The Complete Chess Singles A’s And B’s 1955-61-Chuck Berry 2 CD’s

1426498576_chuck-berry-the-complete-chess-singles-as-bs-1955-61-2015

Instant collection of the rock & roll pioneer. Fifty tracks on this set.

CD #1 highlights include: “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Too Much Monkey Business”, “School Days”, Rock And Roll Music”, “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Johnny B.Goode” and “Carol.”

CD #2 highlights include: “Jo Jo Gunne”, “Run Rudolph Run”, “Almost Grown”, “Little Queenie”, “Back In The U.S.A.” and “Let It Rock.”

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Evelyn Prentice (1934)

evelyn prentice 1934

Powell and Loy drop Nick and Nora for this bland soapie that’s a real misfire.

John Prentice (William Powell) is a high powered defense attorney. Evelyn (Myrna Loy) is his neglected but dutiful wife. John’s client is Nancy Harrison (Rosalind Russell) who killed a man in a car accident. She’s on trial for manslaughter. He gets her off….in more ways than one.

Left home alone again, Evelyn and her friends Amy (Una Merkel) and Chester go to a nightclub. Evelyn is approached by womanizer Larry Kennard. He’s persistent and sends her his book of poems and an invitation for tea. When he calls Amy gets the phone and says Evelyn will be glad to meet him. Evelyn was reluctant to do so. While that’s going on John is taking a train to Boston to see a client. To his surprise Nancy is also on the train.

Larry’s girlfriend Judy (Isabel Jewell) is jealous and doesn’t buy his story that he really wasn’t with another woman. She starts to threaten him but breaks down instead. He keeps putting the rush on Evelyn and she writes him a few letters saying she doesn’t want to see him anymore. He makes notes of his progress in his diary.

One morning Evelyn gets a delivery. It’s from the Pullman company. They’re returning her watch that was left in John’s compartment. It’s inscribed “To Nancy From John.” Amy shows it to John. He tells Evelyn that Nancy planted it in his compartment.

John suggests a six month trip to Europe to clear the air. They’ll take their young daughter Dorothy with them. The newspaper’s society page prints the item about the trip. Larry sees it and calls Evelyn. She goes to his place and he’s been drinking.

He says he’ll return her letters for fifteen grand. They may be innocent but they can easily be misinterpreted. In the drawer with the letters is a gun. Evelyn grabs it. Outside, Judy is coming up the stairs. She hears a shot. She’s arrested for his murder.

Evelyn admits to Amy that she shot him after he slugged her. She says she fell against a wall and the gun went off. She asks John to give up the trip so he can defend Judy. He doesn’t have a clue to Evelyn’s role in the case.

It all comes to an ending they probably thought was clever but instead it’s just incredibly dumb. This is a total failure.

This is Rosalind Russell’s first movie role.

Character actor Edward Brophy appears as Powell’s investigator Delaney.

 

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Tiger By The Tail-James Hadley Chase (1954)

james hadley chase-tiger by the tail

Another good one from Chase. Ken Holland is head teller at a bank. His wife has been out of town visiting her ill mother for five weeks. His fellow teller Parker insists he have a night out. Ken says he really should stay home and mow the lawn. He should have listened to his own advice.

Parker gives Ken the number of a hooker he visits when he wants to get away from his wife. Ken finally gives in and calls her. She’s Fay Carson. She used to be part of a dance act at a nightclub until her partner chased after another woman and broke up the act. She tells him to park his car in a  lot down the street from her place. When he gets there a nosy neighbor named Raphael Sweeting is on the inside steps. He lives there with his little dog Leo.

Ken and Fay head to the club where she used to work and they have a good time. One glitch is the entrance of the knockout Gilda Dorman. She’s the woman that broke up the act. They don’t speak to each other. Fay convinces Ken to stay at her place. She heads for the bedroom while he shyly waits in the living room. The lights go out. He hears someone go past him and out the door. He calls Fay. No answer. He investigates. Someone stabbed her to death with an ice pick. Now he has to cover his tracks in the apartment and the parking lot. On the way out he runs into Sweeting again and another resident. It finally dawns on him that the place is mostly populated by call girls.

He discovers blood stains on his suit and shoes. He does some fast thinking to get rid of them. At the bank Parker says he looks wan and must have had a wild night. Ken denies seeing Fay. Parker goes to call her and a cop answers. Ken has to tell him what happened. Later at Ken’s house the cops show up.

Life isn’t easy for Sgt.Donovan. His boss is Lt.Adams. Everyone on the force hates the boss. To make things worse, the commissioner is in the pocket of Sean O’Brien. He runs the town. He also keeps a low profile since he’s a drug dealer whose gang is behind bars in France. Sean is Gilda’s fiancee. One big problem he has is her useless brother Johnny who just came out of a mental home after a year. He was put there after beating up Fay, his then girlfriend.

Chase ties all these elements together in one of his better crime stories. He has over ninety books out and if you’ve never read him, this would be a good start. You’ll probably hunt for more.

