The Talk Of Hollywood (1929)

the talk of hollywood 1929

A movie producer lost his money on silents now that talkies are in. He decides to make one, This is a comedy with some musical numbers. Some of the jokes will offend the PC police but so what.

J.Pierpont Ginsburg (Nat Carr) has just manged to raise the money for his new picture. He lives with his daughter Ruth and their butler James. He wants Ruth to think of him as a success. At the studio he does some auditioning. This is the scene that’s loaded with jokes some will consider offensive. The writer wants to make some changes but Ginsburg just wants to cut costs.

His big star is Adore Renee (Fay Marbe). (The opening credits says this is Madame Fay Marbe’s talkie debut). Ginsburg is paying her a hundred dollars an hour. She likes to sleep until two in the afternoon. She finally shows up. She does a song and then is joined by a partner for a dance number. Now the chorus line does their thing. Then a scantily clad girl starts a dance number when a male singer comes out and starts his vocal part. Ginsburg says it’s too dramatic and does a number himself after which he fires the singer. One more song from Renee and another appearance from the chorus line.

The director says they got a lot of work done and it looks like a wrap. Then they find out the mics were defective and it all has to be done over. Ginsburg doesn’t know how he’s going to get the money for all those retakes. The cast is ready to quit. When he goes to talk to them his lawyer, who happens to be Ruth’s fiancee, calls his broker. He tells him to sell everything. He tells Ginsburg he found the money but doesn’t tell him how he got it.

It’s all done and time now to show the buyers. They’re gathered in the preview room. The regular projectionist didn’t want to wok on Saturday so a substitute is there. He doesn’t want to be. He’s drunk. The expected results occur.

Overall the movie is pretty bad but from here on out it’s a lot better than the first fifty minutes. No problem seeing where it’s going but Carr is very good in his performance so that makes it worth watching. Renee can be annoying in her musical routines but they fit the time period. This was her first and last talkie appearance. She appeared in two silents as a dancer.

Fay Marbe

Fay Marbe

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The Perfect Big Band-Jimmie Lunceford


Twenty-four tracks offering seventy minutes of one of the era’s greatest Big Bands. Collectors have all of this but if you’re new to Lunceford this will make you a fan.

Highlights include: “Rhythm Is Out Business (Theme)”, “For Dancers’s Only”, “Margie” and “Tain’t What You Do.”

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The Crimson Kimono (1959)

the crimson kimono 1959

Written, Directed and Produced by Sam Fuller this starts as a crime movie about the murder of a stripper and gets bogged down in a story about a love triangle and bigotry.

Stripper Sugar Torch heads back to her dressing room after her act. There’s a gunshot. She opens the door and sees a man with a gun. She runs off but is shot down in the street. Detective Sgt.Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett) and his partner Detective Joe Kojaku (James Shigeta) investigate.

Sugar was planning an act where she’d dress as a Geisha. A karate expert and a warrior would fight over her. There’s a painting on the wall of Sugar in a crimson kimono. Thanks to a lead from eccentric alcoholic artist Mac (Anna Lee) Charlie finds Chris Downs (Victoria Shaw). She painted the picture of Sugar. It was the idea of a man named Hansel.

Meanwhile Joe is trying to find karate expert Shuto. He was going to be part of the act. As things progress someone takes a shot at Chris.¬† For her protection she moves into the apartment shared by Charlie and Joe. They’ve been best friends since the Korean War. Charlie falls for Chris.

One night Charlie goes to meet an informant named Ziggy (Walter Burke). He shows him where Hansel is staying. Charlie missed him by ten minutes. Back at the apartment Chris and Joe realize they’re meant to be and the triangle has formed.

The movie concentrates more on that aspect than the murder case. Of course it causes a split between the two best friends. After a Kendo battle where Joe gets too aggressive and knocks Charlie out he ends up telling him about Chris. Charlie gets a look in his eye that Joe misinterprets as bigotry and storms out.

It was interesting how that whole scenario was played and how self doubt and jumping to conclusions can cause numerous and even unsolvable problems. The quick ending takes place at the annual Nisei Festival in L.A.’s Little Tokyo. It tries to be two movies in one and falls flat as it tries to make a point.

Glenn Corbett frequently appeared in TV episodes. He took George Maharis’ place on “Route 66″ in the 1963-64 season.

This was James Shigeta’s first movie. He shared a Golden Globe award as best Newcomer with Troy Donahue,Barry Coe and George Hamilton in 1960.

Soap fans know Anna Lee as Lila Quatermaine on “General Hospital.”

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The New Black Mask No.3-Edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli & Richard Layman

matthew h bruccoli & richard latman-the new black mask number three

There are eight editions in this series. This edition has six stories from 1980,85). There’s also a short interview with Donald E. Westlake and an excerpt from his novel, “Good Behavior.” Also included is an excerpt from Jim Thompson’s “Ripoff.” Favorite stories:

“A Pity About The Girl” (1985) – Two men now middle aged meet again in Paris. One saved the other from the Nazis who invaded his farmhouse. Also saved was the man’s young daughter. How times have changed.

“Breaking Even” (1985) – Clark Howard – Dewey Taylor is a reporter on the way down. He’s covering a murder trial in a small Alabama town. He covered the defendants’ last trial ten years ago. He was charged with the ice pick murder of his wife and got acquitted. This time he’s charged¬† with the murder of his boss. He’s convicted and gets the death penalty. In a jailhouse interview he tells Taylor he really did kill his wife but this time he’s innocent.

