Thursday, December 31, 2015

December's Underappreciated Music: New Year's Underappreciated Eve Edition

The monthly assembly of undervalued and often nearly "lost" music, or simply music the blogger in question wants to remind you reader/listeners of...
Happy New Year!

and to 2015, I say this...

Dee Dee Warwick: "We're Doing Fine"

A cleaner copy of the video with more songs from the show...

Patti Abbott: Music 

Brian Arnold: A Musical Advent Calendar

Jayme Lynn Blaschke: Friday Night Videos

H.P. Lovecraft: "Wayfaring Stranger"

Paul Brazill: A Song for Saturday

Jim C: Noah Howard at Judson Hall

Sean Coleman: The Band: Northern Lights-Southern Cross; John Lennon: "Remember"; Skip James;  Frank Zappa: apostrophe ('); The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album; Lemmy

Frank Zappa plays bicycle on The Steve Allen Show (syndicated, 1964)

Bill Crider: Song of the Day; Forgotten Hits, Local Charts

Jeff Gemmill: Concerts of the Year; Albums of the Year; The Dixie Chicks in Philadelphia, 7/25/06; Top 5s

Jerry House: Jo Stafford; Music from the Past; Hymn Time; Daily Music+ 

George Kelly: Van Morrison: His Band and the Street Choir

Kate Laity: Song for a Saturday (and "Auld Lang Syne")

B. V. Lawson: Stewart Goodyear: The Nutcracker

Jane Wiedlin Band featuring Billy Zoom: "Where We Can Go"

Evan Lewis: Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers

Steve Lewis, Jonathan Lewis, Mike Doran and Michael Shonk: Music I'm Listening To

Todd Mason: Some Jazz Drummers and Their Bands

Dan Brubeck Quartet: Medley of compositions by Dave and Iola Brubeck and co.

Lawrence Person: Shoegazer Sunday

Charlie Ricci: Raul Malo; A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra; Yellowjackets: Peace Round; The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Bhob Stewart: Diana Krall; Sigur Rós

Muddy Waters:"40 Days and 40 Nights"; "I've Got to Love Somebody" (link on titles)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: more links in the stocking stuffed and unstuffed edition (not even on Boxing Day, with apologies)(but at least on Tuesday)

The Notorious Landlady
The mountain has produced its mouse, or perhaps a giant sloth, which has swallowed several previous weeks' lists of the Tuesday's Overlooked A/V...terribly sorry for the delays, which shall be avoided in the future when at all possible. Two reviews await you below of Trail of Robin Hood, a stealth Xmas film, two takes on Airport '77 (of all films) and the rare instance of a review of a Dick Van Dyke Show episode followed immediately in sequence below by a review with an introductory paragraph or so taking the opposite approach on that same episode, before going onto its actual subject. Among perhaps too much other good reading here. Thanks to the authors for their patience, and to you readers as well...if you or someone you see has produced a review I've overlooked this month, please let me know in comments. Thanks again, and Happy New Year....

And dedicated to the memory of Haskell Wexler and George Clayton Johnson.
The Manchurian Candidate

Allan Fish: The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Anne Billson: women in westerns; favorite films of 2015

Anonymous: The Bishop's Wife; CalvaryPhoenix; Barbara 

Barry Malzberg: The Hustler

Ben Radatz: Title Design on "B"-Films: 1940s-50s; 1960s; 1970s and '80s (courtesy Reed Andrus)

Bhob Stewart: Norton Records vs. Hurricane Sandy flooding

The Big Broadcast: 27 December (check here for 24 and 25 December episodes)

Bill Crider: The Musketeer [trailer]; Rob Roy [trailer]; Dick [trailer]; The Chase [trailer]

Brian Arnold: Simple Gifts: "My Christmas"; "December 25, 1914"; "No Room at the Inn"; "Lost and Found"

B.V. Lawson: Media Murder

Colin: City of Bad Men; Two Weeks in Another Town; The Crooked Way; Backfire

Comedy Film Nerds: Jackie Kashian on Xmas DVDs; Krampus et al.

