Friday, April 30, 2010

Forgotten Books: Sherlocko the Monk

Back in the 70s, Hyperion Press issued at least a couple of dozen books in a series called The Hyperion Library of Classic American Comic Strips. Along with lesser known strips, the series included Barney Google, A. Mutt and Bringing Up Father. I discovered the books sometime in the 80s and picked up all I could find, including Sherlocko the Monk.

Like others in the series, this book features a fine introduction by Bill Blackbeard, and - like most - begins at the beginning. Sherlocko the Monk (1977) reprints the first two years of the strip. Sherlocko continued a short while longer, but in 1913 artist Gus Mager changed the names of the characters to Hawkshaw and the Colonel to begin a ten year Sunday-only run as Hawkshaw the Detective.

Sherlocko's world was populated with characters with names like Tightwaddo, Henpecko and Coldfeeto, whose traits usually revealed the culprit before Sherlocko even began to investigate. Many of these supporting characters were featured in their own intermittent strips between 1904 and 1910, when Sherlocko came on the scene. 

NOTE: If you go looking for this book, beware of imitations. I see a new publication with this title on Amazon that has only 40 pages. This Hyperion Press edition has 272. 

Below is the very first strip, from Dec. 9, 1910, followed by two from 1911. By January, you'll observe, the inking has drastically improved. Whether this was the work of Mager himself or other hands I don't know. You may, of course, click to SUPERSIZE.

Investigate more of today's Forgotten Books at Patti Abbott's pattinase.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Forgotten Music: Marty Robbins' El Paso Trilogy

Everyone's heard Marty Robbins' 1959 hit "El Paso" (I hope) about the young cowboy who kills another in Rose's Cantina for love of a dancer named Feleena - and ends up with a bullet in his chest. But far fewer have heard Marty's two sequels.

"Feleena" (1966) tells the tale from the dancer's point of view. This one is an eight minute epic that follows Feleena from the time she leaves home to seek adventure to the aftermath of the young cowboy's death.

And "El Paso City" (1976) brings the story into the present, where the singer looks down on the town from an airplane, wondering if he himself was that cowboy in an earlier life.

For the ultimate Marty Robbins experience, you might want to check out this four-disc, 97-song CD set, containing dang near every cowboy ballad he recorded between 1958 and 1979. A boxful of cowboy heaven. Don't have 90 or more bucks to blow? Do what I did - ask your local library to buy it.

More of today's Forgotten Music:
Scott Parker: Diana Krall's The Girl in the Other Room
Paul D. Brazill: BASZCAX
Bill Crider: 50s Pop
Martin Edwards: On the Flip Side
Randy Johnson: Showdown! - Collins, Cray, Copeland
George Kelley: The T.A.M.I. Show
Perplexio: Harry Chapin - Short Stories
Charlie Ricci: Stevie Wonder - Where I'm Coming From
Todd Mason: The Max Roach Group - Freedom Now Suite

Got Forgotten Music of your own? Join us the last Thursday of each month!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ZORRO: The Masters Edition

Remember these fine volumes published between 2000 and 2002? This bold undertaking proposed to reprint, for the first time ever, the entire series of Zorro novels and stories. Sadly, three volumes is as far as they got. What went wrong? I don't know. If anyone does, I'd sure like to hear about it. And if anyone knows the publishers, please tell them they still owe me the $14 I prepaid for the next volume, which was to be a third collection of short stories from West magazine. Please advise them that in lieu of the cash, I'll gladly accept an emailed text document containing the stories for that unpublished volume.

Volume 1 (above) presented the first three short stories from Argosy (there had already been three serialized novels in earlier issues of the magazine), a two-part novelette, and the first two short stories from West. Internet dealers currently offer this book for between $75 and $278.

Volume 2 (above and below) gave us the next ten short stories from West. For those keeping score, these are the same ten stories gathered earlier in the squinty-eyed little Hanos reprint, Zorro Stories Vol. 1.  Dealers want between $45 and $176 for this one.

The third Master's Edition book (below) is not an official Volume. It reprinted a complete short novel from the June 1947 issue of West. This book now appears to be unavailable at any price. A smaller print run, perhaps?

