Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, May 28, 2017

HOW TO TALK TO VETERAN'S ABOUT THE WAR

Wes Moore, army veteran and author of The Other Wes Moore, delivers a TED Talk about how to talk -- and how to listen -- to veterans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P04stEjJ9E

HYMN TIME

Here's a piece for this weekend from John Williams.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omd9_FJnerY

Saturday, May 27, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: LUCILLE

Little Richard

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0Ujb6lJ_mM

TODAY'S COMIC BOOK: SOLDIER OF FORTUNE #2 (MAY-JUNE 1951)

Soldiers of fortune are romantic figures who belie the reality of the "profession."  But for young boys in the 50s a soldier of fortune was a glamorous guy with a strong moral code.  SoFs were also glamorized in the 1955-1957 television series Soldiers of Fortune with John Russell and chick Chandler.  Soldiers of fortune had been around in the comic books for many years -- Siegel and Shuster created "Henri Duval of France, Famed Soldier of Fortune" in 1935.  And,,of course, there were Roy Cane's "Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy," Milton Caniff's "Terry and the Pirates," Caniff's "Steve Canyon," and many others assumed the soldier of fortune role.

Soldiers of Fortune #2 brings you such adventurers as Ace Carter -- Adventurer, Captain Crossbones, Lance Lawson -- Soldier of Fortune, and real life soldier of fortune Sir Alexander Mackenzie.  Famed science fiction cover artist contributes two one-page stories about historical figures -- the first, James Bowie, and the second, doctor and pirate Thomas Dover.  Other artists in this issue are Ogden Whitney, Frank Bolle, Ed Moline, Paul Gattuso, and Charles Sultan.

Enjoy.

http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=68301

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

UNDERAPPRECIATED MUSIC: THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS

Back in the days when Roy Rogers was Leonard Slye, he entered a radio show singing contest and, a few days later, received an offer to join a group called The Rocky Mountaineers.  That was in the Spring of 1931.  By that Fall, Slye was the head of the group and needed a yodeler/tenor for the act.  A young Canadian named Bob Nolan answered the ad and Slye hired him on the spot.  Nolan did not stay with the Rocky Mountaineers for long and was replaced by Tim Spencer.  Old-time music acts tended to shift personnel rapidly.  By the spring of 1932, Slye, Spencer, and another member left the Mountaineers to form their own trio, which sank without a trace.  Slye and Spencer, together or singly, joined a number of short-lived acts, with Slye eventually joining a popular radio act, Jack LeFevre and his Texas Outlaws.

In early 1933, Slye, Nolan, and Spencer formed The Pioneer Trio.  The next year, fiddle player and bass singer Hugo Farr was added to the group, now called The Pioneers.  One radio announcer, saying that they were too young to be pioneers, began calling the group The Sons of the Pioneers.  The name stuck.

In 1935, the group was signed by Columbia Picture to sing on its Charles Starrett western films.  Two years later Slye received an acting offer from Republic Pictures.  Slye left The Sons of the Pioneers and was rechristened Roy Rogers.  Columbia;'s Starrett western group was disbanded in 1941 and The Sons of the Pioneers moved over to Republic to join Roy Rogers.

The sons of the Pioneers are still going strong.  Over the years, there have been 43 official members of the group including Pat Brady (whom Roy Rogers tagged to replace him when he left the group and who ended up being Roy's television sidekick), Ken curtis (Gunsmoke's Festus, and the vocalist who filled the void between Frank Sinatra's and Dick Haymes' stints with the Tommy Dorsey Band), and Shug Fisher (the singer-songwriter-actor-comedian who replaced Pat Brady when Brady was drafted in World War II; Fisher later was to have recurring roles on television's Ripcord, Gunsmoke, and The Beverly Hillbillies).    Current members of The Sons of the Pioneers are Tommy Naille, Ken Lattimore, Randy Rudd, Mark Abbott, and Justin Branum.

Here's a baker's dozen of their songs.  Smooth, easy listening.  Enjoy.


Tumbling Tumbleweeds:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UiSMyyj-Ac

Cool Clear Water
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDtCa8ZgAk4

Ghost Riders in the Sky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMqKv7BOg_s

Ringo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M1pSbiFQjc

Dwelling in Beulah Land
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlUJdA1btSU

Wagon Wheels
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVJYvq2A0YA

When It's Springtime in the Rockies
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq7XPAzTxqU

Red River Valley
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YC1Pu7bscbw

O Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05UNyuYvc2Q

Ride Away
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20jAtWu4CxM

Blue Prairie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1cJJAH6k6A

Blue Shadows on the Trail
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5u59-F2WRM

Along the Santa Fe Trail
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_yhKni15XI


OLD-TIME RADIO: MR. I. A. MOTO

John P. Marquand's famous Japanese detective Mr. I. A. Moto made it to the radio airwaves on May 20, 1951.  Taking the title role was veteran actor James Monks.  Over his career, Monk appeared in some 500 radio productions, often while also appearing on stage (He had a forty year stage career, including 639 performances opposite Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame.)  Monks very effectively mirrored the voice of Peter Lorre, who starred in Mr. Moto's popular movie adventures.

Mr. Moto did not have a regular sponsor -- something for which NBC Radio had short shrift.  After the first thirteen episodes, NBC lowered the show's budget and replaced announcer Fred Collins with the less talented Ray Barrett.  Producer Carol Irwin gave way to her associate producer.  Spot promotional ads for the show began to disappear, as did releases for the print media.  The show was dropped after just 23 episodes -- indicative of NBC's cutthroat approach.  Many experts believe that, had Mr. Moto been allowed to continue for just a few more shows, it would easily have found a regular sponsor.

The eighth episode of the show (linked below), "Project 77," was first aired on July 8, 1951 and was written and directed by Harry W. Junkin.  Features actors included Bill Smith, Connie Lemke, Bill Lipton, Scott Tennyson, and Ian Martin.

Enjoy this episode of the international detective who fights the evils of communism throughout the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApX6k0s2Dso


Saturday, May 20, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: SUNDAY WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

Spanky and Our Gang.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPr460uksB0

ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN #1 (FALL 1948)

Adventures into the Unknown has the distinction of being the first ongoing horror comic title.  It lasted for 167 issues from Fall 1948 to August 1967.  I remember reading a lot of issues when I was a kid.

Issue #1 is a Pre-Code dandy and has five --count 'em, five -- stories scripted by Frank Belknap Long.  (Long was a good friend of H. P. Lovecraft and had a seven-decade distinguished career writing in the horror field.  He received Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the Horror Writers Association and the World Fantasy convention.)  Notable in this issue is Long's 7-page adaptation of Horace Walpole's classic gothic novel The Castle of Otranto.

Enjoy.

http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=16406

Friday, May 19, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: DANCING IN THE STREET

Wanna dance?  Martha and the Vandellas do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuCBXTfoVq8

FORGOTTEN BOOK : THE YEAR THE YANKEES LOST THE PENNANT

The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop (1954)

Douglass Wallop (1920-1985) received some critical attention with his first novel Night Light, a nuanced story of man trying to understand his daughter's murderer.  It was his second novel, however, that made his reputation.  The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant transferred the Faust theme to the world of professional baseball and became a best-seller.  The following year, Wallop and George Abbott adapted the book into the Tony Award-winning (seven of them for the original run, plus two other nominations)  musical Damn Yankees.  In 1958, it was a major film release from Warner Brothers, garnering a number of award nominations.

The time is the 1960s and in the world of baseball no one can touch the Yankees, who have won the pennant for so many consecutive years that it was understood that they will keep doing so into the far future.  This does not sit well with Joe Boyd, a die-hard Washington Senators fan.  Joe is in his fifties.  He's out of shape, his children have left the nest, and his relationship with his wife is strained.  Joe and his wife have more or less gone their separate ways -- she can't understand his fixation with baseball and he can't understand her interests -- yet, in his unhappy way, he still loves her.  One day after another humiliating loss by the Senators, Joe off-handedly remarks that we would sell his soul for a winning season for his team.  He should known better.

Joe soon meets the mysterious Mr. Applegate, a smooth talker who lights his cigarettes without any matches.  Applegate offers Joe the opportunity to take the Senators all the way to the pennant.  Joe, who is in the real estate business, begins negotiations -- the result being that Joe can get his wish on a trial basis but that he can opt out on a certain date; if he doesn't, then the deal is permanent and his soul belongs to the devil.

Applegate transforms Joe into Joe Hardy, a twenty-one-year-old baseball phenom.  Joe tries out for the Senators and wins a spot on the last-place team.  He hits one, two, sometimes three home runs a game and his fielding is incredible.  The Senators begin a steady move up the League, even beating the Yankees every time the two play.

Pre-Joe Hardy, the Senators' biggest draw was Roscoe Ent, a former vaudeville comic and terrible pitcher whose antics liven up the fan's spirits.  The Senators were all that Roscoe had going for him and he realized that, with the popularity of Joe Hardy, his days om the team were numbered.  Roscoe quits the team and begins a downward spiral.  Joe feels guilty about Roscoe, he also feels guilty about his new-found talents.  Joe knows that it is not fair to use supernatural means to upset the natural order of things.  And Joe misses his wife and looks forward to the day he can void his contract and return to her.

On the other hand, the Senators are winning.  And that's a good thing for all those Yankee-hating baseball fans out there.

Applegate introduce Joe to Lola, the most beautiful woman in the world in an effort to distract Joe from missing his wife.  Lola, it turns out was another of Applegate's "clients."  She, too, had argued for an opt-out portion on her contract but, despite her best efforts, Applegate sure that she did not  opt out when the time came.  One way or another, Applegate always wins.  And, much to her surprise, Lola falls for Joe and she's perfectly willing to wait until Applegate claims his soul to have him.

Anthony Boucher ho-hummed this book, saying it was "just another Pact-with-the-Devil story, somewhat brightened by its Major League baseball setting."  My reaction is more kind.  The story itself is ordinary but the characters are well-nuanced and the author's love of baseball shines through.

