The Early Years-Polly Bergen

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Twenty-five tracks from 1950-56. Musicians include Joe Venuti and Matty Matlock. There are some hillbilly tracks from the beginning of her career but the bulk of the selections are the torch songs that made her famous.

Highlights include: “I Got Tookin”, “Little Girl Blue”, “A Woman Likes To Be Told” and “One Little Mistake.”

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Jack The Ripper (1959)

jack the ripper 1959

Umpteenth version of the story is a pretty good presentation. The music is by Stanley Black. A superior version of the soundtrack was released in America in 1959 by Pete Rugolo.

This movie version opens with a voice asking a woman on the street if she is Mary Clarke. She isn’t but she’s still another victim of Jack The Ripper. A bunch of scared locals in a pub are bracing an American asking him why he’s been asking so many questions about The Ripper. Jack is rumored to be a foreigner. Maybe he’s….

The brawl is underway when Scotland Yard Inspector O’Neill (Eddie Byrne) breaks it up. The American is New York policeman Sam Lowry (Lee Patterson). He’s on leave and joins O’Neill in the hunt. The Ripper carries a black bag with surgical instruments and uses them on his victims.

At the Mercy Hospital for Women Dr.Trantner isn’t happy that his ward, Ann Ford, is starting to work there.   He’s really upset that she’s attracted to Sam. Sam and Ann go to a music hall where the main attraction are the Can Can dancers. One of them is new and the hall owner was warned by O’Neill to look out for her.

She’s only been there for a week when two amorous Lords come in. (A topless scene with French subtitles in the dressing room was censored in America). They want their usual “special” service upstairs. One of them wants the new girl. She’s naive but wises up fast when her dress is torn. She leaves the place and the owner tells an employee to go after her. “Are you Mary Clarke?” That’s it for her.

Sam and O’Neill track down Mary Clarke’s father. He hasn’t seen her for ten years and could care less and refers to her as a slut. He says a man carrying a black bag came looking for her a few months ago. At the hospital a patient named Kitty almost dies until Sir David Rogers takes over from Dr.Trantner.

While recovering, Kitty wants to go home early and gets her wish. Ann says she’ll visit her. After seeing her she returns to the hospital. While filling out a card Dr.Trantner notices that the name on Kitty’s birth certificate is…… Mary Clarke.

Now the movie raises the suspense level as it tells its version of the identity of The Ripper. This is a good one.

Lee Patterson played Dave Thorne on the TV series “Surfside 6″ (1960-62).

In 1977 Eddie Byrne played General Willard in “Star Wars.”

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Last View Of Eden-Ralph Hayes (1981)

ralph hayes-last view of eden

Corporate greed and ambition combine to cover up an accident that’s poisoning beef and dairy herds in the Midwest. This is sometimes mistakenly marketed as SF.

Western Chemicals makes a livestock feed additive called AD-KEM. Now they have a drain cleaner called SOL-KEM. Workers who bag it have to wear protective gear but that doesn’t stop some of them from getting rashes. One man gets himself transferred to a safer job after another falls into the substance and ends up in the infirmary.

The assistant plant manager, Roland Putney is more interested in getting a Vice Presidency of the company than dealing with any abnormalities of the substance. The difference in shipping the chemicals are the colors on the bags. AD-KEM’s stencil is black while SOL-KEM is red. The red stencil has run out but Putney says just to use the black and the product design will let everyone know the difference.

State Senator Greg Vincent has just been elected. He’s concerned about the ecology but no one listens to him. His college friend Wade Tobias tells him that he and other ranchers are having a lot of problems with their herds dying and no one knows why. One thing in common is they all use the same feed company…one that’s supplied by Western Chemical.

Gus Ferguson at the Bureau of Ecology Standards is burying a report about the incidences of dying cattle from biologist Dr.Julia Waters of Sloan University. Since Ferguson has ambitions he agrees to keep quiet after Streeter of the feed company and Putnery talk with him.

Greg teams up with Julia to investigate. They find out about the drain additive and then the mixing at the feed company that caused the incident. They’re afraid it could spread to humans who get their meat, eggs etc. from the animals that ingested the drain chemical. Now that they have all this evidence, what can they do with it? Greg manages to get a committee formed but its members are either new Senators with no connections or a couple on their way out.

There’s no real excitement built up along the way to keep you hooked. A major flaw are the tossed in sex scenes that appear in what looks like a directive from somebody to add them because they somehow thought they would had some eroticism. Luckily they’re short but so unnecessary that it comes off as juvenile. The book had potential but just ambles along. The ending isn’t all that bad but it stretches credibility that one person in the cover up would do something really stupid. Then again even though it was written in 1981 it’s still timely.

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Randall And Hopkirk Deceased (1969-71)

randall and hopkirk deceased

Private eye show with the gimmick that one of the partners is dead. Mike Pratt is Jeff Randall and Kenneth Cope is Marty Hopkirk. He’s the dead one. Annette Andre is Marty’s widow Jeannie. Not bad but the gimmick does wear after a while.

