Saturday, August 16, 2008

THIRTY-ONE YEARS AGO TODAY!

THIRTY-ONE YEARS AGO TODAY!

Thirty-one years ago today, I was a rookie cop working the mean streets of Los Angeles, Morning Watch (11pm – 7am) out of Van Nuys Division (they were Divisions back in those dinosaur days, not the less military, more PC Areas like they are today).

About 2am we observed a woman in red sedan blow through a red light at the major intersection of Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way.

We hit her with the lights and siren as she continued down the main thoroughfare of Sherman way at a blazing twenty five miles an hour. Not only did she not stop, she blew through the red light at the next intersection without even slowing down.

We got on the radio and showed ourselves ‘in pursuit’ of this heinous traffic violator. Other cop cars fell into line behind us with their lights and sirens going, but the violator kept up her steady twenty-five mile an hour pace – blowing red light after red light at every intersection.

It was such a slow motion pursuit we were able to get police cars to leap-frog from intersection to intersection to stop the traffic so our procession should proceed without the woman killing herself or somebody else.

At last the police helicopter was called in and hovered over the violator and hit her with a spotlight. The woman suddenly swerved to the curb and stopped.

I exited the police vehicle (that’s cop speak for I got out of the car) and approached the woman’s driver’s window. She was crying hysterically – I don’t do crying women very well.

Her window was rolled down. She looked at me, still sobbing hysterically, and asked, “Don’t you know what happened.”

Other than her blowing twelve red lights in a row, I had no idea what she was talking about.

She up the wailing into a fit of hysteria, gasping, “Elvis is dead!”

We called her husband who came and picked her up. No charges were filed.

Thirty-one years ago today – The King of Rock-And-Roll passed on!

LOVE ON WARD B!

LOVE ON WARD B!

Here's the latest from editor Steve Holland, the top archivist of British Comics and the editor of a number of these types of collections bringing back different Picture Library novels for modern consumption.
Published by Prion Books on 1 September 2008. Follow-up to the Valentine Picture Library volume published by Prion in February 2008. Not my usual thing, I'll admit, but a fun volume featuring the adventures of nurse Sally Brown who starred in sixty or so adventures published in the Hospital Nurse Romance Library in 1964-66.


Contents:

Naughty Nurse (HNPL 10, Jun 1964)
First Love (HNPL 14, Aug 1964)
Man Crazy (HNPL 15, Sep 1964)
Cure for Diane (HNPL 23, Jan 1965)
Live and Love (HNPL 31, May 1965)
Blues for a Beat Boy (HNPL 32, May 1965)

Here's where I show my ignorance of romance comics: I don't have a clue who wrote or drew these. They were original British strips but drawn by anonymous Spanish artists.


Blonde and impossibly beautiful, Sally Brown is a probationary nurse at General Hospital and the star of Hospital Nurse Picture Library. With her friend and colleague Maureen Evans she patrols the kind of wards that would have been familiar to her readers thanks to television. Emergency Ward 10 had been running since 1957 so everyone knew that hospitals were buildings full of dishy doctors and patients in need of a little tender loving care. The Hospital Nurse series was first launched in 1963 and for years thereafter, young girls, young women and not-so-young women invested a shilling each month to keep up with the romantic adventures of young Sally Brown. In the 1960s, nursing was second only to being an air hostess when it came to glamorous occupations for girls. Tales like "First Love", "Live and Love", "Kiss and Remember" and "Fooling With Love" tap into the obvious elements of love and romance - but titles like "Man Crazy" and "Naughty Nurse" hint that there is more fun to be had in these picture stories than between the prim covers of a Mills and Boon novel.If you think hospitals are just sterile wards full of sick people, think again.

Friday, August 15, 2008

THE COMMISARIO BRUNETTI MYSTERIES BY DONNA LEON!

THE COMMISARIO BRUNETTI MYSTERIES BY DONNA LEON!

