Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, March 31, 2018


Lefty Frizzell would have been ninety today.  From 1950, here's his first big hit.


"History has proven that whenever liberty is smothered and men lie crushed beneath oppression, there always rises a man to defend the helpless...liberate the enslaved and crush the tyrant...such a man is BLACKHAWK...out of the ruins of Europe and out of the hopeless mass of defeated people he comes...smashing the evil before him..."

Thus the world was introduced to Blackhawk, who at one time was second in popularity only to Superman.  Created by the Eisner studios by Chuck Culdera (artist), Bob Powell (writer), and Will Eisner, the team known as the Blackhawk Squadron took a few issues to shake themselves out into their most recognizable line-up.  Blackhawk himself was an ace fighter pilot for the Polish Air Force; later identified as an American flying for Poland, no longer identified as a Polish citizen.  Who he really is is shrouded in mystery.  Much later in the series he was given a name, Bart Hawk...but can we really trust that was his true name?

Blackhawk premiered in the first issue of Quality Comics' Military Comics, a title billed as Stories of the Army and Navy.  Blackhawk appeared in Military Comics (later renamed Modern Comics) until that title was cancelled with issue #102 in October 1950.  In 1944, Blackhawk also got his own title with Blackhawk #9 (Winter 1944), having picked up the numbering from the cancelled Uncle Sam Quarterly.  In December 1956, Quality Comics closed with Blackhawk #107.  The character and trademarks were then leased and eventually sold to DC comics, which continued the title until issue #242 in August 1968; late attempts to modernized the characters came too little, too late.

From Wikipedia:  "[Blackhawk] shares the unique distinction of being just one of four comic book characters to be published continuously in his own title from the 1940s through the 1960s (the others being Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman),"  As stated, this sounds specious to me but, with a few caveats, essentially sound.

In this issue, the seemingly undefeatable German army is ruthlessly destroying all Polish resistance.  In the air, the Nazis are handily defeating the Poles until there is just one Polish airplane left -- its pilot shooting down six of the Germans.  Nazi Captain von Tepp leads his "Butcher Squadron," whcih closes in on the unnamed Polish pilot.  Escaping bullets, the pilot makes a rough landing near his home and rushes out of his plane.  Von Tepp vows to destroy him and drops a bomb which barely missed the pilot but destroys the house, killing the pilot's brother and sister.  "The stranger sadly buries his sister and brother, and without a backward glance walks away to disappear in the darkness..."

Months later, a new figure arrives on the scene.  With his squad of men, he rains death to the Nazis.  Headquartered o a small Atlantic Ocean island fortress, the Blackhawk Squadron follow their leader as he strikes fear into the Nazi machine.  Blackhawk, himself, is seeking vengeance for his siblings against von Tepp.  When one of his men is captured and about to be executed by von Tepp, Blackhawk finally has his chance -- which leads to an aerial battle between the two aces, one in which von Tepp has secretly sabotaged Blackhawk's plane!

Also included in this issue:
  • "Loops and Banks of the Red Dragon Squadron" -- After losing their jobs as test pilots, Loops McCann and Banks Barrows join up with General Cheng's guerrilla Red Dragon Squadron to fight in China.
  • "Origin of the Blue Tracer" -- American engineer Wild Bill helps create a spectacular war machine to fight fascists in Ethiopia.
  • "Episode with a Goat" -- Archie Atkins, Desert Scout, joins up with a billy goat to help save his battalion. 
  • "Enlisting the Hard Way" -- Colonel Sam Shot and Slim Shell team up to stop a Nazi plot in this humorous episode.
  • "The Coming of the Yankee Eagle" -- Jerry Noble and Sam (the Yankee Eagle, a real egle, mind you) stop a group of Nazi spies who have embedded themselves in the U.S. military.
  • "Origin of the Death Patrol" -- Created by comics legend Jack Cole, this is the first episode of The Death Patrol.
  • "The Origin of Miss America" -- Reporter Joan Dale is given special powers by the Statue of Liberty to become the superhero Miss america.  Guess which side she fights for?
  • "Sink the Kaiser Adolf" -- The "Q Boat," a four-masted schooner that is much more than it appears, is under the command of Captain Foghorn and has a crew of young boys (Bob, Dick, and Freckles) are more than a match for a new German battleship.

Enjoy this historic issue.

Friday, March 30, 2018


Otis Redding.


Spacial Delivery by Gordon R. Dickson (1961)

Poor John Tardy!  The one-time Olympian and current bio-chemist was on his way to join a government exploration on McBanen's Planet when he was drafted and diverted to Dilbia, an out-of-the-way plant that is important to both Earth and the Hemnoid Empire, a rival civilization, as a potential supply and refueling station for expansion beyond the Belt Stars.  Ever loyal to Earth, Tardy wonders what Dilbia needs with a bio-chemist.  Slowly he begins to realize that he is not needed for his scientific skills but as a political sacrificial lamb.

The natives of Dilbia are a large, bipedal, rustic, bear-like race.  When I say large, I mean LARGE.  They are a fierce -- sometimes cruel -- race with a strange code of ethics.  Quick to take offense, they revel in one-on-one combat -- a good, old-fashioned fight without the sissy stuff, like weapons.   (Think Robert E. Howard's Breckinridge Elkins, only larger, with fur.  Think also of Dickson and Poul Anderson's Hokas gone bad -- and bigger.)

A very fierce Dilbian named Streamside Terror wanted to marry Boy Is She Built but Joshua Guy, the Ambassador Plenipotentiary convinced (for reasons that we will soon realize) Old Shaking Knees (Boy I She Built's father) to refuse the marriage.  In retaliation against Guy, Streamside Terror has kidnapped sociologist Ty Lamorc, known to the Dilbians as Greasy Face.  Tardy's mission is to get Miss Lamorc from Streamside Terror and return her to the capitol.  What wasn't mentioned was, in order to do this, Tardy must fight Streamside Terror -- a fight in which he would certainly be killed.  Of course, once the Terror kills Tardy, he would most likely consider his revenge had been taken and would release the girl.  Problem solved.  Easy peasy.

To complicate matters, the Hemnoids are busy trying to sabotage (by this I mean torture and kill) Tardy and they have recruited Boy Is She Built, who just wants to bash in Tardy's brains and be done with it.

Dilbia is a rough mountainous world with little or no available transportation.  So, how to get Tardy to Streamside Terror and the kidnapped sociologist?  One of the few things Dilbia has going for it is a dedicated mail service so Ambassador Guy decides to mail Tardy to Streamside Terror.  Tardy gets put in Hill Bluffer (the mailman's) bag and off they go.

Spacial Delivery is an amusing, internally consistent, old-fashioned science fiction romp.  By no means is it a major work, but it is fun and a good example of Dickson's early writings.  The book was originally published as one half of an Ace Double (with Dickson's Time to Teleport) and was based on an earlier story "The Man in the Mailbag" (Galaxy Magazine, April 1959).  Dickson returned to Dilbia with Spacepaw (1969) and the 1969 novelette "The Law-Twister Shorty" (The Many Worlds of Science Fiction, edited by Ben Bova, 1971).  The two novels and the 1971 novelette were published in The Right to Arm Bears, an omnibus published in 2000.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Yep, rock and roll is here to stay -- it will never die.  But it took a long while birthing.  You may recognize them as such but here are some of the antecedents, from 1922 to 1936, to a great musical genre.

1922 -- Trixie Smith, "My Man Rocks Me (with One Steady Roll)"

1925 -- Papa Charlie Jackson, "Shake That Thing"

1926 -- Blind Lemon Jefferson, "Black Snake Moan"

1927 -- Uncle Dave Macon and His Fruit Jar Drinkers, "Sail Away" and "Rock About My Saro Jane"

1927 -- Jim Jackson, "Kansas City Blues"

1928 -- Tampa Red and Georgia Tom, "It's Tight Like That"

1928 -- Pinetop Slim, "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie"

1929 -- Blind Roosevelt Graves, "Crazy About My Baby"

1930 -- Jimmie Rogers (with Louis Armstrong on cornet and Lil Armstrong on piano), "Standing on the Corner (Blue Yodel No. 9)"

1932 -- Washboard Rhythm Kings, "Tiger Rag"

1934 -- Austin Coleman and Joe Washington Brown, "Good Lord Run (O Jeremiah)"

1936 -- Harlem Hamfats, "Oh! Red"


Al Green.


For the safety of your smile, use Pepsodent.

For the safety of just about everything else, call on Philip Marlowe.

Van Heflin stars as Raymond Chandler's iconic private eye in this episode of The Adventures of Philip Marlowe.  King Leopoldi, a trumpet player for "The Pepsodent Hour," is found murdered clad only in yellow silk pajamas.  Although yellow was his trademark color, the pajamas were not his.  Philip Marlowe is on the case.

Chandler's original story was first published in the March 1938 issue of Dime Detective, with the detective named Steve Grayce; the name was changed to Marlowe when the story appeared in book form in Chandler's 1945 paperback collection Five Sinister Characters.  The title harks back to Robert W. Chambers' classic 1895 supernatural collection The King in Yellow.

The Adventures of Philip Marlowe (as it was named then) ran from June 17, 1947 to September 9, 1947, as a summer replacement for The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope.  Eight, perhaps nine shows, were aired.The show, now titled The New Adventures of Philip Marlowe, next appeared on CBS radio and ran from September 26, 1948 to September 29, 1950 for 114 episodes.  Gerald Mohr replaced Heflin in the title role.  By 1949 the show had the largest audience in radio.

