Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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

The Whistler
Below, today's set of reviews and citations of audiovisual works and related matter, with the posts at the links...as always, thanks to all the contributors and to all you readers for your participation. As usual, there are likely to be additions to this list over the course of the day, and if I've missed your, or someone else's, post, please let me know in comments...thanks again...

Alison Natasi: tv projects from people better known for film

Bill Crider: That Thing You Do!  (trailer)

Brian Arnold: Hello Down There

BV Lawson: Media Murder

Dan Stumpf: Tell No Tales

Ed Gorman/Vince Keenan: The Whistler film series (and a bit about the radio series that spawned it)

Ed Lynskey: Body and Soul

Elizabeth Foxwell: Mary Roberts Rinehart adaptations: Miss Pinkerton; The Nurse's Secret

Evan Lewis: Stan Freberg's "Saint George and the Dragonet" set to animation

George Kelley: Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!

Shaky Ground
How Did This Get Made?: Over the Top

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: The Chance of a Lifetime

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "A Night with the Boys" (based on a short story by Henry Slesar and Jay Folb)

Jackie Kashian: Carr D'Angelo

Jacqueline T. Lynch: Clarence Brown, director (and auto engineer)

James Reasoner: Shaky Ground

Jeff Flugel: The Thing from Another World

Jerry House: Masquerade Party (1955 episode featuring Dagmar, Ogden Nash and Ilka Chase)

Juri Nummelin: Godzilla (1998)

Kate Laity: Luther

Kliph Nesteroff: The Mike Douglas Show (1975, with Stirling Silliphant and Sonny Bono)

Late Autumn
Laura: Late Autumn (aka Akibiyori)

Lawrence Person: David Icke's The People's Voice

Lucy Brown: The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

Marty McKee: Fear is the Key

Mystery Dave: Movie 43

Patti Abbott: 1960s US television commercials

Pearce Duncan: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

Randy Johnson: Arizona (1940); God Forgives...I Don't! (aka Dio perdona...io no!)

The Call of Cthulhu
Rick: Battle Beyond the Stars; Sidney Poitier

Rod Lott: The Cat and the Canary (1978); Dad Made Dirty Movies

Scott Cupp: The Call of Cthulhu

Sergio Angelini: Pursuit (1972 telefilm based on Michael Crichton's Binary)

Stacia Jones: Demolition Man  (How Did This Get Made: DM)

Walker Martin: Pulpfest 2013

Walter Albert: The Crooked Circle

Monday, July 29, 2013

Paul Desmond on CBC-TV, 1976; GLAD TO BE UNHAPPY the album

Takes the interlocutors two minutes of bibble to get to the Desmond interview. Recorded not long before his death in 1977.

1965 album: Glad to Be Unhappy 
Desmond, alto sax; Jim Hall, guitar; Gene Wright, bass (long-term Toshiko Akiyoshi and, later, Frank Sinatra bassist Gene Cherico subs on "Poor Butterfly"); Connie Kay, drums. One of several Desmond/Hall albums, and the DBQ bassist and MJQ percussionist making for an excellent rhythm section.

Tracks: 1 Glad To Be Unhappy 00:00 2 Poor Butterfly 05:46 3 Stranger In Town 13:06 4 A Taste Of Honey 19:34 5 Any Other Time 24:04 6 Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo 29:30 7 Angel Eyes 34:14 8 By The River Sainte Marie 40:37 9 All Across The City 46:54 10 All Through The Night 51:28 Credits: Alto Saxophone – Paul Desmond Drum – Connie Kay Guitar – Jim Hall Bass – Eugene Wright (tracks: Except # 2), Gene Cherico (tracks: Only on # 2) Recorded in RCA Victor's Studio "A" and Webster Hall, New York City, 1963-1964

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Music Club: Lost LOVE: The Zombies' best album, I LOVE YOU (1966) from the original version of the band...released only in Japan and Holland

Below, the Varese Sarabande version (with six bonus tracks added: 13-18) of I Love You by the Zombies, an album Decca put together solely for their Japanese and Dutch divisions, made up (as were such similar US-market compilations as the Beatles' Yesterday and Today or Hey Jude or the Rolling Stones' December's Children (And Everybody's)) out of a fairly random mixture of singles (A and B sides) and other recordings that hadn't been actually earmarked for inclusion in an album (at least, in many cases, in the US market, where corporate greed meant fewer songs per LP than in the less affluent Britain of the '60s).