Cullen Gallagher: James Cagney

Cynthia Fuchs: Janis: Little Girl Blue; Crocodile Gennadyi

Dan Stumpf: Blast of Silence; Tennessee's Partner

Dana Gould: Kliph Nesteroff, MST3K, Lenny Bruce

David Vineyard: A Place of One's Own  

Elgin Bleecker: Vacancy

Elizabeth Foxwell: They Met in the Dark; An Evening with Nicholas Meyer; 
Four-Star Playhouse: "A Study in Panic"; Fugitives for a Night

Evan Lewis: Sergeants Three; Fearless Fosdick

Eve: Letter from an Unknown Woman; Frank Sinatra 1965

Gary Deane: Inside Detroit

George Kelley: 10 Movie Holiday Romance Pack; Doctor Who: The Christmas Specials Gift Set

Gilligan Newton-John: Carry On Christmas (and its sequels); Mr. Jericho; Deadly Weapons; Boeing Boeing; The Big Switch; Please Turn Over!

How Did This Get Made?: The Star Wars Holiday Special; Steel; Hackers

Iba Dawson: Ava DuVernay and her Barbie; the Batman v. Superman trailer

Ira Brooker: vintage film discoveries of 2015

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Five Little Peppers and How They Grew and its sequels

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "John Brown's Body"; "Nightmare in 4-D"; The Odd Couple: "Scrooge Gets an Oscar"

Jackie Kashian:  Robert Hurt on starship design in film and television; Lesley Tsina on Windows 95, tonal East Asian Languages, and baking; Pat Susmilch on Hamilton and the ALA's Banned/Challenged Books; Beth Schumann on mushrooms

Jacqueline T. Lynch:  Star of the Night; Trail of Robin Hood

Jake Hinkson: 7 Holiday Noirs; Never the Sinner 

James Clark: Flight of the Red BalloonThree Times

James Reasoner: Trail of Robin Hood; Pixels; The Mole People

Janet Varney: Jessica Ogilve; Collette Wolfe

Jerry House: "Stamp Day for Superman"; The Adventures of the Saint: "Santa Clause is No Saint"; The Adventures of Ellery Queen: "The Adventure of the Green Gorillas"; Gulliver's Travels (1939 film); The Six Shooter: "Brit Ponset's  Christmas Carol"; TED Talks: "David Christian: The History of Our World in 18 Minutes"; The Shadow: "The Hospital Murders"Car 54, Where Are You?: "Christmas at the 53rd"In the Year 2889

John Grant: Maškarada; Köld Slód; Swamp Woman; The Gang's All Here;  Gambling Daughters; The Hei$t; Cottage to Let

Jonathan Lewis: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: "The Project Strega Affair"The Undefeated (1969 film); Tombstone Canyon; The Mummy Lives; The Wild Wild West: "Night of the Inferno"; North to Alaska; John Paul Jones
The second Caedmon Records LP

Karen Hannsberry: When Ladies Meet; Too Late for Tears

Kate Laity: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; Dylan Thomas: A Child's Christmas in Wales (the Caedmon recording)

Ken Levine: how we got A Charlie Brown Christmas

Kevin Pollak's Chat Show: Al Jean of The Simpsons

Kliph Nesteroff: David Letterman: Looking for Fun

Kristina Dijan: Brewster's Millions; Knockout; Man Bait; Caught; The Brasher Doubloon; Sunrise (1927 film); Hard Times; Gun Crazy; The Blue Angel; Le silence de la mer

Laura G: Death on the Diamond; Big City Blues; Lawman: the second season; Rod Cameron; Everything I Have is Yours; The Kid from Cleveland; 1945: five underrated films

Leonard Feather: Jazz on Television 1965  (The Regis Philbin Show being the 1964-65 continuation of The Steve Allen (Westinghouse) Show, Westinghouse syndication's 1962-64 late-weeknightly alternative to NBC's The Tonight Show and CBS's The Les Crane Show)

