Saturday, August 14, 2004

Armadillocon Again

So here I am at Armadillocon, sitting in my room, waiting for my 11:00 p.m panel. Why would anybody put an Old Guy on a panel at 11:00 p.m.? Who's going to keep me awake?

I was on a 7:00 p.m. panel on "SF Movies that Should be Remade." It was very lively, with lots of audience participation.

The panel at 11:00 is on "Writing in Multiple Genres." Now how likely is that likely to be? Which panel would you have scheduled at 11:00?

In case you're interested, by the way, I agreed with the others that LOGAN'S RUN and I AM LEGEND (THE OMEGA MAN, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH) certainly qualify for remakes, not that Hollywood would do them right even if they were remade.

OK, so Blogger isn't going to let me publish this. I'm going to save it and get it up sooner or later. Maybe later.

Friday, August 13, 2004


So here we are in the Hilton, waiting for the Armadillocon to begin. Unfortunately, it starts late this afternoon, at which time I'll be heading across town to meet with my sister's reading group. I'm supposed to tell them how I became rich and famous in the writing game. That shouldn't take long.

Last night we went to Jovita's restaurant to hear the Cornell Hurd Band. Our son, Allen, does the sound for the band, and they sounded great. They play for two hours without a break, and the crowd seems to love them. Most of the crowd appeared to be regulars. The band plays for tips, so Allen's always hoping for a big crowd. He said last night was only about average.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear : Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear : Thrilling Days of Yesteryear “Don’t panic!”

"When I sent back the last three DVD’s I rented to Netflix last week, I got notification on Monday that they had received one…Tuesday that they had received a second…and Wednesday the final one. I don’t understand this at all, because I sent all three of them back at the same time. In short, this kind of put a crimp in my plans this week for a post that I had sketched out whereupon I would watch The Killers (1946) and then the 1964 remake. Only they sent me the remake first. Most untidy. I will, therefore, wait until the original arrives tomorrow before any further posting on that subject."

So Tune In Tomorrow! at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, as they used to say on radio. Should be an interesting commentary.

As for me, it's time to put the suitcases in the car and hit the road.

Road Trip

Today Judy and I are hitting the road for Austin, where we'll be attending the annual Armadillocon, a regional science-fiction convention. We've been going to this one for eight or ten years now, and we always enjoy it. The fact that it's in Austin doesn't hurt.

Tonight, we'll go to Jovita's Mexican Restaurant to see the Cornell Hurd Band. Our son, Allen, works the soundboard for the band. He also produces their CDs, but you probably can't find those outside of Texas.

Tomorrow evening we'll visit my sister, and I'll talk to her book club about writing. Supposedly everyone will have actually read one of my books. It ain't Oprah, but I'll take what I can get.

I'll drag the ancient laptop to the convention, and if I get a chance, I might even do a little light blogging.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004 | Entertainment | Fonda voted best of the vest (August 11, 2004) | Entertainment | Fonda voted best of the vest (August 11, 2004): "Fonda voted best of the vest
August 11, 2004

BARBARELLA has been named as the sexiest sci-fi character in the movies.

The 1968 film featured Jane Fonda as the scantily clad intergalactic hero.

'Getting dressed in zero gravity has never looked as good as in the opening sequence of this sci-fi classic,' Film Review magazine said.

Milla Jovovich was second for her role of Leeloo in The Fifth Element, while Kristinna Loken was third for playing killer robot T-X in Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines."

So my question is, what about Princess Leia? That bondage scene with Jabba the Hut was pretty hot. - DVDs change the shape of entertainment - DVDs change the shape of entertainment: "DVDs change the shape of entertainment
By Mike Snider, USA TODAY
Couch potatoes still prefer watching TV to other media pastimes, but more often, the TV is playing DVDs."

This whole article is kind of depressing, if you're a writer. Somewhere below I think I expressed my theory that people were watching DVDs instead of reading. Apparently they're doing it in preference to just about any other kind of entertainment. According to the article, people are spending less time going to theaters, listening to music CDs, and reading newspapers, magazines, and books. Sigh.
"The report last week from the small Tombstone Tumbleweed newspaper is jarring. A 'flood of middle-eastern males' has been caught entering the country illegally east of Douglas, Arizona, according to the paper, and this recent 'flood' is actually part of an increasing trend of 'OTMs' ('other than Mexicans') entering the country illegally somewhere east of the Chiricahua Mountains."

Reading the above report, some of us (well, OK, one of us) will no doubt recall the Nick Carter novel entitled THE COYOTE CONNECTION. Nostradamus doesn't have a thing on Nick Carter.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


This is a response to a comment below, asking if Frank Frazetta's photo was used on any of the covers in the Coxeman series, and, if so, which ones.

I have to confess I'd never heard this story before. I'll bet Lynn Monroe would know. Anybody else?

