Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, June 30, 2016


The original Brothers Four (Bob Flick, Bob Paine, Mike Kirkland, and Dick Foley were fraternity brothers at the University of Washington.  Their second single, "Greenfields," rose to #2 on the U. S. charts in 1960; their first album settled in at #11.  Over the next six years, the group had six singles to break the top 100.  The British Invasion of the mid- to late-Sixties put an end to such successes, but The Brothers continued performing and, with line-up changes, continue today.  A live album is due out this year.

Current members include Flick, Mike McCoy, Mark Pearson, and Karl Olsen.  Other past members of the group were Bob Haworth, Tom Cow, and Terry Lauber,   No matter what it's makeup, The Brothers Four have been one of the most influential acoustic folk groups of the past fifty-five-plus years.



Try To Remember:

Five Hundred Miles:

Seven Daffodils:

Four Strong Winds:

And I Love You:

Lemon Tree:

Scarlet Ribbons:

Frog Went a-Courtin':

Jamaica Farewell:

El Paso:


Where Have All the Flowers Gone:

Blue Water Line:

Admit it.  You're going to be humming some of these songs all day now, aren't you?


Boston Blackie was originally a safecracker and jewel thief created by writer Jack Boyle in a story first published in 1914.  More stories and a book collection followed.  The stories were such a success that ten silent films about the character were made from 1918 to 1927.  The character lingered  for more than a decade when, in 1941, Columbia Picture began a series of B movies with Chester Morris in the title role.  In June of 1944, Boston Blackie  began a short run on NBC Radio as a summer replacement for Amos and Andy; Morris reprised the character for this series.  In April 1945 the series was revised for radio syndication.  Richard Kollmar took over the title role and starred for more than 200 episodes until the program closed in 1950.  Maurice Tarplin played the befuddled Inspector Farraday and Jan miner played Blackie's girlfriend Mary Wesley.  The following year, The Adventures of Boston Blackie appeared as a syndicated half-hour television show with Kent Taylor starring and featuring Frank Orth and Lois Collier.

Early on, Boston Blackie transformed from a thief to a detective, "an enemy to those who make him an enemy, as friend to those who have no friend."

Boston Blackie still lives on -- any any Parrothead if they wish they "had a pencil-tin mustache, the Boston Blackie kind."

The following episode aired on April 16, 1946.  Many have shouted "Kill the ump!", but killing a baseball player?  That's just not sporting.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Minnie Riperton.


My doctor told me I needed an activity that would give me some exercise and he suggested tennis,  so went to my local sports store and told the man to fit me up.  He sold me a pair of tennis shoes for $500, three shorts for $200 apiece, three shirts for $150 each, and a can of tennis balls for $60.  Then I said, "I guess I'll also need a racquet."  So he sold me a half share of his store.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Hard to believe, but actress Tuesday Weld actually released a single.  This is it.


The original title for Phantom Ship was The Mystery of the Marie Celeste.  Guess what the movie's about?

Prefiguring Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (a.k.a Ten Little Niggers and Ten Little Indians) by four years, this film posits that the explanation for the doomed ship lies in a crazed murderer.  As the Marie Celeste is hammered by a violent storm, people are being murdered (or just disappeared) one by one.

Bela Lugosi puts in a credible dramatic performance as the angry crew member who had been shanghaied six years earlier.  Solid performances also come from Edmund Willard (Dark Journey. The Cardboard Cavalier, Atlantic Ferry) and Arthur Margetson (The Nursemaid Who Disappeared, Random Harvest, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death).  Shirley Grey has little to do as the fiancee of the ship's captain.  Character actors Dennis Hoey (best remembered, perhaps, as Lestrade in the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films) and Ben Weldon add a bit of weight to the film.

Directed by Denison Clift (A Bill of Divorcement, High Seas, City of Play) and with a scenario based on Clift's story by Charles Larkworthy (who has no other credits on IMDb), Phantom Ship appears to be one of those love it or leave it movies.  Is it a solid atmospheric mystery, or is it a stale melodrama?  Opinion differ.  But that's what makes horse races (and B movies), isn't it?

Interestingly, this was the second film released by the legendary Hammer Studios.  Hammer made only two more films before going dark until 1946.

Enjoy.  (And please note, this Youtube film ends at 101 minutes, then you have another 25 minutes of black following "The End".  Go figure.)

Monday, June 27, 2016


The Peerless Quartet, featuring lead singer Henry Burr.  The other three members at the time of this recording were Carl Mathieu, Stanley Baughman, and James Stanley.  From 1904 to 1926, the group had an astonishing equivalent of 102 "top ten" records and were the most commercially successful group of that era.


  • Belinda Bauer. Darkside.  A Jonas Holly mystery.   Holly is a young policeman in the village of Shipcott, where an elderly woman has been murdered in her bed.  He finds himself sidelined on the case.  "It seems his first murder investigation may be over before it begun.  But when he receives a series of increasingly anonymous notes, Jonas is thrust back into the center of the case.  Someone in the village is taunting him, blaming him for the tragedy.  Someone thinks he's not doing his job; someone seems to know every move he makes.  and soon Jonas has to ask:  Who's hunting who?"  Bauer won a CWA Gold Dagger  for her first book; Darkside is her second novel and the first to feature Jonas Holly.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


In this TED talk, storyteller and former financial analyst Danny Harris explains the power of conversation and kindness.


Marion Williams.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.


The words emblazoned on the cover of this comic book tells us that it is BASED ON TELEVISION'S OUTSTANDING CRIME PROGRAM.  Huh.  Searching back through the mists of my memory (which can be both misty and musty), I could not recall any television show called MIKE BARNETT.   A few clicks on the computer later -- those intertubes are a wonderful thing -- told me that Mike Barnett was the private eye hero of Man Against Crime, a program that ran from 1949 to 1954 from first CBS, then Dumont, and finally on NBC (for a brief while, episodes were aired concurrently on both NBC and Dumont).  Ralph Bellamy starred as Mike Barnett.

In my learned opinion, the comic book Mike Barnett does not look anything like Ralph Bellemy.

Only six issues of Mike Barnett, Man against Crime were released by Fawcett Publications.

This issue starts off with "The Case of the Old Hobo."  A seedy hobo shows up at Mike's office, claiming someone is trying to kill him.  Mike shrugs it off and gives the hobo a buck, telling him to get a good meal and then sleep off the jag that's causing him to imagine things.  Minutes later a car tries to run over the hobo.  Maybe the old man wasn't imagining things after all.  Pretty soon, mike finds himself on the ledge of a building, being told by two thugs to either jump or be plugged full of holes.

