Friday, December 31, 2010

The Avengers on location.

Patrick Macnee in
The Avengers
This 1966 clip from British Pathe shows Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg filming scenes in various vintage cars for The Avengers.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Norman Lloyd: 70 years in TV.

Norman Lloyd in
"Delusion" (1959)
The Archive of American Television marks actor-director-producer Norman Lloyd's 70 years in television with this interview from its archive and the following pieces from his long career:

• "The Jar," Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1964), dir. Norman Lloyd, based on a short story by Ray Bradbury (a mysterious jar attracts a lot of attention)

• "Delusion," One Step Beyond (1959), perf. Norman Lloyd and Suzanne Pleshette (man knows donating blood will result in unpleasant visions of the future)

During the interview, Lloyd discusses his role in Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942), comments on Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), and talks about his directing work for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Georges Simenon in Hitler's Germany.

One selection in Oliver Lubrich's Travels in the Reich, 1933–1945 (2010) features Georges Simenon's account "Hitler in the Elevator" that describes the catastrophic events around the Reichstag in 1933.

In addition, Simenon unveils a Maigret statue in the Netherlands in this British Pathe clip from 1966.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Child prodigies: Thriller writer Horace Atkisson Wade, Barbara Newhall Follett.

Horace Atkisson Wade,
from Current Opinion
April 1920
In Lapham's Quarterly Portland State University's Paul Collins provides the fascinating but sad tale of Barbara Newhall Follett, who published The House without Windows (Knopf, 1927) at age twelve to wide acclaim.  In the piece Collins also mentions Horace Atkisson Wade, who published a 30,000-word thriller, In the Shadow of Great Peril (1920), at age eleven. Go here for an article on Wade, who apparently followed up the thriller with a few more books and became involved with horse racing. (Hat tip to PhiloBiblos)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ngaio Marsh this week on BBC Radio 7.

Ngaio Marsh's aristocratic Inspector Roderick Alleyn is featured this week on BBC Radio 7 in the country house mystery A Man Lay Dead and A Surfeit of Lampreys (body is found in an elevator). Go here for the schedule or to listen; episodes can usually be heard online a week after broadcast.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mysteries among BFI's most wanted films.

Ivor Novello in
The Lodger (1926)
In considering the British Film Institute's "Most Wanted" list of films, it should be noted that about 35 percent are either mysteries or thrillers that trigger desire in the mystery fan/scholar for their presence on DVD. They include the following:

A Study in Scarlet (1914); Sherlock Holmes, of course

Murder at Monte Carlo (1935); Errol Flynn's first film

The Scarab Murder Case (1936), with Wilfred Hyde-White as S. S. Van Dine's detective Philo Vance

Murder Will Out (1939), with Jack Hawkins

This Man Is Dangerous (1941), with James Mason as David Hume's detective Mick Cardby

Double Confession (1950), with Peter Lorre in a blackmail tale

• Two adaptations featuring John Creasey's sleuth Richard Rollison, aka the ToffSalute the Toff and Hammer the Toff (both 1952)

• Films from the early career of director Michael Powell such as Two Crowded Hours (1931)

BFI also has launched an effort to preserve films from Alfred Hitchcock's silent film oeuvre, including his 1926 adaptation of Marie Belloc Lowndes's The Lodger with Ivor Novello.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jonathan Eig's Get Capone.

In this interesting podcast from the Society of Midland Authors, Jonathan Eig, author of Get Capone: The Secret Plot that Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster, discusses his belief that Al Capone was not behind the St. Valentine's Day Massacre (positing an alternate culprit based on an FBI document), the central role of US attorney George Johnson rather than Eliot Ness in convicting Capone of tax evasion, and other facets of his book.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Freddy the Pig brings pork at auction.

At the Dec 8 Bloomsbury auction, a 26-volume set of Walter R. Brooks's Freddy the Pig series went for $2000. A separate set of pulp novels, however, failed to sell.

Another auction on Dec 9 featured various Edward Gorey-related items.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bah, humbug: Wilkie Collins at Xmas.

Wilkie Collins, bet. 1880
and 1890. Library of
Congress, Prints and
Photographs Division.
Paul Lewis provides these insights into Wilkie Collins's various works aimed for a holiday market and the author's cranky reactions to the season such as "This awful Christmas time! I am using up my cheque-book—and am in daily expectation of fresh demands on it." Perhaps he took a leaf from his friend Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

Monday, December 20, 2010

View classic holiday programs online via MBC.

Art Carney in TZ's "Night
of the Meek" (1960)
The Museum of Broadcast Communications offers various well-known holiday programs online, such as Twilight Zone's "Night of the Meek" with Art Carney, A Bozo Christmas (with everyone's favorite clown), and the Dick Van Dyke Show's "The Alan Brady Show Presents."

Friday, December 17, 2010

BBC Archive: Fleming and Chandler on thrillers.

Ian Fleming, NYPL
A new BBC Archive on James Bond features a 1958 conversation between Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler on the differences between British and U.S. thrillers, among other topics.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thomas Hardy's holiday cards.

