Saturday, November 28, 2015

Al Markim, R. I. P.

Hollywood Reporter: Al Markim, who portrayed Astro, a young engineer from Venus, on the popular 1950s sci-fi TV serial Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, died Tuesday, his family announced. He was 88.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Man Attacks Roommate for Taking Too Long in Bathroom in NJ

Lie Catchers -- Paul Bishop

Paul Bishop is former L.A. cop, a reality TV star (Take the Money and Run),  and a writer.  On the TV series Bishop used some of the interrogation techniques that he'd become expert in as a cop, and this expertise plays a big role in his new novel, Lie Catchers.

Jane Randall, the novel's narrator, is recovering from a gunshot wound, another of the calamities that have given her the nickname of Calamity Jane.  She's assigned to work with Ray Pagan, a cop who seems to have his own rules.  That's because he's the best at what he does, interrogations.  He wants Randall to work with him because she has a special ability.  Pagan does, as well.  There's just a bit of woo-woo at work here, but Bishop makes it all believeable.  The reason Pagan's so good at his job is that he's an empath.  Randall can literally see when a person is lying.  The two of them together would have a tremendous advantage in interrogations.

Their first call is about a kidnapping of a child, but before long there's another kidnapping.  Could these two seemingly disparate cases be related?  You bet your bippy, and soon enough murder gets added to the complexity of the web being woven.

It takes good police work to get to the bottom of things, but the heart of the novel is the interrogation scenes, and these are intense and expertly handled.

Bishop knows how to tangle things up and to get them unraveled in fast-moving prose.  But wait!  There's more!  The book includes two nonfiction essays, one on Bishop's first arrest and one on his last.  These are both fine reading in their own right, so you get plenty of bang for your buck in Lie Catchers.  Check it out.

I Miss the Old Days

The Behind-the-Scenes Beauty of Barbarella

Song of the Day

Chris Kevin & The Comics - Here He Comes - There They Go - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The ten funniest jokes ever (according to scientists at Oxford University)

Today's Vintage Ad

Peace on Earth

Shoppers brawl all over the country on Black Friday 

Warren Miller, R. I. P.

Inside Business: In 1958, Miller recorded the popular bopper, “Everybody’s Got A Baby” under his real name, on the United Artists label. He released others as Jesse Travers and Cris Kevin. His 1959 Cris Kevin song, “Here He Comes, There They Go” (aka “Have Gun, Will Travel”) caught the attention of Dick Clark and enjoyed heavy rotation on American Bandstand.


Geoffrey Household, Rogue Male (Man Hunt), Bantam, 1946

I Have Two Serious Quibbles with this List

NTN: The 12 debut novels that changed crime fiction 

A Review of Interest (To Me, Anyway)

Kevin's Corner: Review: "… A Dangerous Thing: A Carl Burns Mystery" by Bill Crider

Guy Lewis, R. I. P.

New York Times: Guy Lewis, a Hall of Fame basketball coach known for leading the University of Houston’s Phi Slama Jama teams of the early 1980s, died on Thursday at a retirement home in Kyle, Tex. He was 93.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Judy Crider -- November 5, 1943 -- November 27, 2014

FFB: 20th Century Ghosts -- Joe Hill

Yes, it's another rerun, but since it's from 2007, I figure most of you don't remember it any better than I do.  It wasn't run as an FFB post then, of course.

Almost 30 years ago I sat down to read a short-story collection titled Night Shift. The author was Stephen King, and I thought the stories were terrific. They had a pulp vitality that I found exciting, and I was thrilled when the author signed the book for me at the World Fantasy Convention in Fort Worth. 

And now I just finished reading a short story collection by Joe Hill, who's King's son. I don't plan to compare the two, except to say that Hill is a much smoother writer and more literary than pulpy, even at this stage of the game. He's clearly going in his own direction, and while some of the stories in 20th Century Ghosts can be classified as horror, most of them couldn't, even by stretching the definition. 