This is followed by a one-page, unfunny joke strip about the definitely un-PC Dopey Danny Dee, and a list of television stations (forty-two of 'em) carrying Man Against Crime.

After that, we have an advertisement where Pud accidently start a big boat race by popping a bubble of Fleer's Double Bubble Gum.  The bottom part of the page has a quiz to test your smarts.  (Well, maybe not.  According to the quiz, The Saar is an independent European nation; at the time it was a French Protectorate.  Evidently, you don't need a knowledge of current affairs to produce a comic book.

Moving on as rapidly as we can, there's an unfortunate one-page joke strip about Tightwad Tad. The less said about this the better.  There's also an ad for both the movie and the comic book adaptation of Wylie and Balmer's When Worlds Collide.

In order to meet Post Office regulations, we have a  two-page text story, "Dead Beat," signed by Joe K. Jones.

So when are we going to get back to Mike Barnett?  Not yet, my friend.  First we have to trudge through a four-page, drawn-out joke strip about Colonel Corn and Korny Kobb.

At last our patience is rewarded with "Special Delivery," in which Mike is hired to deliver a pair of rare vases to his client's uncle in Toronto.  Naturally, the vases were not so valuable, but the smuggled diamonds in the false bottom of the case were.  Not only was Mike being played for a patsy, but the cases were switched without his knowledge, putting him on the wrong end of a pistol.  Mother of Mercy, will this be the end of Rico...uh, Mike?  Nah.  Our hero's tough.

The Mike Barnett of the comic book is a (slightly) above average private eye.  If you let your mind go blank when you come across a few fairly obvious plot holes, you'll be entertained.


Friday, June 24, 2016


Johnny Winter.


Isaac Asimov Presents:  The Best Science Fiction of the 19th Century edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, & Charles G. Waugh (1981)

This is the first of (I believe) four themed anthologies that Asimov, Greenberg, and Waugh published that specifically covered stories from the 19th century.  The other three covered fantasy, horror and the supernatural, and crime.  The lines covering all these genres were pretty much blurred; science fiction did not exist as a separate genre before 1926 (when Hugo Gernsback came out with a
"scientifiction magazine") and in the 19th century all fiction was basically just that -- fiction.

Anyway, this volume contains some tales that I would consider fantasy, as well as some that to be written as political and/or philosophical tracts.  Oh, well.  There's still a lot of interesting and historically important stories.  As is the norm for the Asimov/Greenberg/Waugh anthologies, there is a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar stories.  For your money, it's hard to go wrong with their anthologies.

The stories:

  • "The Sandman" by E. T. A. Hoffmann, (1817).  A psychological horror story about an automatron.  This is one of Hoffman's better-known stories and was adapted as the first act of Offenbach's 1881 opera Les contes d'Hoffmann.  The story is translated from the German b. Bealby.
  • "The Mortal Immortal" by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1833, although this book states 1834).  Alchemy, science, and the supernatural combine in this "be careful what you wish for" story about a magic elixir of immortality.  This story appears to be influenced by St. Leon, a 1799 noel written by William Godwin, Mary Shelley's father.
  • "A Descent Into the Maelstrom" by Edgar Allan Poe (1841).  The editors note that this "closely reasoned" tale "may be the first science fiction 'problem' story."  I find Poe to be either very good or very ponderous; This one is in the middle territory, leaning toward the good side.
  • "Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1844).  IMHO, Hawthorne is more consistently readable than Poe, and this is one of his best tales.  Here Hawthorne spins a morality tale about the good and bad sides of scientific advancement.  The lovely Beatrice, raised in the presence of  poisons, is able to tend to poisonous plants but has become poisonous herself.
  • "The Clock That Went Backward" by Edward Page Mitchell (1881).  An early time machine story (the editors say the earliest) as well as a time-paradox story.  Mitchell was a newspaper reporter and long-time editor of the New York Sun.  Sam Moskowitz did much to bring awareness of Mitchell to the science fiction world with his The Crystal Man:  Stories by Edward Page Mitchell (1973).
  • "Into the Sun" by Robert Duncan Milne (1882).  According to the editors, Milne was the most prolific writer of science fiction stories in the 19th century, having written more than sixty of them.  Again, awareness of this author was brought to modern readers with a collection compiled by Sam Moskowitz:  Into the Sun and Other Stories (1980).  In this end-of-the-world story, the sun's heat causes Earth to burn as the apocalypse is witnessed by an aerial balloonist.
  • "A Tale of Negative Gravity" by Frank R. Stockton (1884).  Stockton, the author of the classic "The Lady or the Tiger?", was a hugely popular author, much of whose work is marked with a gentle humor.  As the title suggests, this is an anti-gravity story.
  • "The Horla" by Guy de Maupassant (1887).  Okay, this one is flat-out horror although some may want to call it a tale of psychological disorder.  (De Maupassant knew something about psychological disorders -- he died in an insane asylum six years after this story was published.)  One interpretation has the horla being an alien invader and may have influenced Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu."
  • "The Shapes" by J-H Rosny aine (1887). This was the first science fiction story written by Joseph-Henri Boex (the man behind the Rosny pseudonym) and involves prehistory, an alien visitor, and anthropology, all popular subjects in science fiction.  The story is translated from the French by writer/editor/critic Damon Knight.
  • "To Whom This May Come" by Edward Bellamy (1888).  A tale of telepathy, gone large.  the narrator is cast ashore on an island where all the inhabitants are mindreaders.  Somewhat preachy.  Bellamy is best known for the influential novel Looking Backward, 2000-1887 (1888).
  • "The Great Kleinplatz Experiment" by Arthur Conan Doyle (1894).  A tale of personality transfer via hypnotism.  Doyle wrote a great deal of science fiction and fantasy in addition to his better known mysteries and historicals.  An enjoyable and somewhat offbeat story.
  • "In the Abyss" by H. G. Wells (1896).  How can you have an anthology of 19th century SF without Wells?  (But where, I wonder, is Verne?)  What lies in our ocean depths?  According to Wells in this story of undersea exploration, there might be a race of human like critters.  
  • "The Thames Valley Catastrophe" by Grant Allen (1897).  A disaster story.  A volcano erupts in the Thames valley and the narrator tries to outrun it on his bicycle.  Allen was a popular and sometimes controversial author.  His good friend, Conan Doyle, stepped in to finish his last book, Hilda Wade, when Allen died.
  • "The Lizard" by C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne (1898).  A short man v. dinosaur story.  Hyne wrote only a few SF stories; the writer was best-known as the author of the popular Captain Kettle stories -- published by Pearson's Magazine to compete with the Sherlock Holmes stories appearing in The Strand.
  • "A Thousand Deaths" by Jack London (1899).  It's rough when your father is a mad scientist and even rougher when he uses you for his experiments, and rougher still when those experiments involve a method to reanimate the dead.  And the title of the story is accurate.
A good book to dip into.  Your tolerance may be questioned if you try to read it all in one sitting.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Bobby Vee on American Bandstand from 1965.