Thomas Hardy, 1923.
Anthony Gardner in the Royal Society of Literature Review discusses the stories behind the holiday cards sent out by author Thomas Hardy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

D. A. Miller on "the French Hitchcock."

In Film Quarterly, UC-Berkeley professor
D. A. Miller offers an appreciation of the late Claude Chabrol, director of Merci pour le chocolat (adaptation of Charlotte Armstrong's The Chocolate Cobweb) and other thrillers. More here on Chabrol.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

JPC: Nurse-sleuth Cherry Ames.

Cover of Cherry Ames,
Chief Nurse
(1944), from
Series Books for Girls
In the most recent issue of the Journal of Popular Culture Adrianne Finlay looks at the portrayal of nurse-sleuth Cherry Ames during and after World War II as "an ambulatory recruiting poster and asexual pinup girl" (1200). Although Finlay identifies only Helen Wells as the author of the series, another writer who contributed to the series was Julie Campbell Tatham, creator of Trixie Belden.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Hart to Hart retrospective.

The Paley Center for Media offers a clip from its November 2010 program "One from the Hart: A Hart to Hart Reunion" with Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner discussing their TV detective series that ran from 1979 to 1984.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Robert Altman, Elliott Gould, and
The Long Goodbye.

The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research features the early career of director Robert Altman, including his 1973 interpretation of Chandler's The Long Goodbye, an interview with star Elliott Gould, and this script by Leigh Brackett.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Happy birthday, Dalton Trumbo.

Peggy Cummins in Gun
(1950; dir. Joseph
H. Lewis)
Screenwriter and author Dalton Trumbo, a victim of the Hollywood Blacklist, was born today in Montrose, CO, in 1905. He won Oscars for Roman Holiday and The Brave One, and the National Book Award for the war protest novel Johnny Got His Gun. He was the screenwriter on such notable films as Kitty Foyle, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Exodus, and Spartacus. His crime-related work includes Fugitives for a Night (1938; studio employee is accused of murder), Half a Sinner (1940; schoolteacher gets mixed up in murder), Jealousy (1945; wife is suspected in husband's murder), and Gun Crazy (1950, cowritten with MacKinlay Kantor; a couple embarks on a robbery spree). He died in 1976.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Recent mystery acquisitions,
UK National Portrait Gallery.

Edgar Wallace, from
The Biography of a
, by
Margaret Lane, NYPL.
Among recent acquisitions of the UK National Portrait Gallery:

G. K. Chesterton
Lady Antonia Fraser (additional photos here and here)
Graham Greene
J. B. Priestley
Ian Rankin
Edgar Wallace

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mr. Ed, mystery fan.

The well-read Mr. Ed
The collection Readers & Writers, one CD from the radio program Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story, features Walter R. Brooks's "Ed Has His Mind Improved" (1939), in which our equine hero Mr. Ed widens his literary horizons through reading adventure and murder tales, displaying a particular fondness for Edgar Wallace.

Listen to the story (performed by Tony Roberts) here. Those looking for a print version of the story can find it in In the Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians.

Monday, December 06, 2010

James Sallis, Simon Brett this week on
BBC Radio 7.

This week on BBC Radio 7: James Sallis's Eye of the Cricket with African American private eye Lew Griffin and Simon Brett's Murder Unprompted with alcoholic actor-sleuth Charles Paris. Go here for the schedule or to listen online; episodes can usually be heard for a week after broadcast.

Friday, December 03, 2010

National Archives: Dillinger, Nelson, Hoover.

J. Edgar Hoover, 1940.
Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs
The National Archives' Text Message blog features a 1934 Department of Justice press release offering a reward for the capture of John Dillinger and "Baby Face" Nelson, and a 1972 press release announcing the death of J. Edgar Hoover.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Boss Tweed goes on the lam, Dec 2, 1875.

Cartoon of Boss Tweed
Harper's Weekly, Oct 21,
1871. Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Div
As the House of Representatives historical highlights notes, New York's Boss Tweed (a one-time congressman) escaped from incarceration 135 years ago today. Infamous for running Tammany Hall, he was convicted of embezzlement in 1874 and received a 12-year sentence. After he escaped, he went first to Cuba, then to Spain, where the authorities caught up to him. Tweed died in 1878.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Valancourt reissues Marsh's The Second Coming (1900); Joseph Payne Brennan.

Illustration by Sydney Cowell
for Richard Marsh's
"Exchange is Robbery"
The Idler, 4 (1893–94)
Valancourt Books continues its reissues of the work of Richard Marsh (aka Richard Bernard Hellmann, 1857-1915, best known for The Beetle, 1897) with The Second Coming (1900), a daring work that posited the effect of the Second Coming of Christ on London society and brought an avalanche of criticism onto Marsh's head.

Also note that the spring 2010 issue of Wormwood includes an essay on Marsh by Callum James (also see this post on James's blog on Marsh) as well as a piece by Mike Barrett on supernatural sleuth Lucius Leffing, who was created by Joseph Payne Brennan (1918–90).