Tuesday, July 07, 2015

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Pony tail comment sparks mass brawl and derails tram in Manchester

Return to Pal-ul-don -- Will Murray

Having enjoyed Will Murray's novels that continue the adventures of Doc Savage, I was pretty sure I couldn't go wrong with his new Tarzan adventure, Return to Pal-ul-don.  And I was right.  It's been a long time since I read Tarzan the Untamed and Tarzan the Terrible, and I didn't reread the former in preparation for this book, like James Reasoner did, but that turned out to be okay.  You don't really have to remember the earlier stories about Pal-ul-don to appreciate this one.  Besides, it's surprising how some of the old memories come back as soon as you read the words "Ho-don" and "Waz-don."

[Nostalgic aside: I read the Tarzan books in the old wartime G&D editions, passed on to me by my cousins Crider King and Billy King, without their dust jackets.  The paper in those editions was some of the most acidic ever produced, and now (yes, I still have them) the pages are so dark that it's hard to read the text.]

In Return to Pal-ul-don, set during WWII, John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, is given the job of locating a missing British spy who has information vital to the cause. The spy is missing in Africa, and Clayton must locate the missing agent, code-named Ilex.  Piloting a P-40 Tomahawk, Clayton is knocked out of the air after a fight with several pteranodons and finds himself once more in the mysterious Pal-ul-don, where evolution hasn't operated as it has in the rest of the world.  Right away he gets into a fight with a croc, which naturally sold me on the book right there, and before long John Clayton becomes once again Tarzan the Terrible, as he must in order to survive.

Also stuck in the valley is a perfectly normal Tantor, the elephant, whose life Tarzan saves from the croc.  As a result of his encounter, Tantor is named Torn Ear and becomes an entertaining character in his own right.  Another being Tarzan encounters is the furry Mu-bu-tan, a human-like member of the tailed Waz-ho-don.  The villains are the spider people, who are out to capture and/or kill just about everybody. 

This is a capture/escape/pursuit novel, and James Reasoner mentions this pattern as being prominent in Tarzan the Untamed.  There's a bit too much of that here for my taste, but there's adventure aplenty, no question of that.

I've read a number of Tarzan pastiches, including books by Joe Lansdale (working from a Burroughs fragment), Philip Jose Farmer, and Fritz Leiber.  Of that group, Murray does the best job of capturing the Burroughs style, or so it seems to me after all these years.  There were many reminders of familiar phrases and characters.  You can be the judge of that for yourself if you read the book, and I certainly recommend it for fans of Tarzan.  You get non-stop action, interesting new twists on the inhabitants of Pal-ul-don, and a fully realized Tarzan the Terrible.  What's not to like?

11 Famous People Who Apologized for Their Own Movies

11 Famous People Who Apologized for Their Own Movies

Song of the Day


10 Shocking Films From The Early Days Of Hollywood

10 Shocking Films From The Early Days Of Hollywood

Today's Vintage Ad

Ringo's no joke

Ringo's no joke. He was a genius and the Beatles were lucky to have him


Harry Kemelman, The Nine Mile Walk, Crest, 1967

The Noir-est of All the Film Noir Flicks

The Noir-est of All the Film Noir Flicks

I Miss the Old Days

12 Vintage Sweater Models Staring Into The Distance 

I Want to Believe!

10 Calming Antidotes To Terrifying News Stories 

Dune, 50 years on

Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world | Books 

John A. Williams, R. I. P.

he New York Times: John A. Williams, a writer whose exploration of black identity, notably in the 1967 novel “The Man Who Cried I Am,” established him as one of the bright lights in what he liked to call “the second Harlem Renaissance,” and who caused a furor with an unflattering biography of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., died on Friday in a veterans’ home in Paramus, N.J. He was 89.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Overlooked Movies -- Destination Moon

This little essay first appeared in a somewhat different form back in February 2011.

I've written before about how and when I became an SF fan, but it's something I've never been able to pin down exactly. I do know for sure that Destination Moon had a lot to do with it. The movie came out when I nine years old, and I'd been tremendously excited about it for a good while before it finally made it to the big screen of the Mexia Theatre about two-and-a-half months after its release.

One reason for my excitement must have been photographs published in Life. My grandmother was a subscriber to Life, and since she lived only a couple of blocks away, I visited her several times a week. One thing I always did was read the latest issue of the magazine, and the photos from Destination Moon got me all worked up. I could hardly wait for the movie to appear. When It finally did show up, I was there, and I went back to see it again before it left town.

Another reason I was eager to see it was the tie-in comic book, the cover of which is up top on the left.  You can read the whole comic book, which has some B&W stills from the movie, right here.  This movie was much talked about in my family, and my brother, who would have been about four at the time of its release, had trouble pronouncing the title.  I think he believed it was Damnation Moon, but he couldn't say that, either.  He pronounced it something like Daminigion Moon.

Robert A. Heinlein contributed to the script, as you'll see if you check out the comic book, though I didn't know who he was at the time and didn't find out until a few years later (1952 or '53), when I read Rocketship Galileo, a novel that has some similarities to the movie.