In preparing for a trip to Italy next year, in which Venice will be a focal point, I have discovered the extremely satisfying Commissario Brunetti novels by Donna Leon. Police procedurals set in Venice, these mysteries are a pleasure and a joy to peruse.

At this stage in my reading life, it is a rare treat to discover a new favorite author with an extensive backlist. There are currently seventeen Commissario Brunetti mysteries, and since I have been reading them in order, I can say each one is more engaging than its predecessor.

When looked at with the retrospect of reading a number of series entries, Death At La Fenice, Commissario Brunetti’s debut, is a solid mystery, but shows signs of Leon beginning to find her way as a writer – there is only a hint of the very Italian twists her plots and characters develop as the series progresses.

Dressed For Death, Uniform Justice, Death And Judgment (aka: A Venetian Reckoning), and Blood From A Stone are all standout titles in the series both in plotting, and characterization – stories that belong in Italy and more specifically Venice.

Brunetti himself is a fully formed individual – so real you feel as if you could walk into the questora (the Venice police station) and ask to speak with him. He is stolid, but far from plodding, following the evidence wherever it takes him. He is aware, but not cynical, always hoping for integrity, but finding little.

Leon, an American who has lived abroad most of her life and now a long time Venice resident, evenhandedly displays the European distain for anything American balanced against the corruption, inefficiency, and pettiness of European bureaucracy. Cover-up is rife, job satisfaction – especially in police work – elusive.

And in speaking of police work, Brunetti’s investigations are believable. There are no big shootouts or car chases. Instead, Leon provides an intelligent, adult, thinking person’s mystery filled with elegant, involving prose, and without easy answers or resolutions.

I can recommend these books highly enough. Top drawer stuff.

MI-6 TO CIA: 5 TOP SECRET AGENCIES (WHO WANT TO HIRE YOU)!

MI-6 TO CIA: 5 TOP SECRET AGENCIES (WHO WANT TO HIRE YOU)!

CRACKED.COM GIVES US FIVE SPY AGENCIES LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD SPIES.

TO CHECK OUT WHERE TO APPLY CLICK HERE

20 IDEAS FOR MAKING THE OLYMPICS KICK WAY MORE ASS!

20 IDEAS FOR MAKING THE OLYMPICS KICK WAY MORE ASS!

CRACKED.COM OFFERS UP SOME UNIQUE WAYS TO SPICE UP THE OLYMPIC GAMES.

TO CHECK OUT THE WHOLE LIST CLICK HERE

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE TRUTH ABOUT WILSON!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE TRUTH ABOUT WILSON -- W.S.K. WEBB!

The Truth About Wilson is one of the most unique curiosity in sports fiction. It features the first superhero track star, and while totally unbelievable, its sense of tongue-in-cheek fun makes it an outstanding addition to any sports fiction collection.

Unlike Batman or The Hulk, The Truth About Wilson won’t be a summer blockbuster anytime soon. In 1943 England, however, Wilson, The Man In Black, was the stuff of legends. In the midst of a war with Germany, any British sporting victory was considered a morale booster, even if it took place in the pages of The Wizard, a boy’s adventure broadsheet.

Any champion runner would have been cause for celebration, but a mystery man who lived secretly on the Yorkshire Moors, was reputed to be 150 years old, and shattered athletic records all over the world like cheap crockery, was a major sensation. A slight, wiry figure in an old fashioned, black running costume that would be very stylish today, Wilson appeared out of nowhere to run races, participate in track events, and generally defend the standards of the British Empire against all-comers. At the end of whatever record crushing track event he completed, Wilson would virtually collapse before slinking off to rejuvenate himself secretly on the vast English moors.


Wizard story paper issue number 1069 first printed The Truth About Wilson as a text story on 24th July 1943 before it was reprinted as a picture story in Hornet comic in 1964.

A number of years later the character of Wilson was resurrected in the British comic Spike as The Man In Black who mysteriously appears at the start of a 1500 metres race and brakes all records for the 400, 800 and 1500 metres. Spike readers were left pondering the real identity of the mysterious runner who only identified himself as being British and called Smith.