Why Decca/Parrot, which had already found greater success with the Zombies in the US (though they did OK enough in the UK and much of the rest of the world), didn't simply follow that example and release this second LP (unless we count their contribution to the soundtrack album for the suspense film Bunny Lake is Missing, which is not a Zombies film quite the way Help! or Catch Us if You Can or Hold On! are films about/featuring the bands in and scoring them, but more along the lines of Blow Up, and missing the all but required exclamation point) in the States as well is unclear...perhaps the Japanese and Dutch releases were meant to be a sort of test-marketing. But after the rather rushed-out first album, Begin Here (1965), chopped and channeled and shortened for US release as The Zombies, the band had been consistently exploring means to not only Make Hits but to play around with song forms, and find different ways to incorporate their jazz, R&B, choral music and other influences within a rock context...much in the manner of such exact contemporaries the Byrds (particularly by the latter's third album, where the jazz influences outweigh the folk-music legacy, and as they also moved on to co-founding country rock), and their fellow Britons in the Yardbirds and the Animals to a great extent; similar music from Fairport Convention and Soft Machine, among others, would soon follow.

Samples, courtesy AllMusic:
  1. The Way I Feel Inside (1:51)
  2. 2 How We Were Before (2:05)
  3. 3 Is This the Dream (2:42)
  4. 4 Whenever You're Ready (2:42)
  5. 5 Woman (2:24)
  6. 6 You Make Me Feel Good (2:37)
  7. 7 Gotta Get a Hold of Myself (2:29)
  8. 8 Indication (2:59)
  9. 9 Don't Go Away (2:34)
  10. 10 I Love You (3:12)
  11. 11 Leave Me Be (2:08)
  12. 12 She's Not There (2:25)
  13. 13 I Can't Make Up My Mind (2:33)
  14. 14 I Remember When I Loved Her (2:01)
  15. 15 Remember You (1:58)
  16. 16 Just Out of Reach (2:08)
  17. 17 Goin' Out of My Head (3:04)
  18. 18 She Does Everything for Me (2:15)
After this, in 1967, the Zombies and Decca disaffiliated, and the band moved to CBS to see if their fortunes might improve; Columbia's UK division wasn't going to extend them much money, so they recorded even the more complex compositions on their third (or fourth) LP as inexpensively as they could (the band was never as wrapped up in extensive studio/mixing technique as the Beach Boys or the Beatles or the Who, preferring most of their more complex work to still be performed in concert without too much frippery...though, of course, they didn't get much opportunity to play around thus, despite achieving interesting Spectorish walls of sound in some of their recordings, such as "She's Coming Home"). Odessey and Oracle, cute reference to odes implanted in the customized spelling and all, did little business, and the mooted next/last album, to be titled R.I.P. (the first time they would make even a passing reference to their own band name, which apparently meant about as little to them as "the Kinks" did to that band's members), didn't actually come together, as the members went their different ways, keyboardist/composer Rod Argent having already put together his new band Argent, lead singer and infrequent composer Colin Blunstone not quite yet ready to launch his solo career but it would soon follow, bassist/composer Chris White all but retiring from performance but writing songs for both and others. It took two years for "Time of the Season," the last song on O&O, to build to an international hit, and the Zombies declined to reform. which led to multiple fake Zombie bands touring (George Romero could sympathize), and, of course, obligated Argent the band and Blunstone to add it to their concerts.

