Friday, January 27, 2012

FFB: Bob Shaw: MESSAGES FOUND IN AN OXYGEN BOTTLE and Terry Carr: BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (NESFA Press 1986)




OK, this almost feels like a bit of a cheat...another fannish collection, or in this case two collections, and the double-volume, like PITFCS, is still in print (and is sold by the same folks, the New England SF Association, who handle sales for Advent: Publishers). But Terry Carr and Bob Shaw, whose professional careers were both really sparked by the Ace Science Fiction Specials series that Carr edited and which published several of Shaw's first novels, were frequently brilliant writers who made a mark but died too young (not as kids, but too young), and this volume, a souvenir item for a convention at which the two men were guests of honor, collects a nice sampling mostly of their fannish essays and fiction, though also including Carr's gem of a fantasy "Virra" (from The Magazine of Fantasy & SF in 1978), published shortly after the one collection of his short fiction, The Light at the End of the Universe (1976) and thus left out of that only other volume of Carr's shorter work not devoted exclusively to his fannish writing. Both men were legendary contributors to fannish literature, and mainstays of fandom even after becoming fully professional writers and, in Carr's case, even more visibly an editor; certainly Shaw was one of the leading lights of Irish fandom, and Carr one of half-dozen or so most revered among contributors and publishers of fannish writing in the subculture. These selection were chosen for their excellence and their accessibility...not too much (if a little) Utterly Insider fannish reference (though, for example, it will help if you remember the claptrap Erich Van Daniken made a fortune promoting in the latter '60s and early '70s in enjoying "The Bermondsey Triangle Mystery," the transcript of a parodic convention speech Shaw offers as his first entry). The tenor of much of the lighthearted work from both men falls somewhere between James Thurber and Dave Barry, with the particular worldview of the more acute sort of fannish mindset applied, as Shaw is quick to note in his introduction. We still have some comparable folks, such as David Langford, still with us, but Carr and Shaw probably had more to give, and certainly deserved the opportunity to do so. But go look for justice in the universe.

For more largely unjustly neglected books and such, please see Patti Abbott's blog (and spare a good thought for her).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January's Underappreciated Music: the links and RIP: Joe Morello and Paul Motian

Patti Abbott: Kalena Kai

Bill Crider: The Sons of the Pioneers; Don Gibson

Jerry House: Bessie Smith

Randy Johnson: Jake Holmes, exploited by the Yardbirds (and that minor successor project of Jones and Page)

George Kelley: Some Girls (remastered) by The Rolling Stones

Charlie Ricci: The Turtles

In 2011, we lost two of the great jazz drummers of the post-bop era...major contributors to third stream and other adventurous music of the era: Joe Morello and Paul Motian. Two New England guys, of Southern European extraction at a time when that wasn't always comfortable in America (Morello Italian-American, Motian Armenian-American), about the same age (Motian a few years younger), and both began as string-instrumentalists: Motian was a guitarist, Morello a wunderkind violinist. Instead, they moved over to being among the most impressive and influential of drummers, usually but not exclusively as jazz players, and both thoroughly engaged in musical education (Morello particularly formally, as the creator of texts and a/v materials and as an instructor, Motian often in taking in younger players in his bands). With the loss of Max Roach and Elvin Jones and Art Blakey and Connie Kay and Kenny Clarke and a slew of others over the previous decade or so (of that generation, perhaps the only prominent survivor is Chico Hamilton, but I'm probably being criminally forgetful), it's a Change of the Guard, and not necessarily a welcome one.

I met Morello once, and he suggested that this was among his own favorite performances:


Some further examples:




Of course, Morello wasn't a part of the "original" Dave Brubeck quartet; just the best one.

Paul Motian (has there ever been a better surname for a drummer?), with his first great band:
(the loud hiss is kicked down with the beginning of the music)


With Paul Bley and Gary Peacock:


with the Charles Lloyd Quartet:


Rest in glory.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the links


Thanks to all contributors here, and to you readers (particularly those of you fighting your way out from under the weather, as I am this morning). If I've missed any links/overlooked any of the overlooked, please let me know in comments...thanks again!

