Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Mrs. Elva Miller -- the recording star of the mid-Sixties in the same way that ebola is a minor disease. Some very sick music business genius decided to record her tuneless renderings and I am sure that said genius is now (will soon be) residing in some inner circle of Hell.  Thus did the music scene stumble and falter and modern civilization come to a complete halt.

This is bad, folks.

Here she channels her inner Petula Clark:

And her inner Nancy Sinatra:

Having demolished Nancy, she sets her aim at the old man:

And I think she gave the Beatles nightmares over this:

And this:

The Mamas and the Papas could not elude her unique stylizing:

And, finally, she joins Jimmy Durante in mangling his signature song:

Thus are your eardrums destroyed.  I have done my job and exit stage right.


John McCutcheon.


From 1933, a two-part episode from "The Witch's Tale."


Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Dorothy Dandridge..


"The Night of April 14" was the second offering from Alcoa Presents:  One Step Beyond, the classic supernatural anthology series featuring John Newland as the host.  Directed by Newland and written by Collier Young, this episode features Barbara Lord, who was active in episodic television from 1957 to 1961, as Grace Montgomery, an Englishwoman who is having vivid dreams of drowning.  A pre-John Steed Patrick McNee plays her fiancĂ©, Eric Farley.  Look closely and you'll see actor/mystery author Alan Caillou as a ship's steward.

The plot is straight forward and -- by today's standards -- a bit hackneyed.  (If  foreshadowing were a heavy weight, this episode would have sunk deep into the ground.)  Still the acting is not too bad.  See if you agree.

From January 27, 1959:

Monday, July 28, 2014


Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys.


  • "Walter Bryan" (Walt Willis), The Improbable Irish.  Non-fiction.  Willis was a legendary SF fan.  I bought this book in 1969 when it first came out but my copy went walkabout sometime over the ensuing years.  It's good to finally get a copy to replace it.
  • "C. J. Cherryh" (Caroline Cherry), Downbelow Station.  SF Hugo-winning novel, the first published (although the third in chronology) in Company Wars series, part of her overall Union-Alliance universe.
  • Robert Crais, The Last Detective.  An Elvis Cole mystery.
  • Julie E. Czerneda, editor, Misspelled.  Fantasy anthology with 17 stories about magic spells gone awry.  Copyrighted by the editor and Martin H. Greenberg's Teckno Books.
  • Kathleen George, The Odds.  Thriller.
  • Robert Lieberman, Perfect People.  SF.
  • Barry Maitland, Silver Meadow.  A Kathy & Brock mystery.  Maitland, born in Scotland and raised in England, is one of the leading lights in the Australian mystery scene.
  • Bill McCay, Spider-Man Super Thriller:  Deadly Cure,  Juvenile comic book tie-in novel.
  • "G. J. Morgan" (Donald S. Rowland), Trail of Death.  Western, apparently the first of perhaps three in the Buck Dunne, bounty hunter series.
  • Ruth Rendell, The Copper Peacock.  Collection of nine mystery stories.
  • "Dell Shannon" (Elizabeth Linington), Cold Trail.  A Luis Mendoza mystery.
  • Linda Wolfe, The Murder of Dr. Chapman: The Legendary Trials of Lucretia Chapman and Her Lover.  True Crime.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Rudy Vallee.


Three brave and courageous men display their derring-do in separate adventures in this 1951 comic book.

First, Ace Carter, Adventurer, begins in Cairo, where he rescues Diana Hastings, a white girl who has disguised herself as a native dancer in hopes of killing The Hyena, an evil slave trader who murdered her father by throwing him in a live volcano.  The Hyena is in search of the Ancient Ones, the last tribe of ancient Egyptians who have survived in a hidden city at the end of a tunnel on the floor of an old volcano.  Yep, the volcano that Diana's father was thrown in was inactive -- a trick the tribe used to keep people away from their city.  Will Ace save the tribe, defeat the evil slavers, reunite Diana with her father, and kiss the girl in the last panel?  Gee, well, maybe

Then Lance Larson, Soldier of Fortune and The Man of a Thousand Faces, stumbles across Communist agents stealing an ancient portrait of a man named Volenas, a thirteenth century alchemist.  The reds plan to use the portrait to get to a leaden box that once belonged to Volenas and may now be in the hands of a beautiful descendant.  To foil them, Lance must first disguise himself as the ghost of Volenus.  Then, on to Mongolia, where the box is in the hands of descendants of Ghengis Khan, and where Lance must disguised himself as the evil Slovanian general Stranglov (a relation to Dr. Strangelove, perhaps?).  Will the Mongols defeat the red army?  Will the box (which contains the most radioactive substance known to science -- er, bad science, that is) remain in safe hands?  Will Lance kiss the pretty girl?  Gee, well, maybe.

