Thursday, July 31, 2014

Margot Adler, R. I. P. Margot Adler, a longtime correspondent for NPR who was also a recognized authority on, and a longtime practitioner of, neo-pagan spiritualism, died on Monday at her home in Manhattan. She was 68.  

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

Dick Smith, R. I. P.

Movie makeup master Dick Smith dies at 92: Dick Smith, the Hollywood makeup legend who turned Linda Blair into a demon in The Exorcist and Marlon Brando into an aging mafia don in The Godfather, has died at the age of 92.

Robert Halmi Sr., R. I. P.

NY Daily News: Prolific TV producer Robert Halmi, Sr., has died. Halmi died Wednesday in his New York City home at 90, said spokesman Russ Patrick. The Hungarian-born Halmi found success as a magazine photographer after arriving in America in 1951, shooting pictures for such publications as Life and Sports Illustrated.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

JK Rowling Update

JK Rowling’s crime books to outnumber Harry Potter series

All Spoilers All the Time

The 38 Most Absolutely Absurd Things That Happen In "Sharknado 2"

Scientists reveal the secrets of mysterious ship found under 9/11 ruins

Scientists reveal the secrets of mysterious ship found under 9/11 ruins

Song of the Day

Norman Fox & Rob Roys - Pizza Pie - YouTube:

The 100 best sci-fi movies

Time Out Film: Leading sci-fi experts, filmmakers, science fiction writers, film critics and scientists pick the best sci-fi movies ever made  

Link via SF Signal.

Today's Vintage Ad

Rats on the Rampage WBAGNFARB

Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

Latest Getting Away With Murder Now Online



John McPartland, The Kingdom of Johnny Cool, Gold Medal, 1963

Sharknado 2: 10 Things We Learned From Syfy's Cult Movie

Sharknado 2: 10 Things We Learned From Syfy's Cult Movie

Eight of the greatest film noirs

Eight of the greatest film noirs

Annoying slideshow (and not all of them are noir by my definition)

Texas Has Two of The Top 10

Wisconsin drive-in theater rates No. 1 with moviegoers in U.S.: The world's largest travel site took on July 30 announced the 10 top drive-in movie theaters in the United States based on its "popularity index." That index uses reviews — the quality, quantity and recency — from TripAdvisor users for the rankings.

In that case, ma'am, you are free to go

Ohio woman slits sleeping husband’s throat, claims she was dreaming of filleting a fish

Jay Maeder, R. I. P. Jay Maeder, a columnist and editor for The Daily News and The Miami Herald and the last writer of the comic strip “Annie,” died on Tuesday at his sister’s home in Houston. He was 67.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I Found a Penny Last Week

Family finds 300-year-old sunken treasure off Florida's east coast 

Forgotten Music -- Watch If You Dare

The absolute worst music videos from the 90s

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Naked woman who broke into Texas house through doggy door, was found in bathtub, reveals what happened that night  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Mathematically Correct Breakfast -- The Kind Seepy Benton Has

Mathematically Correct Breakfast   

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Wally Wood ~ artwork for Galaxy 1957-59

The Golden Age: Wally Wood ~ 1927-1981 ~ artwork for Galaxy 1957-59

Soon We'll Have No Rights Left at All

Naked Man On Leash In W. Va. Could Face Charges

And They Say TV Is Out of Ideas

FremantleMedia North America & Jeff Gaspin To Revive 'To Tell the Truth' 

Song of the Day

Jan & Arnie - Bonnie Lou - vinyl 45 - YouTube:

All Spoilers All the Time

The Alternate Endings of 20 Famous Movies

Today's Vintage Ad

Top 10 Golden Age Mystery Novels

Top 10 Golden Age novels

Typewriter manufacturers see boom in sales

The Local: German typewriter manufacturers are enjoying a boom in sales following the NSA spying scandal. A German defence manufacturer switched to typewriters last year, while last week a leading politician called for the government to use the old technology.

“Visit Greeneland!” (by Kevin Wignall)

“Visit Greeneland!” (by Kevin Wignall) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN


Jane Gaskell, Atlan, Paperback Library, 1968

Admit it -- you've watched some of them

The Strangest TV Shows to Grace the Small Screen 

And I've Never Seen a Single One

35 Campiest Made-For-TV Movies Ever Made 

But Only If You're a Whippersnapper

9 Novelty Dances You've Probably Never Heard Of

They'll Bite Anybody

Nun bitten by crocodile

Hess' Triangle

Atlas Obscura: The smallest piece of property in New York City is a triangular concrete slab that remains private land as a matter of principle.  

Link via mental_floss.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Soon We'll Have No Rights Left at All

The News Herald: HICKORY — Hickory police arrested a Connelly Springs man after a store manager spied him talking to bushes Monday, officials said.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

300 in brawl at New Jersey wedding; 2 arrested  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Alabama man claims penis mistakenly amputated  

Hat tip to Mel Odom.


Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Best Coming-of-Age Films: An Essential List

Best Coming-of-Age Films: An Essential List 

Song of the Day

Ray Adams - "Hear my song, Violetta" - YouTube:

Edd Cartier ~ illustrating The Hand of Zei by L. Sprague de Camp

The Golden Age: Edd Cartier ~ 1914-2008 ~ illustrating The Hand of Zei by L. Sprague de Camp from Astounding Oct/1950-Jan/1951

Louise Shivers, R. I. P. Louise Shivers, whose debut novella, “Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail” — a story of adultery and murder in the Depression-era South — surprised no one more than herself when it was published to wide critical acclaim when she was 53, died on Saturday in Evans, Ga. She was 84.

Today's Vintage Ad

We've Observed Mars for Decades, But Still Have No Big Theories

We've Observed Mars for Decades, But Still Have No Big Theories


John Steinbeck, The Wayward Bus, Bantam, 1952

Why you should really take a nap this afternoon

Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science


Pulling the Plug on English Departments: “Within a few decades, contemporary literature departments will be largely extinct,” Pulizzi submits before predicting that “communications, composition, and media studies will take English’s place.” 

Rather than expressing anxiety, or at least, worry over the impending destruction of one of the only mechanisms for introducing young Americans to a pillar of art, human history, and the Western tradition, Pulizzi credulously asks, “Why should college students read narrative prose when they get their fill of stories from television, cinema, and interactive video games?”

The 23 Most Memorable Blackboard Gags From "The Simpsons"

The 23 Most Memorable Blackboard Gags From "The Simpsons"

James Shigeta, R. I. P.

Variety: James Shigeta, one of the first prominent Asian-American actors, who co-starred in “Die Hard” and starred in “Flower Drum Song,” died Monday at 81.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Cross-dressing bandit chugs soda, dances for security camera

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Elderly woman allegedly assaulted over beer run  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Exhumed Films' Forgotten Film Festival 2014

Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot: Exhumed Films' Forgotten Film Festival 2014

Overlooked Movies: Slightly Scarlet

This post originally appeared in 2005.  I'm repeating it because I was on a film noir panel at Armadillocon and was reminded of how much I enjoyed this movie.

Why would anybody make a film noir in Technicolor? Let me put it this way: If you were going to make a film noir starring Arlene Dahl and Rhonda Fleming, you'd be crazy not to. Dahl and Fleming are a couple of Hollywood's most gorgeous redheads, and they play the bad sister and the good sister in Slightly Scarlet. The only way this movie could have been improved would have been to have Maureen O'Hara in the cast as the in-between sister. But the movie is wonderful enough as it is.

It opens with Arlene, the bad sister, a man-crazy klepto, getting out of prison. Her hair and make-up are perfect, and her outfit is a knock-out. Rhonda, the good sister, is there to pick her up in a beautiful 1955 Plymouth convertible with a Pompano Peach paint job. (I couldn't find a photo of that color, but here's a nice one of the car.) John Payne, wearing a suave propeller bow tie is across the street taking photos with a long lens.

It just gets better from there. Rhonda and Arlene arrive at Rhonda's house. The house number is 1313, so you just know things aren't going to go well. And they don't, except for the person watching the movie, which is a visual treat. You wouldn't think the film noir techinques that work so well in b&w would work in color, but they do. John Alton, who apparently shot a lot of the b&w kind, does a great job here. Check out the lighting, the shadows, the composition. It's all there.

The interiors are almost as gorgeous as Rhonda and Arlene, and the swinging bachelor pad that is the bad guy's beach house is impossible to top. You have to see it to believe it. It's '50s kitsch to the max.

The outfits that Rhonda and Arlene wear are perfection, and of course perfectly color-coordinateded for redheads. I can't decide which is my favorite, but Arlene's green dress with matching hat, shoes, gloves, and scarf has to be a front-runner. Arlene is also quite fetching in a leopard-skin bathing suit. How John Payne resists her advances is beyond me. But I think I'd have to vote for Rhonda's short-shorts. Hubba-hubba!

And did I mention how great Arlene and Rhonda look? I mean, all the time. For example, there's a late-night phone call, and when Rhonda rouses herself to answer, her lipstick, hair, and make-up look as if she just stepped out of the dressing room.

The use of Technicolor in the movie is amazing. It's as vivid as anything you can imagine, and to people who say it's not "realistic," I say, "And you're going to tell me that b&w is realistic?"

Some people might wonder about the plot. Does it really matter? John Payne is a good/bad guy who's taking photos one minute and in charge of the mob the next. Kent Taylor (without his pencil-thin moustache, the Boston Blackie kind) is the reform mayor. Ted de Corsica is the crime boss who leaves town but who you can bet will be back for the big shoot-out at the end. Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton!) is Rhonda's maid, who tries to carry on as if she were working in a slightly normal household. It's all good.

The DVD I have has a commentary track by Max Allan Collins (when does that guy ever have time to write?), which I haven't listened to. Maybe I will, one of these days.

I found out about this DVD from Vince Keenan's blog. You might want to pay a visit and see what he had to say about it.

Slightly Scarlet

Slightly Scarlet - YouTube: