Saturday, April 22, 2017

Erin Moran, R. I. P.

Erin Moran, ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Joanie Loves Chachi’ Star, Dead at 56: Erin Moran, best known to TV audiences for her role as Joanie Cunningham on the classic sitcom Happy Days, has died, TMZ reports. She was 56. 

Moran rose to fame when she was cast as the younger sister of Ron Howard’s Richie Cunningham on Happy Days, which ran for 11 seasons between 1974 and 1984. She later co-starred opposite Scott Baio in the short-lived spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi, which lasted for just two brief seasons between 1982 and 1983.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Classic Gunfights

Classic Gunfights: Doc Hits Bottom (but not much else)

Song of the Day

Ninety Nine Ways -Tab Hunter 1957 - YouTube:

The Surprising Resilience of Failed Fast Food Chains

The Surprising Resilience of Failed Fast Food Chains

Today's Vintage Ad

The Science Behind What Determines Your Taste In Music

Is This Your Song? The Science Behind What Determines Your Taste In MusicWhen we hit 18-20, our music taste is essentially solidified. It’s not an exact cutoff, but it’s pretty close. Researchers estimate that by this age, we’ve become less open-minded, and our neural circuits become almost fully structured based around our experiences, leaving little wiggle room for new associations. 

Odd Girl

Artemis Smith, Odd Girl, Beacon, 1959

Hollywood's Most Famous Lion

The Story of Hollywood's Most Famous Lion: Actually, there have been five of them

Every Map You've Ever Seen Is A Damn Lie

Every Map You've Ever Seen Is A Damn Lie

A Founder of Earth Day Looks Back on How It Began

Mental Floss: On the very first Earth Day in 1970, Denis Hayes stood on a stage in Central Park, stunned by the number of people who'd come to honor the planet. Now 76 years old, Hayes remembers it was like looking at the ocean—“you couldn’t see where the sea of people ended.” Crowd estimates reached more than a million people.

John Waters: By the Book

John Waters: By the Book: The film director and author of “Make Trouble” says that when a publisher asked him for a blurb for “Transit,” he sent back, “Rachel Cusk is too smart for her own good.”

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Fredric Brown Mystery Library

Haffner Press News & Events: We just received word from the bindery that BOTH Volume One and Volume Two of the FREDRIC BROWN MYSTERY LIBRARY are complete and ready for delivery!!!  Woo-hoo!  

Hat tip to Chad Calkins.

A Complete History Of Paris Hilton At Coachella

A Complete History Of Paris Hilton At Coachella: Paris Hilton is the one true, actual queen of Coachella.

Song of the Day

Tompall & The Glaser Brothers - Wicked California - YouTube:

The Story of the First Card Catalog

National Library Week: The Story of the First Card Catalog: As National Library Week begins — it runs from April 9–15 this year — the Library of Congress looks back at the ancestor of the card catalog, in this excerpt from The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures (Chronicle Books, 2017).

Today's Vintage Ad

Organize? What's That?

How to Organize Your Book Collection Your Way 


Honore De Balzac, Ten Droll Tales, Hillman Books, 1949

The Quest to Better Describe the Scent of Old Books

The Quest to Better Describe the Scent of Old Books

This Will Come as no Surprise to Readers of this Blog

Without Edgar Allan Poe, We Wouldn't Have Sherlock Holmes

FFB: Dillinger -- Harry Patterson

What if John Dillinger, when he escaped prison in 1934, had gone to Mexico?   That's the question that Harry Patterson (aka Jack Higgins, James Graham, etc.) answers in Dillinger.  

Once in Mexico, Dillinger is forced to work for a brutal mine owner or to have his true identity made known.  While he's there, the owner allows a number of his Apache workers to die in a mine cave-in, causing a small band of die-hard warriors to kidnap his daughter and attack a town.  Dillinger and a group from the mine follow the attackers in a Chevy convertible and on horseback.  So that's kind of fun.  But the plot is slow to develop, and it's hard to work up any enthusiasm for Dillinger or the relationship between him and a beautiful half-Chinese, half-Mexican woman.   So why did I reread the book?  Just to see if it was as unsatisfactory as I remembered, and it sure is.