"The King in Yellow" (July 8, 1947) was the fourth episode featuring Van Heflin to be aired.  The show was adapted for radio by Milton Geiger.  The announcer was Wendell Niles.  Lyn Murray composed the music and conducted the orchestra.  Gerald Mohr (who would take over as Marlowe in 1948) evidently played King Leopoldi, the title character of the episode and the first murder victim.  

Raymond Chandler has little to do with the radio show and declined having script approval, which may explain in part why he was less than impressed with the Van Heflin series.

From a time when radio wasn't very hard-boiled, here's a hard-boiled private eye story.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018


The Mugwups.


What goes "Clip Clop Clip Clop Clip Clop BANG BANG Clip Clop Clip Clop?"

An Amish drive-by shooting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


From 1965, The Byrds.


Curt Siodmak (1902-2000), a German-born novelist and screenwriter, had an interesting life.  After obtaining a degree in mathematics, he began writing books, then sunk the proceeds from them into Menshen am Sontag (People on Sunday), a film for which he provided the story and was co-directed by his older brother Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer, with a script by Billy Wilder -- all magical names from the history of cinema.  With the rise of Adolph Hitler and after hearing a speech by Joseph Geobbels, both brothers decided to it was time to get out of Germany -- Curt to England and Robert to France.  Eventually both made their way to America and Hollywood.  (Curt would often publicly thank Hitler because "if it wasn't for that son of a bitch" he would never have ended up in Hollywood.

Curt Siodmak seemed to specialize in low-budget science fiction and horror films, making his most noted mark with early Universal horror films.   His screenplay for 1941's The Wolf Man created much of today's werewolf lore, such as one becomes a werewolf through a bite, a werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, and werewolf victims were marked with a pentagram.    Other Universal horror films written by Siodmak were The Invisible Man Returns, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Son of Dracula, and House of Frankenstein.  Among other classic, semi-classic, and cult classic films written by Siodmak were  I Walked with a Zombie, Black Friday, The Ape, The Beast with Five Fingers, Bride of the Gorilla, Creature with the Atom Brain, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, and Curucu, Beast of the Amazon.  Siodmak's classic novel Donovan's Brain has been filmed three times.  Siodmak not only scripted Riders to the Stars, he also wrote the tie-in novelization published by Ballantine Books.

Riders to the Stars was produced by Ivan Tors, the second of his "Office of Scientific Investigation' trilogy, sandwiched between The Magnetic Monster (also written by Siodmak) and Gog.  Actor and film co-star Richard Carlson made his directorial debut with this film.  The film also featured William Lundigan (who would later star in television's Men into Space, consider by some to be a spiritual descendant of this film), Herbert Marshall, and Robert Karnes.  Eye candy was provided by Martha Hyer and Dawn Addams.  Look closely and you'll see King Donovan and Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane himself, James K. Best, in supporting roles.

The plot?  Yes, there is one.  An American space agency is trying to find a metal that will withstand the rigors of space.  None can be found on Earth but, because they zoom through space all the time, it's felt that this metal must be found on meteors.  Three hand-picked men, each with his own rocket, are sent on man's first space mission to capture and retrieve meteors.  Do they succeed?  Well, we've landed men on the moon, haven't we?

Riders to the Stars is an earnest, almost documentarian, film.  It has its moments as it tries to depict space flight from a pre-Sputnik viewpoint.  Destination Moon it is not, but its decent cast and direction make it well worth watching.  It is hokey and stereotypically early 1950s and its minescule budget allowed only for the cheesiest of special effects, but please take that in stride as you enjoy this movie.

Monday, March 26, 2018


I met Kitty when I was 19, married her when I was 23, and for the past 48 years I have been gobsmacked that she married me.

Every day for 48 years she has given me love, hope, comfort, and courage.  And every day she has made me a better person.  What can you say about such a person?

I can say I love her.  And that I will love her more every day.

I can say I am thankful for everything she has given me, including, but certainly not limited to, two wonderful daughters.

I can say I'm looking forward to the next 48 years, or however long we will have together.

I can say I cannot think of anyone I would rather spend my life with.

I can say I am truly sorry for every dumb thing I have ever done, such as watering the begonias with boiling tea water, and for every dumb thing I will do in the future because far be it for me to learn from my mistakes.

I can say I will try to be the husband she deserves.

I can say I will never again sing in her presence because my lack of musical talent should never be released upon the world much less her delicate ears.  I could say that but I'd probably be lying.

I can say my arms, my heart, my soul, and my devotion will always be there for her.

I can say many, many things but they will all seem inadequate.

Because I am the luckiest man in the world because of her.


This one's for Kitty.


Openers:  Riding into Splitrock, Wayne Morgan's senses -- the keenly whetted instincts of a man long hunted by men -- detected the pressure of suspense which gripped the cowtown, built within Winchester range of the Mexican border.  -- Walter A Tompkins, "The Outlaw Sheriff" (Masked Rider Western, November 1950)

I've Been Reading:  Much of my week was taken up by Dashiell Hammett's The Big Book of the Continental Op, a 2017 collection edited by Hammett scholar Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett (Hammett's granddaughter) -- all the Continental Op stories ever published, including the stories that formed the basis of the novels Red Harvest and The Dain Curse, as well as a story fragment that was part of an abandoned Continental Op story.  Great stuff!  I also read Hovering Over Baja, the fourth of the thirteen travel books that Erle Stanley Gardner wrote and the only one of the thirteen that I haven't read before.  These travel books were sometimes overblown, but they (especially the ones dealing with Baja California) do give one an idea places that have greatly changed over the past fifty to seventy years.  The Strange Bird:  A Borne Story is a post-apocalyptic SF novella by Jeff Vandermeer, a companion story to his novel Borne.  And finally, two books by Max Allan Collins:  Supreme Justice, the first of his trilogy featuring retired Secret Service agent Joe Reeder and FBI agent Patti Rogers, and Antiques Frame, a Trash 'n' Treasure mystery written with Barbara Collins under the joint pseudonym Barbara Allan.  Collins doesn't disappoint.

March March:  A big shout out to all those who marched against gun violence this Saturday, including many of my friends and family.  When I started this blog I tried very hard to keep my political and personal feelings out of it, yet more and more I find myself ranting against the stupidity rampant in Washington and elsewhere.  In this case, I am certainly not against the Second Amendment although I feel that the Supreme Court ruling which basically expanded gun rights was based on a flawed and politically motivated reading of the Constitution.  I do believe military grade weapons have no place in civilian hands.  I believe bumpstocks and other such devices have no place in our country.  I believe background checks should apply to all gun sales.  I believe that gun deaths are a health problem and should rightfully be studied by the CDC with an aim to use the results in an effort to reduce gun deaths.  I believe in a national computerized gun registration system.  I believe there are some people who never be allowed to own a gun.  I believe in the old NRA, which promoted gun safety and sportsmanship.  I do not believe in the current NRA; to my thinking it comes dangerously close to a terrorist organization.  I do not believe in the current NRA spokespersons, whether it be Dana Loesch, Grant Stinchfield, Chuck Holton, or any other miserable excuse for protoplasm they have, including the self-serving Wayne LaPierre.  (Remind me, how much money does the NRA pay LaPierre?  $985,885 in 2014, $5,110,985 -- including a near $4,000,000 retirement payout -- in 2015, and $1,422,339 in 2016.  Also remind me of the NRA coffers.  Oh, it brought in over $336,000,000 in gross revenue in 2015?  Well that is a lot of money on the table.)  I do not believe in arming teachers, even the "qualified" ones because most school buildings with their long corridors are not architecturally designed for shootouts and because of the high risk of the wrong persons getting shot.  I do not believe in our weak-willed politicians who put party politics and their own careers over our children and out country.  I do not believe in the blithe, meaningless soundbites you hear from the "establishment" whenever there is a shooting tragedy.  I do not believe spending more money on mental illness (whatever that means) will solve our gun problem.  This is another of those feel-good soundbites that crop up and will do little to solve the problem and much to acerbate many other problems.  (I do believe in greatly increased spending for mental health because it is urgently needed, even though it would have little effect on school safety.)  I do not believe in the good guy with a gun theory -- another meaningless soundbite.  (Cynically, I can only think, 'The only thing that can save us from an innocent person of color with a mobile phone is a good policeman with a gun.")  I do believe that Rick Santorum made the idiotic statement that protesters would be better off learning CPR.  I do believe that Tucker Carlson made the idiotic statement that those under 18 are not citizens and have no right to sound off on gun policy.  I do believe that if you are old enough to get shot you are old enough to try to do something about it.  I do believe that this student upswelling is important because somebody has to hold our feet to the fire, for sanity's sake.

Ranted Out:  That's enough ranted.  I'll save our orange Cheet-o and his transgender ban, his sexual accusers, his out of control ego, his stupidity, and his naming of John Bolton for next week.  Okay?

Need To Know?:  In a recent interview, actress Jennifer Lawrence revealed that she has not had sex "in a long time."  I need to know this why?

Underrated:  According to Good Housekeeping, the most underrated attraction in Florida is the Bok Tower Gardens with its 205 foot tall Singing Tower which houses one of the worlds finest carillons.  According to an informal poll on my street, the most justly underrated attraction in Florida is the goiter on the neck of the woman two streets over.

Easter Yummies:  How about some Cadbury Creme Egg brownies?

Or Italian vegetable Easter pie?

Or roast leg of lamb with pomegranate, garlic, and herbs?

But Wait...:  Sunday is also April Fool Day.  Here's some classics;

And, for those who don't care if they lose theri jobs, there's this;

Enjoy your week.

