Friday, August 26, 2016

FFB: Robert Arthur, editor: ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: STORIES MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME (Random House, 1963)

The celebration among my film-oriented friends and acquaintances and blogging colleagues of Alfred Hitchcock's 117th birthday anniversary (eleven come seven!) on and around 13 August reminded me, as any mention of Hitchcock is likely to, of just how profound the influence of the anthology series he licensed his name to (with Random House, under the ghost editorship of Robert Arthur, who sometimes would use his pseudonym "Pauline C. Smith" for the purpose), the Alfred Hitchcock Presents: books, a multimedium tie-in to the television series launched the same year, 1956 (which also saw his partnership with a magazine publisher, to form HSD Publications produce the first issues of the still-publishing Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. Random House would shortly thereafter begin publishing Arthur's similar, though rather handsomely  illustrated, young readers' anthologies, and eventually to begin a series of teen detective series novels, the Three Investigators, who initially would interact with Hitchcock as a character in the books. Add to that that Dell Books would publish the fat AHP: hardcovers in two-volume paperback sets, and also the more or less annual best-ofs from the magazine, and a level of intentional and unintentional confusion about who was responsible for what under the Hitchcock brand remains a tangle for bibliographers, as has been addressed occasionally on this blog and related ones and centrally on a few such as Frank Babics's and The Hitchcock Zone

