Saturday, September 27, 2008

ELLROY'S AMERICAN TABLOID SET FOR HBO!

ELLROY'S AMERICAN TABLOID SET FOR HBO!
James Ellroy's hardboiled and graphic tales have long provided grist for Hollywood's cinimatic mill. Now a
ctor Tom Hanks will be tackling the work of James Ellroy for HBO.

Hanks' production company, Playtone, is coming off of tremendous success with the HBO mini'series John Adams. They will bring Ellroy's American Tabloid and, it's sequel The Cold Six Thousand, to the same channel.

"We are behind, and below, the scenes of JFK's presidential election, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination--in the underworld that connects Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C. . . .Where the CIA, the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Cuban political exiles, and various loose cannons conspire in a covert anarchy . . .Where the right drugs, the right amount of cash, the right murder, buys a moment of a man's loyalty . . .Where three renegade law-enforcement officers--a former L.A. cop and two FBI agents--are shaping events with the virulence of their greed and hatred, riding full-blast shotgun into history. . . . "

Kirk Ellis will adapt the novels. Ellis was the writer for John Adams and will be bringing David McCullough's 1776 to HBO as well. McCullough was the author the John Adams bio that the mini-series was based on. Ellis has a fair amount of experience in adapting literary material for film and television.

According to Variety, it has not been decided whether this will be a mini-series or a regular show.

Ellroy is the author of over a dozen novels, including L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia.

PAUL NEWMAN, R.I.P.

PAUL NEWMAN, R.I.P.

From The Associated Press:

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut - Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as an activist, race car driver, popcorn impresario and the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money," has died, a spokeswoman said Saturday. He was 83.

Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

In May, Newman said he had dropped plans to direct a fall production of "Of Mice and Men," citing unspecified health issues.

He got his start in theater and on television during the 1950s, and went on to become one of the world's most enduring and popular film stars, a legend held in awe by his peers.

10 OSCAR NOMINATIONS

Newman was nominated for Oscars 10 times, winning one regular award and two honorary ones, and had major roles in more than 50 motion pictures, including "Exodus," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Verdict," "The Sting" and "Absence of Malice."

Newman worked with some of the greatest directors of the past half century, from Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston to Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers.

His co-stars included Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and, most famously, Robert Redford, his sidekick in "Butch Cassidy" and "The Sting."

50 YEARS OF MARRIAGE

He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages.

"I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?" Newman told Playboy magazine when asked if he was tempted to stray.

They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in "The Long Hot Summer," and Newman directed her in several films, including "Rachel, Rachel" and "The Glass Menagerie."


SWING CONCERT: BOOK BOOGIE WOOGIE!

SWING CONCERT: BOOK BOOGIE WOOGIE!

Saturday, October 11th
7 to 10 PM
Libbey Bowl
Libbey Park, Ojai

This will be your last chance to enjoy the ‘old’ Libbey Bowl before renovations are begun at Libbey Park. Come listen and dance to great 1940s music at the Ventura Jazz Orchestra’s special outdoor performance, Autumn Shades of Swing, and bring a picnic if you like.

This benefit concert, presented by the OVLFF, supports the purchase of books and other materials for three Ojai Valley Libraries.

Tickets are $15/adults, $10/students, $5/children under 12 available now at the libraries, or at the door.


HEY! WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE? BOOGIE WOOGIE AND BOOKS! BE THERE!

Friday, September 26, 2008

FOREVER STRONG!

FOREVER STRONG!

There is a good article at Meridian Magazine today on Forever Strong – an indendent, feel good, family sports film based on a true story. It opens today, Friday September 26th, but it probably won’t be in theaters for more than a couple of weeks, so if you’re interested make the effort to see it now!

Forever Strong tells the story of one of America 's most successful athletic teams, a rugby team from Salt Lake City with a win-loss record of 379 and 9 over a 33-year period. It is the story of Rick Penning, who lived life just like he played rugby; fast, hard-hitting and intense. When life on the edge lands him in jail, his case worker Marcus offers him a chance to get back in the game by playing for his rival rugby team. Reluctantly, and with plenty of attitude, he joins Highland Rugby where he must adopt the unique code of conduct that Coach Gelwi enforces, or finish out the full term of his sentence locked away. Egos clash making life on the field difficult for his new teammates, but an unlikely brotherhood forms forcing Rick eventually to choose between conflicting loyalties.

TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE BY THE PRODUCERS CLICK HERE

FOR THEATER LOCATIONS AND SHOWTIMES CLICK HERE

FOR THE OFFICIAL MOVIE SITE CLICK HERE

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

From The Footfalls Within:

"Wo unto ye, sons of iniquity, for the wrath of God is upon ye. The cords be loosed on the iron necks of the hounds of hate and the bow of vengeance is strung. Ye are proud-stomached and strong, and the people cry out beneath your feet, but retribution cometh in the blackness of midnight and the redness of dawn."

This quote is from a Solomon Kane story.


TO READ THE FULL STORY CLICK HERE

EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE, I LEARNED FROM U.N.C.L.E.!

EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE, I LEARNED FROM U.N.C.L.E.!

I’VE BLOGGED SEVERAL TIMES ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. ON MY LIFE. RECENTLY, I RECEIVED THE LATEST COPY OF A FANZINE, RASPBERRY WORLD, DEDICATED TO THE SHOW (TO CHECK IT OUT OR ORDER IT CLICK HERE). IN IT IS A GREAT ARTICLE BY C.W. WALKER ENTITLED, EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE, I LEARNED FROM U.N.C.L.E. I THINK IT EXCELLENTLY CAPTURES THE FEELINGS MANY BABY BOOMERS, ESPECIALLY THIS ONE, HAD TOWARD THE SHOW.

I was an U.N.C.L.E. agent.

It happened one hot sultry night in August, 1965. My father was watching a summer repeat in the tv room (we had tv rooms in those days) and I sat down to watch it with him. I always preferred Dad's taste in popular entertainment to Mom's. At the drive-in, he liked movies with cowboys, monsters, and guys with swords. Mom only liked movies that starred Paul Newman.

So, trusting his usually dependable instincts, I sat down to watch. I can still recall seeing the skeletal globe symbol and the abbreviated letters of U.N.C.L.E. appearing under it, one by one, for the very first time. The picture was black and white because we had a black and white set. In fact, during the entire run, I saw the show in color only twice, both times in someone else's house.

It didn't matter, though. Even without color, I was hooked from the start. Soon, the whole neighborhood was hooked, too. We watched U.N.C.L.E. We read U.N.C.L.E. We collected U.N.C.L.E. We played U.N.C.L.E. We cannibalized pens for communicators; substituted "Good n' Plenty" candies (but only the white ones) for the notorious Capsule B; strapped makeshift shoulder holsters containing plastic Lugers to our sides. Looking back, it seems I was constantly armed as a child.

I was an U.N.C.L.E. agent.

U.N.C.L.E. taught us things, too. About the world, about life. For example, we learned:
* That friendship was good.

* That greed and dominating other people were bad.

* That "good guys" came in various shapes and sizes, all nationalities and even both sexes.

* That heroic people had ordinary concerns, and that ordinary people could be heroic.

TO READ THE COMPLETE ESSAY CLICK HERE

RICK RANDOM - SPACE DETECTIVE!

RICK RANDOM - SPACE DETECTIVE!

This is another title featuring great British comics of the past, editied (like many others) by British comics historian Steve Holland.

Contents:

Kidnappers from Mars (BAL 31, Oct 1967) aka Kidnappers from Space (SDL 44, Dec 1954)

Emperor of the Moon (BAL 35, Dec 1967) aka The Case of the Man Who Owned the Moon (SDL 49, Mar 1955)

Rick Random and the Planet of Terror (SDL 123, Mar 1958)

Rick Random and the Space Pirates (SDL 127, May 1958)

Rick Random's Perilous Mission (SDL 129, Jun 1958)

Rick Random and the Mystery of the Frozen World (SDL 133, Aug 1958)

Rick Random and the Mystery of the Robot World (SDL 137, Oct 1958)

Rick Random and the Terror from Space (SDL 143, Jan 1959)

Rick Random and the Threat from Space (SDL 153, Jun 1959)

Rick Random and the Kidnapped Planet (SDL, 163, Dec 1959)Scripts for the stories were written by a number of authors: the first is thought to be by Edward Holmes, the second is unknown; Bob Kesten wrote the stories in SDL 123, 133, 153 and 163; Conrad Frost (story) and Barry Coker (script) wrote 137; and Harry Harrison wrote the stories for 127, 129, 143.