Sunday, March 25, 2018


Hear Tom Boardman as Toastmaster, Brian Aldiss with his guest of honor speech, Robert Silverberg presenting the Hugo Awards, as well as such notables as Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Bloch, Terry Carr, and Forrest J. Ackerman.


The .357 String Band.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


Odetta, with a powerful song from a powerful singer. 

This one is for the kids, the marchers, their supporters, and those who speak sanity to power.

This one is for Columbine, Sandy Hook, Pulse, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and for so many others -- and for Jaelynn Willey, the 16-year-old girl who was taken off life support and subsequently died after being shot at Great Mills High School this week -- a school I often drove past when I lived in Southern Maryland.

There are times when thoughts and prayers are just not enough.


I spent much of this week reading Dashiel Hammett's The Big Book of the Continental Op, a massive collection reprinting the entire Continental Op oeuvre.  Having read (and admired) most of Hammett's works over the years, I thought I'd delve into one of his most famous creations for today's comic book post -- Secret Agent X9.

Perhaps creation is not the best word because the concept was created by someone at King Features Syndicate, which wanted to have a comic strip that would compete with  such popular strips as Dick Tracy, Red Barry, Dan Dunn, and others.  (King Features wavered between having the character doing all sorts of secret agent stuff or just fighting crime, a la Dick Tracy.)  They needed someone to write the strip and they needed someone to draw the strip so they hired one of the best hard-boiled writers of the pulps (Hammett) and a talented young artist who was creating Flash Gordon at the same time, Alex Raymond.  What a combination!

After writing the first four story arcs, Hammett dropped out, to be replaced by Leslie Charteris, the creator of The Saint, for one story arc.  The writing then was written by people using the house name Robert Stone.  Raymond left the strip before its second anniversary because of the demands of his Flash Gordon strip; he was replaced by (in order) Charles Flanders, Nicholas Afonsky, Austin Briggs, then by Mel Graff, who soon took over the writing (and/or supervising) of the strip.  Graff began working on the strip in 1940 and ended his run in 1960.   Al Lubbers (signing himself as "Bob Lewis") replaced Graff and was himself replaced by the team of artist Al Williamson and writer Archie Goodwin from 1967 to 1980.  Then George Evans ran the strip until its end.

The strip ran from January 22, 1934, to February 10, 1996.  Along the way it underwent a number of changes.  As mentioned above, King features was unsure of whether the hero should be a secret agent-type or a detective type.  They got around the problem by ignoring it -- X9 worked for an unknown agency and dabbled as both.  During Flanders' run with the strip, the mattered was resolved by having X9 working for the FBI.  (This went on for years until J. Edgar Hoover fell out of the public favor, then X9's agency was once again unknown and not spoken of.)  Graff got rid of the "Secret Agent X9" title, and gave the lead character a name -- Phil Corrigan.  In 1950 Graff married Corrigan off to Wilda Dorray, a mystery novelist.  Two years later they had a daughter, Philda.  Graff sailed in seldom chartered waters when he paired a Native American colleague of Corrigan with a beautiful painter in an interracial romance.  A lasting romance was not in the cards for Corrigan, however.  After years after Goodwin took over the writing, Corrigan and Wilda divorced, leaving the way for our hero to have a fling with lovely Karla Kopak, the niece of a character from a completely different comic strip, Brick Bradford.  During the Evans reign, Corrigan romanced both the niece of his bureau chief and a spy from a rival agency.  Somewhere long the way the title was changed to Secret Agent Corrigan.

Corrigan came back briefly in 2000-2001 for a guest appearance in the Flash Gordan Sunday strip. 

At the link below is issue 20 (October 1951) of the New Zealand reprint of Secret Agent X9, containing 48 daily strips from November 28 to the following January 21 (year unknown, but most likely 1949 -- if my math is right).  This is smack dab in the Graff era, shortly before Corrigan marries Wilda.


Thursday, March 22, 2018


Tommy Steele.


With the vernal equinox this past week it is now OFFICIALLY SPRING!  (And how's that working out for you, East Coast?)

With Spring, a young blogger's fancy turns to...Spring Byington.

So here's a classic episode of December Bride from June 15, 1952.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Joe Diffie.


I'd like to welcome all of you to this meeting of Plastic Surgery Anonymous.  I see a lot of new faces here today...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones.


Yesterday the always entertaining Paul Bishop blogged about his upcoming author's talk at the Camarillo, California public library.  (Saturday, March 31, from 1 to 4 pm -- be there or be square!).  Paul will be speaking about True Grit -- both the Charles Portis novel and both films, followed by a screening of the John Wayne/Kim Darby film.  His post included half a dozen stills of Wayne from the film, with appropriate quotes -- the last one is a hoot.

Anyway, this got me thinking about John Wayne westerns and how long it has been since I've seen one.


Here's Stagebrush Trail, a fairly neat little oater where the Duke plays a man wrongly imprisoned for murder.  He escapes, goes west, joins an outlaw gang, falls in love with pretty Sally Blake only to discover that he's riding with the man who has both fallen in love with the same girl and was the murderer for the crime of which the duke was imprisoned.

Nancy Shubert (in her only credited role) plays the innocent young lass, Lane Chandler ( well-recognized face for almost fifty years, often in bit or uncredited parts) was the bad guy, and Henry Hall (with almost 250 IMDb credits, another recognizable but unsung veteran of mainly bit and uncredited parts) plays the girl's shopkeeper father.  A host of experienced B-movie western actors -- including the great Yakima Canutt -- fill out the rest of the bill.

With decent cinematography and some great stunts, it's not a bad way to spend an hour.


Monday, March 19, 2018


Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company.


Opening Lines:  I hardly knew when Jura Singh came into my life; he was so much a part of my early years that it seemed he was with us as far back as I can remember.  But I will never forget the day he went away -- for on that day all the old ways changed.  That day the peace and happiness of my childhood was suddenly ended, and something sinisterly evil came over me that was to transform my life into a ghastly nightmare.  That day, at the age of twelve, I became a woman -- a woman with unholy passions and a Circe-like force that beckoned irresistibly to the grave...  -- "Conrad Kimball" (Wayne Rogers), "Prey for the Daughter of Hell" (Terror Tales, May 1940)

[Terror Tales was a weird horror pulp magazine that ran from September 1934 to March 1941.  Although it was a very successful magazine of its type, its literary value can easily be questioned.]

I've Been Reading:  Planned reading for this week and the next went a bit by the wayside with a slew of books ordered from the local library.  I did read three travel books by Erle Stanley Gardner -- Gypsy Days on the Delta (Sacramento River Delta), and The Hidden Heart of Baja and Off the Beaten Track in Baja (both about Baja California).  I also read an oldie but goodie, Joseph Lewis French's 1920 anthology Best Psychic Stories.  Coming up is the latest Carpenter and Quincannon by Bill Pronzini (sans Marcia Muller), Dashiell Hammett's The Big Book of the Continental Op, Jeff Vandermeer's The Strange Bird, Carmen Maria Machado's collection Her Body and Other Parties.  Due soon (probably this week) are Mickey Spillane's The Last Stand and Joe R. Lansdale's Jackrabbit Smile.  I will squeeze in finishing Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes and Donald E. Westlake's The Comedy Is Finished.  a lot on my reading plate, it seems.

One Hundred Years Ago Today:  Congress established the U. S. time zones and approved daylight saving time.  Bill Crider would rail against the whole spring-forward-fall-back thing on his blog yearly.  Somebody in Florida finally listened:  the state voted to go on daylight saving time throughout year round.  I'm not sure if the bill has been signed yet.  [It should also note the Newfoundland has its own special time zone -- 30 minutes ahead of the Atlantic Time Zone and 90 minutes ahead of the Eastern Time Zone.  Newfies are their own special breed of cat.*)

Well, Duh:  Vladimir Putin has been reelected.  In a landslide.  In the meantime Russia reportedly (wink wink) has been offing people they don't like via radiation poisoning.  President KBG denies this (wink wink), positing that the poison was manufactured in England.  Here's a link to an article explaining why radioactive poisoning became the assassin's weapon of choice:

Happy Birthday, Edith:  When I was a kid, Edith Nourse Rogers (1881-1960) represented our district (the Massachusetts 5th) in the House of Representatives.  In a basically Republican district, she was revered not only by Republicans but by many Democrats.  This was back in the days when people were more important than party and bipartisan was not a dirty word.  Her husband, John Rogers, was elected to Congress in 1912 and was in his seventh term when he suddenly died.  Edith (as she was called in our household) ran for her husband's seat, won, and served eighteen consecutive terms.  She was the sixth woman in history to serve in Congress.  In 1958 she was considered as a formidable challenger to John F. Kennedy for Senate, but decided not to run.  She was extremely influential in veterans' affairs, opposed child labor, pushed for equal rights for women, fought for German Jewish refugees, wrote the bill that created the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and co-wrote the bill that establish the WACs, she helped draft, then co-sponsored the G.I Bill,helped establish flood control in her home district, and was a fervent support of local manufacturers.  During World War II, the army was desperate for fighting men and would often ship recruits out to battle before they were trained -- basically making them cannon fodder.  Edith found out about this practice and put a stop to it.  She was an isolationist at heart but supported many of FDR's major foreign policy initiatives -- but only when she was convinced it was good for the country and the Administration was not "trying to put something across."  A 1943 confidential report for the British Foreign office stated, "She is regarded in Congress as a capable and hard-working woman.  A pleasant and kindly old battle-axe -- but a battle-axe."