Opening episode:September 21,1969 – “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” – Jeff delivers photographic evidence to the wealthy Fay Sorrensen showing her husband fooling around. She has a bad heart and has to stay in bed most of the time. She confronts her husband John and says she’s having him kicked out of the company and filing for divorce. He arranges for a hit man. It’s made to look like an accidental electrical accident while she’s in the bathtub.

Marty makes his suspicions known and is killed by a hit and run driver. A hitchhiker sees the whole thing and jumps in the car. He ends up blackmailing the driver. The police call it an accident. Marty is buried.

One night Jeff starts to get phone calls from Marty. He thinks it’s a prankster and records the call. Marty’s voice isn’t on the tape. Jeff was asked to come to the cemetery. He refuses. The window opens and a strong wind comes in. In a trance Jeff goes to the graveyard. There’s Marty. He tells Jeff his death was no accident. As with almost all shows like this, Jeff is the only one who can see and hear Marty.

Jeff’s investigation leads him to the hitchhiker’s cheap hotel room. Marty finally believes he can go through walls and finds the room the man is staying in. He tells Jeff the whole story. The next stop is the driver’s apartment. They smell gas. Marty walks through the door and tells Jeff what’s going on. Jeff breaks the door down. They find a suicide note.

Marty says the only way they’ll get Sorrensen is to set Jeff up as bait. They go to see Sorrensen and Jeff says he wants 25-thousand pounds to keep his mouth shut. Sorrensen makes another phone call.

To set up the rest of the series Marty stays out of his grave after sunup. That means he can’t go back for a hundred years. He’ll just have to stay with Jeff.

The series was briefly revised with a different cast in 2000-2001.

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Cat Girl (1957)

Ernest Milton-Barbara Shelley

Pale imitation of 1942’s “Curse Of The Cat People.” I had to fight to stay awake in what’s supposed to be a psychological thriller billed as a horror film. This is Barbara Shelley’s first English movie following several she made in Italy.

Leonora Brandt (Barbara Shelley) is called to America to visit her uncle (Ernest Milton). He lives in a mansion made for dark and stormy nights. He has a pet leopard. Leonora came over from London along with her new husband Richard and their friends Allan and Cathy. While having a few drinks Leonora runs into her old boyfriend, Dr.Brian Marlowe (Robert Ayres). He’s a married psychiatrist. He leaves to go home and the group thinks it’s time to go.

They head for uncle’s place. When they arrive he’s out with his leopard. Housekeeper Anna lets them in. When he comes back he’s not happy Leonora brought company. He takes her into another room and explains the family curse that’s been around for seven hundred years.

He shows her the leopard and says the curse makes family members one with the animal. When the uncle dies the curse will pass on to Leonora. Outside the uncle calls on the cat to kill him. Now the leopard and Leonora are one.

Richard and Cathy can’t keep their hands off each other. They’re out in the woods having at it when Leonora spots them. She commands the leopard to kill and that wraps up her marriage.

Dr.Marlowe takes her back to London and puts her in a sanitarium for a rest. At night she looks into a mirror and sees herself as a leopard. She tells Marlowe that she can call up the leopard at anytime and in fact the animal is already outside. Marlowe’s not buying it and says she should go out with his wife Dorothy for the day. That night he wants them to meet him for dinner at a little place near the docks.

After killing Dorothy’s pet caged bird she tells Dorothy she doesn’t want to go and she should meet him herself. Dorothy looks inside the cage and has a minor reaction. She leaves and waits on the street for Marlowe. Then along comes Leonora. Also hanging around…the leopard.

 

 

 

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User Friendly-Spider Robinson (Short Stories and Essays)

spider robinson-user friendly

A combination of seventeen short stories and essays with the essays being the highlights. They cover 1974,77,78,82,86,88,93,96,98,

Favorite stories:

“Copyright Violation” (1988 novelette) – A super nerd is minding his own business singing along with a John Lennon tune on a bar jukebox when a knockout babe comes on to him. Onlookers can’t believe it and some even drop their drinks. He takes her back to his place and gets quite an education thanks to a gold crown.. This is funny stuff.

“When No Man Pursueth (1974 novelette) – Fleming is a passenger on the interstellar ship This Train. He sees a Greenie from Sirius break into a cabin and kill an Earthman. Whoever he reports it to disappears. Robinson has fun with the pulps without going overboard.

“Too Soon We Grow Old” (1978) – A wealthy woman wants to have children when she wants them. She goes into cryogenic sleep. She gets a real awakening.

“Not Fade Away” (1982) – The story of the last warrior.

Favorite essays:

“Mentors” – Robinson salutes Robert A.Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon and Ben Bova.

“Teddy The Fish” – Salute to Theodore Sturgeon in the style of Lord Buckley. Those not familiar with the comedian may not get it.

“Plus Ca Change” – Some funny predictions of the future.

“Seduction Of The Ignorant” – Robinson’s commentary on illiteracy and ways to try and combat it.

 

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Jack Fina Plays Boogie Woogie (1959)

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Jack Fina made his name in the Freddy Martin band and became known as one of the best pianists of the era. Here he is with in a trio format with Herb Lessner on bass and Tiny Magardo on drums. Twelve tracks on this album designed for lovers of boogie woogie.

Highlights include: “Bumble Boogie”, “Concerto Boogie” and “After Hours.”

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