TO ORDER A COPY FROM AMAZON UK CLICK HERE


FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE GOLDEN KEEL BY DESMOND BAGLEY!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE GOLDEN KEEL BY DESMOND BAGLEY!

Desmond Bagley is another of my favorite High Adventure writers. Along with Alistair MacLean and Hammond Innes, Bagley provided my teenage years with one thrilling adventure after another, Bagley established the basic conventions of the genre: a tough, resourceful, but essentially ordinary hero pitted against villains determined to sow destruction and chaos in order to advance their agenda, all played out against an environment (sea, mountains, ice, desert, jungle, etc.) challenging both heroes and villains in the pursuit of their goals.

The Golden Keel was the novel that started it all for Bagley. In it, Peter Halloran, a migrant to South Africa after the end of World War II has established himself in a successful and profitable designer and builder of yachts and small watercraft. Life is good – business is good, and he has a beautiful wife and daughter. One day, in the local yacht club bar, he meets Walter, an alcoholic ex-soldier, who tells him an improbable tale of a hidden treasure. When Walter was a prisoner of war in Fascist Italy, he managed to escape with a small band of Allied prisoners, including an Afrikaner named Coertze and some Italian partisans, and waged a guerilla campaign for several months in the hills of Liguria against the Nazi Germans.

Towards the end of the war, their band ambushed a truck convoy, which contained a massive treasure in gold bars, jewels and even the State Crown of Ethiopia. Rather than turn the treasure over to the authorities, they hid the trucks in an abandoned mine and sealed the entrance. Now that the war is over, the treasure is for the claiming, provided that they can think of some way to smuggle it past Italian customs.

Halloran thinks little of the tale until several years later, when life has turned sour. His wife and daughter having been killed in a traffic accident, he finds that he needs a change in life. A chance re-encounter with Walker leads to a meeting with Coertze, and with the three men agreeing to a partnership to recover the treasure. Walker and Coertze know where it is, and Halloran has the perfect solution to getting it out of the country. But questions start to worry Halloran – such as why only Walker and Coertze survived out of the much larger group of guerillas, and why Walker is so terrified of Coertze?

The mystery deepens as the men travel to Tangiers, and from thence to ports around the Mediterranean and find their steps dogged by unsavory characters. It is soon clear that they are not the only ones after the treasure.

The success of The Golden Keel led Bagley to turn full time to novel writing by the mid-1960s. He published a total of sixteen High Adventure thrillers, each one as rivetting as the one before.

One reviewer wrote: "as long as meticulous craftsmanship and honest entertainment are valued, and as long as action, authenticity, and expertise still make up the strong framework of the good adventure/thriller, Desmond Bagley's books will surely be read." As Bagley is mostly out of print in America and his name almost forgotten, perhaps the reviewer should have changed his last line to ‘should be read.’

Thursday, September 25, 2008

THE AVENGERS!

THE AVENGERS!

THE RAP SHEET HAS A GREAT POST ON THE AVENGERS AND THE SHOW'S OPENING TITLE SEQUENCE:


It was The Avengers I had in mind when I remarked, in the opening installment of this weekly blog series, that I would be writing “almost exclusively” about the main title sequences of American TV shows. This is the exception, a stylish, quick-witted spy-fi drama that was apparently the last English series to appear on U.S. television during prime-time hours. The Avengers is also said to have been the longest-running TV espionage series in history, though Mission: Impossible (1966-1973) claims more episodes--171 versus 161. But hey, who’s counting?


TO READ THE COMPLETE POST CLICK HERE

FIREFIGHTERS!

FIREFIGHTERS!

The fire fighter is working on the engine outside the fire station when he notices a little girl next door in a little red wagon with little ladders hung off the sides and a garden hose tightly coiled in the middle.

The girl is wearing a fire fighter's helmet. The wagon is being pulled by her dog and her cat. The fire fighter walked over to take a closer look. 'That sure is a nice fire truck' he said with admiration.

