Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hidden Fear (1957).

In Hidden Fear, U.S. cop John Payne works in Denmark to clear his sister, who has been charged with murder.

Monday, August 28, 2017

"Iniquity is catching": Frank R. Stockton's The Stories of the Three Burglars (1889).

Frank R. Stockton
Writer Frank R. Stockton (1834–1902) is probably best known for "The Lady, or the Tiger?" (1882). In his The Stories of the Three Burglars (1889) that can be read online at University of Florida's Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature, a lawyer's trap ensnares burglars who tell tales about their lives of crime in the hope that they will be released before the police arrive. One has a proposition for the homeowner:
I wish you to understand the faults of your fastenings, and any information I can give you which will better enable you to protect your house, I shall be glad to give. . . . I have made window fastenings an especial study, and, if you employ me for the purpose, I'll guarantee that I will put your house into a condition which will be absolutely burglar proof. (59–60)
Another seems to be an earlier incarnation of George Plimpton:
"I am frequently called upon to write accounts of burglars and burglaries, and in order thoroughly to understand these people and their methods of action, I determined, as soon as the opportunity should offer itself, to accompany a burglarious expedition. . . ."
Said Aunt Martha,  . . . "I do not think that there is the slightest necessity for people to  know anything about burglars. If people keep talking and reading about diseases they will get them, and if they keep talking and reading about crimes they will find that iniquity is catching, the same as some other things." (108–09)



There is an interesting twist regarding the fates of the three burglars.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Shoot to Kill (1947).

In Shoot to Kill, the charge of murder against a gangster (Douglas Blackley) involves an assistant district attorney (Edmund MacDonald), his wife/secretary (Susan Walters), and a reporter (Russell Wade).

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dragnet, according to Spike Jones.

Spike Jones and His City Slickers perform their own special version of Dragnet in 1953.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Second Woman (1950).

In The Second Woman, a visiting Betsy Drake begins to suspect that more lies behind the strange accidents happening to architect Robert Young, but others believe he is unbalanced.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Leslie Charteris, Hindenburg passenger.

Mystery authors can show up in remarkable places, and Saint creator Leslie Charteris is no exception. He was a passenger on the Hindenburg for its maiden voyage in 1936. He talks about the trip in this brief clip (and yes, he did wear a monocle in his youth).

Monday, August 07, 2017

Chesterton declines an invitation in verse.

G. K. Chesterton, 1915.
Library of Congress,
Prints and Photos Div.
The Georgetown Library online exhibition "Written Relics: Autographs from the Talbot Collection" provides a March 1921 humorous turn-down in verse handwritten by G. K. Chesterton to what is thought to be students at Saint Louis University: "That I must miss your wheels of fire / Is not my fault at all." Chesterton was on a 3-month U.S. tour at the time (see his book What I Saw in America, 1922).


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

"Security Risk" (1963).

In this episode for the GE True TV series directed by William Conrad, which also has Jack Webb as narrator and executive producer, an American diplomat in Poland (Charles Aickman) becomes embroiled in espionage.