In a few weeks your merry crew of Friday Forgotten Books bloggers will be zeroing in on the works of Rex Stout.  To whet your appetite, I thought I'd give you a taste of radio's The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe.

This was the third radio series about the one-seventh ton, orchid-loving detective.  It ran from October 20, 1950 to April 27, 1951 on NBC and starred the great Sidney Greenstreet as Nero Wolfe.
The shows were written by SF writer Alfred Bester,   "The Case of the Malevolent Medic" aired on February 23, 1951 and was the 18th episode in the series.

Rex Stout liked Greenstreet as his famous detective.  I agree.  Click on the link to see if you agree.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Tommy Tune and  Sandy Duncan.


A friend of mine met a girl at a church social who was beautiful, smart, funny, and had a melodious voice.

When he complimented her on her outfit, she said, 'Do you like it? I made it myself.  I'm independently wealthy but I hate to spend money on something I don't have to."

Impressed, he asked if she would like to go out to dinner sometime.  She said, "Can we go out tonight?  I really like you but I insist on it being my treat.  I really don't like men spending money on me."

At dinner, he asked her if should like some win with her meal and she told him she didn't drink.

When he offered her a cigarette she said that she didn't smoke.

They danced -- closely.  Then they took a romantic walk in the park when suddenly a giraffe on roller skates crossed their path.  "Wow!  I bet you don't see something like that every day." he said.  She replied, "I won't bet because I don't gamble, but I'll admit that was an unusual sight."

Leaving the park, they came across a bum shivering on the sidewalk.  She reached into her handbag and gave the man two hundred dollars, saying, "You poor fellow.  Take this and get a hot meal and use the rest to buy some warm clothes."

My friend was greatly impressed. This woman was beautiful, smart, funny, frugal but generous, and she didn't smoke, drink, or gamble, and she obviously likes him!.  Amazing.  He asked her what she would like to do next. She snuggled up to him and said, "Let's go up to my place and we can have unbridled sex all night."

They rushed over to her house.  She unlocked the door, opened it, and said, "After you."  Eagerly he went inside and there, right in the middle of the living room was a very dead camel.  He looked at her strangely and she said, "Well, I never told you I was neat."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Ol' Blue Eyes.


Starring John Wayne and Noah Beerys.  (Yes,  both Noah Beery, Sr. and Noah Beery, Jr.!)

Rob Drew (Wayne) heads to Northern Canada in search of Noah Beery (Sr.) and his daughter.  Along the way, he picks up old friend Noah Berry (Jr.).  Framed for murder and chased by mounties, Waynr finds himself in the middle of a feud between trading post owner Beery (Sr.) and some French Canadian baddies. (Be warned:  the bad guys have atrocious French accents -- one commenter likened it to cartoon skunk Pepe LePew.)  There's some good scenery  of the California Sierras, standing in for Canadian mountains.  There's also a lot of water; this is the wettest Wayne was in a film until 1942's Reap the Wild Wind.

Also in the cast are Verna Hillie, Robert Frazer, Earl Dwire, and Iris Lancaster; Hillie plays the good girl (who has very few lines), while the other three are bad-accented baddies.  (According to IMDb, Beery (Sr.) challenged Hillie to a drinking contest during the filming, making me wish that contest had been part of the film.)

Based on James Oliver Curwood's 1908 novel The Wolf Hunters, The Trail Beyond features a pretty good script by Lindsley Parsons (Westward Ho, The Oregon Trail, The Utah Trail), and was directed by Robert Bradbury (The Gun Ranger, Stars Over Arizona, Romance of the Rockies).

Not the best film John Wayne made during this period, but certainly not the worst.


Monday, June 20, 2016


Roy Orbison.


  • Michael Connelly, The Narrows.  A Harry Bosch mystery, also featuring FBI agent Rachel Walling from Connelly's The Poet and former FBI agent  Terry McCaleb from Connelly's Blood Work.  This one's a sequel to The Poet.  The serial killer known as the Poet has resurfaced.  "Arriving at a derelict spot in the California desert where the feds are unearthing bodies, Bosch joins forces with Rachel.  Now the two are at odds with the FBI...and squarely in the path of the Poet, who will lead them on a wicked ride out of the heat, through the narrows of evil, and into a darkness all his own..."
  • George Coote, The Serious Joke Book.  A large collection published in England during the mid-Nineties, so many of the jokes have political and cultural references that leave me head.  As is often the case, many of the jokes are not funny.  There are some, however, that may make their way to this blog on Wednesdays.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


My father was my hero.  A strong, amiable and good-looking man who taught me what was most important in life.

He was one of nine kids, placed somewhere near the lower end of the middle.  He was raised in a small New England village (as was I, but by that time the village was a suburban town), his father a truck farmer (kind of a middleman between local farmers and the market).  He dropped out of high school a few months before graduation to work full-time on a neighboring farm, a decision that truly pissed off Lucian Burns, the high school principal at that time.  (Lucian was not to be deterred and an agreement was reached that my father would  attend school one day every two weeks and he would be able to graduate.  Years later, Lucian became a good friend.  He wasn't the only one.)

My father made many friends.  You just couldn't dislike him.  A full decade after high school, he was still working full-time on the farm and had a wife and three kids.  He began a part-time business as a building contractor; six years later it became his full-time occupation.  He built custom homes and he built them well.  He never signed a contract with a client.  Every agreement was sealed with a handshake.  The handshake and his word was his bond.  In over thirty years of business he had only two clients try to cheat him; he would laugh about those instances, shake his head and shake his head with pity for them.  (They were clients who came onto hard times -- payment plans would be worked out and everyone was happy.  My father believed in win-win situations.)