Bill Crider: Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (trailer)

Brian Arnold: Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Dan Stumpf: Manpower

David Schmidt: The Whisperer in Darkness

Ed Gorman: Man with a Camera

Evan Lewis: The Oklahoma Kid (1939)

George Kelley: Kiss Me Deadly (1955; Criterion Blu-Ray package)

Iba Dawson: The Star (1952)

Ivan G. Shreve: Radio comedy/variety of the 1940s/50s

James Reasoner: Coronet Blue

Jeff Segal: The World Beyond (aka The Mud Monster); Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (aka Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue among other titles)

Jerry House: "Young Couples Only" (based on "Shipshape Home" by Richard Matheson) (Studio 57)

John Charles: Dog Eat Dog (aka When Strangers Meet)(1964)

Juri Nummelin: Himmelskibet

Kate Laity: Elgar; Melancholia


Mildred Perkins: I Saw the Devil

Patti Abbott: Will Penny

Prashant Trikannad: The 36th Chamber of Shaolin; Return to the 36th Chamber; The Jaipur Literary Festival

Randy Johnson: Grand Central Murder

Rod Lott: The Flesh Eaters (1964)

Ron Scheer: The Iron Horse (1924)

Scott Parker: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, as read by Carolyn McCormick (audiobook)

Sergio Angelini: The Dark Mirror (1946)

Stacia Jones: Neil Diamond in Retrospect (in several media)

Steve Lewis: Pleins Feux sur L'Assassin (aka Spotlight on a Murderer)

Todd Mason: Coffee House Rendezvous; Kongo (please see below)

Walter Albert: Sally, Irene and Mary (1925)

Yvette Banek: I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Coffee House Rendezvous is, by me, a charmingly goofy attempt by some organized body within the coffee industry to drum up a little business among teens, rather late in the 1960s (apparently 1969) by the time they got the film assembled (and added that remarkably dire recurring opening theme), who were encouraged to open not childish lemonade stands but household coffee bars for the delectation of their peers. Well, it keeps them out of the arcades and the supermarket parking lots, no? And gets them to swill some delicious 8 O'Clock or perhaps some Sanka in those late nights (Postum's for squares!). Somewhat larger outfits were also surveyed. The post-MST3K Riff Trax crowd did their take on this film, almost inevitably (I have yet to hear this, having just come across the parody track), but it stands by itself in its utter awkward opportunism and gawky attempt to exploit the Zeitgeist to hawk some beans.


Kongo, the sound-era, pre-Code remake of West of Zanzibar (and like the silent based on the stage play of the latter title), isn't quite as powerful as I remembered from seeing it about forty years ago, when very young, but it's still a pretty fascinating slice through some desperate behavior from characters who are beyond merely shady (these are the folks one would've hoped the default racism and other sorts of chauvinism of the time might've been restricted to, but we were never that lucky); Walter Huston is almost as is impressive as Lon Chaney, Sr., in the silent film, and Huston has to treat with the dialog...as often with films of this vintage, among any other sins in retrospect, things seem a bit rushed. But this film, which seems never to have been cleared for legitimate home video release, is at very least an interesting curio.

Friday, January 20, 2012

FFB: Robert Bloch: DR. HOLMES' MURDER CASTLE (1983)



Robert Bloch's career after 1960 was haunted by the dual shades of the real serial killer Ed Gein and the fictional one he created, Norman Bates (and Bates's two faces, the one resembling Calvin Thomas Beck whom Bloch wrote about, and Tony Perkins's in the film role), that little cluster joining an immortal Jack the Ripper in Bloch-career-haunting (since shortly after he published the ridiculously frequently plagiarized "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" in Weird Tales in 1943). But in what he wrote about, there are at least as many words expended on H. H. Holmes (aka Herman W. Mudgett...perhaps not coincidentally two of the names "Anthony Boucher" used along with Boucher as pseudonyms, as Bloch and William "Boucher" White were long-term colleagues and probably friends). American Gothic was for years probably Bloch's second-best-known novel, and I wondered how much the title American Psycho was an attempt by the best-selling pisher to pay a sort of tribute to Bloch; certainly Erik Larson's Holmes/Mudgett history, The Devil in the White City, has since become more popular than Bloch's two notable long works about the Chicago-based murderer...the other being the long essay "Dr. Holmes' Murder Castle", among the most obscurely-published of Bloch's works; it has appeared only twice, originally in a book from Reader's Digest's "condensed books" division that is not a "condensed" book, but an original anthology of true-crime and supposedly-true paranormal accounts, all written by writers better-known for fiction (with the arguably weak exception of Colin Wilson, who loved to muck around in these fields of mostly-nonfiction). It was later collected in the third volume of The Lost Bloch, an impressive collection also including Bloch's wife (then widow), "Elly" Bloch, and Gahan Wilson's reminiscences of the man, and an unedited form of the interview Douglas Winter conducted with Bloch for the interview collection Faces of Fear; this volume only saw 776 copies produced, apparently (and most of the copies for sale I see are de-accessioned library copies of the pricy less-limited edition of 750).

It's a fine, novella-length account, and while I like American Gothic better (and Devil in the White City has more room for more evidence and detail, including that dug up since Bloch wrote this, presumably at the turn of the 1980s though perhaps earlier), I'm glad to have "Murder Castle" at hand, and it's an ornament to both books it appears in.

from ISFDb:

Title: The Lost Bloch, Volume Three: Crimes and Punishments edited by David J. Schow (Subterranean Press, 2002)

7 • The Head on the Bloch • (2002) • essay by David J. Schow
17 • Weird Adventures of the Odd Little Band • (2002) • essay by Gahan Wilson
23 • The Shambles of Ed Gein • (1962) • essay by Robert Bloch
31 • Hell's Angel • (1951) • novella by Robert Bloch
91 • The Finger Necklace • (1945) • short story by Robert Bloch
115 • The Noose Hangs High • (1946) • short story by Robert Bloch
139 • It's Your Own Funeral • (1943) • short story by Robert Bloch
165 • Dr. Holmes' Murder Castle • (1983) • essay by Robert Bloch (aka Dr. Holmes's Murder Castle)
239 • Three Whole Hours and Then Some with Robert Bloch • (2002) • essay by Douglas E. Winter
279 • My Husband, Robert Bloch • (2002) • essay by Eleanor Bloch

Title: Tales of the Uncanny editor uncredited (Reader's Digest Association, 1983)

Dr. Holmes's Murder Castle • essay by Robert Bloch
Curious Encounter • essay by John G. Fuller
The Possession of Sister Jeanne • essay by Norah Lofts
The Remarkable Daniel Dunglas Home • essay by Julian Symons
The Captain's Return • essay by David Beaty
Strange Affair at Stratford • essay by Barbara Michaels
A Novelization of Events in the Life and Death of Grigori Efimovich Rasputin • essay by Colin Wilson

For this week's other books, please see Patti Abbott's blog

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the newly augmented links



Thanks as always to all contributors and to you readers...there are a few more citations to be added a little later this morning or early this afternoon, including those from Steve Lewis and the gang at Mystery*File, but the Very Slow Machine I'm working with has a tendency to get hung up on Yvette Banek's illustrations among other things...so I'll be switching to a somewhat less underpowered device for the later links and the M*Fers! Please let me know if I've missed yours in comments...
Bill Crider: The Iron Mistress (1952) (trailer)

Brian Arnold: Blacke's Magic

Chuck Esola: duBeat*e*o

Dan Stumpf: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; the Robin Hood legend

Eric Peterson: Rock Radio 103 WIQB

Evan Lewis: The Three Musketeers (1948)

Iba Dawson: Me and Orson Welles

Jackie Kashian: Mary Jo Pehl (Cinematic Titanic, MST3K); Andrew Kole, Provocateur

James Reasoner: Blue Light

Jerry House: The Black Cat (1934)