Jack Kirkwood

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear ( has some comments today about Jack Kirkwood, and the catch phrase associated with a character he played on the Bob Hope radio show. I hadn't thought of it, much less heard it, in years, but when I was a kid, you could hardly have a conversation without hearing it repeated: "Put something in the pot, boy." I can still hear exactly the way it sounded. The phrase was also part of a popular song, so maybe that's what I'm recalling. Anyway, it's a great memory, and it was glad to be reminded of it.

Ovid Demaris

In a comment on down the page, Steve Mertz mentions Gold Medal writer Ovid Demaris. I want to add a little here to my own comment to Steve.

First, for the curious, the title of one of Demaris' Avon books is The Gold-Plated Sewer, and it's a pretty good one. I've never read his Beacon book, Chip's Girls, but it went through a couple of printings, so someone must have liked it. Demaris wrote another for Avon, The Long Night, and I have one Tower book, The Organization Man, and one Signet Book, The Overlord.

Demaris' Gold Medal novels were generally about gangsters, the Mob, the Mafia. A couple of them became movies. Candyleg was filmed as Machine Gun McCain (which might be a better title) with John Cassavetes in 1968. The Hoods Take Over became Gang War in 1958 and starred Charles Bronson. Both are pretty entertaining, at least to me.

Demaris later hit it big with nonfiction books, including The Green Felt Jungle, the story of Las Vegas. I've never read any of the nonfiction, but I certainly recommend the novels, especially the ones from Gold Medal. - CP Entertainment News - CP Entertainment News: "LOS ANGELES (AP) - The DVD era is resurrecting the great colourization debate of the 1980s, and at the heart of the matter are Curly, Larry and Moe.

Sony's Columbia TriStar home-video unit is releasing two Three Stooges DVDs that allow viewers to watch the original black-and-white or digitally colourized versions. Purists consider it desecration, while Sony executives say the process can help introduce Hollywood classics to young audiences reluctant to watch anything in black and white. The Stooges discs coming out Tuesday also give die-hard fans better black-and-white versions, the studio insists."

Is NOTHING sacred?

Charles Williams: More Than A Slight Return by Ed Lynskey

Charles Williams: More Than A Slight Return by Ed Lynskey

Ed's other article on Williams, reprinted today on Ed Gorman's blog, is at the above link, where it's a little easier to read. Why Williams' novels don't command the attention of some of the other Gold Medal writers is a complete mystery to me. He was one of the best.

The High Seas of Charles Williams by Ed Lynskey

The High Seas of Charles Williams by Ed Lynskey

Speaking of Gold Medal books, as we have been, Ed Lynskey has a good essay on Charles Williams, one of the sadly negelected Gold Medal guys at the link above. The site itself, Al Guthrie's NOIR ORIGINALS, is well worth your attention.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Like Television

I saw a plug today for, which, for a price ($10 a month), gives you unlimited streaming video of all sorts of things: movies, cartoons, serials (Radar Men from the Moon!), and so on. I checked out one of the free samples, some Johnny Carson clips, and the quality's great. Too bad I don't have more time to waste. This would be a great place to waste it.

Gold Medal Books (again)

When I started reading Gold Medal Books, long, long ago, I had no more critical sense than a cricket. For that matter, I'm not sure that I've shown much development. My point, if I have one, is that about all I knew is whether I liked the books or not. And of course I knew that I liked some more than others.

One of the first Gold Medals I remember reading is I Am Legend. Now there was a book that knocked me out. I let a friend borrow my copy, and he told me, years later, that he couldn't believe anyone would let him borrow such a wonderful book. He was surprised that I would let it out of my possession. I think that over the years the book's taken plenty of critical hits, but I don't care. For me, it's still the book I read nearly 50 years ago.

I went on to amass quite a stack of Gold Medals, so I have most of the ones I'm interested in reading, and a lot that I'll probably never read. Sure is nice to have them around, though.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The Old Corral

Time to plug one of my favorite sites for western movies information, The Old Corral: Today I was looking for something on Hal Taliaferro, who plays a baddie in the serial I'm watching, Zorro's Black Whip. Turns out that he started his career using the name "Wally Wales" and was a western star during the silent era. He was in over 190 movies during the sound era, but his starring days were over. If you're looking for information (not to mention photos, posters, lobby cards, etc.), The Old Corral has you covered. A great site.

Dan J. Marlowe

I've decided to do a little writing about Dan J. Marlowe for Steve Lewis's Mystery*File, so I've been re-reading some of Marlowe's books. Wow. I think he's a seriously under-rated Gold Medal writer. Everything I've been reading seems as fresh now as it did 35 or 40 years ago: Strongarm, The Name of the Game is Death, and One Endless Hour. The only thing wrong with Strongarm is the prologue, which seems unnecessary to me, especially since the novel has a terrific opening scene. Makes me wonder if the editors asked Marlowe to add the prologue. And when it comes to the other two books, you have to wonder if anybody ever wrote a better pair for Gold Medal. These were done before "Earl Drake" became a series character (probably another editorial suggestion), and he was as hard and as mean as they come. One Endless Hour also has a prologue, which sort of catches you up on who Drake is if you happened to miss The Name of the Game is Death. Which you shouldn't. One of the best Gold Medal books ever.