Now, though, I know why.  The book is a complete rewrite of a 1964 Patterson novel, Thunder at Noon, a book which doesn't even include John Dillinger.  I direct you to Ben Boulden's site for a discussion of the original novel that he published a couple of years ago.  Boulden contends that the original version is very good and far superior to the rewrite.  It would just about have to be.

As a point of interest, I'll note that in Dillinger Patterson uses the names Fallon and Chavasse for two minor characters in the book, names that were used for the protagonists in much better novels by Patterson.  I don't know if those names appeared in Thunder at Noon.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

There's A Japanese Word For People Who Buy More Books Than They Can Actually Read

There's A Japanese Word For People Who Buy More Books Than They Can Actually Read

The Fatty Arbuckle Scandal

The Fatty Arbuckle Scandal

Song of the Day

Do You Know What I Mean ? - Lee Michaels- 1971 - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Top 10 Underrated Crime Movies

Today's Vintage Ad

I Miss the Old Days

17 Vintage Photos That Show Bad Women's Fashion of the 1970s


Ian Fleming, Dr. No, Pan, 1960

10 Debut Novels That Are Also Their Authors’ Masterpieces

10 Debut Novels That Are Also Their Authors’ Masterpieces

The World's Most Talented Wallet?

Found: A 1950s-Era Wallet Belonging to a Women's Army Corps Veteran: While renovating a landmark Macy’s department store in downtown Spokane, Washington, an old wallet recently dropped out of a disassembled drainpipe.

Russian sex toys, flying dinosaurs, and Barbara Bush’s missing toes

Russian sex toys, flying dinosaurs, and Barbara Bush’s missing toes, in this week’s tabloids 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Dark Horizons: MarVista Entertainment and IM Global Television have announced that they are teaming up to develop, co-produce, and co-finance the television series “King Kong Skull Island” which they make clear is completely unrelated to the recent “Kong: Skull Island”.

The project is said to be a serialized, contemporary continuation of the classic, exclusively endorsed by Kong’s creator, and will boast a female-led and multi-cultural ensemble that delves fully into the wonders and horrors of Skull Island and its origins.

The Mysteries Of The Aztec City Of The Gods

Top 10 Insights Into The Mysteries Of The Aztec City Of The Gods

Song of the Day

The Drifters He's Just A Playboy. - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

37 Fantastic Color Photos Capture Downtown of Los Angeles in the 1940s

Today's Vintage Ad

A Book Lover's Guide to the Literary Bars of New York

A Book Lover's Guide to the Literary Bars of New York

“My Father and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine” (by Richard Chizmar)

“My Father and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine” (by Richard Chizmar) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Richard Chizmar is the coauthor (with Stephen King) of the bestselling novella Gwendy’s Button Box and the founder/publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine and the Cemetery Dance Publications book imprint. He has edited more than thirty anthologies and has won two World Fantasy awards and four International Horror Guild awards, among other honors. His fiction has appeared in dozens of publications and has been translated and collected in book form; his latest collection, A Long December, was recently published by Subterranean Press. Rich’s EQMM debut was in our March 1997 issue, but until we received this post we had no idea his connection to EQMM goes back much further than that! Don’t miss the new Chizmar story coming up in our September/October 2017 issue.—Janet Hutchings


Dashiell Hammett, Blood Money, Dell, 1951

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Best New Action Movies of the 2000's

I'd Like to Have This

This House Hasn't Changed At All Since The '60s, And It's Pretty Incredible: It's an original Frank Lloyd Wright and it's up for sale.

Forgotten Hits: April 19th

Forgotten Hits: April 19th: Other bulleted movers on this week's chart include "Music To Watch Girls By" by Andy Williams (up to #42 from #51), "Casino Royale" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (now sitting at #44, up from #63), "Walkin' In The Sunshine" by Roger Miller (up to #45 from #56), "Here Comes My Baby" by The Tremeloes climbs from #65 to #49 and Engelbert Humperdinck seems poised to run up the American Charts just as he did back home in Great Britain as "Release Me" jumps from #76 to #56, a move of twenty places.

FFB: Cobra Trap -- Peter O'Donnell

Cobra Trap is the final (in more ways than one) book to feature Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin.  It's a collection of five short stories that carry the two from almost the beginning of their careers together to the end.