I was a little bit irritated to find myself humming "Whatever Lola Wants" while reading the book, however.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: BONEY FINGERS

Hoyt Axton.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6ehpskEQas

OLD-TIME RADIO: THE CLOCK

The Clock was a half-hour suspense program narrated by Father Time himself.  The U.S. version ran for 82 episodes in the U.S. (November 3, 1946 to May 23, 1948) on ABC radio.  Beginning in 1955 the series ran in Australia for 52 episodes using the U.S. scripts but with completely different actors and a completely different feel.  The American version of the show was narrated by veteran radio actor William Conrad (and occasionally, Charles Webster).  The majority of the episodes were produced in New York but for the last thirteen, the show shifted to Hollywood.  Rather than using original scripts, these last thirteen recycled scripts from Suspense and The Whistler.

The episode linked here, "Nicky," aired on March 4, 1948, and starred the popular, real-life radio couple Cathy and Elliott Lewis.

Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isSxRFdVeQI

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRISTINA!

I've mentioned before about the love, admiration, and respect that I have for my daughters, both of whom have turned into remarkable adults despite having me as their father.  Today, let me brag about my youngest daughter, Christina, as she celebrates her birthday.

Where to begin?  With the smart and determined three-year-old who never of a game of Memory and who could easily zip through a Find the Word puzzle?  The preschooler who was both so calm and concerned during a medical emergency?  The girl who wouldn't speak to me for three days because I send her doll down an escalator unescorted?  (You had to have been there.)  The one who wanted to be a mailbox for Halloween?  Or the thirteen-year-old who designed her own strikingly beautiful cat costume which left everyone flabbergasted?  The girl who would regale us with stories about dissecting a cat for her biology class?  The girl who, from the time she was ten, helped us at the local equity theater, earning the respect of the actors and our audiences alike?  (While in high school, she would invariably get a crush on one actor in each play, and invariably that actor would turn out to be gay -- one of the perils of theater life.)  The mischievous girl who could pull a trick on her high school dean with a straight face?   The studious girl who struggled with high school German, and later, with college organic chemistry (and let us never forget the Summer of Physics)?  That girl.

She went to George Washington University.  As a freshman she tagged along with a roommate who was interested in the school's Tae Kwon Do club but did not want to go alone.  The girl soon dropped out, but there was something about the sport that interested Christina.  Christina stayed with it but it wasn't easy.  She would hit a plateau but would stay working with determination until, suddenly, she would take a large step forward and eventually hit another plateau.  This cycle continued, but she won the respect of everyone there.  She eventually won her black belt and was elected president of the club.

One of her roommates, Heather, was a very light-skinned African-American.  On day Heather was telling Christina about how her high school guidance counselor that is she marked "other" under race in her application, that would increase her chances of getting into college.  Christina was puzzled, "Why would you do that?"  "Christina, I'm Black!"  "You are?" "Yes.  You've met my mother.  You've met my brothers.  I'm Black."  It wasn't that Christina was clueless, but that she did not see color.  That was never anything important to her

In college, she worked part-time in a coffee and muffin shop in Pentagon City.  At the end of each day, she would take a bag of Muffins that were to be thrown away and give them to the homeless on her way back to the dormitory.  One man burst into tears.  "My kids will appreciate this," he told her.

After college, he began working for an ambulance company, which is where she met her husband, Walt.  From the ambulance company, she went to work for an OB-GYN, and then to the emergency room as an emergency tech as Fairfax Hospital.  There, the doctors said that they always checked to see if Christina was working their shift.  If she was, they knew that everything would run smoothly and they could concentrate on their patients.  And it was there that Christina would sit with dying patients because nobody should die alone.

Christina was also volunteering for the local rescue squad, where she became an EMT and a paramedic. eventually serving as the squad's lieutenant.  Once she and her partner responded to a call and met an elderly man whose wife had collapsed.  He was in tears, 'I'm afraid she's dead."  Christina's partner said, "dead we can handle" as they brought the heartbeat back.

Christina studied to be an echocardiologist and worked at a number of hospitals and medical offices in Virginia, Maryland, and Florida.  Often she would catch something that others had missed, allowing some patients to get treatment they might otherwise have not given.  For a time, she was also an adjunct teacher at George Washington University.

Constantly bending over, shifting patients, and lugging around a 500 pound sonograph machine can have a physical effect, so Christina began another career shift and studied to be a sign language interpreter.  Currently she's working with a deaf girl in a local junior high school while taking other assignments as they come up.

As far as family life goes, she married Walt and they had two wonderful children, Mark and Erin.  Christina has wonderful pregnancies and terrible births.  With Mark we came dangerously close to losing both her and the baby.  Erin's birth was also very difficult.  Mark's facial muscles were damaged during his birth and it took years of therapy to overcome the results of that trauma.  Despite her difficult birth, Erin turned out fine.

Both kids are now active, strong, intelligent, and good-looking.  They are decent, well-liked, and kind-hearted.  Christina and Walt have done a wonderful job as parents.

Christina really wanted another child.  She and Walt began fostering.  The Kangaroo came along.  He had been born to an addicted mother and spent the first six weeks of his like at Children;s Hospital detoxing, then went immediately into Christina and Walt's care.  The Kangaroo's birth mother had visitation rights and the State's plan was to eventually reunite the two, but she kept going in and out of jail until finally she gave up her rights to the child.  Jack Harold Roof was officially adopted into our family.  He has had a lot of medical problems that have been overcome and there will be more in the future.  Jack will turn five in two months.  He's bright, active, loving, and well-liked by everyone in his pre-school,   Christina is an ace at parenting, just as she is with everything else.  (Although she will be the first to tell you that that isn't true.  But what the heck does she know, huh?)

They live in a house chock full with kids and animals (three dogs, three cats, a ball python, a tortoise, a bearded lizard, and a giant South American tegu -- the two hedgehogs sadly passed away) and noise.  They make soap in their spare time (Cove Lake Soapworks.  Fantastic stuff.  Check it out on Etsy.)  This past month, Christina was seriously considering buying a zoo, but the numbers didn't work out.  What they did buy is a boat because the Gulf of Mexico beckons.

I can't help but admire all the things Christina has done and the things she will do.  My family makes me proud and Christina is just one reason why.

Happy birthday, my darling.  We love you and your family very much.

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: GREEN ROCKY ROAD

Fred Neil's take on a classic song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gTAet4APj0

BAD JOKE WEDNESDAY (ICKY-EW DEPARTMENT)

How many cats can you fit into a blender?

According to the police report, four.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: RIDE INTO THE SUN

A great instrumental from The Velvet Underground.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydA0bmL-UEk

OVERLOOKED FILM: POSTMARK FOR DANGER (1955)

How about a little suspense thriller for a warm May day?  This one stars Terry Moore, Robert Beatty, and William Sylvester from a book written by Francis Durbridge.  It was released in Britain under the title Portrait of Alison.

Enjoy.


https://archive.org/details/PostmarkForDanger

Monday, May 15, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: WE ARE FAMILY

Today is the International Day of Families.  Go celebrate.

Here's Sister Sledge

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMVe_HcyP9Y

INCOMING


  • Julian Symons, Something Like a Love Affair.  Suspense novel.  "There are times when Judith Lassiter feels content, perhaps even happy.  She is content to be married to a well-heeled architect who graciously remembers  their fifteenth anniversary with fifteen red roses.  She is content with Green Diamonds, the house her husband designed, the envy of their acquaintances.  She is content with her life in the torn of Wyfleet, content with her financial status, even content with her appearance.  The why does Judith write herself imaginary love letters in the solitude of her bedroom?  Why does she take on a very real lover several years her junior?  Why does she believe she can redeem her life only by taking another's, employing the unlady-like recourse of a professional hit man?"  The multi-talented Symons is always a pleasure.
  • Robert Weinberg, Stefan Dziemianowicz, & Martin H. Greenberg, editors - 100 Dastardly Little Detective Stories.  Mystery anthology, an "instant remainder" from Barnes & Noble.   Almost half the stories (46, my my count) come from Argosy Communication pulps from 1934-1952; 11 others by are Bill Pronzini under various names; and eight are by Edward D. Hoch (also under various names).  A good "dipping into" anthology.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

MOTHERS -- THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY


My mother and Kitty's mother, although completely different personalities, were similar in many ways.  Both grew up under tragic circumstances and coped the best that they could.  As adults, they were flawed but both had their goodness shining through.

Kitty's goodness needs no explanation.  She disagrees with me but, IMHO, she is the perfect wife, mother, and person.

Our two daughters are both excellent mothers and our grandkids are better than any other grandchildren ever.  You may disagree with this superlative but you would be wrong.

Today is the day we celebrate mothers although the most grateful of us celebrate them every day.

Here's to the mothers in your life.  You are lucky to have them.

Mothers can come in all shapes and conditions -- some good, some bad, some ugly, so here's a few light-hearted salutes.


The good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPhSrFkE53o

The bad:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvYM0L_0huQ

And the ugly:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/327073991659049003/


HYMN TIME

George Jones with one for today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75FDaCT59F4

Saturday, May 13, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: INKA DINKA DOO

From the 1934 motion picture Joe Palooka, here's Jimmy Durante.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtlXqec5N2M

JOE PALOOKA #30 (MARCH 1949)

Cartoonist Ham Fisher created the immortal Joe Palooka (then called Joe the Dumbbell) in 1920 [Some sources say 1921] but was unable to get anyone interested in the character.  It took a decade to get the McNaught Syndicate to carry the strip beginning on April 19, 1930.  It son became a major hit,   In 1948 it was one of the five most popular newspaper strips.

Joe was a good-natured, clean cut galoot.  He had a strong moral code and really did not like to fight, making him a natural for comicbookdom's heavyweight champion.  Joe's looks changed as often as the real-life heavyweight championship did -- Fisher would use the features of whoever was the champion at the time for his character, a tradition that hit a brick wall when Joe Louis became champ.  From that point on, Joe Palooka remained a blond, strong-jawed character with a massive upper body.

