The Little Ramblers 1924-1927

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Twenty-three tracks from an offshoot of The California Ramblers. Good sessions that show what musicians can do when they enjoy playing together.

Highlights include :”Those Panama Mamas (Are Ruining Me)”, “Don’t Bring Lulu”, “Look Who’s Here!” and “Play It,Red.”

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Hi-De-Hi! (1980-88)

hi-de-hi!

Set inside a holiday camp in England  in 1959. Their leader is the camp host Ted Bovis (Paul Shane). Hi De Hi is the camp’s greeting. Shane is excellent as the man who keeps the corn coming to entertain the campers. Jeffery Holland is the camp comic Spike Dixon. Simon Cadell is the professor turned entertainment director Jeffrey Fairbrother.

Pilot Episode: January 1,1980 – “Hey Diddle Diddle” – Jeffrey Fairbrother is an Archeology professor at Cambridge. He’s bored and he thinks he bores everyone else and wants a change. He takes a job as entertainment director of Maplins Holiday Camp.

On the train to his new job two men barge into his compartment. They’re Ted Bovis and Spike Dixon. Ted thinks he should have gotten the entertainment director job at the camp. Jeffrey keeps quiet and doesn’t let on who he is.

When he gets to the camp the lustful Peggy Ollerenshaw shows him his room and gives him the not so subtle hint that she’d like to spend some time there. Ted and Spike share a room. Ted shows him the funny costumes he’ll wear everyday and explains that he’ll be thrown in the pool a lot to make the campers laugh. Jeffrey also meets the sports organizer Gladys Pugh (Ruth Madoc). She also handles the camp’s PA announcements.

Time to gather at the pool and meet the staff. Your host is the congenial Ted.  Between picking fake arguments with Spike resulting in his being tossed in the pool he introduces the staff. They include a snobbish dance team, a bad guitarist-singer who thinks he’s Elvis and  a man who does a puppet show for kids who just happens to hate kids.

Jeffrey is supposed to come out in a chef’s hat with some custard pies. He’s so shy Ted has to tell him what to do and then he puts a pie in his face. The campers are there for a week and every night is a different theme. Monday is Krazy Night. At the end of the week Jeffrey is packing up to go. He knows it’s not for him. A couple of elderly campers change his mind.

If Holiday Camps are even close to this they should post a sign that says Welcome To Hell. That doesn’t mean this show isn’t very funny and a must see sitcom.

Paul Shane was Alf Stokes on “You Rang M’Lord?” (1988-93) and Su Pollard played his daughter Ivy on the show. Jeffrey Holland was also on the show as James Twelvetrees.

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Crack-Up (1946)

crack-up 1946

Adaption of SF and mystery writer Fredric Brown’s short story “Madman’s Holiday” about art forgery and theft. This is a good mystery.

Art critic George Steele (Pat O’Brien) breaks into a museum where he gives lectures. He says he was in a train wreck and the next thing he knows is he’s waking up in board member Dr.Lowell’s (Ray Collins) home. Police Lt.Cochrane (Wallace Ford) tells him there weren’t any wrecks.

George tells his story. He was giving one of his usual controversial lectures at the museum. When he makes fun of modern art one audience member had to be tossed out when he took a loud objection. He says in the next lecture he’ll show how X-Rays are used to detect forgeries. Museum Director Barton complains that the lectures are getting out of hand and this was George’s last one.

George goes out for a drink with his girlfriend, magazine writer Terry Cordell (Claire Trevor). He gets a call that his mother is sick and he has to come right away. He goes to the train station. Before boarding there’s a man holding up what looks like a drunken friend. They get on first. George is looking out the window and sees another train coming. It collides with his.

Back to the present. Art expert Traybin (Herbert Marshall) is over from England. He asks Lt.Cochrane to have George followed. George is fired by Barton. George wants to recreate the night before and once again boards the train. Nothing happens. He gets off at a small station and finds out someone may be setting him up.

Museum curator Stevenson tells George a masterpiece that was destroyed in an explosion aboard ship was a fake. Later he calls George and tells him to get down to the museum. He’ll leave a door open for him. He can’t tell him over the phone what he found out. When George gets there Stevenson is dead Now George is on the run for his murder.

He knew Barton was in the museum that night and tells him to meet him at an out of the way location. Barton tells him he thinks there’s another forgery about to leave the museum.  Now George has to prove it before getting arrested. Lots of danger and suspense to come.

Ray Collins gained TV fame as Lt.Tragg in “Perry Mason” (1957-65).

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No Time Like The Future-Nelson Bond (Short Stories)

nelson bond-no time for the future

Twelve stories from 1937,42,46,48,49,50,51. Nothing to write home about. There are a few that stand out in this collection but may not do the same in an anthology. Favorites:

“Vital Factor” (1951): – A rich man wants to be the first to give the planet space flight for his own glory He offers a lot of money to anyone who can get a spaceship off the ground. After the lunatic fringe gets through one man has the answer.

“Conqueror’s Isle” (1946) – During world war two a plane gets damaged on the way back to its aircraft carrier. The pilot and crew manage to get to an uncharted island. One man tells a base psychiatrist what they found and the threat it poses to the entire planet. Everyone thinks he’s crazy.