One of the horror stories is the first one, "Best New Horror." You know exactly where it's headed before you get well into it, but it's that rare kind of story that's all the better for your foreknowledge. 

The best pure horror story in the book, though, and the only one that reminds me of the famous father, is "You Will Hear the Locust Sing." It's a direct descendant of E. C. Comics, '50s monster movies, and Kafka. And it has maybe the best line in the book. 

"Pop Art" reminded me of a movie I haven't even seen, Lars and the Real Girl. In Hill's story, a boy's best friend is an inflatable doll named Arthur Roth. Unlike the Real Girl, Arthur's fully sentient. He can't talk, but he can write and interact with others. I had no trouble at all accepting this, and the story worked just fine for me. You might feel differently. 

"The Black Phone" is a crime story, about a boy who's caught and imprisoned by a serial killer. Great claustrophobic tension, worth your time. 

If someone removed one of the nine stories from J. D. Salinger's Nine Stories and put "Better than Home" in its place, I'm not sure I'd notice. That's a compliment.

"Abraham's Boys" is about a famous vampire hunter and his sons, and I liked the way it played out.

The almost title story (no s on the end) is nicely evocative of old movie houses and may be the only real ghost story in the book.

Not all the stories worked for me. "Dead Wood" didn't even seem to be a story at all, and "The Widow's Breakfast" didn't have much of a point. "In the Rundown" seemed too obvious, and "Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead" was a little too soft. I didn't care much for "The Cape," about a boy who can fly, or "Last Breath" (again, too obvious). And while I liked I liked "My Father's Mask" quite a bit because it's unsettlingly weird, I still don't have a clue as to what was happening or what it was all about.

"Voluntary Committal" is the novella that closes the book, sort of, and it was a lot like a story from some '50s SF magazine, maybe F&SF, which might explain why I liked it.

I said that the novella "sort of" closed the book because Hill puts another short story into the Afterword. It's pretty good, too.

FFB: The Violent Ones -- Brant House, editor

Back in the Old Days, we didn't have Syrian refugees to fear, but we had plenty of other things.  We had the commies, the bomb, and of course juvenile delinquents.  

I believe that Brant House is *ahem* a house name used at Ace Books.  That's what Wikipedia says, so it must be true.  For this book, whoever was using the name assembled a book of stories about the fearful plague of delinquents on the nation, and as you can see from the back cover (and the title), he didn't pick out any stories about youngsters who help old ladies across the street.  Or if he did, those aren't the ones I read.

Evan Hunter's "See Him Die" is a told by a cop-hating youth who thinks a killer is a heroic guy.  Don't think this is going to be a story with a moral, one in which the narrator sees the error of his ways.  These stories aren't about people who do that.  (UPDATE:  This story was rewritten as See Them Die, the 13th novel in the 87th Precinct series.)

The narrator of Robert Silverberg's "Russian Roulette" talks her boyfriend into playing the game.  And she wants to go first.  These are tough kids, and she's even tougher than you might think.

In "The Bobby Soxer" Jonathan Craig gives us another girl as the protagonist.  It's what happens after a man drags her into an alley and tries to rape her that gives the story its kicker.

Gil Brewer might have the nastiest story in the book (I haven't read all of them yet) in "On a Sunday Afternoon."  A man, his wife, and his child go on a picnic after church.  What could possibly to wrong?  J.D.s, that's what.  Very bad things happen.

Robert Turner's "Movie Night" closes things out with another story of a simple pleasure -- a night at a drive-in movie -- that gets way out of hand.  

[SPOILER ALERT] There's not a single story that I read in which any of the perpetrators of violence are punished.  I'm not sure what this tells us. [END OF SPOILER ALERT]

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Crew

Back Row: Natalie Fulwiler, Scott Fulwiler, Allen Crider, Norma Fulwiler

Front Row: Tom Neary, Angela Crider Neary, Francelle Bettinger, Will Fulwiler, Bill Crider  (Francelle is my sister, and the Fulwilers are her son, his wife, and her grandkids.)

