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About Neil

(Also Known As: Overrated Writers I Hate #1. Maybe.)

I have no idea whether or not the allegations against our beloved, saintly Lord Neil of Gaiman have any validity. It wouldn’t necessarily surprise me, but I’m happy to be on the fence.

However, it’s not the worst time to indulge my view about his character and his work. I believe the two, being more or less inseparable, are best summed up with the word charlatan. I’ve spent 30-odd years being astounded (and quite disappointed) by the amount of praise and gushing idolatry directed at this insufferably smug, annoyingly fey, all-appeasing goon. His work is, without doubt, amongst the most shallow, meaningless, insincere and vacuous ever to be published to significant acclaim.

Neil Gaiman
LOVELY NEIL… having teased every single strand of his pseudo-scruffy hair with tender, loving care, all the more to maximise the gothic, windswept image he’s so carefully manufactured—gorgeous.

Worst of all, his powerful influence upon comics, and indeed the whole of pop culture, hasn’t a single redeeming quality. The influence is gigantic, pernicious, leeringly oppressive. It swept along a whole generation (several generations?) of disenfranchised youth looking for something to buy into (even if it was a big fat nothing)—and an awful lot of insecure, older nerds got swept along too, with the seductive allure of being part of something the “cool kids” approved of. And that was crux of it. Gaiman came up with a marketing strategy. Not a “creative vision”—a posture and an image, a vibe that would sell itself to a particular set of receptive sensibilities vulnerabilities.

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Births & Deaths

So, as almost all horror fans know, today is the birthday of both Vincent Price and Christopher Lee… and just yesterday was Peter Cushing’s date of birth, by odd coincidence.

Lee, Price & Cushing, 1982
Christopher Lee, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing—publicity shot from 1982, during the shoot for HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS.

Also, for me, a significant day for losses. On this day back in 2006, we not only lost the legendary cartoonist Alex Toth—my mother also passed away. Has it really been 18 years? Not to me. Time makes no sense these days.

A few pics of mom, anyhow, as I was scanning & restoring some old family photos a while ago. (Need to do more.)

Mom as a baby, 1943
Vintage baby shot of my mother!

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2023 Viewing (Q4)

Long overdue: the viewings for the approx last quarter of 2023. Previous viewings @ here.

Haven’t felt much like blogging for some time (hardly anyone reads this thing & the Internet in general has become something I really dislike—a rant for another time, mebbe!), but this is a tradition now. Onwards.

The Rockford Files seasons 1-3 (DVD)
Starsky & Hutch seasons 1-2 (DVD)
Columbo seasons 3-10 (DVD)
The Deputy season 1 (download)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series 2 (DVD)
The Return of Sherlock Holmes series 1-2 (DVD)
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes series 1-3 (DVD)
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes series 1 (DVD)
Reacher season 1 (download)
Tulsa King season 1 (download)

Some commentary…

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David Soul

I was very sorry to hear of David Soul’s passing just recently. It reminded me of back in 2020, when, halfway through watching the original (best!) James Bond movies, Sean Connery passed on. This time we were in the middle of watching the complete Starsky & Hutch series.

About that series… of course, it’s a mixed bag. It started out very, very gritty, but it seems they quickly realised with a strong younger audience they should probably dial that aspect back a bit. But never fully, which means by the third season we still get very edgy, adult episodes side-by-side with absurdly camp, jokey nonsense. At its best, Starksy & Hutch is superb—at its worst, the cheesiness is off the scale.

Starsky & Hutch

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2023 Viewing (Q3)

That time again! The previous viewings are here. This is the old TV stuff we watched in the third quarter of 2023…

(NOTE: Yes, I know this is about three weeks early. There was a lot to cover and I just felt like it. OK? Thanks!)

The Fugitive season 4 (DVD)
Kojak season 5 (DVD)
Harry O season 2 (download)
Kojak: The Belarus File TV movie (DVD)
Kojak: The Price of Justice TV Movie (DVD)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series 1 (DVD)
Columbo seasons 1-2 (DVD)
Lonesome Dove TV mini-series (DVD)
Broken Trail TV mini-series (Blu-ray)

Yes, ’twas very sad farewells to both The Fugitive and Kojak. We still have the five “season six” movies from 1989-90 to watch for Baldy, though. As to Doctor Kimble…

Fugitive Finale
Kimble stalks the one-armed man in the finale of THE FUGITIVE (1967).

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Moonlight Shadows Cover (What If)

If you’ve been tuning in regularly, you’ll have seen the written extracts from Moonlight Shadows, my unfinished Lon Chaney Jr book (here and here)… recently, by way of producing some new work samples—because I really need to upgrade my portfolio soon—I did a new version of the cover for the book. (No, I’m not thinking about finishing the book off! But never say never…)

Moonlight Shadows 2023

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2023 Viewing (Q1-2)

OK, let’s cover the first two quarters of 2023—that’s half a year! 2023 is half-over, already! It never stops. The previous viewings are here, as ever. This is the antique episodic TV we’ve watched so far this year…

The Fugitive seasons 2-3 (DVD)
Kojak seasons 1-4 (DVD)
The Munsters season 2 (DVD)
The Invaders season 2 (DVD)
Harry O season 1 (download)

It was watching the original Kojak TV movie, The Marcus Nelson Murders (1973), which is a terrific and very gritty film based on real events, which prompted a full rewatch of the ’70s classic…

Telly Savalas Kojak

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The Alligator People (1959)

Note: a follow-up to this post, here is another entry from my Lon Chaney Jr filmog/biog book, Moonlight Shadows, which I’ve worked on occasionally since 2009, and which frankly I shall probably never finish (although I do have 70,000+ words done on it). Anyhow–enjoy! Would you like to see more of these? Let me know.

Alligator People poster

Produced by Jack Leewood for Associated Producers, Inc. Directed by Roy Del Ruth. Screenplay by Orville H Hampton (story by Hampton & Charles O’Neal). Music score by Irving Gertz. Cinematography by Karl Struss. Makeup by Ben Nye & Dick Smith. Special effects by Fred Etcheverry. Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox.

Technical: 2.35:1, black and white, RCA mono. Running time: 74 minutes. Production: April 13 to late April 1959. Release: July 16 1959 (US).

With Beverly Garland, Bruce Bennett, Lon Chaney, George Macready, Frieda Inescort, Richard Crane and Douglas Kennedy.

Using hypnosis, Dr Lorimer (Bruce Bennett) discovers his nurse, Jane Marvin (Beverly Garland), has a troubled past repressed with amnesia. It’s revealed that long ago, her new husband, Paul (Richard Crane), disappeared on their wedding night after receiving a mysterious telegram. He had just told her he’d earlier sustained severe injuries in an accident, from which he seemed to have recovered miraculously. She devotes her time to tracking him down, which leads her to a large estate in the swamplands of the deep South. It turns out he received experimental treatments from Dr Sinclair (George Macready), using extracts from alligators in an attempt to harness reptilian healing powers. This resulted in long-term side-effects.

Lon’s final American horror role of the ’50s came with The Alligator People. Following the success of a certain other cross-species mutation story, The Fly (1958), it was conceived as the B-feature for a double-bill with Fly‘s imaginatively-titled sequel, Return of the Fly. Both were Associated Producers films, in association with & distributed by Fox.

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