Even 60 years later, I have vivid memories of the movie itself and of specific scenes. An audience today would probably think it was corny (and it was), but I'd probably still love it.  If you want to see the whole thing, it's available on YouTube.

Destination Moon

Destination Moon (1950) trailer - YouTube:

Monday, July 06, 2015

Amanda Peterson, R. I. P.

NY Daily News: “Can’t Buy Me Love” star Amanda Peterson was found dead in her Colorado home Sunday, a tragic end for a former actress once considered a major up-and-comer in Hollywood, TMZ is reporting.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I For One Welcome Our New Ursine Overlords

StarTribune.com: A grizzly bear at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley picked up a basketball-sized rock with both front paws Monday morning and repeatedly slammed it into a pane of glass, shattering the barrier as startled patrons stood on the other side.

Hat tip to Steve Stilwell.

Jerry Weintraub, R. I. P.

Variety: Jerry Weintraub, the colorful and controversial producer whose films included “Nashville,” “Diner,” “The Karate Kid” and the trio of “Ocean’s Eleven” films, died Monday in Palm Springs. He was 77. He had been in poor health recently.

Selena -- Greg Barth

Selena says she's five feet, four inches tall and weighs 98 pounds.  She's whore and a functional alcoholic.  After one wild night she picks up what she thinks is a CD because she likes the artist.  It's not a CD, though, and as a result of her picking it up, some very bad men do some very bad things to her.

This, as it turns out, is a very bad mistake.  After Selena reconnects with her father and picks up a couple of shotguns, revenge happens.  Not the mild kind of revenge.  The extra-violent kind.  The shotguns and machetes kind.

Selena is a novel composed of three connected novellas, and it's as sex-filled, blood-soaked, and violent as anything I've read long time.  It's like the wildest of the men's adventure novels of the '70s, updated for the new millennium.  Definitely not for the faint of heart.  

Hold My Beer and Watch This!

Maine man dies after launching fireworks from his head

Hat tips to Bill Pronzini and Jeff Meyerson.

Song of the Day

Joi Lansing "Web of Love" Scopitone - YouTube:

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback: July 6th, 1965

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback: July 6th, 1965

Today's Vintage Ad

Publishers Weekly Review of Between the Living and the Dead

Fiction Book Review: Between the Living and the Dead: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider. Minotaur, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-03970-5: Between the Living and the Dead: A Dan Rhodes Mystery

Today's Armored Truck Heist

Man poses as armored truck driver, steals $75k from Wal-Mart  

Hat tip to Kevin Tipple.


Paula Christian (Yvonne MacManus), Another Kind of Love, Crest, 1961

Vintage Postcards from the Great American Road Trip

A Compendium of Vintage Postcards from the Great American Road Trip 

I Miss the Old Days

Groovalicious Peter Max fashions from 1970   

Link via Neatorama.

Burt Shavitz, R. I. P.

Daily Mail Online: The reclusive beekeeper who co-founded Burt's Bees - and whose face and wild beard appeared on labels for the natural cosmetics - died on Sunday at the age of 80.

Forgotten Books and Magazines

The Omnibus Volumes of James H. Schmitz

And don't miss this Retro Review: Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1952: A Retro-Review  

Or this review of a classic Keith Laumer novel: Vintage Treasures: Dinosaur Beach by Keith Laumer

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Good News for Texas

The Texas Tribune: The San Antonio Missions, the Alamo and other historic Texas shrines, have attained the status of other internationally recognized landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and the Great Barrier Reef. 
. . . .
The Texas shrines are the twenty-third World Historic Site in the United States, including landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall. In addition to the Alamo, the shrines include missions at Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada, all in San Antonio.

10 creepy, true stories that deserve their own TV shows

10 creepy, true stories that deserve their own TV shows  

Link via mental_floss.

Song of the Day

"Old Time Religion" (1963) Jackie Wilson & Linda Hopkins - YouTube:

7 Comedians Who Did Great Things for Humanity

7 Comedians Who Did Great Things for Humanity

Today's Vintage Ad

The Great Texas Treasury Raid

The Great Texas Treasury Raid: Rebel bandits steal millions during the post-Civil War havoc.


Frederic Prokosh, A Tale for Midnight, Popular Library, 1959

The Groundbreaking History Of Star Wars Toys

The Groundbreaking History Of Star Wars Toys

Victim of the Beast

Victim of the Beast: The Mysterious Gravestone of Lilly E. Gray

10 most expensive colleges

10 most expensive colleges 

Southern Discomfort: Tumultuous Literature set in the American South.

Light in August by William FaulknerAbeBooks: Southern Discomfort: Tumultuous Literature set in the American South.: The American South offers famous food, memorable music and honest hospitality, but why do so many authors dwell on the dark side of this region? Books like Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora N. Hurston, Alex Haley’s Roots and The Color Purple by Alice Walker are acclaimed, but harrowing. Discrimination of all kinds, voodoo and other black arts, violence and murder, incest and rape – you will find them all prominently featured in Southern-themed literature.