Bezos-1, Iguana-0:  Jeff Bezos ate iguana this week, perhaps starting a new food trend.  Or perhaps not.

Good Doggie:  Bear with me about this item.  A Chinese man identified only by his surname Yang went mushroom hunting back in April 2015 and found a puppy which he took home and adopted as a pet.  The "puppy" turned out to be an Asian black bear, protected under Chinese law.  The man only realized that his pet was not a puppy only after it grew big, still he kept it as a pet until earlier this months when authorities discovered what was going on. 

Words to Remember from Marjory:  "Be a nuisance where it counts.  Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action.  Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption, and bad politics -- but never give up." -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Further Off the Deep End:  This morning president Trump is expected to reveal his plan to stop the opioid crisis.  He wants the death penalty for certain drug dealers.  Policy by sound bites strikes again.  Sheesh!

* All but the four-legged Newfies.  They're a special breed of dog..

Sunday, March 18, 2018


Mystery author and playwright Ngaio Marsh was 18 when she spent Christmas of 1913 in the bush near Canterbury, New Zealand.  Here she talks briefly about that holiday.


Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Grandson Jack had a sleepover at our house last night and, being a five-year-old, woke himself (and me) at 5:00 am.

When we went into the living room there was our St. Patrick's Day surprise.  A complete stranger passed out on our sofa.

The guy was in his twenties with a scraggly beard and lots tattoos.  His pants were on the living room floor, beside one of his shoes.  The other shoe was by the back door.  One picture over the television set had been knocked askew and the other knocked completely off the wall.  Our visitor had evidently had a little bit too much of the drink and had wandered in.  We must remember to lock the door.

Jack took a photo of him while he slept.  I wrote today's blog entries.  The stranger slept on.

He woke up about seven, looked around with a confused look on his face, and groaned.

I said, "Good morning.  I'm kind of wondering what you're doing here."  He didn't answer, but slowly gathered his pants and shoes.  It took him a while to get dressed; coordination didn't come easy this early in the morning, I guess.  Once dressed, he stumbled out of the house...into whatever world drunk interlopers come from.

Kitty was freaked when she found out (she slept late).  I had made sure that nothing -- money medications, whatever -- was missing when I first found him.  Nope, he was just a hapless (hopeless?) soul who had stumbled into our lives.

But, dammit, from now on, the door is going to be locked!


A St. Patrick's Day treat from Tommy Makem.  A personal favorite.


Today is St.Patrick's Day -- time to celebrate all things Irish.  In my warped mind, the first thing I think about on this day is Irish McCalla, Vargas model, pin-up girl, and -- most importantly -- the star of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle syndicated series from 1955-1956.  So, as my sideways salute to St. Patrick's Day and to the lovely Irish, I thought I would rave about Sheena in the comic books.

Sheena was created by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger in 1937 under the pseudonym "W. Morgan Thomas."  She first appeared in the British comic book Wags Comics #1; the following year she made her American debut in a five-page story in Jumbo Comics #1 (September 1938).  Her adventures in Jumbo Comics continued through March 1953 for a total of 167 appearances -- for most of those issues she was featured on the cover.  In 1942, Sheena appeared in her own title for an erratically paced 18 issues ending in 1952. (Two issues appeared in 1942; one in 1943; one in 1948; one in 1949; five in 1950; four in 1951; and four in 1952.)  Sheena was the first-ever female comic book character to have her own comic book title, preceding Wonder Woman by three months.  She also appeared in seven of the sixteen issues of Jungle Girls, which ran from 1988 to 1993.

Over the years, Sheena has appeared in several one-shot comics, including one in 3-D,  Since 2017, she has appeared in her own title from Dynamite Entertainment with a bit more bosom and a bit more skin.

In other media, Sheena has appeared in at least two pulp stories from Fiction House, in a 1984 film straaring Tanya Roberts (with a movie tie-in comic book from Marvel), in a 2000 television reboot starring Gena Lee Nolan (35 episodes), and in a number of uncredited Bollywood films beginning in 1983.  Another Sheena reboot is in development.  Sheena has also appeared in songs by The Ramones and by Bruce Springsteen.

Just who is Sheena?

Basically, she's a female Tarzan.  Her name was chosen as a tribute to H. Rider Haggard's novel She. The young blonde daughter of explorer Carwell Rivington is left orphaned during an African trak and is then raised by a native witch doctor in the ways of the jungle, eventually becoming the Queen of the Jungle. I don't now what her first name was, unless it was actually Sheena.  Sheena is strong, brave, and athletic.  Her only superhuman ability is being able to talk to animals.  Her weapons include spears, bows, knives, and a strong sense of survival.  In some later versions of Sheena, she has been transplanted from the African jungle to a South American one, and in the Gena Lee Nolan series she has be given the power to transform into animals.  She sometimes goes by the name Rachael Caldwell.  In Jumbo Comics #1 she meets white hunter Bob Reynolds (sometimes named Bob Reilly or Bob Rayburn, and in later incarnations, Rick Thorne), who becomes her mate.  Every jungle hero or heroine needs a monkey companion; hers is named Chim.

Here's Jungle Comics #1, also featuring Hawks of the Sea, Spencer Steel, ZX-5, Wilton of the West, Inspector Dayton, and many others:

And here's Sheena, Queen of the Jungle #1, which features six (count 'em, six) Sheena adventures, as well as a number of shorter features:

Even though these two issues well predate Irish McCalla's 26 episodes as Sheena, have a great St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2018


Joe Cocker.


Best Psychic Stories edited by Joseph Lewis French (1920)

I've been rereading an anthology I first read when in junior high school, Best Psychic Stories, and was surprised how well many of the stories held up.

Joseph Lewis French (1858-1936), as well as being a novelist, poet, and journalist,  might have been "The most industrious anthologist of our time," according to the New York Times.  He was known for his themed anthologies about ghosts, pirates, the sea, detection, and the west, among others.  Despite his productivity, French struggled financially and in 1927 wrote an article entitled "I'm Starving -- Yet I'm in Who's Who as the Author of 27 Famous Books."

I still remember the thrill of finding this book in the stacks of my local library and the musty smell of its yellowed pages when I opened the book.  I remember wondering if I could read all of its thick pages -- only 299 pages, it turns out, but at the time it seemed as if they went on forever.  And all the stories were new to me back then!  Now I know that many of the tales are familiar.  Some are well-dated, others still provide a frisson of excitement.  Probably the best story in the book, IMHO, is Fiona Macleod's "The Sin-Eater," a tale of revenge gone wrong.  There are a number of others well worth reading.

The contents:

  • "Preface" by Joseph Lewis French
  • "Introduction:  The Psychic in Literature" by Dorothy Scarborough
  • "When the World Was Young" (1910) by Jack London
  • "The Return" (1911) by Algernon Blackwood
  • "The Second Generation" (1912) by Algernon Blackwood
  • "Joseph:  A Story" (1920) by Katherine Rickford
  • "The Clavecin Bruges" (1920) by George Wharton Edwards
  • "Ligeia" (1838) by Edgar Allan Poe
  • "The Sylph and the Father" (1920) by Elsa Barker
  • "A Ghost" (1889) by Lafcadio Hearn
  • 'The Eyes of the Panther" (1897) by Ambrose Bierce
  • "Photographing Invisible Beings" (1920) by Wm. T. Stead
  • "The Sin-Eater" (1895) by "Fiona Macleod" (William Sharp)
  • "Ghosts in Solid Form' (1920) by Gambier Bolton
  • "The Phantom Armies Seen in France" (1920) by Hereward Carrington
  • "The Portal of the Unknoen" (1920) by Andrew Jackson Davis, "The Seer"
  • "The Supernormal Experiences" (1920) by St. John D. Seymouor (mistakenly given as "St. John B. Seymour" in the book)
  • "Nature-Spirits or Elementals" (1920) by Nizida (full or real name unknown)
  • "A Witches' Den" (1920) by Mme. Helena Blavatsky
  • "Remarkable Psychic Experiences of Famous People" (1920) by Walter F. Prince, PhD
(Although listed as fiction in ISFDb, a number of these "stories" are obviously articles of supposedly true events.  I remain skeptical about that whole "true" bit.)

Best Psychic Stories is available online at Internet Archive.  Give it a whirl.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Grand Funk Railroad.


By 1974 radio drama was pretty much considered dead, but legendary radio producer Himan Brown convinced CBS radio to make a return the genre with CBS Radio Mystery Theater, an hour-long show (about 45 minutes plus commercials) that eventually ran from January 1974 to February 1982 for a total of 1,399 original programs (total shows, including reruns, would number 2,969).  Astounding numbers, but consider:  Himan Brown produced over 30,000 radio shows over a period of sixty five years.  Brown died in 2010, less than two months from his 100th birthday.

With an appropriate title for today, the program linked below first aired on September 10, 1975 and starred Nino Foch and Les Tremayne.  E. G. Marshall was the announcer.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018


I could listen to this song forever...literally.


3.14% of sailors are Pi rates.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's table was Sir Cumference .  He ate too much pi.

In Alaska, where it gets very cold, pi is only 3.00 because things shrink in the cold.  This mathematical variant is called Eskimo pi.

Never talk to pi...he'll go on forever.

Saw the movie American Pi.  I give it a 3.14.

They are rebooting a television show about a private investigator who uses math to solve his cases...Magnum Pi.

And, for the heck of it, a math joke:

What happens when you put root beer into a square glass?  It becomes beer.

Happy Pi Day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


The Village Stompers.