'Thanks' the little girl said.

The fire fighter looks a little closer and notices the girl has tied the wagon to her dog's collar and to the cat's testicles. 'Little Partner', the fire fighter Says, 'I don't want to tell you how to run your rig, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat's collar instead of it's testicles, I think it could run faster.'

The little girl replies thoughtfully, 'You're probably right, but then I wouldn't have a siren.'

IT'S ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL SOMEBODY FARTS!

MAN CHARGED WITH BATTERY FOR FARTING NEAR COP!

Police say suspect passed 'very odorous' gas during breathalyzer test

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A man has been charged with battery on a police officer for allegedly passing gas and fanning it toward a patrolman.

Jose A. Cruz, 34, of Clarksburg, W. Va., was pulled over early Tuesday for driving without headlights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three field sobriety tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station for a breathalyzer test.

As Patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair toward Parsons, lifted his leg and "passed gas loudly," the complaint said.

according to complaint, Cruz then fanned the gas toward the officer.

"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons," the complaint alleged.

He was also charged with driving under the influence, driving without headlights and two counts of obstruction.

Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn't move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.

"I couldn't hold it no more," he said.

He also denied being drunk and uncooperative as the police complaint alleged. He added he was upset at being prepared for a breathalyzer test while having an asthma attack. The police statement said he later resisted being secured for a trip to a hospital that he requested for asthma treatment.

Cruz said the officers thought the gas incident was funny when it happened and laughed about it with him.

"This is ridiculous," he said. "I could be facing time."


A tip of the fedora to BILL CRIDER

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

From Queen of the Black Coast:

The jungle closed quickly about them, changing the light from gold to gray. From the arching green branches creepers dangled like pythons. The warriors fell into single file, creeping through the primordial twilight like black phantoms following a white ghost.

TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY CLICK HERE

PSYCH OUT!

PSYCH OUT!

Writing buddy Lee Goldberg, television guru extrodinaire and author of the current bestselling series of original Monk novels, sends out a sneak peek at the cover for A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO READ by another writing buddy, William Rabkin. This will be the first in a new series of original novels based on the TV series PSYCH.

The book comes out in January from Obsidian, the fine folks who published the MONK and BURN NOTICE tie-ins.

FOOTBALL’S COMIC BOOK HEROES!

FOOTBALL’S COMIC BOOK HEROES!

Okay, so you’ll probably think this should be Soccer’s Comic Book Heroes, but since it is a collection of British comic strips, Football is the correct term. BEAR ALLEY, my favorite blog for British comics news, tips us a year ahead of time that Mainstream Publishing have already announced Football's Comic Book Heroes: Celebrating the Greatest British Football Comics of the Twentieth Century.

I followed many of these comic tales from ages eight to sixteen. I still enjoy revisiting them, so I’ve already put my pre-order in for this tome.

Ever since comics for boys were first published in the late nineteenth century, they have offered their readers fun, adventure and escapism. As participation and attendance at sports events rose dramatically during the first half of the twentieth century, boys' comics began to regularly feature sportsmen of all types, and footballers became the ultimate favourite. The introduction of football comics presented in a cartoon-strip format became immensely popular during the 1960s, with Rover, Hotspur and Wizard amongst the top titles. Although these comics are no longer in circulation, there is still a significant level of interest amongst boys and men of all ages, and the culture of the comic-book hero continues.Renowned publisher D.C. Thomson has delved into its archives to produce the definitive document of the most legendary footballing characters to grace the pages of boys' comics, including such favourites as Limp Along Leslie, Roy Race, Billy Dane and Hotshot Hamish. Extensively researched to cover the history and the storylines associated with these comics and their heroes, this is a unique, nostalgic account of the football comic-book phenomenon that will jog the memories of older readers and introduce the magic of these imaginary sporting stars to a new generation.

TO ORDER YOUR COPY CLICK HERE

KING ARTHUR REDUX!

KING ARTHUR REDUX!

