Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, July 29, 2023



Chance McCoy & the Appalachian String Band.


 There's a bit of confusion here.  Wild Boy #1, a Ziff-Davis comic book, is given as Wild Boy #10; issue #2 is given as #11; and issue #3 is given as issue #12.  Issue #4 has the correct issue number; the correct issue number is given for the rest of the book's run, ending with issue #15.  This means that the coverissue numbers of two separate issues for #1, #2, and #3 are repeated for #10, #11, and #13.  Also, beginning with issue #8, the books title was changed to Wild Boy of the Congo; and with issue #9, the publisher changed to St. John Publishing.

So who was Wild Boy?  Well, he's the Prince of the Jungle and he has no other name.  Naturally, a comic book Prince of the Jungle has to be white and (optional) have long blonde hair.  Wild Boy is a bit of a misnomer because he is a man, not a boy.  His best friend is Keeto, a native who wears a red shirt and breechcloths.  Keeto has a girlfriend, Lura.  Wild Boy is friends with the good gorillas and various apes.  He works to keep peace among the jungle tribes.  He has a panther named Timba and a falcon names Kaw.  He's pretty strong, can swing through trees, and all-in-all is your typical jungle lord, although perhaps a little on the blah side.  I have no idea what Wild Boy's backstory is, or even if he has one.

In this issue, Wild Boy must go against the evil witch doctor Zabba and fight a maddened gorilla.  In the second story, Wild Boy is with a film crew when they are captured by a tribe of hostile pygmies and a renegade trader named Zarkow.  In the final story, Jogo, the nephew of the chirf of the Kowi's returns and begins working a diamond mine that brings misery to the tribe.

On addition, there's a story featuring jungle guide Joe Barton, who is hired to lead Mr. Parmalee, his daughter Nan, and her fiance Cecil Hathaway into gorilla country.  But Hathaway is a pure-dee sumbitch and proves it on the safari.  It's up to Joe Barton to put him in his place.

Some good artwork by Paul Hodge and a striking cover by Norman Saunders.


Thursday, July 27, 2023


Witness to Myself by Seymour Shubin  (2006)

Alan Benning was a sexually repressed and confused 15-year-old when he happened to run across 13-year-old Shusheela Kapasi while jogging along a beach and woods on Cape Cod.  The girl, young for her age and seemingly mute, had her kit lodge in a branch high above her.  Alan scaled the tree and retreived the kite for her.  Still she said nothing, but only looked him.  On an impulse, he touched her crotch, then slid his hand inside her shorts.  Then she screamed and fought.  Horrified by what he had done and scared of the consequences, he tried to quiet her, but she fell from him and hit her had, and lay on the ground, unmoving.  Alan ran away, afraid that he had killed her.  The guilt and the fear and the uncertainity has haunted him for fifteen years.

Now thirty and a successful lawyer and slated to become the director of a large non-profit charity, Alan's personal life choices have been restricted by the memory of this incident  Recently he has entered into his first longterm relation.  Anna Presiac is an overweaningly insecure LPN who appears to be carryoing as much psychic baggage as Alan, but Alan realizes that he is in love with her.  Anna's need for Alan is evident; she may even love him as much as she claims.  Alan is afraid to take the relationship further because he fears he might be a murderer.  Added to this fear are a few vilent encounters nin Alan's past and his historyt of cruelty when he was a youth.  With a stiff resolve, Alan determines to find out what really happened that Cape Cod day fifteen years ago.

He travels to the smal town where the incident took place.  At the local library he begins to examine the local papers from that time.  His fears are realized.  The girl was dead.  Her body had been found by her father.  For the first time in fifteen years, Alan now has a name for his victim.  The local reports had the girl savagely murdered by a sex maniac.  The case had been kept before the public, in part, because of the efforts of Mack McKinney, a John Walsh-type character whose own daughter had been murdered and who has devoted his life to hunting down child murderers.  McKinney has taken a special interest in the Susheela Kapasi case and has vowed never to give up unitl her murderer is caught.  Alan's interest in the local papers of the time caught the interest of the town's librarian, who notified officials.  A rough police artist sketch of Alan begins to circulate nationawide because of McKinney's interest.

Meanbwhile, Alan's older cousin, who served as Alan's big brother during their youth, is a true crime reporter, with many magazine articles and several books to his credit.  His last book did not sell that well, and he is looking for something spectacular for his next book.  Meanwhile, in Pennsyvania an unsuspected pedophile named Harold Luder was arrested for the brutal murder of a young girl.  Luder confessed to that murder, while admitting to many others,  In at least three of the cases already, police were led to where Luder had disposed of his victims.   Many more of Luder's claims of butchery had yet to be proven; some were suspected of being false confessions.  Eventually, Luder said that he had murdered Susheela Kapasi.  Had Luder really come across the unconscious girl after Alan had fled the scene?  Or was Luder just blowing smoke?  What actually happened fifteen years ago?

Witness to Myself is a well-written, extremely claustrophobic novel of guilt and uncertainty.  Combining noir with modern Greek tragedy with hints of Hitchcock and Cornell Woolrich, Shubin has presented us with a powerful tale that is impossible to put down.

Seymour Shubin (1921-2014) was the author of fifteen books.  His first novel, Anyone's My Name (1953) was a critcally acclaimed bestseller that is still being used in university criminology classes.  The Captain  (1982) was nominated for an Edgar Award.  Many of his novels cover social issues such as police corruption, ederly abuse, the death penalty, and corruption in the pharmaseutical industry.  He has been quoted as saying, "I want the books to say something -- without saying it out loud."


Henry Kane's P.I. Peter Chambers first appeared in print with A Halo for Nobody in 1947; more than thirty books followed.  The glib, playboy-ish Chambers proved to be popular with many readers, but the tongue-in-cheek presentation also turned off many.  As the character's popularity waned in the late Sixtie's, the author "rebooted" the Chambers in a series of rather innocuous soft-porn mysteries.

In 1954, Pete Chambers hit the NBC radio air-waves with a short-lived series starring Dane Clark.  Crome and Peter Chambers was a half-hour show produced, directed, and written by Kane.  It ran for some 23 episodes, from April 6 through September 7, 1954 for 23 episodes.

In this, the first episode of the series, millionaire nightclub owner Bruce Burke has sent the beautiful  Elsa Corey to kill Pete Chambers, but it was Burke who ended up dead.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023


 The Range Rider was a syndicated western from Gene Autry's Flying A Prodictions which aired from 1952 to 1953 for 76 episodes.  Famous stuntman turned actor Jock Mahoney starred as The Range Rider -- no other name was given the character -- and the Range Rider's constant companion was Dick West, played by 24-year-old Dick Jones (who had been the voice of Disney's Pinocchio).  Because of 
Mahoney's height and Jones's slim appearance, many viewers assumed that Dick West was The Range Rider's teenage companion.

