Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, January 31, 2015


John Gorka.


Here's an interesting comic book.  I have no idea what it's about.


Because it is in Dutch.

It was written and drawn by Ben Abas and published by Bell  Studio in Haarlem.  Not much is known about Abas.  He was a minor figure in the comic book scene in the Netherlands.  From 1947 to 1953 he created several popular series of "beeldromans" (illustrated books; i.e., comic books), including "Spot Morton," "Tom Wells," "Kara Ben Nems," Texas Ranger," "De Groene Straal," and "Lex Brand."  He also did newspaper and magazine cartoon strips.  Eventually (probably in the late 50s or in the 60s) he moved to Australia, after which I could not find any information about him.

Issue #1 was published in 1949, so this one was from the early 50s.  And there were at least 22 issues in the first series, which implies that there was  at least a second series.

This issue takes place in Mexico.  There's a gang of vampires.  There's a lot of shooting and fighting and a stalwart hero.  And that's about all I've got.

But it's interesting, because you can make up your own story to go with the pictures.  Or you can make up a caption to go with individual frames.  It's fun!  For example, in panel 6 on page 5:  "Victor hoped the rest of the gang had not noticed that his tights were riding up!"

Have fun!

Friday, January 30, 2015


Peter, Paul and Mary.


Jonah Hex:  Riders of the Worm and Such by Joe R. Lansdale (1995)

If your only familiarity with Jonah Hex is from the 2010 botched movie, you just don't know Jonah Hex.  If your only familiarity with the comic book Jonah Hex is the character created by John Albano and continued by Michael Fleisher, then you don't know Joe R. Lansdale's Jonah Hex.

Although Jonah Hex had appeared in 27 issues of Weird Western Tales, there was nothing supernatural or weird in the early stories, except for the appearance of the character -- the right side  of Hex's face was hideously deformed.  Even though there was no hint of the weird, the series felt weird.  The series itself (IMHO) jumped the shark by having Hex taken to the future several times, teaming up with various DC heroes for mega-battles.

Then along came Lansdale, who put his own special mojo on the character.  If Jonah Hex felt weird, why not make it weird?  And few people do weird better than Lansdale.

Teaming up with artists Timothy Truman and Sam Glanzman, Lansdale wrote the five-comic book series Jonah Hex:  Two-Gun Mojo, in which every one's favorite deformed bounty hunter/gunslinger goes up against zombies.  Then came the five-comic book series Jonah Hex:  Riders of the Worm and Such, discussed below.  Lansdale, Truman and Glanzman's final outing with the character came in a three-comic book series Jonah Hex:  Shadows West, in which he encounters Spirit Bears.

In Riders of the Worm, we find the bounty hunter with a bounty on his own head.  Hoping to cash in, a gang of six thugs have tortured and killed a couple who had provided Hex with shelter and then had headed toward the barn where Hex was hiding.  The thugs didn't realize that Hex was hiding under  a pile of dung and each met their end by a rather odiferous Jonah Hex.  Wounded, Hex rides off and eventually passes out.  He's found by and treated by a couple of saddle tramps (one of whom is Billy the Kid) who bind up his wounds.  The three take refuge in an abandoned shack.  Something with a lot of tentacles starts to come out of the ground, rips the heads off all three horses and sucks out their guts, and then it kills one of the saddle tramps, leaving Jonah Hex and Billy the Kid to wonder WTF.
In the morning, the two pick up their saddles and begin to trek across the empty countryside, where eventually the come across the bodies of many cattle with their heads torn off and their guts sucked out.

There's a Cthulhu-type monster, a forgotten race of once-intelligent worm-beings, brutish hybrid worm-men, an English expatriate running a ranch of resentful singing cowboys, a speeding underground armored truck, lots of violence, lots of gore, lots of language that would not approved in any church that I know of, and some great story-telling in the best East Texas tradition.

(This series caused musicians Johnny and Edgar Winter to file a defamation of character suit against DC comics and the series creators because two of the more disgusting characters resembled them.  They lost the case, but the publicity certainly helped the series.)

The original graphic novel reprinting the series is pretty hard to get.  Luckily, Vertigo reprinted the graphic novel and Lansdale's two other Jonah Hex series in an omnibus volume last year, Jonah Hex:  Shadows West.

Lansdale may not be everyone's cup of tea and graphic novels are not everyone's favorite, but Lansdale remains one of the most original, innovative, and readable authors in any genre.  Recommended.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Dinah Shore and Pearl Bailey.


Arch Oboler's Plays was an anthology series that ran on NBC radio from March 25, 1939  23, to March 23, 1940.  The show was resurrected for a summer run in 1945 on the Mutual network.  Oboler wrote, produced, directed and introduced each show.

Oboler (1909-1987) was one of the great radio writers.  His classic "Chicken Heart" episode from the show Lights Out caused a mini-panic a la Orson Welles invasion from Mars.  Two mildly risqué sketches he wrote for The Chase and Sanborn Hour resulted in NBC banishing Mae West for fifteen years (not only was West banned, but the network forbade the very mention of her name).  NBC, looking for a radio writer to rival CBS's Norman Corwin, okayed Arch Oboler's Plays, perhaps in part because Oboler financed the entire commercial-less project himself.  Arch Oboler's Plays was a great success and, after it's first year run, gained Procter & Gamble as a sponsor with the show then being called  Everyman's Theatre.  Oboler then moved on to several series of anthology shows with a propaganda slant:  Plays for Americans, To the President, Free World Theatre, and Everything for the Boys -- Oboler also contributed anti-Nazi scripts for the second series of Lights Out!  In 1940, Oboler began his move to film (among those that he wrote and directed were 1952's Bwana Devil and 1953's The Twonky -- based on a Henry Kuttner story).  He also wrote a Broadway play (Night of the Auk) which, despite its all-star cast, folded quickly.  Oboler also wrote for television, produced one novel, and wrote several short stories.

In the radio play below, "[a] cranky mantel clock is the god a native chief prays to while waiting to kill a baby."  Classic Oboler.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The theme song from the Will Hutchins television series which ran for four seasons beginning in 1957.  Based on a Will Rodgers movie, Sugarfoot had an unusual hero for a western series -- an Easterner who eschews violence, drinks sarsaparilla, and is a correspondence law school student.  I  loved it and every once in a while I find myself humming the theme song.

OVERLOOKED MOVIE: PLANET OUTLAWS (1953 -- but not really)

Planet Outlaws is a 1953 69-minute edit of the 1939 Buster Crabbe serial Buck Rogers.  For reasons I cannot understand, the 1939 12-part serial is still under copyright while this 1953 assemblage is not.

