Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bullet Points: Veterans Day Edition

OK, I admit it: I was too busy preparing for and then celebrating last week’s U.S. national elections (with umpteen hours spent watching TV news programs) to do much of anything else in my spare hours. As a consequence, I let The Rap Sheet go quiet for a few days. But to borrow a call to action that President Obama often employed on the campaign trail (and which he, in turn, borrowed from a supporter in South Carolina in 2008), I’m feeling pretty “fired up” and “ready to go” again. So let’s start with some news tidbits worth sharing.

• After all of the pre-release publicity, it’s hardly surprising that the new, 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, should have “sold $87.8 million in tickets in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, breaking the previous 007 record of $67.5 million for 2008’s Quantum of Solace.” Those stats are courtesy of The HMSS Weblog, but there’s much more being said of the movie around the far corners of the Internet. There are a couple of assessments of the picture in Salon, to be found here and here. Author Christopher G. Moore muses here on Bond’s latest body count, while Karen Slaughter contends that Agent 007’s enemies continue to make him fascinating. Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey lists what he thinks are the 10 best and worst Bond movie themes of all time. (Rest assured, both Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” and Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Live and Let Live” made the cut.) The New Yorker weighs in with highlights from a 1962 interview between one of its writers, Geoffrey Hellman, and Bond creator Ian Fleming. (Only the magazine’s subscribers can access the full electronically archived piece.) Philadelphia Weekly offers some “unusual tidbits” of information about the Bond tales. And Britain’s Daily Mail looks back at 50 years worth of Bond babes.

• Although you may not have noticed, the Open Road Blog has been running a weeklong series of posts about “great detectives,” linked to the e-book re-release of Otto Penzler’s 1979 work, The Great Detectives: The World’s Most Celebrated Sleuths Unmasked by Their Authors. Installments of this series focus on female detectives, crime-fighting duos, cozy-mystery protagonists, inspectors with quirks, and more. You should be able to access all of the posts here.

• NoirCon 2012 began on Thursday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and concluded earlier today. Among the highlights of that event were a couple of prize presentations: Veteran novelist Lawrence Block won the David Goodis Award, while editor, author, and bookseller Otto Penzler received the Jay and Deen Kogan Award for Literary Excellence. To read more about NoirCon, click here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Once-famous buggies of the boob tube.

• Travel back with me now to the 1974 pilot episode of James Garner’s The Rockford Files, available in its entirety on YouTube. At least for the time being. It co-stars the entrancing Lindsey Wagner (in her pre-Bionic Woman days) and Robert Donley as Rockford’s father, a role that went to Noah Berry when the series was picked up by NBC. To me, this remains one of the best American TV pilots ever made.

• You can add this DVD set to my Christmas list: Hawkins: The Complete TV Movie Collection. For those of you who don’t remember, in 1973 CBS-TV convinced actor Jimmy Stewart to star in a series called Hawkins, in which he played an often folksy but renowned criminal defense attorney from West Virginia, who took on high-profile murder cases around the country. The plan was to place Hawkins in a rotation with Shaft, the small-screen adaptation of Richard Roundtree’s big-screen films. The two would alternate in a 90-minute slot on Tuesday nights. Sadly, only the pilot and seven other episodes of Hawkins were produced, before the series was cancelled. Several years ago, I purchased a couple of the eps of Hawkins on VHS tape, but was convinced I would never see the whole show again. Boy, was I wrong! Following its release last year of Shaft: The TV Movie Collection, Warner Archive is now preparing to market all eight of the Hawkins mini-films in a four-disc, MOD (manufacture on demand) set priced at $39.95. According to the Web site TV Shows on DVD, “It will initially be available only from [Warner] ... , strictly to USA customers. Later on, however, this will also be for sale from Amazon’s CreateSpace MOD program, where international customers will be able to buy it, too.” You’ll find the cover image and ordering info here.

• Hot stuff! Today kicks off 11 straight days of Honey West book covers on author-editor Win Scott Eckert’s blog. The first front posted for your entertainment is from the 1957 Pyramid Books edition of This Girl for Hire, with artwork by Harry Schaare.