But while there is excellent material on all the Zombies albums (including Bunny Lake, and surprisingly "She's Not There," though played briefly in the film, is on all cited albums so far except the soundtrack and O&O), this selection is perhaps just a notch better than the other long-players the band saw released during their first career together, featuring such brilliant material as their first hit (and pointedly leaving off their second, "Tell Her No," not a song the band wanted to release as a single and one of the weaker songs in their discography) as well as "Whenever You're Ready" and several others which come close to their mark (I'll admit that the "extra" tracks Varese Sarabande added for this 2004 release make it even sexier, for those who wouldn't want the not quite exhaustive but very inclusive box set Zombie Heaven--"Remember You" and "Just Out of Reach" are also among their very best records, and their cover of "Going Out of My Head" another highlight). "Woman" by me is a near-clunker, but a charmingly energetic one, and compares favorably with the not-quite first-rate covers of the likes of "Road Runner" on Begin Here or the Weillesque but not completely successful attempt at getting across the horrors of war on O&O, "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)"--also, an example of the very young band starting by their last work together in the '60s starting to move lyrically beyond songs of new, lost and spurned love; their early psychedelia recordings, such as "Beechwood Park" and "Smokey Day," would follow, and would illustrate how little even King Crimson or Pink Floyd, much less the Moody Blues (or, sadly, Argent the band), would manage to better what the Zombies were beginning to explore--and still within the confines of the three-minute or shorter song.

Though as callow as their lyrics could be at times (and as witty at other times, and sometimes even simultaneously--something also notable in their similarly young contemporary Gene Clark, the first great songwriter in the Byrds, whose swan song with that band was "Eight Miles High"), few bands have ever combined the beauty and propulsiveness of most of the Zombies' best work (Blunstone's sometimes almost bleating in the early recordings, in an attempt to sound bluesily soulful, usually manages to resolve to something worthwhile, and happily he gave that up rather quickly; another rare feature of early recordings, Argent's excellent harmonica playing, is sadly absent from the later recordings). Even this album is only a limited taste of what they were able to achieve from 1964-67, and Zombie Heaven gives one the meat of all the albums, BBC radio tracks, and some interview and other matter (including the very funny full recording of the reworking of Blunstone's "Just Out of Reach" to promote the film Bunny Lake, "Come on Time"--the web-posted versions of that song are sadly truncated and apparently lifted from a very ragged recording source, indeed). Listening to Argent's often Brubeckianly block-chorded solos play off Hugh Grundy's precise and melodic drumming, and the occasional flashes of virtuosity from good guitarist Paul Atkinson and even better bassist White, mixed with the often tricky vocal arrangements (all but Grundy put their choir practice chops to excellent use), is a very good time indeed, not at all soulless.

Rather bemused Zombies playing live, 1966: "Gotta Get A Hold of Myself"

"Whenever You're Ready"

Incomplete Discography: The Zombies, 1961-1967 version:
(Largely courtesy Wikipedia and Discogs)
Top, Paul Atkinson, Rod Argent. Below, Hugh Grundy
Chris White, Colin Blunstone

Side 1
1."Road Runner"  Bo Diddley2:06
2."Summertime"  George GershwinIra GershwinDuBose Heyward2:17
3."I Can't Make Up My Mind"  Chris White2:37
4."The Way I Feel Inside"  Rod Argent1:28
5."Work 'n' Play"  Ken Jones2:07
6."You Really Got A Hold On Me/Bring It On Home To Me"  Smokey Robinson/Sam Cooke3:39
7."She's Not There"  Argent2:20
Side 2
8."Sticks And Stones"  Henry GloverTitus Turner2:56
9."Can't Nobody Love You"  Phillip Mitchell2:15
10."Woman"  Argent2:25
11."I Don't Want To Know"  White2:07
12."I Remember When I Loved Her"  Argent2:00
13."What More Can I Do"  White1:38
14."I Got My Mojo Working"  Preston Foster, McKinley Morganfield3:35
CD Bonus Tracks
15."It's Alright With Me"  Argent
16."Sometimes"  Argent2:05
17."Kind Of Girl"  Argent
18."Tell Her No"  Argent2:09
19."Sticks And Stones" (Alternate Take)Glover, Turner
20."It's Alright With Me" (Alternate Take)Argent
21."I Know She Will"  Argent, White
22."I'll Keep Trying"  Argent