Modesty is a mere twenty years old when "The Bellman" begins.  It's a story of an attempt at long-delayed revenge.  Modesty and Willie put Bellman in prison, and when gets out of prison, he has Modesty and Willie abducted and put on a deserted island where they'll be hunted by three professional killers (shades of "The Most Dangerous Game").  Things don't go as Bellman planned.  In "The Dark Angels," Modesty and Willie are protecting a Texas oilman from a gang of psychopathic (and acrobatic) hit men.  Things don't go as the hit men planned.  The oilman appears at first to be an annoying parody, but it turns out that's a clue to a twist in the tale.  "Old Alex" is a direct sequel to a novel, "Dead Man's Handle," and it's a compilation of outrageous coincidences.  It's also another revenge story and my favorite story in the book.  "The Girl with the Black Balloon" is about a gang of kidnappers.  Modesty and Willie have only a short time to save their victim.  Things don't go as the kidnappers planned.  The final story, "Cobra Trap" is indeed the final story for Modesty and Willie, at least on this plane of existence.  I can say no more.

This collection is just as entertaining as Pieces of Modesty (see my comments here).  There are still a few books in the series I haven't read, but I'm going to get to them Real Soon Now.  And I might even reread some of them.  O'Donnell was a superb entertainer; he never lets me down.

The Bellman
Dark Angels
Old Alex
The Girl with the Black Balloon
Cobra Trap

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Attention to Books of Possible Interest Books  Roderick Langham is a retired soldier, disgraced police inspector, and reluctant occult detective. He inhabits the world of Sherlock Holmes, investigates cases with John Watson and Sebastian Moran, and is able to perceive the reality concealed by the illusion of everyday appearances. These nine stories follow Langham from his first encounter with the inexplicable in the Himalayan hills to his investigation of the wreck of the Demeter and his growing realisation that the dales, moors, and wolds which surround his Yorkshire refuge are home to an evil far older than the honeycomb of medieval monasteries and Roman ruins suggests. 

The Most Surprising Things Libraries Are Lending Now

From Fine Art to Fishing Poles, the Most Surprising Things Libraries Are Lending Now

Song of the Day


Sara Paretsky: From Joan of Arc to Little Women

Sara Paretsky: From Joan of Arc to Little Women, a History of Heroes

Today's Vintage Ad

Suspicions Confirmed

Alligator emerges from drain in Bucktown

Hat tip to Art Scott.


Clifford D. Simak, Worlds Without End, Belmont, 1964

I Miss the Old Days

Movie Palaces Let Everyday Americans Be Royalty

Sign Me Up

University of Tennessee to offer course on Dolly Parton’s life

Forgotten Hits: April 18

Forgotten Hits: April 18: The Monkees hold on to the #1 Spot on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey ... and now move up to that position on the WCFL Sound 10 Survey, too. Lots of Local Hits on the charts this week, too ... First, we find The Buckinghams at #5 with "Don't You Care", "Mr. Unreliable" by The Cryan' Shames is at #7, "You're Gonna Be Mine" by The New Colony Six sits at #8, Michael and the Messengers (from just across the Wisconsin border) holds down the #16 spot with their version of "In The Midnight Hour", The Riddles are at #19 with "Sweets For My Sweet" and Lou Rawls can be found at #24 with "Dead End Street".

Overlooked Movies: The Golden Arrow

Like some other movie stars whose careers were on the decline, Tab Hunter went to Europe in the '60s and made some spaghetti westerns and this Arabian Nights fantasy.  When I was a kid, movies like this (except better ones) were a matinee staple, so I thought I'd give The Golden Arrow a try.  Unfortunately, the movie was pretty dire.

Tab Hunter is the prince who is a thief.  He doesn't know his true origin, but it turns out that he can bend the bow that shoots the golden arrow, which makes him the true heir to the throne of Damascus.  He falls for Rossana Podesta, a princess, who's of course about to be given in marriage to someone else by the evil Grand Vizer.  There's always an evil Grand Vizer in these movies.  

Tab can't let this marriage happen, but he's been chased far away, and he'll have to get back to her somehow.  He's aided in his travels by three supposedly comic genies, and his various encounters make very little sense.  Not that it matters.  This movie was obviously intended for kids who wouldn't care about that kind of thing.

The sets and scenery are great, so the movie had a nice budget.  Tab's voice is dubbed for some reason.  Maybe the Italians didn't like his line readings.  If you're desperate for something to watch, the entire movie is available on YouTube.  I can't imagine anyone being that desperate, however.