John Charles: Black Belt Jones; Hot Potato; Black Samson; Three the Hard Way

Juri Nummelin: The Collector

Kate Laity: The Devil and Miss Jones

Patti Abbott: Lord Love a Duck

Pearce Duncan, Jeff Segal, Jason Cavallaro, How Did This Get Made?: Drive Angry

Randy Johnson: Red Sun (1971)

Rod Lott: Nancy Drew, Reporter (1939)

Ron Scheer: Pale Rider

Scott Cupp: Ladyhawke

Sergio Angelini: Hysteria (1965)

Stephen Gallagher: Douglas Fairbanks and me

Todd Mason:
National book-chat television. There's a dearth of it today, in the US, particularly now that Oprah Winfrey has closed down her self-celebratory "Oprah's Book Club" along with the rest of her weekdaily herself-fest, to retire to new levels of self-adoration on the second cable channel that was meant to be hers (as Oxygen was at its foundation, as well), OWN. The only remaining chat show host on the networks who makes a point of mentioning his reading habits is Craig Ferguson, of CBS's graveyard series, probably in part due to he himself being a novelist (how good or bad, dunno yet); Ferguson is a big fan of Lawrence Block, and has had him on the show several times.

But, at least on C-SPAN, there's no shortage of bookish events, with their Book TV weekends and various other author-readings, interview sessions and seminars. Of course, C-SPAN has chosen to make their website harder to use over the last several years (it was no picnic before), but, for example, the three-hour In Depth series can be accessed this way and thus, which latter is how I dug out Katha Pollitt's fine session from some years back. Such other C-SPAN series as After Words are also accessible at the site, even though C-SPAN will tend to go for "media-savv" and "colorful" figures, including the Ann Coulters and the Michael Moores, at least as often as someone more substantial. Noam Chomsky's been on...but not so very often...and C-SPAN is a bit smug about how they favor nonfiction books...until they land a fiction writer or poet who redounds to their sense of Tone.

And while C-SPAN generally does a good job (though the sound quality of some of their archived material leaves something to be desired), I had a very pleasant time today listening to (I suspect) a gray-market (at best) archive of the soundtrack of an episode of Lewis Lapham's PBS series from two decades back, Bookmark, the episode featuring Paul Fussell, having just published his book Wartime and discussing it with Studs Terkel and Lapham. Bookmark was perhaps my favorite chat show so far, of any kind, and it ran for a couple/three seasons on PBS around the turn of the '90s, and was as necessary a weekly catch as China Beach, a scrap moreso than Twin Peaks.

Walter Albert: They Dare Not Love

Yvette Banek: Without a Clue

Related matters:
Brent McKee: Rob

Ed Gorman/Lee Pfeiffer: The Bates Motel (revival)

Evan Lewis: Hopalong Cassidy posters

George Kelley: Barry Lyndon

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr: Sanford and Son




Jack Seabrook/Peter Enfantino: Batman in the '70s

Michael Shonk: The Firm and the Future of Television

Prashant Trikannad: Peter Benchley's Jaws and The Deep; General Electric comics

Todd Mason: tv notes; The Best Television Political-Drama Series...that I've seen...

The Best Political-Drama Television Series...that I've seen...


The Good Wife
Well, this one is probably my default choice for the best serial drama on US television, and its clear-eyed accounts of the best, worst and middling impulses of politically ambitious folks, among its many other concerns, doesn't hurt a bit.





Borgen ***Do hit this link, and consider watching Borgen, which is repeating from episode 1 online and on the cable/satellite/KRCB (SF Bay Area, CA, broadcast) Link TV in the US... I've been pushing this one since catching the pilot a few months back, with its clever and well-worked-out and rarely melodramatic account of the changed lives of its cast of characters when the leader of the small Radical Party (in the series redubbed the Moderate Party so as to step on no toes legally) becomes the new Prime Minister of Denmark, its first female PM and one who is trying to cope with coalition maintenance, home life as a wife, and mother of two, and with her closest associates facing their own repercussions in the new reality. We in the US got to see this Next Project from the originators of The Killing before even the Brits did, and there's a second season due soon. "Borgen" is apparently Danish for "castle," the nickname for their Parliament building.