The Range Rider did not have a backstory.  He and Dick west just kept riding through the old west, somehow getting into trouble, then getting out of it.  Throughout the west, The Range Rider's reputation for fairness, fighting ability, and accuracy with a gun were well-known.  In this episode, directed by William Berke and scripted by Oliver Drake, The Range Rider and Dick are attacked by masked bandits who want to stop a telegraph line from being built.  (The plots don't have to make sense just as long as the action keeps flowing.)  Featured in this episode are Pamela Blake, Tom Monroe, Lyle Talbot, and House Peters, Jr.

Jock Mahoney's reputation as a careful and well-prepared stunt man was well-known.  If Mahoney decided a stunt was too dangerous, no other stuntman would approach it.  As an actor, he was known for doing his owm stunts.  He had tried out for the movie role of Tarzan, but lost the part to Lex Barker, eventually replacing Barker as the Ape Man for two films.  Mahoney later starred in the telvision program Yancy Derringer, playing an adventurer with a silent Pawnee companion in post-Civil War New Orleans.  Mahoney's personal reputation was marred after step-daughter Sally Field revealed that he had sexually abused her until she was fourteen.

Dick (or Dickie) Jones was an accomplished horseman from a very young age.  At four, he was billed as The World's Youngest Trick Rider and Roper.  At six, he was hired to do riding and roping tricks by Hoot Gibson's rodeo.  Gibson convinced Jones's parents that a career awaited him in Hollywood.  At thirteen, he was the voice of Pinocchio, and by fifteen, he took over the role of Henry Aldrich in The Aldrich Family.  Gene Autry, who had cast Jones in several westerns, tapped him for the role of Dick West in The Range Rider, and later gave him his own television show, Buffalo Bill, Jr., which lasted for 40 episodes in 1955.

Journey back now to the days when men were men, villains were villainous, and horses were horses,  Enjoy this episode.