• This week’s new short story in Beat to a Pulp is titled “Loose Ends.” The author is Garnett Elliott from Tucson, Arizona.

• While we’re waiting to hear whether the American adaptation of The Killing will be revived by Netflix, the third and final season of the original Danish version of that show (aka Forbrydelsen) will begin its 10-episode run in Britain, with English subtitles, next Saturday, November 17, at 9 p.m. BBC4 provides this plot synopsis:

Denmark is the midst of a fiercely contested election race, set against the backdrop of the financial crisis. With 10 days to go to the election, Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Lund prepares to celebrate her 25th year in the police and looks forward to the prospect of a new job in the force. But her relative peace is shattered when unidentified body parts are found at Copenhagen dock only hours before a scheduled visit by the Prime Minister.
(Hat tip to It’s a Crime! [Or a Mystery].)

• Robin Jarossi offers more on The Killing, Series 3, here.

• Also worth watching, if--unlike yours truly--you happen to be living in the UK: Falcón, a four-part TV drama based on the first two of Robert Wilson’s excellent novels about Spain-based Inspector Jefe Javier Falcón, The Blind Man of Seville and The Silent and the Damned. As EuroCrime reports, Falcón will begin this coming Thursday, November 15, at 10 p.m. on Sky Atlantic. Residents of Britain and Ireland can watch a trailer here.

• For his (?) 300th post, the blogger known by the pseudonym The Puzzle Doctor (hereafter referred to as “PZ”), at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, has posted a list of the top five novels by British author and historian Paul C. Doherty. Since Doherty has been extraordinarily prolific over the decades, and since I have not read as widely in his oeuvre as has PZ, I shall refrain from making a judgment on these selections. But I am happy to see that the choices are spread across Doherty’s several series. You can check out PZ’s picks here.

Sex sells ... coffins?

• Well-respected Scottish author Val McDermid makes some predictions, for the blog Crime Fiction Lover, of which new(ish) mystery and thriller novelists she thinks are destined for greatness. I’m sorry to say that I have read work by only one of the people she names. I had better remedy that shortly ...

• Following up on his last gallery of cheesy espionage/action paperback covers, Retrospace’s “Boogie Pilgrim” is offering another collection, this one featuring works by John Creasey, Helen MacInnes, and Rod Gray (the creator of Eve Drum, “The Lady from L.U.S.T.”). Monsieur Pilgrim’s latest cover compilation is here.

• A nicer array of spy-novel fronts can be found in Pulp Curry.

• TV-obsessed Mystery*File contributor Michael Shonk has filed what might be his last post for a while about the underappreciated 1974-1976 ABC-TV series Harry O, which starred David Janssen as a cop turned private eye in San Diego (later Los Angeles). There are actually five parts to Shonk’s series: “Harry O: ‘Gertrude,’” “Harry O in San Diego,” “Harry O--Season 1, Part 2,” “Harry O--Season 2, Part 1,” and “Harry O--Season 2, Part 2 (1976).” Whether you harbor positive memories of Janssen’s cancelled-too-soon series, or want to learn more about it, these posts are worth reading.

• I had the welcome opportunity, a couple of years back, to interview Philip Kerr, British author of the award-winning Bernie Gunther crime series. Now I see that novelist-blogger J. Sydney Jones has put his own questions to Kerr, with interesting results.

• The British Crime Writers’ Association has opened its 2013 competition for the Debut Dagger Award. The deadline for submitting 3,000-word entries is February 2.

• And what could be more appropriate today than Janet Rudolph’s post about Veterans Day-related mystery fiction?


Winifred said...

Two of my all time favourites, Harry O & Rockford. Still hoping that one day I'll be able to get hold of a legal Harry O DVD. Still not able to get it here in the UK.

Meanwhile I'm getting ready to view the last episode of the fabulous Inspector Montalbano. They have really done an excellent job transfering Andrea Camilleri's books to the small screen. I'm going to miss him & Catarella!

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Hi Jeff - great roundup, as always a highlight of my blog reading. "PZ", aka the 'Puzzledoctor' is a very nice guy based here in the UK, named Steven ...