Lucy Brown: Primose Path

Martin Edwards: And Then There Were None (BBC television 2015); Conspiracy Theory: Dead of Winter

Marty McKeeWerewolf Woman; Star Trek; "Court Martial"; To All a Good Night; Elves; The Mummy and the Curse of the Jackals; Airport '77; Enemy Territory; The Boys from Brazil

Mildred Perkins: Final Girls; Evil (To Kako); Suffragette; Resident Evil; Limitless; Crimson Peak; "Lights Out 2013" and "If Horror Movies were Realistic"

Mystery Dave: For the Boys; The Man with the Iron Fists 2

Patricia Nolan-Hall: A/V Xmas Parties; Frank Sinatra; 12 Angry Men 

Patti Abbott: Summer with Monika; favorite tv Xmas episodes; Brooklyn; Favorite 2015 television; Christmas in Connecticut

Pop My Culture: Sarah Baker

Richard Finch: Young at Heart

Rick: Claudine Longet; Aaron Slick from Pumpkin Crick; Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy; Burt Lancaster; Appointment with Death; My Six Loves; Dr. Watson

Rod Lott: Hitchcock/Truffaut; Airport '77; Saving Christmas; Nightmare Weekend; The Executioner Part II; That's Sexploitation! (nsfw image); Bunnyman; The Hand; Frozen Scream; Knock Knock; The Transporter Refeuled; Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out!; Detour (1945 film); See No Evil (1986 film); TV Turkeys: The World's Worst Television Shows

"Rupert Pupkin": Nightmares; The Dungeonmaster; Eliminators

Ruth Kerr: Scrooge (1935 film); The Man with the Golden Arm; The Big Country

Sam Juliano: Son of Saul and others (Youth poster could be NSFW)

Scott A. Cupp: White Pongo; The Thing (From Another World); Between Two Worlds; Porco Rosso

Serena Bramble: Gloria Grahame

Sergio Angelini: The Notorious Landlady; Top 25 Television Detectives

Stacia Jones: Wallace and Gromit; The Dick Van Dyke Show: "The Alan Brady Show Presents"

Stephen Bowie: Run for Your Life: "Time and a Half on Christmas Eve"

Stephen Gallagher: The Ghost Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore

Steve Lewis: The Saint: The Brazilian Connection; Girl of the Port; The Halliday Brand; Sagebrush Law; Beau Bandit; Hardball: "Till Death Do Us Part"; a century of Leigh Brackett, Eli Wallach, and Louis Prima plus five; Tarzan the MagnificentSouth of Suez; Find the Lady

Todd Mason: bullet points for an unwritten post: 
  1. Cabin Pressure is one of the best BBC Radio sitcoms of recent have 23 hours left as of this writing to hear the fourth (and final, so far) season premiere repeated on the BBC Radio 4 website, and a larger increment of weeks afterward to hear the other five (the second episode will drop off next week, and so on...they haven't reposted the sixth and season finale yet, but probably tomorrow; one can hope the two-part series finale, not quite its own "series" as UK parlance would have it, follows).
  2. I hadn't seen The Detective for decades, and never uncut (or so I take it) till TCM's recent Sinatra-days run. Notable to me the degree to which the film is actually sympathetic to oppressed minorities, in Sinatra's patented Aw Shucks, And What's Your Problem, Buddy? way, though hedging its bets by having one of its most virulent homophobes be its only notable African-American character...but women still get the shaft, in every way. Homophobia ain't the Chairman's bag, but he don't get dames. Unless they stay got.
  3. Finally saw The Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode written by Harlan Ellison
    (and someone who sure sounds like a pseudonym, Yale Udolf, who has other, mostly 1970s credits) that caused such a ruckus between him and Judith Merril, wherein a THRUSH recruit, sadistic book reviewer Judy Merle, if anything seems more Mary McCarthy than Merril and a cartoon of either, as well as being an enthusiastic thug in the more traditional sense. I'm guessing that Merril was mostly tired of what she considered being picked on (inside the SF community and here outside it as well), since it's mostly a mere Tuckerism, albeit thrown-away bits such as how Merle mostly does her work in bed might've been meant to sting.  "The Pieces of Fate Affair"; Sharon Farrell is quite good in it (and her wardrobe rather striking), as "Jacqueline Midcult" (I'd still suggest she's more Masscult if Susann was the actual target) and it does rise above the usual level of the camp-infused third season. Also amusing that the now obscure Joe Pyne, long-term non-favorite of Ellison's, is parodied as the self-important interviewer shot at with Midcult in the first act. 
TV Obscurities: All That Glitters; The Rebels