Sunday, July 23, 2023



  • "Carson Bingham" (Bruce Cassiday), Flash Gordon:  The Witch Queen of Mongo.  Comic strip tie-in novel, adapted from Alex Raymond's original story.  This was the fifth in a series of  of six paperback novels released by Avon in 1974-5; the first three were written by Ron Goulart and the last three written by Cassiday.  Another series of six uncredited  (but actually writen by David Hagberg) novels appeared in 1980-1 from Tempo Books.  "Victimized by a psychotic teenage prankster, Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Zarkov find themselves transported to the planet of Mongo, where Flash is captured and drugged by the ravishing witch Queen Azura and her evil cohort -- none other than Ming the Merciless, Jr.!  But Zarkov and Dale escape to Arboria, and enlist the aid of Prince Barin, who, by use of a brilliant ruse, sets in motion a series of violent encounters and hair's breadth escapes that places Flash's life in imminent peril."
  • J. L. Bourne, Day by Day Armageddon:  Shattered Hourglass.  Zombie apocalypse novel, the third in a series.  "In a desperate bid to take back the continental United States -- where hordes of undead now dominate the ravaged human population -- a Navy commander leads a global mission to the heart of the pandemic.  Task Force Hourglass is humanity's final hope, and his team's agonizing decisions could mean living one day more -- or surrendering to the eternal hell that exists between life and death."
  • Alan Brennert, Moloka'i.  Historical novel set in Hawaii beginning over a century ago and continuing to the mid-twentieth century.  "Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girlf, drams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman.  The one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her.  Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i.  Here her life is supposed to end -- but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.  With a vibrant cast of vividly realized charaters, Moloka'i is the true-to-life chronicle of a people who embraced life in the face of death."
  • William  Burroughs, Naked Lunch.  Drug-fueled novel.  An "unnerving tale of a monumental descent into the hellish world of a narcotics addict as he travels from New York to Tangiers, then into Interzone, a nightmarish modern urban wasteland in which the forces of good and evil vie for control of the individual and all of humanity.  By mixing the fantastic and the realistic with his own unmistakable vision and voice, Burroughs has created a unique masterpiece that is a classic of tweniteth-century fiction,"  I'll have to be in a cartain mood to read this one, a mood I'm not sure I'll ever achieve.
  • F. M. Busby, Slow Freight.  Science fiction novel, the first in a series.  "Rance Collier is among earth's first pioneers through the vast wilderness of spacetime.  But the maiden voyage of the Starfinder is marred by warped power plays and dirty politics.  Then the ship's nav systems are fouled by the wake of a passing ship -- a nonhuman ship.  This first encounter is complicated by the ensuing damage to the alien ship, which now requires vast transfusions of matter and energy in order to make repairs.  And that matter and energy happens to be the nearest star system:  Sol.  Before human politicians can react, the alien ship devours a handful of Saturn's moons and sets its planet-swallowing course straight for Earth."
  • Joanna Cannon, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep.  Suspense?  Mystery?  Literary fiction?  Who knows?  "England, 1976.  Mrs Creasy is missing.  the neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren't convinced, and decide to take matters into their own hands.  Spunky, spirited Grace and quiet, thoughtful Tillie go door-to-door in search of clues.  The cul-de-sac starts to give up its secrets, and the amateur detectives uncover more than they imagined.  A complicated history of deception begins to emerge -- everyone on the avenue has something to hide.  During that sweltering summer, the lives of all the neighbors begin to unravel.  The girls come to realize that the lies told told to conceal what happened on fateful day about a decade ago are the same ones Mrs. Creasy was starting to peel back just before she disappeared..."
  • Matthew J, Costello & F, Paul Wilson, Three Flms and a Play.  Just what it says:  Three filmscripts and a play.  "Matt Costello and F. Paul Wilson spent the 90s scripting interactive CD-ROMs (Disney's Mathquest with Aladdin, for one) and FTL Newsfeed for the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy).  Since they were spending so much time with the entertainment industry's production companies, they decided to try their hands at spec movie scripts as well.  This volume is just what the title says:  Three unproduced spec film scripts and a play that (briefly) made it to the stage.  So here for your enjoyment are:  Weather War, Aces, Psi, [and] Syzygy.)
  • Avram Davidson, AD 100:  100 Years of Avram Davidson, Volumes I & II.  100 unpublished or uncollected stories by one of the most distinct voices of the twentieth century; edited by Neva Hickman and pubished by Davidson's godson, Seth Davis.  More than 1175 pages span the two volumes.  An absolute goldmine to be treasured for as long as people are able to read, dream, imagine, laugh, or simply remain human.
  • Avram Davidson, Beer!  Beer!  Beer!  A previously unpublished novel of magical realism, historical fiction, and Davidson's unique and idiosyncratic viewpoint.  We are taken back to the days when prohibition was the law of the Land and beer barons like Dutch Schultz sold illegal alcohol to the public.  The streets of Davidson's Yokuns represents the Yonkers of his youth in the 1920s and 1930s much in the way that the British Hildago of Davidson's Limekiller! parallels Belize.  Published by Seth Davis for Or All The Seas With Oysters Publishing, with more of Davidson's work in the pipeline.
  • Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald, A Working of Stars.  Space opera adventure, the 7th in the Mageworlds series.  "Ten years ago, Arekhon sus-Khalgath sus-Peledaen abandoned his native planet for a new life on the far side of the Gap Between -- the starless rift separating the Eraasian worlds from the rest of the galaxy.  On the planet Entibor, he found shelter and domestic tranquility with his old love, Elaeli Inadi, at the price of what he had left behind:  a dispersed ans shattered Mage-Circle, an estranged brother who had tried to kill him, and a homeworld on the cusp of a massive cultural upheaval.  Now the bill is coming due, and Arekhon finds himself impelled homeward by strange dreams and prophetic visions.  The Great Working -- the effort to do the unthinkable and reunite a galaxy long sundered by the Gap Between -- remains incomplete, left unfinished in the aftermath of the dissolution of Arekhon's Mage-Circle.  But too much energy and too many lives have been poured into the Working Plan already, and it cannot end so long as any of the Circle members remain alive and are bound into it.  Home, unfortunately, isn't a safe place for Arekhon to be at the moment.  For Eraasi has changed -- and the great fleet-families at the center of Eraasian culture are girding for war."  George the Tempter strikes again!
  • "Jack Ellis" (Stephen R. George), Nightlife.  Horror novel.  "His eyes glittered like black stars.  his mouth is a jagged slit.  He rides in a shiny limousine with plush curtains that block out the sun...and waits for darkness to fall.  He is Richard Carnitch -- a man of pitiless hate and insatiable hunger.  No one like Carnitch has ever walked this earth.  And no one can stop his feeding frenzy as, one by one, society's outcasts and loners disappear from the streets of the city.  Now a handful of survivors is about to fight back.  Now, the prey are about to become the hunters.  But to stop this hellish nightmare means controlling an evil more unspeakable than death itself -- and a descent into the ultimate night..."
  • Christopher Fowler, Bryant & May and the Burning Man.  The twelfth in the Peculiar Crimes Unit series.  "In the week before Guy Fawkes Night, London's peaceful streets break out in sudden unrest.  Enraged by a scandal involving a corrupt financier accused of insider trading, the demonstrators are rioting outside the Findersbury Private Bank, chanting, marching, and growon viplent.  But when someone hurls a Molotov cocktail at the bank's front door, killing a homeless man on its steps, Bryant, May, and the rest of the Peculiar Crimes Unit are called in.  Is this an act of protest gone terribly wrong?  Or a devious, premeditated murder?  Their investigation heats up when a second victim is reported dead in similar fiery circumstances.  May discovers the latest victim has ties tio the bank, and Bryant refuses to believe this is mere coincidence.  As the riots grow more intense and the body count cimbs, Bryant and May hunt for a killer who's adopting incendiary methods of execution, on a snaking trail of clues with roots in London's history of rebellion, anarchy, and harsh justice.  Now, they'll have to throw themselves in the line of fire before the entire investigation goes up in smoke."
  • Brian Garfield, Sliphammer.  Western.  "Some called Wyatt Earp a hero, but to the hard young deputy called Sliphammer, the famous gunman was a murdering outlaw.  Earp was riding high and handsome in this boom town of Gunnison, surrounded by the local big wigs, their bought sheriff, and Earp's fiercely loyal sidekick, Doc Holliday.   Earp needed none of that protection.  Sliphammer did not have a chance in hell against a walking legend of raw strength, iron nerve and lightning calculation.  Then, Siphammer's hotheaded young brother was cut down in cold blood -- and suddenly the odds didn't matter as Sliphammer buckled on his guns."
  • David G. Hartwell, editor, The Science Fiction Century.  A massive, thousand-page compendium of 45 of some of the greatest science fiction stories from 1899 to 1991, deliberately excluding Isaac Asimov, John W. Campbell, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A. Heinlein -- all of whom had been heavily featured in previous doorstop anthologies by the editor.  So who's left?  Poul Anderson, Gregory Benford, James Blish, Algis Budrys, Hal Clement, John Crowley, Gordon Eklund, Harlan Ellison, Philip Jose Farmer, William Gibson, Frank Herbert, Nancy Krees, C. S. Lewis, Richard A. Lupoff, James Morrow, Chad Oliver, Edgar Pangborn, Robert Silverberg, Cordwainer Smith, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, Willian Tenn, James Tiptree Jr., Jack Vance, A. E. van Vogt, H. G. Wells, Connie Willis, John /Wyndham, Roger Zelazny, and many others.  An essential volume for anyone interested in 20th century SF.  Another gift from George.