So, here's the Contento index of this volume; imagine the effect on a young reader such as myself at age 10 or 11, upon opening such a magisterial selection, not the first AHP: I read, nor certainly the last, but one of the best of a brilliant set...drawn from sources as eclectic as the nature of the stories, save that they featured characters drawn into or trapped by extraordinary circumstances of one outre sort or another, usually told in excellent or at least engaging prose, and usually both intense and shot through with often grim wit:
    Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me ed. Alfred Hitchcock (ghost edited by Robert Arthur) (Random House LCC# 63-16155, 1963, $5.95, 401pp, hc)
    Derivative anthologies: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me (Dell 1966), Alfred Hitchcock Presents: More Stories My Mother Never Told MeAlfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me, Part IAlfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me, Part II.
    • Introduction · Alfred Hitchcock (ghosted by Robert Arthur) · in
    • The Child Who Believed · Grace Amundson · ss The Saturday Evening Post Dec 16 1950
    • Just a Dreamer [Murchison Morks] · Robert Arthur · ss Argosy Jul 5 1941
    • The Wall-to-Wall Grave · Andrew Benedict · ss Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Sep 1962, as “Walkup to Death”
    • The Wind · Ray Bradbury · ss Weird Tales Mar 1943
    • Congo · Stuart Cloete · ss Story Mar/Apr 1943
    • Witch’s Money · John Collier · ss The New Yorker May 6 1939
    • Dip in the Pool · Roald Dahl · ss The New Yorker Jan 19 1952
    • The Secret of the Bottle · Gerald Kersh · nv The Saturday Evening Post Dec 7 1957
    • I Do Not Hear You, Sir · Avram Davidson · ss The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Feb 1958
    • The Arbutus Collar · Jeremiah Digges · ss Story Aug 1936
    • A Short Trip Home · F. Scott Fitzgerald · nv The Saturday Evening Post Dec 17 1927
    • An Invitation to the Hunt · George Hitchcock · ss San Francisco Review Mar 1960
    • The Man Who Was Everywhere · Edward D. Hoch · ss Manhunt Mar 1957
    • The Summer People · Shirley Jackson · ss Charm Sep 1950
    • Adjustments · George Mandel · ss Great Tales of the Far West, ed. Alex Austin, Lion Books 1956
    • The Children of Noah · Richard Matheson · ss Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Mar 1957
    • The Idol of the Flies · Jane Rice · nv Unknown Worlds Jun 1942
    • Courtesy of the Road · Mack Morriss · ss Collier’s Nov 5 1949
    • Remains to Be Seen · Jack Ritchie · ss Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Jun 1961, as by Steve O’Connell
    • The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles · Idris Seabright (pseudonym of Margaret St. Clair) · ss The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Oct 1951
    • Lost Dog · Henry Slesar · ss Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Feb 1958
    • Slime · Joseph Payne Brennan · nv Weird Tales Mar 1953 [Dell paperback reprint edition only]
    • How Love Came to Professor Guildea · Robert S. Hichens · na Pearson’s Magazine Oct 1897, as “The Man Who Was Beloved” [Dell paperback reprint edition only]
    • Hostage · Don Stanford · ss Cosmopolitan Aug 1953
    • Natural Selection · Gilbert Thomas · ss Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Aug 1950
    • Simone · Joan Vatsek · ss Today’s Woman 1949
    • Smart Sucker · Richard Wormser · ss Manhunt Jan 1957
    • Some of Your Blood · Theodore Sturgeon · n. Ballantine Books 1961 [missing from the Dell editions]
--the impressive mix of a few Not Yet Quite chestnuts of anthologies of suspense and horror fiction, and related fields, with stories new and older from writers famous or then as now somewhat little known (and keeping it in the family, Arthur includes not only his own fine story--and would in other volumes have both an Arthur and a Pauline C. Smith story on occasion--but also a good one by his wife, Joan Vatsek). Robert Arthur knew his fields of fiction well and had excellent taste...as did his successor Harold Q. Masur, after Arthur's rather early death in 1969; Masur would continue to produce only slightly less diverse anthologies for Random House till Hitchcock's death in 1980, and then one more volume for the same instant remainder publisher, Galahad, that was then publishing at least one of the AHMM-derived anthologies. And, as several of the Arthur Random House volumes could boast, the inclusion as the last entry a complete novel, its first time in a hardcover edition (as apparently no book club was interested in reprinting a paperback original novel about a rather pragmatic fellow who believes quite sincerely he's a vampire...and among other things finds a very convenient manner of sating his craving for blood)(hey, as a kid, I was already aware of the rudiments of menstruation...largely from reading Louise Fitzhugh's second novel about Harriet the Spy, The Long Secret, and from the light pass-over of the matter in some sex-ed materials I'd read, but this was still a bit icky...and that much more so apparently to many theoretically adult readers and editors). Perhaps it wasn't just space limits nor copyright matters/conflict with the Ballantine paperback edition that led to the novel being dropped from the Dell paperback reprint editions...which add the Joseph Payne Brennan story "Slime" and the already rather familiar Robert Hichens "How Love Came to Professor Guildea" (which Arthur would also include in his 1965 YA anthology Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum) to help fill the hole.
1970s edition...
I certainly remember the horror stories in this anthology the most clearly among the contents, though the Fitzgerald, as crime fiction, is also very much of a piece with his most famous work in dealing with both the resentment and the envy of the wealthiest Americans, and the enchantment of the protagonist with a young woman not too interested in commitment...another companion piece to Gatsby. The Matheson (borderline suspense/horror about a nice New England town with some odd nutritional tics of its own), the Brennan (one of the most famous of the inspirations for The Blob, and the author's most famous story), the Rice, the Jackson, the Hichens, the Collier, the proto-steampunkish sfnal horror of the Davidson (this might've been the first Avram Davidson story I read) and particularly the "Seabright"--the most famous story by Margaret St. Clair, though her "The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes" was dramatized rather well by Night Gallery...I had read the "Gnoles" story in a Betty M. Owen Scholastic Book Services anthology before encountering it here, but it remains great fun. The Masur volumes were even more studded with major crime fiction writers I would encounter again in my adult reading, though often their bylines hadn't stuck with me, and I discovered I'd read them years or decades before in looking again at the anthologies recently, where as one can see above, Arthur was no slouch in this manner, either...Henry Slesar's "Lost Dog" has stuck with me. And I do remember not being able to find "arbutus" in the first dictionary I consulted. And this was definitely the first encounter I had with the fiction of Stuart Cloete...though I wouldn't learn that his surname was "clew-tee" for a decade or so. 
I'd say this anthology series, more than any other single set of books, exposed me to what I might enjoy in future reading and sent me down interesting new pathways...often, any anthology or certainly any anthology series I enjoy is at some level compared with range and grace of these books, which apparently did very well indeed for their publishers for more than a quarter century, and are so sorely missed by some that McSweeney's even reprinted one, in a typically half-assed though cute package, in tandem with a similar anthology edited by contributor Ray Bradbury back in the day. 