Regular characters in the comic strip included Joe's manager Knobby Walsh, his girlfriend Ann Howe (shortly after this issue appeared, Joe and Ann were married in a highly publicized comic strip wedding),  the massive blacksmith Humphrey Pennyweather, Joe's black valet/future sparring partner Smokey ( stereotype of the times), and Joe's World War II buddy Jerry Leemy.  (Despite having the honored and dignified name of Jerry, this character was portrayed as a dumb and over-confident comic foil.)

Joe Palooka spawned a short-lived radio series, twelve feature length films, nine film shorts, a television series, and a slew of comic books and merchandising items.  Near to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania -- Ham Fisher's hometown -- is Joe Palooka Mountain, named in 1980 after the creation of a local boy who made good.

Fisher, who had a troubled life, committing suicide in 1955. Nearly thirty years later, Joe Palooka, the comic strip was cancelled on November 14, 1984, after its circulation dropped to 182 papers (at one time, the strip appeared in 790 papers worldwide).   Fisher's character live on, though, as a symbol of the American character.

The Harvey Comics Joe Palooka would run a continuous story (of sorts) from issue to issue, with the concluding pages of the main story setting up the first pages of the story in the next issue.

In this issue, Knobby has been framed for murder and is on the run from a night club racketeer and his hoodlums.  As this is resolved, Joe goes searching for Ann, who is missing.  To be continued in the next issue.

This issues also has a number of sports fillers.

Enjoy.

http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=68191&b=i

Friday, May 12, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: YOU'VE GOT YOUR TROUBLES

The Fortunes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA_TyOUy8Ys

FORGOTTEN BOOK: THE TIME TUNNEL

The Time Tunnel by Murray Leinster (1967)

First, let me explain what this book is not.  It is not Leinster's 1964 novel Time Tunnel.  Nor is it the  1956 novel Tunnel Through Time, published as by Lester del Rey but written by Paul W. Fairman from an outline by del Rey -- Donald H. Tuck's The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy mistakenly credited that book to Leinster.

What this book is is the first (of two) tie-in novels Leinster wrote based on the Irwin Allen 1966-7 television series The Time Tunnel.  Leinster was the major pen name of Will F. Jenkins, who had a long career in both the pulps and the slicks.  Although Leinster was dubbed "The Dean of Science Fiction," he was equally comfortable in a number of genres -- science fiction, mystery, western, adventure, historical, and love.  Leinster seldom wrote tie-in novels.  Previous to this novel, he had written only one tie-in novel, Dallas, based on the 1950 Gary Cooper/Ruth Roman western.  Leinster also published the 1960 "novel" Men Into Space, which was actually a collection of short stories based on the 1959 William Lundigan television series.  Leinster followed The Time Tunnel with a sequel Timeslip! (also 1967); he followed these up with a three-book series (1968-1960) based on another Irwin Allen show, Land of the Giants (1968-1970)

Full disclosure:  My personal opinion of Irwin Allen as a television producer is pretty low.  I am not a fan of The Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, or Lost in Space.  Allen's television credits belong in the same moldy box as Aaron Spelling's; both made a lot of money on lousy shows.

That being said, Leinster's novel is not Allen's television show!  The basic premise is the same.  A costly and secret scientific project in time travel is threatened with closure by an influential senator who believes the whole project is hogwash.  Two men, Tony Newman and Doug Phillips, are sent back in time where they encounter various historic events and people.

The television show has the two first landing on the Titanic.  Leinster ditched that somewhat time-worn scenario, instead having his heroes landing in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, just before its devastating flood.  Ignoring advice from his superiors, Tony tries to warn the populace of the impending danger -- to no avail.  He and Doug do manage to save an eight-year-old girl, though, and she turns out to be a direct ancestor of the senator trying to close the project.

This gives them a circular conundrum.  Were the two destined to go back in time to save the girl?   Are all their actions in the past preordained?  If they had not gone back in time would history have changed?  Those questions are still with them as their 20th century colleagues try to bring them back.  Something goes wrong and they find themselves in 1874 Kansas, just outside the trading post of Adobe Wells, where the Indian chief Quanah Parker is about to lead over a thousand warriors to destroy the post and kill everyone there.

Leinster mined a lot of historical detail to make both scenarios as realistic as possible.  The book reads well and is as mature as the television show is juvenile.  An exciting tale that is much better than its origins and the book cover would make one think.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: WALTZ FOR DEBBY

Cannonball Adderley and Bill Evans performing Evans' classic jazz standard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJqkN1w0fFg

OLD-TIME RADIO: THIS IS YOUR FBI

The FBI -- our nation's premier law enforcement agency -- has been in the news for the past few days.  The agency has had a checkered career.  J. Edgar Hoover, director from 1924 to 1972, did much to transform a moribund agency to modern (and often controversial) crime fighting force.  Hoover's grandstanding and behind the scenes machinations created a number of problematic and often hidden excesses.  No matter what your opinion of him, Hoover was a master at public relations and during most of his tenure he was able to maintain the Bureau's high public image.  

Hoover would lend his imprematur to various entertainment outlets to ensure a favorable image for the FBI.  Case in point:  ABC radio's crime drama This is Your FBI, to which he gave his endorsement and (supposedly) opened past files of the agency to producer/director Jerry Devine to be adapted for the program.  Hoover called the show "the finest dramatic program on the air."

Running from April 6, 1945 to January 30, 1953, This is Your FBI produced 409 half-hour shows with Stacy Harris starring as (fictional) FBI agent Jim Taylor.  Frank Lovejoy served as the show's narrator during its first year.  

Week after week we learned that FBI = good, crime/criminals = bad, as wass the case with this episode, "The Friendly Killer," which first aired on June 21, 1945.

Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI-N_9Eke-I



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: STRANGE LOVE

You've gotta love Darlene Love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdimD8Z-ppY

BAD JOKE WEDNESDAY

A jumper cable went into a bar,  The bartender said grudgingly, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything!"

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: I CAN'T HELP MYSELF

Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch, here's The Four Tops.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXavZYeXEc0

OVERLOOKED FILM: THE LADY FROM CHUNGKING (1942)

It's the second week in May, so what can be more fitting than to feature a film that has two "Mays"?

The Lady from Chungking is a World War II propaganda programmer, the third film produced by Alexander-Stern Productions, a short-lived (1942-1945) B-movie company.  The movie is lifted from its low-budget status by a great performance from its star, the first of our "Mays" -- Anna May Wong.  Wong plays  Kwan Mei, the leader of the resistance in a rural china village during the Japanese occupation.  When American airmen are shot down near her village, Kwan Mei plans to rescue them, but when a Japanese general (character actor Harold Huber, second billed in this film) enters the town, Kwan Mei realized that something big is about to go down.  She has to use her impressive skills to get close to the general to find out what.  

Third billing in this flick goes to our second of our "Mays" -- Mae Clarke, perhaps best known for her grapefruit scene with James Cagney in The Public Enemy.  Clarke plays Lavara, a cynical Russian cafe singer -- sadly, a role that does not make much use of her considerable talents.  Rick Vailin and Paul Bryar play the downed American pilots and Ludwig Donath is the German cafe owner Hans Gruber (definitely not the Alan Richman Hans Gruber from Die Hard!). 

The Lady from Chungking was directed by active B-movie director William Nigh with a script by Sam Robins (The Lone Rider and the Bandit, Bowery Blitzkreig) from a story by Milton Raison (Bombs Over Burma, Girl from Rio).

Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzwg0tDmx6k

Monday, May 8, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: SPUTNIK MONROE

Otis Gibbs.  I heard him singing this one yesterday afternoon on public radio's Mountain Stage and I just had to post this.  Sputnik has become one of my heroes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCtF4pZjfNE

INCOMING


  • Brian Keene, Rising.  Horror novel.  "Nothing stays dead for long.  The dead are returning to life, intelligent, determined...and very hungry.  Escape seems impossible for Jim Thurmond, one of the few left alive in this nightmare world.  but Jim's young son is also alive and in grave danger hundreds of miles away.  Despite astronomical odds, Jim vows to find him -- or die trying."  Keene is one of the bright lights in contemporary horror.
  • Don Pendleton, The Guns of Terra 10.  Science fiction novel from the creator of Mack Bolan, the Executioner.  "Bones crunched and blood flowed as cries of alarm and pain filled the domehut.  Then Whaleman was moving fast through the doorway, out into the darkened compound.  Stars twinkled at him through the sweet atmosphere, urging him onward.  Unreality enveloped him.  Several times he fell on the uneven surface, and once he ran at full speed into a low-hanging branch.  but he kept going without any thoughts of where or why.  a long-dormant instinct in Zach Whaleman had risen in response to his original need, a very human and entirely 'natural' response of a life-mechanism in a survival situation."  Pendleton's SF, whether under his own name or as "Dan Britain," will never win any awards, but his pulpish style keeps the plots moving.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

THE SHOW THAT GOT THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS FIRED

This was the show that never aired on CBS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbNQzLFN8fs&t=128s

HYMN TIME

Marion Williams.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEpo4R76A4k&list=PLFOW357Ibg2qLWZNVWaKkZFQsij4D_iE-&index=22

Saturday, May 6, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: THE BANKS OF THE COLORADO

Today is Jimmy Dale Gilmore's birthday.  Celebrate!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipTAdLoM9Bw

THE GREEN HORNET COMICS #6 (AUGUST 1941)

Brit Reid, the great-nephew of the Lone Ranger, assumed the guise of The Green Hornet to fioght for justice and the American way and began his adventures in the late Thirties on the radio.  The character was created by Fran Striker (who has been credited with creating the Lone Ranger) and George W. Trendle.  He emerged in comics books with Helnit Comics' Green Hornet #1 (December 1940).  The issue linked below -- #6 -- was the last in the series.  After a few months, the character returned, this time from Harvey Comics with issue #7.  After various changes of publishers, the Green Hornet continues his adventures today.