Who Says Hollywood Is Out of Ideas?

‘The Wages Of Fear’ Remake: Ben Wheatley In Talks To Write & Direct

Song of the Day

We Gather Together - Celtic Spirits - YouTube:

Yet Another List I'm Not On

Best mystery books and thrillers of 2015 - The Washington Post

Today's Vintage Ad

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

SFGate: Frustration is not an unfamiliar feeling for anyone who’s gone to the DMV, but one San Francisco man’s resilience and one clerk’s impatience resulted in a brawl at the department’s office with each using desk supplies as weapons.

Eat Like the Pilgrims

Eat Like the Pilgrims


Dorothy Charques, Men Like Shadows, Ballantine, 1965

Who Says TV Is Out of Ideas?

Read it and weep: 42 Movies Being Adapted For TV

The Origins of 15 Holiday Foods and Drinks

The Origins of 15 Holiday Foods and Drinks

How the Thanksgiving turkey was named after the country Turkey

How the Thanksgiving turkey was named after the country Turkey: The turkey, as you probably know, is native to North and Central America. So of course it's named after a Middle Eastern country, because why not, right?

Forgotten Music: 5 Insane Stunts From The Craziest Record Label Of All-Time

5 Insane Stunts From The Craziest Record Label Of All-Time

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

This Fake Black Friday Movie Trailer Needs To Be A Real Thing

This Fake Black Friday Movie Trailer Needs To Be A Real Thing

I Miss the Old Days

Glamour Photography in the 1950s  

Link via Neatorama.

Song of the Day

1953 HITS ARCHIVE: Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes - Perry Como (a #1 record) - YouTube:

Why Do We Wish on the Turkey’s Wishbone?

Why Do We Wish on the Turkey’s Wishbone? 

Wizard Cops

Wizard Cops is the Best, Weirdest Video I've Watched All Day 

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Christmas elves attacked during lighting ceremony in England

Today's Vintage Ad

And Away We Go

Today Angela and Tom and I are on the road to Austin, where we'll spend Thanksgiving.  Allen is going to prepare us a meal, since he says he's the best cook.  He's right as far as I'm concerned, but Angela's an excellent cook.  She's willing to let Allen do all the work, though.  As for me, I'm taking a can of cranberry sauce.  As Homer Simpson says, the best kind of cranberry sauce is the kind that's shaped like the can.  I won't be back until late Friday afternoon, so I probably won't be doing any e-mailing or responding to comments on the blog.  I've scheduled stuff for each day, so the blog will hum along just fine without me.  I'll see you on the flip-flop.

Cynthia Robinson, R. I. P.

Billboard: She was the voice that commanded us to "get up and dance to the music," and the woman who Sly Stone put "on the throne" in the Family Stone hit "Dance to the Music."


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, Pocket Books, 1950


Wing-walking on planes was not for the faint of heart

John Wayne's Texas Ties


I Want to Believe!

Why french fries may be better for you than salad  

Link via mental_floss.

Happy Thanksgiving! In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Vintage Treasures: Beyond the Curtain of Dark edited by Peter Haining

Vintage Treasures: Beyond the Curtain of Dark edited by Peter Haining

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

David Canary, R. I. P.

David Canary, Candy from 'Bonanza,' passes away at 77: David Canary could have played for the Denver Broncos. Instead, the picture-perfect cowboy turned to real broncos on the screen and pursued an acting career. After 27 episodes on Peyton Place, his breakthrough year would come in 1967. First, he was cast in the movie Hombre, a classic western and character study starring Paul Newman.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Ex-boyfriend lit cars on fire, threw Molotov cocktail through 13-year-old girl's window  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Man shot at mailman over dirty look

JFK and Me

Apparently I've never told my JFK story here on the blog, although I thought I had.  Here it is.

