I hadn't heard of Two's Company before but when I saw it on the shelf at the library I picked it up. It was first produced in 1975 by London Weekend Television for the ITV Network. It was created and written by Bill MacIlwraith who hasn't done anything much I recognize as having seen. It stars Elaine Stritch and Donald Sinden, neither of whom has been in much that I've seen. Elaine was in a few movies I've seen and that certainly more stuff than I've seen Donald in. Elaine plays an American mystery thriller writer living in London and Donald is a butler. He shows up in the first episode and gets hired. The situations are pretty typical for sitcoms of the time. The electrician Elaine hires, against Donald's advice, turns out to be a goof and does a shitty job. In another Donald's annoying mother comes to visit. The two of them are pretty much opposites and there's plenty of friction based humor. The show gets an overall rating of 7.9 on the IMDb but I wouldn't go that high. I still got a few laughs and I put the 3 additional series on my library queue.
Here's the series 9 episodes of Midsomer Murders. I'm using the listings from Wikipedia. John Nettles is the hard working DCI Tom Barnaby and this season he's joined by DC Ben Jones who's played by Jason Hughes. The writing still continues to be good, the cast entertaining and the locations fabulous. There's usually a clever mystery and some good detecting. Compared to A Touch Of Frost this series is almost pastorial. Of course under the skin of the beautiful countryside lurks some evil creeps who murder people for sex or money or land or power. Glad I don't have most of those things so no one bothers me too much.
The House in the Woods October 9 2005 DC Ben Jones appears for the first time. He's a local lad and he's got an interesting first case. A couple of house hunters are found garroted outside a deserted house.
Dead Letters February 26 2006 There's a dead woman in a stream. How'd she get there? Tom will find out. Simon Callow is the guest star.
Vixen's Run March 5 2006 A big old fat rich guy drops dead at a gathering with his three ex-wives. It wasn't murder but his dead lawyer was killed by someone.
Down Among the Dead Men March 12 2006 Blackmail followed by murder keep the guys busy this week. Somehow Tom's wife Joyce and daughter Cully get involved. Julia McKenzie is the guest star.
Here's the books I read in January. Eleven of them, not too bad, huh. Most of them were keepers.
King Ottokar's Sceptre by Herge is the 8th TinTin book. It was serialized in 1938-9 and my copy is the 1947 redrawn color edition. Tintin travels to some imaginary country and gets involved with some political intrigue. This story introduces Bianca Castafiore to the Tintin universe and the fake countries of Syldavia and Borduria. It's fun and there's a good reminder that fascists and dictators are big bags of shit.
Tarzan Of The Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs is the first of the Tarzan novels. It came out in All-Story Magazine in October 1912. I'm reading the Whitman version for younger readers. I read the original back in the 1970's. It's a good story with lots of stuff going on. Tarzan's parents were abandoned in Africa and they survive for a while. A female ape takes the little baby from the dead parent's cabin and raises it as her own. Tarzan grows up and becomes King Of The Apes. He'll have 23 more adventures as written by Burroughs and hundreds more by everyone else.
Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones starts off with Archer's goon coming to visit a family. The dad owes Archer some words and the goon won't leave until he gets them. That's start an entertaining fantasy story about the goings on in that universe. I really enjoyed it a few years ago and figured I'd start reading her books again. It's hard to cram everything in but there you go. Jones is a really great story teller and once I start one of her book I just can't put it down. It was sad when she died a few years ago but we still have a huge set of books to read and read again.
The Limpopo Academy Of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith is the 13th book in the series. The ladies of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency get a visit from Clovis Anderson. If you know the series you would know how important that is. If you don't you should go out and start readng them.
Aunt Maria by Diana Wynne Jones is another of her fun fantasy stories. A couple of kids go to stay with their Aunt Maria when their father disappears. She's got some sort of hold on the town and the kids change everything. It's well worth reading and an entertaining story.
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L Frank Baum is the first of the Oz books and it came out in 1900. I got a all in one collection of all 14 of the Baum Oz books and have it in my desk at work. When I haven't got a book I'm burning to read I read some Oz. I could have gotten them online for free but I still like books. I actually think I might have downloaded them off of Project Gutenburg but I'm way too lazy to go look. Either way it's still a pretty fun novel with lots of great stuff going on. I don't know that I read this for sure as a kid but I think I did. I think I read a few of the books but I don't know which ones, when, or how many. No matter, the story is entertaining and the prose pulls you along marvelously.
The Marvelous Wizard OF Oz:Being an Account of the Further Adventures of the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman by L Frank Baum continues the series with a new novel 4 years after the first. As you can guess from the title the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman have an adventure of their own. It's here we get to meet the Sawhorse, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Woogle-Bug. The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman make a good pair and they have a nice adventure with lots of interesting places and people. I'm planning on working through the series but might not want to read them again. Maybe when I get an eReader. Of course that just opens up the door. Boom! More to read.
