Monday, July 28, 2014


The engraving on this gun (from Wyandotte, PA, natch) is identical to that on the Hopalong Cassidy pistol posted HERE. But the cool things about the Red Ranger are the two different grips. There's also a gold model with red swirl grips, which we'll see further down the trail. 

More mighty Cap Guns HERE.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Toy Soldier Saturday: MPC RINGHAND GIs

I mentioned these GIs when I posted the MPC Spacemen a couple of weeks ago (HERE). Those spacemen figures were made from these same molds. They were just cast in different colors and given different accessories. 

MPC accessories also sometimes did double duty. The pick and shovel seen below were carried by the Ringhand Pirates too (HERE). 

More little plastic guys HERE.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Forgotten Books: THE CONVERTIBLE HEARSE by William Campbell Gault (1957)

This is the third book in the Brock Callahan series, and the third Brock Callahan I've read within the last thirty days. As I hope I conveyed last week, I enjoyed Day of the Ram quite a bit, so dived right into this one. Maybe I shouldn't have.

The Convertible Hearse is a good enough book. Brock digs into the murder of one of L.A.'s sleazier used car salesmen, continues his love/hate relationship with police and his hate/hate relationship with hoodlums, and continues to find himself not quite suited to his new profession of private investigator. In other words, it's more of the same, only this time without the pro football angle that made Day of the Ram so interesting. The only new thing here is that Brock's girlfriend Jan gets pissy early in the book and stays that way until late in the book, giving him another reason to feel sorry for himself.

My problem with Brock, I suspect, is that he's not Robert B. Parker's Spenser, and after umpteen readings of that series I tend to judge all other detectives against Spenser's standard. On the Spensermeter, Brock is just too polite, too cautious, too serious and too unsure of himself. You know, more like a real human being.

For me, that problem is easily solved. I'll just read another Spenser book (again). Maybe two. Then something completely different. And one of these days, when I'm in the mood for a nice guy detective again, I'll hunt up my copy of the next Callahan book.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Overlooked Films: I LOVE TROUBLE (The Double Take) by Roy Huggins

I reviewed Roy Huggins' private eye novel The Double Take a couple of years ago (HERE). The novel introduced Stu Bailey, who went on to become my favorite TV detective in 77 Sunset Strip. At the time, I was surprised to discover the novel had been filmed, several years before the TV show, as I Love Trouble. My initial reaction was Franchot Tone?? What kind of name is that for a hardboiled private eye?

Chances of every seeing that movie seemed slight, so I gave it no further mind until it turned up on YouTube. Hallelujah! I'm happy to report that I was wrong about old Franchot. He does make a good hardboiled dick, and this is a pretty dang good film, with a screenplay written by Roy Huggins himself.

A word of warning: This copy of the film is in pretty bad shape. There are long stretches where it plays just fine, but in others it jumps and flutters and spatters and almost blacks out. But if you're willing to look past the flaws, you should have no trouble following the story and dialogue and imagine what it must have looked like in its prime. If (like me) you're a fan of The Double Take, it's well worth the annoyance.

I think I read somewhere that Huggins later adapted this story for an episode of 77 Sunset Strip. Maybe one of these days I'll get to see that, too, and compare his two treatments of the story.

Your Overlooked Films HQ is SWEET FREEDOM

Monday, July 21, 2014


I posted a Marx Miniature Tommy-Gun a while back (HERE), and there will be quite a few more Miniatures in the months to come. This flintlock rifle is 9 1/2 inches long, and, as is fitting for a longrifle, it's the longest gun in the Miniature line. Real Kentucky rifles (like Davy's Old Betsy) were usually five or six feet long.

This particular weapon, in its plastic footlocker display box, was marketed in 1974 as one of seven "Historic Guns," but I'm pretty sure the rifle itself was originally made with gold (rather than black) trim in the early '60s. See those little notches in the box below the rifle? They were designed to hold a powder horn. The footlockers also typically held a box of Marx caps. 

More Cap Guns HERE!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Toy Solder Saturday: MARX 54mm FRONTIERSMEN

If you were commanding the defense of the Alamo against Santa Anna's conscripts, or battling to save Fort Apache from rampaging Native Americans, these are the guys you'd want by your side. Marx used them in most of their Alamo sets and some of the forts. 

And no, this guy above is not supposed to be Davy Crockett. It's too dang bad he isn't, because their "Official Davy Crockett as Portrayed by Fess Parker" is a joke. I'll tell that story in a future post, but suffice it to say that with that figure, Marx really screwed the pooch.

More midget warriors HERE.