This category contains 23 posts

“Paging Claude Rains!”

or some Romulan ship…

(for all you Gen X or Y types, Claude Rains played Captain Renault in Casablanca, and was The Invisible Man!)


h/t Plan of the Day

The You Tube Files – Missing TV and Guffaws

Being a child of TV/movies, I’m always looking for things referencia obscura for my daily You Tube posting.  You Tube is terrific, because almost every snippet or clip I desire seems to be there.

I DID say almost…

There was a one-season-wonder, a police who-done-it in 1995, starring Karen Sillas, called Under Suspicion.  (The TV show, NOT the films.)

It was good stuff.  Sadly.  it’s not available on VHS or DVD – and You Tube only has a couple short segments featuring some guest star I don’t care about.

But, perhaps one day…

However, I did remember something else that had slipped through the cracks.  Another not-straight-to DVD wonder.

It Came From Hollywood.  If you like MST3K, you’ll LOVE IT!

Apparently, there were so many obscure clips in it they could no longer get rights to, it was too expensive to re-release on DVD.  So I held on to a VHS player in hopes of one day buying the one VHS copy that used to be available on Amazon.  (It’s also available on Laserdisc!  Woo-Hoo!)

But, in my travels, I found it in it’s entirety on You Tube!!!

(sadly, some of the transfer to video isn’t great, but considering many of the films mentioned aren’t either…)

Rather than putting a whole film on my You Tube link, I’m putting it here.  I’m in serious need of guffaws!  I’d suggest full screen viewing.


More Than Just Creepy…

c leeI always thought Christopher Lee the actor to be good at his craft, because he creeped me out!  But blogger friend Borepatch linked the esteemable Mr. Lee to some amazing facts:

Christopher Lee: Metal Rocker and total bad ass (in part)

But his life is nothing short of astonishing.  He witnessed the last execution via guillotine in France.  He fought in the Winter War in Finland in 1939.  He was in the SAS in North Africa during the War.  He was cousin to Ian Fleming, who tried (and failed) to get him cast as Dr. No (he had to wait until Man With The Golden Gun to play a Bond villain).

And, at AGE 90, he’s doing symphotic metal!

You really should visit the link and see what he did and does!

More than just creepy – who knew?

Happy Birthday Walter!

On this day, in 1894, Walter Brennan was born!walter brennan2

(Regular readers know I love character actors!)

Certainly all of you remember him from ‘The McCoys’ aka ‘The Real McCoys’ 50s television show.  But he was so much more.

He was in such diverse films as The Invisible Man and Bride of Frankenstein.  He received the very first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Swan Bostrom in Come and Get It (1936).

And most of us remember him as the preacher in Sergeant York:   “Them’s a mess of beef critter’s, Alvin.”

He was a conservative and religious (although private regarding which variety of religion).  He died of emphysema at age 80.

While travelling in Oregon with the family (in 1986), I got to drive by his ranch.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to stop.

I’m certain it would have been cool, even though he’d passed in 1974.  I even do a passable impression of him, although my roommate tells me it’s the same as my Pepperidge Farm guy impression.

“Lilly Langtry, Lilly Langtry!  (Judge Roy Bean in the Westerner)

We miss you, Walter.

h/t Wikipedia

Dennis Farina RIP

dennis_farina_1lrgDennis Farina, veteran TV and movie actor, and former Chicago cop, passed away this morning in Scottsdale, AZ., from a blood clot in his lung.  He was 69.

I loved the personas this man brought to the screen.  One of my all-time-favorite TV shows is Michael Mann’s Crime Story, wherein Farina played incorruptible cop  Lt. Michael Torello in 1960s Chicago.  He carried a 1911 Colt with the grip safety held down by a stack of rubber bands!

He had homes in Arizona, and his home town, and I missed meeting him once, by that much.  One of my regular haunts used to be a gun store in central Phoenix.  I also worked there part time.  One day I sauntered in, and the crew advised me Dennis Farina and a pal had just been in the store!  I was 10 minutes late!

Fortunately, I’ve an autographed photo, somewhere.  Sadly, it’s not signed to me.

You’ll be missed, sir.  Time to break out the Crime Story DVDs – which I’ve largely memorized.

Gun Training, circa 1961

Funny how this was considered state-of-the-art in 1961, with the exception of those Leatherslap folks @ Big Bear (Jeff Cooper, Jack Weaver et al).

Regardless, fun and informative to watch!

h/t Jad, pistol-forum, Todd G.

Would you like to be a Senior?

Would you like to be a Senior?

So, after we (my roommate and I) went to WallyWorld for some grocery shopping, and came home and rested, I remembered a couple things I forgot.  And a couple my roomie forgot.

I took it upon myself to return, this time to the truncated WallyWorld, instead of the Mondo one.  En route, there was an Albertson’s.  Smaller still, and perhaps less crowded than WalMart.  I went there.