It was September 13, 1960 when John F. Kennedy made a speech on the front steps of the Texas State Capitol.  Here's what he said

I was in the crowd that day.  College classes didn't begin until the next Monday, but I had to be there for registration.  My roommate, Walter Funk, and some other friends were there, too.  One of them was Bob Tyus, a good friend from my hometown.  Another hometown buddy, Mike Leary, might have been there with his roommate, Allan Rast.  I know there were at least four of us.  

After the speech, Kennedy left and walked through the capitol building to the back door.  Hundreds of people lined the way, all with hands outstretched.  Kennedy was shaking hands at random.  Bob Tyus and I were among the lucky ones who got a quick shake.  Then we went to my car, which was parked only a block away on Congress Avenue.  That part of the street no longer exists, since the capitol grounds and building have long since covered it.  Walter and the others were already at the car when Bob and I got there.

The car wasn't really mine.  It was my parents' 1956 Buick Special, a sky-blue four-door hardtop, the best-looking car they ever owned.  Since it was the semester break, I'd driven down for only a couple of days, leaving my 1953 Ford behind at home.  I'd drive back home and spend a couple of days before returning to begin the semester.

We all piled into the Buick, and I pulled out into the street behind a black car.  We didn't think anything of it, but we'd gone only a block or so when a motorcycle cop came up beside us and started motioning for me to pull over.  Which I did, of course.  The cop didn't say anything to us.  He just sat on his bike and watched JFK's motorcade drive past.  This wasn't one with an open car for a parade.  Kennedy was on his way to the airport in a closed car.  After the last car had gone by, the cop waved me back onto the street. 

I'm the only person I know who's driven the second car in a presidential motorcade.

Our Tax Dollars at Work

$43 Million of Your Tax Dollars Bought a Single Gas Station in Afghanistan

Song of the Day

Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs - "Ring Dang Doo" - YouTube:

Artists Give New Life to Children's Monster Drawings

Artists Give New Life to Children's Monster Drawings to Encourage a Creative Path

Today's Vintage Ad

Here's How Daylight Saving Time Affects Your Part of the Country

Mental Floss: Daylight saving time was created to benefit Americans, but not every part of the country is affected equally. Within the Eastern time zone, for instance, the sun rises a whole 40 minutes earlier in New York City than it does in Detroit. To illustrate how daylight saving time impacts sunrise and sunset times around the county, cartographer Andy Woodruff published a series of helpful maps on his website.


Ngaio Marsh, Death and the Dancing Footman, Berkley, 1961

Read Poul Anderson's Very First Story Written in His Own Handwriting

Read Poul Anderson's Very First Story Written in His Own Handwriting

I Miss the Old Days

 Flavorwire: Glamorous Photographs of Swinging ’60s London, New York, and St. Tropez

Ummmm. Broiled Pig's Feet.

Menus of the 1850s and 1860s

Adele Mailer, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Adele Mailer, an artist and actress who made headlines in 1960 when her husband, the novelist Norman Mailer, stabbed and seriously wounded her at a drunken party in their apartment, died on Sunday in Manhattan. She was 90.

31 Times "Frasier" Was The Wittiest Show On TV

31 Times "Frasier" Was The Wittiest Show On TV

Overlooked Movies: Kansas City Bomber

Raquel Welch. Roller derby.  If that doesn't sell you on Kansas City Bomber, maybe the trailer will.  It's right below, and I hope you've already watched it.  Welch learned to skate for the movie, and she got pretty good at it.  Not good enough to do her own stunts, as it's all too easy to tell, but she wasn't bad.

So what does this movie have going for it besides Welch and some great '70s haircuts?  Well, there's the plot, which isn't all that great, and of course the trailer does give away the ending, not that you won't see it coming from about ten minutes into the movie.  Welch has left K.C. for Portland, Oregon, and she's signed up for the Portland Loggers roller derby team.  The owner, played by Kevin McCarthy, is a manipulative sort who has plans for Welch.  Just what those plans are isn't quite clear, although we catch on before the end.  So does Welch.  That's pretty much the plot right there, but you get a lot of skating and a lot of fighting and yelling.  Welch is very good, and her rival, played by Helena Kallianiotes got a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

The movie's not bad, and it's a nice time capsule if, like me, you watched roller derby back in the old days.  When Judy and I lived in Austin in the late '60s, we watched every week for a while, so the movie brought back some pleasant memories.