  • Ken Jones - piano on "Work 'n' Play" (as Argent played harmonica), tambourine on "I Remember When I Loved Her"

Side 1
1."She's Not There"  Rod Argent2:20
2."Summertime"  George GershwinIra GershwinDubose Heyward2:17
3."It's Alright With Me"  Argent1:49
4."You've Really Got a Hold on Me/Bring It On Home to Me"  Smokey Robinson/Sam Cooke3:36
5."Sometimes"  Argent2:05
6."Woman"  Argent2:24
Side 2
1."Tell Her No"  Argent2:09
2."I Don't Want to Know"  Chris White2:03
3."Work 'N' Play"  Ken Jones2:01
4."Can't Nobody Love You"  Phillip Mitchell2:12
5."What More Can I Do"  Chris White1:38
6."I Got My Mojo Working"  Preston Foster, McKinley Morganfield3:32

A1Paul Glass Theme From: Bunny Lake Is Missing6:50
A2Paul Glass Chocolates For Bunny1:01
A3Paul Glass The Empty House At Frogmore End5:07
A4Zombies, The Nothing's Changed
Written-By – Chris White (2)
A5Zombies, The Just Out Of Reach
Written-By – Colin Blunstone
A6Zombies, The Remember You
Written-By – Chris White (2)
B1Paul Glass Bunny3:37
B2Paul Glass A World Of Dolls4:16
B3Paul Glass Wild Games!2:29
B4Paul Glass Samantha's Waltz1:33
B5Paul Glass Touching The Sky5:49
B6Paul Glass End Title From Bunny Lake Is Missing1:10

(CD versions include the radio/tv ad edit of "Come on Time" and a bit more of Glass's incidental music)

All songs written and composed by Chris White, except where noted. 
Side one
1."Care of Cell 44(Rod Argent)3:57
2."A Rose for Emily" (Argent)2:19
3."Maybe After He's Gone"  2:34
4."Beechwood Park"  2:44
5."Brief Candles"  3:30
6."Hung Up on a Dream" (Argent)3:02
Side two
1."Changes"  3:20
2."I Want Her, She Wants Me" (Argent)2:53
3."This Will Be Our Year"  2:08
4."Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)"  2:48
5."Friends of Mine"  2:18
6."Time of the Season(Argent)3:34

--Really, just get this one. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday's Forgotten Books, the Links, and: E PLURIBUS UNICORN by Theodore Sturgeon; NINE HORRORS AND A DREAM by Joseph Payne Brennan; (HORROR STORIES FROM) TALES TO BE TOLD IN THE DARK edited by Basil Davenport

***Please see the end of the post for Emergency Backup Links to the other posts for this week's FFB.

FFB bonus: 
Robert Bloch, 1979:
Leigh Brackett, J. Francis McComas and Eric Frank Russell in memoriam

"I have always felt that, at his best, nobody wrote better science fiction and fantasy than Ted Sturgeon." Richard Matheson, newly released 1992 interview with Richard Lupoff and Richard Wolinsky

from the Contento index:
E Pluribus Unicorn Theodore Sturgeon 
(Abelard, 1953, $2.75, 276pp, hc; Ballantine, 1956, pb; 
cover by Richard Powers)

· Essay on Sturgeon · Groff Conklin · in
· The Silken-Swift · nv F&SF Nov ’53
· The Professor’s Teddy-Bear · ss Weird Tales Mar ’48
· Bianca’s Hands · ss Argosy (UK) May ’47
· Saucer of Loneliness · ss Galaxy Feb ’53
· The World Well Lost · ss Universe Jun ’53
· It Wasn’t Syzygy [“The Deadly Ratio”] · nv Weird Tales Jan ’48
· The Music · vi *
· Scars · ss Zane Grey’s Western Magazine May ’49
· Fluffy · ss Weird Tales Mar ’47
· The Sex Opposite · nv Fantastic Fll ’52
· Die, Maestro, Die! · nv Dime Detective Magazine May ’49
· Cellmate · ss Weird Tales Jan ’47
· A Way of Thinking · nv Amazing Oct/Nov ’53

