Monday, July 23, 2012

Bullet Points: Patches Pals Edition

• It looks as if we’ll be seeing more books from Canadian author J. Robert Janes, who I had the privilege of interviewing not long ago. On the heels of Mysterious Press releasing his 13th and latest Jean-Louis St-Cyr/Hermann Kohler historical puzzler, Bellringer, Janes tells me in an e-note that “Mysterious Press will publish Tapestry, the 14th St-Cyr and Kohler mystery in print and as an e-book. They will also be publishing my thrillers, starting with The Hunting Ground, in print and as an e-book, and The Alice Factor as an e-book.”

• Having not read much of Donald Hamilton’s work, I look forward to seeing Titan Books’ reissues of his Matt Helm series, beginning in February 2013. Explains The HMSS Weblog: “Hamilton wrote 27 published Helm novels, the last appearing in 1993. He also wrote a 28th, unpublished Helm story, The Dominators, around 2001 that isn’t part of the Titan Books deal. Hamilton died in 2006.”

• With the last of four new episodes of ITV’s Inspector Lewis set for broadcast next Sunday on PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! series, now might be the time to brush up on the plots of the preceding three Season 5 installments, courtesy of Criminal Intent’s Leslie Gilbert Elman. Here are the titles and links: “The Soul of Genius,” “Generation of Vipers,” and “Fearful Symmetry.” This coming weekend’s episode will be titled “The Indelible Stain.”

• Wow, that’s quite a project. Yvette Banek has put together a very interesting list of her favorite mystery and/or thriller films. There are some obvious choices here (The 39 Steps, In the Heat of the Night, Rear Window, etc.), plus a few that wouldn’t have come immediately to my mind, were I asked to compile such a rundown (such as Cottage to Let, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, 16 Blocks).

This is one of the more sexist old book covers I’ve seen. What was it about crime/mystery novels of the 1950s and ’60s and the tendency of their protagonists to threaten women with spankings?

• I was sorry to hear that Chris Wedes, who played Seattle’s favorite TV clown, J.P. Patches, for half a century, died on Sunday at age 84. As Rachelle Robins of Blatherwatch recalls:
The Emmy Award-winning J.P. Patches Show was one of the longest-running locally produced children’s television programs in the United States, appearing on Seattle TV station KIRO channel 7 from 1958 to 1981.

J.P. was the “Mayor of the City Dump,” where he lived in a shack and welcomed frequent guests: Seattle Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, various local and national celebrities. Among his more well-known guests were Colonel Sanders, Jacques Cousteau, Slim Pickens and Tiny Tim.

He also had a beloved cast of supporting characters--Gertrude, Boris S. Wort, Grizwold, Esmerelda and Tikey Turkey.

Many children signed up to be “Patches Pals,” and J.P. announced some of their birthdays by “viewing” them on his “ICU2TV” set (a cardboard prop that created the appearance that J.P. was looking at you from inside your television).

J.P. Patches (the J.P. stood for Julius Pierpont) also made frequent fundraising appearances for local charities. He was a common sight at Children’s Hospital, visiting sick kids and promoting the work of the hospital.
There’s more on Wedes at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Web site and in the ParentMap blog.

• Also to be missed is Alexander Cockburn, the Irish-American political journalist who died of cancer on Saturday at age 71. I had a single opportunity to meet and talk with Cockburn, when he visited Seattle back in the late 1980s, and I remember that it amounted to my sitting still as he regaled me with anecdotes and facts and opinions, based somewhat on whatever question I had asked, and moving on from there to anything else he really wanted to talk about at the time. Not that what he offered me wasn’t fascinating; it most certainly was, I just didn’t have a hope in hell of writing it all down! Others have done a far superior job to what I might accomplish in eulogizing Cockburn. Look here, here, here, and here.

• Cemetery Dance Publications has announced that it will release “special trade hardcover editions of two ‘Nameless Detective’ novellas by Bill Pronzini” in December of this year, both with “stunning covers by acclaimed artist Glen Orbik.” The books are to be titled Kinsmen and Femme. (Hey, is it just my imagination, or could Orbik’s woman on the cover of Femme be the long-lost sister of the lithe lovely he painted for Christa Faust’s Money Shot?).

• This week’s new story in Beat to a Pulp comes from Derringer Award winner Patti Abbott. It’s called “How to Stay Ahead.”

• That’s clever: Nine Books NOT to Read at the Beach.”

• Mystery*File’s Michael Shonk follows up his recent assessment of the first 13 episodes of ABC-TV’s Harry O (1974-1976) with this excellent look back at the latter part of Season 1. Still to come, Shonk promises, is his report on Season 2.

• Here’s the sort of reader comment you want to see first thing in the morning, as you’re trying to separate your eyelids and inject some caffeine into your system. It comes from someone named Sheri (a most kind and discerning person, if I may say so) in response to my interview last year with James Garner, which was posted in the wake of the actor publishing his memoir, The Garner Files:
Mr. Pierce--outstanding interview! It was very informative and you asked some really great questions that gave us yet another glimpse of Mr. Garner. I’ve read the book (twice now) and never want it to end each time. There was another Garner 3-hour interview, done a long time ago, posted on YouTube. It started out with a female interviewer for the first part, then a male for the consecutive parts. It was OK (a lot of questions asked, but not good ones like yours!) It would have been so much more interesting if YOU would have been the interviewer. I really like your style. Thanks for such a GREAT read!
Five pretty good writing tips from Tana French.

This ad brings back good memories.

• Speaking of TV advertisements and related promos, The Booksteve Channel’s Steve Thompson has begun posting assorted images from 16 years worth of TV Guides that he recently acquired. His selections commence here and here.

• Theatergoers are still lining up to see Savages, the film adaptation of Don Winslow’s 2010 novel of that same name. But already, Omnimystery News is reporting that Winslow’s 1999 book, California Fire and Life, will be given its own new life on the silver screen.

• R.I.P., Sally Ride, “the first American woman to fly in space,” who died today at her home in San Diego. She was just 61 years old.

• And Ivan G. Shreve Jr. says to be on the lookout for a new, 12-disc set containing all 114 episodes of Peter Gunn (1958-61). He notes that the street date will be October 23, and the price for Peter Gunn: The Complete Series will be $99.98 “(it will also contain a bonus CD of music from the show, composed by none other than Henry Mancini).”


Mike Ripley said...

Sorry to hear about Alexander Cockburn, whose journalism is not that well-known here in the UK. I only met him once, in London, when he was visiting his mystery-writer sister, the late, great Sarah Caudwell.

Michael Kelberer said...

I'm delighted that there is at least one other person in the world who remembers the Matt Helm series - I've been re-acquiring them over the last two months and rereading them from the beginning. He was unique. And the opening paragraph in the first one (Death of a Citizen) is a classic....