1932 film)

David Vineyard: The Golden Salamander

Ed Gorman: Assault on Precinct 13

Ed Lynskey: Audrey Totter, RIP

Elizabeth Foxwell: Rogue Male (and Peter O'Toole, RIP)

Eric Peterson: The Lords of Salem

George Kelley: Springsteen and I

How Did This Get Made?: Crossroads

Iba Dawson: 2014 Spirit Award Nominees

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: No Man's Law

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "The Last Escape" (by Henry Slesar)

Jackie Kashian: Matt Mira on James Bond films

Jake Hinkson: Helen Holmes and the First Female Action Heroes

James Reasoner: Topper; Topper Returns

Jeff Segal: a tribute to the Edgar Wallace krimis

Jerry House: Santa Claus (aka Santa Claus contra el diablo)

John Charles: DeathsportBattletruck

Kate Laity: Xmas films to watch instead of Love Actually

Kliph Nesteroff:  Desilu Playhouse: "Time Element" by Rod Serling (pre-pilot for The Twilight Zone);  The Object Is...with Dick Clark

Laura: We'll Meet Again; Joan Fontaine, RIP

Lawrence Laurent (courtesy Ed Gorman): The Outsider

Lawrence Person (and Michael Swanwick): Rosemary Wolfe, RIP

Lucy Brown: Murder on a Honeymoon

Martin Edwards: Lucan

Martin Schneider: "Broadway By Night"

Marty McKee: The Boogens  (flashback: Chuck Esola on the film)

Mystery Dave: Cloak and Dagger

Neer: Taste of Fear (aka Scream of Fear)

Patti Abbott: The Twilight Zone: "Eye of the Beholder"

Pearce Duncan: Doom Asylum; Intruder

Prashant Trikannad: music videos, notably Bryan Adams

Randy Johnson: Crossfire; I'll Sell My Skin Dearly (aka Vendo caro la pelle)

Rick: NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies

Rod Lott: Lurkers; Microwave Massacre

Ron Scheer: Dallas (1950 film)

Sergio Angelini: The 2013 Book to Movie (adaptations) Challenge

Stacia Jones: Warner Archive releases: Jonathan Livingston Seagull; Danny Kaye: The Goldwyn Years; The Horn Blows at Midnight; The Matchmaker

Stephen Bowie: Arrest and Trial

Yvette Banek: Five Quirky Christmas Movies

Zybahn: The 4400: "Gone (Part 1)" 

and, for the utterly un-overlooked: Harlan Ellison on Saving Mr. Banks:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rather sad.

The current issue of Fitness (sic) knows what you XX sorts should and often do aspire to...anorexia. But this model, with stick-thin arms, fat-and muscle-lite belly, and a face that (not so clearly in this image, the best electronic one I could find for the current issue, but very clearly on the magazine's cover on paper) shows the typical results of starvation...the skull outlined in sunken facial contours...is unusually blatant in the illustration of what this magazine and its competitors are trying to reinforce in women...skeletal is Healthy Beauty. 

Why, she's the fittest famine-survivor we know!

At least, we hope she survives all this fitnessing...

Friday, December 13, 2013

FFB: Robert Arthur: EPITAPH FOR A VIRGIN (in MERCURY MYSTERY, September 1956)

The editorial work of Robert Arthur has been extraordinarily influential on my reading life, as the ghost editor of most of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents: anthologies and the "Hitchcock" anthologies aimed at younger readers published in the latter 1950s through his death in 1969 (he didn't quite make it to 60, though he left a fair amount of work behind him, having first published in sf magazines with an entry in Wonder Stories in 1931 and perhaps having published professionally even earlier). These were among the most eclectic and engaging anthologies I read in my youth, augmented by the occasional anthology Arthur would edit under his own name (he also ghosted one for Red Skelton, of all people).

His collections Ghosts and More Ghosts and Mysteries and More Mysteries were also early favorites (particularly the first), and while drawn from such magazines as Argosy and Bluebook (and EQMM and F&SF) were marketed as kids' books, which was fine by me at the time...but it remains a pity they have been only such collections of his work published. And while I've been enjoying his various radio and television and film scripting over the years since reading those two collections in my first decade, this novella is the first new-to-me fiction I've read by him for quite some time. Several years after the publication in Mercury Mystery, a slightly longer version was published as half of an Ace Double Novel as Somebody's Walking Over My Grave (1961), and this stands as the only novel aimed at adults he would publish that I'm aware of. (I never did much care for the Three Investigators novels for young readers, which he either wrote or eventually had ghosted from his outlines; yet more were written completely by others after his death.)

Since it's a Robert Arthur fiction, it's slickly written, playful and witty for the most part...he was clearly having some fun writing a post-Jonathan Latimer/Mickey Spillane sort of relatively explicit, if not so much as to get too many blue noses out of joint, hardboiled story, with cocksure private detective Max London as heedless of consequences of tangling with crooked police chiefs and well-connected mafiosi as anyone this side of the Destroyer, the Lone Wolf, and other later vigilante antiheroes. Nonetheless, at least in first form, it's sadly relatively minor work, dependent on even more coincidence than the story itself mocks in other similar stories (London eventually sees through some reported coincidences in the testimony of others that strain credulity, but the eventual truth he uncovers doesn't strike me as any more plausible), and the sexual politics of the story, not altogether atypically for its field or era, seem also to straddle the line between knowing parody and blithe exploitation of the prevalent stereotypes...not only do the manful characters occasionally express their confusion in the face of women's inscrutability, but one technician, noting that the cigaret butt of a woman suspect lacks any trace of lipstick, wonders what kind of woman is she, anyway? (Meanwhile, there are certainly implications that one of the two apparent virgins in the novella might be a lesbian, but a round of manful kisses soon puts that woman straight.)

I have to wonder if the later version of the novel doesn't improve on this draft (Kevin Burton Smith says no), but I would certainly send the curious reader onto a good episode of The Mysterious Traveler or Murder By Experts, or the short fiction, or one of his entries in the Thriller or Alfred Hitchcock tv series, before recommending this novel...which is nonetheless a smooth and relatively diverting read. You certainly aren't going to find too many other hardboiled novels where the motivating factors include patents on color television broadcasting technology.

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

the balance of this issue's contents (at this point, I think Mercury Mystery was constrained from potentially "stealing" too many short stories from EQMM, so concentrated on shorter true-crime essays and you-solve-it puzzle games for its shorter content):

Cover: Photo by Bill Stone. Model, alas, uncredited.

"Mystery Puzzle: Miami Murder" by J. A. Kripper
(which is a very poor choice of minute mystery to immediately follow the Arthur novella, as it depends on a gimmick that was much the topic of opening-pages discussion in "Epitaph")

"The Knockout Bullet" by Erle Stanley Gardner (not bad if not too compelling account of an early 20th Century boxer and his murder)

"Memo from the Underground" by André Maurois (amusing account from his memoirs of his service as potential counterespionage mail censor)

"Proof Negative" by Paul Steiner (slight puzzle story)

"Once Aboard the Lugger" by Stuart Palmer (a rather interesting premise, particularly in an historical article...a married couple of tramp sailors who book adventure tours supposedly in search of various sorts of loot, in a set of circumstances that wouldn't've been out of place in a B. Traven story...sadly, told in a most windy and redundant fashion, by a retired newspaper guy as well as a popular crime-fiction writer who really should've known better...)

This issue can be read at Unz.org.

The fine cover of the Mercury Mystery issue recycled from an earlier  cover for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and some Bettie Page covers for EQMM, among other matters...