Out now from Book Palace Books, Frank Bellamy's King Arthur and His Knights: The Complete Adventures. This is a companion volume to the Frank Bellamy's Robin Hood: The Complete Adventures volume published in March 2008. This new volume contains two complete serials, Swiss Family Robinson and King Arthur and His Knights, drawn by Bellamy for the children's comic Swift.


Swiss Family Robinson was the first stript Bellamy drew from first episode to last (he had previously drawn episodes of Monty Carstairs for Mickey Mouse Weekly and a few episodes of The Fleet Family for Swift). Originally published in Swift v1 #30 to v2 #29 (9 October 1954 to 16 July 1955), the strip has never been reprinted.

King Arthur and His Knights is an early classic. By the time the strip began appearing (again in Swift v2 #31 to v3 #18, 30 July 1955 to 5 May 1956), Bellamy had a firm grasp of the storytelling techniques he was to use so brilliantly in later strips. Although he was not allowed to break out of the panel borders, which became something of a trademark in his artwork, he made full use of widescreen panels in jousting and battle scenes, giving 'King Arthur' a dose of Cinemascope-like swashbuckling action that was at odds with the staid and gently humorous with other strips in the pages of Swift. Although aimed at a young audience, Bellamy packed every line of all 41 episodes with excitement and drama.

TO ORDER YOUR COPY CLICK HERE

UNIQUE COMIC COLLECTIBLES!

UNIQUE COMIC COLLECTIBLES!

In British comics news, Unique Comic Collectables, who produced the British Commando and Starblazer calendars, have now listed quite a few new products on their website, including limited edition prints based on a number of covers (some with the Commando logo and title lettering, some without) by Jose Maria Jorge, Carlo Jacono, Ken Barr and Ian Kennedy. Each print comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by Commando editor Calum Laird. More prints from the pages of Beano and Dandy can be expected shortly.

TO VIEW THE PRODUCTS CLICK HERE

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MYSTERY SCENE #106!

MYSTERY SCENE #106!

While I couldn't find an image of the cover for Mystery Scene #106 (I think the above cover is #105), emminent author and mystery critic Ed Gorman says Mystery Scene #106 is "one of the two or three best issues of MS ever published. Art Taylor's article tracking crime novels written during the Civil Rights era is not only fine scholarship but also a reminder of several novels that deserve to be read even now; Gary Phillips' piece on the black singing and screen star Herb Jeffries provides a complementary look at other popular culture in last century's history; Kevin Burton Smith reminds us that whether you like his work or not Robert B. Parker has been the dominant influence on private eye fiction since the publication of his first novel (I wonder if there'd even BE a private eye market if Parker hadn't come along); and I interview Don Westlake who talks at length about the history of the Richard Stark books. With Jon L. Breen on reference books, Dick Lochte on audio books and Ron Miller discussing tv shows (and all the regular columns and book reviewers), the new issue should be snapped up by mystery fans of every kind."

TO ORDER OR CHECK IT OUT FURTHER CLICK HERE

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

From Black Colossus:

Reeling up, blood streaming down his face from under his dented helmet, Conan glared dizzily at the profusion of destruction which spread before him. From crest to crest the dead lay strewn, a red carpet that choked the valley. It was like a red sea, with each wave a straggling line of corpses.

TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY CLICK HERE

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

BIKER VS. LION VS. NEW YORK TIMES!

BIKER VS. LION VS. NEW YORK TIMES!

A biker is riding by the zoo, when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.


The biker jumps off his bike, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.


Whimpering from the pain, the lion jumps back, letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A New York Times reporter has watched the whole event. The reporter addressing the biker says, "Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I saw a man do in my whole life."

The biker replies, "Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right."

The reporter says, "Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist from The New York Times, you know, and tomorrow's paper will have this story on the front page... So, what do you do for a living and what political affiliation do you have?'"

The biker replies, "I'm a U.S. Marine and a Republican."

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys The New York Times to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on front page:

U.S. MARINE ASSAULTS AFRICAN IMMIGRANT AND STEALS HIS LUNCH...

HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY, PETER GUNN!

HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY, PETER GUNN!