Yes Minister & Yes Prime Minister

The first great UK sitcom, and its sequel series, about governance, that I had the privilege to catch.

Absolute Power

The second, albeit with focus more on the spinners.

The Thick of It

The third, bringing it all back home, and spinning off a feature film, In the Loop.

The Wire

While all the seasons of this attempt to sum life in Baltimore at least touched on governance, one season took state politics as its focus...and it didn't hurt that that was one of the most sharply-written seasons.

Tanner '88

Funny, insightful, and with a much-later sequel series of its own. Probably set the tone for at least some of the later British as well as US productions.

The Prisoner

McGoohan and company's surreal and frequently deft critique of modern society, going a bit further than even Danger Man/Secret Agent had previously, did not spare either the ruling classes (of all stripes) nor the ease with which democratic efforts can be flummoxed and subverted.

The Gordimer Stories

A selection of eight short films, including an interview with Nadine Gordimer herself, which was shown on at least some PBS stations as a series, all the drama set in South Africa in depths of apartheid and the small and large tragedies those laws force upon the characters, and the attempts to subvert and overcome the noxious racist regime.

Parks and Recreation

A clever, intentionally goofy series, which nonetheless does manage to capture (in caricature) the range of governmental bureaucracy at least at the local levels in the US, from the almost insanely dedicated to the utter clockwatchers, the cranks who managed to land in a position and somehow keep it and the crusaders who know just what will save their villages even if...


honorable mentions:
Lou Grant
The Agency
Da Vinci City Hall
The Politician's Wife

All solid. If I'd seen more of the latter two, I'd perhaps move them into the first category...The Agency was CBS's one-season CIA drama, vastly better than its contemporaries 24 and Alias...but, then, Once A Thief the series, in syndication for its brief run in the US at that time, was better than they were, too, by being simply pleasant.

"the opposition" (not so great, in fact scoundrels, though often dearly loved by others):
The West Wing
--cute wish-fulfillment fantasy for centrist Democrats. Aaron Sorkin can write, but in the excellent Sports Night and the pleasant-enough Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip he was writing about life in television, which he actually knew something about.
Commander-in-Chief
--Rod Lurie, whom I knew in high school, loves to pick rather melodramatic subjects for his scripts, and load them with ringing speeches for his characters to deliver, thus making them catnip for the inner ham looking for gravitas. Sadly, Lurie almost never can make any of that sound like actual conversation nor come up with a believable character...firing Lurie off the series, as ABC did, and replacing him with Steven Bochco, who has his own tic-laden stylization, didn't help much. Geena Davis had fun with it.
Spin City and Benson and Murphy Brown
--Just shallow sitcoms, where it was assumed that making a topical reference or getting a cameo from someone actually working in politics or news reporting was the soul of wit. Actually, Benson didn't even try that hard. Pity...nearly everyone involved with these did better work elsewhere.

Friday, January 13, 2012

FFB: PITFCS: The Proceedings of the Institute for 21st Century Studies, Theodore R. Cogswell, ed. (Advent: Publishers 1992)