 

 

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The Glass Web (1953)

the glass web 1953

A mystery laced with soap. Even though it’s pretty easy to figure out who dun it it’s always nice to see Edward G.Robinson. Kathleen Freeman has a bit part as the apartment house maid.

The movie opens with a murder. Turns out it’s just the ending of a TV show called “Crime Of The Week.” Don Newell (John Forsythe) is the writer, Dave Markson (Richard Denning) is the producer and Henry Hayes (Edward G.Robinson) is a former police reporter who is the researcher and casting director for the show. He’s a stickler for details.

After the broadcast Don asks Henry to cover for him. He told his wife Louise he had to work late. Paula Ranier (Kathleen Hughes) is an actress who gets bit parts here and there. Henry cast her in “Crime Of The Week” for that week’s episode.

Henry invites her to his place for some dinner and…..Before he can get to the and part she says she has to leave for a meeting with some other casting directors. What she does is go home and wait for Don. When he gets there he tells her it’s all over between them. That means no more money for her. Think again Don. She has a pair of pajamas of his with his name tag sewn in by Louise. She wants twenty-five hundred bucks.

Don heads for a bar and remembers how it all started with her.The next day he closes out his kids savings accounts to help raise the money.

Paula gets a call from her estranged husband. He’s coming over whether she likes it or not. Later her doorbell rings. She opens the door and says “Don.” It’s Henry. She reads him the riot act, tells him she’s leaving town and blasts him for what a loser he is. Meanwhile the same record, “Temptation” is playing on her record player over and over and over.

Don shows up, hears an argument inside and ducks into the stairwell. He doesn’t see her toss Henry out. Next door to Paula there’s a drunken party that occasionally spills out into the hall. Don finally gets a break and notices Paula’s door is unlocked so he goes in. There she is…dead on the floor.

He searches for his pajamas, finds them and rips out the name label and puts it in his sport coat handkerchief. In the hall by the elevator two drunken women from the party come out and won’t leave him alone. He doesn’t notice that one grabs his handkerchief and the label falls out.

Back at the bar he notices the label is gone. He heads back to Paula’s apartment building. Too late. The cops are there.  Since Paula’s not going to need the blackmail money he reopens his kids bank accounts. It’s coming up on the last show of the season and the client has to decide whether to renew.

The season ender is going to be Paula’s murder. The cops have arrested her estranged husband as a suspect. Don goes home to start writing it. When he leaves Henry asks Dave if he can write a script for it and gets the okay. Henry drops in on Don and Louise for some breakfast coffee. He brought Don some mail from the studio. There’s a package. It’s a pair of pajamas.

Don drives Henry towards work when he’s told that it was Henry who sent them. Don drives to a remote cliffside above the ocean. Henry explains the web he’s been weaving around him. Don thinks about pushing him over. Henry reminds him that it won’t do any good.

It’s an interesting ending but more for how it’s done than any revelation about the murderer. It’s based on the book by Max Ehrlich who later went on to writing horror novels. The most famous was “The Reincarnation Of Peter Proud” in 1974.

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Tomorrow Lies In Ambush-Bob Shaw (Short Stories)

bob shaw-tomorrow lies in ambush

Thirteen stories from 1965,66,69-72. Favorites:

“Repeat Performance” (1977) – Milton Pryngle owns a revival theatre. On Wednesday nights a strange power outage occurs for ten seconds or less. Then he spots minor character actors appearing in the audience. He didn’t see them enter the theatre.

“…And Isles Where Good Men Lie” (1965 novelette) – A satellite is sending a beacon that is drawing infected aliens to land on Earth. It can’t be found. They’re destroyed upon landing. They show up every two hours and may keep arriving for twelve hundred years. Captain John Fortune is called out of retirement to deal with the latest coming landing in Iceland. His marriage is bad and too many chocolate bars have slowed him down. There are questions about his abilities to handle the situation.

“What Time Do You Call This?” (1971) – Abe Short is casing a bank across the street from his cheap apartment. All of a sudden a scientist appears saying he’s from a different time stream. He tells Abe there are only two. Abe knocks him out and steals his time belt. He thinks going into the other time stream will be a perfect getaway after he robs the bank.

“Communication” (1970) – Hank Ripley is an unsuccessful computer salesman the company places in a one room apartment in a small Canadian town. His luck turns when a man from another small town pays sixty thousand dollars cash for a computer. He says he’s doing a study of everyone in his town for sociological reasons. The computer will help him do that without anyone knowing. Hank gets curious and investigates to find out what’s really going on.

“Pilot Plant” (1966 novella) – Garnett is the surviving partner of an aircraft business. One day his car is hit by a plane and he ends up with a plate in his skull. He mumbles the name Xoanon and doesn’t have a clue why. His recovery is helped by dietician Janice Villiers who later becomes his girlfriend despite his argumentative demeanor. He orders a wing that’s been under development for years stopped. Now his real trouble begins.