Smith is befriended by reporter Harry Cobb who tracks him to his home Amberside Moor in Yorkshire. Over the next sixteen weeks Smith wins many events, including the marathon and the pole vault, and often refers to the many feats William Wilson completed in the past.

Harry Cobb slowly begins to suspect Smith is, in fact, the athlete William Wilson -- even though it would make him over two hundred years old.

In issue sixteen of Spike, Smith finally admits he is William Wilson and gives Harry Cobb his diaries. Wilson’s diaries were then printed the following week, in issue seventeen, as The Truth About Wilson.

Finally, a fascinating collection of the serialized prose stories was produced in paperback in the 60’s under the title The Truth About Wilson by W.S.K. Webb.

Hard to find, The Truth About Wilson is a true collector’s treasure.

TO READ ONE OF THE ORIGINAL WILSON STORIES CLICK HERE



HEADLINES!

NOW THAT'S SOME PAINT JOB!

THE GUY MUST HAVE BEEN A PLUMMER!

REALLY? NO KIDDING!


FISH GOTTA SWIM, BIRDS GOTTA FLY...


YOU CAN'T FOOL THE FEDS! THEY KNOW JUST WHERE TO LOOK!


DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR!

YOU WOULD CERTAINLY HOPE SO!



YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK!

I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE!

ISN'T THAT NICE?

THIS IS A LAW SUIT WATING TO HAPPEN!

GRADUATE OF THE MATCHBOOK COVER SCHOOL OF LAW!

WHAT A GOOD IDEA!

I'M NOT SURE WHAT ELSE YOU WOULD EXPECT TO FIND!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

WHO DARES WINS!

WHO DARES WINS!

The Crime Longe has a great new free download of the soundtrack from the 1982 action film Who Dares Wins by Roy Budd, who was also responsible for the quintessential Get Carter theme.

Fresh from his success in TV's The Professionals, Lewis Collins hit the ground running with this tailor-made action piece. As Bodie, he played an ex-SAS officer, so his role here was pretty much a continuation of that television character.

Supplying the pulsating score was a master of the genre, Roy Budd. Having scored many classic action thrillers throughout the seventies, here he bursts into the eighties with a slightly more electronic style. Who Dares Wins as it was originally titled was know as The Final Option when released in the US.

YOU CAN FIND THE DOWNLOAD HERE

BUSTIN' DOWN THE DOOR!

BUSTIN' DOWN THE DOOR!

The next great surfing documentary!

During the winter of 1975 in Hawaii, surfing was shaken to its core. A group of young surfers from Austrailia and South Africa sacrificed everything and put it all on the line to create a sport, a culter, and an industy that today is worth billions of dollars and captured the imagination of the world. With a radical new approach and a brash colonial attitude, these surfers crashed headlong into a culture that was not ready for a revolution.

Surfing was never to be the same again…

Watch for it at a theater near you.

CHECK OUT THE MOVIE WEBSITE HERE

OSC's LATEST COLUMN!

OSC’s LATEST COLUMN!

Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite writers. If you’ve never read Ender’s Game or Ender’s Shadow, you have a rare treat in store. Card is also one of my favorite thinkers and he is brilliant enough to pontificate regularly on just about everything. I don’t always agree with him, but he always makes me think – especially when he writes about our shared LDS religion.

His latest Mormon Times column taking on Mormon Books can be found HERE

MISSION POSSIBLE?


AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 SLEUTHS!

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 SLEUTHS!

London newpaper The Independent recently carried a good article on crime fiction with worldwide settings.

Holmes and Watson would be proud. Crime fiction is booming as never before - and with dozens of new titles translated into English for the first time, there’s a detective for every holiday destination. Jonathan Gibbs tracks down 80 of the best sleuths to escape with this summer....

TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE!

HEINEKEN SHAKEN NOT STIRRED!

HEINEKEN SHAKEN NOT STIRRED!