Our home seemed always opened to people in need.  Neighbors who had lost their husbands would find a sympathetic place to stay while they sorted things out.  Often the young men who worked for him and who needed a temporary place to stay found one at our house.  In times of tragedy, he would be there with practical advice and support.  When a local family's house burned down, he organized neighbors to build a new house.   When a local police officer died in a traffic accident, my father was one of those raising money for the widow and children.  When one of his employees was recently married and needed a home, my father co-signed the loan.  He bought music equipment for one young employee who had a chance to join a band.  He donated lumber to the woodworking classed at the local Boy's Club.  A friend had a chance at a good job in South Carolina but had no transportation to get there, so my father sold him a car for a dollar.  When the young son of a friend was diagnosed with leukemia, my father was the boy's "good buddy."  My father was active in social and civic groups.  He presented a non-judgemental ear for many friends and acquaintances..   The year he died, our town dedicated its Annual Report to him.

My father taught me honesty, involvement, and concern.  His favorite hobby was to sit on a hill and watch people pass by.  It always amazed him on how each person was different from the others, each with something unique to appreciate.  He was never a reader and he was a staunch Yankee Republican, so how the hell he raised my brother and myself is somewhat of a mystery to me.  He was proud of his family; my mother meant the world to him and he would quietly (though not often) brag about his kids.  He was tickled pink with his grandchildren.  (I still am angry at the universe that he did not lie to see my brother's two girls, nor see the remarkable women they became,)

One person told me that, when he first met my father, all he could think of was a big, friendly bear.  And that, I think, is a pretty good epitaph.

Happy Father's Day to all.


The Cass County Cowboys.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


From 1928, here's The Manhattan Dance Makers.  The vocalist is not identified.


In the field of funny anthromorphic rodents,  Atomic Mouse ranks far below the three Ms -- Mickey, Minnie, and  Mighty.  Indeed, he probably also ranks behind Chip and Dale, but Atomic Mouse was popular enough to be featured in his own comic book for eleven years, a total of 54 issues.  Created in 1953 by Al Fago, the titular superhero was an ordinary mouse until he was given a  dose of U-235 by a mad scientist.  Now endowed with superpowers, Atomic Mouse regularly saves Mouseville from the evil Count Gatto.

Al Fago (1904-1978?) was the managing editor at Charleton Comics and later moved on to begin St. John Comics.  Fago also created Atomic Rabbit, Atom the Cat, and Timmy the Timid Ghost.  His brother Vincent was also a comic artist who began working at the Fleischer studios and worked at Timely Comics during World War II; Vincent later drew the Peter Rabbit newspaper strip for 14 years.  While at Timely, Vincent was part of the team that drew Mighty Mouse, on whom his brother All later based Atomic Mouse.


Friday, June 17, 2016


The Buoys.


Evil Earths, Galactic Empires Volume Two, & Perilous Planets all edited by Brian Aldiss (1975, 1976, and 1978, respectively)

While rummaging around in some old boxes, I came across these three books which were part of a series of six books Aldiss edited in the 70s.  (The other three were Space Odysseys, 1974, Space Opera, 1974, and Galactic Empires Volume One, 1975 -- all three of which are most likely buried in another box or boxes.  I'll have to fig them out soon.)

All three are collections of good, old-fashioned science fiction adventure, written purely to entertain.  When I was a kid, science fiction was basically divided into two camps.  There was John W. Campbell and his humans can overcome everything philosophy and there was everything else.  The everything else included the Horace Gold social science-oriented stories as well as the Planet Stories type of off-world adventure; later would come the New Wave of semi-experimental fiction.
Aldiss prefers entertaining (as well as literary) science fiction, as opposed to what Jim Baen used to call the "ones with rivets."  And there's nothing wrong with that.

So here are three books of slam-bang entertainment, mainly from the 40s and the 50s -- Aldiss even includes some from Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction.  A few of these stories are crudely written but -- as for entertaining -- they get the job done.

Like Bill Crider, I miss the old days.

The contents:

Evil Earths

  • The Last Word by Chad Oliver & Charles Beaumont (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1955)
  • Film of Death by J. Scott Campbell (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1948)
  • The Wound by Howard Fast (from The General Zapped an Angel, 1970)
  • The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick (If, April 1954)
  • Guest Expert by Allen K. Lang (Planet Stories, January 1951)
  • The Valley by Richard Stockham (If, June 1954)
  • Down Among the Dead Men by William Tenn (Galaxy Science Fiction, June 1954)
  • Among the Hairy Earthmen by R. A. Lafferty (Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1966)
  • Later than You Think by Fritz Leiber (Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1950)
  • The Time Trap by Henry Kuttner (Marvel Science Stories, November 1938)
  • The Men Return by Jack Vance (Infinity Science Fiction, July 1957)
  • Heresies of the Huge God by Brian W. Aldiss (Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1966)
  • "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth..." by Arthur C. Clarke (Future Combined with Science Fiction Stories, September 1951)
  • Night by John W. Campbell, Jr. (Astounding Stories, October 1935)
A great line-up.  The Lafferty story was nominated for a Nebula and the Kuttner for a Retro Hugo Award.  Aldiss provides provoking introductions to various sections of the book.  The Kuttner is a complete short novel, the type that would have been welcome as part of an Ace Double back in the day.

Galactic Empires Volume Two
  • Escape to Chaos by John D. MacDonald (Super Science Stories, June 1951)
  • Concealment by A. E. van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1943)
  • To Civilize by Algis Budrys (Future Science Fiction, January 1954)
  • Beep by James Blish (Galaxy Science Fiction, February 1954)
  • Down the River by Mack Reynolds (Startling Stories, September 1950)
  • The Bounty Hunter by Avram Davidson (Fantastic Universe, March 1958)
  • Not Yet the End by Fredric Brown (Captain Future, Winter 1941)
  • Tonight the Stars Revolt! by Gardner F. Fox (Planet Stories, March 1952)
  • Final Encounter by Harry Harrison (Galaxy Magazine, April 1964)
  • Lord of a Thousand Suns by Poul Anderson (Planet Stories, September 1951)
  • Big Ancestor by Floyd L. Wallace (Galaxy Science Fiction, November 1954)
  • The Interlopers by Roger Dee (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1954)
Another good line-up.  The MacDonald has not been previously reprinted and is a real treat.  Gardner Fox is probably best remember as a comic book writer but he wrote a number  of science fiction, fantasy and historical novels; his story here is somewhat clunky, but fun.  Again, Aldiss adds some interesting introductions to the various sections.