“Life Goes On” (1950) – Two men take off in a shuttle after their spaceship crashes. One shoves the other out of the airlock figuring only one can survive. Out in space the man is still alive thanks to a microscopic race. He makes plans.

“And Lo! The Bird” (1950) – An astronomer spots an object near Pluto heading for the Sun. As it gets closer the object turns out to be a giant bird. The theory is that it thinks the Earth and other planets are its eggs and it has come to hatch them.

“The Silent Planet” (1951) – A starship is on its way outside the solar system to find life. The crew discover a planet which is packed with statues.

Nelson S.Bond

Nelson S.Bond

 

 

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That’s Me-Marilyn Monroe

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Twenty-nine tracks for an instant Marilyn collection.

Highlights include: “Some Like It Hot”, “I Wanna Be Loved By You”, “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend.”, “Every Baby Needs A Daddy”, “Happy Birthday Mr.President” and “A Little Girl From Little Rock.”

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The Argyle Secrets (1948)

the argyle secrets 1948

B movie that sinks itself by relying way too much on convenience to get out of situations and that drops any credibility to below zero. It’s all about the search for a book called The Argyle Album that contains names of traitors during world war two.  Along the way you’ll spot future sitcom stars Marjorie Lord (“Make Room For Daddy”), John “Sgt.Schultz” Banner (“Hogan’s Heroes”) and Barbara Billingsley (“Leave It To Beaver”).

Newspaper columnist Allen Pierce has been teasing his readers about a coming expose of collaborators during world war two. Names are in a book called The Argyle Album. Pierce is in the hospital and allows fellow reporter Harry Mitchell (William Gargan) to visit. He gives him a photo of the album’s cover. Harry goes to get him some water. When he comes back there’s a scalpel in Pierce’s chest. He’s a goner. Harry escapes but is suspect number one. His photographer is found behind a curtain. He’s dead with a scalpel in his chest.

Harry goes to Pierce’s apartment and finds Pierce’s secretary Elizabeth Court (Barbara Billingsley) there. She tries to stop him from searching the place and that gets her a right cross. He doesn’t find anything.  Into the apartment is a man named Archie who is armed with a sword cane and a gun. Harry gets the best of him and puts him in a room where he has Elizabeth tied and gagged in a chair. On the way out he runs into Marla (Marjorie Lord).

Harry runs afoul of Marla’s friends Mr.Winter (John Banner), Scanlon and Gil Hobrey). Thinking that Harry knows where the album is they work him over. With Marla’s cooperation Harry escapes out a window and down the fire escape. He follows up on a name he found in Pierce’s notebook. It’s Jor McBrod. He owns a salvage company. He’s also a fence.

McBrod has Harry at gunpoint when Archie comes in. Archie and McBrod manage to shoot each other and Harry takes off. Harry turns himself in to Lt.Samson. They know each other and are not exactly pals. Samson doesn’t hold him for Pierce’s murder since he has a new suspect. Harry goes back to see Marla who agrees to work with him. His next stop is a room below where Scanlon is staying.

The movie gets pretty dumb from here on out and it looks like the “writers” just gave up.

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Nightmare (1956)

nightmare 1956

Good one based on the story by Cornell Woolrich. Kevin McCarthy is a musician who is having a nightmare. Edward G.Robinson is his cop brother-in-law.

Music notes: Band leader Billy May portrays himself. He’s no acting threat. There’s a good quick cameo from piano great Meade Lux Lewis. On the negative side, singer Connie Russell has some terrible vocals on a couple awful songs.

New Orleans musician Stan Grayson (Kevin McCarthy) has a nightmare in which he kills a man. He’s in a mirrored room and a woman hands him an ice pick as he’s being strangled. He stashes the body in a closet. In the struggle he tears a button off the man’s coat. When he wakes up he has thumb prints on his neck and blood on his wrist. He finds a button and a key.

In a recording studio Billy May is getting ready to fire Stan for being out “sick.” The vocalist Gina (Connie Russell) is Stan’s girlfriend who tries to cover for him.

He goes to his brother-in-law Renee Bressard (Edward G.Robinson) for help. Renee thinks it’s all a result of overwork and maybe too much booze. Stan spills some of his sister Sue’s nail polish. He thinks it’s blood and passes out. Stan is also haunted by a few notes from a melody he can’t identify.

He goes to all the clubs and asks his musician friends if they can identify it. No one can. In one club he asks Meade Lux Lewis. He doesn’t know either. He spots a woman at the bar he thinks is the one from his dream. It’s not. With Lewis’ piano in the background he sits down next to her. He gives her a phony name and they end up at her place. He looks in the mirror and the image gets fuzzy. He walks out.

The next day Renee and Sue take Stan and Gina to the country for a picnic. After a while it starts to storm. Sue is afraid of thunder. Somehow Stan knows where there’s a house up a long road. He gets a key from a flower pot and opens the door. The furniture is all covered up. Stan seems to know his way around.

A record is put on the turntable. Gina backs into it and it slows down. Stan realizes that’s where the notes are from. He goes upstairs. It’s the mirrored room. Renee comes up. He opens a closet with Stan’s key. Inside is a safe. He opens the opposite closet. His attitude changes.

I’ll invoke my no spoiler policy. Character actor Gage Clarke has a good performance along the way. This was singer-actress Connie Russell’s last movie role.

Connie Russell

Connie Russell

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