As most people know, the Green Hornet is the secret identity of Britt Reid, editor (sometimes reporter/sometimes owner -- depending on which version you consult) of a large city newspaper.  He is aided by his sometimes sidekick/sometimes servant, the sometimes Japanese/sometimes Filapino Kato (always Bruce Lee in my pre-programmed mind).  He has a sleek, powerful car called Black Beauty and uses a special gun that shoots sleeping gas.  Villains fear him.

The early comic books may have cannibalized earlier radio scripts for their stories, although that has not been definitely proven.  The stories and the art are rather simplistic.  A banner across the first story credits, "CARTOONS BY BERT WHITLOCK ASSOCIATES" -- whether the banner applies to the first story only or the entire issue, I can't say.

In the four stories in this issue, the Green Hornet  faces a murderous gang determined to make a land grab, comes across a criminal whose weapon of choice is a whip, battles an evil animal trainer and his vicious ape, and stops foreign agents from stealing a secret formula that makes explosives much stronger.

Also packed into this 68-page issue are a number of other comic book heroes and characters:

  • Don Manly, Ace Detective and Former All-American, stepping in when the fix is in in the fight game
  • "Mastermind" M'Ginty, comic relief, this time helping a ghost get over its fear of humans
  • "Snapper" Swift, Ace Cameraman, with a special lens that can photograph through anything
  • "Cannonball" Cannon, former circus "flying projectile," now in the Army Air Corps
  • Mister Twister, a former actor now with the FBI, who takes the guise of an old man with a twisted cane
  • Zingara the Great -- a.k.a. Lance Powell, archeologist -- who has discovered the power of hypnosis and mental suggestion from an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph; and
  • Angel, a wiseass little kid who fills out a one-page story with one of the oldest jokes known to mankind
An interesting issue.

http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=68160

Friday, May 5, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: VIVA MEXICO

It's Cinco de Mayo, baby!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS-4jE4xhq8

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: WEIRD TALES ONLINE

Weird Tales, that venerable magazine which ran from 1923 to 2014 -- often in later years in fits and starts and in various forms -- is looked at fondly by fans of pulp horror fiction.  In its pages over the years were stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Seabury Quinn, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, August Derleth, Edmond Hamilton, E. Hoffman Price, Otis Adelbert Kline, David H. Keller, Arthur K. Burks, Frank Belknap Long, Joseph Payne Brennan and -- in later years -- Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, F. Paul Wilson, and many others near and dear to fans of the macabre.  Weird Tales was a magazine that legends were made of.

One thing that should be understood from the start:  Weird Tales published a lot of crap.  It was a low-paying market and, often, a long delayed paying market.  Many of its stories were just plain lurid and excessive.  Its most popular author in its first incarnation was Seabury Quinn, who produced (among other tales) an astonishing 93 stories about his occult detective Jules de Grandin.  In one memorable tale, de Grandin comes across a misogynistic mad doctor who kept prisoner once-beautiful women whom he removed all the bones from their bodies so they just lumps of pulsating flesh.  (Eww!)

Copies of Weird Tales are expensive to attain, although many have been republished in facsimile form, they remain elusive and out of reach for many fans, who have to make do with various anthologies and collections that have mined the magazine for their contents.  Now many of the issues are available online through the Internet Archive web site.  By my rough finger count last night, their have been 266 separate issues of Weird Tales published in its various forms.  Internet Archive has available 207 of them.

Let me go through a brief rundown of the publishing history of Weird Tales, indicating which issues are now available for the curious and/or devoted.

The magazine started in March 1923 under the editorship of Edwin Baird and was published by The Rural Publishing Company.  It was not strictly a horror magazine but published any sort of "weird" fiction, which often included science fiction and contes cruel.  The first story in the first issue was Anthony Rud's "Ooze," often reprinted because of its status as the first tale ever published in Weird Tales.  Internet Archive (IA) has published this story separately, but does not have the rest of the issue.  Baird's editorship lasted for eleven issues.


  • 1923 - 9 issues published, none reprinted by IA
  • 1924 - 7 issues published, none reprinted by IA
Baird's editorship ended with the May-June-July 1924 issue.  Farnsworth Wright began editor with the next issue, dated November 1924, and now published by Popular Fiction Publishing Co.
  • 1925 - 12 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
  • 1926 - 12 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
  • 1927 - 12 issues published; 7 reprinted by IA
  • 1928 - 12 issues published; 3 reprinted by IA
  • 1929 - 12 issues published; 8 reprinted by IA
  • 1930 - 12 issues published; 10 reprinted by IA
  • 1931 - 12 issues published; 4 reprinted by IA
  • 1932 - 12 issues published; 7 reprinted by IA
  • 1933 - 12 issues published; 9 reprinted by IA
  • 1934 - 12 issues published; 8 reprinted by IA
  • 1935 - 12 issues published; 10 reprinted by IA
  • 1936 - 11 issues published; 10 reprinted by IA
  • 1937 - 12 issues published; 10 reprinted by IA
  • 1938 - 12 issues published; 12 reprinted by IA
  • 1939 - 11 issues published; 9 reprinted by IA
With the November 1939 issue, Weird Tales became its own publisher.  Wright would be listed as editor for four issues published by Weird Tales.
  • 1940 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
In 1940, Weird Tales switched to a bimonthly schedule.  Dorothy McIlwraith took over as editor with the May issue.
  • 1941 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1942 - 6 issued published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1943 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1944 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1945 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1946 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1947 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1948 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1949 - 6 issues published; 5 reprinted by IA
  • 1950 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1951 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1952 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
  • 1953 - 6 issues published; 6 reprinted by IA
Beginning with the September 1953 issues, the magazine once again switched publishers.  It was now published by Short Stories, Inc. 
  • 1954 - 5 issues published; 5 reprinted by IA
The magazine closed with the September 1954 issue.  

In 1973, Leo Margulies acquired the rights to the Weird Tales name and began publishing a short-lived run edited by Sam Moskowitz.  Again, the publisher was listed as Weird Tales.
  • 1974 - 3 issues published; 3 reprinted by IA
  • 1975 - 1 issue published; 1 reprinted by IA
In 1975 Robert Weinberg and Victor Dirks bought the rights to the Weird Tales name.  In 1981, they licensed the name to Lin Carter, who edited another short-lived run in a mass market paperback format issued by Lancer Books.
  • 1975 - 3 issues published 3 reprinted by IA
  • 1976 - 1 issue published; 1 issue reprinted by IA
The Zebra publications failed.  Weinberg and Dirks then licensed the title to Belleraphon Network, owned by Brian Forbes.  Thus began another short-lived incarnation, this time edited by Gordon m. D. Garb.
  • 1984 - 1 issue published; 1 reprinted by IA
  • 1985 - 1 issue published; 1 reprinted by IA
The Bellerophon issues were poorly funded and poorly distributed.  Original issues are rare.  In 1988 George Scithers took up the mantle via his publishing company, Terminus.  Scithers was editor, with Darrell Schweitzer and Jophn Betancourt serving as assistant editors.  A number of the Terminus issues were also published in hardcover.
  • 1988 - 5 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
  • 1989 - 4 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
  • 1990 - 4 issues published; 2 reprinted by IA
In 1991, Schweitzer took over the editorship.
  • 1991 - 4 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
  • 1992 - 2 issues published; 2 reprinted by IA
  • 1993 - 1 issue published; 1 reprinted by IA
  • 1994 - 1 issue published; none reprinted by IA
With the spring 1994 issue, the license to the Weird Tales expired.  The magazine changed its name to Worlds of Fantasy & Horror and soldiered on.
  • 1994 - 1 issue published
  • 1995 - 1 issue published
  • 1996 - 1 issue published
In 1998, the Weird Tales title resumed with Scithers and Schweitzer as editors.  The first issue was a joint publishing venture betwee Terminus and DNA Publications, after which DNA publications became the sole publisher.
  • 1998 - 2 issues published; 2 reprinted by IA
  • 1999 - 4 issues published; 2 reprinted by IA
  • 2000 - 4 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
With the Fall 2000 issue, Terminus again joined DNA Publications as publisher.
  • 2001 - 4 issues published; none reprinted by IA
  • 2002 - 4 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
  • 2003 - 3 issues published; none reprinted by IA
For the September/October 2003 issue only, Wildside Press joined in as another co-publisher.
  • 2004 - 3 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
Now it gets confusing.  For the first and third 2004 issues, DNA Publications, Wildside Press, and Terminus were published; for the second 2004 issue, only DNA Publications and Wildside Press were.
  • 2005 - 1 issue published; 1 reprinted by IA
In 2005, Wildside  is listed as the sole publisher and John Betancourt joined Scithers and Schweitzer as editor.
  • 2006 - 5 issues published; 1 reprinted by IA
Wildside Press is listed as the sole publisher of the second 2006 issue; Wildside and Terminus as co-publishers for the other four issues.  After 2006, no further issues have been reprinted by IA.
  • 2007 - 5 issues published
Stephen H. Segal became editor for the three middle issues of 2007 and Ann VanderMeer began her run as editor with the fifth 2007 issue.  Wildside was the publisher for the first two 2007 issues.  Wildside and Terminus co-published the remaining three 2007 issues.  Wildside became sole published beginning with the first 2008 issue.
  • 2008 - 5 issues published 
  • 2009 - 2 issues published
  • 2010 - 2 issues published
Stephen H. Segal was editor for the second 2010 issue.
  • 2011 - 2 issues published
In 2011, Nth Dimension Media became publisher.  VanderMeer returned to edit the first two 2011 issues, after which Marvin Kaye took over the editorial reins.
  • 2012 - 2 issues published
  • 2013 - 1 issue published
  • 2014 - 1 issue published
With the Spring 2014 issue, Weird Tales ended its long run.  But the magazine has been dubbed 'the magazine that never dies."  Will it reemerge from the ashes some time in the future?  Your guess is as good as mine.

About 80% of the total issues are now available on Internet Archive.  The Archive also has complete runs of Galaxy and If, as well as many issues of F&SF, Amazing, Astounding/Analog, Wonder Stories, and many other SF magazines.  They have a few scattered issues of various western, mystery, love, sports, and general pulps.  Internet Archive is continuing to add magazines, books, films, and recording to their inventory.  I hope that the future may see major runs of other pulp genres.