By now, we all know the story:  a 20th Century soldier, felled by a strange gas, wakes up in the 25th Century and finds himself pitted against "Killer" Kane, the ruthless dictator of the world.  Buck Rogers started life as Anthony Rogers in a pair of novellas by Philip Francis Nowlan in Amazing Stories.  Nowlan changed his name to Buck when his character moved to the comic strips in 1939.  (Buck would undergo another name change with the Gil Gerard television series; he became William {again, for reasons I cannot understand].)  Soon buck was everywhere:  on the radio, in a Big Little Book, in a pop-up book, in numerous comic books, on television with two television series 28 years apart, in video games, on a pinball machine, in numerous tie-in novels and short stories, and with a gazillion toys.  Buck Rogers had found his way into the national consciousness, gaining a dubious sort of immortality with the phrase "that Buck Rogers stuff."

Anyway, back to Planet Outlaws.  Buster Crabbe (billed as Larry Crabbe in the original serial) played Buck Rogers.  Crabbe had previously played Tarzan and Flash Gordon and in a plethora of Zane Gray westerns; the former Olympian gold medal swimmer went to many more movies and television shows, including starring as Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion in the mid 50s.

The part of Wilma Deering went to Constance Moore.  A former big band vocalist, Moore co-starred with many of the notable personalities from the years 1937-1947, including W. C. Fields, Edgar Bergan, Fred McMurray, Eddie Albert, and Eddie Cantor.

Anthony Ward played "Killer" Kane, which was probably his most noted role.  Ward's career went from 1937 to 1964 (his last role was in The Carpetbaggers), often in minor or uncredited appearances.

A child actor in the 30s and 40s, Jackie Moran was cast as Buddy Wade, the young pal of Buck Rogers who was gassed with Buck Rogers and woke up in the future with him.  Moran stopped making films in 1946 when he was 23.  He reemerged in the 60s to act (?) in a couple of skin flicks, two of which were directed by Russ Meyers. (The two Russ Meyers skin flicks were written by Jack Moran, presumably Jackie Moran's son.)

Jack Muhall's career spanned almost fifty years and he has 444 credits on IMDb.  Here he was cast as Captain Rankin of the Rebel Hidden City forces.  Korean American actor Philip Ahn played Prince Tallan of Saturn and is probably best-known for his portrayal of Master Kan in the television series Kung Fu.  Also having major roles in Planet Outlaws were character B-movie actors C. Montague Shaw, Guy Usher, William Gould, and Henry Brandon.

It all adds up to mindless fun.  Enjoy.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Sweethearts of the Rodeo.


  • Clifton Adams, The Desperado.  Western.
  • Piers Anthony, Faun and Games.  Fantasy in the Xanth series.
  • "Richard Awlinson" (Scott Ciencin), The Avatar Trilogy, Book One:  Shadowdale.  Gaming (Forgotten Realms) tie-in novel.
  • "James Axler" (Mark Ellis), Outlanders:  Ice Blood.  Post-apocalyptic men's action-adventure.
  • Todhunter Ballard & James C. Lynch, Showdown.  Western.
  • Elaine Bergstrom, Tapestry of Dark Souls.  Gaming (Ravenloff) tie-in novel.
  • Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber.  Fantasy collection with tent different takes on well-known fairy tales,
  • C. J. Cherryh, editor, Merovingen Nights #3:  Troubled Waters.  Shared universe fantasy anthology with eight stories.
  • Adrian Cole, Dream Lords #1:  Lord of Nightmares.  Fantasy.
  • Susan Rogers Cooper, Rude Awakening.  A Milt Kovak mystery.
  • Matthew J. Costello, Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Gamebook #8:  Daredevil, the Man Without Fear:  Guilt by Association.  Comic book tie-in choose-your-own-adventure book.
  • Edith Dorian, Mystery on Graveyard Head.  YA mystery.  Originally titled No Moon on Graveyard Head.
  • Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg, The Heist.  The first Fox and O'Hare thriller from two great pros.
  • Hal G. Evarts, Fugitive's Canyon.  Western collection with 10 stories.
  • "Leslie Ford" (Zenith Brown), Date with Death.  Mystery.
  • Alan Dean Foster, Star Trek.  Movie (the Chris Pine one) tie-in novel.
  • Zachery Alan Fox, All Fall Down.  Thriller.  A bus full of schoolchildren has disappeared.
  • Neil Gaiman & Ed Kramer, editors, The Sandman Book of Dreams. Themed fantasy anthology with nineteen stories about Gaiman's Sandman universe.
  • Craig Shaw Gardner, Spiderman:  Wanted Dead or Alive.  Comic book tie-in novel.
  • Jane Gaskell, Strange Evil.  Fantasy.
  • Christie Golden, Vampire of the Mists.  Gaming (Ravenloff) tie-in novel.
  • Graham Greene, The Complaisant Lover.  Comic play.
  • Sharon Green, The Warrior Rearmed.  Fantasy, the third in the Terrilian sequence.
  • Ed Greenwood, Spellfire.  Gaming (Forgotten Realms) tie-in novel.
  • Fred Grove, Trouble Hunter.  Western.
  • James W. Hall, Dead Last.  A Thorn mystery.
  • Donald Hamilton, Smoky Valley.  Western.
  • Ron Handberg, Dead Silence.  Thriller.  Three young boys, ages four to eight, vanished fifteen years ago.  What really happened?
  • "Cyril Hare" (Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark) , Untimely Death.  A Francis Pettigrew mystery.
  • Ernest Haycox, Trail Smoke.  Western.
  • Reginald Hill, Good Morning, Midnight.  A Dalziel and Pascoe mystery.
  • Robert Don Hughes, The Wizard in Waiting.  Fantasy.
  • Bill James, Letters from Carthage.  Mystery told in letters, newspaper articles, interviews, etc.
  • John Jennings, River to the West.  Historical novel.
  • Richard Jessup, Texas Outlaw.  Western.
  • J. Robert King, Carnival of Fear.  Gaming (Ravenloff) tie-in novel.
  • Louis L'Amour, The Burning Hills and Valley of the Sun.  Westerns.  The first, a novel; the second, a collection of nine stories.
  • Elizabeth Linington, The Proud Man.  Historical novel.
  • Frances and Richard Lockridge, Murder Comes First.  Mr. and Mrs. North solve another murder.
  • Bliss Lomax, Riders of the Buffalo Grass.  Western.
  • James Lowder, Knight of the Black Rose.  Gaming (Ravenloff) tie-in novel.
  • Drew Mendelson, Pilgrimage.  SF novel.
  • "A. J. Merak" (John Glasby), The Dark Millennium.  SF novel.
  • Steve Moss & John W. Daniel, editors, The World's Shortest Stories on Love and Death.  Flash fiction anthology with umpty-ump 55-word short stories.
  • "Maan Meyers" (Martin & Annette Meyers), The Lucifer Contract.  Historical mystery.
  • Lewis Patten, Gunsmoke Empire.  Western.
  • "Elizabeth Peters" (Barbara Mertz) & Kristen Whitbread, Amelia Peabody's Egypt:  A Compendium.  Coffee table book, lavishly illustrated.  I doubt I'll ever be able to pry this one from Kitty's hands.
  • Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates.  What can I say?  It's a Tom Robbins novel.
  • R. A. Salvatore, The Dark Elf Trilogy.  Gaming (Forgotten Realms) tie-in omnibus with three novels:  Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn.
  • Les Savage, Jr., The Wild Horse.  Western.  A man, a woman, a horse...
  • "Mariah Stewart" (Marti Robb), Forgotten.  Thriller.  A child serial killer has untold bodies of victims out there.  What is it with all of these kids-in-danger novels?
  • Marcia Talley, Through the Darkness.  A Hannah Ives mystery.  Another kid-in danger novel.  This time, a one-year-old boy is snatched.
  • Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch.  Pulitzer Prize winning novel.
  • James Alexander Thom, Follow the River.  Historical frontier novel.  Mary Ingles, kidnapped by Shawnee, must make her way home through a thousand miles of wilderness.  Based on real events.
  • "Charles Todd" (Caroline & Charles Todd), A Fearsome Doubt.  An Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery.
  • "Peter Tremayne" (Peter Beresford Ellis), The Spider's Web, The Subtle Serpent, and Suffer Little Children.  Three mysteries featuring the 7th century Celtic nun Sister Fidelma.
  • Peter Ustinov, Romanoff and Juliet.  Play.  I loved the John Gavin-Sandra Dee movie based one this three-acter.
  • Gore Vidal, editor, Best Television Plays.  Anthology of eight plays that first aired from 1953 to 1955.
  • Joseph Wambaugh, Echoes in the Darkness.  True Crime.
  • Walter Jon Williams, Facets.  SF collection of nine stories.
  • Patricia C. Wrede, Mairelon the Magician.  Fantasy novel.
  • "Jeremy York" (John Creasey) , Missing.  Mystery about a missing girl.  At least she's nineteen, taking her (just barely) out of the child-in-danger motif of a number of this week's Incoming.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


