Wednesday, May 24, 2017

'Mary Had a Little Lamb' Is Based on a True Story

'Mary Had a Little Lamb' Is Based on a True Story  

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Roger Moore as James Bond in 1964

Roger Moore as James Bond in 1964 - YouTube:

Toyoko Doll -- John McPartland

John McPartland was one of those solid Gold Medal writers who broke out with a big hardcover best-seller that became a hit movie, No Down Payment.  And then he died at age 47.  I wrote a little about that movie in this post.  When I wrote that post, the movie wasn't available anywhere, but now you can watch it on YouTube, as I've done recently.

But I digress.  I'm here to write about Tokyo Doll, half of a fine new double from Stark House.  Unfortunately the ARC doesn't have a copy of the Steve Lewis introduction to the volume, but I'm sure it'll be excellent, as with everything Steve writes.  

The guy on the cover looks a bit like Robert Mitchum, but he represents the protagonist of Big Red's Daughter, not that the narrator of Toyko Doll couldn't look like Mitchum.  He's Mate Buchanan, big and tough, a WWII and Korea vet who's been court martialed for not following orders (he was going to take his men into a almost certain-death situation, though he does himself).  Kicked out of the army, he's living in San Francisco when an official with one of those secret government agencies comes to  him with a job offer: Go to Tokyo and hook up with a woman from his past, a woman whose father had concocted a virus that will save the world.  Don't worry about how preposterous this virus is.  It's just the MacGuffin to get the story going and to keep it racing along.

Once in Tokyo, Buchanan meets the doll of the title, a singer named Sandra Tann, and in the old pulp tradition, they immediately fall in love.  There are plenty obstacles in their way, including the fact that Buchanan has orders to marry the other woman if that's what it takes to get to her father.  Soon enough, Buchanan's a wanted man both by the U.S. Army and the Tokyo underworld.  This results in some chasing and pursuing, and a couple of really good fight scenes.  And if all that's not enough, Buchanan's not at all sure he can trust Tann, who might also be after the virus, maybe for The Reds (a common bugaboo in the '50s when the book was published).

Tokyo Doll is fast and furious, well written, and fun to read.  Great local color, and it seems clear that McPartland had spent some time in Tokyo.  This Stark House double is well worth your time if you like the old  Gold Medals.  And who doesn't?

“Radio Days” (by Kevin Mims)

“Radio Days” (by Kevin Mims) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Kevin Mims is known to readers of the Dell mystery magazines primarily as a short-story writer. In 2013, one of his stories for EQMM received a nomination for the International Thriller Award, and he has also contributed memorable stories to our sister publication, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. But he is also an essayist whose pieces have frequently appeared in the New York Times, on NPR, and elsewhere. This is his fourth post for this site. In it he talks about the heyday of the radio mystery.—Janet Hutchings

Song of the Day

Randy Travis - Diggin Up Bones - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

Seventeen: The magazine For American Teenagers – 36 Charming Photos of Female Fashion in the 1950s

Today's Vintage Ad

The most gorgeous cars of the Art Deco era

Behold- the most gorgeous cars of the Art Deco era...


Emerson Hough, North of 36, Pocket Books, 1947

The literary giants of pulp fiction

The literary giants of pulp fiction

Guess Who?

How the Owner of the Greatest Mystery Bookstore Pulled the Genre Out of the Muck: “This is literature. It’s not just puzzles, it’s not just telling a nice story.”

Forgotten Hits: May 24th

Forgotten Hits: May 24th: You'll find some very notable debuts on this week's chart.  "Windy" by The Association premiers at #64, "New York Mining Disaster, 1941" becomes the first US Hit for The Bee Gees when it debuts at #71, the controversial "Society's Child" by Janis Ian comes in at #83 in its first week on the chart and "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)", a song written by John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas but given to his long-time friend Scott McKenzie to record, comes in at #99.

Lisa Spoonauer, R. I. P.

Daily Mail Online: Lisa Spoonauer, who became an unlikely star of the 1994 cult classic 'Clerks,' died at the age of 44 on Saturday in New Jersey. Though Spoonauer quickly gained a fan following for her role as Caitlin Bree in the iconic film Clerks, she only appeared in one other movie during her career: 1997's 'Bartender.'  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: The Best of Keith Laumer -- Keith Laumer

Adventure, humor, military SF, Keith Laumer could do just about anything and make it seem easy.  This collection is ample demonstration of that, even if not all the stories seem like "best of" material to me.  I'm thinking here of "Doorstep," which seems more like a joke than a story, and it turns out that the puzzling title isn't really a title, but sort of the punchline, since you have to get to the end of the story to figure it out.