In the meantime, enjoy the many pulps available.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: ROCK AND ROLL HOOCHIE KOO

Johnny Winter, with Rick Derringer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbDl97F8TKM

OLD-TIME RADIO: THE ADVENTURES OF TOPPER

Cosmo Topper, the staid banker whose life was upended by the happy-go-lucky ghosts of George and Marion Kirby (and the their ghost dog, Neil), made it to radio after the success of of the character in three movies based on the characters created by Thorne Smith.  Fifteen episodes were aired on NBC as the summer 1945 replacement for The Dinah Shore.  (Thirteen episodes had originally been planned but the show was such a success that two more episodes were added and placed in the time slot for final two weeks of  The Burns and Allen Program's summer hiatus, and airing just before Dinah Shore when her show returned.)

And who should play Cosmo Topper?  None other than Roland Young, who starred as the character in all three movies.  (The fact that Young was also a regular on The Dinah Shore Show gave the replacement series a sense of continuity.)

Paul Mann and Frances Chaney played the ghosts of George and Marion Kerby.  Hope Emerson was cast as Malvina Topper, Cosmo's stern and impatient wife.  The smart and witty scripts were written by Stanley Wolf.  Kirby Hawks directed, and Ron Rawson served as the show's announcer.

For some reason lost to time, this great show was not renewed by NBC for the fall season.  Cosmo Topper would not return for eight years, when Leo G. Carroll portrayed him for two season in the CBS television program Topper from 1953 to 1955.

It's interesting to note that General Foods was the sponsor of the program, most notably with Maxwell House Coffee and Post Toasties cereal.  Thorne Smith, who created the characters in two popular novels, was a descendant of Don Jose Maxwell (his mother was Maxwell's granddaughter), for whom Maxwell House Coffee was named.

The link below takes you to three of the radio episodes:  "Topper and the Psychiatrist" (a.k.a "Malvina Hires a Psychiatrist"), July 5, 1945;  "Topper's Mother in Law Visits (a.k.a. "Malvina's Mother Visits") August 30, 1945; and "Topper and the Spiritualist" (a.k.a. "Rajah"), September 6, 1945.  The last is one of the added episodes and is an hour long.

Enjoy.

https://archive.org/details/TheAdventuresOfTopper

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS

The Doobie Brothers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9_e0rRvyz8

BAD JOKE WEDNESDAY

I enjoy crosswords but have become so good that I finish them in record time.  This has gotten me really down because the real fun is in mulling over the clues.  I explained to my analyst that I was getting depressed because I finish my crosswords too soon.  He told me not get 2 down.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: THE WEIGHT

A classic from The Band.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFqb1I-hiHE

OVERLOOKED TELEVISION: I MARRIED JOAN

An oddball wife.  A staid but loving husband.  Misunderstandings.  Some physical comedy.  Mix well and you have the template for many television comedies of the Fifties.  It worked for George and Gracie.  It worked for Lucy and Ricky.  And it certainly worked for Joan and Bradley.

I Married Joan was a popular NBC comedy that ran from 1952 to 1955 for a total of 98 half hour episodes.  First slated against against Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, the show soared in popularity when the public turned against Godfrey for his on-air firing of Julius LaRosa.  During its third season I Married Joan was opposite a new show called Disneyland.  The resulting drop in ratings led to its cancellation.  It then went into syndication (strangely, it became the property of CBS Paramount.)

The "Joan" of the title was played by Joan Davis (1912-1961), a well-liked veteran comedienne who worked in vaudeville, films, and radio prior to the series.  Joan was married to local judge Bradley Stevens, played by Jim Backus (1913-1989), best known today for his role of Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island and as the voice of the myopic Mr. Magoo.   During the show's second season, Joan was helped in her antics in several episodes by her sister Beverly (played by Davis' real-life daughter Beverly Wills).

Joan Davis continued an active career in television under her untimely death (of a heart attack) at age 48.  (Her daughter Beverly died two years later, age 30, in a house fire that also claimed Beverly's grandmother and her two sons.)

The episode linked below -- the show's pilot -- recounts how Bradley Stevens met his future wife, then a newly minted airline hostess.  The show then segues to Joan's efforts to hide a fur coat from her husband.  Filled with fifties' sensibilities, the pilot remains warm and funny.

Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m85OvOn-n2w

Monday, May 1, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: OLD PEOPLE IN LOVE

John McCutcheon.  Wonderful talent.  Wonderful song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joHUM9u8avg

INCOMING


  • Stephen Jones, editor, Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth.  Lovecraftian horror anthology with twelve stories, eight of them original to this book.  An impressive author lineup, with H. P. Lovecraft (of course, with a discarded draft of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"), John Glasby, Richard A. Lupoff, Basil Copper, Kim Newman, Paul McAuley, GHugh B. Cave, Steve Rasnic Tem, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Ramsey Campbell, Michael Marshal Smith, and Brian Lumley.  Originally published by small press Fedogan & Bremer, now reprinted by Titan Books.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' DINNER

Last night the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner was held without the presence of Donald Trump.  Emcee Hasan Minhaj held the feet of the administration and the media to the fire and did a great job doing so.

Enjoy.  And think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of6PLJbMnxE

HYMN TIME

Marvin Gaye.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogQPpHKOoRo

Saturday, April 29, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: ANGELINA

Harry Belafonte.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6yZ5giXiKY

SUPER-MYSTERY COMICS #42 (JULY 1948)

Ace Magazines managed to crank out 48 irregularly published issues of this comic book from July 1940 to July 1949.  for the first five and a half years, Super-Mystery Comics focused on superheroes, most notably Magno, the Magnetic Man.  Later issues were more crime oriented and featured a number of series characters.  Five of those series are featured in issue #42:

  • THE UNKNOWN is a ghostly, draped being who -- unseen by others -- acts as an omniscient narrator.  In The Dime of Doom," mad-dog killer Adam First manages to escape the police and is determined to get back at his girlfriend Stella, who had turned him into the cops.  Adam shoots Stella (who is wearing a flimsy, fur-line negligee, by the way), but the dying Stella puts a curse on her lucky dime (Yeah, I know.  Work with me here.), telling Adam that, "The dime will spell...YOUR DOOM!  Cursing you...with my...dying breath...Gahhhh.....!"  Adam, being a crook, is cowardly and superstitious.  He picks up the dime from the floor where Stella had dropped it, determined to get rid of it.  Alas, like the cat in the folk song, the dime came back, and kept coming back every time he tries to get rid of it.  Guess what eventually happens to Adam.
  • BERT AND SUE (no idea what their last name is) are amateur detectives who keep stumbling on to crimes.  In "The Man Nobody Knew," the couple are trying to check into a hotel and seem to be out of luck when the desk girl gets word that painters are finished with room 411 and they can have that room.  (This is another case where you just have to go with it, abandoning any sense of logic.)  They get up to the room, open the door, and out falls a corpse.  The dead man's face has been beaten beyond recognition, his fingerprints wiped off with acid, labels removed from his clothing, and has no identification on him.  To top it off, someone has stolen thirty thousand dollars worth of valuables from the hotel vault.  Among the suspects are the desk girl (who had been flirting with Bert, or maybe Bert was flirting with her; either way, sue is mighty jealous), the bellhop, the hotel detective, and the hotel manager.  Whodunit?
  • MACK MARTIN, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, whose cases "generally lead to a public murder where everybody and his brother try to get in the act using Mack Martin as the star attraction for a hail of lead by hot trigger fingers."  That should give you a clue that he's a tough private eye.  In "The Case of the Planned Accident," Mack and his Girl Friday, Veronica Lake Gertie, are remarking on how no cases have crossed the door when a case crosses the door.  Beautiful Eleanor Chase claims that her uncle Ralph is being held prisoner at a local sanitarium and that the officials there are trying to kill him.  Long story short, they are.  But why?  And can Mack be immune to the charms of an amorous nurse?  Private eyes of the Forties sure to met a lot of lovely (and sometimes lethal) dames.
  • HURRY-UP HARRIGAN, POLICE REPORTER will do anything to get a scoop.  In "A One-Way Ride," Harrigans tries to hide a mob hit man who is willing to testify against his bosses.  Unfortunately, he doesn't count on a beautiful assassin who knows the difference between a man catching something in his legs and a woman doing the same.  (I know, I know...doesn't make much sense to me either.)
  • MR. RISK and his loyal servant Abdul investigate strange doings at the circus.  Strange, as in a number of unexplained deaths and accidents.  After an acrobat fell to his death when his tightrope was spiked with razor blades, the circus is on the verge of being closed because it is suspected that the owner is buy defective equipment.  (What!?!)  Mr. risk takes a Risk by performing the tightrope act himself.
As I mentioned, logic does not enter into these stories, but one seldom reads old comics for logic.  On the plus side, we learn that the best detectives smoke pipes, not cigarettes.  Also, that women in the late Forties are all beautiful, wear the most current fashions, and have wasp-thin waists.

Enjoy.



http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=68117

Friday, April 28, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: KITTEN ON THE KEYS

From 1921, here's Zev Confrey.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBxRRUj1bcA&list=PLZz3IP9ksw_NyC0ssRvvknfPjzOkB1p40&index=29

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: MARY WORTH AND ASTRO BOY

Mary Worth by Allen Saunders and Ken Ernst (1963)
Astro Boy, Book 2 by Osamu Tezuka (2002)


A New York real estate/bankrupcy tysoon started his political career by questioning comic strip character Mary Worth's background and demanding to see her birth certificate.  No.  Wait.  I'm thinking of someone else...Better start over.

