Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bullet Points: Mainstream Mid-week Edition

• Here’s exciting news for fans of the 1974-1976 David Janssen private-eye series, Harry O. Warner Bros. Studios is releasing the first season of that show on DVD. It’s a six-disc, 22-episode set that goes for $49.95--a rather steep price, but perhaps no deterrent for the many people who’ve been waiting for this crime drama to finally go on sale. ... By the way, Mystery*File’s Michael Shonk recently posted a fine remembrance of the first 13 episodes of Harry O, all of which were set in San Diego, California.

• I’ve never heard this before: Back in the 1920s, Sinclair Lewis--best known as the author of Main Street, Babbitt, and Elmer Gantry--“shocked his publisher, Harcourt, by announcing that he wanted to write ‘a series of short stories with a central character, a “public health detective” who would solve medical mysteries.’ This announcement from Lewis did not find favor with Harcourt, to say the least!” You’ll find more information about Lewis’ abortive attempt to become a crime novelist here.

• The fifth and final season of Glenn Close’s Damages kicks off this evening on DirecTV. “The season is subtitled ‘Patty vs. Ellen,’” reports Omnimystery News. “The founder of a controversial website devoted to government and corporate transparency gets sued after his most recent information leak does not go as planned. It’s the perfect stage for the ultimate showdown between the mentor (Glenn Close) and her former protégée (Rose Byrne).”

• Publisher Perfect Crime is re-releasing Robert J. Randisi’s six Miles Jacoby private eye novels in trade paperback size, with new cover designs by Christopher Mills.

• I had the chance to interview prolific UK author Peter Lovesey many years ago, back when a TV series based on his Sergeant Cribb mysteries was being broadcast in the States. But J. Sydney Jones had the opportunity to speak with him more recently, and has posted the results of their conversation here.

• Who remembers the Edgar Wallace Mysteries series?

• British author Stephen Booth offers a very nice encomium to Reginald Hill here. It’s part of the month-long rolling blog tribute to the late creator of detectives Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe. The full run of these posts can be enjoyed here. They will continue through this coming Sunday, July 15.

• Happy belated birthday to “Carolyn Keene,” the name used by “28 different women and men” who wrote the Nancy Drew mysteries over 73 years. “The first, most enduring Carolyn Keene was Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson,” explains the Los Angeles Times, “who wrote 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew books. Benson was a stunningly prolific writer, publishing more than 130 books, mostly for children and young adults, frequently under pen names. She was born Mildred Augustine in Ladora, Iowa,” on July 19, 1905.

A “lost interview” with Dashiell Hammett?

• Lawrence Block explains the history of his “John Warren Wells” pseudonym, under which he once published sex-oriented non-fiction.

• While spending some leisure time on Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach, blogger Les Blatt has begun writing about “one of Honolulu’s finest fictional detectives,” Charlie Chan. You’ll find his critique of The Chinese Parrot here. And his thoughts on The House Without a Key--the first Chan novel, from 1925--are here.

Here’s a book for my Christmas wish list.

• I was out of town when the announcement came last weekend that actor Ernest Borgnine had died at age 95. Like many people reading this blog, I remember him best as Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale on McHale’s Navy, but people forget that he also won an Oscar for his lead role in the 1955 film Marty. If you haven’t already burned out on Borgnine tributes, click here, here, and here.

1 comment:

Winifred said...

Well I'd love to buy the Harry O series, my favourite TV detective. David Janssen was wonderful in that role. However looks like they only ship to the USA. Will have to have a look on other sites but I'll still have the problem that it will only be Region 1!

I loved Dalziel & Pascoe, the actors were brilliant. Books were good too.

I watched the Dirty Dozen again last week & had forgotten Ernest Borgnine was in it. I suppose I remember him best in Marty, a lovely film. What a huge number of films & TV shows he was in. I don't remember seeing any of the TV shows here in the UK. Sad loss, he was a great character actor.