Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Our new internet service is not cooperating.  Took me several hours to link here.  Still not able to set up links on this page.  Grrr.

More later.  (I hope.)

Friday, November 20, 2015


Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies (1947)

This week many of the Friday Forgotten Book bloggers are posting about crime-themed holiday books.  Sorry, but my choice doesn't have a crime but it does has a courtroom scene and (to stretch a point) a mystery of sorts.  Miracle on 34th Street was one of the first holiday books I ever read so please indluge me.  The book is certainly worthy of notice.

Most people are familiar with the 1947 film starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, and the delightful Edmund Gwenn; many are also familiar with the many remakes for film and television, as well as the stage and  musical versions.  Not that many people realize that the film was based on a story by Valentine Davies or that Davies expanded the story into a novel to coincide with the movie's release.

I'm trying to remember when I read the book, perhaps in elementary school.  I'm fairly certain I got it from the Scholastic Book Club, the same place I got a copy of Robb White's The Secret Sea and James E. Gunn and Jack Williamson's Star Bridge, so it probably waS around 1956 or 1957.  I'm pretty sure the copy I read was a Pocket Books edition, most likely the 1952 because I wouldn't have been interested in such "juvenile fare" by the time the 1959 edition came out.  (Both editions seemed to have the same cover painting, one quite different from that in my memory, but one's memory can play tricks now, can't it?)

I needn't go into the plot.  If you've seen the movie (and I know you have) you've seen the book.  And I'm sure you all know there really is a Santa Claus.  What interested me most at that age was learning that a favorite movie could be read as a book, and -- in some cases -- a favorite book could be turned into a movie; something that struck home even more when I read Fred Gibson's Old Yeller.  I think that's about when I became enamoured with the power of words, expanding my world from The Hardy Boys to the true marvels of the power of story.  Anyway, that's why Miracle on 34th Street holds such a special memory for me.

I'm willing to bet the story holds up today.  There are a number of copies available from the internet and probably from many libraries.  Give it a try.  Maybe a little bit of its magic will rub off on you.

For more holiday-themed, mainly criminous books and a wide assortment of other "Forgotten Books," visit Patti Abbott's blog at pattinase.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


The Cherokee Cowboys were country singer Ray Price's band.  Here they perfrom an instrumental of Bob Willis' "Silver Lake Blues"


From July 21, 1955, here's a half hour show based on Stephen Vincent Benet's poem "The Revolt of the Machines," also known as "Nightmare Number Three.""

X Minus One was a science fiction anthology series that ran from April 1955 to the beginning of January 1958 on NBC radio.  The show began as a revival of the network's 1950-1 series Dimension X.   The first fifteen episodes (which included this one, the eleventh) were rewrites of shows that appeared on the first series.  The remaining shows were written by NBC staffers and were based on published science fiction stories by such writers as Ray Bradbury, Murray Leinster, William Tenn, Robert A. Heinlein, Nelson S. Bond, Isaac Asimov, H. Beam Piper, James E. Gunn, Clifford D. Simak, L. Sprague de Camp, Fredric Brown, Fritz Leiber,and  Philip K. Dick.  Many of the episodes of 1955 were based on (and promoted as) stories published in John W. Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction; from 1956, the stories were taken from Galaxy Science Fiction.

"Nightmare" was adapted by George Lefferts and starred John Gibson, Joyce Gordon, Louis van Rooten, Joe Julian, and Santos Ortega.  Fred Collins was the announcer.

Can machines unite to revolt against their human masters?  Listen, and see.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny.


I'm such a romantic.  I just bought my wife a refrigerator.  I can't wait to see her face light up when she opens it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Pulpster and writing instructor Dwight V. Swain (1915-1992) would have reached his century mark today. For the pulps he wrote SF, western, mystery, and adventure stories.  His books on writing were standard texts for years.   Swain was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Fall of Fame in 2013.

The link takes you to Swain's 1942  story "Henry Horn's X-Ray Eye Glasses"