PRESS RELEASE – Heineken Returns As Global Bond Partner

Heineken International today announced that it will launch a worldwide promotional campaign for the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’/Columbia Pictures’ release of EON Productions. The film, which will be released in movie theatres worldwide in November 2008, is Heineken’s 5th consecutive global partnership with one of the most successful and longest running movie franchises in history.

Stefan Orlowski, Group Commerce Director, Heineken N.V., said of the partnership: “Our long association with James Bond has helped enhance the profile of the Heineken brand across the world. The partnership supports our commitment to extend the brand’s leadership position within the international premium beer segment. Our global campaign offers a great opportunity to drive sales growth and to help build the value of Heineken’s brand equity.”

The new marketing campaign provides the opportunity for consumers to experience the premium, stylish and international world of James Bond. The campaign features leading lady Olga Kurylenko and was shot using actual film sets and scenes from the film. It includes TV and print advertising and on- and off-premise promotions, interactive and digital activities, radio promotions, consumer competitions and tie-ins with local premiere events. The campaign will be launched globally across an estimated 40 countries in October in conjunction with the worldwide release of the film.

Olga Kurylenko, who plays the role of Camille in the upcoming film, commented: “I am delighted to support Heineken’s global Quantum of Solace marketing campaign. Heineken has done a great job in making James Bond, Camille and the world of Bond connect with their iconic international brand.”

Melinda Eskell, Manager Heineken Brand Communication said: “We worked in close partnership with Eon and Columbia Pictures to ensure the global campaign remained authentic to the film and the James Bond franchise. The involvement of Olga Kurylenko combined with the use of other authentic Bond assets provides Heineken the unique opportunity to allow our consumers worldwide to experience the world of Bond.”

In Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig reprises his role as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007.The film is directed by Marc Forster, the screenplay is by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Paul Haggis and Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli produce.

HONEY WEST – DVD REVIEW!

HONEY WEST – DVD REVIEW!

Blog buddy Chris Mills (be sure to check out his Femme Noir comic mini-series at a comic shop near you) has an advanced review of the upcoming Honey West – The Complete Series release on DVD at his ATOMIC PULP blog.

Loosely based on a series of somewhat racier paperback novels, the half-hour episodes move fast and are action-packed, with witty dialogue and clever, twisty plots. None of them stand out as particularly exceptional, but they're consistently enjoyable. As a crime show, it's lightweight, but as entertainment, it's solid gold.

TO CHECK OUT CHRIS’ COMPLETE REVIEW CLICK HERE!

WILD WILD WEST – COMPLETE COLLECTOR’S EDITION!

WILD WILD WEST – COMPLETE COLLECTOR’S EDITION!

November 4th will see the release from Paramont of the 27 disk Wild Wild West – The Complete Ciollectors Edition. Included will be all four remastered seasons, with the same features, bonuses, etc. as in the individual sets, plus the reunion films, "Wild Wild West Revisited" from 1979, and "More Wild Wild West" from 1980, which have never been available before.

What is even more frustrating for fans of this brilliant cult show is there are no known plans to release the 2 reunion films separately. As a result, if completists want both reunion films, they’ll have to spring for this set to get them.

A tip of the hat to Tanner at DOUBLE O SECTION (I feel your pain regarding the reunion films).

JULIA CHILD – SPY!

JULIA CHILD – SPY!

The Associated Press carried an article yesterday regarding recently released government files detailing the espionage exploits of chef Julia Child and a number of other unexpected names.

Famed chef Julia Child shared a secret with Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and Chicago White Sox catcher Moe Berg at a time when the Nazis threatened the world. They served in an international spy ring managed by the Office of Strategic Services, an early version of the CIA created in World War II by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The secret comes out Thursday, all of the names and previously classified files identifying nearly 24,000 spies who formed the first centralized intelligence effort by the United States. The National Archives, which this week released a list of the names found in the records, will make available for the first time all 750,000 pages identifying the vast spy network of military and civilian operatives.