The saddest thing about this was that the job was left undone. The second Zorro serial from Argosy, "The Further Adventures of Zorro", has not been reprinted since 1928, when it appeared in hardcover and paperback as The Sword of Zorro (and is now outrageously expensive). The third and fourth serialized novels have never, to my knowledge, been reprinted at all. And there are still another 39 stories from West waiting (only 21 of these appeared in Hanos' Zorro Stories Vol. 2 & 3) , and possibly three more from other magazines. Will someone PLEASE reprint these?? I want to read them!

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Lust of the Lawless" by Robert Leslie Bellem - Now a book!

Several months ago I posted this Bellem short story from the June 1937 issue of Spicy Western. Well, now Tom Roberts over at Black Dog Books has published a complete collection of Bellem's tales from that mag, and it just happens to have the same title. So just to whet your appetite, here's a special encore performance* of that classic tale.

Lust of the Lawless presents not only EIGHT spicy Bellem westerns, but an all-new introduction by esteemed western (& mystery & historical & non-fiction) author James Reasoner**. To order, or find more info on the book, visit the Black Dog Books site HERE.

 (as usual, you may click to ENLARGE)
1 - 2
3 - 4

5 - 6

7 - 8

9 - 10

 11 -12

* Yeah, OK, it's a rerun.
** The same gent who wrote the introduction to the Express Westerns anthology A Fistful of Legends

Friday, April 23, 2010

Forgotten Books: The Secret Museum of Mankind

Some books are best forgotten, but this one was so heavily advertised in the pulp mags of the 30s that I thought it I would be fun to take a squint at. So I looked it up in WorldCat, and was amazed to see that at least a couple of hundred libraries in the U.S. admit to owning a copy. Even more astonishing, I found it was reprinted in 1999 and is available from Amazon. Luckily, I didn't bite. I got mine from the library.

Some of the claims in the ads are true. Yes, each page is actually 57 square inches in size, which sounds pretty impressive until you realize that each page of People Magazine is 76 square inches. And it does appear to have at least 1000 photographs (though not all of them are revealing, or even decipherable without the captions).  As the large ad implies and the smaller one brags, there is some partial nudity, but only in a small percentage of the pics. They make National Geographic look like Playboy.

The real whopper, of course, is the headline screaming FEMALE BEAUTY ROUND THE WORLD. There are indeed females here, but if this is beauty, I'm staying home.

Find links to more Forgotten Books (if you dare) at Patti Abbott's pattinase.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Movie Editions: The Glass Key

I'm doing my part for Earth Day by featuring a book with a green cover. This Grosset & Dunlap edition celebrates the second film version of The Glass Key, in 1942. The first  version, a movie I've never seen, was released in 1935 with George Raft as Ed (not Ned) Beaumont and Edward (one-time Nero Wolfe) Arnold as Paul Madvig.

(I chose this lobby card just for you, Bill.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Movie Editions: The Brasher Doubloon (The High Window)

As we saw yesterday, Tower Books titled their movie edition of Murder, My Sweet as Farewell, My Lovely. With this book they reverse course and use the movie rather than book title. Why? Beats me. Under the dust jacket is an ordinary edition of The High Window. The Brasher Doubloon was the second film adaption of the book. The first was a Mike Shayne flick with Lloyd Nolan called Time to Kill (1942).

Has anyone seen this one? Far as I know, it's never been commercially released on VHS or DVD, but there seem to be some homemade copies available. Having seen George Montgomery recently in in the old western series Cimarron City, it seems he might make a decent Marlowe.

I have most of the various posters from this film, but the only really nice one is the 3-sheet below. This pic was scanned from an old snapshot of my bedroom wall. Someday I hope to have another wall big enough to hang it on.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Movie Editions: Farewell, My Lovely (Murder, My Sweet)


The movie, of course, was called Murder, My Sweet, but Tower Books retained the original title for this movie edition. Murder, My Sweet was actually the second of three film adaptations. The first was very freely adapted for the George Sanders Falcon franchise, as The Falcon Takes Over (1942). Dick Powell is a good Marlowe, but as a deadly dame, Claire Trevor pales alongside Audrey Totter (see yesterday's Lady in the Lake).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Movie Editions: The Lady in the Lake

Here's a nice movie edition dust jacket from an undated Grosset & Dunlap book, along with the half sheet and 1-sheet posters. For the record, this is my favorite hardboiled detective film.