Saturday, July 19, 2008



Jo Stafford, who sang backup for Frank Sinatra and performed with Tommy Dorsey, died July 16 at her Century City, California, home. She was 90.

The biggest hit for Stafford, a singer in the Pied Pipers and then a soloist, was You Belong to Me in 1952, which sold 2 million copies. Her death, caused by congestive heart failure, was confirmed by her son, Tim Weston.

A performer from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s, Stafford started singing with her older sisters in a country- western group called the Stafford Sisters, then joined seven men as the Pied Pipers. The octet was cut to a quartet and joined the Tommy Dorsey band, and became backup singers for Frank Sinatra.

While recording with Capitol Records, Stafford toured with the U.S.O. in 1944 and 1945, earning her the G.I. Jo nickname from servicemen. She is survived by her younger sister, a son and daughter, and four grandchildren.




Austrailian MySpace buddy Cheryl Russell’s debut album, Quiet Nights, is now available on itunes.
This long anticipated album expresses her love of romantic ballads from the 1930's & 40's along with some seductive Latin love songs. This blend of romance and sensuality has created a wonderfully intimate and dreamy listening experience and is the perfect gift for lovers….. and lovers of fine music.



Friday, July 18, 2008



Astonishing Adventures is a pretty cool on-line pulpzine. You can buy the print edition at Amazon, or you can read it for free right here. The cool website is here.

A tip of the fedora to for the info.



To order tickets call Brown Paper Tickets at: 800-838-3006 or, as always, the Jazz Bakery Information line: 310 271-9039 - and you can still come down to the JB

July 29: Big Band Influence Jazz Orchestra feat. Seth McFarlane $30
July 30: Saxophone Liberation Day ! w/ The Saxtet feat. Stacy Rowles & saxists Roger Newman, Gene Cipriano, Tom Peterson, Phil Feather, Bob Carr & David Angel plus rhythm section Dave Koonse, Chris Conner & Kendall Kay !! $25
July 31: (10-piece) Tall & Small Band w/ Pete Christlieb & Linda Small $25
Aug 1 & 2: vocalist Jackie Ryan w/ The Tamir Hendelman Trio $30
matinee Aug 3: Bill McCoy Nada Brahma Project $25
Aug 3: vocalist Beat Kaestli plus Trio $25
8 PM only Aug 4: 5th Annual Beverly Hills International Music Festival $30
Aug 5: Larry Nash & the Jazz Symphonics $25
Aug 6: drummer Jose Gurria's Quartet $25
Aug 7: Woodford, Ehling, Ratner & Wallace $25
Aug 8: Alan Broadbent Trio $30
Aug 9: Poncho Sanchez! $35
matinee Aug 10: vocalist Kathleen Grace $25
Aug 10: vocalist Dwight Trible $25
Aug 12: pianist Josh Nelson w/ Dayna Stephens, Harish Raghavan & Justin Brown $25
Aug 13 - 16: saxophonist Yosvany Terry Afro-Caribbean Jazz Quartet w/ Osmany Paredes pno Yunior Terry bass Ernesto Simpson dr $30
Aug 17: pianist Richard Sears w/ Jesse Scheimin, Hans Bernard & Joey Lesitz $25
2 PM matinee Aug 17: Tribute to Dave Carpenter w/ Peter Erskine, Bob Sheppard & a Host of Musical Friends Free to All!
Aug 19: Bill Cunliffe plays Burt Bacharach $25
Aug 20: vibraphonist Tyler Blanton Quartet $25
Aug 21: saxophonist Chad Bloom Quartet $25
Aug 22 & 23: Cost Rican Composer Luis Munoz's Septet $30
matinee Aug 24: bassist Joshua Crumbly Group $25
Aug 24: Kaeef Ruzadun Creative Arts feat. Linda Lee $25
Aug 26: Quartet Equinox flamenco jazz w/ Dirk K flamenco gtr Andy Suzuki sax/flute/bass clarinet David Hughes double bass & Brad Dutz perc/vibes $25
Aug 27: trumpeter Emile Martinez Sextet Jazz Tribute $25
Aug 28: saxophonist Mitch Marcus Quintet $25
Aug 29 & 30: vocalist Tessa Souter $30
Aug 31: trumpeter Sean Hennessy Jazz Sextet $25



Yet another BBC series is being adapted for American audiences. Only this time, it sounds like it's going to be a movie.

