Friday, May 26, 2017

THE MALTESE FALCON Comic Book - Chapter I: Spade and Archer

When I started this blog eight years ago, one of my first grandiose plans was to post this comic book. It was too good not to share. So I trotted down to my storage unit and started digging through boxes. And came up empty. Undaunted, I kept searching until I'd been through all four or five hundred boxes. And found zilch. In the years since I've kept an eye out on every visit. The lesson I've learned from storage hunting is that you almost never find the thing you're looking for when you're looking for it -- you find it when you're looking for something else. But in the case of the Maltese comic book, that never happened. 

Then a few weeks back I came across some online photos of 3-D Tarzan gum cards (watch for those in a future post), and started thinking fondly of the stack of 3-D comics sheltered in the back of my top desk drawer . . . Mighty Mouse, Batman, Superman, Crypt of Terror, EC Classics, and others. And I had a thought. Could the Falcon be there too? Nah, wouldn't make sense. It's not 3-D. But it was worth a look. And there it sat, shining like the Holy Grail. Right where it had been for at least twenty years, less than two feet from the tip of my nose. 

So at long last, more or less direct from 1946, just in time for Hammett's birthday (it's tomorrow), here it is. Or here, at least, is Chapter I. I'll be presenting a chapter a day until all 18 have been laid before your eyes. Hope you think it was worth the wait. 

The stylish artwork is by Rodlow Willard, best known for his work from 1946-1954 on the Scorchy Smith comic strip.

Tomorrow - Chapter II: Death in the Fog

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The SEQUEL to the MALTESE FALCON: "The Kandy Tooth" starring Howard Duff (1948)

This broadcast of Suspense from January 1948, featuring the return of Caspar Gutman and Joel Cairo, is especially cool because it's introduced by my favorite screen Marlowe, Robert Montgomery. The story reportedly first aired in two parts in late 1946 on The Adventures of Sam Spade program, but I've seen no sign those episodes are circulating. 

The title has been variously listed as Kandy, Kandi, Khandi, and even Candy. Until yesterday, I was in the Kandi camp, because Sam mentions India, and there's a real Indian city named Kandi. But a little late night googling hipped me to the fact there's a city of Kandy in Sri Lanka (which until 1972 was called Ceylon, the "province" mentioned in Effie's encyclopedia), just off the southern tip of India, where the tooth of Buddha still resides in the Temple of the Tooth. So now I know. The Kandy Tooth, it is. Listen . . .

Howard Duff as Sam Spade

And while we're listening, let's offer a quick salute to the second sequel to the Falcon, from 1975 . . .

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

37 different looks at THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)

Lauren Bacall's bronze figurine of Bogart as Spade sold at auction two years ago for $16,250. To me? I wish.

The Conrad falcon, so-called because Jack Warner gave it to actor William Conrad. 47 pounds, made of lead, reportedly used in the film. This might be the one currently viewable only as part of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, which will cost you $75. Or it might not. Falcon facts are elusive.

The other lead statue used in the film. This one has a bent tail, supposedly due to being dropped by Bogart. It sold for $4,085,000 at auction in 2013. No, I didn't buy this, either. Nuts.

This four and a half pound resin version, also used in the film, sold in 2010 for a mere $305,000 to Leonardo DiCaprio and some associates, none of whom was me. Life's not fair.

Tomorrow: The sequel to The Maltese Falcon
Friday: The Maltese Comic Book begins