They were soldiers, actors, historians, lawyers, athletes, professors, reporters. But for several years during World War II, they were known simply as the OSS. They studied military plans, created propaganda, infiltrated enemy ranks and stirred resistance among foreign troops.

The news about Child isn't exactly new as she revealed it in her biography, but this was still a cool article.


TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

MANNIX!

MANNIX!

Our blog buddy over at THE RAP SHEET has a great rundown on Mannix and the first season DVD release:

"I have recently been making my way through the newly released DVD set of Mannix--The First Season. I was just a kid when Mannix debuted in 1967, so I don’t really remember watching it much, except every once in a while with my maternal grandfather, when my brother, Matt, and I stayed over at his house on weekends. It was a 10 p.m. show, after all (though it later moved to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday nights), and in those days that was considered awfully damn late for children to be up watching crime dramas. By the time I became an ardent viewer of TV detective shows in 1972, Mannix was nearing the end of its run and I was less interested in traditional private-eye shows than in other, more stylized series such as Columbo, Banacek, Assignment: Vienna, and Banyon."

CHECK IT OUT HERE!

WHEEL OF TIME!

WHEEL OF TIME!

Variety reports that Universal Pictures has acquired the film rights to the late Robert Jordan's bestselling "The Wheel of Time" high fantasy novel series.

The seven-figure deal gives Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon of Red Eagle Entertainment -- which published graphic novel adaptations of the books -- access to all 12 books in Jordan's series, beginning with the first book, "The Eye of the World."

Jordan died last year at 58, only having published 11 of his projected 12 books. The final book, however, will hit shelves in Fall 2009, thanks to the efforts of fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson, who will pen the novel based on Jordan's notes and tapes.

In the books, the Creator made The Wheel of Time, which spins the Pattern of the Ages using the lives of men and women as its threads. The evil character Shai'tan and the incarnation of the force for good called The Dragon continually engage in a cyclical fight throughout the ages.

Previously, NBC held the rights to make a miniseries based on "The Eye of the World."

CONAN!

CONAN!

Conan the Barbarian is back to conquer this generation of moviegoers.

Lionsgate has hired Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain to rework a script for "Conan" after their success penning a script for "Amazon," another heroic fantasy film by Lionsgate that has attached Scarlett Johansson as the lead, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A search is on for directors for both projects.

In the vein of "Batman Begins," Lionsgate hopes to rejuvenate the Conan franchise by going back to the source material, the 1930s pulp stories by Robert E. Howard, to create a $100 million R-rated origin film.

Fans expect [these types of movies] to be more true to the source material," says CEO and president of Paradox Entertainment Fredrik Malmberg, who will produce the feature with Boaz Davidson, Joe Gatta and Avi Lerner of Millennium Films. "There's no reason there couldn't be a Conan movie every two years. He's almost like Batman: He's a dark hero. He's a hard hero. He has to be badass, but we also have to like him."

The Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is probably the most popular incarnation of the sword-wielding character. He starred in the '80s films "Conan the Barbarian" and "Conan the Destroyer."

GUITARMAN FEATURES 007 AND MORE!

GUITARMAN FEATURES 007 AND MORE!

Wes Britton’s Spy Report has been giving us the tip on 007 guitar master Vic Flick’s just published memoirs. Entitled Vic Flick, Guitarman: From James Bond to The Beatles and Beyond the memoirs are brimming with stories about a musician’s life on the road and in the studio. The list of Vic’s gigs runs the gamut, especially during the Swinging ‘60s when Vic was on call for sessions for soundtracks, hit singles by the likes of Petula Clark, and, of course, being part of the John Barry James Bond sound!

To order your copy, check out—

JAMES BOND 007 IN MOTION TRADING CARDS!

JAMES BOND 007 IN MOTION TRADING CARDS!

CommanderBond.net tells us Rittenhouse Archives will return this fall with an all-new 63-card James Bond 007 lenticular base set, including three cards for each of the 21 classic James Bond films, from Dr. No through Casino Royale! Each box will contain two Relic/Costume cards and one Autograph card!

