• As Ed Gorman informs us, Cal Branche has added significantly to his already packed John D. MacDonald Homepage. He’s also launched a new blog about all things MacDonald.
• Actor Robert Culp recalls the creation of I Spy.
• Do you remember those incidental appearances director Alfred Hitchcock used to make in his own movies? If you haven’t seen them all (and even if you have), check out Empire Magazine’s “film-by-film look at those uncredited cameos: the showy, the subtle, and the one where he sees off Ingrid Bergman’s champers.”
• Here’s something I definitely did not remember: that James Bond and the Beatles had an antagonistic relationship.
• More Beatles lore, from today’s edition of The Writer’s Almanac:
It was on this day in 1957 that John Lennon and Paul McCartney met at a church dance in Liverpool, England. John Lennon was almost 17, and Paul McCartney had just turned 15. Lennon had formed a band called The Quarrymen. They were all right, but not great, and they couldn’t play at bars because they were all underage. But they got a gig playing at St. Peter’s Church for the annual summer garden party, on a stage in a field behind the church, and then again that night in the dance hall at the church. Paul McCartney heard the band and thought they were pretty good--especially John Lennon. Paul went to school with one of the band members, who took him over to the band and introduced him while they were setting up for their second show. Paul said that he played guitar, and also that he knew how to tune one. No one in the band could tune their own guitars--they took them to a specialist--so they were impressed. Paul taught John how to tune, and he sang him a few recent rock songs, including a medley by Little Richard. And about a week later, John asked Paul to join the band.• Short stories of no more than 25 words? I now know that they make up a genre called “hint fiction.” And that publisher W.W. Norton is planning an anthology of such brief yarns, some of which will be chosen through a public contest. Details here.
• Author Gail Bowen (The Brutal Heart) is the latest interviewee in Mystery Fanfare’s “Cool Canadian Crime” series. Read her exchange with David Cole here.
• English teacher and mystery writer Julia Buckley (Madeline Mann) talks about books and beagles in the new blog, Coffee with a Canine.
• Speaking of coffee, here’s good news for addicts like me.