Perilous Planets
  • Mouth of Hell by David I. Masson (New Worlds, January 1966)
  • Brightside Crossing by Alan E. Nourse (Galaxy Science Fiction, February 1953)
  • The  Sack by William Morrison (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1950)
  • The Monster by A. E. van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1948)
  • The Monsters by Robert Sheckley (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1953)
  • Grenville's Planet by Michael Shaara (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1952)
  • Beachhead by Clifford D. Simak (Fantastic Adventures, July 1951)
  • The Ark of James Carlyle by Cherry Wilder (New Writings in SF 24, edited by Kenneth Bulmer, 1974)
  • On the River by Robert F. Young (Fantastic Stories of Imagination, January 1965)
  • Goddess in Granite by Robert F. Young (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1957)
  • The Seekers by E. C. Tubb (New Writings in SF 6, edited by John Carnell, 1965)
  • When the People Fell by Cordwainer Smith (Galaxy Magazine, April 1959)
  • The Titan by P. Schuyler Miller (abbreviated version published in Unusual Stories, March 1934; then published as a three-part serial, first in the semi-prozine Marvel Tales, Winter 1934, the second part in Marvel Tales of Science and Fantasy, March-April 1935, and the concluding part in Marvel Tales, Summer 1935)
  • Four in One by Damon Knight (Galaxy Science Fiction, February 1953)
  • The Age of Invention by Norman Spinrad (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1966)
  • The Snowmen by Frederik Pohl (Galaxy Magazine, December 1959)
  • Schwartz Between the Galaxies by Robert Silverberg (Stellar 1, edited by Judy-Lynn del Rey, 1974)
Aldiss also contributes introductions to the various sections.  There is also an introduction to the book -- "How Are They All on Deneb IV?" by C. C. Shackleton -- which was reprinted from SF Horizons No. 2 (1965), a short-lived critical magazine from Aldiss and Harry Harrison.  "Shackleton," of course, was a pseudonym for Aldiss.  The Silverberg was nominated for both a Locus Award and a Hugo.  The Nourse was nominated for a Hugo.  The Spinrad was nominated for a Nebula.  The Wilder was nominated for a Ditmar.  Three of the stories in this volume were first published in England.  A. E. van Vogt's story has also been published as "Resurrection."

That's a total of 43 stories in the three volumes.  Many of the stories are unfamiliar to the casual science fiction reader and a good number probably unfamiliar to the more experienced science fiction reader.  A great introduction to the science fiction many of us grew on!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


The Serendipity Singers.


Cornell Woolrich's 1941 novel The Black Curtain was performed three times over the years on CBS Radio, twice as a half-hour program and once as an hour program.  The radio versions more closely resembled Street of Chance, the 1942 adaptation of the novel, rather than the original book.  Nonetheless, Francis Nevins felt that this radio adaptation captured the essence of Woolrich and actually improved the novel's ending:  "(T)his play...was at once so different from the source material and too true to its dark spirit that I'm almost convinced it was adapted by Woolrich himself..."

From November 30, 1944, here's Cary Grant as the amnesiac Frank Townsend.  Lurene Tuttle, who appeared on the radio as Sam Spade's secretary and in such films as Don't Bother to Knock, Niagara, and Psycho, co-starred as Ruth.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Red Sovine.


A group of mystery fans were on a train, bound for their annual convention.  It happened that there was also a group os salesmen on the train, going to their annual convention, to the same city.  Each of the salesmen had their own ticket and they made fun at the mystery fans when they found out the mystery fans had only one ticket between them.

When the conductor started to come by and collect the tickets, all of the mystery fans went into the bathroom and locked the door.  The conductor collected all the tickets from the salesmen, then knocked on the door to the bathroom.   "Ticket, please."  One ticket slid out from under the door.  The conductor took the ticket and proceeded to the next car.  The salesmen were amazed.

After both conventions, the salesmen were on the train returning home but only one mystery fan was (the rest had partied too hearty and stayed behind to recuperate).  This time the salesmen had bought only one ticket between them and the mystery fan hadn't bothered to buy a ticket for himself.  When the conductor started to collect the tickets, all the salesmen smirked as they rushed to the bathroom and closed the door.

The mystery fan went up to the bathroom, knocked on the door, and said, "Ticket, please."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


My late father-in-law, each summer when driving back from Cape Cod with our two girls, would stop at Kimball's ice cream stand in Westford, Massachusetts, for supper.  That supper, of course, would  only consist of ice cream.  Kimball's made (and still makes) banana splits so large that you would be hard tasked to finish one.are fifteen

Each year since he passed away, we celebrate his birthday by having an ice cream supper.  We are fifteen hundred miles from Kimball's this year, but there all plenty of ice cream places near our Florida Panhndle home.  Guess what we'll be doing tonight?

Thinking to you today, Harold.


An appropriate song from Neil Young, backed up here with The Fisk Universary Jubille Choir.


I need a bit of catharsis following the horror earlier this week in Orlando.  Buster Keaton fills the bills for me.  Here he backs up star Fatty Arbuckle in this 1919 silent film.  Added bonus: Al 'Fuzzy" St. John.  Note that the 'Eccentric Dancer" is played by Jackie Coogan, Sr. -- the father of child star and (later) Uncle Fester, Jackie Coogan.


Monday, June 13, 2016


Snooky Lanson.


  • Bruce Marshall, The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith.  The story of an urban parish priest in Scotland from 1908 to 1942.  Some sources indicate that this is a fantasy along the lines of the author's Father Malachy's Miracle but it doesn't appear to be so.  The book was also published under the title All Glorious Within.  This copy has the author's inscription, signature, and the date taped to the inside; I assume this was on a cover letter sent to the original owner along with the book.
  • Peter Robinson, Piece of My Heart.  A Chief Inspector Alan Banks mystery, the sixteenth novel in the series.  "Two murders separated by four decades are investigated by two very different but equally haunted investigators."  Peace. love, and rock and roll, baby.  This one was a finalist for both the Arthur Ellis and the Macavity Awards.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


I was going to post this talk by Ellen Degeneres weeks ago, know.