My father-in-law, Harold Keane, dropped out of high school to join the Navy in World War II.  Neither he nor his cousin Eddie would have been able to pass their physicals so they switch identities for certain parts of the physical; both passed and were inducted into the Navy.

Harold spent much of the war in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Leutze.  On April 6, 1945, a Japanese suicide plane smashed into one of the ship's 5" gun mounts and its bomb tore loose and exploded on the ship's port side near the waterline.  Quick thinking and response from both the captain and the crew saved the ship.  I've seen pictures of the damage and it's difficult to imagine how the ship survived.  By jettisoning their torpedoes and depth charges the members of the crew was able to shift the ship's port side above the waterline; other members were able to extinguish the fires on board.

The ship's electrical systems had been knocked out during the attack, and Harold was assigned to repair it.  That involved standing in waist deep water, connecting cables, and hoping not to get electrocuted.  Harold did not get electrocuted but he did get the Bronze Star.

Eight men were killed and thirty-four others were injured.

Somehow, miraculously, the Leutze managed to limp back to port.  The credit goes to the ship's captain and its entire crew.

There's a reason they are called "The Greatest Generation."

Here's a brief history of the ship from the Destroyer History Foundation:


The Choir of Hexham Abbey.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Bob Dylan.


I can't tell you much about this comic book series.  It was a monthly title -- most likely the only title -- published by Captain Silver Syndicate, Inc.  of New York.  One source says that only two issues of Captain Silver's Log of the Sea Hound were ever published but that claim is doubtful.  This issue is #3 and an issue #4 was offered on e-Bay.

Captain Silver was presented as an educational comic.  It's Educational Consultant was Frank Kolars, an Instructor in Journalism at Hunter College and the stories were "wholesome entertainment" that "have been approved by leading educators."  Each month Captain Silver visits a different South American country and relates some things about "our wonderful neighbors down here in South America."  The Captain kindly drew a map of whatever country he and his crew were visiting for the edification of all the boys and girls who read the comic.

By now you can tell that this Captain Silver is not Long John Silver.  This Captain Silver is a "master mariner, scientist, soft spoken but power foe of tyrants the world over."  The Sea Hound is an 80-foot ketch that has been taking Silver and his crew all over South America for the past three years.  The crew includes his fourteen-year-old ward Jerry (what a great and noble name), Ku Kai (a Chinese scientist working in the Sea Hound's below-deck lab; Ku Kai can outdo Charlie Chan for aphorisms), and the ex-cowboy jack of all trades who is equally handy with a lasso as with his fists, Tex.  And there's Flecha, Jerry's dog who looks like a German shepherd or maybe a wolf.

In this issue, the Captain and his crew are in Ecuador.  First, in a story by Philip Santry, they stumble on a gang of thugs looking to take over the Panama hat business.  Really...Panama hats were a main product of Ecuador; one large shipment smuggled into the US could net $100,000.  We learn a lot about hats and how to escape from a wooden crate pushed over a cliff into the sea.  The latter involves a bunch of physics because this is an educational comic, right?

In the second story, also by Santry, the Captain and Jerry are having dinner with Senor Barras, a (police?) department official in Quito.  Barras is trying to stop a permanent floating undercover lottery that is draining potential income from Ecuador's coffers.  The undercover man Barros has assigned to the case has disappeared.  Jerry (what a great and noble name) and a young friend use their wits to solve the case and rescue the missing man.

We also have a five-page story (written by Educational Consultant Kolars) about the history of the Conquistadors search for gold, a two-age text article by Kenneth Manion McDowell (who he?)about superstitions, "Undercover Docket File Number s 13 A" (a two-page mystery story related by Senor Barras' young colleague, Senor Estevas), and three pages of cartoons (drawn by Small) with Louie the Llama relating strange but true facts about South America.

Oh, I can't forget the map of Ecuador.