For those of you who are fans of Laumer's work, there's one Bolo story ("A Relic of War"), but there are no Retief stories.  Apparently lots of people don't care for Retief, but I think the stories are hilarious.

My favorite in this collection is probably "The Planet Wreckers," which combines wild adventure and equally wild humor in what may be the ultimate comment on reality TV, although the story was published in 1967.  I like the Bolo stories, so I enjoyed that one, too, and "Cocoon" is a scary take on an early form of virtual reality.  "The Devil You Don't" is a funny take on the Devil and certain problems in Hell, and "Thunderhead" is a military story about duty and heroism.  Good stuff, and a good introduction to Laumer, although I prefer his novels, like Worlds of the Imperium and A Trace of Memory.

Table of Contents:
Introduction · Barry N. Malzberg
The Planet Wreckers
The Body Builders
The Lawgiver
The Devil You Don’t
A Relic of War

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Marsh McCall, R. I. P.

Marsh McCall Dead: 'Fuller House' Writer and Producer Was 52: He was one of the original scribes on 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien' and a mainstay on 'Just Shoot Me!'

Roger Moore’s best James Bond moments, film by film

Roger Moore’s best James Bond moments, film by film  

The first one is my all-time favorite.

Jeff Cohen on “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Girl”

Jeff Cohen on “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Girl” | Trace Evidence: Jeff Cohen is the author of the Aaron Tucker series, the Asperger’s Mystery series (as coauthored by E.J. Copperman), and three other series under the Copperman byline. He also pens the Double Feature series about Elliot Freed, to which his tale in the current AHMM belongs. Here, he talks about how that story came to be.

Song of the Day

Jerry Lee Lewis It Won't Happen With Me - YouTube:

15 Secrets of Forensic Artists

15 Secrets of Forensic Artists

Today's Vintage Ad

The Creepiest Thing About Stephen King Is His Acting Career

The Creepiest Thing About Stephen King Is His Acting Career


Frank Gruber, Broken Lance, Bantam, 1954

Roger Moore , R. I. P.

The Guardian: He was the epitome of the suave English gent, quipping sweatlessly in a bespoke three-piece suit, who enjoyed an acting career spanning eight decades. On Tuesday, Roger Moore’s children announced his death at the age of 89 in Switzerland, saying: “he passed away today ... after a short but brave battle with cancer”. Roger Moore: ‘Being eternally known as James Bond has no downside’ Read more Moore was best known for playing the third incarnation of James Bond as well as his roles in hit shows The Saint and The Persuaders. He also devoted a lot of his time to humanitarian work, becoming a Unicef goodwill ambassador in 1991.

12 fascinating facts about the Bee Gees

There's no jive talkin' in these 12 fascinating facts about the Bee Gees

I Miss the Old Days

30 Rare and Amazing Vintage Photos That Document Daily Life of Gypsy Rose Lee, America's Most Celebrated Stripper, in 1949

Overlooked Movies -- Return of the Lash

There's no trailer available for Return of the Lash, but the movie's short and you can watch the whole thing on YouTube if you look for it.  That's what I did.

When last we looked in on The Cheyenne Kid, played by Lash LaRue, he was an outlaw.  Even worse, at least for him, he was dead.  A little thing like that,  however, never stopped Hollywood, and the Cheyenne Kid later returned in several movies very much alive as a good guy. He was even a marshal in a few movies, although not in Return of the Lash.  In this one, the Kid and Fuzzy Q. Jones are called on to help their friend Tom Grant because Big Jim Kirby is trying to force them (and all the other ranchers) off their land.  Big Jim knows, as they don't, that the railroad is about to come through, so he wants all the land he can get his hands on.  

Not the most original plot, you might be thinking, but there are some twists.  One is that to get the dough to help the ranchers fight, the Kid catches a bunch of outlaws to get the reward money.  When Fuzzy picks it up from a nearby town, he's attacked by outlaws, falls off his horse, hits his head, and comes up with amnesia.  He doesn't know who attacked him, who he is, or where the money is.  Another twist is that Big Jim is working with . . . no, I can't say.  It's obvious in the movie long before we're told, but you should find out for yourself.

One disappointing thing is that the Kid uses his whip only sparingly and in situations that aren't suspenseful.  On the plus side, our friend Richard Moore's Uncle Bud Osborne shows up as a henchman.  He doesn't drive the stagecoach, which was a surprise, as driving the rigs was his specialty.

Return of the Lash is probably for hardcore B-Western fans only.  You know who you are.

Oh, and by the way, the rumor posted about me and James Reasoner on this website is absolutely true.