Otis Clay, The Gospel Truth.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Joe Maphis & The Top Hands.


Another trip down memory lane with the cowboy heroes of yesterday.

In "Fury's Revenge," prairie ranger Tex Ritter's dog Fury becomes part of a plot to steal some aluable gems.  This story has a teachble moment:  You don't mess with a cowboy's dog!

When Gabby Hayes rescues a calf and raises it as a pet, everybody around him has to put up with "A Lot of Bull."  The calf, Sweetie Pie, grows up to be a strong, rambunctous bull who eventually is "bullnapped" for the Mexican bull rings.  Can Gabby save his Sweetie Pie from the matador?

Tom Mix leads a wagon train through wild Indian territory in "The Valley of Annihilation."  One of the settlers makes a blunder and sets an entire war party against the train.  With the wagon train helplessly outnumbered, Tom Mix must ride through Indian lines to get help as the wagon train faces a massacre.

The town of Lost Gap was on the rebound when a new vein of gold was discovered the year before in a played-out mine.  Now a sharp-shooting outlaw has been stealing the gold shipments.  Calling himself the Owl, the outlaw seems to be able to see in the dark as well as the night hunter whose name he took, and with equally deadly effect.  (Of course, he wears an owl mask to hide his identity, making him a genuine owlhoot, I guess.)  But one cowboy doesn't give a hoot (sorry) about the danger as "Monte Hale Battles the Owl."  This story also involves some smart detective work.  It would have been more apt if the western hero in this story had been Hoot Gibson.

This issue also includes some one-page fillers meant to be humorous.  They aren't.

For me, the brightest part of this issue was the Gabby Hayes story, even though the unnamed artist drew the young Sweetie Pie to look like a large, strangely-eared dog.

Check it out to see which story will be your favorite.

Friday, June 10, 2016


From 1937, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra with vocalist Edythe Wright.


The Frankenstein Factory by Edward D. Hoch (1975)

Edward D. Hoch was the amazingly prolific author of nearly a thousand short stories, nearly all of them in the mystery field, creating fifteen separate series.  Hoch was that extreme rarity:  a writer who made his living through short stories.  For Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine alone, Hoch had at least one story in every issue for 35 years.  His stories won one Edgar and two Anthony Awards.  He was named a Grand Master by The Mystery Writers of America and was gien Lifetimetime Achievement Awards by both The Private Eye Writers of America and by the annual mystery convention Bouchercon.  Hoch also was editor of The Best Detective Stories of the Year series (later titled The Best Mystery and Suspense Stories of the Year) from 1976 through 1985 (the 30th to 39th annual collections), as well as several other anthologies.

With all the above, it's easy to forget that he also wrote five mystery novels, all paperback originals.  The Shattered Raven (1970) involved a murder at the Mystery Writers of America.  The Blue Movie Murders (1973, written under the "Ellery Queen" pseudonym) featured Mike McCall, a trouble shooter for the Governor of his state.  Hoch also wrote three science fiction mystery novels featuring the Computer Investigation Bureau (also known as the "Computer Cops"), a government agency that reports directly to the President:  The Transvection Machine (1971), The Fellowship of the Hand (1973), and The Frankenstein Factory. (The Computer Cops first appeared in a self-titled story in Hans Stefan Santesson's 1969 anthology Crime Prevention in the 30th Century; for the book series the time was changed to the early 21st century.)

The Frankenstein Factory is Hoch's homage to both the Mary Shelley novel and to Agatha Christie's And Then There None (a.p.a Ten Little Indians and -- in a much more unenlightened time -- Ten Little Niggers).   Ten people are gathered on an isolated island off Baja California -- seven of them to perform an historic medical operation, the eighth an elderly woman who has heavily financed the cryogenics company involved, the ninth to record the proceedings on film, and the tenth a deaf and dumb Mexican servant woman.  The operation is to reanimate a cryogenetically frozen corpse, a man who had "died" a quarter of a century earlier from brain cancer.  Because the cancer had also lead to the destruction of other organs, reanimation involves multiple organ transplants -- all taken from other frozen bodies -- including a brain (and, yes, it turns out that it is the brain of a murderer).  Because of this one of the doctors dubbed the island facility the "Frankenstein factory" and group names the patient "Frank."  The operation is a success, at least partially.  The patient has a normal heartbeat and temperature, but appears unable to rouse himself from a coma-like state.  One of the doctors fear there might be brain damage.

Then the old lady disappears, her room covered in blood.  A search of the island does not discover the woman nor her body.  The next day, one of the scientists is murdered, then another, then the Mexican housekeeper.  All possible communication to the outside world is sabotaged, as are all means to get off the island.  More people are killed and the reanimated "corpse" goes missing, only to be found later shambling around the island.  Is the danger from this Frankenstein's monster, or is it from someone else?  That's the question facing Earl Jazine, the computer cop who assumed the role of the photographer to investigate the facility.

Hoch plays fair (as he always does) with the clues and their are enought red herrings and plots twists to keep the reader guessing.  All this adds up to a minor, and sometimes mediocre, mystery novel.  Hoch is not his best in a science fiction setting and the novel length does not play to his skills, which never included great character depth.  A number of his characters do and say dumb things.  The scene is just stage setting; no great effort was made to involve us with the location or the atmosphere.  Too many references to the past are to the mid-Seventies (when the book was written) although the book was set in the early 2000s.  ("As far back as the mid-Seventies...", "in the early Seventies when the Wtaergate...", "I was born in the late Seventies, so I don't remember what had happened earlier that decade...", etc.  By the way, the offices of the Computer Investigation Bureau are on the top floor of the World Trade Center.)  Hoch's two straight mystery novels are much better reads, especially The Shattered Raven.

So why read this book at all?  Well, despite everything, it's a fairly entertaining read.  It's also a short read:  190 fast-moving pages so many of us will get through it in three hours or so.  And Hoch is damned good on plotting.

This book won't appeal to everyone and the reader would be better served with any of Hoch's short story collections.  But, if you are curious to see what Hoch can do with a broader canvas as well as a science fictional one, The Frankenstein Factory wouldn't hurt.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


A dead teenager song from J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers.


In the early days of the western United States, a masked man and an Indian rode the plains, searching for truth and justice.  Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when from out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver!  The Lone Ranger rides again!