Full details follow below:

Rittenhouse Archives is excited to once again offer collectors a chance to own an actual piece of James Bond history with some exciting all-new Relic/Costume cards. Some of the prop and costumes include the Gambling Table Felt used by Daniel Craig (James Bond) in Casino Royale, Diamond Bed Sheet used by Pierce Brosan (James Bond) and Halle Berry (Jinx) in final scene of Die Another Day, Cane used by Robbie Coltrane (Valentin Zukovsky) in The World Is Not Enough, Parachute used by Toby Stephens (Gustav Graves) in Die Another Day, Business Cards used by Eva Green (Vesper Lynd) in Casino Royale, and Costumes worn by Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre), Jesper Christensen (Mr. White), Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter), Caterino Murino (Solange) in Casino Royale, and other costumes used in the making of other classic James Bond films! There will be single, double, triple and quad costume cards, too!

Other bonus cards in this series include more “Bond Girls Are Forever” Cards, more “Bond Villains” Cards, and “Bond Allies” Cards! Other bonus cards in this series include more “Bond Girls Are Forever” Cards, more “Bond Villains” Cards, and “Bond Allies” Cards, including the first-ever cards for the all-new 007 film Quantum of Solace!

As a bonus, each case will come with an exclusive case-topper Vesper Lynd Dual-Costume Card from Casino Royale. For every three cases purchased, you will receive an exclusive Autograph Card signed by legendary James Bond director Guy Hamiltion (Goldfinger, Diamond Are Forever, Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun). For every six cases purchases, you will receive an exclusive Autograph Card signed by Roger Moore in Live And Let Die! For every 25 cases ordered, you will receive a James Bond In Motion Archive Box.

Set Configuration:63 Base Cards4 Cards Per Pack24 Packs Per Box12 Boxes Per CaseSRP: $3.50 per pack

Autographs Include:
· Honor Blackman in Goldfinger
· Margaret Nolan in Goldfinger
· Terence Mountain in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
· Sid Haig in Diamonds Are Forever
· Alkis Kritikos in For Your Eyes Only
· David Meyer in Octopussy
· Tony Meyer in Octopussy
· Albert Moses in Octopussy
· Patrick Bauchau in A View To A Kill
· John Terry in The Living Daylights
· Thomas Wheatley in The Living Daylights
· Grand L. Bush in Licence To Kill
· Wayne Newton in Licence To Kill
· Priscilla Barnes in Licence To Kill
· Joe Don Baker in GoldenEye
· Kate Gayson in GoldenEye
· Serena Gordon in GoldenEye
· Cecilie Thomsen in Tomorrow Never Dies
· Robert Carlyle in The World Is Not Enough
· Denise Richards in The World is Not Enough
· David Calder in The World Is Not Enough
· Jesper Christensen in Casino Royale
· Ludger Pistor in Casino Royale
· Ivana Milicevic in Casino Royale
· Isaach De Bankole in Casino Royale
· Malcolm Sinclair in Casino Royale
· Richard Sammel in Casino Royale
· Clemens Schick in Casino Royale
· Joseph Millson in Casino Royale
· Daud Shah in Casino Royale
· Daniel Andreas in Casino Royale
· Tsai Chin in Casino Royale
· Urbano Barberini in Casino Royale
· More To Be Announced Soon!

Each James Bond 007 In Motion box will retail for $84.00. Scheduled release date is 29 October 2008.

HUSTLE: COMPLETE SEASONS 1-4!

HUSTLE: COMPLETE SEASONS 1-4!

I have enjoyed most episodes of this British import, not only because it is so great to see Robert Vaughn as a series regular again, but for the sheer ingenuity on display. Any series that can run a con involving the sale of the Hollywood sign and make it believable and highly entertaining is tops in my book – and even better, they also give a great role to Robert Wagner (of It Takes A Thief fame).

Well worth viewing.

Back cover copy:

"If you're rich, greedy, a taker... then beware!