Ah, Mary Worth...dispenser of common sense and defender of old-fashioned values.  And, yes, there is some disagreement about her origin.  She began, some said, as the title character in Martha Orr's 1932 comic strip Apple Mary, in which a kindly old lady sold apples and gave advice.  As early as 1935, Orr's strip revealed that her character's full name was Mary Worth.  Allen Saunders took over the writing of the strip in 1939 and the title soon changed to Apple Mary:  Mary Worth's Family.  Fairly quickly, Apple Mary title was dropped in favor of the subtitle Mary Worth's Family.  gone was the apple cart and the character shed pounds and age lines to become Mary Worth, the kindly widow of Wall Street tycoon Jack Worth.  King Features, which syndicated the strip, however, apparently wanted to distance itself from the apple cart image, insisting that Mary Worth began in 1938 and was created by Saunders; the character was loosely -- very loosely -- based on the apple seller.  Mary Worth was a "replacement feature," with the only thing in common with Apple Mary was the character's name.  That's their story and they are sticking to it.  Allen Saunders (who should know) has written that the two characters are one and the same.

Whatever her origins, Mary Worth has been going strong ever since.  While selling apples, the strip focused on her.  Under Saunders, the strip became a soap opera with individual story arcs where Mary bided her time in the background, dispensing advice as needed.

I was never a Mary Worth fan and my only first-hand knowledge of the strip comes from this book -- the first to feature her (although have been several other compilations published since).  This Dell paperback contains three story arcs from the late 1950s.  The stories are products of their times.  Young women long for marriage and appear to be in satisfying relationships.  Another woman, usually blonde and attractive, sets her sights on the man in question.  The man takes the bait, devastating the woman who truly loves him.  Mary's advice falls like a gentle rain on the parched landscape of disruptive relationships.  All ends well and Mary moves on to poke her nose into other people's business.

In the first story, glamorous television star Misty Meadows returns to her home town of Jennings, Ohio, as a publicity stunt.  There, she reconnects with her high school flame, Bronk Clay, football star -- although now he is known as Bronson Clay, the dedicated principal of Jennings High School.  Clay is in love with the school's Latin teacher, Elaine Finch, and hopes to marry her.  Misty decides to rekindle the flame.  Clay falls into her trap.  (In the Mary Worth universe, it seems that all men are weak-willed and gullible.)   Mary Worth happens to be visiting the next door neighbor of Misty's aunt   (The aunt is well-known locally for her gooseberry pies and her home made cookies are better than Mary's.  Not that that has anything to do with the story.)  Mary and Misty's aunt try to convince her that life in a small town with Clay would be dull and unfulfilling.  Clay doesn't want to go with misty back to Hollywood because in 26 more years as a high school principal, he will be getting a nifty pension.  Elaine decides that she is willing to marry Clay even though she knows she will always be in Misty's shadow.  (Elaine wants babies, you see, so she can quit being a Latin teacher.)  In the end, everyone comes to their 1950s senses.

(Totally off point here, but I went to high school with a girl named Sue Forbes.  Sue's famikly moved to a house on a street named, you guessed it, Misty Meadows, and for the good part of a year her guidance teacher though her name was Misty Meadows.  "Well, Misty, have you given any thought to college, yet?")

The remaining two arcs for the same pattern of love seemingly lost, then found.  In one, Mary runs into her niece (whom she hasn't seen for twelve years) and finds that the niece's husband had died several years before, leaving her with a young son, now 11.  The niece is now considering remarrying but is afraid that her intended won't get along with the quirky boy.  And there's a smart, good-looking, woman also gunning for the man.  In the other, an interior designer is resigned to never getting married because whenever she appears to be interested in a man, her mother takes violently ill (with the vapors, I assume), so here she is, an old maid at 29, destined to lead a manless life.  Then a rich oil tycoon falls for her and both she and her mother try to dissuade him.

Mary Worth has been parodied many times over the years.  After reading this book, I willing to discount the parodies and consider her more of a murderless Miss Marple, cagy and always interested in the lives of others.

Evidently, Mary Worth has moved with the times, with more issue-oriented stories.  I just don't think I'll be following them.

Astro Boy is a different kettle of fish.  It's a manga comic series (originally called Mighty Atom,  and renamed for a 1963 television series) created by Osamu Tezuka in 1952 and ran until 1968.  Astro Boy is a robot bult in a future Japan by a scientist who was attempting to recreate his own son, who had died suddenly.  After being abandoned by his creator and sold to a circus, Astro Boy is eventually taken in by Ministry of Science head Professor Ochanomizu, who treats the robot as his own family and becomes Astro Boy's legal guardian.  Despite being a robot, Astro Boy has human emotions.  He's also very strong and can fly.

In Astro Boy's Japan, humans and robots appears to make up equal halves of the population and robots are no longer considered the servants of humans.  Instead, they try to coexist peacefully to the benefit of each.  Well, that's the theory.

The Astro Boy manga has reportedly sold 100 million copies.  It has been filmed in both an animated and live action televisions series and has spawned two movies (one a compilation from the live-action television show) and a number of computer games.

I look at Astro Boy and cannot get Bob's Big Boy out of my head,  Go figure.

Dark Horse Comics began publishing Astro Boy's adventures in English in 2002.  Volume 2 of the Dark Horse series reprints two story arcs from the early 1960s as well as a single issue episode from 1963.  In the first story arc, Astro Boy comes to the rescue of Rag, the first robot president of the Country of Gravia, from a gang of evil humans (led by the even more evil Deadcross) attempting to depose him.  In the second, an evil magician tries to blame his crimes on a robot magician.  Again, Astro Boy is on the scene to make things right.  The single episode included in this volume is the one that disturbs me.  A human race car driver, used to winning, has his amazing robot car destroyed ny enemies.  He asks Astro Boy is he could transfer his brain into the car so that he could win the race.  Astro boy agrees but, unknown to the human, his robot sister installs her brain in the car instead.   The human had earlier slapped the sister in anger, which is something you should not do to a female, whether human or robot, IMHO.  (And that's where I lost all sympathy for the character.)  The robot sister no longer exists because she is now a car.

Astro Boy's adventures are told with decent pacing and some wit.  I understand that the editors of the U.S. editions did not attempt to remove content that cold be seen as racially insensitive, felling that such editing would "do little" to end racial and ethnic stereotypes.  Anything that appeared racially insensitive was more a reflection of the times the stories were written than of Tezuka's personal biases.  (I tend to agree in that bowdlerizing, or removing offensive language or scenes in, any piece of literature short-changes the readers' intelligence.)

Astro Boy's universe is utopian in theory, a place where all types are allowed to coexist peacefully and in harmony -- something that is emphasized by the character's sweet and accepting manner.  The fact that some humans cannot get along with robots appears to be a glitch in the system that does not speak for the majority.  That Tezuka's vision began in an age when Japan was not now for scientific achievement is remarkable.  Unlike Mary Worth, there may be more Astro Boy in my future.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

UNDERAPPRECIATED MUSIC: CHRISTINE LAVIN

Christine Lavin, folk singer-songwriter extraordinaire is a gem.  Her songs often reflect humor and, as often, tackle serious subjects -- sometimes at the same time.

And who else would interrupt her act to do on-stage baton twirling?

"Donald Trump Abortion Punishment Song"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88TD4AvjbRI

"Nobody's Fat in Aspen"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9nwP-zL3Ak

"Air Conditioner"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vMhPH39Pns

"Bald Headed Men"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sirJa_OltKk

"What Was I Thinking"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty-vJLSRb2s

'If You're Drunk You Cannot Buy a Puppy"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPucNE2SqMo&index=15&list=PLPPOSctZLRzJ5Wn7VSnG6HWpyX74mko6h

"The Canadian Moat Song"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjNc-q_DPuc

"Cold Pizza for Breakfast"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFe5zQQXdXg

"When It All goes Wrong, We'll Turn This Ship Around"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nODpfV_e6sk

"Getting in Touch with My Inner Bitch"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcoxoeEbxp0

"Good Thing He Can't Read My Mind"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF5diBQJb5s

"More Than 1,000,000 Americans (Killed by Guns)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHJEZ9RJWFI

"No More Holes in the Bottom of the Sea"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmEqT6rqpys

"The Star Spangled Bill of Rights"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxZh5aeYFuk

and -- of course -- baton twriling!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKIr3eM7V90

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: SEASONS IN THE SUN

You know, there are days when I feel sorry for those young whippersnappers who didn't grow up with The Kingston Trio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLfRtK0oxYE

WHAT'S WRONG WITH GRACIE?

This week's old-time radio program comes from October 14, 1940.  The Burns and Allen Show began in September 1934 and continued until May 1950, although for its first two years it went under the title The Adventures of Gracie.

In this episode, George is concerned because Gracie is acting strangely.  That is, stranger than normal.

Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iGgiTn9zgo

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: TRAVELIN' BLUES

Blind Willie McTell, master of the Piedmont blues style guitar.  This one was recorded under the name Blind Sammie.  McTell used many names over his career, including Georgia Bill. Hotshot Willie, Blind Willie, Barrelhouse Sammy, Pig & Whistle Red, Blind Doogie, Red Hot Willie Glaze, Red Hot Willie, and Eddie McTier.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKQHj3WKPCc

BAD JOKE WEDNESDAY

Overheard in bookstore:

"Do you like Kipling?"

"I don't know.  I've never kipled."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARK

Mark, our oldest grandson, turns 17 today.  That's seventeen years of giving us pure joy, with a little bit of that time, at the start, mixed with anxiety.

It was not the best birth.  We came very close to losing both mother and baby, and there were a few developmental issues during those first years.  Both are thriving very well now, thank you very much.

By the time he was four or five, Mark could recognize and name any dinosaur of shark you could throw at him.  At the same time, his ambition was to be a Power Ranger when he grew up.

The ambition has changed a bit.  He's now very much into sports.  He's a good soccer player and still a fan of Lionel Messi but his focus for the past two years has been on running -- both cross country and track.  I can't count how many 5K and 8K races he's been in, often finishing at the top (or very near it) of his age group.  He's done a number of half marathons and last year completed his first full marathon.  Mark played youth football for one year but did not really enjoy it.  He did enjoy lacrosse and his coach said that if every player played with as much heart as Mark did, they would never lose a game.  Lacrosse, however, soon gave way to soccer.  Since he was very young, fishing with his other grandfather has been very important.