With those words began the saga of the Lone Ranger, a popular media character since his first appearance on Detroit's WXYZ Radio on the last days of January 1933.  The character had been surviving member of a group of Texas Rangers ambushed by the outlaw Butch Cavendish's gang.  Badly wounded, he was discovered and nursed back to health by the Indian Tonto, who had recognized the man as the boy who had saved his life when both were children.  Masked, presumably to honor the rangers who had died in the attack (with his identity he hidden he could have been any one of the rangers, you see), he became The Lone Ranger, seeking justice on the old west and helping to develop the young territory.  As the radio show went on, he gained his horse Silver and Tonto (who actually was introduced in the eighth episode) got his horse Scout, the Ranger's trademark silver bullets were introduced. as was his nephew Dan Reid (who, according to radio legend, became the father to Britt Reid, The Green Hornet).

An ace marksman, the Lone Ranger never shot to kill.  He always used proper English and clear diction.  His face was never seen and he was never unmasked.  From 1933 to 1954, he appeared in nearly three thousand radio episodes.  From September 1954 to May 1956, when the series finally left the airwaves, rebroadcasts were used.  From the lowly Detroit station, the show soon moed to the Mutual Broadcasting Network until 1942, after which it appeared on the NBC Blue Network, staying there when it morphed into ABC Network until the end.

The genesis of the radio show is somewhat contested.  One camp says it ws created by WXYZ station owner George Trendle (who owned the rights to the character); another says it was created by head writer Fran Striker.  Striker's name is more commonly associated with the character, have written or rewritten the novels which began in 1936.  The character may have have been inspired by Zane Gray's 1915 novel The Lone Star Ranger or by the person to whom Gray had dedicated that novel, John R. Hughes, a Texas Rangers Captain.  The character also bears a resemblance to one that Striker had creaded earlier for a Buffalo radio station.

No matter, The Lone Ranger was a great hit.  He moved to television from 1949 to 1957 for 221 issues.  He appeared in six films from 1956 to the recent 2013 clunker.  There was an animated film in the late Thirties, ninety animated television episodes in the Sixties, followed by 24 animated episodes in the Eighties.  There were 18 Lone Ranger novels and 13 Big Little Books, as well as 3 Golden Books.  The Lone Ranger Magazine lasted eight issues as a pulp magazine in 1937.  A newspaper comic strip ran from 1938 to 1971; a second strip ran from 1981 to 1984.  The character appeared in his own comic book in 1948 and ran for 175 issues until 1962.  Another publisher took over the title in 1964, although original content was not used until 1975; this comic book folded in 1977.  Writer Joe R. Lansdale (hisownself) wrote a four-part miniseries comic book in 1994.  And in 2006, Dynamite Entertainment revived the character.  Dynamite has published at least eleven collections from this series that continues to this day.  (By the way, Tonto had his own comic book in the Fifties -- 31 issues-- as did Silver -- 34 issues.)

(Off-topic, I guess:  Q:  Where does The Lone Ranger take his trash?  A:  To the dump, to  the dump, to the dump. dump. dump.)

Back to the radio show.  The first to play the title character.was a guy named George Seaton.  He lasted a couple of months and was replaced by Earl Graser who carried to role from April 7, 1933 to April 7, 1941.  He was killed in an automobile accident the following day, April 8, 1941.  He was replaced by Bruce Beemer, who played the role in the episode inked below.  Beemer stayed with the show  through all the original episodes through 1954.  The part of Tonto was played by John Todd. for most of the episodes.

From April 21, 1941, let's go back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with "Chisholm Trail."


Wednesday, June 8, 2016


From 1939, here's the Larry Clinton  Orchestra, with vocalist Bea Wain.


Q:  What's red and invisible?
A:  No tomatoes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Glenn Yarborough.


Dick and Joanna Loudon buy a quaint Vermont inn.  That's how one of the best television comedies began.  This vehicle for Bob Newhart followed his highly successful The Bob Newhart Show and ran from October 25, 1982 through May 21, 1990 on CBS.  The final show in the series is still referenced as one of the greatest series.

Newhart, of course, plays Dick, a deadpan writer of how-to books.  The lovely Mary Frann plays Joanna. Tom Poston is the somewhat slow handyman, George.  The regular cast in the first season included Jennifer Holmes as Leslie Vanderkellen, an uber-rich girl who works as a maid to find out what it's like to be average, and Stephen Kampmann as Kurt Devane, a chronic liar who owns the local cafe (and who is infatuated with Leslie).

Later seasons would add Julia Duffy as Stephanie Vanderkellen, Leslie's shallow cousin, Peter Scolari as the equally shallow Michael Harris, the producer of Dick's local television talk show (which was introduced in season 2), and William Sanderson, Tony Papenfuss, and John Voldstadt as Larry, his brother Darryl, and his other brother Darryl -- one of the greatest trios in television comedy.

The premiere episode, "In the Beginning," sets the stage for the doings at the 200-year-old Stratford Inn and Dick's encounters with the quirky Vermont townspeople

Watch, and enjoy.

Monday, June 6, 2016


Carolyn Hester.


  • Dean Koontz, Saint Odd.  The conclusion to the Odd Thomas series of supernatural thrillers.  I read this one when it came out last year, but this paperback edition includes "Bonus Content" -- namely the story "Odd Thomas:  You Are Destined to Be Together Forever," previously only available as an e-Book.
  • Richard S. Wheeler, North Star.  Call it a western or call it a historic novel; either way, if it's by Wheeler, it's bound to be good.  This one is a Barnaby Skye novel, the thirteenth in the series.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Granddaughter Amy proudly graduated from high school yesterday.  We were there in spirit watching it streamed live.  She dyed her hair orange for the occasion and wore it in pigtails.  She had a yellow lei in honor of a classmate who had died the year before.  There was a whale drawn on her graduation cap just because.  She looked beautiful.

The link below is not to the Chelmsford High School commencement speech.  It's one that was gien at Harvard on May 25th.  It's pretty cool and has gone viral.


Willie Nelson.

Saturday, June 4, 2016


The Penguins.

MAN O' MARS #1 (1952)

The Man o'Mars comic book never made to a second issue.  Published under the Flying Stories, Inc. banner of Fiction House, Man o' Mars contains three stories with only the first about the titular hero, John Hunter of the Marsmen.