After picking up most of the forgotten items (note to self – make a list!) I arrived at the register for check-out.  The nice lady with the extremely high, grating voice asked me, “Would you like to be a Senior?”  I didn’t quite understand her and asked her to repeat the question.  It was still difficult to understand, both in speech and context.  Then she explained, “It’s Senior Discount Day, are you a Senior?” 

Now, I’ve not been a Senior since 1970, so I think I qualified.  And I wasn’t insulted when she further explained one must be 55 to qualify.

I saved over $7.00 on a $28.00 order!  It’s good to be the King – or, at least a Senior!

(Naw – nothing like that happened – I’d need more than $28.00 for that!)  :-)

Is it the Bates Motel…

bates-motel-tv-show_0or the Hotel California, where you check in, but you don’t check out?  (Roach Motel?)

In another lifetime, I was working as a security guard, and sometime private investigator.  My company would draft me for undercover assignments, which got me out of the guard thing for a while.  I didn’t mind being drafted.

On one of these occasions, I was sent to a small town in the mountains North of Phoenix.  Worked undercover in a variety store as a management ‘trainee’ whose real function was to spy on all the employees and management.  Great stuff!

In such a position, I was quite concerned about my safety.  If something untoward was going on, I didn’t want to get ‘made’ and ratted out, or worse.  So, I carried a gun.  Sadly, I’d sold my handguns for rent money (AGAIN – I was young, this was the 70s – sigh) and the only firearm I owned was my Ithaca DSPS Model 37 police pump.  Not exactly concealable on-the-person.

Ithaca Model 37

So I toted her from under the motel bed into my car and back using my Dad’s weather-beaten trench coat as a gun rug!  Sadly, she had to stay in the car while I was working.

And the motel was on the main drag through town; single-story, L-shaped, rough hewn, not unlike a(n) (in)famous motel of Hitchcock movie fame.  I remember Triple A rating it, but not excellent.  And I was so stoked not being a guard and doing undercover work, I’d wind down after my 12 hour shift with pizza and beer, while writing my daily report (dropped in the mailbox the next morning en route to work – this was WAY before the Internet!).  Then I’d watch some late night movie on the 13″ B&W TV supplied in the room.

The first night the movie was In Cold Blood.

Not exactly restful slumber.  But, I did this for a couple weeks, didn’t find any opium dens in the back room of the store, or mob-related activity, and returned home.  Back to the guard stuff.  Sigh.

But, I never looked behind the motel to see if there was a swamp containing cars.  Guess I’ll never know…


Surveillance, On Foot

Most of us have have seen foot surveillance.  At least, on the big screen…

Not too much in the movies – because it’s boring!  Notice, they rarely film foot surveillance scenes outside of congested city centers.  That’s because it’s next to impossible.  If you are the only two persons on the block, it’s bound to be obvious.

Back in the day, I was tasked to perform surveillance on a residential home in central Phoenix.  A couple blocks South of a main street, in the middle of town.  Nice, older neighborhood.  Built in the 40s and 50s – I know, not old for you New Englanders!

The problem was, with little or no automobile traffic, scant foot traffic, and many folks at home during the day, parking near the home was a big red flag.  You were bound to have someone call the police on you if you were just sitting alone in your car for any length of time.

My solution was to park a block away, at a business (hoping I wouldn’t be towed!) and walk by the residence, every 45 minutes or so.  First one direction, then the other.  Changing sides of the street.  And taking breaks in my car between walks.  Not exactly as exciting as Bullitt or The French Connection.  To an outside observer, it would have looked odd or silly.  I felt odd and silly.

No one came out of their house and confronted me.  No one called the cops.  The subject never left his home for me to follow on foot or by car.  Eight boring hours.

Thank the gods I was paid hourly!

Woulda been more fun if I’d walked as in The Ministry of Silly Walks.

h/t You Tube

The Wisdom of Will Rogers

will rogers

Will Rogers was a comedian and actor from the early part of the Twentieth Century.  Before becoming a stage personality, he had actually been a cowboy – some of his act involved lasso tricks!

Rogers, who died in a 1935 plane crash, was one of the
political sages this country has ever known. 
Some of his sayings:
Never slap a man
who’s chewing tobacco.
Never kick a cow
chip on a hot day.
There are two
theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.
Never miss a good
chance to shut up.
Always drink
upstream from the herd.
If you find
yourself in a hole, stop digging.
The quickest way
to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.
There are three
kinds of men:
ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them
have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.
Good judgment
comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
If you’re riding’
ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still
Lettin’ the cat
outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.
After eating an
entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring.
kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.
When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
Eventually you
will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about
The older we get,
the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for. 
Some people try to
turn back their odometers. Not me; I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way.
traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.
When you are
dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
You know you are
getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
I don’t know how I
got over the hill without getting to the top.
One of the many
things no one tells you about aging is that it’s such a nice change from being
One must wait
until evening to see how splendid the day has been.
Being young is
beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
Long ago, when men
cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft.
it’s called golf.

finally ~
If you don’t learn
to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you’re old.

h/t my dear sister, Ellie

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw



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"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

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“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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