Sometimes you run out of superlatives.
Recently we mentioned, more or less in passing, that Vonetta McGee was very beautiful. We'd already featured her as a femme fatale years ago, but our recent name drop got us thinking about sharing another image or two. We expected photos to be hard to find. Interest acts as a filtering mechanism, and since there are not many people percentagewise who save African American actresses' old photos and slides, fewer who digitize them, and still fewer who place them on their websites, all these factors converge and the result is lowered representation. We see it every day. There are significant and talented black actresses with extensive filmographies, yet they have only a fraction the number of surviving promo photos of non-black actresses who made only a few movies. For that reason we were pretty happy when we not only found the above shot of McGee during her ingénue period, twenty-three years old, but a marvelous shot. A wonderful shot. It was made when she debuted in the 1968 Italian comedy Faustina, and this is what we meant when we said she was very beautiful. After a successful career appearing in films ranging from trendy blaxploitation such as Blacula to high budget features such as The Eiger Sanction, the magnificent McGee died today in 2010.
Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck wrote an unpublished werewolf novel.
In what qualifies around here as blockbuster news, it turns out literary master John Steinbeck wrote a werewolf novel. Rejected by publishers in 1930, it's currently under lock and key at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. The Steinbeck estate has so far declined to authorize its release. Titled Murder at Full Moon, it's reportedly a 233-page typescript, and as a bonus contains a couple of illustrations drawn by Steinbeck.
We'd love to read it. We'd enjoy comparing it to Guy Endore's werewolf novel The Werewolf of Paris, which was published in 1933. But if we had to guess, we'd say the public will have wait a long while for Steinbeck's moon tale to rise. What is there to gain when his reputation is pure platinum and his books—particularly The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, which are required reading for students the length and breadth of the U.S.—still sell? But you never know. The smell of money affects people like the smell of blood affects werewolves. Even when they're already full they want another bite.
Wow! He's really mastered some hot licks!
There's something special about how a great talent handles his instrument, right? It becomes an extension of him. A real virtuoso uses every technique in his repertoire—double and triple tonguing, lip trills, circular breathing, and of course quick valve water emptying—until it all comes together in one climactic crescendo. By the way, if you don't know what quick valve water emptying is, well child, you better ask somebody. In the past most players were men, but of late there are plenty of women who blow masterfully. The best often do dates in the legendary Trumpet City. That place is tops... Um, yeah. 1961 on this, with Robert Bonfils art.
Previously unknown Dashiell Hammett works to appear in crime fiction magazine The Strand.
In an announcement bound to excite and intrigue pulp and literature fans the world over, magazine editor Andrew Gulli has slated for publication fifteen previously unknown Dashiell Hammett short stories. Gulli found the writings in the archives of the Harry Ransom Centre, a literary memorabilia storehouse based at the University of Texas, in Austin.
Gulli says he has no idea why the works ended up at the Ransom Centre, and he can offer no historical context for the works, since all are undated. He plans to publish the first of these new stories, entitled “So I Shot Him,” in his crime fiction magazine The Strand, with the others possibly to appear later as a book-length collection.
Hammett’s many works include classics such as The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, and as a stylist he established many techniques that later became foundational in pulp writing. As far as the quality of the new works goes, Gulli has said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper that, “There are some very, very good pieces of fiction here. Some of them are classic Hammett and fit in with the style we know and others are very different and go off to places that were a different direction for him.”
Everyone knows it’s a game of inches.
It’s Super Bowl Sunday again over in the States, and we expect the key to today’s game to be penetration. Repeated penetration. If either side fails to apply significant pressure, look for the passers to go deep early and often, but also expect both to use their tight ends. Once in the red zone, it’s crucial to stick it in for seven, because we all know three just ain't gonna cut it. Whoever gets up first will have an advantage, since coming from behind can be a stiff test unless the other side mishandles some balls. We’re thinking that after the last couple of very tight ones, this year’s match up could be a bit of an anti-climax. Expect the thing to get blown wide open in the
third fourth. Colts Saints by two touches. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1919—United Artists Is Launched
Actors Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, along with director D.W. Griffith, launch United Artists. Each holds a twenty percent stake, with the remaining percentage held by lawyer William Gibbs McAdoo. The company struggles for years, with Griffith soon dropping out, but eventually more partners are brought in and UA becomes a Hollywood powerhouse.
1958—U.S. Loses H-Bomb
A 7,600 pound nuclear weapon that comes to be known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the U.S. Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, near Tybee Island. The bomb was jettisoned to save the aircrew during a practice exercise after the B-47 bomber carrying it collided in midair with an F-86 fighter plane. Following several unsuccessful searches, the bomb was presumed lost, and remains so today.
1906—NYPD Begins Use of Fingerprint ID
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Joseph A. Faurot begins using French police officer Alphonse Bertillon's fingerprint system to identify suspected criminals. The use of prints for contractual endorsement (as opposed to signatures) had begun in India thirty years earlier, and print usage for police work had been adopted in India, France, Argentina and other countries by 1900, but NYPD usage represented the beginning of complete acceptance of the process in America. To date, of the billions of fingerprints taken, no two have ever been found to be identical.
1974—Patty Hearst Is Kidnapped
In Berkeley, California, an organization calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps heiress Patty Hearst
. The next time Hearst is seen is in a San Francisco bank, helping to rob it with a machine gun. When she is finally captured her lawyer F. Lee Bailey argues that she had been brainwashed into committing the crime, but she is convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, a term which is later commuted.
1959—Holly, Valens, and Bopper Die in Plane Crash
A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa kills American musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, along with pilot Roger Peterson. The fault for the crash was determined to be poor weather combined with pilot inexperience. All four occupants died on impact. The event is later immortalized by Don McLean as the Day the Music Died in his 1971 hit song "American Pie."
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