For mor of today's books, pleas see Patti Abbott's blog.
Sergio Angelini's fine review-essay







































    Alfred Hitchcock’s Monster Museum ed. Anon. (by Robert Arthur) (Random House, 1965, $3.95, 207pp, hc)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tuesday's Overlooked A/V: films, television, radio and more: the links to reviews, interviews and more...

The weekly round up of reviews, interviews, and more about A/V materials, usually those that have been undeservedly overlooked (some deservedly, some not overlooked at all in some cases, but those write-ups need  to have some larger interest to make this not exactly exclusive list...usually!).  More to come in this week's list, sometime tomorrow...thanks to all!

Adam Ferenz: The Fly (1986 film); The Matrix

A. J. Wright: Cathy O'Donnell

Anne Billson: David Lynch; posters as art 

Bhob Stewart: Vic and Sade; Trouble the Water; Jazz on Summer's Day; game show scandals


The Big Broadcast 21 August 2016:
  • 7 p.m. Yours Truly Johnny Dollar
    “The Chesapeake Fraud Matter” Parts 4 + 5 (CBS, Original airdates October 20 and 21, 1955)
  • 7:30 p.m. Burns and Allen
    “George's Allergy Problem” (NBC, Original Airdate September 5, 1946) 
  • 8 p.m. Gunsmoke
    “Kitty’s Killing”, episode 285 (CBS, Original airdate February 2, 1958)
  • 8:20 p.m. The Adventures of Superman
    “Airplane Disasters at Bridger Field” Part #6 (Mutual/MBS, Original airdate May 9, 1940) 
  • 8:30 p.m. Dragnet
    “Sullivan Kidnapping” (NBC, Original airdate September 10, 1949) *
  • 9 p.m. The Whistler
    “Murder at Twin Pines” (CBS, Original airdate April 10, 1949) *
  • 9:30 p.m. Dimension X
    “With Folded Hands” (NBC, Original airdate April 15, 1950) 
  • 10 p.m. Suspense
    “The Man Who Knew How” (CBS, Original airdate August 10, 1944)
  • 10:30 p.m. Inner Sanctum
    “Birdsong For a Murderer” (CBS, Original airdate June 22, 1952)

Bill Crider: So Fine [trailer]

Bob Clark: Akira

Brent McKee: Democrats v. Republicans in choices of US tv drama

B. V. Lawson: Media Murder

Classic Movie Salon: A Hatful of Rain; this week's Sunday discussion: 
Mister 880 

Colin McGuigan: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939 film)

Cult TV: The Prisoner: "Living in Harmony"; "The Girl Who Was Death"

Cynthia Fuchs: The Host (2013 film)

David Alexander: House of Secrets (1936 film)

Elizabeth Foxwell: The 20th Century-Fox Hour: "Deception"; heist films featuring women thieves

Eric Hillis: Conversation Piece (1974 film)

Faculty of Horror: The Babadook; Goodnight Mommy

George Kelley: Muscle Shoals; Indignation

"Gilligan Newton-John": Carry On Christmas

How Did This Get Made?: Gods of Egypt

Iba Dawson: Mae West; Noir in color

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Chicago Confidential

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "The Woman Who Wanted to Live"

Jackie Kashian: Karen Rontowski on tarot, comedians, etc.

Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin: The Jackie and Laurie Show  

Jacqueline T. Lynch: Seven Days in May

Jake Goldman: NET Playhouse: "Between Time and Timbuktu" (Kurt Vonnegut adaptation)


James Reasoner: Guns in the Dark

Janet Varney: Jessica St. Clair

Jason Abbey: Female Prisoner Scorpion 

Jason Bailey: The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996 trainwreck film) 
--courtesy Bill Crider

Jerry House: The Patchwork Girl of Oz; X Minus One: "Skulking Permit"

John Grant: The Ninth Guest

John Scoleri: Dark Shadows Before I Die: the episodes reviewed

John Varley: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Jonathan Lewis: Sabata

Karen Hannsberry: The Strange Love of Molly Louvain

Kate Laity: Tutti Frutti

Ken Levine: The Night Before; lost and found scripts

Kliph Nesteroff: The Frances Langford Special

Kristina Dijan: Naked City (tv series)

Laura G: The Deadline (1931 film); Arizona Bound; About Face; The Reluctant Dragon; TCM in November

Lesley Gaspar: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947 film)

Lindsey D: Internes Can't Take Money

Lucy Brown: Leaving (tv)

Maltin on Movies: Mel Brooks

Marilyn Ferdinand: The Incredible Shrinking Man

Martin Edwards: A Game of Murder; One of Us (BBC TV)

Marty McKee: Man on a Swing; Supertrain: "Express to Terror"; HellBound

Mildred Perkins: Stacy

Mitchell Hadley: Cleveland/Columbus television, 26 August 1971; TV Guide, 21 August 1971; sitcoms

Movie Sign with the Mads: Suicide Squad

Noel Vera: You Have Been Weighed and Found Wanting; Lilia Cuntapay (aka Antoinette Jadaone)

Patricia Nolan-Hall: Night Must Fall and Robert Montgomery

Patti Abbott: Sabrina (1954 film); wait staff in drama

Paul Brazill: The Woman in the Window

Pop My Culture: Andre Gower and Ryan Lambert

Raquel Stecher: Song of Russia; CapitolFest

Rick: The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band

Robert Hornak: E. T.: The Extraterrestrial

Roberto Curti: Unlikely superheroes of Italian cinema

Rod Lott: Observance; Killing Spree; The Bat People

"Rupert Pupkin": Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon; Wild in the Streets

Ruth Kerr: American Madness with Constance Cummings

Salome Wilde: quick takes: The Damned Don't Cry; I Confess; Johnny Eager; I Walk Alone; The Devil and Daniel Webster; Ladies in Retirement; The Bat; Elevator to the Gallows; Danger 5: Season 2

Sarah Jane: Underrated films of 1976

Sergio Angelini: The Pearl of Death

Stacia Kissick Jones: Doc Hollywood

Stacie Ponder: films I love

Stephen Bowie: TV series that took a while to find their feet

Stephen Gallagher: TV drama anthologies and adaptations; Jurassic Park when new

Television Obscurities: Slattery's People

Tim Lones: WJAN, Canton, OH

Tynan: October: Ten Days That Shook the World; She Done Him Wrong 

Victoria Loomes: You'll Never Get Rich

Vienna: Hitchcock's left turn with Psycho; Ingrid Bergman

Walter Albert: The Kiss Before the Mirror

Courtesy Kate Laity, who notes about the trailer, "Wow.": 
The Guardian's Stuart Heritage (?) has a bit of a snarky rant about this trailer here, and it is pretty miserable:

My response to both trailer and rant:
Yes, even given trailers are the worst thing about most movies (and all you need of a film like this, most likely), if "Stuart Heritage" has never seen anything more offensive than this, I envy his life, if not his experience of the world...but, yes, there's a high ratio of flakes among the cast of award-winners, and clearly Zellweger's role was meant for Gwyneth Paltrow, but the nasal drawl was beyond the latter's ability. But, yeah. Smuglift (tm) at its finest.

