Friday, October 12, 2012

Sampling the Sites

• Today’s Web-wide collection of “forgotten books” posts concentrates on works by renowned British novelist Agatha Christie. Among the books under investigation are Unfinished Portrait, The Hound of Death, The Clocks, Death in the Clouds, The Secret Adversary, and Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. In addition, Nick Jones spotlights three of artist Kenneth Farnhill’s classic Christie dust jackets. You’ll find a full list of this week’s “forgottens” posts here.

• Meanwhile, David Suchet--who’s portrayed brainy Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot on ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot ever since 1989--has announced that the next set of Poirot episodes will be his last.

• Oh, and one of the non-Christie novels being celebrated this fine Friday is The Eighth Circle, by Stanley Ellin, a work I previously championed in The Rap Sheet.

• During the 1971-1972 TV season, veteran performer Glenn Ford starred in the CBS crime drama/Western series Cade’s County, playing “the sheriff of the fictional Madrid County, a vast and sparsely populated desert area that was apparently located well inland in the American Southwest.” Character actor Edgar Buchanan (of Petticoat Junction fame) was featured as Ford’s chief deputy, and the program’s theme music was composed by Henry Mancini (better remembered, at least in the TV world, for creating the themes for The NBC Mystery Movie and Remington Steele). Yet Cade’s County failed to catch on with viewers, and it was cancelled the following fall, its Sunday night timeslot being given over to Mannix. I haven’t seen Cade’s County in four decades. However, I discovered today that its 10th episode, “A Gun for Billy” (originally broadcast on November 28, 1971), can now be watched, in five parts, on YouTube. Part I is here. As usual with YouTube videos, it’s best to jump on the opportunity to watch this right away, because it might vanish from the site soon.

• Speaking of vintage TV series, actors Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) teamed up to remake the main title sequence to Simon & Simon, the 1981-1989 detective show starring Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker. I don’t know why they did this, but the result is described (with tongue firmly in cheek) as ”The Greatest Event in Television History.” You can watch that remade opening here. The original (and still better) version can be enjoyed here. And a trio of early Simon & Simon introductions is here.

• The blog Radiator Heaven looks back fondly at the 1971 teleflick The Night Stalker, which introduced Darren McGavin as reporter-cum-monster hunter Carl Kolchak, a role he would go on to reprise in another TV film and a short-lived ABC series.

• One more post about last week’s Bouchercon, this coming from Janet Hutchings, the editor of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

What non-James Bond film “had the biggest impact on 007”?

• And I have to admit, the big-screen film Hitchcock has sort of sneaked up on me. I knew it was coming out sometime before the end of 2012, but that always seemed soooo far off. The picture--based on Stephen Rebello’s 1990 non-fiction book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho--is scheduled for box office release on November 23. Omnimystery News has the trailer, which looks pretty damn good.


Winifred said...

Sad to see the end of David Suchet as Poirot. My favourites in his portrayals are Hercule Poirot's Christmas with it's absolutely gorgeous setting & Triangle at Rhodes again beautiful scenery especially at the Kalithea Springs the setting for lots of films including Return to Athena.

This series has been fabulous, the characters, the scripts & the settings are perfect. Shame to see it go. Still no doubt they'll be screening it for the next twenty years & that will see me out!

michael said...

Simon and Simon weren't the first brothers PIs on TV (but you knew that). Check out the Brannagans.