The Golden Arrow

THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962) original trailer [Eng sndtrk] - YouTube:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Gator Update (Second-Story Edition)

Alligator climbs to a second-story Mount Pleasant porch, through a screen door and then refuses to leave

Rarely Seen Literary Treasures from the Library of Congress Archives

Literary Hub: In honor of National Library Week (April 9-15), we have curated a selection of rarely seen literary treasures from the Library of Congress Archives, from William Blake’s engraved prophecies to a first edition of The Fire Next Time. Each book cover is paired with its card from the Library of Congress card catalog. Some of these are hand-written, some are printed, and many are annotated by hand, reflecting the meticulous work and invaluable skills of generations of librarians.

Song of the Day

Grateful Dead - Touch Of Grey (Lyrics on screen) - YouTube:

Florida Man Talks to Florida Woman About Florida Crime

Literary Hub: So it’s now a running joke that a weird or unsavory news story about a random crime is apt to be headlined, “Florida Man…” We asked a couple of crime fiction writers well versed in those stories and in the business of making up their own Florida stories in the form of crime fiction series to talk about why Florida is such ripe territory for the weird and the unsavory.

Today's Vintage Ad

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

25 Top Female Crime Writers of the Past 50 Years


March Hastings, Shame, Beacon, 1958

The Notorious Legends and Dubious Stories of 10 Literary Deaths

The Notorious Legends and Dubious Stories of 10 Literary Deaths

I Miss the Old Days

Forever Young: 43 Snapshots Show Fashion of Teenage Girls in the 1980s

Forgotten Hits: April 17th

Forgotten Hits: April 17th: Nancy and Frank Sinatra hold The Monkees off for at least one more week as "Somethin' Stupid" maintains its #1 position on top of our Pop Super Chart for the week ending April 22nd.  The Monkees' "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" still manages to creep up a notch to #2, followed by The Turtles at #3 with their former #1 Hit, "Happy Together."  Meanwhile, The Supremes make the biggest leap into The Top Ten as their latest, "The Happening" jumps all the way from #20 to #8.

When Raymond Chandler Gave J. Edgar Hoover a Hardboiled Snub

The Daily Beast: The long-time head of the FBI take not take insults well, and most people were too intimidated to try. But the creator of Philip Marlowe was made of tougher stuff.

The Rise of the Toxic Avenger

The Toxic Avenger: A Brief History of Troma's Superhero Franchise

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Possibly with some fava beans and a nice Chianti

Mum fears freezer-raiding burglar ate her placenta

Croc Update (Lizard Men Edition)

Costa Rica's Lizard Men snare a monster on Easter croc hunt: Easter comes with a bit of a twist in Costa Rica, with the traditional egg hunt replaced by the somewhat more bracing activity of crocodile hunting.

Bruce Langhorne, R. I. P.

Dylan's 'Tambourine Man' Is Dead at 78: (NEWSER) – "In the jingle jangle morning, I'll come following you." Plenty of people could identify that as a line from Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," but how many know the man who inspired the song? As it turns out, his name was Bruce Langhorne, and the highly regarded session guitarist has just died at age 78, reports the AP. Langhorne collaborated often with Dylan, perhaps most notably on Dylan's 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home, and the New York Times calls him a pivotal figure in helping turn folk music into folk-rock music. Dylan once explained that he was inspired to write "Tambourine Man" after seeing Langhorne show up for a recording session in 1964 with a large Turkish drum adorned with bells. 

Hat tip to Deb.

But Does Dr Pepper Do Anything for Me? Nooooooo.

K-State student, Dr Pepper fan rewarded with life-size soda fountain  

Hat tip to Deb.

Song of the Day

Chris Rupp - Crown Him With Many Crowns (Official Video) - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

21 Vintage Photos of the Hottest Easter Pin-up Models from between the 1940s and 1970s

Today's Vintage Ad

Terrifying Easter Bunnies from the 1980s

22 Candid Snapshots of Terrifying Easter Bunnies from the 1980s


Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dell, 1953

Old Hollywood Easter

Old Hollywood Easter

The very strange history of the Easter Bunny

The very strange history of the Easter Bunny

Happy Easter!

The year was 1949, and we were decked out in our Easter finery.  That's me on the left.  My brother, Bob, is in the middle, and my sister, Francelle, is on the right.