Letitia "Tish" Carberry was one of Mary Roberts Rinehart's most popular characters.  The rawboned spinster appeared in enough short stories to fill six books, from 1911's The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry to 1937's Tish Marches On.   

She made it to the big screen in 1942 in the form of popular actress Marjorie Main (Ma Kettle in ten "Ma and Pa Kettle" movies; Mrs. O'Malley -- a renamed Hildegarde Withers -- in Mrs. O'Malley and Mister Malone; the title role in Gentile Annie)

Tish lives in Sunville with her nephew Charlie (Lee Bowman).  She is noted for putting her nose where it doesn't belong, often with disastrous results.  In this she is abetted by her friends Aggie Pilkington (Zasu Pitts) and Lizzie Wilkins (Aline MacMahon), both of whom live nearby in a boarding house.  Charlie loves Kit Bowser (Virginia Gray), the daughter of Judge Horace Bowser (the always watchable Guy Kibbee).  Cora (Susan Peters) is a girl from the boarding house who thinks she is in love with Charlie.  Tish, Aggie, and Lizzie decide to try to get Cora and charlie together.  The plot goes astray when Cora decides she really loves Kit's brother Ted (Richard Quine) and the two secretly marry just before Ted is sent to flight training in Canada.  Cora, anxious to join her new husband, steals money from the church organ fund and vanishes.  Tish takes the blame for the missing funds.  Cora meanwhile, is pregnant.  She has managed to raise money to replace that she has stolen when she gets a wire that Ted has been killed in a training accident.  This proves to be too much for Cora, who collapses, is brought to a hospital, gives birth, and then conveniently dies.  Tish thinks the baby is Charlie's and brings him home to raise by herself, saying that she is the child's grandmother.  Charlie thinks Tish has gone off the rails and has her committed to a mental hospital and plans to take the baby to an orphanage.

Fun, huh?

Well, this soap opera is a comedy, and a pretty good one at that. 

Tish was directed by S. Sylvan Simon (The Fuller Brush Man, Whistling in the Dark); and adapted from Rinehart's Tish stories by Annalee Whitmore and Tom Seller, who had collaborated on two earlier films), with a screenplay by Harry Ruskin (writer of twelve Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie films and three Andy Hardy movies).  Two-time Oscar winner Frances Marion and voice actor and script doctor Carey Wilson were both uncredited writers.  Add in the talented cast and you have a movie I like.

Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958) was one the most popular writers in the first half of the 20th century.  She is perhaps best known for her mystery stories and was known as "America's Agatha Christie" -- this despite the fact that her first mystery appeared fourteen years before Mrs. Christie's.  Although the phrase "The butler did it" never appeared in her books, she is credited with that phrase because of her 1930 novel The Door.  Rinehart is also credited with inventing the "had I but known" school of mystery writing.  Rinehart had an interesting life.  She served as a war correspondent during World War I.  She once had a chef who had worked for her for twenty-five years before firing a pistol at her and trying to attack her with knives; the chef committed suicide the next day.  In the 1940s Rinehart underwent a radical mastectomy; she went public about it in a 1947 interview, urging women to have breast examinations -- something that was not really done at the time (back in the days when the word "cancer" seldom appeared in print).  For that act of bravery alone, she should be lauded.

Enjoy the poking and prying Miss Carberry.

Monday, March 12, 2018


Bo Diddley.


True Love Wins Out:  Big arms swept around her suddenly and firm lips came down upon hers and Barbara knew that never in all her gay, spoiled life that Adela Ash had been kissed like that.
-- from "Cornflower-blue" by Phyllis A. Whitney (Street & Smith's Love Story Magazine, October 20, 1934)

I've Been Reading:  End of a J.D. was a Gold Medal mystery by Robert Terrall under his "John Gonzales" pseudonym was an interesting, fast-moving, sexy, wacky book that read like a second-tier Richard S. Prather novel.  Hunting Lost Mines by Helicopter was a 1965 nonfiction book by Erle Stanley Gardner which took Gardner and friend to the sometimes deadly Superstition Mountains in search of the Lost Dutchman Mine and others.  The lore and history recounted made this one of the most interesting of Gardner's travel books, marred mainly by Gardner's effusive praise of his companions:  the "experienced" this, the "most experienced" that, the "best"cook, the "most capable" pilot, and so one.  Sheesh!  Didn't the guy travel with at least one run-of-the-mill ordinary noob?  I also read four mediocre Marvel graphic novels:  Doctor Strange:  The Way of the Weird, scripted by Jason Aaron (decent by confusingly intricate artwork by Chris Bachala); Guardians of the Galaxy:  New Guard, Vol. 1: Emperor Quill, scripted by Brian Michael Bendis (some humor, meh lot); and two volumes of Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0:  Most Wanted? and Vol. 2:  Weapon of Choice, both scripted by Jason Latour, with art I really didn't care for by Robbi Rodiguez.  I'm currently reading another ESG travel book, Drifting Down the Delta, and Donald E. Westlake's The Comedy Is Finished.

A Loyal Cat:  Most mornings, we drive Jack to his bus stop because his folks have to be at work early.  Usually there is a little girl -- seven- or eight-years-old, maybe -- waiting for her bus.  Almost always we see her with her tiger cat, sometimes the cat is there and sometimes it crosses the street from her house to be with her.  I think it's protecting her.  Once the bus picks her up, her cat crosses the street again to home.  I like that.  I can't say why, but I like that.

Soccer Coach-in-Chief?:  My daughter's father-in-law happens to be a high-powered lawyer (one of the good ones) in Washington, D.C., currently working at the White House.  Two of Jessamyn's nephews were playing against each other in a youth soccer game the other week and their father, Dan, was giving a play-by-play over the phone to his father.  Jessamyn's father-in-law dotes on his grandchildren and was giving them soccer tips when another voice came on the phone to give some POTUS soccer tips.  Say what you will about Donald Trump (and I have and I will), it's kind of cool to get soccer tips from the President of the United States.  I don't know if his tip were any good -- I have a feeling that tip #1 was "Lock her up!" and tip # 2 involved calling the referee for making "Fake calls!")  I'm dreaming of an alternate universe where the president ONLY tweets soccer tips.

Florida Leads the Way:  A seventh-grade female student at a Miami charter school had a funny feeling about a particularly skeezy math teacher so she Googled him.  Turns out the guy had a history of inappropriate behavior toward female students, in one case keeping a lock of hair and a used tissue from one student and telling another that he loved her.  The Miami charter student posted her findings on snapchat and with days, the teacher was fired.  Other female students at the school said the teacher made them feel uncomfortable.  The big question is how the heck did this man get a job at the charter school when a simple Google search should have raised serious questions?  The school principal "responded to an email from one concerned parent with sarcasm and a poop emoji."  The princila later said he probably should have Googled the teacher, but since the teacher came from another charter school, he assumed the man was okay.  Isn't is fun when a seventh-grader has to do a job that a responsible adult would not?

Go Figure:  O.J. Simpson's book publisher says he did it.  "No!" said nobody.

Jessica Jones, Season 2:  Dark, really dark.

A Headline: On  "Did Blake dump Gwen?  What's really going on."  Who the hell is Blake?  And who the hell is Gwen?  And does this mean that I am completely out of touch or does this mean that I actually have a life?

The Week in Trump:  The president is trying to put the kibosh on an interview with porn star and possible threat Stormy Daniels scheduled to air on 60 Minutes.  It has been revealed that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen used a Trump business letterhead in his Stormy Daniels arrangements.  Cohen complained to friends that he had not been reimbursed for the $130,000 payoff to Stormy Daniels.Trump lawyers managed to gain a temporary restraining order against Daniels from an arbitration judge in a run-around without the knowledge of Daniels or her lawyer.  Trump seems to be flirting with becoming president for life after china's lead.  Trump is also parroting Phillipine strongman Duarte in wanting to give death sentences to drug pushers.  Trump claims sole credit for the "success" of the Winter Olympics.  Trump blindsided everyone -- including his advisers -- by agreeing to meet with Kin Jun Un.  He also tweeted that Representative Maxine Waters should take an I.Q. test.  And he dissed Oprah...and Chuck Todd...and Elizabeth Warren...and Jeff Sessions...and the Oscars.  Commenting on the revolving door of presidential aides, Trump (in an amazing display of team morale building -- not!said that there were others we wanted to get rid of.  While pushing his insane tariffs which will have a disastrous effect on our economy.  Robert Mueller is zeroing in a meeting the Erik Prince (Trump supporter and adviser and brother to Education Secretary Betsy deVos) took with in the Seychelles with the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates and a Russian banker with close ties to Putin and whose bank controls a $10 billion fund that is currently under U.S. sanction.  Putin, by the way, praised Trump this week and said that the American political system was "eating itself."Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg, after going on numerous political talk shows drunkenly defying a subpoena from Mueller, has agreed to honor the subpoena; Nunberg, who previously said he hated Trump, now says that the Mueller probe is not a witch hunt.  Putin announced a new type of nuclear missile that can evade and interception; he backed this up with an animation of a missile hitting **sigh** Florida.  Ivanka's business dealings are under investigation by the FBI; add that Jarod's demotion and investigations into his business dealings and you can understand why Trump reportedly asked Chief of Staff General to fire the two of them.

Did I cover everything that happened this week?  Probably not.

And how was your week?

Sunday, March 11, 2018


In this 2009 interview for The Writing Life, Laura Lippman discusses mysteries, her writing, her experiences as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, and her famous character Tess Monaghan.



"The father of black gospel music," Thomas Dorsey.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


An early rock and roll classic from Tiny Bradshaw.