Mark is a smart and accomplished kid with a shy demeanor.  Despite his shyness, he makes friends easily and can develop strong bonds.  He's also darned good-looking and that's drawn the attention of a lot of girls.  He pretends to ignore this attention, but I think he's secretly pleased.

He is a good observer and has a dry sense of humor, something that constantly surprises others because of his air of shyness.

He's just a good, decent kid.  Close to his sister and very tolerant of his little brother.  Loves animals and nature.  Has a solid sense of responsibility (although once in a while his mother might disagree).

If I could describe him in one word, it would be "sweet."  That would be sweet without any negative connotation or meaning.  He's the type of young man that the world needs many more of.

We couldn't be more proud of him.

We love him with every fiber of our being.

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: GONNA GET ALONG WITHOUT YOU NOW

Skeeter Davis, the pride of Dry Ridge, Kentucky.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW_xw33lzvc

OVERLOOKED SHORT: MAX, THE HEARTBREAKER (MAX ENTRE DEAX FEUX) (1917)

Max Lindner (born Gabreil-Maximilien Leuvielle, 1883-1925), is considered the first international movie star.  The diminutive (5' 2") actor/writer/director was a major influence on Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and other great comedians of the silent era.  He made his first film in 1905 and soon his top-hatted dandy character Max (Chaplin reversed the character to create his Little Tramp) made him loved on both sides of the Atlantic.  By 1912, he was the highest paid entertainer in the world, making a million francs a year.  Drafted into the French Army in World War I, Linder was gassed and suffered ill health afterward, which affected his chances do American films.  Linder felt that many of his films from the 20s were failures but critics felt that this was some of his best work.  Linder dies in 1925 in a suicide pact with his wife.

Max, the Heartbreaker, also known as Max Between Two Fire, starts slow as Max (the dog!) romances two women at the same time, enjoying that the women are battling over him.  Soon, however, the movie moves into frenetic comedy, making it a gem for its -- or any -- time.

Enjoy.

https://archive.org/details/MaxLinderInMaxBetweenTwoFiresmaxEntreDeuxFeux1917

Monday, April 24, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: KEEP ON RUNNING

The Spencer Davis Group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyZrK9meebo

INCOMING


  • Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, January 1977 and November 1978.  Two issues from the Ben Bova days.  The first features stories from Alan Skinner (his first, and only, short fiction listing on ISFDb), Bud Sparhawk (his second published SF story), Hayford Pierce (a Chap Foey Rider story), Alison Tellure (her first SF story), Arsen Darnay, Stephen Robinett, and Jack Williamson (a novelette later incorporated in the 1979 novel Brother to Demons, Brother to Gods).  The second has stories from Poul Anderson ("Hunter's Moon," a Medea's World story and the 1979 Hugo winner for Best Novelette), D. C. Poyer, Orson Scott Card (a Worthing Saga story), Lord St. Davids, Tom Sullivan (his first story), and Michael C. Kohn (his only story listed on ISFDb), as well as the conclusion to Spider and Jeanne Robinson's Stardance II,,(which took first place in the Analog Award for best serial or novella for that year, and was later included  in their 1979 novel Stardance) and an article by Joe Haldeman.  The November 1978 Analog was Bova's last issue as editor and he certainly went out on a high note but, then, his entire editorship was a high note.
  • Martin Caidin, The Ragged, Rugged Warriors.  Nonfiction.  "American Curtiss Hawk biplanes against Japanese Zero fighters, jungle air strips barely long enough to get a plane off the ground, sky fighting soldiers of fortune in the shark-faced planes of the Flying Tigers -- this is the epic story of the early air was in the Pacific."
  • Greg Cox, Infinite Crisis. Comic book (Justice League of America) tie-in novel.  "For years, the rift between the Justice League's leaders has been widening -- and their actions have placed the world in jeopardy.  Batman's paranoia has given birth to an army of robotic assassins attacking anyone possessing superpowers.  Wonder Woman has declared herself judge, jury, and executioner, taking a foe's life in an act broadcast on TV worldwide.  And Superman, the most powerful man alive, finds himself powerless to stop the chaos around him.  With the Justice league divided and a super-villain coalition determined to take advantage of the dire situation, ordinary citizens find themselves caught in the crossfire..."
  • Loren Estleman, The Hours of the Virgin.  An Amos Walker mystery.  "An art expert hires Walker to ride shotgun on a blackmail transaction, involving a priceless illuminated manuscript called the Hours of the Virgin.  But when the deal goes down in a porn movie house, so does a hit.  Suddenly Walker is searching for not just some pricey old paper but a gun that could put his former partner's murderer behind bars."
  • "Jack Kilborn" (J. A. Kornrath), Afraid.  Thriller.  "Welcome to Safe Haven, Wisconsin.  Miles from everything, with one road in and out, this peaceful town has never needed a full-time police force.  Until now...A helicopter has crashed near Safe Haven and unleashed something horrifying.  Now this merciless force is about to do what it does best. Isolate.  Terrorize.  Annihilate.  As residents begin dying in a storm of gory violence, Safe Haven's only chance for survival will rest with an aging county sheriff, a firefighter, and a single mom.  And each will have this harrowing thought:  Maybe death hasn't come to their town by accident..."
  • Louis L'Amour, The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour:  The Adventure Stories:  Volume 4.  Forty-five stories.  Despite the confusing title, this is not Volume 4 of L'Amour's adventure stories, rather it's Volume 4 of his Collected Stories and "contains all of his masterful tales of adventure including, for the first time in print in more than seventy years, his first story ever to be published."  The previous owner of this 2006 book used as a bookmark a ticket to the Empire State Building Observatory, dated July 27, 2001.  The amazing things you find tucked into books.
  • Elizabeth Linington, The Proud Man.  Historical novel.  "Shane O'Neill's physical and mental stature was as grand as his dreams, and in hi dreams he saw himself as not only the King of Ireland but -- as husband to Elizabeth -- King of England as well.  Around the fierce, towering figure of the O'Neill one of the most exciting and vivid casts in history assembled to play out the passionate drama of loyalty and betrayal, of battles won or lost, of bloody victory and tragic defeat."  This was Linington's first novel.  She went  to write many more historical novels and (as "Dell Shannon" and "Leslie Egan") some highly regarded police procedurals.
  • Anne McCaffrey, Stitch in Snow.  Romance novel without a dragon in sight.  The snow storm hit Denver's airport just as Dana Jane Lovell did.  While she waited for news of emergency shelter, she pulled out her knitting.  It was what she did when she was feeling blue, and she had been feeling blue a lot lately.  Then she met him:  the riveting attractive Dan Lowell.  He was also marooned by the Blizzard.  The wintry weekend was magical, sheltered from the currents of their busy lives.  Then Dana realized that the currents of Dan's life were dark and powerful -- and that it would be up to her to save him."  My wife liked McCaffrey's romance novels.  I read one but wasn't that impressed.  It's up in the air whether I will actually read this one. 
  • Mel Odom, The Threat from the Sea:  Book III:  The Sea Devil's Eye.  Gaming (Forgotten Realms) tie-in novel.  "Iakhovas has caused more destruction than any other force since the Time of Troubles, but his true objective has been a mystery...until now.  When a young sailor's journey is complete, an aging bard's final song is sung, and a malenti priestess faces her most challenging test, the Threat from the sea concludes in an explosive climax that will set all of Faerun reeling."
  • Christopher J. Priest & Michael Ahn, Green Lantern:  Sleepers, Book Two.  Comic book tie-in novel.  "when the United States enters World War II Alan Scott -- aka Green Lantern -- enlists in the European Theater, he fights as Captain Scott of the Army Corps of Engineers, refusing to use the Lantern's power, succeeding in life-and-death situations through his native wit and intelligence.  And then Malvolio arrives.  Initially enemies, Malvolio and Scott agree to a truce, as each tries to convince the other to come over to his way of seeing things.  But Malvolio is insane.  He's not a Green Lantern, but a power-hungry madman with a GL ring.  He turns the tables on Scott and sends him into the nameless dimension in which Malvolio was imprisoned for centuries.  Hal Jordan, Earth's second Green Lantern, must free Scott and point him toward his destiny.  But by the time Scott has returned to Earth, Malvolio has tracked down an army of humans and made them into his agents.  Scott must now discover the full extent of his powers and use them to defeat both Malvolio and his army of sleeper agents, before they can destroy Earth and every other planet that a Green Lantern calls home."
  • Brian Thomsen, editor, Tales of Ravenloft.  Gaming (Ravenloft) tie-in anthology with 18 stories and a prologue.  "From the dark domains and the files of Dr. Rudolph Van Richten come these new tales of terror featuring your favorite darklords and ladies.  Shudder at the sight of the Headless Horseman.  Scream at the shieks of the wailing banshee.  Cry at the moonlit attacks of the werebeasts.  Shpa\\apeshifting berserkers, manor-bound ghosts, even the vampire Count Strahd Von Zarovich -- they're all here in tales taken straight from the realm of terror itself -- Ravenloft."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

WORLD BOOK DAY!

It's today.  Read a book.  Read a book with a child.  Talk about your kids' favorite books with them.  It's more important than you may realize.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj_kAT7aJF4

HYMN TIME

Ella Fitzgerald and the Treorchy Male Choir, from The Tom Jones Show, 1970.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0FMTQcGDho

Saturday, April 22, 2017

EARTH DAY

Since today is Earth Day, here's Pete Seeger's full album God Bless the Grass.

Enjoy.  And be an active steward.


https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnrY8Sk4XxLqLKrGw0CXRrbM6Vk-iQGOW

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: "LING TING TONG"

From 1955, The Five Keys.  Yes, there are six of them.  Go figure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbdAWc4bY_Y


PHILADELPHIA RECORD COMIC BOOK SECTION: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 1941

The lead story in this newspaper insert featured Will Eisner's The Spirit, an artist and character always worth your time.

But that's not all, folks!

There's also an adventure of Ford Davis' lovely crimefighter Lady Luck, aka society deb Brenda Banks!