Finally, we travel to Elizabethan times where Captain Crossbones and his ship the Red Rover scours the sea to rid the waves of pirates.  Crossbones is called to London, where he is ordered by Queen Elizabeth to discover whether King Philip of Spain plans to break the peace by invading England. (Hint, he does.)  The Spanish ambassador, a treacherous slimeball named Castillo discovers Crossbones assignment and works to stop him.  He also has designs on beautiful, pure Nancy, the girl whom Crossbones loves.  Will Crossbones save his beloved from the evil Castillo?  Can Crossbones escape the Spaniard's trap?  Will he be able to single-handedly destroy Spain's fleet of twenty galleons?  Will he kiss the pretty girl?  Well, gee, maybe.


Friday, July 25, 2014




The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson (1967)

Colin Wilson began his extraordinary career in 1956 with the publication of his best-selling The Outsider, which examined the role of the genius and social outsider.  Several years later, while visiting a friend, he came across another book with the same title by an author he had never heard of -- H. P. Lovecraft.  Developing an interest in Lovecraft and his work, Wilson soon began corresponding with August Derleth, who, with Donald Wandrei, published The Ousider as the first book in the Arkham House catalog.  Wilson's take on Lovecraft was not altogether pleasing to Derleth and, at one point in their correspondence, Derleth wrote, "Well, if you're so critical of Lovecraft, why don't you write a fantasy novel and see if it's any good..."  And so he did.

The Mind Parasites is a Lovecraftian novel.  Of sorts.  Or, perhaps it is an anti-Lovecraftian novel.  It uses Lovecraft and his fiction to form the skeleton of a story that expands on Wilson's own sense of existentialism, which he had promoted in his first book and many of those that followed.  In The Mind Parasites, Wilson's protagonist Gilbert Austin discovers a huge artifact buried two miles beneath the surface in a remote area of Turkey.  The artifact is incredibly old -- impossibly so, if one followed current archaeological thinking -- and seems to  have been described in some of Lovecraft's writings.
Around the same time, one of Austin's closest friends commits suicide.

All of this jumbles together with the realization that for two hundred years, mankind's suicide rate has soared significantly.  Using the philosophy of phenomenology as espoused by Edmund Husserl in 1920, Austin and his colleague Reich discover that mankind's progress has been hampered by some type of psychic vampires, entities that lurk in the depths of the mind and that derive their energy from man's despair.  It is these mind parasites that has blocked mankind from reaching its true potential.

As the novel progresses (often ploddingly), are able to use phenomenology to access parts of the infinite spaces of their minds and gaining the powers of telekinesis and telepathy.  Their efforts are seen as threats by the parasites who are able to control people by spreading fear, doubt, and anxiety, resulting in sickness, suicide, violence, and war.  As Austin and Reich begin their was against the parasites, the parasites fight back in a way that threatens the extinction of the planet.

And that artifact?  Turns out it was built by a race of giants, one of many races to have populated the planet in the past, each destroyed when the moon crashed into the earth.  We are on our seventh moon now, it seems.  And this moon, by the way, is acting as a kind of control center for the parasites who evidently came from the sun.  The parasites are bodyless and not very intelligent and may be just one entity composed of many parasites:  think jellyfish that is made of negative energy.  And the parasites exist throughout the universe but some alien races have been able to defeat them.

The Mind Parasites is a mish-mash of philosophy, bad science, wishful thinking, elitism, and occultism -- traits that can be found in much of Wilson's other writings.  Despite all this it is not a bad book.  Frustrating, yes.  Bad, no.  It can, and perhaps should, be read as a descendant of 1920s and 1930s gosh-wow science fiction but without the big machines.  Skylark of Mind Space, perhaps.