This team is driven to extract the cash from the amoral and the undeserving. They don't just con anyone and they aren't interested in your life savings. They have one golden rule: you can never con an honest man. They are con artists with a conscience. The marks are people we love to hate and can't wait to see being taken down a peg or two.

The art of the con is not dead. You merely can't see it. If you do see it, then it is inevitably always too late. It is an invisible crime built on the premise of finding some one who wants something for nothing and then giving them nothing for something. Choose the mark, reel them in, play on their desires and set them up. It doesn't matter whether they're black or white, male or female but they must be strictly major league. There are no quick fixes. Patience is truly a virtue in this game. All you have to do is make them believe..."

Eight-disc set, $99.98. (BBC/Warner)

THE DICK FRANCIS THRILLER: THE RACING GAME!

THE DICK FRANCIS THRILLER: THE RACING GAME!

The original series of Dick Francis horse racing mysteries, six episodes featuring Francis’ most popular sleuth Sid Halley, is far superior to the later series featuring Ian McShane. I say this even though I am a big fan of Ian McShane, but the writing in this first series, just released in region 1 DVD from Acorn Media, is far superior. Mike Gwilym absolutely loses himself in the character of Halley. Originally broadcast as part of PBS’ Mystery series years ago, this DVD set is a real keeper for any Francis fan.
Back cover copy:

"Sid Halley, a star steeplechase rider, suffers a career-ending injury that leaves him crippled in body and spirit. He finds new life as a private detective and returns to the track to investigate all manner of misdeeds, from conniving bookies and blackmail to murder. A great literary gumshoe emerges as Halley regains his dignity, faces his vulnerability, and finds new meaning in life.

This absorbing series stays true to the down-and-dirty thrills of Francis’s novels and adds its own irresistible swagger and charm."

Mike Gwilym, Mick Ford, and Susan Wooldridge. Two-disc set with six episodes.; $39.99. (Acorn Media).

Acorn Media is doing a wonderful job of making available a number of excellent British TV series that have not been broadcast in America – in particular The Sweeny, The Last Dwetective, and Minder to name just a few I have recently picked up. Great Stuff.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

CBS BOOKS NEW HAWAII FIVE-O!

CBS BOOKS NEW HAWAII FIVE-O!

Criminal Minds producer writing update of classic cop show

CBS is reaching back into TV history again, this time looking to update its classic cop show " Hawaii Five-O."

"Criminal Minds" executive producer Ed Bernero is working on an update of the series, which ran from 1968-80 and made the signature line "Book 'em, Danno" into a national catchphrase. Bernero, a big fan of the old "Five-O," says he won't try to reinvent the show: "We will try to keep as much of the original show as possible," he tells The Hollywood Reporter.

That means that the iconic theme music will stay, with possibly a few tweaks. The main character will be Chris McGarrett, who's following the footsteps of his father Steve (Jack Lord in the original) as head of a Hawaii state police unit. And, like the original, the show would shoot on location in Hawaii.

"Hawaii Five-O" is the second old-school police procedural CBS has put into development recently. The network is also working on a new version of "The Streets of San Francisco" with writers Sheldon Turner and Robert Port.

Bernero is also working on two other projects for CBS. "Washington Field" centers on agents in the Washington, D.C., field office of the FBI and is being developed with the bureau's cooperation. The second is a drama about the bureau's fugitive apprehension unit, led by a female agent whose father is on the lam.

IN THE INTEREST OF FAIRNESS!



IN THE INTEREST OF FAIRNESS!

SINCE I TOOK A SHOT AT OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS EARLIER TODAY, IT'S ONLY FAIR TO TAKE A SHOT AT BUSH THE REPUBLICANS.

GOLF NOIR!

GOLF NOIR!

Oscar winner Barry Levinson has signed on to direct the film version of Peter Dexter’s noir classic, Train.

As a collector of golf fiction, I read and enjoyed the novel, which can only be described as a golf noir novel.