“Telemart Three” (1970) – The ultimate in home shopping is the telemart three. See a product you want just push the accept button and the item is transmitted instantly to your house. One man is fed up with his wife’s constant purchases.

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The Brain Eaters (1958)

the brain eaters 1958

Towards the end you’ll see future star Leonard Nimoy (spelled in the credits as Nemoy) in this dumb fun about parasites out to conquer the world. Prolific movie and TV actor Ed Nelson is the star. In the credits he’s Edwin Nelson. This isn’t nearly as bad as the title would suggest.

Glenn Cameron and his fiancee Elaine are headed back to Riverdale,Illinois to tell his father the mayor about their engagement, He stops the car after seeing some lights. They walk out and discover some dead animals and a mysterious large cone. After their report pushy Senator Walter K.Powers wants to investigate. To avoid any panic he demands it be kept quiet.

When he gets to Riverdale Glenn is there to meet him. His father has been missing. He takes him to the cone where Dr.Paul Kettering (Ed Nelson), his girlfriend and assistant Alice and Dr. Wyler are investigating. Paul crawls into the cone and later when he finally comes out he says there’s nothing in there but spiraling tunnels.

At city hall the mayor is back. He’s being forced to shoot himself in the head but fights off the urge. When Paul, Powers and the rest of the group arrive the mayor is hostile. He gets the gun and starts blasting away missing everybody. He’s shot down by a cop outside his office. An autopsy shows he would have died anyway in a day or two because of a thing on his neck. In the lab Paul and Alice discover the thing is a parasite.

Paul thinks the parasites are intelligent. At the cone Powers thinks there’s a ship in orbit controlling them. The group splits up to search for more parasites. Paul and Alice find a dead power company man. It takes them a while to hear one of the critters crawling around after leaving the dead man’s neck. Glenn and Elaine are locked in a cabin and end up fighting off a couple zombies.

Back at the mayor’s office the gang finds jars in a file cabinet. Paul figures that’s how the critters are moved around by the people they’ve attached themselves to. Powers sends a telegram to Governor Clinton asking for the state militia. He doesn’t know the telegrapher sent a message that everything was okay in Riverdale.

Paul doesn’t know it but Alice is another victim. At the cone they find a professor who had been missing for five years. He crawled out of the cone. He’s barely conscious at the hospital but manages to mumble what’s really going on.

It’s actually a decent ending including a cornball speech from missing scientist Dr.Kohl (Leonard Nimoy). If you’re looking for some drive-in movie fun then checks this one out.

 

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Murder By The Clock (1931)

Lilyan Tashman

Lilyan Tashman

Lilyan Tashman is an absolute blast to watch as a woman with a heart of lead as she manipulates her way to the gold. The movie is based on the first book in the Lt.Valcour series by Rufus King which was published in 1929.

Julia Endicott is deathly afraid of being buried alive. She has a horn attached to her waiting casket just in case. She doesn’t want it sealed when her time comes so she can be rescued or at the very least get herself out of it.

When she gets back home the new maid tells her her nephew called. Julia can’t stand him because he’s a drunk. She really hates his wife Laura. In a cab on the way to the house, nephew Herbert tells his wife Laura (Lilyan Tashman) he doesn’t feel right about going to get money from his Aunt Julia. She tells him to have a drink and get in there. She continues on to her boyfriend’s house. He’s Herbert’s pal Tom Hollander, a sculptor.

Julia has her attorney over as she makes out her will. She’s deciding who to leave everything to. She has a choice of Herbert or her strong but mentally defective son Philip. He says he likes to kill and enjoys knives. Then he says maybe he’d just use his hands. The housekeeper Miss Roberts has always looked out for him.

Julia decides the big bucks go to Herbert. He and Laura have to live in the house. Laura talks Herbert into murdering his aunt. The police chief arrests Philip after he shows his strength by breaking an andiron in half. Lt.Valcour (William “Stage” Boyd) has his doubts since Julia’s neck wasn’t broken. That gets him demoted to Sergeant.

Julia goes to visit Philip in his cell. She flirts with him and says she’ll be his if he breaks out and takes care of Herbert. That night he escapes. Laura tries to work her charm on Valcour and gets nowhere. He tells her she’s either a genius or a killer.

Later while the two talk outside the house they hear a scream. Valcour finds Herbert’s body. He’s been strangled. The medical examiner shows up. Looks like there’s some life left in Herbert after all. Meanwhile Tom confesses to Laura that he killed Herbert because she told him to.

Lots more to come in this movie. Regis Toomey, complete with a fake Irish accent, plays a beat cop who patrols outside the Endicott house. He likes reading lurid mystery magazines to find bizarre solutions to murders. The new maid is his girlfriend. As I mentioned before, the big reason to see this is Lilyan Tashman. In many scenes she overdoes it but she still has to be seen.

William Boyd had to use the middle name “Stage” so as not to confuse him with the William Boyd that became world famous years later as Hopalong Cassidy.

 

 

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