Believing Is Seeing - 7 Stories by Diana Wynne Jones is a collection of short stories. I liked them for the most part, some are better reads than others. That's how it goes with story collections. Still it's not something I would get rid of. I would read them again.
Saddle Patrol by Carl Henry Rathjen is one of those Whitman kids books. It was about a kid who goes to stay on a farm with horses. There's a mystery and lots of horse riding. Probably not worth the effort. I just bought it because it's a Whitman. I'll keep it for a while but someday I'll dump the less liked Whitman's on ebay and this one will be going out the door.
Ozma Of Oz by L Frank Baum came out in 1907. It's the story of how Dorothy was returned to Oz. She had a new adventure with her Kansas born chicken Billina. They meet some new characters like the Wheelers, Tik-Tok, the Nome King and the Hungry Tiger. It's all pretty goofy and sily. I enjoyed it.
The Sisters Grimm 1 - The Fairytale Detectives by Michael Buckley is the first of a 9 book series. Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are orphaned when their parents disappear. They live in New York and the child welfare people place them with foster parents that turn out to be really awful people. They escape a lot but keep getting caught. Unexpectedly their Grandmother Relda Grimm comes to take them to her home in Ferryport Landing. It turns out the girls are the descendants of the Brothers Grimm The brother's were writing about real characters in their stories. They brought the Everafters to America and they all settled in Ferryport Landing. Things didn't go so well at some point and the Grimm's and Baba Yaga lock all the Everafters in the town with a magical barrier. There's tension after a couple of hundred years of being cooped up and Sabrina and Daphne have arrived just as things fall apart. I was really entertained by this one and have gotten more on order from the library. I like the two girls and there's usually something going on all the time. There's a good bit of humor and while all the jokes aren't boffo they don't roll over and die either. I'd recommend this one to those that like a good story that moves quickly.
This song popped into my head this evening and I had to go out and find it on YouTube because I don't have it on a CD. I don't have any of their songs on cd at all. If you like that Southern Rock song you probably would like this version of Whipping Post, live at the legendary Fillmore East, September 23 1970. I used to listen to the band's At Fillmore Eastdouble album all the time when it was newer. That has a 23 minute version of Whipping Post on it. Not for the weak hearted. I see from the Wikipedia that it has been released several times over the years and continues to sell well.
Here's an interesting article on the BBC News site about a shipping container filled with LEGO parts and sets that fell off a ship in 1997. The parts are still washing up on the beaches in Cornwall. Plastic in the sea is a big problem.
Sperhauk found that the library had Bettie Page Reveals All and I watched it tonight. I should really try to keep up with their forthcoming titles but I keep finding enough stuff to watch without piling on more. I figure I'll get to everything eventually. I'm kidding. I'm not going to watch all those dramas out there. Bettie Page Reveals All is a 2012 documentary about Bettie Page. I can't imagine anyone not knowing who Bettie was but I'm silly that way. The movie is written by Doug Miller and directed by Mark Mori. There are plenty of interviews a lot of people: Dita Von Teese, Hugh M. Hefner, Rebecca Romijn, Tempest Storm, Bunny Yeager, Paula Klaw, Mamie Van Doren, Greg Theakston, Todd Oldham and Julie Newmar to name a few of the living. There are clips of dead people talking about her too. Bettie herself passed away in the years since the recording of her narration for the film. She is pretty famous for not wanting to be filmed since they found her in the 1990's. She worked mostly through the 1950's and disappeared. She has one of those mind boggling stories that makes me feel so normal. I found the film entertaining and I'm not a huge Bettie Page fan for the most part. I'm more interested in the phenomenon than I am looking at her pictures. There are a nice bunch of extras, with plenty of variety. All in all a nice package.
You can catch some Bettie in the 1955 Burlesque film Teaserama which was produced by Irving Klaw. There's strippers and bad comedy but no nudity.
It's finally the end of Tom Baker as Doctor Who. He had a 7 year run and it seems like it was time for him to move along. There had been a lot of changes behind the scenes. Tom didn't like a lot of them and both he and the current show runners were ready for him to leave. Logopolis is the 116th serial and it first aired February 28 and ran through March 21 1981. It's the last serial in the 18th season. Mathew Waterhouse is the current companion and he'll soon have two new pals joining him in the Tardis. The serial is written by series script editor Christopher H Bidmead and directed by Peter Grimwade.