Who doesn't like a giant ape story?  I assume that was the question asked by American International Pictures when they produced their 1961 movie Konga.  Well it turns out that not everyone loves a giant ape movie; at least, not one with a poor plot, poor direction, poor acting, and poor effects.  The film was so bad it has become a camp classic (think such films as The Terror of Tiny Town and Bill and Coo).  Luckily, as part of the film's publicity, Charlton Comics issued a tie-in comic book in June 1960 (the film came out nine months later with a March 1961 premiere) with a decent script by Joe Gill and artwork by Steve Ditko.  the comic was far superior to the film.

The comic book, issued prematurely, was an unnumbered one-shot, but it had garnered enough interest to become a series.  So, in August 1961, Charlton issued Konga #2.  The title ran for a total of 23 issues through November 1965, sort of -- issue #24 was issued as Fantastic Giants #1.  (It supposedly brought the saga of Konga to an end, and included the final story about another Charlton giant monster, Gorgo.)  There was also a special unnumbered issue in 1962 titled The Return of Konga.

But Nothing Is Final In Comic Books, three years later Konga was back in a three-issue run titled Konga's Revenge

SPOILER ALERT:  Konga was killed at the end of the film and, thus, at the end of the movie tie-in comic.  Following the NIFICB rule, he was brought back to life in issue #2 -- don't ask me how because I haven't read that issue.  END SPOILER ALERT

So what about the saga of Konga?

Biologist Dr. Decker is the lone survivor of a small plane crash in the Congo.  He wakes on the jungle floor with a small monkey trying to wake him.  The monkey leads him to a native village populated by giants.  The tiny monkey, BTW, is called Konga and is sacred to this particular tribe.  Because Konga obviously likes Dr. Decker, the tribe of giants take him in.  The gigantism is due to an essence extracted from the seeds of a giant man-eating plant.  Obviously (??!!??) this is the "link" between plant and animal evolution.  (The theories of evolution in this comic book are so wack they could be included in a Kansas high school textbook.)

After a year in the jungle, Decker returns to England, accompanied by Konga.  (Why the native tribe allowed their sacred animal to go with Decker is unexplained.)  Decker is determined to prove his off-kilter evolutionary theory by experimenting on Konga.  Once injected by the mysterious man-eating-plant-seed-extract, Konga not only instantly grew but he also evolved into a chimpanzee -- the next step in the evolutionary process (??!!??).  The next dose turned him into a gorilla, but with a difference.  The formula also changes the brain so that "thought transference" is possible.  Yep, Konga is able to read Decker's thoughts and Decker happened to thinking bad thought about his boss with whom he had argued earlier that day.  

It's not nice to make Konga's best buddy mad, especially when Konga has no idea of right and wrong.  That evening, Konga reached through his cage, grabbed the keys, let himself out, went and brutally mauled Decker's boss, left the mangled body, went back to Decker's lab, and locked himself back in his cage.  Easy peasy.  No one would suspect.

Then Decker meets a visiting professor (Professor Tagore) who is researching the same thing he is and would probably publish before him.  Konga reads Decker's thoughts and decides the visiting prof is a threat to Decker.  Once more, the ape goes a-roaming at night and Tagore ends up dead.

The next, while silently celebrating Tagore's death, Decker is told by Sandra, his beautiful, blonde, pneumatically enhanced student assistant, that she will not longer be working with him; she has accepted a marriage proposal from her Joe college boyfriend Bob.  This doesn't set right with Decker and it certainly doesn't set right with Konga.  This time however, Konga injects himself with the formula -- a dosage 50 times greater that Decker had been using -- and grows into a gigantic ape-thing full of rage with no coping mechanisms.  Destruction follows

SPOILER ALERT AGAIN:  Kong dies.  Decker dies.  Decker's wife dies.  (Oh, didn't I mention her before?  Sorry.)  Sandra lives.  Bob lives.  The end.  END SPOILER ALERT REDUX

And there you have it.  Somehow Gill and Ditko managed to make a silk purse out of an ape's rump.


P.S.  It's no coincidence that the cover of this issue uses the phrase " big as KING KONG!"  Konga -- Kong, get it?  Of course you do.  Just as you get that Konga came from the Congo.  Konga -- Congo.  Aben Kandel and Herman Cohen, the script writers for the original movie were nothing if not heavy-handed.

Friday, March 9, 2018


Sons of the Pioneers, from 1955.


End of a J.D. by "John Gonzales" (Robert Terrall) (1960)

The second of six novels featuring Harry Horne, former newspaperman and current magazine writer (and, later, roving reporter), End of a J.D. is an entertaining, fast-moving, and somewhat flawed Gold Medal original paperback.

Harry has just been released from a ten-day stay in prison for refusing to reveal a source for a recent story.  It's anyone's guess whether the judge will order him back to prison if he continues to defy the court.  (That doesn't matter to the reader since the plot quickly moves away from this.)  Harry, refreshed by a shower and "several shots of scotch," heads out to his favorite nightclub to meet his favorite chanteuse/stripper Sandra Burke.  Over the course of their (unfortunately) platonic) relationship, Sandra has been a "good girl," but she is beginning to waver in Harry Horne's case.

It looks like all of Sandra's barriers are down.  When Harry takes Sandra back to his apartment things fall apart.  Spread out on Harry's bed are a woman's clothes, with an amply sized brassiere on top of the pile.  A woman's voice from the bathroom calls out to Harry that she's in the shower.  A naked, voluptuous, young woman whom Harry had never met comes out of the bathroom and hugs him.  This rightly cools Sandra's ardor and she storms out of the apartment, leaving Harry with this naked stranger clinging to him.

Of course, you know what happens next.  She stabs Harry, then calmly leaves the apartment.  Harry wakes up in the hospital where a young thug tries to finish the job.

Basically we are in Richard S. Prather territory now.  Harry has Shel Scott's libido and appreciation of women.  Like Prather's hero, Harry goes haphazardly from situation to situation, breezily figuring things out as he goes -- an imperfect, sometimes bumbling, hero trying to do good while enmeshed in a wacky case.

Along the way we meet the sexy widow of a murdered gangster, a cop who giggles at Harry's sexual misadventures, a gang of juvenile delinquents that does not appear to be too rebellious, a crime kingpin who previously tried to kill Harry with a bomb, and assorted thugs and mugs.

Although entertaining, this is a second- or third-tier Gold Medal and may not be to everyone's taste, but I had a great time with it.

About the author:

Robert Terrall may be best known for more than twenty ghosted books about Mike Shayne after Shayne's creator Brett Halliday "retired" in the late Fifties, and for his Ben Gates mysteries written under his "Robert Kyle" pseudonym.  J. Kingston Pierce wrote a wonderful piece about Terrall shortly after the author's death in 2009.  I've added the link below because it is certainly worth your time.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


From 1998, here's Carlos Santana with Peter Green.


From the Old Radio World website:

"Blackstone the Magic Detective was a 15-minute radio series which aired Sunday afternoons at 2:45 ET on the Mutual Broadcasting System from October 3, 1948 until April 3, 1949.

"The series, starring Ed Jerome as 'the world's greatest living magician,' was based on real-life magician Harry Blackstone, Jr.  Storylines usually opened with Blackstone (Jerome) telling his friends John (Ted Osborne) and Rhoda (Fran Carlton) about an experience from his past, and this mystery story was then dramatized in a flashback.  At the end, Blackstone challenged the audience to find a solution to the magical mystery.  Each show concluded with Blackstone outlining a trick that listeners could perform for the amusement of their friends.

"The announcer for the series was Alan Kent, and the background organ music was supplied by Bill Meeder.  The scripts were written by Walter B. Gibson, the ghostwriter of Blackstone's books.

"Gibson also created EC Comics Blackstone the Magic Detective Fights Crime in 1947.  The comic book series continued at Marvel as Blackstone the Magician (#2) and Blackstone the Magician Detective (#3, #4)."

Here's Blackstone's first radio adventure, "The Ghost That Trapped a Killer," from October 3, 1948.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018


It's been over a half a century since I first saw her.  She was taking a walk while drinking a cup of coffee, or perhaps tea.  She was -- and is -- the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  She had moved into the neighborhood one street over a few months before, but it would be another few months before we would actually meet.  But when we did meet...oh wow!

Her eyes.  They were greenish, or grayish, or light bluish, depending on the light, with a few small specks of gold sprinkled in.  They were eyes I could get lost in.  I still do.  She had a smile that could melt your heart.  Her laughter made the world seem right.  She was beautiful.

And smart.

And talented.

And funny.

And kind.

And self-possessed.

Her concern and compassion for people went beyond that of a typical teenager outraged by the inequities he or she saw around them.  Like many in the Sixties, she believed in justice and would soon put that belief into action.

She liked music and movies and parties.

People were drawn to her.  Who could blame them?

For some reason I still can't figure out, she actually liked me.  We started dating shortly after I first met her

She is without a doubt the very best thing that ever happened to me.

We will have been married forty-eight years later this month.  Every year is better than the one before.

Two kids.  Five grandchildren.  A few heartbreaks and tears.  Much laughter and joy.  Some health problems, but nothing that could disturb our bond.  I am the luckiest man on earth because of her.

I look back on the person I was before I met her and I am not proud.  She has made me a much better person.  I hope that I have been able to her something back beyond my love, admiration, respect, and awe.

There are still challenges ahead of us but I will meet them head on because that's what she taught me to do.  When I hold her in my arms I realize that there is nothing I can't do.  She makes me invincible.