Kansas City Bomber Trailer

Kansas City Bomber (1972) Official Trailer - Raquel Welch, Kevin McCarthy Sport Drama Movie HD - YouTube:

Monday, November 23, 2015

And You Thought Spelling Wasn't Important

She might have gotten away with poisoning her husband if not for one spelling mistake   

Hat tip to Art Scott.

I Saw Loud Frogs From Puerto Rico Open for Bubble Puppy in 1966

Hawaii's Big Island Is Overrun With Loud Frogs From Puerto Rico

First It was the Thin Mints Melee [T]he Darth Vader-costumed would-be robber of an 8 til Late convenience store was pummeled with a jar of salad dressing inside the store and sent to the hospital after he was caught by police Sunday.

Fender Lizards --Joe R. Lansdale

A Joe Lansdale novel without any cussin'?  Surely you jest.  

I'm not jesting, and don't call me surly.    Fender Lizards is aimed straight at the YA crowd.  It's a sweet coming-of-age novel set in (where else) East Texas, in which a 17-year-old high-school dropout (cue up Frankie Avalon in Grease, with slight word changes).  Her name is Dot Sherman, and she and her sister, Raylynn, who's living with a ne'er-do-well named Tim, work at the Dairy Bob for low wages with no future to speak of for either of them.  Tim smacks Raylynn now and then, but she stays with him. 

Things start to change, however, when Dot finds out about Tim and gives him a going-over with a two-by-four plank.  This isn't a recommended step in the right direction, but it proves that Dot isn't just a passive young woman who's going to drift through life.  She's a take-charge kind of person.

Dot lives in a trailer with her mother, her brother, and her grandmother.  The father is long gone, having just walked away and never come home.  Raylynn moves back in, which crowds things.  And then Uncle Elbert shows up.  He says he's the uncle they never knew, the brother of the long-gone husband.  He sets up housekeeping in his van parked next to the trailer.

Since Dot and her fellow employees at the Dairy Bob skate to serve the cars that stop by, she gets the idea that they could form a roller derby team and take on the team with a carnival that's coming through town.  There's a big cash prize for any team that can beat the carnies.  It just happens the Elbert is an expert skater, who once made a living as a skating clown.

A number of other things happen, but I don't want to spoil your fun by telling you what they are.  I'll tell you what doesn't happen, though.  No cussin', no murders, no real crimes of consequence (not counting Dot's little encounter with Tim).  Laughs, you bet.  Wisdom?  Sure.  Don't let the fact that this is a YA novel put you off.  It's great stuff, and you'll enjoy every word.  Trust me.

Problem Solved

Italian Mafia tells the Islamic State to stay out of New York:  “They [DHS and FBI] often act too late or fail to see a complete picture of what's happening due to a lack of ‘human intelligence,'” Giovanni Gambino, the son of a New York mob boss, told NBC News. “The Mafia has a bad reputation, but much of that's undeserved. As with everything in life, there are good, bad and ugly parts – the rise of global terrorism gives the Mafia a chance to show its good side.”

In That Case, Sir, You Are Free to Go

Florida man accused of flashing says he was shaking out a bug

Living in Oblivion and Deceptive DVD Covers

Living in Oblivion and Deceptive DVD Covers 

Song of the Day

Procol Harum - Homburg (with lyrics) - YouTube:

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - November 23rd, 1965

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - November 23rd, 1965

Today's Vintage Ad

Science Says It's OK to Watch That Kitten Video at Work

Science Says It's OK to Watch That Kitten Video at Work  

Link via The Presurfer.