And that sound you hear?  That's HPL rolling over in his grave.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


The Lovin' Spoonful.


Here's a great adventure from Gene Autry's radio show, circa 1949, I believe.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Fantasy artist Virgil Finlay would have been 100 years old today.

For those not familiar with his work, here is a sampling of images from Bing:

And from Tumblr:

And from Comicart:

There's a Kickstarter campaign for The Collector's Book of Virgil Finlay by Robert T. Garcia that ends today. It has reached almost four times its goal!


The Sons of the Pioneers.


I'm being inundated with what are called anti-jokes by my grandchildren.  One example:

What did the boy with no arms and no legs get for Christmas?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Johnny Cash.


Robert Newton catapulted (?) his fame as the character from Disney's Treasure Island and Long John Silver to star in this syndicated series.  Aaargh, matey, but he be no pirate here, shiver me timbers, no. Long John Silver is a reformed pirate now, doing good (of sorts) here and there, mostly here at the local tavern.

Newton had an erratic thirty-plus year career, marked by alcoholism and unreliability on the set.  He died at the age of fifty shortly after finishing the first and only year of this series.  The cause of death was officially listed as heart attack but it was generally accepted that the booze did him in.

Brooklyn-born Connie Gilchrist played Purity Pinker, the woman who set her sights on Long John Silver.  She turned to films after a two decade career on the stage and worked in films and television through the 1960s.  The role of Jim Hawkins was filled by young Australian teenager Kit Taylor.  Newton, Gilchrist, and Taylor were all reprising their roles from the 1954 Disney sequel to Treasure Island, Long John Silver.

Although filmed in England, the production company was Australian, which may in explain in part why the show featured an English actor and an Australian child actor, but does not really explain why the main actress had a Brooklyn accent.

This pilot episode (and six others of the 26 in the series) was directed by Lee Sholem, one of the busiest directors in the business -- he was said to have directed over 1300 shows.  Once, while directing a Tarzan flick, there was a sudden need to cast a new person for the role of Jane; Sholem tried -- and failed -- to convince his producer to hire a talented new actress named Marilyn Monroe.

The script was by Martin Rackin, a former comedy writer for Red Skelton.  Rackin (The Horse Soldiers, North to Alaska, The Enforcer) eventually wrote the scripts for more than half the Long John Silver episodes.

In the first episode, "The Necklace," dated April 9 1957, Silver is accused of murder and theft and Purity Pinker volunteers to save him if he agrees to set a wedding.

Please note that the following link mistakenly dates this show as from 1954, which was the date of the Disney movie.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Jean Ritchie.


  • Berkeley Breathed, Red Ranger Came Calling.  Children's book from the creator of Bloom County.
  • "Max Brand" (Frederick Faust), The Lost Valley.  Collection of three western novellas.
  • "C. J. Cherryh" (Caroline Cherry), Voyager in Night.  SF.
  • Don Coldsmith, Follow the Wind.  Western, Book 3 in the Spanish Bit saga.
  • Joseph Finder, Buried Secrets.  Thriller, the second in the Nick Heller series.
  • Zane Grey, The Ranger and Other Stories.  Collection of four western stories.
  • Harry Harrison, Bill the Galactic Hero:  The Planet of the Robot Slaves.  Humorous SF novel, the first follow-up to Harrison's original novel.  Subsequent books were written in collaboration.
  • Ray Hogan, A Gun for Silver Rose.  Western.
  • Louis L'Amour, Night Over the Solomons.  Collection of five adventure stories.
  • "Bill Reno," Gun Trap.  Western, the 22nd entry in The Badge series, packaged by Lyle Kenyon Engel's Book Creations.
  • "J. R. Roberts" (Robert Randisi), The Gunsmith #314 Dying Wish and #321 The Greater Evil.  Adult westerns.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


The background music for this short video is from For a Few Dollars More.


Shiloh Worship Group.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Here's an Australian comic featuring legendary adventurer Clancy from the northern part of that continent.  A western, of sorts.  "Clancy of the Overflow" first appeared as a poem by Banjo Patterson in 1889.  His Clancy was a real person (Thomas Gerald Clancy) who had been working at "The Overflow,"  a sheep station in New South Wales.  Patterson also used Clancy in his poem "The Man from Snowy River."