[I probably didn't come up with this term...but it's useful to describe such films as the Oscar-winning Crash.]

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

7 daily songs from the 1980s: Saturday Music Club all week

From FaceBook:

Sunday:
A 1980s song each day for seven days? Not too tough! As to whom to tag...well, three people who could do so at least as easily are Kate LaityPaul David Brazill and Brian Arnold, even if Brian might be best with the latter '80s. If you choose to accept this chain letter, untold Likes might befall you. Or even 3-6. Mark Hand tagged me with his initial offering. This Joan Armatrading song has been liked by essentially everyone I've played it for,..including one young hiphop fan whose mind was blown by his first experience of her on my Philadelphia radio show. It's not Too obscure, but not well-enough known either.


Monday:
1980s songs, day 2 of 7: The first song I heard from Jawbox, their first released recording aside from a demo cassette (and a very good one), iinm...on the MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL anthology album pictured, 1989, purchased by my ex Donna (when not yet my ex). A somewhat milder, if better-recorded, version appeared on their first album, GRIPPE (Dischord 1991). I don't think I ever got around to asking them how much John Cheever's novel had to do with the song's title...a literate bunch, even if their first drummer found folks such as myself as making them out as greater sophisticates than he thought they were...or at least he was. The song "Motorist" (on their first Atlantic album FOR YOUR OWN SPECIAL SWEETHEART) was definitely inspired by J. G. Ballard's novel CRASH.


Playback without surface noise, from the Jawbox rare and scattered tracks collection MY SCRAPBOOK OF FATAL ACCIDENTS (DeSoto 2004): 


The album version, released 1991--on this link cued up to "Bullet Park":


Tuesday:
Keiko Hassler turned me onto the Bangles in 1982, I think it was, with the first five-song EP on Faulty Products...recorded when Annette Zilinskas was still the bassist (and harmonica player). By the time they signed to CBS, Michael Steele (formerly, briefly one of the Runaways, as Micki) had joined the band and their first album, ALL OVER THE PLACE (1984), was more than fine. Since I put up "Bullet Park" yesterday, here's another song that shares a title with a literary work, albeit it was only the title, plucked from an academic anthology (an OXFORD BOOK OF, iirc), that the song shared with the Matthew Arnold poem. I've half-wondered ever since if the debut of the atrocious (Scholastic Productions!) tv series CHARLES IN CHARGE, with a theme in its original form that has a similar arrangement as well as melody to "Dover Beach," was leveraged against CBS to get them to put more support behind the second album...though I wonder also if CBS's hostility to the band as a band (choosing to emphasize the clothing, putting out singles that featured non-band compositions) also might've resulted from any seeking of redress there. I'd just moved to the DC area in April 1984, and went to the 9:30 Club for the first time that summer to see the band. 

At one point, after a song, some jackass shouted "Play some REAL music!" Susanna Hoffs's rejoinder, "That's not fair. We're from L.A." was better than the audience response it got.


Wednesday:
The first all-woman "supergroup" in bluegrass, featuring dobroist Sally Van Meter, violinist Laurie Lewis, banjoist Cathy Fink, guitarist and mandolinist Marcy Marxer; and bassist Molly Mason (no known relation). Blue Rose produced what I believe was their only album in 1988. This concert recording is pretty close to their studio sound.


Thursday:
Throwback Thursday got several videos for its trouble...but speaking of trouble, FaceBook is Down. Who knows which gremlins. So the order here might not be Exactly the order of the FB post.

Friday:
From funk (however mutant) to rap to jazz-pop. No lack of that in the 1980s...
The Gil Scott Heron Band: "1980"



...to be continued...