  • Will F. Jenkins, Ten Unique Stories by Will F. Jenkins.  Short story collection, edited by Jenkins' daughter Billie Stallings.  "Will F. Jenkins is primarily remembered as a writer of science fiction under his pen name, Murray Leinster.  He is credited with over 1500 stories, books, tv scripts, and films.  Two of the pieces in this collection are classified as science fiction, however, his daughter Billie Stallings' childhood memories are of his old Remington upright typewriter clicking away as he wrote stories to be publoshed under his own name in mainstream magazines.  Jenkins considered his work in science fiction a hobby.  His ability to switch genres and keep ujp with changing trends led to a successful 50-year career.  He was a regular contributor to Collier's and The Saturday Evening Post where the ten stories in this collection first appeared.  These magazines had circulations exceeding two and a half million copies a week.  This collection will give you a peek at what entertained people before the rise of television.  Jenkins is known for his tight plots and twists in the endings.  His daughter felt that these ten stories, even though some are over sixty years old, still stand up well for today's readers and should be available for their pleasure."
  • Dean Koontz, Innocence and 77 Shadow Street.  Two supernatural thrillers form the backlist of the best-selling author.  I had read then both before but then each came out with a paperback edition that included the bonus stories,"Wilderness" and "The Moonlit Mind."  Several other Koontz reissues also contain bonus stories and I'll pick them up when I get the chnce.  We'll see if they justify the price.
  • Spencer Kope. Collecting the Dead.  Thriller with supernatural undertones, the first in the Special Tracking Unit series.  ""Magnus 'Steps' Craig is part of an elite three-man Special Tracking Unit of the FBI, charged with finding the lost or abducted and bringing them home.  Dubbed 'The Human Bloodhound,' Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to follow and find trails over any surface.  He has a special skill -- known only to his npartner -- that has enabled his team to stop seventeen serial killers over the past five years,  But, now there's a new monster at large, and the bodies are piling up.  When the remains of one young woman are found, Steps recognizes the 'signature' from another crime scene:  the marks of a sad face.  Meanwhile, a serial killer that Steps has been trying to track for over ten years, code name 'Leonardo,' is back in play -- and on Step's trail.  Just as the investigation seems to be closing in on Leonardo, the hunt for Sad Face heats up.  Now it's up to Steps to outrun and outwit one of the most twisted serial killers he's ever time ticks away on the lives of the victims.  Will this be another one of Steps's miraculously solved cases -- or his last?"
  • "Murray Leinster" (Will F. Jenkins), The Trail of Blood and Other Tales of Adventure.  Collection of 20 pulp short stories dating from 1919 to 1933. most from such long-forgotten magazines as The Thrill Book, Ace-High Magazine, Triple-X Magazine, Short Stories, Danger Trail, Everybody's, Adventure Trails, World Wide Adventure, and Popular Fiction Magazine.  A glorious collection. 
  • John Lutz, The Havana Game.  Thriller, the second in the Thomas Laker series.  "With the U.S. seemingly linked to a terrorist bombing in a Baltic nation and a Russian troop buildup just over the border, the covert Gray Outift sends Thomas Laker to untangle the mess.  But after a  second attack leaves him out in the cold, Laker's on his own.  Five thousand miles away in Miami, Laker's partner and NSA codebreaker Ava North is investigating the murder of a fellow agent.  When tracks lead to a Cuban-American billionaire in bed with the Jersey Mob, Ava's supervisors want her to lay off.  Not a chance.  Though oceans apart, Laker and Ava discover their separate missions are tied to one explosive plot.  The only way out is to breach all protocol and play by their own rules..."  Lutz, an Edgar and Shamus Award-winning author, could also be relied on to write an unputdownable book.
  • Tom Monteleone & F. Paul Wilson, Definitely Not Kansas.  YA (?) fantasy/horror noivel; Book One in the Nocturnia Chronicles, a series for both adults and young readers, middle grades and up.   "Hoping to find their missing older brother, Emma and Ryan find themselves in the path of an enormous F-5 twister.  Before they are swept into the vortex, a hole opens in the air and they are pulled into a parallel world peopled by all the creatures from human horror stories:  werewolves, vampires, zombies, trolls, and others.  Welcome to Nocturnia. where the monsters have their own nation states and humans are either slaves, or food, or both.  Where even the flowers will suck your blood if you venture near.  As Emma and /Ryan search for a way home, they come to suspect they did not arrive in Nocturnia by accident.  But if not, why are they here?  Are their destinies somehow entwined with this nightmare world."
  • Ra Page & Magda Raczynska, editors, LEMISTRY:  A Celebration of the Work of Stanislaw Lem.  A collection of seventeen stories and essays about Lem and his creations, including three stories never before translated into English.  "We 'know' Stanislaw Lem whether of not we consciously know that we do.  He may be only recognized in the West as the author of the twice-filmed novel, Solaris, but the influence of his other work is legion.  From computer games (The Sims was inspired by one of his short stories) to films (the red and blue pills of The Matrix owe much to his Futurological Congress); from the space comedies of Red Dwarf to the metaphysical satires of Douglas Adams...the presence of this masterly Polish writer can be traced far and wide.  Nor was his genius confined to fiction.  Lem's essays and pseudo-essays -- borne out of the military industrial tensions of the Cold War -- have outlived their original context and speak to the most current developments in virtual reality, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.  To celebrate his name, as well as his vision. this anthology brings together writers, critics and scientists who continue to grapple with his concerns.  British and Polish novelists join screenwriters, poets, computer engineers, and artists, to celebrate and explore Lem's legacy through short stories and essays -- two literary forms that, as Lem knew well, can blend together to create something altogether new...Lem was aways ahead of us.  It's time we caught up."  Another book that somehow found its way from Tonawanda to the Florida Panhandle.
  • "Michael Slade," (Jay Clarke, et al.Burnt Bones.  Police procedural/thriller, the seventh in the Special X series (Special External Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police).   "On a remote island off the coast of Seattle, a man lies buried alive.  Mile away, his captor -- the elusive killer known only as Mephisto -- listens through a transmitter to his victim's dying screams, waiting for him to reveal a secret only he knows.  But learning the secret is only the beginning of Mephisto's maniacal game....Tracking the madman are two etectives.  In Canada, Superintendent Robert DeClercq, a man who has experienced horror up-close.  In America, Jenna Bond, a young detective who has never known true horror -- until  now.  Together they will uncover a trail of clue that will lead them to Mephisto, and into the bloody past in which he exists.  Because there the most terrifying secrets are buried, lying among the bones of the dead...."  Clarke is the lead writer behind the "Michael Slade" pseudonym, which has included a number of co-authors.  The Slade books relie heavily on psychological hoor and may not be recommended for all readers.
  • Mickey Spillane, The Last Cop Out.  Standalone crime novel.  "The Last Cop Out features a new super virile and violent Mickey Spillane hero -- Gillian Burke, known as the Gill, a good cop thrown off the force in a frame-up, and looking to even a blood score with the Mob.  He's out to plow his way through a maze of gorgeous women and blasting guns, and take apart a secret army of assassins -- man by man and limb by limb -- until he can get his hands on the ultimate enemy for an orgy of blistering destruction."  Yep, that sure sounds like a Spillane book.
  • Jonathan Straham, editor, Reach for Infinity.  Science fiction anthology with fourteen original stories.  Authors are Greg Egan, Aliette de Bodard, Ian McDonald, Karl Schroeder, Pat Cardigan, Karen Lord, Ellen Klages, Adam Roberts, Linda Nagata, Hannu Rajaniemi, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Ken MacLeod, Alistair Reynolds, and Peter Watts -- top-flight authors all.  Once again, I have Geroge Kelley to thank for this.
  • F. Paul Wilson, Secret Stories:  Tales from the Secret History.  Collection of eight stories from Wilson's "Secret History of the World," which now comprises thirty-seven volumes, including the Adversary Cycle and the Repairman Jack Saga.  "The Secret History of the World deals with a history that remains undiscovered, unexplored, and unknown to most of humanity.  Some of this history has been revealed in the Adversary Cycle, some in the Repairman Jack novels, and bits and pieces in other, seemingly unconnected works.  Taken together, even these millions of words barely scratch the surface of what has been going on behind the scenes, hidden from the workaday world.  In Secret Stories, F. Paul Wilson has gathered some of the shorter pieces of the Secret History and placed them for convenience between a single set of covers.  He's left out pieces available as stand-alones or collected in Quick Fixes, and concentrated on those published in scattered collections and anthologies over the years.  To each he has added commentary as to how a story earned its place in the Secret History."   Many of these stories were available in other collections by Wilson.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Friday, July 21, 2023