Except for the name, the character of Clancy was invented from whole cloth.  The Clancy in the comic book?  "Whenever there was trouble -- a wrong to be righted -- rough justice to be done -- the cry went up...Call Clancy of the Overflow!"

In this adventure, Clancy goes in pursuit of the fabulous Arnhem land butterfly -- something far more perilous than it sounds, especially when you go "North of Capricorn."



Son House (no relation).

Friday, July 18, 2014


Schooner Fare.


The Best of Weird Tales, 1923, edited by Marvin Kaye & John Gregory Betancourt, 1997

It was, perhaps still is, self-described as "the unique magazine," and it carries an aura of providing so many classic short stories in the horror genre.  When you say its name, people invoke such legendary contributors as H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, August Derleth, Seabury Quinn, and Frank Belknap Long.  It has gone through many incarnations, and through many publishers, over the years -- so many that it has been called "the magazine that never dies."  It began in 1923, one of three unpretentious pulp magazines started by Jacob C. Henneberger and John Lasinger.  The founding editor of Weird Tales was Edwin Baird.

There were eight issues released that first year, starting in March.  Marvin Kaye has selected thirteen stories from those eight issues for this anthology.  Throughout its life, Weird Tales has published a lot of poor and mediocre stories, perhaps never as much as in its first year.  Kaye limited his choices to only one story an author and eschewed a number of stories that had been reprinted elsewhere -- only three of the thirteen tales had ever been reprinted.  Some of the stories were selected to give "a flavor" of a particular issue.  In his introduction Kaye called his selections "first-rate material;" they are hardly that, although they represent some of the best (a relative term) from WT''s inaugural year.

  • "The Grave" by Orville R. Emerson (March)
  • "The Basket" by Herbert J. Mangham (March)
  • "Beyond the Door" by J. Paul Suter (April)
  • "The Devil Plant" by Lyle Wilson Holden (May)
  • "The Purple Heart" by Herman Sisk (May)
  • "The Well" by Julian Kilman (June)
  • "The Two Men Who Murdered Each Other" by Valma Clark (July-August)
  • "The Dead-Naming of Lukapehu" by P. D. Gog (September)
  • "The Bloodstained Parasol" by James L. Ravenscroft (September)
  • "The Man Who Owned the World" by Frank Owen (October)
  • "An Adventure in the Fourth Dimension " by Farnsworth Wright (October)
  • "Dagon" by H.P. Lovecraft (October)
  • "Lucifer" by John D. Swain (November)
There is a reason why many of these names are unfamiliar.  Owen was a well-known writer of oriental stories, Wright would become the second editor of WT, and Lovecraft is represented by his first (and fairly weak) WT contribution.  Suter's story was included in Dashiell Hammett's Creeps by Night anthology.  The other authors?  Let's just say they never made it to the big leagues.

And the book is only 129 pages.  Excluding editorial material, the stories take up a mere 110 pages. That averages to eight and a half pages per story.  Quick reads, indeed.  And it's probably just as well.

A second volume, covering 1924, had been announced but has not yet appeared.  Again, it's probably just as well.

Recommended only for the curious.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


As a follow-up to the previous post, I thought I'd post a video of the Chad Mitchell Trio singing "Rum, By Gum."  But (grumble, grumble) I could not readily find one.

So here's a version by the Briton Ensemble:

And a ukulele version:

And a guy named Raymond Crooke on the guitar:

And a pretty elaborate version:

And here's the song done to a Morris Dance:

Many years ago, a neighbor of mine named Anne Quigley wrote an additional verse to the song:

     Beware of plum pudding,
     The kind that they light;
     They drench it in brandy
     So it will ignite.
     The thought is revolting
     To temperate folk --
     For people get drunk
     From inhaling the smoke!