And there are hints that issue #4 will take place in Chile.

Enjoy your cruise to danger, excitement, and education aboard the Sea Hawk.

Friday, January 23, 2015


The Lovin' Spoonful, from Hullabaloo, 1965.


More Dixie Ghosts, edited by Frank D. McSherry, Jr., Charles G. Waugh, & Martin H. Greenberg (1994)

More Dixie Ghosts is the last of seven anthologies in the American Ghosts series published by Rutledge Hill Press from 1988 to 1994.  This collection presents fourteen stories first published from 1895 through 1990, each set in a different Southern State.
  • North Carolina, "Lost Boys" by Orson Scott Card.  From The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October 1989.  This one won the Locus Award for Best Short Story in 1970 and was nominated for the Hugo and the Nebula Awards.
  • Florida, "What Say the Frogs Now, Jenny?" by Hugh B. Cave.  From Whispers IV, edited by Stuart David Shiff (1983).
  • Mississippi, "First Dark" by Elizabeth Spencer.  From The New Yorker, June 20, 1959.
  • Alabama. "The Trees Wife" by Mary Elizabeth Counselman.  From Weird Tales, March 1950.
  • Texas, "The Chrome Comanche" by Alan Dean Foster.  A Mad Amos story from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1990.
  • Arkansas. "Toad's Foot" by Manly Wade Wellman.  From The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1979.
  • Virginia, "The Ghost Whistle" by Eugene K. Jones.  From Everybody's Magazine, October 1923.
  • Georgia, "The Crocodile" by Gouverneur Morris.  From Collier's, November 25, 1905.
  • Louisiana, "The Jabberwock Valentine" by Talmadge Powell.  From 14 Vicious Valentines, edited by Charles G. Waugh, Rosalind M. Greenberg, & Martin Harry Greenberg (1988).
  • Kentucky, "Through the Ivory Gate" by Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews.  From Scribner's Monthly, June 1905.
  • South Carolina, "a Tragedy of South Carolina" by Sarah Morgan Dawson.  From Cosmopolitan, November 1895.
  • Louisiana, "Sleeping Beauty" by Robert Bloch.  From Swank, March 1958.
  • West Virginia, "The Burlap Bag" by Davis Grubb.  From The Siege of 318:  Thirteen Mystical Stories by Davis Grubb (1978)
  • Tennessee, "Two Military Executions" by Ambrose Bierce.  From Cosmopolitan, Noveember 1906.
There you have it:  a good mix of the old and the new, and the somewhat familiar to the unfamiliar.  Each story is a winner.  The best of the lot, to my mind, is Davis Grubb's story, a conte cruel with a redeeming ending.

As I said, there were seven volumes in the American Ghosts series, each is worth your time:  Dixie Ghosts (1988), Ghosts of the Heartland (1990), Western Ghosts (1990), New England Ghosts (1990), Eastern Ghosts (1990), Hollywood Ghosts (1991), and this volume.  In addition, the editors assembled Great American Ghost Stories (1991) for Rutledge Hill Press -- which, oddly, was not part of the American Ghosts series.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


From 1950, here's one of my father-in-law's favorite singers, Phil Harris.


Harry Blackstone, Sr. (a real-life magician) was played by Ed Jerome in this 15-minute radio series, mainly scripted by Walter B. Gibson (he of THE SHADOW fame) with some by Nancy Webb (who worked with Gibson on Chick Carter, Boy Detective).  Blackstone, Magic Detective aired Sunday afternoons on the Mutual Broadcasting Network from October 1948 through March 1950.

Jerome, as Blackstone, typically related a past mystery to his friends.  Cue Flashback.  The solution.  Then, how to a magic trick.  Cue music.

The year before the show aired, Gibson created Blackstone the Magician Detective Fights Crime for EC Comics.  The title continued for a second, third and fourth issue for Timely Comics.  The character Rhonda Brent (Blackstone's assistant) was created for the comic and continued through the radio series, played by Fran Carlton.

Here's 38 of the short episodes for your listening pleasure.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


From 1937, the great Django Reinhart with the Quintette du Hot Club de France.


As a kid I was made to walk the plank.  We couldn't afford a dog. -- Gary Delaney

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Their lush harmonies were a major influence on The Beach Boys.  Here's The Four Freshmen.


From the play and novel by Mr. E. Philips Oppenheim-light and/or Mr. Edgar Wallace-light Sydney Horler comes a suspense film involving an American who inherits an estate in England.  When he goes to the estate, however, he is chased off.  There's a mad (?) doctor living at the house, his beautiful enigmatic daughter, a hidden treasure, a bunch of gangsters, an American detective, torture chambers, some witty dialogue, more coincidences than you can shake a stick at, a buncha screams, and I can't tell you.  (The sentence, "I can't tell you" is repeated enough times to stick in the craw of any sensible viewer.)

Leslie Fenton (the British-born actor who was married to Anne Dvorak) takes the lead as Barry Wilding.  The always interesting Sidney Blackmer is Wilding's buddy, detective Tom Starr.  The very beautiful Muriel Evans (best known as the leading lady in a host of William Boyd, Buck Jones, and John Wayne 1930s oaters) is fetching as Julie Kenmore, the film's I-can't-tell-you girl.  Journeyman actor Morgan Wallace (who was uncredited in such great movies as Tillie's Punctured Romance, The Maltese Falcon, David Harum, Pennies from Heaven, Union Pacific, My Little Chickadee, Gaslight, and Kismet) is Julie's father, mad (?) Dr. Kenmore.

Directed by Roland D. Reed and adapted by John W. Krafft, House of Secrets was produced by Poverty Row company Chesterfield Motion Pictures Corporation whicjh had filmed an earlier version of the movie in 1929.  That 1929 movie is presumed lost -- maybe that's just as well.


Monday, January 19, 2015


The Golden Gospel Singers.


  • Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Spirits That Walk in Shadow.
  • Helen MacInnes, Assignment in Brittany.  Espionage.  This one is a semi-beat-up copy of the second Pocket Book printing from 1943.  MacInnes was once one of the most popular suspense writers going but I suspect that few people read her books today.
  • W. Somerset Maugham, The Beachcomber. A "drunken, dissolute man, and a woman missionary who wanted to 'save' him from the things he loved best:  native women, and jungle wine"...Standard Maugham. This one is a Dell 10 Cent reprinting and retitling of Maugham's short story "The Vessel of Wrath,"  with a cover by Ralph De Soto.
  • David Morrell, The Totem. The revised edition of Morrell's first horror novel.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Saint Odd by Dean Koontz (2015)

After seven previous books, a so-so movie, at least one promo video adventure, and several graphic novels, the saga of Odd Thomas has come to a "stunning conclusion" (as per the front cover jacket).