Erle Stanley Gardner, The Case of the Deadly Toy, Pocket Books, 1961

I Miss the Old Days

The Delights and Perils of Navigating New York City With a Guidebook From 1899 

In Six Words, Sci-Fi Comes Alive

In Six Words, Sci-Fi Comes Alive

The Trap of Solid Gold: "Nine Coffins for Rocking H"

The Trap of Solid Gold: "Nine Coffins for Rocking H"

MWA Announces 2016 Grand Master, Raven & Ellery Queen Recipients

MWA Announces 2016 Grand Master, Raven & Ellery Queen Recipients

Special congratulations to Janet Rudolph!

New Poem at the Five-Two

The Five-Two: Simon Perchik

Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1953: A Retro-Review

Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1953: A Retro-Review

Saeed Jaffrey, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Saeed Jaffrey, an Indian-born character actor known internationally for his work in films like “Gandhi,” “The Man Who Would Be King” and “My Beautiful Laundrette,” died on Nov. 14 in London. He was 86.

Bob Foster, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Bob Foster, a devastating puncher who was one of boxing’s most dominant light-heavyweight champions but failed in his quest to capture a heavyweight title when he was knocked out by Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, died on Saturday in Albuquerque. He was 76.

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

'Toenail Hoard' of 500 coin clippings found in Forest of Dean

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Roy Rogers' Life Becomes a Musical

Variety: Music industry heavyweight T Bone Burnett has signed on to write the music and lyrics for “Happy Trails,” a stage musical about the life of Roy Rogers.

 Producer Larry G. Spangler made the announcement that Burnett would be taking over the score following the departure of previously attached songwriting team Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. Screenwriter Marshall Brickman (“Annie Hall”) will write the book and Des McAnuff (who won Tony Awards for “Big River” and “The Who’s Tommy”) is slated to direct the project.

Now Available: Tales from the Otherverse eBook: James Reasoner, Bill Crider, Lou Antonelli, Scott A. Cupp, Robert E. Vardeman, Keith West, Cheryl Pierson, John Hegenberger, Richard Prosch, Scott Dennis Parker: Kindle Store Tales from the Otherverse eBook: James Reasoner, Bill Crider, Lou Antonelli, Scott A. Cupp, Robert E. Vardeman, Keith West, Cheryl Pierson, John Hegenberger, Richard Prosch, Scott Dennis Parker: Kindle Store  Other times, other places, other stories than the ones we know...These are the Tales From the Otherverse, where anything is possible and things never work out quite the way you'd expect. Some of today's top talents in popular fiction turn their hands to tales of alternate history. Featuring new stories by bestselling, award-winning authors Bill Crider, Lou Antonelli, Scott A. Cupp, Robert E. Vardeman, James Reasoner, and more. Explore the Otherverse and see what might have been!

Why Do British Pubs Have Illustrated Signs Outside?

Why Do British Pubs Have Illustrated Signs Outside?

Song of the Day

Hank Locklin - Church Behind The Wall @YouTube Country Gospel - YouTube:

10 Fascinating But Forgotten Men From American History

10 Fascinating But Forgotten Men From American History

Today's Vintage Ad

Here's WATCH's list of the 10 worst toys for 2015

ABC News: Here's WATCH's list of the 10 worst toys for 2015


Robert Fontaine, The Happy Time, Dell, 1952

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

Big Find of The Day: Second Largest Diamond Ever Found in Botswana

15 Times Calvin And Hobbes Reminded You To Never Stop Exploring

15 Times Calvin And Hobbes Reminded You To Never Stop Exploring

November 22, 1963: Death of the President

November 22, 1963: Death of the President: Shortly after noon on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.

Here are a few of my happier memories of 1963, from a 2006 post on this blog.

Thinking about My Mother Today

Frances Antoinette Brodnax Crider was born on this date in 1916.  She's 2-1/2 years old in the photo, I believe.  The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on this date in 1963 was a sad coincidence that has cast a long shadow.  Most people who think of this day think of that event.  So do I, but it's still in second place for me.  I always think of my mother first.