Thursday, June 18, 2009

Still listening: Old Time Radio

One of the nice folks that we have met on our regular Bingo nights is Jeanne. Jeanne is a wonderful lady, who it's hard to believe is in her mid-80s. She's still working part-time and has more energy than people half her age. Anyway, Jeanne is quite naturally a fan of Old Time Radio and has been nice enough to let me borrow some of the CD collections she owns.

Among the collections have been compilations of detective shows, some sets of one series and others of miscellaneous programs. As a fan of these shows I'm still surprised to discover one with which I wasn't familiar or to find one by a particular actor. Two actors, primarily known for their film or television roles (at least by me) were Dick Powell and Jack Webb. In both cases, it was a pleasant surprise and in the case of Webb a revelation.

I knew Dick Powell played RICHARD DIAMOND, PRIVATE DETECTIVE on radio for several years. Jeanne had let me borrow several collections featuring this program and I had also heard several before on RADIO SPIRIT compilations. What I hadn't known was that four years previously (the same year Powell appeared as Philip Marlowe in the film "Murder,My Sweet) he had a short-lived radio program. Called ROGUE'S GALLERY, Powell played Richard Rogue, a private-detective. The show's gimmick was that at least once a week Rogue would be hit over the head (or otherwise rendered unconscious)and find himself in dreamland where he would have a conversation with his alter-ego, EUGOR (spell it backwards!). Just as with Powell's interpretation of Diamond, the show was often tongue-in-cheek with Rogue never taking himself too seriously. If you find these shows I recommend them, since you can hear how this portrayal comes close to the one Powell used in the later series.

Other than DRAGNET, and perhaps the film THE D.I., most folks probably are not familiar with Jack Webb's career. I'll be honest and admit that except for knowing he did a few other movies and later became a producer, my knowledge of Webb was pretty much limited to that of his Sgt. Friday. I'd also read his non-fiction book on the Los Angeles police department (and some of their most famous cases) THE BADGE, back in high school. It's kind of odd hearing Webb playing some one other than Friday, especially because his voice is so distinctive, as is his delivery. Apparently, his first show was actually of the comedy/variety type and called THE JACK WEBB SHOW. Sadly, I haven't heard any of those and may have to only imagine what they must have been like.

Before DRAGNET, Webb appeared/starred in about a half-dozen radio dramas for various periods. The only two that I have heard myself have been PAT NOVAK FOR HIRE (Webb as an unlicensed P.I., who also works down on the docks) and JEFF REGAN, INVESTIGATOR (where he works for the sometimes not very scrupulous, Lion Detective Agency). It's a lot of fun, if odd, hearing Webb portray characters who weren't criminals, but didn't have a lot of use for the police. In fact, in both of these dramas you often had the police working at odds with Webb's characer and even being corrupt. It was while working on the film, HE WALKED BY NIGHT in 1948 (based on a true murder case), that Webb got the idea for the series that would make him a star.

Hope you found this interesting. Next time out either comics or a movie review.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


In preparation for San Diego, I'm going through some of my comics to decide what I might need/want to purchase. I have also checked out the current list of 'guests' and may bring along some books to have signed while I'm there.

I first met Randy Reynaldo at one of the SD Comicons in the early '90s, if I recall. He is there just about every year and so was I for some of that period. Considering the number of 'small press' comics and creators that have disappeared over the past decade, it's great to see somebody like Randy continuing to put out such a fun book.

Randy's Website will tell you more about his book and the lead character than I can, so I recommend you go there. However, I highly recommend ROB HANES for fans looking for something a bit "old fashioned" yet contemporary at the same time.

Reynaldo's influences such as Milt Caniff, Roy Crane, Alex Toth and other "Golden Age" of action comic strip artists are obvious. Rob is modeled after the adventurers like Terry, Buz Sawyer and Steve Canyon, but the stories themselves involve terrorists, video piracy, steroids in professional sports and other things the Old School guys never knew of. Of course, as in those strips and Will Eisner's THE SPIRIT you'll see lots of beautiful women and evil henchmen in just about every issue.

Check out Randy's page, read some of the free webcomics and buy some of the Rob Hanes books. I think you'll be happy you did!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Remote Viewing: Surfing the channels last night

I've yet to start reading anything online, but Donna and I thought that Niel Patrick Harris did a nice job hosting the Tonys last night. He was fun and you could tell he was having a good time. I think it's smart to fill the show with musical numbers, since most of America will not have a chance to see the actual shows. Smart, also, to promote the traveling editions of the shows, as for many those are the only way they'll get a chance to attend.

Quick notes: Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Angela Lansberry are all beginning to look their age, with Parton beginning to take on that creepy, Joan Rivers overly tightened look. Liza continues to act and look like a drag-queen doing a moderately okay impersonation of her. (Yeah, Donna didn't think it was funny when I said that either!)

The new season of WHO WANTS TO BE THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR? began last night. No standouts, but you can understand why somebody doing a salad would get booted. I also can't see the nutritionist going too far either and you should never bad-mouth the network kitchen to somebody who works there!

TOP CHEF MASTERS looks to a way to spin-off from the original. Bringing in some of the major chefs who have been judges on the TC show and Food Network to compete against each other for charitable donations. I love this stuff!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I've got no clue, but what the heck?

As I mentioned yesterday, over on PARTING SHOTS, the block seems to have been lifted on Blogger. They have been working on the various filters and there are librarians who post professional information and links on their blogs, but we have not been able to access them. We'll see what happens in the coming days.

When time permits I'm going to be adding and deleting some of the links on both my blogs. There are some news sites that have caught my eye and others that I seldom, if ever, visit any longer. I doubt I'll be playing around with the layouts, since I'm pretty happy with them.

If you haven't been here in a while, or are just finding this blog, I recommend you scroll down and view my reviews of STAR TREK, WOLVERINE & WATCHMEN. It will give you a pretty good idea of where I'm at currently. I stopped promoting these blogs a few months ago, when the filtering began, but have started listing it on some new sites. If you haven't been here before, Welcome!

I hope to be posting some comics reviews later this week, since I'm currently going through three weeks worth of stuff I picked up at Nuclear Comics.

I'm really getting into the buildup to BLACKEST NIGHT at DC, but the teaser shots of returning "dead" DCU heroes has me nervous at the same time. Still I recommend both GREEN LANTERN & GREEN LANTERN CORPS, even though I think Sinestro is outlasting his usefulness. I'm hoping he departs as some of my favorite heroes make their return.

On the other hand, I think I about reaching the saturation point for "Dark Reign" over at Marvel. It might be time for both the Big Two to start getting back to non-epic stories and maybe letting the good guys win every so often.

Really quick: If you like zombies and other films of an apocalyptic nature, you should try QUIET EARTH. Good site for folks who like that sort of thing, and I'm certainly in that category. I have to admit that I got an initial kick out of the site's name, since my first apa was called CURSED EARTH, which referenced the post-apocalyptic America in the Judge Dredd series.

Well, I have to go now. There's something scratching at the door, so I better go and ....