She is my wife, my lover, my best friend, my accomplice, my hero, and my guiding light.

Happy birthday, my dearest one.  I love you.


Esther Phillips.



"General," said an American major, "I always observe that those persons who have a great deal to say about being ready to shed their last drop of blood, are amazin' pertic'lar about the first drop."

-- from Beeton's Book of Jokes and Jests; or, Good Things Said and Sung by Samuel Orchart Beeton (London: Ward, Lock and Tyler, 1880)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


This Tom Leher song seems a good fit to today's Overlooked Television.


If it's 1954, it must be "Duck and Cover."

Actually, not everyone ducked and covered.  My wife, whose family lived outside Washington, D.C., at the time, vividly remembers the duck and cover exercises.  Her school sent home letters to parents asking if, in the event of an atomic attack, they wish their child sent home or wanted them to stay at the school.  Paranoia -- perhaps justified -- ruled.  On the other hand, I was living on a small farm twenty-five miles outside of Boston and we had none of that.  Yes, there were the occasional duck and cover PSAs on television, but why pay attention to that when Hopalong Cassidy was on?

The fifties were not as placid as many people think.  The threat of an atomic attack was real, or, at least, widely perceived.

The time was right for this now-quaint episode of The Motorola Television Hour, which aired this episode on May 18, 1954.  Based on Judith Merril's 1950 novel Shadow on the Hearth, "Atomic Attack was written by David Davidson, a veteran of 1950s television anthology shows.  Ralph Nelson (Lilies of the Field, Charley, Requiem for a Heavyweight) directed.

"Atomic Attack" centers on a family that lives fifty miles outside New York City.  The father has gone to work in the city when the bomb falls.  There is a bunch of Civil Defense propaganda (CD authorities were technical advisers on the show) and a sense of hurriedness on the one-set stage, but it basically centers on how such an attack would affect a typical suburban family.

Phyllis Thaxter (Ma Kent in 1978's Superman) stars as Gladys Mitchell, the mother.  Patricia (Patsy) Bruder (best known for her long-running role on As the Worlds Turns) plays the somewhat annoying teenage daughter.  Eight-year-old Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed) plays the younger daughter.  Also in the cast are Robert Keith, a young Walter Matthau, Audrey Christie, William Kemp, Elizabeth Ross, Daniel Reed, and Virginia Gary.  John Daly lent his voice as the Conelrad announcer.

Journey back sixty-four years to an America of optimism and fear.

Monday, March 5, 2018


Maria Muldaur.


Openers:  He was smiling continually, with such an air of removal from the concerns of ordinary mortals, with such an upward lifting of the head, that his fellows in the boat had called him, from the first day of labor and thirst, "The Saint." -- "The Saint" by "Max Brand" (Frederick Faust) (from Adventure, August 1937)

I've Been Reading (Not Much):  I finished F. Paul Wilson's Panacea and immediately jumped int the sequel, The God Gene.  Both books fall into the author's Secret History of the World sequence, but not as closely as his Repairman Jack novels or his Adversary cycle.  Both thrillers are recommended.  The only other book I read this week, which hardly counts, is Neil Gaiman's children's book Cinnamon, a brief tale about a princess who would not speak and a man-eating tiger.

In Honor of Women's History Month:  Three men were on one side of a broad river and didn't know how to get across.

The first man prayed to God that he be smart enough to find a way to cross the river.  God answered his prayers and the man realized how he could cross the rive.  He dove into the water and swam to the other side.

The second man prayed to God that he be made even smarter than the first man.  God immediately upped the man's I.Q. and the man built a boat and rowed across.

The third man prayed to God that he be made the smartest of all, so God turned him into a woman and she walked across the bridge.

Speaking of Women:  Here are fifty photographs celebrating (mainly) unsung women:

While I'm on a Roll:  Here's seven more "unsung" women and how they made the world better.  (Although one of them, Dorothy Height, was certainly well-known in many circles, besides being on of my personal heroes.)

Instead of a Rant, How About a Bad Pun?:  After last week's resignation, many people agree that our president is truly Hope-less.

Ohio Leads the Way:  Mike Tyson's former home is being converted into a house of worship.  I would be wary, however.  Instead of wine and bread (or wafer) for Communion, expect wine and ear.

Will They Spend It on Math Classes?:  The town of Tiverton, Rhode Island's, school district is asking taxpayers to vote on (and cough up) what amounts to a one dollar increase in their budget -- the minimum allowed by law.  According to one school committee member, the board had never asked for a one dollar budget increase before.  Go figure.

Crider Is Smiling from Heaven:  It's official:  There are more pigs in Denmark than humans.  )I don't know how many of them are wild, though.)  First pigs...can gators, emus, and Bigfoot be far behind?

Beautiful, Amazing, Heart-warming, and at Least one Heart-breaking:  Here are fifteen winning photographs from the 2017 Wildlife Photography Awards.  We live in an amazing world.  May we appreciate it everyday and stop screwing it up.

UPDATE:  Two items from Florida I feel I should add:

1)  The Florida State Senate, in response to and in front of Parkland School survivors, voted to BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS!  Fifteen minutes later they voted to reverse that vote.  Democracy in action?  Something to remember this November:  all elections -- national, state, and local -- count.

2)  I have nothing to report on Florida Man this week.  Florida woman, however...  Dayanna Volitich, 25, a social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School, has reportedly been hosting a white supremacist podcast under the alias "Tiana Dalichov," where she has been boasting of spreading her venom in the classroom under the noses of the school administration.  You've heard of higher ed; this particular classroom epitomizes lowest ed.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


Philip Kerr is the author of the best-selling Bernie Gunther mystery series takes an honest German from 1936 Nazi Germany through the post-war years, ending (thus far) in 1956.  He has published nearly forty books, with twelve of them about Bernie Gunther; a thirteenth book in the series, Greeks Bearing Gifts, is due to be released on April 3 in the U.S.  Kerr is also the author of the Scott Manson novels, more than a dozen stand-alone novels (including A Philosophical Investigation, The Grid, and Esau), and, as 'P. B. Kerr," the "Children of the Lamp" series of seven Young Adult novels.

 Among Kerr's awards and honors is the 2009 Crime Writers Association Ellis Peters Historical award for The Bernie Gunther novel If the Dead Not Rise.

Here's Kerr speaking at Washington, D.C.'s, Politics and Prose bookstore while on a tour promoting 2013's  A Man Without Breath, the ninth book in the Bernie Gunther series.


Johnny Cash.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


If you remember 1975, you will probably remember Captain & Tennille.


Centaur Publications (1938-1942) was one of the earliest comic book publishers, with earlier incarnations Comics Magazine Company (1936), Chesler Publications (1937), and Ultem Publishing (1937).  Before Centaur went belly-up (mainly due to poor distribution), they published 21 different titles -- not including several title changes.

One other factor that may have led to Centaur's demise might have been a supreme math ineptitude.  Well, that's my theory, based on how they numbered their titles because for the life of me I can't figure out any sane for Centaur to do what they did with Keen Detective Funnies.  Series 1 ran from July to December 1938 and were numbered #8 to #11.  Then Series 2 ran for twelve monthly issues in 1939, numbered #1 to #12.  Series 3 began in January 1940 with issue #1, then ran from March to September 1940, with the issues numbered #18 to #24.  You do the math -- I can't.  It does add up to 24 issues, but why they did it that way is beyond my comprehension.*

This is a jam-packed issue.  Sixty-eight pages, although only sixty-four were able to be posted on the link.  Here is the original adventure of Air Man, plus stories of ventriloquist and scientific detective Dean Denton, radio newshawk Spark O'Leary, Bay City district attorney Dean Masters, super-sleuth The Masked Marvel, The Eye (a large disembodied eyeball that is "the symbol of man's inner conscience"), and FBI agent Dan Dennis.  Some of these name may be familiar because after the characters fell into public domain, they were picked up by other publishers.


*None of what I described in the this paragraph has anything to do with the contents of the August issue linked in this post.  I mentioned it only because I get easily distrac -- Look!  A squirrel!

Friday, March 2, 2018


The Fab four!


For an impressive look at some of the best science fiction writing in shorter form from the years 1955 through 1992, it's hard to beat the seven-book, Isaac Asimov-edited series of anthologies The Hugo Winners.

The Hugos are yearly awards for the "best" science fiction (in a number of categories) as voted by members of the World Science Fiction Convention.  Science fiction fans can be a persnickety lot, so the winners may or may not represent the very best of any given year* (there can be quite a bit of politicking and sentiment behind the voting) -- but the winners here are certainly deserving of recognition as some of the best.

The Hugos (named for Hugo Gernsback, the pioneering science fiction editor) began in 1953 (for works published the year before) but did not begin being awarded for novelettes and short stories until 1955.