PITFCS was a fanzine of sorts, that was a aimed mostly at professionals in sf and fantasy writing...in those heady times of the turn of the 1960s, some contributor/recipients preferred to vocalize the abbreviation as "pit-fix" and others, more jauntily, as "pit-fux"...the informal magazine was originally issued as Digit, but quickly took on the more importunate title, and became one of the focal points for discussion among professional and semi-professional writers and a few of their interested friends, at about the same time that Earl Kemp, one of the mainsprings of Advent: Publishers, was putting together another fanzine, Safari, and its special issue, Who Killed SF?...about the commercial and apparently spiritual if not necessarily artistic collapse of the science fiction/fantasy literary community by the end of the 1950s, after such a bustling late 1940s/early 1950s. PITFCS wasn't the only fanzine with significant input from the professional writers in the field(s), as most of those writers had been fanzine-publishing or at least -contributing fans before making most or some of their professional careers in writing the fiction; it isn't even the only one which has seen a hardcover selection of its contents appear over the last two decades, as the fine The Best of Xero, Patricia and Richard Lupoff's major fanzine of the early '60s, was issued not too many years after this one hit some rarefied shelves. But what was notable about PITFCS, was the degree to which it became, in those years leading up to the foundation of the Science Fiction Writers of America, a place for pros particularly to socialize in print. Damon Knight and Lester del Rey had copublished a magazine called the SF Forum in the late '50s, but only two issues of that, and in even in two issues it had threatened to become a focal point for the discussions of the pros who were particularly prone to discuss, the ones who, for example, would attend the Milford Conferences Knight, Judith Merril and James Blish put together. (When SFWA was founded, with Knight as its first president, the Forum title was revived as an in-house organ for the body with content not altogether unlike that of PITFCS.) Not every major writer of fantastic fiction contributed informal (and some formal) essays, doggerel, letters, marketing gripes, self-assessments, and the kinds of observations Harold Ross used to refer to as "Casuals" when The New Yorker published them, but a remarkable range contributed here, from Fritz Leiber to Kurt Vonnegut to Avram Davidson to Kingsley Amis to Algis Budrys to Marion Zimmer Bradley to Isaac Asimov to Miriam Allen de Ford to Harlan Ellison to Brian Aldiss to Kate Wilhelm to Sam Youd ("John Christopher") to Basil Davenport to Arthur C. Clarke to Anthony Boucher and, of course, Merril and Blish and Knight on through to such less-well-known but often impressive writers as Betsy Curtis, Katherine Maclean, Allen Lang, and Bob Leman. And so many more.

Much of this material was rather quickly executed, some in the heat of passion, and only some of it was meant for the ages, but what this essentially complete reprinting (in a more legible form than the original fanzine was produced in) of the contents offers is definitely a slice of literary (and the concomitant social) history of certain subculture, and as such, even the most slight contributions take on a certain charge. It makes a great counterpoint to the selectiveness of the Xero volume, and an interesting comparison to such similarly freewheeling fora as Richard Geis's various magazines in the late '60s and 1970s. The $50 price tag on this tall, hefty (and still in print) volume is steep even two decades after its first publication, but I've had no regrets about buying two copies...so far (and NESFA has reduced the mail-order price to $40...a bargain!)

Patti Abbott is back! -and reviewing as well as compiling FFB at her blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

tv notes: Ebert, Community on Hiatus, the best spy cartoons so far, & leaderless movements...

A video melange that won't allow for embedding, for no obvious reason, features some 1970s crime-drama theme music, unsurprisingly leaning toward jazzy themes and opening with several Quinn Martin Productions items. Among some pleasant reminders, it's answered a nagging musical question that's been bothering me in a very minor way for some years...what was that ITC program with the slightly lugubrious theme music? The Persuaders, it turns out.

Among the missing in broadcast television at year's end: two series that haven't actually been cancelled, but are on Hiatus, which often means cancelled, NBC's relatively inventive sitcom Community (which will "burn off" some new episodes in the spring) and the American Public Television-syndicated Ebert Presents At the Movies; the latter has had its seed funding fall apart, the former was simply even lower-rated than the other good to excellent NBC Thursday night sitcoms. There's a chance both will be back, but don't bet the farm. However, never fear, Two and a Half Men and Extra are still with us. ("That's a joke, son.")








The World network, one of the smaller public-broadcasting networks that clusters around PBS stations particularly (much of its programming is comprised of PBS repeats) is offering a national live feed of an interesting-looking episode of the Boston-based Basic Black series on Friday night:

BASIC BLACK #4308 has been added to the WORLD schedule for Friday, 01/13 at 19:30 EST
BASIC BLACK #4308 – A Drum Major for Justice
As we head towards the Martin Luther King holiday we look back at the past year of protest at home and abroad. In the era of the civil rights movement, much of the attention focused on the leadership; but in this new era of protests, the focus has shifted to the masses. Have leaders become obsolete? Our conversation this week on Basic Black looks at the new role of leadership in grassroots movements, from the Tea Party to the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement.