It's 2036 and the Martian space fleet is attacking Earth for the second time.  The first invasion, fifteen years earlier (Earth years or Martian years, who knows?  Khandor, the Martian historian, has record books, each clearly dated with an Earth year.), had been repulsed by the greater Earth weapons.  But now, the green-skinned Martian warlord Gurtil has deeloped mighty weapons that leave Earth helpless.  He uses one of those weapons to destroy a major city and issues an ultimatum to the World Council to surrender.  What Gurtil did not know was that after the foiled first invadion the yellow-skinned, peaceful science class that had been exiled earlier by Gurtil had continued their work in underground caves.  The scientists had managed to sneak a rocket to Earth to warn them that Gurtil would be back, more powerful than ever.  They ask for, and received 100 of Earth's best and brightest youths to train as a secret army, the Marsmen.  Among them is John Hunter, who becomes their leader, and Hunter's young girlfriend Renee, who had cut her hair to look like a boy and sneak in among the 99 other youths.

Throw in a green Martian seductress, a spaceship explosion throwing a bare-legged (but fishbowl-helmeted John Hunter into cold space, a weapon that could destroy the Earth, and a brave young Marsman named Jerry.  (With such a noble name as Jerry, you just know the guy is going to step up and save the day.)    There are no credits given for this story but the artwork at times rises above the plot and the Good Girl Martian vamp is pneumatically drawn.

The second story is also unsigned and the art ranges from crude to very good -- and one monster could have come directly from Virgil Finley's pen.  The story featured a guy named Space Pirate, most likely because he's a pirate in space.  So...Space Pirate decides to kidnap the richest man in the galaxy, the head of a large mining company.  Space Pirate's secret weapon is a pair of rocket-powered boots.  He uses the boots to kidnap the rich man.  Then comes the twist.  Space Pirate does not want ransom; instead, he takes the guy to a mining planet the man owns to have him experience the terrible working conditions there.  Wouldn't you know it?  The bad guy has a change of heart and alters his selfish ways.  Space Pirate should have been named Maudlinman!  Give me a break.

The final story is "Space Rangers" by Hugh Fitzhugh.  The Space Rangers are Flint Baker and Reef Ryan who must find out the meaning of some secret coded space transmissions sent out on outlaw channels.  Turns out a race of stunted, big headed neo-Martians are trying to revolt.  The neo-Martians are a subserviant race who have to undergo genetic surgery, are strictly controlled and monitored, and must present "metabolic check cards."  So, yeah, they have good reason to revolt.  Luckily for the established order, Baker and Ryan are on the case to save us from this evil.  The beautiful girl in the revealing dress (who is added for eye candy, one assumes) is the hypnotized (Why?  Not sure.) daughter of a professor.  She's not as zaftig as the Martian vixen in the first story, though.

There's also a four-page filler imagining life on Uranus and Saturn that seems to be heavily influenced by the paintings Frank Paul and James Settles used to do for Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures.  The same influence also shows up on some of the costumes of the future in this issue's three stories.

All in all, an interesting issue.  Somewhat weak on originality, but with some very good art in some places.

Check it out.

Friday, June 3, 2016


Sam Cooke.


Happy Anniversary, Harrison High by John Farris (1973)

John Farris was 23 when he wrote Harrison High, a sprawling and controversial and controversial novel that went on to sell over a million copies and was filmed as Because They're Young (1960, starring perpetual teenager Dick Clark and a 17-year-old Tuesday Weld.  Although Farris had already had four novels published by the time Harrison High came out in 1959, three of them paperback originals and three of the four published under a pen name, his was not a well-known name.  Harrison High changed that.  It's realistic (at times) and somewhat graphic treatment of sex blinded many critics to the novel's importance -- much the same as Peyton Place had done three years earlier.  Farris went on to become a best-selling author of horror and dark suspense novels such as When Michal Calls, The Fury, and All Heads Turn When the Hunt Comes By, but in 1968 he returned  to Harrison High with the first of five paperback sequels from Pocket Books.

Happy Anniversary, Harrison High was the fourth of these sequels and the only one of the five that I've read.  It's a potboiler of sex, exploitation, sex, greed, and graphic sex.  It's also a well-controlled, over-the-top romp.  It's the 50th anniversary of the school which has had a storied and troubled past.  Once one of the best high schools in its unnamed state, it had been torn apart by racial tensions five years before.  With the hard work of principal Neal Hendry (who, as a new teacher, had an important role in the 1959 novel) and his staff, the school has rebounded.  Racial tensions have not resurfaced although they remain in the background, as have the relations between the establishment and the counterculture, with the establishment being more prominent within the student bodyand the local and state governments.  A week-long celebration of the school's anniversary has been planned.  Also planned is a race riot that will destroy the school.

Enter the varied( and interesting) cast of  characters:

  • A brash, self-centered documentary filmmaker
  • His live-in assistant who had attended Harrison High six years before and who had transformed herself from a drab nobody to a Jane Fonda lookalike
  • A randy, greedy, and amoral multi-millionaire
  • A racist, ultra right-wing former Vice-President of The United States and the most famous alumni of Harrison High
  • A high-school vixen who uses sex to finance her mother's political campaigns
  • A shy, dedicated, and sexually inexperienced veteran teacher
  • The student leader of the school's conservative club
  • The angry Black student leader
  • A secretary whose job it is to keep people sexually distracted
  • A lonely and confused religious fanatic
  • A large, ugly dangerous dog who loves his rubber dolly toy
And, trying to hold it all together.
  • Neal Hendry

Great literature this isn't, but it's a fast, fun read.  I'm not ashamed to say that I laughed at the "kidnapped baby" scene and smirked at the special anniversary cake that was too large to go through the doors and had to be lifted by a crane through the skylight.  The sex scenes (and there are plenty of them -- so take caution, any who might be offended) are funny and farcical.  I'm willing to bet Farris really enjoyed himself writing this one.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Long before he was a talk-show host and game show creator, Merv Griffin was a popular singer with The Freddy Martin Orchesta.  Here he is from 1951.


John Ford, the director of the film version of Fort Apache, introduces this radio version which stars John Wayne and Ward Bond reprising their film roles.

The classic western -- the first of Ford's "Cavalry Trilogy" -- transferred well to the radio waves.

Enjoy. (And enjoy a Pabst Bllue Ribbon while you're at it.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


The Billboard Number One Song from 70 years ago.  Frankie Carle and His Orchestra with Marjorie Hughes singing.  Hughes was Carle's daughter.


I'm considering having an open casket funeral...Remains to be seen.