Monday, April 21, 2014

Bullet Points: Post-Easter Bunny Edition

• At some point during my boyhood, one of my hometown TV stations began broadcasting reruns of the 1968-1971 NBC drama The Name of the Game on Saturday afternoons, and there was no more loyal watcher of those episodes than me. I don’t know whether I viewed every installment of that mystery/adventure “wheel series” or not, but I saw enough that even now, I count myself an ardent fan. Sadly, The Name of the Game hasn’t yet been collected in DVD format. But recently, somebody who signs him- or herself as “Zardon4” began uploading episodes of the NBC series to YouTube. The show’s first tale, “Fear of High Places”--originally broadcast on September 20, 1968, and starring Tony Franciosa and Susan St. James--can be enjoyed here. There are more than a dozen other Name of the Game episodes available on Zardon4’s page--at least till the YouTube police swoop in to remove them. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen before you’ve had the chance to watch them all.

• Speaking of vintage TV crime dramas, the pseudonymous Smeghead2068 has posted something of an oddity: the sheet music from Henry Mancini’s catchy theme music for Cade’s County, the 1971-1972 series starring Glenn Ford.

• Five finalists have been named in the competition for Canada’s 2014 Bloody Words Light Mystery Award. That prize--better known as the Bony Blithe--celebrates books that feature “everything from laugh-out-loud to gentle humor to good old-fashioned stories with little violence or gore.” The five contenders are:

-- Gold Web, by Vicki Delany (Dundurn)
-- Framed for Murder, by Cathy Spencer (Comely Press)
-- Thread and Buried, by Janet Bolin (Berkely Prime Crime)
-- Never Laugh as a Hearse Goes By, by Elizabeth Duncan (Minotaur)
-- Miss Montreal, by Howard Shrier (Vintage)

A winner will be announced during the Bloody Words Mystery Conference gala banquet to be held on June 7 in Toronto, Ontario.

• I must have missed seeing this curious bit of news when Britain’s Independent newspaper carried it last month:
Inspector Morse creator Colin Dexter has written a clause into his will banning anyone else playing the part of the detective after his death--to prevent future actors “competing” with John Thaw.

Dexter, who wrote the Oxford detective novels which were adapted into the popular television series, told
The Independent: “We never want to repeat what John has done.”

The 83-year-old added: “A lot of people connected with Morse didn’t want anyone coming along to say we will try and outdo dear old John. I said I’m not ever going to allow that, full stop.”

The existence of the clause was revealed in an interview with the
Radio Times by actor Shaun Evans, who plays a young Morse in the spin-off called Endeavour. The producers of the series only managed to convince the author to consent to Evans, 34, as he would not be competing with Thaw’s more mature original.
• Ben H. Winters’ Countdown City (Quirk) has won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award as the most “distinguished original science-fiction paperback published for the first time during 2013 in the U.S.A.” That novel, about a New Hampshire cop’s efforts to locate the missing husband of a childhood babysitter--even as an asteroid threatens to destroy Earth--is the sequel to Winters’ Edgar Award-winning 2012 novel, The Last Policeman.

• The prolific Max Allan Collins talks with Crimespree Magazine about his ongoing campaign to take a variety of novels Mickey Spillane was still writing at the time of his death in 2006, and finally get them finished and into print. The latest of those books, a Mike Hammer outing titled King of the Weeds, is due out early next month.

• Pierce Brosnan’s significance in James Bond history is secure.

• If you’re lucky enough to live near the British capital, note that the Museum of London will open a new Sherlock Holmes exhibit this coming fall. The point of the show is to ask “searching questions such as who is Sherlock Holmes, and why does he still conjure up such enduring fascination …”; it will also “explore how Sherlock Holmes has transcended literature onto stage and screen and continues to attract huge audiences to this day.” This exhibition will run from October 17, 2014, through April 21, 2015.

• Critic Jake Kerridge has a good piece in The Daily Telegraph about how “Margery Allingham’s books show the evolution from well-plotted, bloodless stories to psychologically acute crime novels.”

• Sigh ... Another “noir classic” I have never read.

• Ed Gorman previews Borderline, a 1962 pulp novel written by Lawrence Block (though it was originally released as Border Lust, by “Don Holliday”) that’s being returned to print next month by Hard Case Crime. “In addition to the pleasure of reading sentences that sing, stomp and strut,” Gorman writes, “there is the considerable heft of the story itself. If this was dashed off, as many of [the] soft-cores were, this is one of the finest dashing-offs ever put to paper.”

• Nick Carter--“the most famous of all manhunters.”

• And this comes from Shotsmag Confidential: “A painting of crime writer Ian Rankin has been unveiled at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The image of the [Detective Inspector John] Rebus creator was commissioned by friend and fellow author Alexander McCall Smith. Edinburgh-based artist Guy Kinder painted the likeness after spending a day photographing Rankin. The portrait will be added to a collection at the Edinburgh gallery which celebrates some of Scotland's greatest writers.” You can see the painting here.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

THE NAME OF THE GAME repeats are running on the newish Cozi broadcasting network, an NBC/Universal offshoot, which might well be the source of the uploads (after recording from the uploader's local Cozi affiliate, of course).