Here are the winners from each anthology:

The Hugo Winners, Volume 1, edited by Isaac Asimov (Doubleday, 1962)
  • "Allamagoosa" by Eric Frank Russell (from Astounding Science Fiction, May 1955) {Best Short Story]
  • "The Darfsteller" by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (from Astounding Science Fiction, January 1955) [Best Novelette]
  • "The Star" by Arthur C. Clarke (from Infinity Science Fiction, November 1955) [Best Short Story]
  • "Exploration Team" by "Murray Leinster" (Will F. Jenkins) (from Astounding Science Fiction, March 1956) [Best Novelette]
  • "Or All the Sea with Oysters" by Avram Davidson (from Galaxy Science Fiction, May 1958)[Best Short Story]
  • "That Hell-Bound Train" by Robert Bloch (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1958) [Best Short Story]
  • "That Big Front Yard" by Clifford D. Simak (from Astounding Science Fiction, October 1958) [Best Novelette]
  • "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1959) [Best Short Fiction]
  • "The Longest Voyage" by Poul Anderson (from Analog Science Fact -> Fiction, December 1960) [Best Short Fiction]
Notes:  1)  The qualifying dates of publication for the early Hugos were a little bit loose, as you can see.  2) Ditto what constitutes a short story and what constitutes a novelette.  3) There were no fiction awards presented in 1957.  4) In 1958, the awards for best novel and best novelette were combined and was won by Fritz Leiber for The Big Time, as serialized in Galaxy Science Fiction.  5) "That Hell-Bound Train" was fantasy, not science fiction; from then on, the Hugos -- while going mostly to science fiction stories -- would occasionally go to a fantasy story.  6) Beginning in 1960, there was a single short fiction award.

The Hugo Winners, Volume Two edited by Isaac Asimov (Doubleday, 1971)
  • "The Dragon Masters" by Jack (John Holbrook) Vance (from Galaxy Magazine, August 1962) [Best Short Fiction]
  • "No Truce with Kings" by Poul Anderson (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June 1963) [Best Short Fiction]
  • "Soldier, Ask Not" by Gordon R. Dickson (from Galaxy Magazine, October 1964) [Best Short Fiction]
  • "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktock Man" by Harlan Ellison (from Galaxy Magazine, December 1965) [Best Short Fiction]
  • "Neutron Star" by Larry Niven (from If, October 1966) [Best Short Story]
  • "The Last Castle" by Jack (John Holbrook) Vance (from Galaxy Magazine, April 1966) [Best Novella]
  • "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison (from If, March 1967) [Best Short Story]
  • "Gonna Roll the Bones" by Fritz Leiber (from Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison, 1967) [Best Novelette]
  • "Riders of the Purple Wage" by Philip Jose Farmer (from Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison, 1967) [tied - Best Novella]
  • "Weyr Search" by Anne McCaffrey (from Analog Science Fiction -> Science Fact, October 1967) [tied - Best Novella]
  • "The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World" by Harlan Ellison (from Galaxy Magazine, June 1968) [Best Short Story]
  • "The Sharing of Flesh" by Poul Anderson (from Galaxy Magazine, December 1968) [Best Novelette]
  • "Nightwings" by Robert Silverberg (Galaxy Magazine, September 1968) [Best Novella]
  • "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones" by Samuel R. Delaney (from New Worlds #185, December 1968) [Best Short Story]
Notes:  1) The 1962 best short fiction award went to the "Hothouse" series of five short stories by Brian W. Aldiss and is not included in this volume.  2) In 1967 the short fiction category was again replaced with separate categories for novelette and short story.  3) The 1970 best novella, Fritz Leiber's "Ship of Shadows," was not included in this volume, but was moved over to Volume Three; the best novelette category was eliminated.

The Hugo Winners, Volume Three edited by Isaac Asimov (Doubleday, 1977)
  • "Ship of Shadows" by Fritz Leiber (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1969) [Best Novella]
  • "Slow Sculpture" by Theodore Sturgeon (from Galaxy Magazine, February 1970) [Best Short Story)
  • "Ill Met in Lankhmar" by Fritz Leiber (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1970) [Best Novella]
  • "Inconstant Moon" by Larry Niven (from All the Myriad Ways, 1971) [Best Short Story]
  • "The Queen of Air and Darkness" by Poul Anderson (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1971) [Best Novella]
  • "Eurema's Dam" by R. A. Lafferty (from New Dimensions II:  Eleven Original Science Fiction Stories, edited by Robert Silverberg, 1971) [tied - Best Short Story]
  • "The Meeting" by Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November 1972) [tied - Best Short Story]
  • "Goat Song" by Poul Anderson (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1972) [Best Novelette]
  • "The Word for the World Is Forest" by Ursula K. Le Guin (from Again, Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison, 1972) [Best Novella]
  • "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin (from New Dimensions 3, edited by Robert Silverberg, 1973) [Best Short Story]
  • "The Deathbird" by Harlan Ellison (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1973) [Best Novelette]
  • "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" by "James Tiptree, Jr." (Alice Shelton) (from New Dimensions 3, edited by Robert Silverberg, 1973) [Best Novella]
  • "The Hole Man" by Larry Niven (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, January 1974) [Best Short Story]
  • "Adrift Just Off the Islet of Langerhans:  Latitude 38 (degrees] 54' N Longitude 77 [degrees] 00' 13" W" by Harlan Ellison (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1974) [Best Novellette]
  • "A Song for Lya" by George R. R. Martin (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, June 1974) [Best Novella]
Notes:  1) The best novelettte award was reinstated in 1973.

The Hugo Winners, Volume 4 edited by Isaac Asimov (Doubleday, 1985)
  • "Catch That Zeppelin!" by Fritz Leiber (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1975) [Best Short Story]
  • "The Borderland of Sol" by Larry Niven (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, January 1975) [Best Novelette]
  • "Home Is the Hangman" by Roger Zelazny (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, November 1975) [Best Novella]
  • "Tricentennial" by Joe Haldeman (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, July 1976) [Best Short Story]
  • "The Bicentennial Man" by Isaac Asimov (from Stellar 2, edited by Judy-Lynn del Rey) [Best Novelette]
  • "By Any Other Name" by Spider Robinson (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, November 1976) [tied - Best Novella]
  • 'Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" by "James Tiptree, Jr." (Alice Sheldon) (from Aurora:  Beyond Equality, edited by Susan Janice Anderson & Vonda N. McIntyre, 1976) [tied - Best Novella]
  • "Jeffty Is Five" by Harlan Ellison (from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 1977) [Best Short Story]
  • "Eyes of Amber" by Joan D. Vinge (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, June 1977) [Best Novelette]
  • "Star Dance" by Spider Robinson & Jeanne Robinson (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, March 1977) [Best Novella]
  • "Cassandra" by "C.J. Cherryh" Carolyn Cherry) (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1978) [Best Short Story}
  • "Hunter's Moon" by Poul Anderson (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, November 1978) [Best Novelette]
  • "The Persistance of Vision" by John Varley (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1978) [Best Novella]
The Hugo Winners, Volume 5: 1980-1982 edited by Isaac Asimov (Doubleday, 1986)
  • "The Way of Cross and Dragon" by George R. R. Martin (from Omni, June 1979) [Best Short Story]
  • "Sandkings" by George R. R. Martin (from Omni, August 1979) [Best Novelette]
  • "Enemy Mine" by Barry B. Longyear (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, September 1979) [Best Novella]
  • "Grotto of the Dancing Bear" by Clifford D. Simak (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, April 1980) [Best Short Story]
  • "The Cloak and the Staff" by Gordon R. Dickson (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, August 1980) [Best Novelette]
  • "Lost Dorsai" by Gordon R. Dickson (from Destinies, Volume 2 #1,  February-March 1980) [Best Novella]
  • "The Pusher" by John Varley (from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October 1981) [Best Short Story]
  • "Unicorn Variation" by Roger Zelazny (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, April 13, 1981) [Best Novelette]
  • "The Saturn Game" by Poul Anderson (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, February 2, 1981) [Best Novella]
The New Hugo Winners: Award-Winning Science Fiction Stories edited by Isaac Asimov & (uncredited) Martin H. Greenberg (Wynwood Press, 1989)
  • "Melancholy Elephants" by Spider Robinson (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, June 1982) [Best Short Story]
  • "Firewatch" by Connie Willis (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, February 15, 1982) [Best Novelette]
  • "Souls" by Joanna Russ (from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1982) [Best Novella]
  • "Speech Sounds" by Octavia E. Butler (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Mid-December 1983) [Best Short Story]
  • "Blood Music" by Greg Bear (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, June 1983) [Best Novelette]
  • "Cascade Point" by Timothy Zahn (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, December 1983) [Best Novella]
  • "The Crystal Spheres" by David Brin (from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, January 1984) [Best Short Story]
  • "Bloodchild" by Octavia E. Butler (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, June 1984) [Best Novelette]
  • "Press Enter []" by John Varley (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, May 1984) [Best Novella]

The New Hugo Winners: Volume II edited by Isaac Asimov & (uncredited) Martin H. Greenberg (Baen, 1992)

  • "Fermi and Frost" by Frederik Pohl (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, January 1985) [Best Short Story]
  • "Paladin of the Lost Hour" by Harlan Ellison (from Universe 15, edited by Terry Carr, 1985) [Best Novelette]
  • "24 Views of Mr. Fuji, by Hokusai" by Roger Zelazny (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, July 1985) [Best Novella]
  • "Tangents" by Greg Bear (from Omni, January 1986) [Best Short Story]
  • "Permafrost" by Roger Zelazny (from Omni, April 1986) [Best Novelette]
  • "Gilgamesh in the Outback" by Robert Silverberg (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Julu 1986) [Best Novella]
  • "Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers" by Lawrence Watt-Evans (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, July 1987) [Best Short Story]
  • "Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight?" by Ursula K. Le Guin (from Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences, 1987) [Best Novelette]
  • "Eye for Eye" by Orson Scott Card (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, March 1987) [Best Novella] 

There you have it. all the Hugo-winning short fiction through 1988 -- a wide variety of stories well worth you time.  Highly recommended.

*For an alternate view, there are three anthologies edited by Richard A. Lupoff, What If?  Volumes 1-3, which gives the stories that should have-could have won Hugo Awards, beginning with the first awards in 1953.  Good stuff and recommended.