Unsolicited Plug:

And speaking of the Chad Mitchell Trio, with the recent death of member Joe Frazier the group has decided to disband.   Their farewell concert has been scheduled for Sunday, November 16, in the greater-D.C. area.  Joining Chad and Mike will be Ron Greenstein, bass accompanist who has been filling on vocals for Joe over the past few months, and Paul Prestopino, the incredibly talented back up player for the trio (and for Peter, Paul and Mary and many other top folk groups -- Paul is the one in the background with the pastel overalls), and at least one surprise mystery guest.  Although this will not be their last appearance (they are scheduled to perform a cruise in 2015), this will be their last concert.  If you are a fan and happen to be in the area, this is something you will not want to miss.

Details, as they come up, will be available at the World Folk Music Association website,


Can William McGonagall be the world's worst poet?  Many people think so.  Judge for yourself:  here are six classic (?) poems defending drys and excoriating tipplers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Dino (of course).


Note:  Per a gentlemen's agreement, I cannot reveal from whose blog this joke was stolen.

The President [Abraham Lincoln] told of a southern Illinois preacher who, in the course of his sermon, asserted that the Saviour [sic] was the only  perfect man who had ever appeared in this world; also that there was no record, in the Bible or elsewhere, of any perfect woman having ever lived upon the earth.

Whereupon there rose in the rear of the church a persecuted-looking personage who, the parson having stopped speaking, said "I know a perfect woman, and I've heard of her every day for the last six years."

"Who was she?" asked the minister.

"My husband's first wife," replied the afflicted female.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Yes, there was a psychedelic rock group called H. P. Lovecraft in the late Sixties.  And, no, Clark Ashton Smith did not play rhythm guitar, nor did Robert E. Howard play bass, and Frank Belknap Long was not the drummer.


From Tales of Tomorrow, Thomas Mitchell, Edgar Stehli, Josephine Brown, Sally Gracie, and Gage Brown in Mel Goldberg's adaptation of H. G. Wells' classic short story, directed by Charles S. Dubin.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Mike Seeger, Adam Hurt, Cathy Fink, & Marcy Marxer


  • Keith Baker, The Fading Dream.  Gaming (Dungeons & Dragons) tie-in novel, Book 3 in the Thorn of Dreland series.
  • Don Blassingthwaite, Breathe Deeply, a gaming (Rage) tie-in novel, and The Tyranny of Ghosts, another gaming (this time, Dungeons & Dragons) tie-in novel, Book 3 in the Legacy of Dhakaan series.
  • Angelica Shirley Carpenter & Jan Shirley, L. Frank Baum:  Royal Historian of Oz.  YA biography.
  • Anne Cleeves, Raven Black.  Mystery
  • Glen Cook, Dreams of Steel, Shadow Games, She Is the DarknessSoldiers Live, and Water Sleeps.  Fantasies in the Black Company series. 
  • Stephen Coontz & William H. Keith, Deep Black:  Arctic Gold.  Technothriller, the seventh in the series.  This is Keith's first book in the series; the first six were co-wrtten with Jim DeFelice
  • Brian Daley, Star Wars:  The Han Solo Adventures.  Movie franchise tie-in containing Han Solo at Star's End, Han Solo's Revenge, and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy.
  • Charles de Lint, Greenmantle.  Fantasy.
  • Junot Dias, Drown.  Collection of ten short stories.
  • William W. Johnstone, Destiny of Eagles.  Western in the Eagles series.
  • R. Karl Largent, The Sea.  Technothriller.
  • Anne McCaffrey, Pegasus in Flight.  SF novel the Talents series.
  • Margaret Millar, Banshee.  Mystery.
  • Roger E. Moore, The Maelstrom's Eye.  Gaming (Spelljammer) tie-in novel; Book Three in the Cloakmaster Cycle.
  • Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore.  Literary fantasy.  Translated by Philip Gabriel.
  • Mike Resnick, Walpurgis III and The Widowmaker Reborn.  SF both; the latter is the second book in the Widowmaker series.
  • Lisa Scottoline, Don't Go.  Thriller.
  • Christopher Stasheff, King Kobold Revived.  SF, a completely revised version of King Kobold, the second book in Stasheff's Warlock series.
  • Cate Tiernan, Sweep #4:  Dark Magick, #5:  Awakening, #6:  Spellbound, #7:  The Calling, and #8:  Changleling. YA fantasies.
  • Harry Turtledove, The Gladiator. Book 5 in the SF series Crosstime Traffic.
  • Michael J. Varhola & Michael H. Varhola, Ghosthunting Maryland.  Another book about supposed apparitions.  Nothing listed close to my house, although neighboring counties are represented.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


There are wonders everywhere you look.