For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Odd Thomas (his given name) is now 22 and is an unassuming fry cook.  He is also gifted with special powers.  He can see the dead and is tasked with trying to help them cross over to the other side.  He can also see bodaches, nebulous beings that feed on people's pain, suffering, and violent death.  Bodaches appear in great numbers when a spectacular traagedy is about to happen:  a train wreck, a gas plant explosion, a mass shooting -- any place where a lot of people are about to die horribly.  Odd has other talents, such a "psychic magnetism" that allows him to find people just by wandering aimlessly; the wandering unconsciously leads him to the person he's looking for.  Odd is not the heroic type but he is a good guy.  He is compelled to help those in need.  This often puts him against evil in both human and supernatural form,  Odd looks for and fights for the good that is in this world.  Two years before that meant trying to stop a massacre at the mall in Pico Mundo, the California town where he grew up.  Odd failed in this.  Although he stop the massacre of of hundreds of people, nineteen innocents were killed -- among them, the love of his life, Stormy LLewellyn.  Four years earlier, when they were both sixteen, a mechanical fortune-telling machine predicted, "You are destined to be together forever."  After Stormy's death, Odd retreated to a monastery for solitude, then began wandering the countryside, sometimes with the ghost of Elvis Presley, sometimes with the ghost of Frank Sinatra, often with a ghost dog (these are Dean Koontz novels, after all), and always being forced to meet evil head-on.

(No spoilers here.  We are told on the cover that this is the conclusion of Odd's saga,  Odd is only 22.  Through seven previous books and various spin-offs, we have have been told that Odd and dead Stormy are destined to be together forever, but I will not reveal a spoiler here.  I'll just let you draw your own conclusions.)

So, Saint Odd (no spoilers in the title, either) has Odd Thomas coming full circle and returning to Pico Mundo.  Odd has been having a dream that his hometown has been destroyed in a flood.  Odd's dreams are sometimes literal and sometimes figurative, but they always have meaning.  Something is going to happen in Pico Mundo that will result in thousands dying.  Whatever is going to happen, a 450-year-old powerful cult is behind it.  The cult also happens to want to destroy Odd because in an earlier adventure he destroyed a branch of the cult while rescuing some captive children.

Odd is also puzzled because he knows something terrible is going to happen, but he can see no bodaches.  Have Odd's powers shifted, or have the bodaches managed to find a way to remain invisible to Odd, or can Odd be facing something completely different from what he has faced in the past?  Also, a large shipment of C4 has been hijacked.  Is this to be used to blow up Pico Mundo's dam and flood the town?  The dam surely does not hold enough water to cause the level of flooding and damage that Odd had seen in his dream.  A carnival has arrived in Pico Mundo -- the same carnival where the fortune-telling machine gave Odd and Stormy their prediction of togetherness six tears earlier.  Several members of the cult are found to have ties to the carnival and some fifteen thousand people have flocked to it.  Is this where the massive destruction will take place?

As always, Koontz juggles his plot well (although, near the beginning of the novel it seems that the author is descending into farce, but even that misstep is corrected).  Odd remains a noble and likable protagonist.  The evil  he faces is truly evil.  Earlier threads from the saga are tied up.  The conclusion reflects the author's optimistic (and somewhat impractical) world-view.  Admirers of Koontz and/or Odd Thomas should be satisfied.  Those who cannot get into Koontz and/or Odd Thomas will probably avoid this book anyway.


The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi

Saturday, January 17, 2015


From 1953's The Old Overland Trail, here's Rex Allen, Slim Pickens, and some singing mountains.


Nope.  Not Challengers of the Unknown, which came along over six years later in 1957, but Challenge of the Unknown, an anthology horror comic book from Ace Magazines.  I can't find much about this comic -- in fact, the only issue I can find is this one.  Ace Magazines had a slew of romance comics at the time and Challenge of the Unknown was previously (up through issue #5, I assume) titled Love Experiences, and there may have been no issue #7.

Challenge of the Unknown #6 was a fairly decent horror zine.  Not as gruesome as some of the EC titles or the some of the old terror pulps, but certainly not as namby-pamby as many later titles.  This issue gives us four main stories:

  • "High Priestess of the Snake People"  A cult of snake worshipers with their their snake queen capture a young American.  In the end, the cult is dynamited, ending the threat.  Or does it?
  • "The Ghost in the Portrait"  Drawn by Ken Rice, this story is about an evil ancestor whose ghost is freed by a young couple.  The ghost tries to get the young husband to murder his wife, but ghostly plans gang aft agley.  Happy ending.
  • "Villa of the Vampire"  Drawn by Lin Streeter.  A vampire haunts an Italian villa.  Population of said villa declines rapidly.  Brave husband saves wife and defeats the vampire.  Happy ending.
  • "No Grave to Hold Him"  Drawn by Mike Sekowsky.  A dying professor has his brain transferred into the dead body of a criminal.  The professor becomes evil but manages to regain control of the body.  Happy ending.  (For now!)  BTW, dead criminal has Frankenstein monster-like electrodes in his neck.  Cute.
All four stories were later reprinted in various Ace Magazine titles.  In addition, "Villa of the Vampire" was reworked in the 1970s by Eerie Publications and appeared seven times in various Eerie titles.

Plus two one-pagers covering supposedly true tales of the supernatural and a two-page text story -- "Unburied Dead" -- in which a demon-infested wife explodes.  No happy ending.  Oh, well.


Friday, January 16, 2015


Here's Cricket Blake herself, Connie Stevens!


The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Volume 1, Number 2 (Winter-Spring 1950) edited by Anthony Boucher and J. F. McComas

For over 65 years, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction has been providing top-notch, stimulating reading.  With a new editor, Charles Coleman Finley, coming on board, I though I'd take a look back at the magazine in its early stages.

The magazine began with a slightly different title -- The Magazine of Fantasy -- in Fall 1947.  Editors Boucher and McComas wanted to put a fantasy magazine that would do for the genre what Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine was doing for the mystery genre, providing a literate platform for the best of the old and new short fiction.  Taking EQMM as a model, the editors convinced publisher Lawrence Spivak to put out an exploratory issue.  It wasn't long before that issue was enough of a success to make F&SF a regular periodical.

