Wednesday, July 8, 2020

HAMMETT HERALD-TRIBUNE: The First Glass Key Movie - Part 2 (1935)

Oakland Tribune, July 15, 1935

Wilkes-Barre Evening News, July 20, 1935

Knoxville Journal, July 25, 1935

Shamokin News-Dispatch, July 25, 1935

Shamokin News-Dispatch, July 26, 1935

Knoxville News-Sentinel, July 26, 1935

Somerset Daily American, Aug. 6, 1935

Richmond Palladium-Item, Aug. 10, 1935

Sayre Evening Times, Aug. 12, 1935

Reading Times, Aug. 17, 1935

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

REED CRANDALL Meets "The Old Witch" (1941)

Comicbookplus identifies this tale, from Hit Comics #10 (April 1941) as Reed Crandall's first story. That may be. The Grand Comics Database lists three other stories published that same month, and one possible from the previous June. This is a fine job, though, and especially interesting given his reunion with The Old Witch many years later in her own domain, The Haunt of Fear.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Watch it Here: SECRET AGENT X-9 (1945)

Yep, it's old Sea Hunter Lloyd Bridges and Number One Son Keye Luke in a serial derived from a strip created (so the legend goes) by Dashiell Hammett. Is it any good? Who cares? Watch it anyway. You know you want to.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Forgotten Books: 007 in DEVIL MAY CARE by Sebastian Faulks (2008)

I read this book when it came out, and despised it. Why? I can't remember, so, after pretty much exhausting all the other Bond audiobooks available, I decided to give it another try.

And whaddaya know? It ain't so bad, after all. Not the best Bond ever, maybe, but I still can't figure why I had such a reaction to it. 

The marketing gimmick of "Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming" seemed (and still seems) silly, but judged against other Bond pastiches, I'd rate Devil May Care more Flemingesque than most, up there with Colonel Sun by Robert Markham (Kingsley Amis) and the two recent entries by Anthony Horowitz. (The only one I've yet to read is Solo by William Boyd - whom I suspect is not the Hopalong Cassidy guy). The inbetweener series by John Gardner and Raymond Benson are, by comparison, of almost comic book quality (not that there's anything wrong with that).

The story takes place not long after the events of You Only Live Twice. Bond is still recovering from his ordeal in Japan, and M is trying to decide if Bond is ready for a full-fledged assignment. There are many comforting references to former cases and characters.

This one oozes with sophistication, tossing off exotic foreign locales and cuisine and beverages as if they were chopped liver. The prose, too, is rich and sophisticated, and we're eased nicely into the complex plot. The villain, in this case a pharmaceuticals genius gone bad, is reminiscent of Hugo Drax, Auric Goldfinger and Dr. No, and - for a change of pace - does not casually invite Bond into his lair to leave himself open for destruction.

There's a rather long sequence with Bond in Teheran, which seems to serve no purpose other than allowing the author to show off his knowledge of Iran before it went batshit crazy in 1979. It's all interesting, but puts the story on pause. Otherwise, it was all pretty dang good, and I sort of wish Faulks had gone on to write more. Don't know why he didn't.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

RUBE GOLDBERG's Inventions

Rube Goldberg did the Sunday page Side Show for a newspaper syndicate from 1938 to 1941. Each week, along with the title strip gags, he did a poetry corner called "Twisted Tales" and a sitcom strip called "Brad and Dad." And a weekly invention, like those shown here. I found these on comicbookplus, as reprinted in early issues of Crack Comics. I'm sure some of you tool jockeys will be rushing to your workshops to bring them to life.