But that's still not all, folks!

Rounding out the issue is S. R. Powell's Mr. Mystic (and Chowderhead)!

Enjoy.

http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=68060

Friday, April 21, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: I THINK IT WAS THE WINE

The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kAwum6NuTI

FORGOTTEN BOOK: EXILES OF TIME

Exiles of Time by Nelson Bond (1948)


Nelson S. Bond (1908-2006) had a pulp career that ranged from the late 1930s to the mid 1950s, writing a number of distinctive stories while remaining lesser known than many of his contemporaries.  Bond's output was spread out, publishing sports stories as well as science fiction, fantasy, and horror tales.  Much of his most popular work was published in Blue Book and escaped the notice of many Sf fans.  Nonetheless, Bond was named a Science Fiction Writers of America Author Emeritus in 1988 and had two posthumous retrospective collections released by Arkham House.

Bond's best-known stories are about Lancelot Biggs, about a spaceman who always manages to come out ahead.  He also wrote the classic tale "Mr. Mergenthwirker's Lobblies," which became a radio series and later a television show.  Among Bond's other series characters were Meg the Priestess, who appeared in three post-holocaust stories in 1939-40), Pat Pending (about a loopy inventor), Squaredeal Sam McGhee (who appeared in a number of tall tales), Horse-Sense Hank (another character who always ends out on top, despite the odds),

Bond wrote three novels in his loosely related Squared Circle trilogy*, where each novel covers one of the three ages before ours -- a concept from Mayan lore.  The first of these was Exiles of Time, which appeared in the May 1940 issue of Blue Book and appeared in book form from Prime Press in 1948.

Exiles of Time is pure pulp adventure.  It begins with an archaeology dig near Petra (in what is now Southern Jordan, but is described as Arabia in the book).  Archaeologist Lance Vidor discovers a site that appears date from at least eight centuries before Christ, fully five centuries older than previous finds from the Nabatean civilization.  More startling was Lance's discovery of a blood red brooch found in an alabaster jar:  the brooch was set in aluminum, millennia before it was produced by modern man.  According to the native legend, the brooch is the Nur-ed-Dam, the Light of Blood, a forbidden item that must return to the inviolable crypt from which it came.  Lance and the other members of the expedition poo-poo the natives' fears. consequently, their workers attack them, killing every member of the expedition except Lance, who has found temporary shelter in the crypt.  Just before his enemies are to break into the crypt, Lance has a falling sensation and blacks out.

He wakes up thousands of years in the past with others who have had the same experience at the exactly the same time.  It turns out that each was holding a blood red gem when they were transported to the past.  They are in a city called Spel on the ancient island of Merou and Merou is actually Mu, the legendary advanced civilization said to have sunk into the ocean in prehistory.  They were brought there by Cal-thor, a scientists who had placed the blood-red stones in different areas around the world.  The gems themselves had the ability to transfer whoever was holding one into the past at a specific time designated by Cal-thor

The eight million or so of Merou are the descendants of a race of Ancient Ones, long-vanished people who had scientific knowledge that has been lost to time.  Cal-thor has discovered that a giant comet will strike the Earth soon, wiping out most of the population.  Since his people do not have the scientific knowledge to avoid this doom, he determine to use the stones to bring back people from the future who would surely have the advanced knowledge to prevent the comet from crashing into Earth.  This finely-honed plan had a fatal flaw:  Civilizations rise and fall, with heights and dips, and the late 1930s era civilization that Cal-thor picked at random was not as advanced as Merou.

The world seemed doomed.  But was it?  Meerou's science, based on what was remembered from the Ancient Ones, was not complete.  There were some things that 20th century science knew that the Merouians did not know.  One of those things was that energy has mass.  Using that knowledge and the Merouian science, Lance and some of the other time travelers are able to devise repellent guns that might shift the comet's orbit.  For the best chance of success, the guns needed to be placed at a specific location -- the land bridge that connected the future England to the future Europe:  the Bifrost Bridge in a land controlled by the Norse (whom Bond calls "Vikings").  Yep.  Unless stopped, the comet will bring about Ragnarok.

To complicate matters, among the accidental time travelers are three murderous gangsters who have plans of their own.  There are adventures, marvels, battles, romance, and a surprise revelation as this super-science story barrels its way along in pure pulp fashion.  A great read for those willing to cast aside critical judgment.




*For those interested, the other two novels in the Squared Circle trilogy are "Gods of the Jungle" (from Amazing Stories, June and July 1942, and reprinted in Bond's 2005 posthumous collection Other Worlds Than Ours,, and 'That Worlds May Live" (from Amazing Stories, April 1943 and printed in form by Wildside Press in 2002.  All three issues of Amazing Stories are available online at Internet Archive.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: IF YOU NEED ME

Here's Mick and the crew.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6xoCLLFEUk&list=PLKnfmTQwNxhU7agZKE0QQf4GtqBdqyL06&index=10

OLD-TIME RADIO: JIMINY CRICKET

Yes, the ever optimistic Jiminy Cricket appeared on the radio in this 1947 radio show, explaining what the world might be like in 1960, according to leading economists.  He's aided by Donald Duck and the Seven Dwarfs.  It has to be heard to be believed.  Enjoy.

https://archive.org/details/Jiminy_Cricket

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: HARD HEADED WOMAN

a LITTLE BIT OF rOCKABILLY FROM WANDA jACKSON.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp2xQGX_I7A&index=24&list=PLsgrzvnJh6uYP8HRHfkQTck5cMwpP-LY8

BAD JOKE WEDNESDAY

A woman carrying her baby boarded a bus and the bus driver exclaimed, "Good Heavens!  That's one ugly baby!"

The woman was highly miffed.  Finding an empty seat, she told the man sitting next to her, "That bus driver is the rudest man I've ever met."

The man said, "I think you should go back and tell him off.  You go ahead and I'll hold your monkey."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY!

The Earth has orbited the sun once again and it's time to honor Amy, one of the three greatest granddaughters in the world.  That's a bit misleading because every day is a time to honor and appreciate Amy, who brings so much joy to the world.

Let's honor her smile, her devastating wit, her super smarts, her talent, her spot-on opinions, her enthusiasm, and her dedication.  And let's honor the fact that she makes every day better.

Ocean Amy is part fish and loves the water.  It looks as if she will change her major from marine biology to marine chemistry.   I know very little about either but, knowing Amy, she'll be able to make a bigger impact on the world with her choice.

Happy birthday, Amy.  We love you more than you could possibly imagine.

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: GOT MY MIND SET ON YOU

George Harrison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZGYYDvZnpg

OVERLOOKED FILM: LINNEA QUIGLEY'S HORROR WORKOUT (1990)

Linnea Quigley, the shy girl from Davenport, Iowa, who went from working at Jack LaLanne's Health Spa, to a career in film, is one of the best-known "Scream Queens" from the 1980s.  Not content with stopping at the 80s, she has continued to the present day with over 140 film credits.

A cult favorite, Quigley has appeared in Silent Night, Deadly Night, Return of the Living Dead, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4:  The Dream Warriors, Night of the Demons (both the 1998 film and the 2009 remake), and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, along with other memorable or totally forgettable films.

Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout may be the strangest film she has done.  Quigley stars as herself in this combination exercise video, clip show, and horror flick.  Fans who cannot get enough of Quigley will cheer. (Others may get too much of the actress, if you know what I mean.)

Be warned:  This is a fairly sexist film.  There's a lot of girls in skimpy costumes and a few scenes with Ms. Quigley in less than that.  The cleverness of turning B-movie horror film cliches into exercises may make up for that.  (Or not.)

Decide for yourself:

https://archive.org/details/LinneaQuigleysHorrorWorkout1990

Monday, April 17, 2017

MUSIC FROM THE PAST: WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN CONGRESS

A dear friend of ours does closed captioning throughout the country, but since she lives in the D.C. area, many of her jobs are there.  This past Saturday she captioned the Kennedy Center's Tribute to Pete Seeger,   Performers young and old honored the legacy of the folksinger, social activist, and environmentalist.  Beverly had not really known much about Seeger and his music and came out with a deep appreciation for the man, his character, and his music.  She was amazed how much some of the old songs from the Sixties have taken on a new meaning in today's world.  So...

Thought I'd post this Pete Seeger song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSEI5lQ2HFM&index=280&list=PL6JIqyorAI4dpZ1GhMBy2iddxZgw0UBrO

INCOMING


  • Kevin J. Anderson, Unnatural Acts.  Humorous fantasy, the second book in the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series.  "In the Unnatural Quarter, golems slave away in sweatshops, necromancers sell black-market trinkets to tourists, and the dead rise up -- to work the night shift.  But zombie detective Dam shamble is no ordinary working stiff.  when a local senator and his goons picket a ghostly production of Shakespeare in the Dark -- condemning the troupe's 'unnatural' lifestyles -- Dan smells something rotten.  And if something smells rotten to a zombie, you're in serious trouble..."  I've heard some good things about this series and I;m saving this book for some time when I'm really in the mood for a laugh.
  • Joe R. Lansdale, Hap and Leonard.  Redneck noir collection of  seven stories and two essays about everybody's favorite East Texas tough guys.  Included are the novellas Hyenas, separately published with the short story "The Boy Who Became Invisible" (also included here) by Subterranean Press in 2011, and Dead Aim, also separately published by Subterranean press in 2013.  Two stories and one essay are from the chapbook Veil's Visit:  A taste fo Hap and Leonard by Lansdale and Andrew Vachss (1999), omitting only Vachss' introduction and a further essay by Lansdale.  Of the remaining two stories, one is original to this volume and one is from the George R R. Martin and Gardner Dozois anthology Rogues; the remaing essay is also original to this book.  This book is a tie-in to the Sundance television series Hap and Leonard.  An e-book version, dropping the novellas and two stories while adding two stories and a comic book script of one of the stories dropped, is available as Hap and Leonard Ride Again.  Lansdale is one of the best writers we have in any genre, hands down -- a true American original.