Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Overlooked Films: PHILIP MARLOWE, PRIVATE EYE in "Finger Man"

I have not examined the original appearance of "Finger Man" in the October 1934 issue of Black Mask, but as reprinted in the 1947 Avon digest below, the detective narrator seems to be unnamed. That changed when the story saw print in the 1950 hardcover collection The Simple Art of Murder, and it has been reprinted as a Philip Marlowe story ever since.

So, the HBO series Philip Marlowe, Private Eye was not breaking new ground when they presented this as a Marlowe story when it was broadcast back in 1983. Give it a look see.





Get your Overlooked Film fix at Sweet Freedom.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Halco was a toy distributor that had guns made by other companies (Hubley and Leslie-Henry among them) and put their own brand on them. This model labeled "Marshal" was clearly made by the Nichols company, and, except for the long barrel and grips, looks very much like the Nichols Stallion .38 (coming soon). I'm not aware of any grips like this in the Nichols line, but I believe I've seen this four-leafed clover on a Leslie-Henry gun. Like the Stallion .38, this one did not break down to load caps. Round caps were placed inside the shell of two-piece metal bullets and loaded directly into the rotating cylinder. 

My Cap Gun Arsenal is HERE.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Off with His and Her Heads!

The Martyrdom of Saint Barbara

The Metropolitan Museum has, on permanent display, 45 rooms full of what they call "European Paintings 1250-1800." That sounded pretty cool, but I walked through the whole exhibit in about ten minutes and only two caught my eye. Here they are, both the work of Lucas Cranach the Elder, completed between 1510 and 1530. The painting above is particularly interesting in that it depicts a concerned Richard Robinson (third from left) of The Broken Bullhorn looking on. We can only conclude that either Mr. R has a time machine, or he's much older than he looks. 

 Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Toy Soldier Saturday: MPC WWII Germans

We were visited by a platoon of MPC WWII Russians a couple of weeks ago. Now it's equal time for the Germans. They're not up to Marx quality, of course, but the detail and facial expressions are pretty dang good. And a couple of them have rifles with stocks made of tree bark. How cool is that?

The Toy Soldier line-up is HERE.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Forgotten Books: THE PROUD RIDERS by Brian Wynne (Garfield)

The Proud Riders is the fourth installment in Brian Garfield's saga of Marshal Jeremy Six, and the most complex story (so far) in the series. This time we get three protagonists and three major plots all rolled into one book. And all that sold, back in 1967, for a mere forty-five cents. My comments on the first three books, Mr. Six-Gun, The Night it Rained Bullets and The Bravos, are HERE.

This being Jeremy Six's series, the story begins and ends with him. Six, for those coming in late, was a skilled gunman who rode pretty close to the wrong side of the law before settling down to accept the position of Chief of Police in barely-tamed town of Spanish Flat, Arizona. Six is cast in the Matt Dillon mold, complete with his own Miss Kitty, the madame and proprietor of a cat house/saloon on the wrong side of the tracks. Like Dodge City, Spanish Flat also has a right side of the tracks, and a saloon (the Drover's Rest) where folks from all walks of life brush shoulders.

Protagonist number 2 is Matt Chavis, the guy who did his best to tame Spanish Flat before Six came on the scene, now married and making a go at cattle ranching. As the story opens, his herd has been rustled and Jeremy Six is failing to get them back. Chavis is now hard against it, and the bank is about to foreclose.

Enter John Paradise, hero number 3, who just happens to be an old pal of Chavis. Paradise is this book's version of Garfield's favorite character - the world-weary gunfighter who just wants to be left alone, but his reputation won't let him. When challenged, he kills without regret, not because he's bad, but because the years have burned all the regret out of him. What sets Paradise apart from others of his type is that his rep has already cost him his right arm. Not to worry, though, he's equally capable of killing with his left.

Plot number 1 involves a Fourth of July horse race, with a $500 prize and the chance to earn much more on side bets. Chavis resolves to capture and tame a particular wild palomino in hopes of winning enough to stave off the bank.

In plot number 2, the U.S. Army ships a $65,000 payroll to Spanish Flat, where troopers from surrounding forts will be sent to fetch it, but not until sometime after the Fourth.

And plot 3 is built on the uneasy relationship of Jeremy Six and John Paradise. Six hates what Paradise stands for, while Paradise wants to be friends, and the conflict remains in play until the last page of the book.

Among the guest players mixing it up with our heroes are a family of redheaded outlaws, an arrogant fat cat from New York City, a thoroughbred racehorse and his small but noble jockey.

And that's all I'm sayin', except that Garfield brings it all home, as usual, to a satisfying climax.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I'm Henery the Eigth, I Am (maybe)

The folks at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art say it's "believed" that this armor, including its horsey accouterments and cool shoes, belonged to jolly old King Henry VIII. Makes you want to hum an annoying tune, doesn't it?

And just in case that song still ain't in your head . . . 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Overlooked Films: Lash LaRue in RETURN OF THE LASH (1947)

It's a well-kept Hollywood secret that Western idol Alfred "Lash" LaRue borrowed his schtick from a young Texan named William "Wild Bill" Crider, who, with his pal James "Fuzzy" Reasoner, once roamed the plains righting wrongs and punishing evildoers with his bullwhip. After Lash stole his thunder, Wild Bill supposedly retired, but folks around Alvin, Texas still claim that on moonless nights they sometimes hear the crack of a whip and the scream of some no-good varmint regretting his sins.