Universal Pictures will be adapting the 1999 BBC series Second Sight which launched the career of Clive Owen. He starred as homicide detective Ross Tanner, who leads an elite unit that tackles high-profile murder cases while suffering from a rare degenerative eye disease that causes hallucinations and increasing blindness.

Universal Pictures has tapped Craig Rosenberg to adapt the BBC series, which will be produced by Angry Film's Don Murphy and Susan Montford. Rosenberg's credits include DreamWorks' upcoming thriller The Uninvited, based on South Korean horror pic A Tale of Two Sisters. He also penned New Line's After the Sunset and was a staff writer on ABC's Lost.

Murphy most recently produced New Line actioner "Shoot 'Em Up," which also starred Clive Owen.

I enjoy Second Sight when it originally aired here as part of PBS's Mystery anthology and later on BBC America. It’s a little far fetched, but Owen did a fantastic job in the lead role. IMHO, he’d be perfect for the American adaptation, but even with his connections to the producer of this new version, it’s highly, highly doubtful that it would happen.



Charles Ardai, the fearless leader at Hard Case Crime, is launching a new pulp adventure series called
THE ADVENTURES OF GABRIEL HUNT. Here’s what he has to say about it:

"These books are for anyone who grew up reading H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs or watching Harrison Ford wield his bullwhip at the movies," said Ardai. "We're talking classic adventure fiction, complete with horses, snakes, shovels, pickaxes, torches, traps, bottomless pits, barroom brawls, jungles, jewels, and just about everything else that's ever made your heart beat faster. Like Hard Case Crime before it, the Gabriel Hunt series is a true labor of love. Everyone working on it is doing so with a wild gleam in the eye and the gas pedal pressed to the floor, and the result is the sort of exultant seat-of-the-pants storytelling that makes you feel 14 years old all over again."

The series will be published under house name Gabriel Hunt, but will actually be penned by Hard Case vets and other well known pulp enthusiasts.



Alexander Mundy: “Let me get this straight…I can catch complete episodes of the entire first season of It Takes a Thief on”

Noah Bain: “Not quite, Al. But how does 14 out of the first 16 grab you?”

Alexander Mundy: “Terrific!”

Nobody could lay as hip an inflection on the word “terrific” as Robert Wagner when he starred as Alexander Mundy in the coolest adventure/espionage series of the late sixties, It Takes A Thief.

Doing it’s usual wonderful job, informs us the first 14 episodes of the iconic crime show are available at

For a great article on the show check out:



Here's an article from the Dallas Morning News show life imitating art (in this case an episode of CSI). It's not unusual for a murder to be made to look like a suicide, but this is an example of the opposite.

Thomas Hickman drove through New Mexico, police say, until his Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo ran out of gas. Then the 55-year-old North Richland Hills man walked into a field, tied helium balloons to a gun, covered his mouth with duct tape, and shot himself in the back of the head, according to New Mexico State Police.

That determination is a far leap from what authorities first suspected when Mr. Hickman's body was discovered March 15 near Santa Rosa, N.M., about 100 miles east of Albuquerque. Authorities initially thought the Red Lobster executive had been kidnapped and slain.

But investigators came to the conclusion that Mr. Hickman committed suicide. The first clue was the bundle of white helium balloons, with the gun still attached, found snagged on bushes and cactus near Mr. Hickman's body.

The grip of the Smith & Wesson Airweight had been removed and the trigger guard ground down, said Lt. Rick Anglada of New Mexico State Police.

"He took as much weight off as he could to make it light as possible," Lt. Anglada said. The plan apparently was to have the gun float far away after being fired, but that didn't happen.

The gun and balloons led police from that field back to Mr. Hickman's house in North Richland Hills.

"This was apparently an elaborate attempt to make it look like he was murdered," Lt. Anglada said. "Investigators were able to show that he purchased the balloons and purchased the gun. We also found shavings from the gun in his garage."

Partway through the investigation, one of the investigators recalled seeing a television show in which balloons were used in a suicide.

The investigator obtained a copy of an October 2003 episode of the television drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and noticed that there were several similarities between that show and Mr. Hickman's case. But Lt. Anglada said New Mexico authorities are not sure if Mr. Hickman ever saw the program.

Detectives would not speculate about the motive for his suicide, the lieutenant said.

However, the investigation showed that at the time of his death, Mr. Hickman's life was in turmoil. Lisa Hickman, his wife of 29 years, was ill, and he had been caring for her for some time. Mr. Hickman had also recently lost some money in the stock market, Lt. Anglada said.