THE RAP SHEET has a good post today on the 50th anniversary of Peter Gunn:

“Suave, sophisticated, hep to the jive, groovin’ to the oh-so-cool jazzbo-beat, Peter Gunn was like nothing ever seen before on television or anywhere else, really,” writes Kevin Burton Smith at The Thrilling Detective Web Site. “He was a new kind of eye. While other dicks hung out in rundown offices, swilling rotgut, living hand to mouth, loners till the end, cloaked in rumpled trench coats and angst, Gunn hung out at Mother’s, a swank jazz club, wearing his Ivy League finest, pitching woo at his best gal, singer Edie Hart, drinking nothing more than an occasional tasteful martini.”

For a show that lasted only three years--two on NBC, one on ABC, 114 half-hour episodes in all--Peter Gunn had an extraordinary impact. And not just in terms of plotting and sophisticated dialogue.

TO READ THE COMPLETE POST CLICK HERE

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

From The Mirrors of Tuzun Thane:

"Nay." Kull rested his chin moodily upon his mighty hand. "I am weary beyond all these things. The cities hold no lure for me--and the borders are quiet. I hear no more the sea-songs I heard when I lay as a boy on the booming crags of Atlantis, and the night was alive with blazing stars. No more do the green woodlands beckon me as of old. There is a strangeness upon me and a longing beyond life's longings."

TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY CLICK HERE

HAPPY 44TH ANNIVERSARY, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.!

HAPPY 44TH ANNIVERSARY, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.!

Forty-four years ago last night (September 22nd, 1964) the first of 105 episodes of what would become a worldwide phenomenon, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., was broadcast on NBC – and the life of an ten-year-old English boy transplanted to America (aka: me) was changed forever.

The first season was broadcast in black-and-white and centered on a two-man troubleshooting team for a covert international espionage organization: American Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), and Russian Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum). Leo G. Carroll played Alexander Waverly, the British head of U.N.C.L.E. – the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

More often than not, U.N.C.L.E. battled an evil organization known as T.H.R.U.S.H. You can win yourself some trivia bets by knowing T.H.R.U.S.H. stands for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (this extensive handle was originally coined by author David McDaniel who wrote a number of the popular paperback tie-in novels and remains exclusive to the novels and not to the television series, which never presented an explanation for the T.H.R.U.S.H. lettering).

The creators of the series decided the involvement of an innocent character would be part of each episode, giving the audience someone with whom to could identify. Through all the changes in series in the course of four seasons, this element remained a factor — from a suburban housewife in the pilot, "The Vulcan Affair," to the various people kidnapped in the final episode, "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair".

It would be hard to overestimate the effect The Man From U.N.C.L.E. had on my life. I was so enthralled by the show as a ten year old it determined the entire arc of my professional career. To this day, anytime I hear the show mentioned my pulse quickens and I can hear the theme music racing through my brain.

Monday, September 22, 2008

DECONSTRUCTING SAMMY!

DECONSTRUCTING SAMMY!

Our blog buddy over at the DINO LOUNGE tips us to a new review of the book, Deconstructing Sammy: Music, Money, Madness, and the Mob, by Matt Birkbeck (Amistad/HarperCollins, 280 pages, $25.95).

Eighteen years after legendary entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. succumbed to throat cancer at age 64, his estate is in tatters, burdened by debt and infighting among family members and business associates. Despite recording hundreds of songs, starring in dozens of movies and TV shows, and giving countless live performances, his posthumous earning power is dwarfed by the likes of Elvis Presley and fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra.

Attorney Albert "Sonny" Murray Jr. was hired by Davis's widow to resolve the staggering $7 million IRS tax debt and restore the legacy of one of the 20th century's greatest showmen. His efforts stretched out over seven years, and are chronicled in "Deconstructing Sammy: Music, Money, Madness, and the Mob," a book by journalist and author Matt Birkbeck that reveals Murray as a man of stubborn tenacity — and Davis as one of extraordinary complexity.

TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE

CURRENT AND FORTHCOMING Y/A TITLES OF NOTE!

CURRENT AND FORTHCOMING Y/A TITLES OF NOTE!

I’ll read anything written by Tamora Pierce because I know I’m guaranteed a great story with characters about whom I’m going to care. Her novel Beka Cooper: Terrier was my favorite book of 2007 and I’m really looking forwad to the sequel due in 2009. Until then, there is Melting Stones, a story that started life as an audio work and has now made its way into print.

