Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Iron Mask (1929)

I borrowed THE IRON MASK Starring Douglas Fairbanks from my mother-in-law, enjoyed it, and discovered it on the always reliable YouTube. MASK was Fairbank's last silent film and a sequel to 1921's The Three Musketeers. This version includes an introductory prologue spoken by Fairbanks, original subtitles deleted and 1952's narration voiced by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. added.

2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Other silent flicks posted on EPW:
The Navigator | A Trip to the Moon | Faust | Sherlock Jr. | The Great Train Robbery

Related topics:
Alexandre Dumas bio | Who was the "Man in the Iron Mask"?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

BTAP #30: The Devil's Right Hand by Jack Martin

It was now his job to bring Dan Tanner, the man known as The Devil’s Right Hand, in for trial. Job or no job, Coogan was not about to take any chances with the gunslinger.

He crossed the saloon quickly, aware that eyes were turning to watch him, and pulled his Smith and Wesson from its holster.
Check out the rest of Jack Martin's thrilling western "The Devil's Right Hand" at BEAT to a PULP and don't forget Martin's debut novel, The Tarnished Star, is available to order here.

Next week: Gerald So's "Artifacts."

Coming soon: "Esther Meaney" by Patricia Abbott.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How One Thing Leads To Another

Little d and I were watching Star Trek’s "The Menagerie" and she enjoyed Jeffrey Hunter’s portrayal of Captain Pike. (Sidebar: I hate to tell ‘ya, Bill, my charmer thought he was better than your Kirk) I mentioned Hunter was killed in a hit-and-run accident. But after saying that, I started thinking maybe it wasn't right, so I went to the sometimes reliable Wikipedia and learned Mr. Hunter died from a cerebral hemorrhage at age forty-two. Scanning his bio, I ran across a tv show he starred in called Temple Houston. I had never heard of it and clicked on the link. The single season show was based on Sam Houston’s son, Temple Lea Houston. Having never heard of Temple, I followed the link to this...

Temple Lea Houston (August 12, 1860 – August 15, 1905) … was considered by many to be one of the country's most brilliant trial lawyers and was noted for his flamboyant and unorthodox dress and behavior. Houston was well educated and spoke French and Spanish fluently as well as seven Indian languages.

Once a judge persuaded Houston to represent a penniless horse thief and Houston promised, "I'll provide the unfortunate gentleman the best defense I can." Houston asked the judge for a private office in which he could confer with his client. Sometime later, a court official decided to check on Houston and the horsethief. He found Houston sitting alone in the room with the window wide open. Houston smiled and remarked, "I gave him the best advice I could."

Another remark for which he is famous is "Your honor, the prosecutor is the first man that I've ever seen that can strut while sitting down."

In 1899, Houston delivered the Soiled Dove Plea on behalf of a hopelessly guilty prostitute, Minnie Stacey, in a trial in Woodward, Oklahoma. That plea is considered by many attorneys to be an example of a perfect closing argument. [Wikipedia]
I couldn't stop there, I went on to the Soiled Dove Plea, and I have to admit, it was brilliant. You owe it to yourself to read the entire passage. In an eerie coincidence, Temple, like Jeffrey Hunter, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at a young age.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

BTAP #29: Y Not by Travis Erwin

It was nearly a year ago that I happened upon Travis Erwin’s blog, following a link he had to Patrick Hemingway. Turns out, like me, he's a big Ernesto aficionado and we both devoured Patrick's reminiscence on his legendary father. I’ve been going back to One Word, One Rung, One Day ever since. Now, Travis kindly delivers "Y Not" to BTAP. I can’t help thinking Papa would enjoy this little slice of life with its colorful characters.

Next week: Jack Martin's "The Devil’s Right Hand"

Coming soon: Keith Rawson with "Marmalade"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: The Camera Clue by George Harmon Coxe

The face, rather flabby and pinched-looking in death, held a curious look of surprise rather than alarm. From where Murdock stood, only the limp and shapeless set to the body spoke of death. Not until he stepped close and bent down beside Jerry Carter did he see the small, red-dish stain that had discolored the fabric over the heart.

Carter's murder starts off The Camera Clue (1937) and it's photographer Kent Murdock who solves the case with the assistance of his lovely wife, Joyce, and P.I. friend, Jack Fenner. Camera is the third entry in the Kent Murdock series, beginning with Murder With Pictures (1935) and concluding with The Silent Witness (1973). Murdock occasionally appears in the Fenner novels by Coxe.

Those of you who like old pulp mysteries in the Casey, Crime Photographer mold (Coxe's other creation), go no farther than The Camera Clue.

For more Friday's Forgotten Books, click over to Patti Abbott's blog here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Richard Boone

Richard Allen Boone (June 18, 1917 – January 10, 1981) was an American actor who starred in over 50 films and was notable for his roles in Westerns. He was best known as the star of the TV series Have Gun – Will Travel. [Wikipedia]


Richard refused a salary for his part as General Sam Houston in The Alamo (1960), and John Wayne gave him a Rolls-Royce as well as the buckskin coat he wore in the film as compensation.

He was a 7th generation nephew of Daniel Boone.

Boone turned down the lead role in a television pilot for The Man -- later retitled as Hawaii Five-O.

His hobbies included painting and writing short stories.

During one episode of Boone's early 1970s show, Hec Ramsey, his character reveals he had worked under the name Paladin. <--I need to track this down-->

Boone turned down the role of Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch (1969).


"Every time you go to the well, it's a little further down. It's sad, like seeing Sugar Ray Robinson after his best days are past. You wish he wouldn't fight any more, and you could just keep your memories." --about leaving the role of Paladin

"You know, Hec Ramsey is a lot like Paladin, only fatter." --on similarities between his series characters

"When I direct a show, I'm pretty arbitrary, if I have a fault, it's that I see an end and go for it with all my energy; and if I'm bugged with people who don't see it or won't go for it, it looks as though I'm riding all over them." --TV Guide magazine interview, 1961

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Amber Gris

"Amber Gris" Music Video from Medeski Martin and Wood on Vimeo.

This is the first single from Medeski Martin & Wood's newest release, Radiolarians II. I especially enjoy Medeski's piano on this one.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Town Monday (Retro Edition): Xunantunich

I was going through some pics of the Mayan Ruins in Belize. I worked and lived in the capital of Belmopan from 2005-'06. On a rare day off, my wife and I were able to explore Xunantunich, one of the many incredible sites remaining from one of the oldest known civilizations.

The ferry crosses the Mopan River to pick us up.

"Welcome to the Ancient Maya City of Xunantunich"

In front of the grand pyramid, El Castillo.

On the steps, preparing to ascend.

My charmer.

View of the main plaza from the top of El Castillo.

The El Castillo frieze.

The steep descent.

To read more My Town Monday posts, click over to Travis Erwin's site...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

BTAP #28: The Tut by Paul D. Brazill

Oliver had been, for most of his life, a temperate man and survived the sexless marriage—its colourless cuisine and half-hearted holidays—with a stoicism that bordered on indifference. But his patience had been stretched to the breaking point by Gloria's constant disapproval of almost everything he did.

And then there was the "tut."
Paul's a terrific writer who's also very conscientious about commenting on other people's stories and blogs. So take a minute to read this cracking story and drop him an attaboy.

Next: "Y Not" by Travis Erwin

Coming Up: Cindy Rosmus with "Kissy-Face"

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Take On...

Thuglit Presents Sex, Thugs, and Rock & Roll edited by Todd Robinson.

Why Get It: Joe R. Lansdale, Jason Starr, Allan Guthrie, Anthony Neil Smith, Greg Bardsley and Mike Sheeter to name a few.

Excerpt: From "The Trouble with Trolls" by Patricia Abbott
It had been a long time since either Denny or his brother harbored any illusions about their parents’ marriage, but participating in the demise of women who became inconvenient to their father was unsettling. How many women must die before the old man let his prescription for Viagra lapse? Of course, Dad didn’t knock most of them off. There had just been that Olga until now.

Bottom Line: "Trolls" and Jason Starr’s "Double Down" are particular standouts of the stories I’ve read so far, and I haven't come across a dud in the bunch. Definitely worth the dinero.

Jedidiah Ayres interview with Todd Robinson, aka Big Daddy Thug, can be found here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Agatha Christie

Agatha Mary Clarissa, Lady Mallowan, DBE (née Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976), commonly known as Agatha Christie, was an English crime writer of novels, short stories and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but is best remembered for her 80 detective novels and her successful West End theatre plays. Her works, particularly featuring detectives Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple, have given her the title the 'Queen of Crime' and made her one of the most important and innovative writers in the development of the genre. Wikipedia


Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.

It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.

Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them.

The best time to plan a book is while you're doing the dishes.

An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.

The popular idea that a child forgets easily is not an accurate one. Many people go right through life in the grip of an idea which has been impressed on them in very tender years.

Most successes are unhappy. That's why they are successes - they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice.

Very few of us are what we seem.

I've always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worry and only half the royalties.

I specialize in murders of quiet, domestic interest.

One doesn't recognize the really important moments in one's life until it's too late.

I live now on borrowed time, waiting in the anteroom for the summons that will inevitably come. And then - I go on to the next thing, whatever it is. One doesn't, luckily, have to bother about that.

Related links:

New Agatha Christie Stories Discovered

Extract from an unpublished Agatha Christie story, The Capture of Cerberus

Christie's Mystery

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Four Play

Patti Abbott tagged me with this, and what’s scary is I actually had to strain to think of some of these answers.

Four Movies You Can See Over and Over

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Godfather

Four Places You Have Lived

New York

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch

Star Trek (original)
The Prisoner
Have Gun, Will Travel
The Tudors

Four Places You Have Been on a Vacation

(Doesn’t seem nearly as exciting as the places I’ve lived/worked)

Four of Your Favorite Foods

Ice Cream
Deviled Eggs

Four Websites You Visit Daily

Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine
The Rap Sheet
Boing, Boing
AP World

Four Places You Would Rather Be

Spanish villa
Australian outback
Love, Virginia
Mowing the lawn with my dad circa 1985

Four Things You Hope to Do Before You Die

Publish a novel
Celebrate the 40th anniversary of BEAT to a PULP
Visit every state in the union
Ride a hot air balloon

Four Novels You Wish You Were Reading for the First Time

The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Book of Romans
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tag Four People You Believe Will Respond

Ray Foster
Kieran Shea
Chris Jones

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Two Sentence Tuesday

Two lines from THE WAY SOME PEOPLE DIE, a Ross Macdonald story that I recently blogged about, keep coming back to me:

His skin was fresh and boyish, but there was something the matter with his eyes. They were brown and wet and protuberant, as if they had been dipped in muddy water and stuck on his face to dry.


My two are from a western short (super rough) tentatively called Cash Laramie and the Masked Devil:

A horned figure with a dark crimson face and black flowing cape, theatrically waving a glimmering cutlass, barreled down on the trio of lawmen. Boland reached for his peacemaker.

The ladies at Women of Mystery can supply you with more Two Sentence Tuesday here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

BTAP #27: Six Bullets for John Carter by Chad Eagleton

He stares at the reflection of his bandaged face in the piss-colored glow of polished metal above the dingy sink. He stares only a moment before stepping away from the mirror to the grimy porthole where Mars glowers like an angry red eye.

The planet doesn't look happy to see him. But does the planet ever look happy? Even after all these decades since colonization, all the chemicals injected into the atmosphere, all the engineered flora, and all the construction, the red has never gone away. It always seeps through like blood on a bandage. For the rest of Chad Eagleton's thrilling sci-fi adventure, click here.

Next: Paul Brazill's "Tut"

Soon: "Nothing You Can Do" by Jason Hunt

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: Through Indian Eyes (The Untold Story of Native American Peoples)

My pick for our non-fiction FFB is Reader's Digest Through Indian Eyes The Untold Story of Native American Peoples (1995). I'll let this profound book speak for itself with first a passage on the Sand Creek massacre and then some quotes from some notable Native Americans. The following is from Chapter 9, "Paths of War and Survival"...

Just after sunrise on December 28, 1864, the ragtag troops, lead by a former clergyman, Col. John M. Chivington, found a quiet encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho families along Sand Creek. Here they had set up their teepees as ordered by posts commander at Fort Lyon, to whom they had surrender two months earlier. The leader at Sand Creek was the Cheyenne peace chief, Black Kettle.

"As soon as he saw the soldiers coming, Black Kettle called out to them and tried to talk, and raised an American Flag up on a pole and moved it back and forth hoping the soldiers would stop. But they did not." -–John Stands in Timber, Northern Cheyenne
In a matter of minutes Chivington delivered his infamous battle cry—“Kill them all, big and small, nits make lice.”—and his men attacked. Young and old, male and female, every Indian was fair game. A seventy-year-old war chief named White Antelope sang his death song—Nothing lives long, except the earth and the mountains—before he crumpled under a hail of bullets.

"I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces," an eyewitness later testified, "worse mutilated than any I ever saw before, the women all cut to pieces... Children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors." Of 123 dead, nearly 100 were women and children.

"I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. Now we are poor but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die we die defending our rights." --Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux

"I am alone in the world. I want to live in these mountains; I do not want to go to Tularosa. That is a long way off. The bad spirits live there. I have drunk of these waters and they have cooled me. I do not want to leave here." --Cochise, Chiricahua Apache

"Speak, Americans...I will not lie to you; do not lie to me." --Cochise, Chiricahua Apache

"If we possessed such large canoes, we would follow you to your land and conquer it, for we too are men." --Unknown Native to a Spaniard after De Soto's raids.

"I have a little boy....If he is not dead, tell him the last words of his father were that he must never go beyond the Father of Waters, but die in the land of his birth. It is sweet to die in one's native land and be buried by the margin of one's native stream." --Tsali, Cherokee shaman, awaiting execution, 1838

"We are exceedingly tired. We have just heard of the ratification of the Choctaw Treaty. Our doom is sealed. There is no other course for us but to turn our faces to our new homes toward the setting sun." --David Folsom, Choctaw, 1830

"We had no churches, no religious organizations, no sabbath day, no holidays, and yet we worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble to sing or pray; sometimes in a small number, perhaps only two or three. Sometimes we prayed in silence, sometimes each one prayed aloud." --Geronimo, Apache war chief

"Today is a good day to fight—today is a good day to die." --Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux

"We did not ask you white men to come here. We do not want your civilization—we would live as our fathers did and their fathers before them." --Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux

For more Friday's Forgotten Books, go to Patti Abbott's blog here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Book Review Club: L.A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker

Suzanne Jones, a history teacher with three young sons, appears to lead a very normal, upstanding life. But as her alter ego, Allison Muretta, she pulls off a series of holdups, primarily at fast food restaurants dotting the Los Angeles landscape.

Tipped off to a cache of diamonds, Suzanne decides to upgrade her thieving habits and snags the gems following a gang-style massacre that leaves ten dead and merciless killer, Lupercio, hot on her trail. Charlie Hood, newly assigned to the Homicide division, begins investigating Suzanne suspecting she knows more than she’s letting on. Disarmed by her captivating charm, he eventually becomes romantically involved with the thief.

Suzanne is presented as a villain and heroine, in a gray area where she's a crook but donates to various charities. And something different for the writers out there, Parker uses first person in chapters from Suzanne's point of view and third person in chapters from other POVs.

The Washington Post said of OUTLAWS, "One of the most enticing heroines in recent American crime fiction," and I definitely agree. This novel is the first by T. Jefferson Parker that I've read but hardly the last.

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@Barrie Summy

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wild West Monday

Today is Wild West Monday, so please don’t forget to sign the online petition here to support a worthy genre. And then, click over to Gary Dobbs aka Jack Martin’s site for all WWM related links and news. For my own part, I’m heading to a hidden bookstore that I shall remain mum about (greedy me) until I’ve cleared it of all the 40s and 50s Zane Grey western magazines therin. After, I'll drop by a few outlets that don't carry westerns and throw a tantrum until they concede my point. So, if you have the inclination, we could certainly use your help. And if you've never read a western, I.J. Parnham makes a very good case on his blog as to why you should.

Shameless plug department: Jack Martin will be returning to BTAP June 28th with "The Devil's Right Hand" which preceeds the release of his debut novel, THE TARNISHED STAR.

Also, Dominic Fox beat me to the punch by posting the lovely Raquel as Hannie Caulder and reviewing the film here. A favorite that I will probably purchase before long.

Western news:

Megan Fox talks about Jonah Hex.

On Butch's trail.

Southwest town provided settings for beloved films Western Heritage.