Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Big Steal (1949).

Robert Mitchum, ca. 1948
In The Big Steal, army lieutenant Robert Mitchum pursues Patric Knowles, who has stolen a $300,000 payroll that is Mitchum's responsibility. Jane Greer and William Bendix costar. One of the screenwriters is Daniel Mainwaring (aka Geoffrey Homes, author of Build My Gallows High), who adapted with Gerald Drayson Adams "The Road to Carmichael's" (Saturday Evening Post, Sept. 1942) by western, sci fi, and pulp writer Richard Wormser (1907–77). Wormser offers wry comments about his career (such as the observation that he once wrote 17 novels in 10 months) in How to Become a Complete Nonentity: A Memoir.

Monday, July 24, 2017

"Iconic detectives" exhibition at Ohio State.

On view until September 17 is "Hot on the Trail of Iconic Detectives," an exhibition at Ohio State University's Thompson Library Gallery that features detectives from dime novels, young adult books, comic books, films, and manga. They include Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, Dick Tracy, Coffin Ed Johnson, and Grave Digger Jones.

Detective fiction resources related to the exhibition

"Hot on the Trail of Iconic Detectives." Curated by Jennifer
Schnabel, English Librarian, University Libraries, OSU.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Remembering Martin Landau:
Johnny Staccato (1959).

The long career of Oscar winner Martin Landau, who died July 15 at age 89, included extensive TV work such as "Murder for Credit," a Sept 1959 episode of Johnny Staccato in which jazz pianist and private detective John Cassavetes (who also directs) looks into the murder of a recording artist (Charles McGraw) who believed he was being poisoned. Landau plays a music arranger who is one of the suspects. Music is provided by noted composer Elmer Bernstein (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, True Grit, etc.).

Monday, July 17, 2017

Harry Stephen Keeler's "Magic Coin" (1917).

Illustration from Keeler's "Magic Coin"
The Villanova Digital Library has posted the 1917 Grit publication of Harry Stephen Keeler's "Quilligan and the Magic Coin." Keeler is immortal in mysterydom for creating the flying strangler baby.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The President's Mystery (1936).

Betty Furness, ca. 1936
FDR, an honorary member of the Baker Street Irregulars, proposed an idea for a mystery novel in a conversation with editor Fulton Oursler: "How can a man disappear with $5 million of his own money in negotiable form and not be traced?" As B. V. Lawson discusses, authors teamed up to write the tale for Liberty magazine: S. S. Van Dine, John Erskine, Rupert Hughes, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Rita Weiman, and Anthony Abbot (the mystery alter ego of Oursler). It was subsequently turned into a book and this 1936 film, with proceeds going to the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. Henry Wilcoxen and Betty Furness costar.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Elmore Leonard on Selected Shorts.

On Selected Shorts this week is Elmore Leonard's football-inspired "Spirituality, with or without a Prayer" (New York Times, 2000).

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Scene of the Crime (1949).

In Scene of the Crime, police detective Van Johnson looks into the killing of a colleague, encountering an informer (Norman Lloyd) and an entertainer (Gloria DeHaven) along the way.