MELTING STONES – TAMORA PIERCE


Four years have passed since Evvy left the streets of Chammur to begin her training as a stone mage. At fourteen, she's unhappy to be on a new journey with her mentor, prickly green mage Rosethorn, who has been called to the Battle Islands to determine why the plants and animals there are dying. Evvy's job is to listen and learn, but she can't keep quiet and do nothing. With the help of Luvo, the living stone heart of a mountain, Evvy uncovers an important clue. Now, with the island on the brink of disaster, it's up to Evvy to avert the destruction that looms ahead.

Available Now!


BEKA COOPER: BLOODHOUND – TAMORA PIERCE

Beka Cooper is finally a Dog—a full-fledged member of the Provost’s Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Corus’s streets. But there’s unrest in Tortall’s capital. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the city, and merchants are raising prices to cover their losses. The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeit money from Port Caynn. In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won’t let anything—or anyone—jeopardize her mission. As she heads north to an abandoned silver mine, it won’t be enough for Beka be her usual “terrier” self. She’ll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals—to be a Bloodhound. . . .

April 2009!


I’ve very much enjoyed listening to the first four Ranger’s Apprentice novels on CD. My one complaint is the series has more books available in the UK and Australia (where Flanagan lives) than stateside. This means spending extra dollars through Amazon.UK, but it’s well worth the price. If you’re not into ordering from Europe then book 5 in the series is due stateside in November.


RANGER'S APPRENTICE: THE SORCERER OF THE NORTH – JOHN FLANIGAN

Time has passed since the apprentice and his master, Will and Halt, led the Araluens to victory against invaders, and Will is now a full-fledged Ranger with his own fief to look after. The fief seems sleepy— boring, even—until the king is poisoned. Joined by his friend Alyss, Will is thrown headfirst into an extraordinary adventure propelled by fears of sorcery, and must determine who is trustworthy to the king and who is trying to take his throne.

Will and Alyss must battle growing hysteria, traitors, and most of all, time. The king is fading, but when Alyss is taken hostage, Will is forced to make a desperate choice between loyalty to his mission and loyalty to his friend.
Adventure abounds in this absorbing installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

November 2008!

There are a large number of Y/A adventure/fantasy novels currently on the shelves. I’m thinking specifically of the Rick Riordan’s mythology tinged Percy Jackson series, Ridley Pierson and Dave Barry’s fantastic take on Peter Pan, and (of course) the series that made all the others possible – Harry Potter. Not quite up to the standard of the others, but still worth reading, is Rick Yancey’s Alfred Kropp novel. IMHO, Yancey is just beginning to hit his stride with this third book in the series – which owes a lot to Indiana Jones.


ALFRED KROPP: THE THIRTEENTH SKULL – RICK YANCEY

Alfred Kropp lost—then found—the legendary sword Excalibur. Then he defeated King Paimon, arguably the nastiest of demons ever to roam the earth. What could possibly be in store for him now? Plenty. Not only is a dangerous new enemy tracking Alfred’s every move, even the people who have sworn to protect him no longer seem trustworthy. Who, or what, is "Sofia," and is there a connection between Sofia and the mysterious Thirteen Skull? The reluctant hero who has always narrowly avoided death may not be getting out of this adventure alive. Just right for fans of Alex Rider and Stephen King, this third installment in Rick Yancey’s acclaimed series is a compulsive page turner readers won’t soon forget.


Available Now!

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

From The King and the Oak:

And through the tossing, monstrous trees there sang a dim refrain Fraught deep with twice a million years of evil, hate and pain:
"We were the lords ere man had come, and shall be lords again."

DESTROYER NEWS!

DESTROYER NEWS!

Both Bookgasm and The Rap Sheet have recent posts regarding Warren Murphy’s Long running paperback original Destroyer series.

Apparently, it looks as if Remo and Chin may be down for the count – done in not by some nefarious villian, but by the mechanations of a publishing house . . .

After jumping publishers from Gold Eagle to Tor, which led to four franchise-rebooting novels (most recently THE NEW DESTROYER: KILLER RATINGS), author and co-creator Warren Murphy reports in an online fan group, “everything with The Destroyer is basically on hold and I think Remo and Chiun, series-wise, are going on vacation for a while. Tor hasn’t offered us a contract and, frankly, if they did, I don’t think I’d entertain it. They were just not efficient at getting the books out on time.”

Co-author James Mullaney echoed the words of his writing partner, saying, “if I were to pin the biggest tail on this donkey, it’d be the fact that fans who were actively searching for the books simply could not find them in stores. That’s no way to run a railroad.”

However, while the book series is taking a nose dive, Murphy reports progress in Hollywood regarding a new film – following 1985’s unsuccessful REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS – is “promising.”

Sunday, September 21, 2008

DOUG FERONY - NEW CD - I AIN'T GOT YOU!

DOUG FERONY - NEW CD - I AIN'T GOT YOU!

Doug Ferony is from the same school of singers that produced the talents from whom he took his performing lead: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Bobby Darin. He is comfortable with a repertoire of tried and true standards & traditional pop, bringing to these warhorses some fresh ideas.

Ferony has been pleasing audiences for years with his delivery of many traditional pop, rock, swinging standards and love songs. Singing at many different events, concerts and venues every year, Doug sends his songs out to his listeners with passion, warmth, fun and excitement.

Normally performing with his 12 piece swing band and well orchestrated arrangements, these great songs are covered very well. Doug has also produced and performed in Concerts with many recording stars including Al Martino, Jimmy Sturr Orchestra, Dena DeRose, Joey Adams, Martha & The Vandellas and Comedian Joseph Anthony. Doug has recorded 5 CD's that can be found at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes and his web site. He can be heard on AM, FM and Satellite Radio with listeners around the world.

He has appeared in many big hit films such as GoodFellas, Back to School, Spiderman II, Deeds, The Brave One, along with TV's Law & Order and The Sopranos. His newest CD “I Ain't Got You” proves to be another stand out with a line up of great pop songs. An American original! Come and hear Doug Ferony in Concert singing America's Greatest Songs.



ROBERT E. HOWARD - QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD - QUOTE OF THE DAY!

From Jewels of Gwahlur:

Conan did not hesitate, nor did he even glance toward the chest that held the wealth of an epoch. With a quickness that would have shamed the spring of a hungry jaguar, he swooped, grasped the girl's arm just as her fingers slipped from the smooth stone, and snatched her up on the span with one explosive heave.

TO READ THE FULL STORY CLICK HERE

THE NAME OF THE GAME!

THE NAME OF THE GAME!

OUR BLOG BUDDY OVER AT THE RAP SHEET HAS A GREAT POST CELEBRATING THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1968 DEBUT OF THE NAME OF THE GAME TELEVISION SERIES.

The series was particularly interesting because it took on issues that, in 1968, would still have been controversial--racial animosity, environmental pollution, and the sexual revolution. It would even experiment outside its conventional format, as in the case of a 1971 episode titled “L.A. 2017,” which imagined Gene Barry being transported into a future Los Angeles where people lived underground (to escape pollution) and under the control of a fascist government. The trio of principles--Barry, Stack, and Franciosa--were quite different from one another, so the individual stories often bore tones somewhat distinct to whoever was starring. That mix was further enhanced after Franciosa left the show during its third season (he would later reappear in Search and Matt Helm), and his place in the rotation was filled by several actors, among them Peter Falk and Darren McGavin.

TO READ THE COMPLETE POST CLICK HERE

The music from main title sequence from The Name of the Game was composed by jazz pianist Dave Grusin, who also gave us the memorable themes to Dan August, It Takes a Thief, and Assignment: Vienna, among other shows. In the clip below, that opener is followed by a chunk of video from the first episode of The Name of the Game, “Fear of High Places,” which of course showed originally on September 20, 1968.

GREG MARTIN SINGS FRANK SINATRA!

GREG MARTIN SINGS FRANKS SINATRA!

Blog buddy Greg Martin has posted some new songs on his MySpace page.

1. The Lady is a Tramp
2. WitchCraft
3. Just One of Those Things
4. Nice & Easy
5. The Coffee Song
6. It Had To Be You (New Version)

TO CHECK HIM OUT CLICK HERE