Thursday, February 02, 2012

Bullet Points: Quiet Thursday Edition

• Last month, I wrote in The Rap Sheet about the short-lived, 1968-1969 NBC-TV series The Outsider, which starred Darren McGavin as a Los Angeles private investigator very much in the Jim Rockford mold (it was no coincidence that The Outsider and The Rockford Files were both created by Roy Huggins). More recently, Michael Shonk has written in the Mystery*File blog about the 1967 pilot for McGavin’s series and the 26 one-hour episodes of The Outsider that made it onto the air. Although this program doesn’t sound perfect, I would be very pleased to see it released in a DVD set.

• Critic and blogger Vince Keenan was lucky enough to be on hand for last month’s 10th San Francisco Film Noir Festival, and has been writing about it over the last couple of days. His report on the fest’s first two days is here. He recalls day three here. And I’m expecting to see his recollections of day four pop up sometime tomorrow. UPDATE: Keenan’s report from the final day of this year’s Noir City Film Festival can now be enjoyed here.

• Meanwhile, San Francisco historian and old-time radio broadcast authority Christine A. Miller shares a few remarks of her own about that film festival here, here, and here.

• Author Bill Crider points me toward a blog called Do the Math, in which a regrettably uncredited author offers an excellent essay about 20th-century novelist Ross Thomas that includes a survey of his work. Titled “Ah, Treachery,” the piece is a must-read for Thomas enthusiasts, or others wanting an introduction to his witty thrillers.

• In the limited-run blog It Couldn’t Happen Here ..., Peter Enfantino and John Scoleri (with guest essayist Mark Dawidziak) wrap up their episode-by-episode analyses of the 1970s cult-TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker with comments about that ABC show’s 20th and final installment, “The Sentry” (see here and here). They also pick their favorite Kolchak teleflicks and series entries. But they add that their blog still has a great deal more in the offing: “First up, over the next several days [David J. Schow] provides us with the scripts for three unfilmed episodes (and check in this Saturday for a surprise extra!). Then, Mark Dawidziak will offer a look at Carl Kolchak’s career in prose. David J. Schow will explore the TV offspring of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and then we launch into a full episode-a-day review of the [2005-2006] revival series. That’s right. Stay tuned to find out how it stacks up against the original.”

• This coming weekend’s dedication of the new Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., will include “a Humphrey Bogart festival,” explains In Reference to Murder blogger B.V. Lawson, “with Friday night’s showing of Casablanca and a Q&A following with Stephen Bogart, son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Saturday features the classic adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel, The Maltese Falcon, with NPR film commentator Murray Horwitz leading a pre-screening discussion highlighting historical tidbits and things to look and listen for in this classic Hollywood movie. On Sunday, the three-day affair winds down with The Big Sleep, the Howard Hawks directed film version of Raymond Chandler's first novel.” It’s unfortunate that I won’t be in D.C. this weekend.

• The 13th annual Love Is Murder conference will open tomorrow in Chicago and continue through Sunday, February 5. Click here for complete registration information.

• This is also the weekend for the Cape Fear Festival at the New Hanover Library in Wilmington, North Carolina. Details here.

• Did you know there’s a series of Modesty Blaise graphic novels?

• I have, and am currently reading, the U.S. edition of George Pelecanos’ new Derek Strange novel, What It Was. But the front of that paperback book isn’t nearly as interesting as UK publisher Orion’s blaxploitation cover. Can you dig it?

• To celebrate the paperback release of Lawrence Block’s A Drop of the Hard Stuff, the author recalls--in the Mulholland Books blog--what led him to write that 17th Matthew Scudder novel.

• For the blog Criminal Element, William I. Lengeman III has put together “an informal survey of the many appearances of [magician-escapologist] Harry Houdini in the annals of mystery fiction.” Huh. I thought I’d read most such books (including 1992’s Believe, by William Shatner and Michael Tobias), but I’ve obviously missed several. Clickety-clack here to locate Lengeman’s post.

• Finally, Spinetingler Magazine features the first review I’ve spotted of Christa Faust’s new Butch Fatale “Dyke Dick” novel, Double-D Double Cross. “Faust lets you know right quick what you’re in for with this beast,” observes Peter Dragovich (aka Nerd of Noir), “namely hot graphic lesbian sex and classic pulp private dick stuff with a brilliant fucking twist.” You will find his write-up here.


Bill Slankard said...

The Modesty Blaise "graphic novels" are reprints of the comic strip. Well worth buying, but not new material.

Bill Crider said...

The Ross Thomas piece is by Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Thanks for the info, Bill.


Patrick said...

Thanks for the link to the Ross Thomas piece! I recently bought one of his books reissued by (after getting a warm recommendation) and have been intrigued to find out more!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was Joan Blondell, the lil' fat old lady in the armchair wearing headphones and listening to some hilarious game show, while Ross (MGavin) has to wait (hours) for the acidheads in the other room to come down from their trip ...

michael said...

Ann Sothern played the woman with headphones watching game shows as her son and girl friend took LSD in another room.

Blondell was in "The Outsider" series episode "There Was A Little Girl." She played a step-mother trying to convince a millionaire her step-daughter was his long lost kid.

Thank you, for the nice mention here. But do you know how hard it is to find a TV series from this era you have not all ready covered?