The two best animated spy-comedy half-hours I'm aware of are still with us, happily, in the form of The Venture Bros. (Cartoon Network's Adult Swim) and Archer (FX). Not, on balance, the most crowded field of artistic achievement, but thus we are fortunate to have both on now...of the two, Venture, which takes as its springboard being a parody of Jonny Quest (as befits a series in Adult Swim, a block of programming spun out of the messing-around with Hanna-Barbera characters in sophisticatedly goofy ways, beginning with semi-real/semi-surreal chat show Space Ghost: Coast to Coast over a decade ago), is the more rococo of the two series, delving into conspiracies of history and rummaging through all the sorts of cod-sf and fantasy and adventure fiction, drama, and comics tropes the scripters can lay hands on; Archer is more straighforwardly in the tradition of Get Smart!, albeit with an even more dysfunctional agency full of characters with sharper repartee...Adam Reed, producer/creator of Archer, had placed work with Adult Swim previously. Both are currently in repeats, with new episodes arriving soon. It's perhaps rather sad that between them, they have two, arguably three, major characters who are African-American, the rest essentially all pale Caucs, but as cartoons, they do tend to throw their characters up against rather strange things. Along with the revived Futurama and the odd bit such as Adult Swim's Frankenhole, we have an alternative to the rather tired set of unkidsy animation Fox is offering on broadcast. (And a fine pair of scores for both series, as well.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the links (plus one more...)



...with a few more likely to pop up, as frequently, thanks to all you contributors of these reviews and remembrances, and to you readers of them at the links below. Please let me know if I've missed yours or someone else's in comments. Todd Mason

Bill Crider: The Big Town (trailer)

Brian Arnold: Animalympics

Chuck Esola: S*P*Y*S

Ed Gorman: ABC's Movie of the Week

Ellen Gallagher: Acting in Murder Rooms

Evan Lewis: (Heckle & Jeckle) "The Power of Thought"

George Kelley: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Five

Iba Dawson: So Young So Bad

Ivan Shreve: Upcoming on Turner Classic Movies

Jack Seabrook: Robert Bloch on TV: "The Landady" (Alfred Hitchcock Presents:)

James Reasoner: Garrison's Guerillas

John Charles: Lisa Lisa (aka Axe aka...)

Kate Laity: Penda's Fen

Michael Shonk: Broken Badges: "Chucky"

Patti Abbott: Slings and Arrows

Prashant Trikannad: The Day After and...

Randy Johnson: Bad Day at Black Rock

Rod Lott: Fright Night on Channel 9; Shriek if You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th

Ron Scheer: “The Significance of the Frontier in an Age of Transnational History”

Scott Cupp: The Man from Planet X

Sergio Angelini: Paranoiac

Stephen Gallagher: Murder Rooms

Todd Mason: Channel 13, Newark, New Jersey/New York, New York Most of my paying gig involves working with various public broadcasting networks and stations in the US, and the US arms of a few international public broadcasting networks. Channel 13 in New York City (with a license assignment to Newark) has been an innovative station throughout its history, not least (in its years as WNTA, the National Telefilm Associates station) with the ambitious syndicated The Play of the Week (1959-1961), which put the likes of Waiting for Godot, Juno and the Paycock, and The Cherry Orchard on commercial stations, averaging better thus than even such revered live anthologies as Studio One or Playhouse 90 from a few seasons earlier. WNTA apparently was not a big moneymaker, however, and a group hoping to establish NYC's first (though not the nation's first, by any means) educational television station began organizing to make a bid on the license...and by 1962, were successful. WNDT, as today's WNET was first known, was born with a broadcast hosted by Edward Murrow, of which this is a portion:



WNET became one of the central stations in the loose NET (National Educational Television) network and one of the contributors to the Public Broadcast Laboratory newsmagazine+ project...two entities which were contributors to the eventual formation of PBS in 1970. Such regional networks as the Eastern Educational Network, the first US importers of Doctor Who and Monty Python, became the basis of the major public-broadcasting syndicators, in that case American Public Television (perhaps best known currently for Globe Trekker and the now on "hiatus" Ebert Presents: At the Movies).

NET had at least one impressive dramatic showcase of its own, in NET Showcase:


Yvette Banek: The Harvey Girls; Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday's "Forgotten" Books (and some decidedly Unforgotten Books)


Thanks to everyone who has been contributing to this weekly collection of reviews and remembrances, and to you readers...founder Patti Abbott has been On Assignment, but will be hosting again next Friday at her blog.

Sergio Angelini: Perspectives on McBain (among 87th Precinct reviews)

Yvette Banek: Trojan Gold by Elizabeth Peters

Joe Barone: Motor City Blue by Loren Estleman

Bill Crider: The Fiend in You edited by Charles Beaumont

Scott Cupp: Dickson! by Gordon Dickson

William Deeck: Terror at Compass Lake by Tech Davis (Edgar Davis)

Ed Gorman: Down There by David Goodis

Jerry House: Haunts & By-Paths and Other Poems by J. Thorne Smith, Jr.

Randy Johnson: The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

George Kelley: Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

B. V. Lawson: Death on the Rocks by Michael Allegretto

Evan Lewis: My Forgotten (Books) Year

Steve Lewis: Murder in Waltz Time by Mignon G. Eberhart; Night Lady by William Campbell Gault; The Case of the Frightened Girl by Rex Hardinge

John F. Norris: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Juri Nummelin: The Terror Contract as by Axel Kilgore (Jerry Ahern)

Richard Pangburn: In the Land of the Blind by Jesse Walter

Eric Peterson: Murder Among Children by Tucker Coe (Donald Westlake)

James Reasoner: Wild Bill #1: Dead Man's Hand as by Judd Cole

Karyn Reeves: Uneasy Money by P.G. Wodehouse

Ron Scheer: The Squatter and the Don by Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton

Jack Seabrook: Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat by Andrez Bergen

Gerard Saylor: The Collaborator by Gerald Seymour

Kevin Tipple: The Affair by Lee Child; Murder New York Style: 21 Stories By Authors Of Greater New York edited by Randy Kandel

"TomCat": The Gold Gamble by Herbert Resnicow

Prashant Trikannad: All Quiet on the Western Front by E. M. Remarque...in three media...

"Zybahn": The Collector by John Fowles

...with a few more to come, I suspect... (Please let me know in comments if I've missed yours or someone else's entry...thanks!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the links (with more likely to come)







Thanks as always to all contributors and readers...and there will, as is traditional here and into the new year, be some stragglers coming in, myself first among equals...

Bill Crider: No Name on the Bullet (trailer)















Brian Arnold: Quick Change (1990)










Evan Lewis: My Overlooked Year

George Kelley: Anna Nicole

Iba Dawson: Persuasion (1995)

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Rain Without Thunder

James Reasoner: Freebie and the Bean

John F. Norris: The Lemon-Drop Kid

Kate Laity: Sherlock Holmes (Granada television); My Fair Lady

Mike Tooney: "Punchy Cowpunchers"

Patti Abbott: AbFab; Bigger than Life

Peter Enfantino: 13 Assassins and other 2011 favorites

Peter Enfantino and John Scoleri: Kolchak: The Night Stalker

Philip Schweier: After the Thin Man; Cry Danger; Five Steps to Danger; 99 River Street; The Naked City; Call Northside 777; Cry Vengeance













Prashant Trikkanad: Whiteout; The Back-Up Plan

Randy Johnson: Rebel in Town

Ron Scheer: Comanche Station

Scott Cupp: “The Saucer’s Reign”

Sergio Angelini: D.O.A. (1988)

Stacia Jones: "These Amazing Shadows" (Independent Lens)

Walter Albert: The Turmoil

Yvette Banek: Heights (2005)

Zybahn: Tales from the Darkside

Related Matters:

Brett McKee: Booth & Brennan And The Norwood Builder

Ed Gorman: Helen Mirren To Play Alfred Hitchcock's Wife In 'The Making Of Psycho'?

J. Eric Mason: Tempast (the development of an iPad game)

John Charles: 2011: The Year in Movies (fairly comprehensive)

Paul Brazill: My Top Five Crime Films 2005