“The Grabber” (1985) – Isak Romun – A serial rapist-murderer has been gunned down by the police. The story is told via flashback when one girl lives through the ordeal. Back to the present. A reporter tracks down the significane of the numbers 666 that were on the wall where the criminal was shot down.

Other authors: Linda Barnes, James O’Keefe, John Ball.



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Branded (1965-66)

Chuck Connors as Jason McCord

Chuck Connors as Jason McCord

Jason McCord was kicked out of the army following a court martial accusing him of cowardice. He was the only survivor of the Battle of Bitter Creek. He covered up for the commander actually responsible for the massacre. Now he wanders around trying to restore his good name.

Opening episode:January 24,1965 – “Survival” w/Alex Cord – Going through the desert to the next town McCord comes across a dead horse. Later he sees a man almost done for. He’s Jed Colbee (Alex Cord). He was on his way to town to join his wife and young daughter and then join a wagon train.

McCord nurses him along. Colbee starts thinking only one of them will make it. At night when he looks for firewood Colbee comes across a skull. As soon as McCord falls asleep, Colbee gets on the horse and threatens McCord at gunpoint. Then he tosses the gun back to him, apologizes and rides off.

A Navajo comes across McCord and takes care of him. He says he’ll accompany him to town so he can kill the man who left him to die. Meanwhile in town, Colbee leaves the horse at the stable and gives the man enough money to care for it for a few weeks. Shortly afterwards the stable man gives Colbee his money back saying the horse’s owner showed up. McCord, sensing trouble, straps on his gun.

Connors is excellent and this is well worth seeking out.

Among many of his TV roles, Alex Cord played Michael Coldsmith Briggs III on “Airwolf” (1984-86).

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Violent Saturday (1955)

violent saturday 1955

Huge disappointment about a bank robbery in a small town that sinks in soap suds A lot of familiar faces including Ernest Borgnine as an Amish farmer.

Harper (Stephen McNally) returns to the town of Bradenville. The hotel manager thinks her’s a costume jewelry salesman. Harper tells him two rookie salesmen are on their way. Harper actually plans to rob the bank. His cohorts are Dill (Lee Marvin) and Chappie (J.Carrol Naish).

The movie goes into the lives of some of the townspeople. Shelley Martin (Victor Mature) helps run the copper mine operation outside town. His son got into a fight with his best friend. His friend’s father won a medal at Iwo Jima while Shelley stayed around to run the mining operation. The boy is upset that his father wasn’t a hero. The boy’s name is Steve which makes his character’s name Steve Martin.

Another mining executive, Boyd Fairchild (Richard Egan), is an alcoholic. His wife Emily (Margaret Hayes) is a tramp and runs around with country club member Gil Clayton (Brad Dexter).

New in town is Linda Sherman. She’s a nurse. Obsessed with her is bank manager Harry Reeves (Tommy Noonan). He’s constantly distracted by her and even walks his dog at night so he can stare at her through her window.

One night Boyd is drunk and Linda walks into the bar. The two of them dance and Dill and Chappie look on. Also watching is Harry from his bar stool. Boyd is making all kinds of moves and Linda ends up taking him home. He’s passed out on the couch when Emily finally returns after a night out. She and Linda have a minor confrontation. When Boyd wakes up he and Emily have a heart to heart and decide to go on a trip together to try and patch things up.

There’s also a minor storyline about a librarian (Sylvia Sidney) who owes money and gets threatening letters from the bank. She’s also a thief.

Now the big plan. Harper says they’ll hide out at the Amish farm where Stadt (Ernest Borgnine) and his family live. In town Harper pulls a gun on Shelley. He has him drive down the street and pick up Dill and Chappie. They head out to the farm where their pal Slick is standing by with a truck. They lock Shelley and the family in the barn while Slick stands guard.

In the bank is Emily getting traveler’s checks for their trip. Harry comes back a little late after lusting after Linda again. The librarian comes in and tells Harry what she thinks of him. Now Harper and his gang show up and the movie lives up to its title as things don’t go exactly right. When they get to the farm it’s also not going according to plan.

The robbery scenario is over way too fast and the soap elements, especially between Boyd, Emily and Linda are totally useless in a movie that’s supposed to have a bank robbery as its centerpiece. If there’s anything good about it it’s Lee Marvin as the psycho robber.

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Matter’s End-Gregory Benford (Short Stories)

gregory benford-matter's end

Twenty-one stories from 1965,70,77,79,81,85,86,88-92,94. Favorites:

“Freezeframe” (1986) – A yuppie couple want to have a child but are not content to wait. The visit a company that can speed up the birth process. That’s not all they offer.

“Centigrade 233″ (1990) – 233 centigrade is fahrenheit 451. The story is a riff on the Ray Bradbury classic. In a future time SF pulps as well as SF are meaningless.

“Proselytes” (1988) – Fundamentalists arrive from outer space. They’re treated like comedy relief. The story has a sardonic ending with a great last line.

“Touches” (1991) – A man is playing a video game called Late Marxist. It involves living and surviving in a Marxist state. He is the Socialist Man that’s in for a surprise.

“Dark Sanctuary” (1979) – A space miner exploring the asteroid belt has to make sure he doesn’t interfere with other miners claims or else. Then a ship fires on him. This is good space adventure.

“Stand-In” (1965) – Benford’s first story is a fantasy with a punchline ending.

“We Could Do Worse” (1988) – Alternate history involving Senator Joe McCarthy and the election.

“Immortal Night” (1985) – a wealthy man spends millions to get cured of cancer. His new life doesn’t sit well with everyone.

“The Bigger One” (1994) – an 8.1 quake hits Southern California. The story is in the form of a radio script. The ending is cynical but there’s no problem in believing it.


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