This was only the second collection of Sturgeon's work, and the most eclectic one readers would see at least until the the Dell collections published at the turn of the 1980s...given the mix of western, suspense, horror, fantasy and sf, perhaps not until Paul Williams got The Sturgeon Project and its volumes of his complete short stories under way more than a decade after that. And while the first collection and several to appear shortly afterward snagged such notable stories as "It" and "...And My Fear Is Great...", this is as good a core-sampling of Sturgeon's work as one could ask for. "Bianca's Hands" is the story that Unknown's John W. Campbell was so disturbed by that he sought to convince other editors not to publish it; happily, the editors at Argosy's British edition, slightly more sophisticated than even the good US version of the magazine, decided that it deserved to win a contest they were running...with the runner up being Graham Greene. "A Saucer of Loneliness" is barely an sf story at all, with the alien visitation theme added only when Sturgeon couldn't place the story in paying non-sf markets (and it's an excellent story even with that market improvisation in place). "The Professor's Teddy Bear," "Fluffy" and "Cellmate" are expert horror, as is the even more disturbing "A Way of Thinking" (improbably first appearing in theoretically science-fictional Amazing rather than its fantasy/sf companion Fantastic), which, like "Bianca's Hands," had waited several years for a market willing to take it on. "The World Well Lost" was the first story to be published in the sf magazines to argue for acceptance of homosexuality, and it's a credit to editor Bea Mahaffey as well as to Sturgeon that it appeared in her first issue of Universe Science Fiction. "Scars" is an utterly unfantasticated western, with several sorts of tragic turn running right up to its conclusion. "The Silken Swift" is a fine, gentle fantasy (and the source of the book-title's unicorn); "It Wasn't Syzygy" one of the first works tackling the recurring Sturgeon fascination with synergies of personality and greater forces that might thus be generated...his novel More Than Human would be another example, as is this volume's "The Sex Opposite."

(The Pocket Books reprint I was quite happy to purchase in a supermarket in 1984. You never know where Sturgeon's work would turn up...an sf short story in Sports Illustrated, as the only book reviewer, I suspect, to ply that trade in all four of Venture Science Fiction, National Review, Galaxy and Hustler, in that order...etc....)

from ISFDb:
Nine Horrors and a Dream by Joseph Payne Brennan (Arkham House, 1958; Ballantine 1962);
cover by Richard Powers (contents first published in this collection except as noted)

1 • Slime • (1953) • novelette (Weird Tales, March 1953)
33 • Levitation • (1958) • short story
39 • The Calamander Chest • (1954) • short story (Weird Tales, January 1954)
51 • Death in Peru • (1954) • short story (Mystic Magazine, January 1954)
61 • On the Elevator • (1953) • short story (Weird Tales, July 1953)
71 • The Green Parrot • (1952) • short story (Weird Tales, July 1952)
79 • Canavan's Back Yard • [Canavan] • (1958) • short story
95 • I'm Murdering Mr. Massington • short fiction
101 • The Hunt • (1958) • short story
113 • The Mail for Juniper Hill • short fiction

Joseph Payne Brennan was a less fully-realized artist than Sturgeon was, and not as deft nor as careful with his prose (few have been); but nonetheless, Brennan did good work in the field of horror in at least two ways, with the brilliant vignette "Levitation" and such perhaps more-famous stories as "Canavan's Back Yard," "The Calamander Chest" (which Vincent Price would record for a Caedmon LP in the mid '70s) and, most famously, "Slime"...a long story that if it isn't the only parent of the film The Blob, is still the most important one (and rather an improvement on the somewhat cruder similar story in the first issue of Weird Tales from 1923, "Ooze" by Anthony Rud). As one of the last great "discoveries' for the original Weird Tales magazine before it folded in 1954, Brennan's other notable contribution was in publishing the occasional little magazine devoted to horror and related matter, Macabre, in the latter '50s and into the 1970s, by which time several small-press magazines had picked up the torch. As Avram Davidson concluded his positive review of this book in F&SF, "Mr. Brennan is perhaps not M. R. James...but who is?"

