Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Complete Crocadilettante -or- It's a Croc(k) by BILL CRIDER (1982)


With the kind permission of Mr. Bill and The Not So Private Eye editor Andy Jaysnovitch, we present this time-lost study in Crocodilology. It appeared in NSPE 10 in 1982.






A recycled post from 2010.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The MOST IMPORTANT BOOK of the Century?


Well, maybe not. But certainly the most important Hardboiled Detective book of the century, which is almost the same thing. 

Not only does it include every single one of the Op stories, together for the first time, but every one of them - also for the first time - features Hammett's original, unedited text. This includes the serialized Black Mask versions of "The Cleansing of Poisonville" (the novel that became Red Harvest) and The Dain CurseAs you may know, I already rate Red Harvest as Hammett's masterpiece, and this version is considered by some to be even better. 

Plus, there's a never-before-published unfinished Op story, and bonus commentary on many of the stories from Hammett himself. 

This book belongs in every home on the planet, and that includes yours. And the time to get it is now. If you order by Dec. 23 from Target.com, it'll run you a mere $16.37, and they'll ship it FREE. Take that, Amazon!

Friday, December 8, 2017

YouTube Theater: Flashgun Tracy in WOMEN ARE TROUBLE (1936)


Presenting . . . the 1936 movie based on the 1935 Flash Casey Black Mask story by George Harmon Coxe. 





Forgotten Books: RED GARDENIAS by Jonathan Latimer (1939)


It took me a long time to reread and review all five books in the Bill Crane series. Not because I'm a slow reader (though I suppose I am), but because I wanted to savor each one, and spend some time anticipating the next. And I'm finally finished. And yeah, these books lived up to my first impressions (and then some) and were worth the wait. If anything, I'm more impressed with Latimer than I was on my first journey through his works, some thirty years ago.

That said, Red Gardenias is not his best book. I'm forced to rate it the least enjoyable of the series, which is to say it's not great -- merely good. For me, the series reached its highpoint of hedonistic hilarity with the previous entry, The Dead Don't Care. It's hard for me to imagine Latimer outdoing himself after that one, and I have to suspect he couldn't either. So instead he gave us a slightly more mature Crane -- or at least one feeling the pangs of maturity -- and allowed him to fall in love. 

Crane still does a lot of drinking here, ably abetted by his detecting pal Doc Williams, but he doesn't enjoy it as much. Cherchez la femme, you might say, and you'd be right. The case sends him undercover, with his boss's daughter Ann Fortune pretending to be his wife. That begins well enough, but Ann soon starts acting like a real wife and criticizes his drinking. And as the story unfolds, Crane discovers he cares what she thinks of him and starts acting like a husband. A well-lit husband, to be sure, but still . . .
The case itself is certainly up to Latimer standards, as is the supporting cast. Crane's undercover role is an advertising copywriter for a family-run company that manufactures appliances, a job that would drive just about anyone to drink. One family member is dead, smelling of gardenias, and not everyone believes it was suicide. They believe it even less when the guy's brother dies under similar circumstances, and much of the suspicion falls on the vamp whose had her hooks in every man in the family, and is now sinking them into William Crane. 

My takes on the earlier Crane books are here:
Headed for a Hearse
The Lady in the Morgue
Murder in the Madhouse
The Dead Don't Care

Sunday, December 3, 2017

MICHAEL LANDON SINGS (sort of)



Following his performances of "Careless Love" and "Shenandoah" on the 1962 album PONDEROSA PARTY TIME! (You can hear that HERE), Little Joe recorded two singles, apparently in an attempt to become a teen idol like Bobby Sherman. Somewhere along the line he also recorded a slower, alternate version of "Linda is Lonesome." Give him a little listen . . .





Saturday, December 2, 2017

YouTube Theater: Leonard Nimoy in KID MONK BARONI (1952)


Leonard Nimoy in his first starring (or at least title) role. Thanks to 2005 Nebraska Radio Personalities Hall of Fame Inductee Drew Bentley  for the tip. The Billy Goat Gang was apparently a group of Dead End Kids wannabes. Looks like one of them may have been Jack Larson, TV's Jimmy Olsen. If they ever made another film, I haven't been able to find it.



Friday, December 1, 2017

SCOOP Gum Cards (1954)


Collector extraordinaire Mike Britt put me hep to these cards, and they're pretty dang cool, so I figured it was time we looked at some of them. Thanks Mike!