Victoria Loomes: Monkey Business (1952 film); A Farewell to Arms

Vienna: El Dorado

Friday, December 25, 2015

Friday's "Forgotten" Books and related work: added links to the reviews (the list your tardy Western Xmas gift)

As "real" Christmas happens on 6 January, nonetheless we will cooperate in our late or very early way with the current post-schism fashion of putting it near the solstice feast days, so as to not let the pagans and all those others have All the fun...and sorry for the delay...ergs at a premium of late.

Sergio Angelini: And All Through the House by "Ed McBain"

Ben Boulden: The Sundown Speech by Loren D. Estleman

Brian Busby: "No Pattern for Life" by Frances Shelley Wees

Bill Crider: "Mr. Pickwick and the Body Snatchers" by Bill Crider (limited time access)

Scott A. Cupp: The Memoirs of Solar Pons by August Derleth

William Deeck: The Deadly Combo by John Farr

Martin Edwards: Mr. Bowling Buys a Newspaper by Donald Henderson

Fred Fitch: Castle in the Air by Donald Westlake

Barry Gardner: Sheets, Goats and Soap by John Malcolm

Kaye George: Fighting Chance by B.K. Stevens

Ed Gorman: The Innocent Mrs. Duff by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

Rich Horton: The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne by William J. Locke

Jerry House: Mark Kilby Stands Alone by "Robert Craine Frazer" (John Creasey)

TracyK: The Small World of Murder by Elizabeth Ferrars

George Kelley: Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit by P. G. Wodehouse

Margot Kinberg: A Madras Miasma by Brian Stoddart

Rob Kitchin: Rough Riders by Charlie Stella

Kate Laity: "Little Joe the Krampus Met" by K. A. Laity

Steve Lewis: Man Bait by Jack Liston; "The Day of the Bullet" by Staney Ellin

Todd Mason: Howard Browne's magazines at Ziff-Davis, and the related developments

Carol Matic: Blue Willow by Doris Gates

James Reasoner: Christmas Out West edited by Bill Pronzini and Martin Harry Greenberg

John F. Norris: "Advent Ghosts" by John Norris

Gerard Saylor: "Stories from the Secret War" by Terrence M. Burke

Steve Scott: "John D. MacDonald" by David T. Warner

Kevin Tipple: Never Kill a Cat and Other Stories by "Miles Archer"

"TomCat": There May Be Danger by Ianthe Jerrold

Prashant Trikannad: In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward

Friday, December 18, 2015

FFB: THE BEST HUMOR ANNUAL edited by Louis Untermeyer and Ralph E. Shikes (Henry Holt, 3 Volumes, 1950-1952); THE BOOK OF WIT AND HUMOR V. 1 edited by Louis Untermeyer (Mercury Press 1953); CARTOON ANNUAL edited by Ralph E. Shikes (Ace 1953)