courtesy Vault of Evil:
Tales To Be Told in the Dark, edited by Basil Davenport 
(Dodd, Mead 1953; abridged edition, as Horror Stories from..., Ballantine, 1960;
cover by Richard Powers)

William Fryer Harvey - The Beast With Five Fingers
Stephen Hall - By One, By Two, By Three
Saki - Sredni Vashtar
Lord Dunsany - The Two Bottles Of Relish
Margaret Irwin - The Book
John Collier - Thus I Refute Beelzy
[James Thurber - The Whip-Poor-Will--omitted in the Ballantine edition]
Arthur Machen - The White People
Lafcadio Hearn - Mujina
Saki - The Open Window
Basil Davenport - Two Anecdotes
Anon - The Closed Cabinet
Basil Davenport - The Closed Cabinet Retold

Critic and historian E. F. Bleiler is quoted in the capsule review at Vault of Evil:

"Davenport, recognizing that The Closed Cabinet is cumbersome, badly plotted and barely intelligible, has shortened the narrative greatly and reworked the story. It was not worth the effort."

While Davenport was a literary gadabout in the 1950s and up till his death in 1966, and a friend to fantastic fiction, this anthology is a very mixed bag, indeed, despite the excellent stories by John Collier, Lord Dunsany (his already a relish-drenched chestnut by 1953), Harvey and Saki. The anecdotes are mild jokes, the punchline of one being a rather elderly pun: "I was told to always strike a happy medium.") Davenport's instructional tips on how to tell stories are rather good, better the most of the balance of the fiction here ("Mujina" has been improved upon from Hearn's version, though I'm damned if I can remember whose very similar story I was fortunate enough to read not long after first picking up this book). Apparently, the other Ballantine anthologies attributed to Davenport were ghost-edited, but I suspect this one is so idiosyncratic that only Davenport himself would've chosen the contents, since he also annotates them. An interesting curio, and with the third of a trio of rather good Richard Powers covers, from this age of Powers's work appearing on many Ballantine and Berkley items particularly. 

For more of this week's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog tomorrow; for now, an emergency backup set of links (as Patti's blog is fighting her). Next week, I will host the links-list here more permanently.

Sergio Angelini, BINARY, Michael Crichton
Joe Barone, KILLER'S WEDGE. Ed McBain
Bill Crider, I WAS A TEENAGE DWARF, Max Shulman
Martin Edwards, THE BEAST MUST DIE, Nicholas Blake
Curt Evans, TIME TO CHANGE HATS, Margot Bennett 

Jerry House, THE INVADING ASTEROID, Manley Wade Wellman
Randy Johnson, THE SINGING SCORPION, William Colt MacDonald
Nick Jones, ROAD DOGS, Elmore Leonard
George Kelley, THE REFORMED GUN, Marvin H. Albert
Margot Kinberg. WITNESS THE NIGHT, Kishwar Desai
Rob Kitchin, LAIDLAW, William McIlvanney
B.V. Lawson, THE MAN WHO DIDN'T FLY, Margot Bennett
Evan Lewis, DURANDEL, Harold Lamb
Brian Lindenmuth, WAKE IN FRIGHT, KennethCook
Todd Mason, E PLURIBUS UNICORN by Theodore Sturgeon; NINE HORRORS AND A DREAM by Joseph Payne Brennan; (HORROR STORIES FROM) TALES TO BE TOLD IN THE DARK edited by Basil Davenport

John F. Norris, THE DOGS DO BARK, Jonathan Stagge
Juri Nummelin, THE LADY IN THE CAR WITH GLASSES AND A GUN, Sebastien Japrisot
James Reasoner, HEAT, edited by Russell Davis  

Karyn Reeves, THE D.A. HOLDS A CANDLE, Erle Stanley Gardner
Richard Robinson, SHAPECHANGER'S SONG, Jennifer Roberson
Kerrie Smith, A DARK ADAPTED EYE, Barbara Vine
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, THE LONG GOODBYE, Raymond Chandler
James Winter, GUN CHURCH, Reed Farrel Coleman

Frank/Zybahn, BIG FISH, Daniel Wallace