Sunday, August 21, 2016

1946: some jazz: Saturday Music Club on Sunday: expanded with the Count Basie Orchestra on his birthday

The Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and others: Jivin' in Be-Bop






















The Dave Brubeck Octet: "How High the Moon"


The Gene Krupa Orchestra: "How High the Moon"


The Claude Thornhill Orchestra: "Arab Dance"


The International Sweethearts of Rhythm: "She's Crazy With The Heat"; "Do You Wanna Jump Children?"; "How'Bout That Jive?"; "Round & Brown Blues"


The Coleman Hawkins Orchestra: "I Mean You"


Charlie Parker Septet: "A Night in Tunisia"


I knew I should've had some Basie in here:
The Count Basie Orchestra: "The Mad Boogie"


Duke Ellington and Django Reinhardt: "A Blues Riff"


Luckeyeth Roberts: "Ripples of the Nile"


Art Tatum: "Poor Butterfly"


Nat King Cole Trio: "Route 66"


1956 bonus track:
Johnny Mathis (orchestra under the direction of Teo Macero): "Caravan"

  • March 23, 1956 – "Babalu", "Caravan"
  • Teo Macero – arranger, conductor
  • Nick Travis – trumpet
  • Eddie Bert – trombone
  • Hal McKusick – clarinet and alto sax
  • Danny Bank – flute and baritone sax
  • Gerry Citron – piano
  • Teddy Kotick – bass
  • Joe Harris – drums
  • Bob Prince – bongo drums and percussion

Friday, August 19, 2016

FFM: FANTASTIC STORIES, December 1971, edited by Ted White; THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, November 1971, edited by Edward Ferman



The Magazines:
The first issue of F&SF I read, five years and some months after it was published (in latest 1977 or earliest 1978), and the Fantastic that came out at the same time (a bimonthly v. monthly for the slightly older magazine), which I've never gotten around to reading till now. Let's see if nostalgia has much of an effect, or the lack of same leads to less sentimental grade inflation...

And two special issues...the anniversary issue for F&SF, which has usually been careful to note its anniversaries (and often offer All-Star specials to soften the blow of price rises--this the first 75c issue), and the first issue from a (happily short-term) new printer, apparently the same one printing the similarly ugly and gray-ink issues of former stablemate Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine of this period. Their previous printer suddenly inflated prices by some Large chunk at the last minute, and apparently Joseph and Edward Ferman, father and son and publisher and editor, expected a less distressing product with the new discount printers; presumably the EQMM folks at Davis Publications recommended their contractors as capable of doing the job in a pinch. As it happens, F&SF dumped the printers of this and the next several issues in favor of the printers used by Fantastic and Amazing, after Ted White put them in touch with each other.  Hence, both magazines in the early '70s and throughout the decade, like many paperbacks from the same era, had stiff/heavy stock, full-color cigaret ads bound into the middle of the issues...presumably, this bit of business helped defray printing costs. The Fantastic is also a special issue, albeit apparently one of lowest-selling of the magazine in that period, featuring as it did several up and coming writers who were participants in the DC-area "Guilford Writers Workshop"...which took its name in honor of, and jest regarding, the well-established Milford Writers retreat Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm would host annually in those years. Despite all of them going on to have at least sustained careers, none of the Guilford writers were names to conjure with in 1971, except among those Deeply into fantastic fiction. White himself was the first and most widely-published among the group including George Alec Effinger, Gardner Dozois, Jack Dann and Jack Haldeman (elder brother of Joe Haldeman). 

The Contents: the stories, visual art and nonfiction features:
I find it interesting that despite both contributing a fair amount of covers to various fantastic-fiction publications, both magazine issues and books, both Chesley Bonestell and Douglas Chaffee would gain their greatest renown and daily bread in related fields...Bonestell in astronomical art for nonfictional publication, Chaffee in game-related art (though early in his career, Chaffee worked for IBM, and US government agencies; both artists were engaged by NASA). Not that there were enough fiction magazines in this era to support any artist by themselves, even if Stephen Fabian and Vincent Di Fate were coming closest to doing so in the 1970s. Good, even if not the best, examples of both men's work.

Contents


Contents

For more of today's books (and magazines) please see Patti Abbott's blog.