Louis Untermeyer and Ralph Shikes were among the more public intellectuals in the U.S. at the turn of the 1950s, particularly the former, who was a founding panelist on the television series What's My Line? (starting in 1950). They shared a love of humorous writing and art generally, and published in 1950 the first of what would eventually be a three-volume series of Best Humor annuals, the first Best Humor 1949/50 and the next two The Best Humor Annual (without years tagged on the cover, they were published, unsurprisingly, in 1951 and '52). By 1952, Untermeyer's life was beginning to unravel in a big way, as a victim of Red-baiting of the era...he had apparently written too much for The New Masses in the 1930s  (as he had for the more broadly socialist/radical The Masses earlier), before moving on to found his own magazine The Seven Lively Arts, and later signed a few too many petitions circulated by Leninist fronts and/or Leninist-supported groups for the liking of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and
the House Un-American Activities Committee and similar agencies. He was hounded off the series and tv generally by March, 1951...leading to depression and agoraphobia, but the editors still managed to get the third volume of the annual out; probably as a consequence of the "scandal" of his sympathies, the 1952 volume was the last to be published. In 1953, both men went onto new, similar projects, Untermeyer editing a single issue of The Book of Wit and Humor for Mercury Press, which had recently sold The American Mercury to another publisher (where it, as edited by William Bradford Huie, became even more the post-war voice of the Conservative Movement in the US), but continued to publish Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and a few other titles, including the Mercury Mystery line of novels in digest-sized format...that periodical series, and the similar Bestseller Mystery, would become full-fledged magazines after the sale of EQMM in the late 1950s.  Shikes kept his hand in with the first volume of Cartoon Annual, for Ace Books; subsequent second and third volumes were eventually published as edited by "Brant House" (a hardy Ace house pseudonym, even house brand, possibly employed in this case by Donald A. Wollheim). While both men would go on to notable further publication, and Untermeyer at least one more humor anthology, these were a little burst of industry in this field that apparently was both pioneering and cut short by blacklisting as much as anything else.

From the first volume, the Holt annual was meant to be a big-tent affair, featuring a wide range of approaches from satire to mildly amusing upbeat stories that were a bit more elaborate than the collections of anecdotes and jokes Bennett Cerf, Untermeyer's essential successor on What's My Line?, was prone to assemble (often without crediting his sources). Most of the most famous humorists of the period were represented in the three volumes, even if the number of cartoons in those volumes was rather restricted; Kirkus Reviews noted about the 1950 entry, "In full and in part, here are poetry, articles, fiction, cartoons, whose authorship ranges from Cleveland Amory, Robert Benchley, Bob Considine, Wolcott Gibbs, the Gilbreths, Langston Hughes, John Lardner, David McCord, Ruth McKenney, Ogden Nash, [S. J.] Perelman, [Robert] Ruark, on to Louis Zara and Maurics Zolotow. " Only the editors didn't slight women contributors quite as much as Virginia Kirkus or her staff did here, and such up and comers as Ray Bradbury are also included.  The conceit of arranging the contributions alphabetically by author was abandoned after the first book. 

With the discontinuation of the Holt annual, and Untermeyer's passage through his period of (understandably mildly paranoid) depression, Lawrence Spivak at Mercury Press, already the moderator of  NBC-TV's Meet the Press at this point, presumably felt safe enough to release the one issue of the prospective magazine The Book of Wit and Humor, which while less time-bound than the previous annual was similar in content and diversity, featuring many short bits and unlike the other Mercury Press magazines essentially no original material in the issue aside from editorial introductions and the weak exception of a joke column or two. Meanwhile, perhaps sundered in the face of anti-Untermeyer Activities (and his houseboundedness), Shikes moved onto the first annual multi-source collection of cartoons I'm aware of, drawn from the same sort of magazine and newspaper sources (Saturday Evening Post to The New Yorker to the New York Herald-Tribune) they had tapped for the Holt annual; perhaps the notoriously low royalty rates at Ace dissuaded Shikes from continuing, even though Ace doubts that Ace was his first choice of publisher. 

Indices for these titles to come...the 1949/50 volume just arrived yesterday, and I haven't had the opportunity to get to a scanner for a cover image; the blue volume is the 1951 volume, the red and black the 1952.