The second issue of the magazine expanded its title to its full (and still current) one.  One look at the George Salter cover and you knew this was not your run of the mill science fiction magazine.  Helming a magazine with two editors of equal rank can be daunting, but Boucher and McComas (both of whom were eminently qualified) handled it well.  During their joint tenure as editors, the two agreed to agree on every story published, while each provided kindly and spot-on advice to contributors on how to improve their stories.  (For an interesting look behind the scenes, I recommend The Eureka Years edited by Annette McComas [1982] which includes numerous letter to authors from Boucher and McComas as it traces the early years of the magazine.)

Here's the lineup for the Winter-Spring 1950 issue:

  • "The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" by R. Bretnor (the first Papa Schimmelhorn story)
  • "The Return of the Gods" by Robert M. Coates (reprinted from The New Yorker, December 11, 1948)
  • "Every Work Into Judgement" by Kris Neville
  • "Time, Real and Imaginary" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (a short poem first published in 1803)
  • "A Rope for Lucifer" by Walt Sheldon
  • "The Last Generation" by Miriam Allen deFord
  • "Postpaid to Paradise" by Robert Arthur (a Murchison Morks story reprinted from Argosy, June 15, 1940)
  • "The Exiles" by Ray Bradbury (reprinted from Mclean's, September 15, 1949 where it appeared as "The Mad Wizards of Mars")
  • "My Astral Body" by Anthony Hope (reprinted from Sport Royal [Holt, 1895])
  • "Gavagan's Bar" by L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt (an umbrella title covering the first two short stories in the series, "Elephas Frumenti" and "The Gift of God")
  • "The World of Arlesia" by Margaret St. Clair
  • "The Volcanic Valve" by W. L. Alden (a Van Wagener story reprinted from Alden's Told by the Colonel [J. S. Tait & Sons, 1893])
  • "Not With a Bang" by Damon Knight
Two absolute classics, the start of two popular series, a reprint from another popular series, two stories by significant female authors in the field, an early story from Kris Neville, a story from an author noted for his westerns, a story from a contemporary mainstream author, a bit of whimsy from the author of The Prisoner of Zenda, more whimsy from a well-known 19th century journalist, and a poem from one of the great poets...all packed into 132 digest-sized pages and all for 35 cents.

Also included is the "Recommended Reading" column by the editors.  For its initial appearance, the column listed some of the best books published or reprinted in 1949.  In fiction:  What Mad Universe? by Fredric Brown, Fires Burn Blue by Sir Andrew Caldecott, The Best Science fiction Stories 1949 edited by E. F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty, Honey for the Ghost by Louis Golding, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, The Ghostly Tales of Henry James edited by Leon Edel, Without Sorcery by Theodore Sturgeon, and The World Below by S. Fowler Wright.  In non-fiction:  The Conquest of Space by Chesley Bonestell & Willy Ley, An Experiment in Time by J. W. Dunne, The History of Magic by Eliphas Levi and translated by Arthur Edward Waite, Gallery of Ghosts by James Reynolds, and Life on Other Worlds by H. Spencer-Jones.  1949 was a good  year for SF fans.

Things have changed over 65 years and this issue may seem a little stodgy to current readers.  For me, however, the entire issue sparkled with grace, wit, and intelligence.

Check it out for yourself.  This issue (as well as some other early issues) is available on-line at Internet Archive.

Monday, January 12, 2015


  • Peter Abresch, Spyglass House, Vol. 1:  The Jewels of Norpur.  Fantasy.  Signed and inscribed to previous owner.
  • T. A. Barron, The Lost Years of Merlin, Book Two:  The Seven Songs of Merlin, Book Three:  The Fires of Merlin, Book Four:  The Mirror of Merlin, and Book Five:  The Wings of Merlin.  YA fantasies.
  • Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson, Cave of the Dark Wind.  Children's book featuring the Lost Boys from Peter Pan.
  • Robert J. Conley, Back to Malachi.  Western.
  • Stephen Dobyns, The Church of the Dead Girls.  Thriller.
  • Joel Engel, Rod Serling:  The Dreams and Nightmares of Life in the Twilight Zone.  Biography.
  • James W. Hall, Red Sky at Night.  Thriller.
  • Joanne Harris, The Evil Seed.  Horror.
  • Richard Lederer, Adventures of a Verbivore.  Fun with words.
  • Brandon Massey, editor, Dark Dream II:  Voices from the Other Side.  Horror anthology with 17 stories by Afro-American writers.
  • Scott McGough, Heretic Betrayers of Kamigawa.  Gaming (Magic:  The Gathering) tie-in novel; Book II of the Kamigawa Cycle.
  • Terry Oliver Mejdrich, The Devil's Kettle.  Thriller.  A stand-alone novel, but with some characters and settings from the author's previous books.  Signed.
  • Laura Joh Rowland, The Snow Empress.  A Sano Ichiro mystery set in 1699 Japan.
  • Wendy Corsi Staub, Scared to Death.  Thriller.
  • Robert Tine, Outbreak.  Movie tie-in.
  • Kate Wilhelm, The Deepest Water.  Mystery.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


A recording by Maureen O'Brien of R. Austin Freeman's classic detective story "The Blue Sequin" from John Thorndyke's Cases (1909).  Can you match wits with Dr. Thorndyke?


A 19th century Shaker hymn from The Rose Ensemble.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Speaking of Billy, here's Marty Robbins.


Although this issue of the comic book is numbered 28, this is actually the 19th issue of Billy the Kid:  Western Outlaw.  The comic book's first few issues were titled (and featured) Masked Raider, who was a masked gunfighter who had a pet eagle.  The Masked Raider was not as popular as Charlton  Comics had hoped and by issue #6 the title was changed to Masked Raider Presents Billy the Kid and by issue #9 the Masked Raider was history.  Billy rode roughshod through to issue #153 in March 1983 -- a pretty long career for a short-lived gunfighter, even if the last 59 issues were reprints.

Charlton's Billy was young, blond, handsome, and noble...a true gentleman.  In the second panel of the lead story in this issue, a political boss calls Billy the Kid "a menace to society [,] a baby-faced killer who should be locked up..."  Surely the man was confusing the historical Billy with the comic book Billy.

This issue gives us four stories of the comic book Billy, plus one filler gunfighter story.  We also get a chance to use a 25 cent off mail-in coupon for Pomatex Double-Duty Hair Cream (presumably a double dab'll do ya), or get a valuable International Correspondence School High School Diploma, or a chance to win a genuine photo ring as easy as falling off a log (and, in the fine print, you also get 14 packages of Cloverine Brand Salve* to sell at 50 cents a package, because everybody needs salve, right?), or 150 Civil War soldiers for only $1.49 (!).**  Gotta love those comics from back in the day!