This was my mother's favorite hymn, this time by the Statler Brothers.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Abraham Lincoln's 1860 campaign song, sung by the amazing Ronnie Gilbert.


Adventure Into the Unknown claimed to be the first supernatural comic book to be published anywhere in the United States, an assertion that could be true for all I know.  AItU did institute something very different in 1954.

How about some thrill and chills in Truevision?  What's Truevision? you ask.  Well, it's kind of a cheap way to do 3D effects in comic books without the funny glasses.  It actually turns out pretty well in the three stories here penciled by Harry Lazarus:  "Dry Death," "The Man Who Lost His Face," and "One Bright and Shining Day."  And from artist Bob Forgione, there is a one-page Truevision take on supposedly true vampire Alicia von Czerny.

Check out the issue below and register your own verdict on Truevision.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Rosemary Clooney.


Since today is the 100th birthday of Superman's co-creator Joe Shuster, I'd thought we'd jump back in time to when Sup ruled the radio waves.  The Adventures of Superman ran from 1940 until 1951, first as a syndicated from WOR-New York, then (from late 1942 to mid-1949) on the Mutual Broadcasting Network, and finally on ABC radio.  The episodes -- all 2068 of them -- stretched, at various times, from 15 to 30 minutes each and the program was aired as often as three or five times a week.  The some-time mild-mannered reporter struck a chord with american kids of every stripe.  (I remember one of the gang members in Irving Shulman's The Amboy Dukes fantasizing about being Superman --something that experts at the time pointed out added another touch of reality to the characters.)

Superman's famous introduction was voiced by Jackson Beck, who sometimes added his talents to the show as Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred on  episodes that also featured Batman.  The Caped Kryptonian (I can't call him a Kryptonite now, can I?) was originally played by Bud Collyer, perhaps best known now as the game show host of Beat the Clock and To Tell the Truth.  Joan Alexander played Lois Lane.  (Interesting tidbit:  Alexander's daughter is mystery writer Joan Stanton Hitchcock.)  Cub reporter Jimmy Olson was played by Jackie Kelk ("Georgie Bassett" in the Our Gang series, "Homer Brown" in The Aldrich Family.)

So, happy birthday, Joe Shuster!  

And, for Truth, Justice, and The American Way, let's enjoy these early episodes!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Jack Benny and Gisele MacKenzie violin duet.


Richard Basehart is on the run.

Supposedly this movie inspired Jack Webb to consider a police drama aimed for television -- something called Dragnet.


Monday, July 7, 2014


  • John Connolly, The Lovers.  A Charlie Parker mystery.
  • "Robert Galbraith" (J. K. Rowling), The Cuckoo's Calling.  Probably the most famous pseudonymous mystery of 2013.
  • "C. S. Harris" (Candace Proctor), When Gods Die.  A Sebastian St. Cyr mystery.
  • Robert Knott, Robert B. Parker's Bull River.  Western continuing Parker's Virgil Cole series.
  • Alexander Laing, American Ships.  Nonfiction.  Laing wrote a number of books and novels about but many may remember him as the author of the decidedly creepy The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck.
  • Peter Robinson, Friend of the Devil.  An Inspector Alan Banks mystery.
  • J. K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy.  Her first adult novel.
  • Alexander McCall Smith,  44 Scotland Street.  One of his Edinburgh novels.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Christina, Walt, Mark and Erin have gone off on a ten-day adventure, first to the Amazon basin in Ecuador and then to the Galapagos Islands.  They will have a blast and the kids will have enough stories to last through the next school year.  We stay-at-home types are left to care for their goat, four dogs, cat, ball python, bearded dragon, the Kangaroo, and the Kangaroo's feeding tube -- not to mention our resident dog and cat.

Busy, busy, busy...


Yolanda King.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Al Jolson and the Andrews Sisters.


From 1906-07, Madge the Magician's Daughter by W. O. Wilson, an intricately-drawn Sunday feature little known today.  A shame, because this strip this strip was certainly the equal of Windsor McCay's Little Nemo, another popular strip of the time.