This is a bleak novel to say the least. Train is a 18-year-old black caddy at an exclusive L.A. country club. He is a golf prodigy, but the year is 1953 and there is no such thing as a black golf prodigy. Nevertheless, Train draws the interest of Miller Packard, a tough police sergeant and gambler whose smiling, distracted air earned him the nickname the Mile Away Man.

Packard’s easy manner hides a proclivity for violence, and he remains an enigma to Train even months later when they are winning high stakes matches against hustlers throughout the country. Packard is also drawn to Norah Still, a beautiful woman scared in a hideous crime, a woman who finds Packard’s tendency toward violence both alluring and frightening. In the ensuing triangular relationship kindness is never far from cruelty.

There are lively accounts of golf games in which money changes hands, along with colorful descriptions of dress, mannerisms, and players' temperaments. A very fat player in pastel golf pants is described as having thighs that look like "children hiding in the curtains" when he walks.

Exaggeration, absurdity, irony, and black humor fill every page. At times exciting, suspenseful, and darkly humorous, the story is also brutal, violent, and pessimistic. Though Train and Packard both profit when their lives come together, no reader will be surprised by the outcome. As the author has made abundantly clear, the world is a "hungry place…and whatever kind of thing you is, there's something out there that likes to eat it."

CASABLANCA: ULTIMATE COLLECTOR'S EDITION!

CASABLANCA: ULTIMATE COLLECTOR'S EDITION!

Just in time for Christmas, Warner Home Entertainment has announced Casablanca: Ultimate Collector's Edition will be released on December 2nd.

This set will contain the previously released Casablanca: Special edition as well as some nifty new stuff:

*Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul, a 1993 documentary covering the life of the legendary studio head.

*A branded passport holder.

*Luggage tag.

*Photo book.

*Memo from Hal Wallis that “Casablanca” is the new title.

*Memo from Wallis to Jack Warner strongly urging casting of Bogart over George Raft.

*Letter from Publicity head Charles Einfeld to publicist Marty Weiser to “sell” Bogart as a romantic lead.

*Victor Laszlo’s “letter of transit."

*A mail in offer for a movie poster.

The packaging is a nifty Morrocan motif.

Retail is $59.98.

There will also be a Blu-ray release.

CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED – THE RETURN!

CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED – THE RETURN!

Steve Holland’s excellent website (Bear Alley) focusing on British comics and illustrations breaks the news about the return of an icon – albiet only on the shores of Albion.

The classic American series Classics Illustrated is returning to the UK in September, with the first issues of Classics Illustrated and Classics Illustrated Junior available in W. H. Smiths from 25 September. The new series will also be available at selected Borders and other high street retailers and independent newsagents. The new series is also being distributed in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Eire.

The new series will launch with two titles: The War of the Worlds aimed at 8-14-year-olds and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for younger readers of 5 to 8. The publisher is Classic Comic Store Ltd., run by Jeff Brooks, who has been a collector and dealer in Classics Illustrated for some time. The books are licensed from Jack Lake Productions of Canada who hold the copyright on behalf of First Classics Inc. Although reprinting the original books, the artwork has been digitally enhanced to give a fresh feel to both colour and quality of the graphics.

The books will retail at £2.99 and (for juniors) £2.50. Future issues will include Oliver Twist, Robin Hood, The Man in the Iron Mask, Romeo and Juliet and A Journey to the Centre of the Earth; the junior line will continue with The Ugly Duckling, Cinderella, The Pied Piper, The Sleeping Beauty, The 3 Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk.

Jeff Brooks has said, "These classic novels have introduced several generations of children to the greatest characters in literature—Oliver Twist, Long John Silver, d'Artagnan, Quasimodo and Hamlet, to name just a few—and have fuelled their desire to read the original works.

"At a time when we see children reading less and our literacy rates are a great worry, the graphic novel has the potential to get reluctant readers engaged in these wonderful stories. We can see these being widely supported in schools as well and we have added new material to stretch the reader with discussion topics and a timeline of what was happening in the world when the book was first published."