Monday, November 02, 2020

Please Pass It Along

• Mike Ripley’s latest “Getting Away with Murder” column for Shots includes notes about Philip Kerr’s lesser-known 2014 standalone novel, Research; the James Bond graphic-novel series Hammerhead (“once considered as the title of a film script written by Sean Connery, Len Deighton and Kevin McClory in the 1970s in an attempt to woo Connery back into the Bond role”); and new novels from Geoffrey Osborne, William Hjortsberg, H.B. Lyle, and others. Read more here.

• Tensions are high surrounding tomorrow’s presidential election in the United States. Voters are worried about the future of their country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of race relations in America, and Donald Trump’s increasing disregard for the nation’s democratic principles. To provide a modicum of relief from these anxieties, Lou Armagno, blogger at The Postman on Holiday, points us toward the results in a very different field of voting. “Each month, since March 2003,” Armagno explains, “Webmaster Rush Glick of The Charlie Chan Family Home has hosted a monthly poll on his homepage. There’s been a variety of interesting questions, all voted on by Chan enthusiasts around the world. Both multiple-choice and true-or-false questions from all spheres imaginable inside the world of Charlie Chan seek resolution. I counted over 200 poll questions since it’s start more than 17 years ago.” Click here to discover viewers’ favorite Chan flick, their “favorite ‘movie monster’ actor to appear in a Charlie Chan film,” and which Chan picture best “exemplifies the current coronavirus threat.”

• Speaking of polls, I don’t recall this one being conducted, but apparently the crime-fiction-oriented UK Web site Dead Good asked its readers to select the “100 best crime books of all time.” While they don’t seem to be ranked in order of preference, the nominees include Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia, Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent, Abir Mukherjee’s A Rising Man, Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, Dick Francis’ Nerve, and … well, there are obviously too many to list here, most of them fairly recent releases. The only real surprise here is that no novels by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, or Ross Macdonald appear on the list, but that may be down to the fact that opinions were solicited primarily from British readers.

• Here’s a vintage TV pilot film of which I have absolutely no memory: Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid (ABC, 1978). The Web site Modcinema, which has placed copies of this two-hour movie on sale, explains its plot thusly:
Right after wrapping up her role as Emily on The Bob Newhart Show, Suzanne Pleshette began her reign as “queen of the TV pilot films” with Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid. Kate Bliss (Pleshette) is a private investigator in the 19th-century West, setting up her shingle in a tough frontier town. The Ticker Tape Kid (Don Meredith) is a onetime stockbroker who has become a Robin Hood-type outlaw. Kate is hired to protect a prissy British land baron (Tony Randall) from the Kid, but soon her loyalties begin to waver. Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid didn't make it as a series, but allowed Suzanne Pleshette a refreshing change of pace from her usual urban roles.
Scripted by William Bowers, who previously wrote the popular James Garner films Support Your Local Sheriff and Sidekicks, Kate Bliss also starred Harry Morgan, Burgess Meredith, and Harry Carey Jr. Does anyone out there remember watching this pilot?

• Finally, happy 78th birthday to actress Stefanie Powers, formerly of the series Hart to Hart and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

1 comment:

HonoluLou said...

I think I remember seeing that pilot for Kate Bliss & the TT Kid...but I forget? Funny, but between The Bob Newhart Show (6 seasons) and Newhart (8 seasons), I'd wager Susanne Pleshette did more bedroom scenes than any other actress on television, while still keeping them clean wholesome fun! (P.S. T.Y.S.M. this election day :)