Friday, July 4, 2014


Hound Dunnit edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, & Carol-Lynn Rossel Waugh (1987)

This may not be as much a Forgotten Book as it is a Lost in the Shuffle Book among the 100+ anthologies to bear Asimov's name and the 1000+ anthologies with Greenberg's name.  Hound Dunnit present seventeen mystery/detective/crime stories about dogs...Wait.  That's a lie.  There's seventeen stories with dogs as a part of the story, sometimes in the most peripheral way.  There are smart dogs, dumb dogs, loyal dogs, evil dogs, dogs who happen to just be around in the story, dogs who carry the story, dogs that are man's best friend, and dogs that are man's worst enemy.  There's even a werewolf, which can be considered a sort-of dog.  With so many stories, some of them are bound to be...well, dogs.

Most of the stories are interesting and at least one is outstanding.  In several of the stories **SPOILER ALERT** the dog dies -- something most writers and readers know is strictly verboten.  (More than one author told me of the quick response they got from their editors when they tried to kill off Fido; another author told me she could easily kill anyone whom she thought was a threat to her dog.)  What weakens this anthology most is the surprising number of stories that revolve around dogs made heir in their rich owners wills -- the staple of many a bad television, film, or written mystery.

Perhaps I quibble too much and I freely admit I am more of a cat person.  (Don't tell that to Declan, our older-than-they-told-us, somewhat flatulent rescue dog of whom I am quite fond.)  Hound Dunnit is light, diverting reading.  And sometimes that's all I need.

  • "The Sleeping Dog" by Ross MacDonald
  • "The Enemy" by Charlotte Armstrong
  • "The Dog who Hated Jazz" by William Bankier
  • "Silver Blaze" by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • "The Dark Road Home" by Paul W. Fairman
  • "The Emergency Exit Affair" by Michal Gilbert
  • "How Come My Dog Doesn't Bark?" by Ron Goulart
  • "Dispatching Bootsie" by Joyce Harrington
  • "Captain Leopold Goes to the Dogs" by Edward D. Hoch
  • "Lincoln's Doctor's Son's Dog" by Warner Law
  • "The Dogsbody Case" by Francis M. Nevins, Jr.
  • "Puzzle for Poppy" by Q. Patrick
  • "Chambrun Gets the Message" by Hugh Pentecost
  • "Raffles on the Trail of the Hound" by Barry Perowne
  • "Coyote and Quarter Moon" by Bill Pronzini & Jeffrey Wallman
  • "Sellin' Some Wood" by John Rudin
  • "A Dog in the Daytime" by Rex Stout


Dave Alvin.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Mac Wiseman.


"A flagrant rip-off of The Adventures of the Abbotts in which only the names had been changed," acccording to radio historian Jack French.  The Abbotts were Pat and Jean Abbott, popular detective characters created by Frances Crane.  So, instead of Pat and Jean Abbott, you have Greg and Gail Collins, played by Mandel Cramer and (coincidentally) by an actress named Gail Collins.  Richard Denning did the honors as Gail Collins' Uncle Jack.

The show aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System from August 1956 to February 1957, supposedly as a response to NBC's revival of The Adventures of the Abbotts, which had earlier enjoyed a three-year run on Mutual.

This episode brings Greg and Gail Collins to Argentina, where they encounter marijuana and "Chrome Yellow Death."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Born Wayne Francis Woodard, the fantasy artist Hannes Bok would have celebrated his 100th birthday today.

Here's some Bing images of Bok and his artwork:


Shel Silverstein.


(For some reason, my grandkids think this poem is really funny.)

Roses are gray,
Violets are gray.
I am a dog.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Julio Inglesias and Charles Aznavour.


From 1957, a creepy little Southern gothic featuring Tom Tryon (MOON PILOT, THE CARDINAL, Disney's Texas John Slaughter; also the best-selling author of Harvest Home and The Other) and Gloria Talbott (THE CYCLOPS, I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE).

Directed by Albert McCleery, who was active in television in the 50s, and written by William Berney and Howland Richardson, who had co-written earlier television versions of this play, "Dark of the Moon" provided a lush and unusual afternoon fare for a cool December afternoon.