For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog. I believe I'll be collecting the links next week, as Patti takes the family holidays seriously.

The "Brant House" volumes:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Two tributaries to our overlooked cultural flow, or Toshiko Akiyoshi, Jacques Plante, Cyd Charisse and Ann Landers walk into a studio to eulogize Fred Allen, and Mimi Perrin writes and performs noirish jazz lyrics in French with her sextet before turning to translating Le Carre, Erdrich and Sheckley...

The Fred Allen Show: 1945-1949  #23, "King for a Day" with Jack Benny (essentially the end of their looong-term "feud" running joke), was the first episode I heard as a kid, on a library cassette ca. that point, I wasn't aware that the insurgent Stop the Music game show had pulled Allen's CBS radio show from the #1 rated national series to cancellation (by the sponsor) by the end of the next season (Edgar Bergen's series on NBC also suffered enormously in timeslot competition with the ABC radio hit).

Ad-libbing in the sketch: Jack Benny, to Allen, while trying to retain his trousers from the stooges pulling them from him: "You haven't seen the end of me!"

Fred Allen: "Well, it can't be long now..."

1. The What's My Line? taped the day after the death of panelist Fred Allen, a giant of network radio comedy, among much else...oddly enough, as the cast of regulars, at Allen's widow Portland Hoffa's request, proceed to do a regular episode, as much as possible, with a single famous "Mystery Guest"(actor/dancer Cyd Charisse this week), the three other guests were all public figures as well, two of whom, at least, have become over the years at least as famous as Charisse: newspaper advice columnist Eppie Lederer, aka Ann Landers, only some months into her career; and jazz pianist and composer Toshiko Akiyoshi, newly matriculated at the Berklee School of Music (Steve Allen invites her to be on his The Tonight Show when the panel learns of her budding career). The first guest is Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante, at that time probably better known, if not to the panel, than all the women except Charisse...and, as I didn't know until recently, as I append this in 2022, the inventor of the modern goalie's mask, the one that actually helps survive a puck in the face.

2. Jeannine "Mimi" Perrin, 1926-2010. Having studied jazz piano and the English language in her youth, her first public career was as accompanist and backup singer for the likes of Blossom Dearie when the latter played in 1959, Perrin put together the first version of her vocalese choral sextet Les Double Six, inspired by King Pleasure and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross among others. This ran though about 1966, recording frequently with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones and on their own (the Swingle Singers was an offshoot of Les Six); she loved to write noirish lyrics for the jazz arrangements she and the Six recorded, noting that French "doesn't swing", or at least it doesn't have the same sort of bounce in that context English does ...and a recurring tuberculosis led to her giving up public singing. So, she turned to translation of literature as her primary career by 1972. Among those whose work she translated into French were Robert Sheckley, Roger Zelazny, James Blish, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Louise Erdrich, Nicola Barker, Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson, Ha Jin; in the 1990s, she was the default translator of John Le Carre. She also was particularly inclined toward translating the biographies of performing artists (Nina Simone's among the less surprising examples) and related folk. 

Les Double Six: "Four Brothers"; "Moanin'"

Saturday, December 12, 2015

some jazz drummers and their bands: Saturday Music Club

Max Roach Quintet: "Crackle Hut"

Joe Morello Quintet: "I've Got the World on a String"; "Have You Met Miss Jones?" 

Milt Jackson/John Coltrane Quintet with Connie Kay: "The Night We Called It a Day"

Chico Hamilton Quintet: "El Toro"
Kenny Clarke and Lou Bennett: "Lady Bird"

The Modern Jazz Quartet: "The Jasmine Tree"

Brubeck Quartet: "Castilian Drums"

Max Roach Band: "Man from South Africa"

The Jazz Messengers: "Moanin'"

Philly Joe Jones and Elvin Jones Together!

"Le Roi" (Dave Baker) - 6:00 
"Beau-ty" (Philly Joe Jones) - 12:53 
"Brown Sugar" (Walter Davis, Jr.) - 14:58