Mrs. Hickman could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But in March, she described her husband as a generous Christian man who "did not preach the word of God, but he walked the walk. He lived it."

The couple moved to Texas from Florida in 2003 and had one son.

Mr. Hickman worked for Red Lobster for 32 years and oversaw restaurants in the chain from North Richland Hills to West Texas. He started as a manager trainee, company officials said. In 1977, Mr. Hickman was promoted to general manager and headed operations at restaurants in Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina and Florida. He became director of operations in 2003 when he took over restaurants in parts of Texas.

As the West Texas director of operations for Red Lobster, Mr. Hickman regularly traveled through the region where he died. He was last seen at a meeting in Abilene on March 13. The next day, he missed a meeting in Lubbock. On March 15, two motorists discovered his body in the field.



Like its namesake character, the best television series you never watched – Eli Stone – is set to return from the dead. In a last second decision, a second season of Eli Stone will begin on ABC on Tuesday October 14th. With a strong lead-in from a new season of Dancing With The Stars, faithful viewers of this quirky masterpiece (following the trials and tribulations of an everyman who just may or may not be a prophet of God) hope many more viewers will become as addicted as they are.

The producers are also making casting decisions to help the cause. Katie Holmes will sing and dance her way back into primetime when she guest stars on the second episode of the new season. She'll be playing an attorney who comes into contact with Eli (Jonny Lee Miller).

Executive producer Greg Berlanti says she'll be part of a song-and-dance number when Eli has one of his visions. "It's not a one- or two-scene thing," Berlanti says of her appearance. "She's in a significant portion of the episode."

In other news regarding the new season, Eli is set to go public. "That was always our plan, to end the (first) season having Eli’s brain aneurysm removed," Berlanti said. "And in the (second) season premiere, we'll find out definitively whether he is a prophet... This year is about Eli embracing being a prophet and how people around him embrace that as he becomes more public." Berlanti added that the visions and singing and dancing won't stop, especially because the show will now be following Dancing With the Stars this year on ABC's fall schedule. "We will open a few episodes with dancing numbers, because we are shameless," he said.

Berlati also reports that somebody other than Eli will have a vision this season, that another character's life will be in jeopardy. And all efforts are being made to bring back singer George Michael for several second season appearances. There has also been a reference to the people surrounding Eli as his apostles.

It should all be very interesting!



It's 80 years since the adventures of Simon Templar first debuted in print and Hodder & Stoughton are celebrating the anniversary by publishing two anthologies of the best of the Saint's adventures this November.

'I am the Saint - you may have heard of me. Just a twentieth-century privateer. In my small way I try to put right a few of the things that are wrong with this cock-eyed world.' – Simon Templar, aka: The Saint.

'Simon Templar has about him that indefinable atmosphere of romance and adventurousness which is given to some favoured men in every age, and it attracted adventure as inevitably as a magnet attracts iron filings.'

On the side of the law and yet outside it, the Saint, exciting, debonair and very slightly disreputable, lives for adventure. His adventures take him all over the world, where, with that ever present twinkle in his eye, he flushes out swindlers, murderers and jewel thieves. He helps to solve an unusual murder in Paris, confounds a cunning crook in Bermuda, and in Rome he is grabbed by the long arm of the Mafia at their peril! In these stories he is at his ebullient best, spreading terror among London's drug dealers, rescuing a lady crook from distress and much, much more.

The Best of the Saint (vol. 1) features an introduction by novelist Ken Follett and the following Saint adventures: The Man Who Was Clever, The Policeman with Wings, The Lawless Lady, The Inland Revenue, The Charitable Countess, The Star Producers, The Art of Alibi, The Simon Templar Foundation, The High Fence, The Ellusive Ellshaw, The Miracle Tea Party, The Affair of Hogsbotham.

The Best of the Saint (vol. 2) features an introduction by Sir Roger Moore and the following Saint adventures: The Covetous Headsman, The Angel's Eye, The Rhine Maiden, The Golden Journey, The Loaded Tourist, The Spanish Cow, The Latin Touch, The Patient Playboy, The Talented Husband, The Reluctant Nudist, The Lovelorn Sheik, The Pluperfect Lady, The Sporting Chance, The Better Mousetrap, The Prodigal Miser, The Hopeless Heiress.

Pictures of the cover art are now up on the news page at

Sunday, July 13, 2008