Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Diagnosis: Unknown (1960).

Lawrence G. Blochman from
UC-Berkeley's The Blue and
Gold (
The series Diagnosis: Unknown featured Patrick O'Neal as pathologist Daniel Webster Coffee (created by Edgar winner Lawrence G. Blochman) who investigated cases of murder.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Rod Serling at war.

I want you to know what shrapnel and "88s" and mortar shells and mustard gas mean.

—The dedication of an unpublished short story by Rod Serling to his children, quoted in Anne Serling's As I Knew Him
Rod Serling with his 1960 Emmy
for outstanding writing
(for The Twilight Zone)
Rod Serling served as a paratrooper in World War II and was profoundly affected by his experiences. In Vincent Casaregola's thoughtful discussion "War in The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Haunted Visions of World War II" in Horrors of War, he notes that one-sixth of Twilight Zone episodes are about war (these include "The Purple Testament" with William Reynolds and "The Quality of Mercy" with Dean Stockwell; other examples from Serling's oeuvre are "The Time Element" aired on Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, "The Strike" for Studio One, and The Rack). In the episode below from Writing for Television: Conversations with Rod Serling, Serling states, "I was traumatized into writing by war events."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"Night Ride" (1953).

In this episode of Four Star Playhouse, subway passengers wonder which one of them is a murderer sought by the police. Costars include David Niven and Rhys Williams, in a story by Lawrence B. Marcus and a screenplay by Seeleg Lester and Merwin Gerard.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Historic images of counterfeiters.

John S. Bell, chief of
the Secret Service (1888–90);
Newark (NJ) police chief (1884)
The Unwritten Record blog of the National Archives highlights historic mugshots of counterfeiters—both men and women—from the Secret Service files in its collections.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Fraction of a Second" (w/Bette Davis, 1958).

Adapted by Kathleen Hite from the story "Split Second" (in Kiss Me Again, Stranger, 1953) by Daphne du Maurier, this episode of Suspicion features Bette Davis finding strangers in her house, although they insist they are the owners. Costars include Marian Seldes.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Exhibition on artist Everett Raymond Kinstler.

On view until July 4 at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming, is the exhibition "Journeys West and Beyond," which features the work of Everett Raymond Kinstler. Kinstler's oeuvre encompasses portraits of political figures, comic books, dime novels, westerns, and pulp works.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Alter-Ego" (1972).

This episode of Circle of Fear (aka Ghost Story, 1972, creat. Richard Matheson) features a boy's troublesome doppleganger. Costars are Sebastian Cabot, Helen Hayes, and Charles Aidman; the writers are Edgar winner Stanley Ellin (story, "Robert," 1958) and D. C. Fontana (screenplay).

Monday, May 09, 2016

"True Crime" exhibition, USC.

Eugene Francois Vidocq, NYPL
On display until May 31 is the exhibition "True Crime" at the USC Libraries, which features "the history of detectives in the popular imagination" and includes a handwritten letter from legendary private investigator Eugene Francois Vidocq and the "black bird" from The Maltese Falcon. (See review of the exhibition in LA Weekly.)

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Danger on the Air (1938).

Lee J. Cobb in
Danger on the Air (1938)
An unpopular sponsor is murdered during a radio broadcast, and an engineer (Donald Woods) investigates. This comedic mystery, based on Death Catches Up with Mr. Kluck by Xantippe (aka actress, writer, and radio producer Edith Meiser), features Nan Grey, William Lundigan, and Lee J. Cobb.

Monday, May 02, 2016

New pulp reprints from Altus Press.

I have ... a face like a gargoyle and the disposition of a tired tarantula. —Norbert Davis, May 1941 Argosy
A scene from Max Brand's
Champion of Lost Causes (1925)
Among the new releases of Altus Press, a specialist in pulp reprints:

Doan and Carstairs: Their Complete Cases by Norbert Davis. Boozy PI Doan teams up with his lofty Great Dane, Carstairs.

Champion of Lost Causes by Max Brand (introd. William F. Nolan). Samuel Loring takes up the cause of a woman accused of murder.

Sabotage by Cleve F. Adams. Detective Rex McBride races to prevent the destruction of an important dam by an implacable enemy.