*Did anyone ever sell the stuff when they were a kid?  Nobody I knew did.  No kid in my neighborhood sold America's newspaper Grit either.

**Of course, "soldiers" is a relative term which in this case includes Gatling guns, field cannon, ships (three each of the Monitor and the Merrimac), wagons, mortars, and nurses, and non-fighting enlistees.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Nat King Cole.


The Witching Lands:  Tales of the West Indies by Hugh B. Cave (1962)

Those who remember Hugh B. Cave for his pulp stories and for the string of paperback horror novels he wrote near the end of his career may be surprised that his first short story collection contained thirteen stories from the slicks -- The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies' Home Journal, The American Magazine, Today's Woman, and The Elks Magazine -- plus one evidently previously unpublished. 

The stories are all set in the fictional West Indies country of St. Joseph, a fully realized location due to Cave's intimate knowledge of the West Indies.  Cave lived in Haiti for years, owned a coffee plantation in Jamaica, and had written non-fiction books about both countries.  His love of the land and its people shines through these stories.

Max Haun is the manager of The Pension Etoile, a small, comfortable hotel in St. Joseph City.  "Too small to lure the conventional tourist, the Etoile attracts guests of more lasting interest -- men from the outlying plantations, in town for business; engineers from the back-country mines and construction projects, seeking a weekend's respite from the demands of their work; doctors and nurses from the country hospitals; young foreign service people, scientists, teachers, writers, artists...the variety is infinite."  It is Max who relates these tales of the people who passed through the hotel's doors and of the natives who provide the backbone of the country.  St. Joseph is a poor country with many remote villages, a corrupt government, and a mostly honest police force.  Many of the natives are uneducated and superstitious -- zombies, vampires, werewolves are believed to be real; voodoo is commonly accepted.  Winds of change are beginning to blow over the country; an important Presidential election is coming, although the result is almost assured for the incumbent.  That's the background for these stories, but the stories are mainly concerned with the ordinary people of St. Joseph -- their hopes and their fears and their dreams.

This is a great little collection, warmly told. 

The Witching Lands has never been reprinted in this country and that's a shame.  Copies, however, are available through online booksellers and through interlibrary loans.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Merle Travis.


It's 1960 and the Cold War is getting hotter.  So what do the Communists in East Germany do to show the lackeys of the West that they will bury them?  Why they make a sci-fi movie, of course.

First Spaceship on Venus is a joint East German-Polish based on The Astronauts, a novel by great Polish SF writer Stanislaus Lem.  I used the term "based" in its most untrue sense.  Needless to say, Lem was not happy with the result.

The plot is simple.  In 1985, while working to irrigate the Gobi desert, engineers dig up a strange spool, made of material unknown on Earth.  Naturally, they decide that this spool was the cause of the Tunguska explosion in 1908.  It's also determined that the spool came from Venus.  (How?  Don't ask.)  It is decided that a scheduled spaceship flight to Mars should be diverted to Venus to discover the origin of the spool.  At the same time scientists are working to decipher the markings on the spool.  The crew of the spaceship, in true Communist ideology, is international -- we have a German, an African, a Japanese, an American, a Pole, a Russian, an Indian, and a Chinese.

While jaunting off to Venus, the spool is translated.  It reveals a plot to irradiate the earth to destroy mankind, allowing the Venusians to annex Earth.  Rather than heading back to Earth and causing a panic there, the crew decides to marshal on to Venus to see what's up.  What is up is not the Venusians; they have killed themselves off with a very sloppy use of atomic power, leaving only their machines to roam the planet.  One of the scientists accidentally starts the irradiation machine that was to be used to wipe out humanity.  Can they stop the machine?  Who will live and who will die?  Will anyone be able to return to Earth to warn the populace of the dangers of atomic weapons?

The film was directed by Kurt Maetzig.  It took seven writers to adapt Lem's novel for the screen, five to do the adaptation, one for "screenplay collaboration." and one uncredited soul for who knows what.  The nine credited cast members were Yoko Tani, Oldrich Lukes, Ignacy Machowski, Julius Ongewe, Michail N. Postnikow, Kurt Racklemann, Gunther Simon, Tang Hua-Ta, and Lucyna Winnicka.  IMDb lists another 24 uncredited cast members.

The question remains, is the film any good?  It was the most expensive film made by the East German studio at the time.  It sold well over four million tickets in East Germany.  Much of the production work seems laudable.  Keep in mind, however that Lem hated the film.  Also keep in mind that the film was eviscerated by the good folks and robots at Mystery Science Fiction Theater 3000.  Review comments include "impressive but boring,"  "cheesy but watchable." and "at about 13:10 there is a close-up of the newscaster lady...she has a mustache that rivals any of the 3 Musketeers."

Decide for yourself.


Yesterday morning we headed down to the Calvert County courthouse with Christina, Walt, and the kids to finalize the adoption of the Kangaroo.  Things went well (and fast) and before you knew it, we had an official grandson.  The Kangaroo took it all in stride.  He grabbed his mother's camera and started taking pictures (mostly of the ceiling -- at two years old he hasn't grasped the concept of aiming the camera, only the concept that it makes a flash when the button is pushed).

It's official.  It's legal.  Everyone is happy.  There are a lot of challenges ahead, but that's the case with every child, one way or another.

Oh.  And he has a new, legal name.  Jack Harold Roof.  A noble name for a noble lad.

Welcome aboard, Jack!

Monday, January 5, 2015


Tom Paxton.


  • Ted Dekker, BoneMan's Daughters.  Thriller.
  • Paul Garrison, Sea Hunter.  Thriller.
  • C. E. Lawrence, Silent Screams.  Thriller.
  • Robert E. Mills, The Kansan #3:  Red Apache Sun. Adult western.
  • "Keith Peterson" (Andrew Klavan), Rough Justice.  A John Wells mystery.
  • Rick Reed, The Coldest Fear.  A Jack Murphy mystery.
  • Jack Robinson, Antarktos Rising.  Apocalyptic thriller.  This edition, dated 2008, proclaims, "Soon to be an animated feature film."  Never heard of it.  Have you?
  • Robert Vaughan, The Dakota Trail.  A Ralph Compton western.  Compton, like William Johnstone and V. C. Andrews, continues to bring in the bucks with books written after his death.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


My younger brother Ken (he's the smart one; I'm the smarter one) is really, really, really old today.  I mean older than dirt old.  I think we should let out a cheer for Ken (he's the handsome one; I'm the more handsome one). 

Huzzah!  Huzzah!  Huzzah!

Despite being related to me, Ken (he's the talented one; I'm the more talented one) is a damned nice guy and deserves all the best.  I hope he has a perfect day.

What many people don't know about Ken (he's the sexy one; I'm the universal sex symbol) is that he appears fixated on small farm animals -- in particular goats.  This may arise from the many, many farm sets we had as kids.

So, for his birthday I was going to send him a goat but it escaped and was last seen around Lowell, Massachusetts.  (see link)

So I thought I'd send him a moo-cow for his birthday but it turned out he wouldn't give milk.

So in honor of his birthday, here are some clips of goats.

Cute baby goats:

Weird goats:

Stupid goats:

Funny goats:

Happy birthday, Kenny!

-- From Jerry's evil twin brother Yrrej


From 1927, the Old Southern Sacred Singers.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Rest in peace, Little Jimmy Dickens.


Far from being a romantic or medical comic strip as the name might imply, Myra North, Special Nurse put the emphasis on "special" as the gutsy young nurse solves murders, uncovers medical malpractice, and spans the globe foiling would-be world conquerors and other master villains.

Myra began life as a daily strip on February 10, 1936 as the creation of Ray Thompson and Charles Cobb.  Thompson (who wrote the strip) had a background as a commercial artist and had written a number of radio scripts and had ghost written for the comics before creating Myra.  (Later on, he would create "The Fleer Double-Bubble Kids" as a direct response to Fleer's commercial rival Bazooka and their "Bazooka Joe.")  Cobb who drew the strip also had a background in commercial art and, in the Forties he worked on many comic books for a number of studios, including the Binder studio which was run by Jack Binder (brother of Otto and Earl).

Of course, Myra has a boyfriend and (of course) he's a cop -- Detective Sergeant Jack Lane.

n many ways, Myra North reminds me of the Mignon G. Eberhart characters Nurse Susan Dare and Nurse Sara (Sally) Keate, both of whom had been created a few years earlier.  An influence, perhaps?

Myra's run as a daily strip ended on March 25, 1939.  The Sunday strip, which began on December 6, 1936, carried on until August 31, 1941.  Thompson and Cobb worked on the strip until the end.  Myra North, Special Nurse appeared in 466 newspapers.

Before the comic strip ended, Myra appeared in a Big Little book, and (much later) appeared over forty times as a feature in several Dell comic books.

The following links take you many of the daily strips.


From 1936:

From 1937:

From 1938:

From 1939:

Friday, January 2, 2015


Preservation Hall Jazz Band.


Richard Matheson's I Am Legend adapted by Steve Niles and illustrated by Elman Brown (1991)

Matheson's I Am Legend certainly is not a Forgotten Book.  It has gone through many printings and three movies (or two movies and one atrocity or one movie and two atrocities, depending on your point of view) since its original release as a Gold Medal paperback in 1954.  Like much of Matheson's work, it has imbedded itself into the American consciousness.  The simple tale of Robert Neville, the last man in a world of vampires, and his struggle to survive.  It's been over fifty years since I read the novel but much of it remains in my mind.

Anyway, my Forgotten Book for this Friday is the graphic novel version of I Am Legend.  Unlike many graphic novel adaptations, this one is a full-blown ambitious work with 240 pages of tightly written prose and intricate art.  Both Niles and Brown capture the claustrophobic nature of the story perfectly.  Brown's artwork and intricate cross-hatching emphasizes the dark greyness of Neville's world.  Niles' script reads like a novel in itself.  Together they have achieved an almost prefect complement to Matheson's book.

Graphic novel fans and Matheson fans shouldn't miss this one!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Leon Redbone.


From 1934, a radio serial in 39 parts of 12 to 14 minutes each. 

Tarzan and the Diamond of Asher was based on a three-page outline by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The actual writing and plotting was done by Robert W. Thompson.  ERB's involvement beyond the outline was to read the finished scripts and make suggestions.  In 1937, Burroughs used the plot for his novel Tarzan and the Forbidden City which was published in book form in 1938. Also in the same year, Burroughs adapted the radio show into a comic strip which was illustrated by Rex Mason and was published in 1938.  (It was later adapted for a 1947 Dell comic book, adapted again for a comic strip in 1948-49, and finally adapted for a two-part Gold Key comic published in 1970.)  Before book publication of the  novel, Burroughs sent the manuscript to Argosy magazine where someone at the magazine considerably rewrote the work, which was published as "The Red Star of Tarzan."  (Burroughs used his original manuscript for the novel publication.)  Interestingly, when Tarzan and the Diamond of Asher was rebroadcast in 1940, Burroughs wrote a brief introduction to the series in which he claimed the radio serial was based on Tarzan and the Forbidden City, rather than the other way around.

The show began on May 14, 1934, airing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through June 22.  It was produced by American Radio Features, directed by Fred Shields, and narrated by John MacIntye.

Carson KaDell played Tarzan since Burroughs' son-in-law James Pierce refused of the role.  (Joan Burroughs Pierce, his wife, was to play Jane but had bowed out because of a pregnancy; Pierce did not want to play Tarzan without his wife as Jane.  The Jane character was then eliminated from the outline.)

The rest of the cast included Ralph Scott as D'Arnot, Karena Shields as Helen, George Turner as Gregory, Jeanette Nolan (who was John MacIntire's wife; they both would go on to prominent careers) as Magra, Cy Kendall as Atan Thome, Don Wilson (best known as Jack Benny's announcer) as Lal Taask, Victor Rodman as Wolf, Victor Potel as Larson, and Fred Harrington as Mitchell..



For the first time in many years I tried to keep track of the book I read throughout the year.  For 2014, it's an amazing 353!  Almost a book a day.  How the hell did I manage to do that?

My criteria was books.  So graphic novels and art books all count, as do novellas released as a single volume, but multi-novel omnibuses counted as only one book.  If I had read only one novel from an omnibus (I didn't this year), that would also count as one book.  I didn't count any of the books I started and, for one reason or another, did not finish.

Also please understand that I am a computer klutz.  I kept my list on a Word file and may well have accidently deleted some books, but I don't think I did.  At least, when I reviewed the list there were no glaring omissions that came to mind.

So, 353.  That's a ridiculously large number.  I doubt I'll even come close to that in 2015, but it's something to aim for.