 Here's a charming little children's book  by Cyril F. Austin, with drawings by Hilda Austin, about a hapless doll who bounces off the back of a delivery truck and now must make his way in the world of toys.  Along the way, he befriends the rabbit Horace and tries his luck at an assortment of jobs, sadly getting fired from each.  Can Edward and Horace find the true happiness that all toys desire?  Read it and find out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023


Once again it's tme to join Sidney Greenstreet as Nero Wolfe, but this tme Wolfe (gasp!) actually leaves his brownstone!  What's the reason for this extraordinary move?  Listen, and find out.


 "Monkey Eyes" by Erle Stanley Gardner  (first published as a two-part novelette in Argosy Allstory Weekly, July 27-August 3, 1929; reprinteded in The Human Zero"  The Science Fiction Stories of Erle Stanley Gardner, edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh, 1981, and in Cults!  An Anthology of Secret Societies, Sects, and the Supernatural, edited by Greenberg & Waugh, 1983)

There's a reason why Erle Stanley Gardner only wrote seven science fiction stories in his long career.  Not that he wasn't good at it; he just wasn't good enough.  Gardner's considerable talents lay more in the mystery, crime, and adventure fields than in science fiction.  His science fiction stories date from 1928 and 1932, just before the prolific writer hit it big with his first Perry Mason novel.

"Monkey Eyes" concerns a secret cult hidden deep in the jungles of India and a race of possibly very intelligent primates, which Gardner calls "monkeys," for the sake of convenience and possibly because pulp magazine readers of the day either did not know or care about the difference.

Phil Nickers, former army aviator and current private detective, has come to India to investigate the deaths of Harley Kent and his daughter, Audrey  -- but Audrey may not be dead because charred b ody was never officially identified/.  While visiting a Colonel Crayson, Nickers meets up with the man who had hired him anonymously, Arthur Forbes.  Harley Kent had been a good friend of Forbes and Audrey Kent had been his fiancee.   Dining with Crayson was also Murasingh, a somewhat mysteriuous educated native posing as a sportsman and adventurer, and a man with a dangerous, albeit sub rosa, reputation. Forbes suspects that Murasingh had something to do with Audrey's death.   Completing the quintet at dinner was Crayson's newly-arrived niece, Jean.  Privately Forbes tells Nickers that Jean Crayson and Audrey Kent shared many physical similarities:  both had "blond hir, blue eyes, a milky skin, red lips, and a full, rounded figure."  Both also had unusually round eyes, sometimes described as "monkey eyes."

While walking the grounds that night, Nickers and Forbes take a look at the plane Murasingh had arrived in.  The plane was guarded by a native with a very nasty-looking blade.  the pairt heard a strange noise from within the plane and found it came from a vicious-looking monkey seated in the pilot's chair.  The monkey was wearing a collar, "solid gold, hand-carved, set with rubies of the finest pigeon blood.," with words carved in Sanskrit on it.  Murasingh, angered that Nickers and Forbes had seen the monkey, told the two that the beast was a pet. 

The following day, Murasingh took off on one of his mysterious flights.  Nickers and Forbes followed him in a small plane, not realizing the Nurasingh had just kidnapped Jean Crayson.  Murasingh discovered he was being followed and attacked Nickers' plane with machine gun fire.  The bullets hit the plane's gas tank and Nickers was forced to land the plane in the Indian jungle.  By coincidence, they land near a secret, centuries-old city inhabited by a powerful caste of priests dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman.  For hundreds of years these priests have dedicated themselves to helping the large group of monkeys in the area reach a higher level of evolution through reincarnation.  This, they consider, is their sacred duty and the proests consider themselves more as servants to the monkeys than as worshippers of them.

And, son of a gun, there in the ancient city is Audrey Kent, whi had been brought there as a prisoner by Murasingh after he staged her murder.  Audrey, with her monkey eyes, is slated to be wed to one of the more advanced of the monkeys, in the hope of eventually pushing the beasts closer to humanity.  Evidently a similar fate is in store for Jean Crayson, whose drugged body had also been brought to the city by Murasingh.  Nickers and Forbes  are captured nd will be executed before Audrey's "wedding" will take place.  They manage to escape via an elaborate game of "monkey see, monkey do," involving hundreds of the beasts.  Now all they have to do is rescue the women and make their way back to civilization -- something that is not as easy as it sounds.

"Monkey Eyes" is a fast-paced, if unbelievable, pulpish tale, marked by Gardner's usual twisted -- in the best sense of the word -- plotting.  For those willing to suspend disbelief, it provides a pleasnt hour or two's reading.  there are worse ways to spend your time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023


In trying to decide how best to approach Kitty's memorial service this past Saturday, I felt that the best way was to focus on the songs she loved and why she loved them, as well as the songs that explained so much of her essence and personality.  It took a lot of doing but I finally narrowed the list down to a dozen songs.  Jessie then taped eleven of them to be played at the service.  A number of people would recount their memories of her in between each selection.  Because the small church where we held the service was not air-conditioned and because it gets hot in mid-July, we did not have time to include all the songs we wanted to play.  For those who knew her and for those who never had the chance to kn ow the absolute miracle that was my wife, here is the playlist, with apologies because many of the YouTube selections have irritating (albeit brief) advertisements before the songs.

  • "How Great Thou Art"  One of her favorite hymns.  There is an "awesome wonder" in the words.  This was the only song we did not previously record; Gina, the pianist at the church, did a magnificent job singing it.  This version is by Joshua Aaron and Aaron Shust:

  • "Wings of a Dove"  One of Kitty's favorite spirituals and she would find herself singing or humming it at random times.  I've included it because of its underlying message and because Ferlin Husky's song just made her happy:

  • "Jolene"  Kitty enjoyed country-western music but she preferred rock and roll, musical theater, and folk music.   Yet she would always make time to listen to Dolly Parton.  Back in the early days of our marriage, she would listen to THE PORTER WAGONER SHOW on Manchester, new Hampshire's Channel 9 because Dolly Parton was a regular.  Kitty was in awe of this tiny girl with the big blonde wig, the voice of an angel, and the biggest...(here, Kitty would thrust out her hands)...fingernails she had ever seen.  How Dolly Parton could play the guitar with those fingernails is a mystery for the ages.  Fast forawrd a number years, and we were driving down to Walt Disney World.  At a gas station in North Carolina, she bought a tape of Dolly Parton songs that included "Jolene."  I have no idea what other songs were on that tape because she just kept playing "Jolene" over and over again, all the way to Orlando.  She swore that if Christina had been born a month later she would have been named Jolene:

  • "Pack Up Your Sorrows"  Some of Kitty's college friends played this song as we were exiting the chapel when we got married.  It was my promise to her and her promise to me.  Richard and Mimi Farina perhaps sang it best:

  • "Dance Me to the End of Love"  Grow old with me; the best is yet to be.  This Leonard Cohen song encapsulated that feeling perfectly.  One of Kitty's extra-special favorites:

  • "Forever Young"  Kitty had a special bond and love with kids.  She graduated with a teaching degree at a time when here were no teching jobs available, but shortly after we were married, she got a job with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, helping to implement a pilot program designed to close many of the state's reformatories.  We would take these kids into our home and work with the court systems, the schools, and the kids' parents to eventually reunite them in a healthier home environment.  We had far, far more successes than failures.  After our daughters had gone off to college, we became therapeutic foster parents and were able to work with some amazing children whose backstories could break your heart.  While our girls were in high school, our home became a safe haven for many of their friends who were having trouble at their own homes.  Kitty had a costume box filled with prom dresses she had picked up over the years; she would alter these dresses for the girls' friends come prom season.  Birthday parties were always special because Kitty made them so.  During one very bad blizzard we ended up with about sixteen kids who were in the area for a statewide high school music concert spending the night at our house; the following day when the roads were clear and the students were able to go to their actual assigned host families, all but one elected to stay with us.  Occasionaly we'd end up with foreign students and Kitty was always able to put them at ease.  Her secret, I believe, was that she never talked down to kids, but met them on their own terms.  She tried to treat everyone with the respect they deserved.  Children, especially our own two girls and our grandkids, were important to her.  Is it any wonder that the safety, the potential, and the love that chilkdren needed to express were important to her.  Pete Seeger, who recorded this Bob Dylan song when he was 89, encapsulated Kitty's hopes for the upcoming generations:

  • "My Lady's a Wild Flying Dove"  I strongly suspect that Kitty would not have minded having Tom Paxton as her secret husband, but alas for Kitty and luckily for me, Paxton's one true love was his beloved wife Midge.   I cannot count the times we heard Tom Paxton in concert, with Kitty holding my hand and her head on my shoulder.  Paxton wrote this song as an engagement gift for his wife.  It happens to encapuslate how I felt (and still feel) about Kitty:

  • "Julian of Norwich"  Julian of Norwich was an English anchoress who live in the later 14th and early 15th centuries.  It was not a pleasant time to be alive:  the Black Death, the Peasant's Revolt, and the supression of certain proto-Protestant religions made life difficult, to say the least.  When  she was about 30 years old, Julian became terribly ill, enough so tht she wa given the last ritesof the church.  One version has it that she had a number of visions of Jesus; another that she had them of the Virgin Mary.  The one I am familaiir with had Julien ask the Virgin Mary why there was so much suffering in the world.  The simple answer given was, Fear not.  All shall be well again.  That message resonated with Kitty throughout her adult life.  Here's Gordon Bok, Ann Mayo Muir, and Ed Trickett, with Ann Mayo /Muir taking the lead vocal:

  • "Danny Boy"  A beautiful song, but this version was Kitty's favorite.  I think this was the first time that version was ever played in a church.  Oh, Danny.  Here's The Leprechaun Brothers:

  • ""As Time Goes By"  Another song played at our wedding.  Dooley Wilson:

  • "For Bobbi (For Baby)"  If John Denver had never written another song, his place in the music pantheon would still be ensured.  This version has Mary Travers signing to her granddaughter.  The palpable love she displays also contains the essence of Kitty.  After we played this at the memorail service Saturday, a number of people told me how special this version was to them.  Love is universal:

  • "Red Is the Rose"  We closed with this song.  Kitty loved red roses.  My niece Julie had brought her beautiful two-month-old baby, Lily, to the service (Lily behaved with all the grace and poise she had displayed throughout her teo months of life),  Red is the rose that in yonder garden grows, fair is the lily of the valley, clear is the water that flows from the Boyne, but my love is fairer than any:

And my love was, and remains, fairer than any.


Although Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer's classic science fiction novel was optioned for film for Cecil B. DeMille in 1933, a movie version did not appear until 1951.  That's probably a good thing.  Producer George Pal purchased the screen rights in 1949.  His plans for a lavish production were cut back due to budget restraints, but the final film remains immensely vieable due mainly to its extraordinary special effects, which won an Academy Award.  Alas, some clunky writing, plot holes, scientific gaffes, and some so-so acting combined to make this a far less classic film than it should have been.

When it was discovered that two interplanetary rogue objcts was headed on a collision course to Earth, insuring the complete destruction of our planet, a desperate plot to save humanity was developed.   Zyra, an Earth-sized planet would be the first to approach Earth, followed by Bellus (which was an actual rogue star) some nineteen days later.  Zyra would cause a lot of damage to the planet, but Bellus would completely obliverate it.  (In the original novel, the celestial visitors were Bonson-Alpha, a gas giant, and Bronson-Beta, and Earth-sized planet that could possibly sustain life.  The idea of changing the larger body into a rogue star was just plain dumb.)  An ark is hastily built to take a few humans chosen by lottery to Zyra.

There is destruction, both cosmic and man-made.  There is desperation and panic, rioting, murder, and double dealing.  Eventually (Spoiler Alert) a few humans make it to their new world.

Noted astronomical painter Chesley Bonestell created most of the artwork for the film, in addition to designing the space ark.  Because of time and budgets restrains, the final scene in the film, depicting a sunrise on Zyra, used Bonestell's preliminary sketch rather than a finished painting.  Also, one very poor painting was used in the flim and has been erroneously credited to Bonestell  but the work was not his.  Bonestell's art is reason enough to wath the film.

The movie stars Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, Peter Hanson, and Larry Keating.  John Hoyt plays an evil billionaire.  Look closely and you'll see Kirk Alyn, the star of 1948's Superman, in an uncredited role as a "Rioter Bringing Guns."

When Worlds Collide was directed by famed cinematographer Rudolph Mate, which may go a long to to explaining the films wonderful visual effects.  The script was written by Sidney Boehm (The Big Heat, The Revolt of Mamie Stover, Rough Night in Jericho).

Producer George Pal had planned to film After Worlds Collide, Wylie and Balmer's 1934 sequel, but found it impossible to find backing after his 1955 film Conquest of Space tanked.  Both When World Collide and After Worlds Collide had a significant impact on the development of science fiction, and both books are recommended, although I consider After Worlds Collide to be the superior novel.

It's time to put on your Sense of Wonder hat and enjoy When Worlds Collide.

Thursday, July 6, 2023


The blog will be quiet until Monday, July 17.  We are headed out this weekend for Massachusetts, visiting family and connecting with old friends.  I'll have a chance to see if my grand-niece Lily, the letest addition to the family, if really as beautiful as her grandparents are claiming.  (I'm willing to bet that she's even more beautiful.)  At the end of that week, we will be interring Kitty's ashes on Friday, followed by a memorial service for her on Saturday.  We'll be flying back that Sunday.

My computer, which has a fear of flying, will be staying home in Florida.  Just as well; the thing is very needy and demands a lot of my attention.

See you on the other side.  Stay safe.


 Peter Lorre guest stars as Jack reads a book before going to bed for the night.  But first, Jack and the gang attempt to rehearse the show.

Comedy gold.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023


 "Ju-Ju" by "Murray Leinster" (Will F. Jenkins)  (first published in The Thrill Book, October 15, 1919; reprinted in the Leinster collection The Trail of Blood and Other Tales of Adventure, 2017; also available in a number of e-Book collections of Leinster's stories)

First off, this is an African adventure story and contains some language, opinions, and accepted ideals of the time period in which it was first published.  None of this may reflect the author's personal views buit it is indicative of the fiction market conditions of the time.

Our narrator has just left the Belgian Congo, where he had been trading in ivory and rubber against the rather strict rules of the Belgians.  Carefully avoiding being caught, he stops off at the remote Portugese West African plantation of Evan Graham.  Graham is a shady and unpleasant character but he's the only English-speaking person in that part of the country, so a stopover at his plantation is a regular occurance on the way to more civilized areas.  Graham is unlike any other plantation owner.  He rules his workers (actually slaves) through fear; just how he does that is not known.  He also lets his workers run free, rather than keeping them locked up.  He even allows them to openly practice ju-ju, or black magic.  Graham started his African career with very little.  As the younger son of a nobleman, his elder brother Arthur had inherited the title and all the money, leaving Graham to ruthlessly carve his own empire in the jungle.

In the distance, jungle drums are sounding.

Graham's brother is currently in the Congo hunting gorillas and is expected to drop in on him at any time now.  Also expected is a visit from his second cousin Alicia Dalforth, who is engaged to Arthur.  Traveling with Alicia is her companion Mrs.Braymore.  Alicia, Arthur, and Graham were raised together, almost as siblings.  When our narrator reaches Ticao, the commissioner there asks him to guide Alicia and Mrs. Braymore to Graham's plantation.  It turns out to be a rough journey but both women prove themselves more than capable.  They reach the plantation the same time as Arthur, who appears tired and worried.  While in the Congo, Arthur shot a female gorilla and her mate had been following him, seeking revenge.  The huge, intelligent gorilla had ambushed Arthur several times, but Arthur managed to escape.  At one time he thought he had killed the beast, but now he is not so sure -- perhaps the gorilla had trailed him to the plantationj.  The next day, all of Graham's servants and workers are missing, as are the narrator's porters and servants -- all having escaped into the night.  

The jungle drums keep sounding, luder and faster than before.  It is clear that the natives are working up the courage through ju-ju to attack the whites at the plantation.  The local witch doctor is caught trying to curse the house where they are staying.

Suddenly -- almost preternaturally -- the gorilla is back, moving at will without being seen or heard.  It has killed some of the dogs, breaking their necks.  The one servant too afraid to leave the plantation is found dead in her room, horribly butchered.  A strict search finds no trace of the beast.  A giant, furred arm reaches through a window and grabs another dog, breaking its neck.  Then the natives attack.  There are hundreds of them and despite many losses they keep coming.  Somehow the gorilla gets in and kills Arthur without anyone being aware.  Graham is protecting the back of the house and is about to be overrun when the gorilla appears there and begins attacking the natives.  The natives flee and the giorilla again vanishes.

Things are not looking good for the home team.

One interesting aspect of "Ju-Ju" is a reliance on the belief that one's eyes can reveal the last thing a person saw before he died.  I'm sure most readers accepted this theory as fact, especially in this case, as  Arthur matter-of-factly photographs the dead servant's retina to reveal the horrible image of the violent gorilla about to kill her..  

Leinster, all of 23 when he wrote this tale., was already a master of pacing and plotting, able to draw both convincing characters and realistic exotic locations.  His stories often had an unexpected twist ending, as is the case here.  Although best known for his many works of science friction, he wrote in many fields, publishing about 1500 stories and a good many western, mystery, and romance novels, as well as film and television scripts.   Somehow he also found time to be a successful inventor.

The Thrill Book was short-lived (16 issues) fiction magazine covering a number of genres.  Among the better-known authors of the time who were published in its pages were Greye La Sina, Percy Poore Sheehan, Fulton Oursler, Seabury Quinn, Raymond Spears, H. Bedford Jones, Tod Robbins, J. U. Giesy, Don Mark Lemon, Francis Stevens, Junius B. Smith, Frank L. Packard, Edward Lucas White, Clark Ashton Smith, and Harold de Polo,   Leinster appeared in the magazine with three novellas -- "A Thousand Degrees Below Zero" and "The Silver Menance," both well-written science fiction adventures, and "Ju-Ju."  All 16 issues of The Thrill Book are available at  Check them out.

Monday, July 3, 2023


 For your July 4th viewing pleasure.

The Young Rebels was a short-lived television series that tried to cash in on the youth movement of the day.  It aired on Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. on ABC, opposite perrenial favorites Lassie and The Wonderful World of Disney -- which may go a long way to explaining why the series only aired fifteen episodes before giving up the ghost.  It was the story of four teenagers from Chester, Pennsylvania, who fstyled themselves the "Yankee Doodle Society" and fought for American independence in 1777 by both spying on the British and by harassing their troops.  Somehow I imagine the British would have won the war if it wasn't for those pesky kids.

Actually, if you think of this as The Mod Squad  for the 1770s you wouldn't be far off.

The four Young Rebels were Jeremy, the mayor's son, played by Richard Ely, Isak, a former slave (Louis Gossett, Jr.), Henry, a bespectacled Benjamin Frankllin look-alike (Alex Hentiloff), and Elizabeth, Jeremy's younger sister, here because you had to include a girl in these things ( Hilary Thompson).  To that mix they also added a young Lafayette (Philippe Fourquet).  (Needless to say, Ely and Fouquet dominated the covers of the teen magazines for several months.)

In addition to The Young Rebels, Ely appeared in 18 television episode through 1982, inlcuding a seven-episode stint on One Life to Live.  He released one record album in 1970.  Lou Gossett, Jr., went on to a distinguished career as an actor, producer and director, becoming the first African-American to win an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor (Officer and a Gentleman), an Emmy (Roots), and two Golden Globe Awards (The Josephine Baker Story and An Officer and a Gentleman).  Alex Hentiloff had a steady career in television:  IMDb lists 91 credits through 1999.  Hilary Thompson made her television debut at 18 and went on to score another 55 credits on IMDb through 1988, including a recurring ole on Operation Petticoat; she evidently retired after marrying writer-director-make-up effects artist Alan Ormsby in 1988.   Philippe Fourquet was an extraordinarily handsome French actor who was hailed as a new Montgomery Clift.  He co-starred with Jean Seberg in Otto Preminger's St. Joan and with Sandra Dee in Take Her, She's Mine.  at one time he was engaged to actress Sharon Tate.

"Father and I Went Down to CAmp" was the premiere episode of The Young Rebels.  After the loss of the Battle of Brandwine, Jeremy, Henry, and Isak help the American retreat by delaying the British pursuit, while at the same time aiding a wounded Lafayette.   But the British have captured 18 cannons, so the Yankee Doodle Society and Lafayette devise a plan to restore the weapons to the American rebels.  Among the guest stars in this episode were Frank Converse, Will Geer, and Sheb Wooley.  The episode was directed by George McCowan and scripted by Harve Bennett, Peter Gayle, and Peter Allan Fields.  

As you enjoy this July 4th treat, please consider:  Somewhere in America last night, there was a person who did not realize he would not have all ten fingers before this day is out.  Stay safe.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Saturday, July 1, 2023


 Mississippi John Hurt.


 Centaur Publications, Inc. was a Golden Age comic book publisher from 1938 to 1940, issuing 21 titles for a total of 140 issues.  Its most popular title was Funny Pages, which ran from March 1938 to October 1940 for 42 issues.  Other long-running titles were Amazing Mystery Funnies (24 issues), Keen Detective Funnies (24 issues), and Star Comics (23 issues).  None of the titles issued by Centaur appear to be significant.  When Centaur limped to its final end with its December 1940 issues, there remained only three titles -- all last-ditch efforts to gain sales, or (more probably) to use up inventory;  The final three titles were Detective Eye (three issues), Masked Marvel (two issues), and Wham (two issues)

The first -- and penultimate -- issue of Wham features "Craig Carter and His Magic Ring," a ten-pager written and drawn by Eddie Robbins.  Archaeologist Craig Carter is bored with his career.  He decides he wants action.  He wants to be a crime fighter!  Returning home one night, Craig frinds a small box on his table.  In it is a ring, along with a note of appreciation from Aben Toumaj,  the fellow whose life Craig saved in Egypt.  Craig gets a phone call from his girlfirend Nikky.  Her father has been hurt and Craig rushes to be with her, totally unaware that he's wearing the ring.  Two thugs had jumped Nikky's father and stole the formula for a powerful acid he had invented.  Wondering what to do, Craig rubs his chin, and -- accidentally -- also rubs the ring.  Poof!  Appearing in a cloud of smoke is Zeus, King of the Gods.  (Zeus is an old graybeard wearing a not-very Greek blue robe and a pointed crown.  I'm not sure why he came out of what I assume is an Egyptian ring.)  Because Craig wears the ring, the gods must help him.  Zeus tells Craig where the thugs are hiding.  He rides Pegasus to the hideout and, with Zeus's help, regains the formula.  But the crooks have already copied the formula and use if to rob the local bank.  Again, Pegasus flies Craig to where the crooks are hiding.  This time, Mercury helps Craig corral the bad guys.  It looks like Craig had found his career as a crime fighter.

Red Morgan is "The Sparkler."  He has this nifty suit of light-resisting material that can make him invisible.  When he becomes visible once again, sparks leap out of his body for several minutes.  Red find himself in a small city where two gangs are vying for control -- with bullets.  The Sparkler first appeared in Centaur's Super Spy.

"Copper Slugg" is a bit too eager to use his fists.  When he knocks out the police chief's son-in-law, thinking him a purse grabber, he is suspended from the police force for ten days, with a warning not to hit anyone in that time.  That's going to be hard to do when the senator's niece is kidnapped and Slugg is the only one on nthe trail.

Lin Wade is the top waddy of the Lazy Y Ranch.  When a crooked gambler is shot and killed, Lin is accused.  A lynch mob takes him and begin to string him up.  The lynching is stopped by the masked "Phantom Rider," who then takes it upon himself to prove Lin innocent.  Who is this Phantom Rider?  Who knows?  He's ridden off into the sunset.  This is The Phantom Rider's last appearance; he was last seen in  Centaur's Funny Pages.

"Speed Silvers" is a railroading man, the number one engineer of the railway.  Today, Speed is riding with Mike Muldoon, an oldtimer who is currently the Southern District manager for the railroad.  Muldoon reminisces about the old days, when dangers lurked from Indians and from outlaw gangs.  What Speed and Mike don't realize is there are three thugs on board intending to rob the train.  Speed Silvers had previously appeared in Centaur's Amazing Adventure Funnies; this was Silvers' last appearance. (The last panel looks as if it were designed for a "Watch for More Adventures of Speed Silvers" blurb, but it is ompletely blank.  The end is one the horizon for Centaur.)

"Jon Linton" is a young scientific adventurer and flyer.of the year 2000.  He has been aiding Alpha-712, an agent of Quinton, in their battle with the Nogos in the Fifth Dimension.   Previously (in Centaur's Amazing Mystery Funnies), Alpha-712 materialized a herd of dinosaurs to defeat the Nogos.  This time, it is the Nogos who materialize the dinosaurs to attack Quinton.  Jon helps Alpha-7121 to materialize cannon and tanks to defeat the Nogos once again.  Now Jon, his aged assistant Dr. Kane, and Kane's daughter Lisa are ready to return to the 3rd Dimension and Earth, but interdimensional travel is tricky and the three find themselves in 1940, where they are believed to be alien invaders and are seized and jailed.  Alpha-712 breaks them out of jail, and...  And nothing.  The to be conintued box at the end of the story is blank.  There are no more adventures.  **sigh**

"Speed Centaur" is just that, a centaur.  Speed takes his friend Reel, a newspaper photographer, to view the ruined sity of his people, only to find that hostile humans have taken over the empy, once-magnificent city.  To free themselves, Speed must first defeat three Siberian polar bears.  Speed Centaur had previously appeared in Amazing Mystery Funnies.   This was his last appearance, despite the fact that another adventure was promoted for the next issue.

"Detecto, the Wonder Beam" was invented by Jack Strand, who installed it in his car.  Detecto can 1) receive and send short wave radio calls, 2) stop any motor, 3) set up a resistance beam that is impervious to bullets, and 4) paralize all living things it touches.  Detecto gets its first (and last) tryout against "Killer" Blaze and his gang.

Enjoy this blast from the past.