The Doctor is pacing in the Cloister's when he hears the Cloister Bell. There's some plot advancement when Adric joins him. On Earth we meet Tegan Jovanka, played by Janet Fielding, and her doomed aunt. Tegan is on the way to her first day as an airline hostess. That's why she has that awful purple costume. The Master returns and put his Tardis in a loop with the Doctor's Tardis. Anthony Ainley is The Master and he's got an evil plan to take over the universe. He's a big knob.
The Doctor takes the Tardis to Earth and accidentally takes Tegan with him when he leaves. You'd think the Tardis would be smart enough to know when someone has snuck on board, wouldn't you. The Tardis arrives on Logopolis which is home to a human computer. All the human parts of the human super computer use abacuses. The Doc and Adric run into Nyssa, played by Sarah Sutton, who was in the previous story. At the end of it her father was killed and his body taken over by The Master. Soon our super villain makes an appearance and starts screwing things up. He kills a bunch of people very joyfully, though none of them were laughing.
The men of Logopolis have been slowing down the entropy in the universe and without them things start to fall apart quickly. The Master will set it right for a fee. He wants to be placed in charge, of everything. Of course he fails to stop the entroy and he has to get the Doctor to help him. What an ass The Master is! One poorly thought out plan after another. He's starting to wear out his welcome. There's plenty of running about and science blather.
They return to Earth to use a computer and it's big radio dish to fix things. The two Time Lords get it right but near the end The Master causes the Doc to fall from the big dish. The gang of companions see this and rush to his side only to see him change into Peter Davison.
It was an okay episode, not great, not awful. I wasn't that bothered about Tom going. Mind you I'm just not as excited about watching the series as I was when I started. I miss the first 3 Doctor's more than I will the 4th. We'll see how the 5th does next week.
That's the new lady companions, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding. There's a commentary by Tom Baker, Christopher H Bidmead and Janet Fielding. It was ok. There's a docu on the changes happening this serial, some news and talkshow clips with interviews with the cast. The photogallery is where most of the pictures on this post are from. There's an info track, which I did not put on and rarely ever do. Equally as uninteresting is the pair of PDFs, one of the Radio Times listing and the other the 1982 Doctor Who Annual. It's a book filled with art I'm not too fond of and lots of writing. I don't read them but I do look at every page. There's even a story done up comicbook style.
The Visitor is one hellva movie. It's from 1979 and it was written and directed by Giulio Paradisi under the name of Michael J. Paradise. He started as an actor, the IMbd lists 14 credits, as a director this is the middle film of 5. It was partially shot in Atlanta Georgia and partially in 3 different studios in Rome Italy. There's a good cast but the script is an utter piece of crap. John Huston is a visitor to the US but he's really from outerspace. He's come save the Earth by putting a stop to the birth of an evil being. Lance Henricksen is a business man who's part of a secret organization that wants to unleash evil on the world. Mel Ferrer plays the head of the evil group who want Lance to marry Joanna Nail and plant a baby in her. Joanna is good at creating evil children, her previous daughter is named Kate and she's a cold hearted evil monster. Mel wants to a boy for an evil brother and sister double act of destruction. Lance isn't having any luck in getting the woman to marry him. Even after Kate shoots her mom, binding her to a wheelchair, the woman doesn't want to marry him. Impatient Mel orders his men to kidnap Joanna and plant the seed by hand. Shelly Winters shows up as a really loud nanny and Franco Nero has a small part as Jesus Christ. Glenn Ford is a cop who gets written out of the movie fairly quickly and Sam Peckinpah plays Joanna's ex-husband. Sperhauk guessed his voice was dubbed by someone else and it was. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is in there somewhere. All in all it's pretty poorly made but I'm not surprized, that's the level of film making I have come to expect from Italian Horror movies from the 1970s. You can watch it on YouTube in the link above but I can't imagine why you would want to.
Our second film is filmed in Rome too. Not the one in Italy but the one in Georgia. We didn't realize they both had the Georgia connection until the credits rolled on Dance Of The Dead. It's a 2008 zombie comedy that's directed by Gregg Bishop and written by Joe Ballarini. They do an ok job. Bishop's only other feature length directorial work is the 2006 film The Other Side. He did some shorts and is one of the 6 directors contributing a short film to the up coming V/H/S: Viral. In DOTD some high shool students have a bad prom when zombies show up. There's a nice mix of stoner rockers, cheerleaders, nerds, regular kids, a bully, an asshole teacher and a gungho gym teacher who's packin' some C-4 explosives. There's a fair number of good gags. There's plenty of running around, rashers of hacking and slashing, and plenty of head shots. The zombies are the fast moving kind. We were liking the part where the zombies popped out of their graves like they were fired from a cannon, they hit the ground running, grabbing for brains. The script is ok, the production values good, the effects more than passable. It was fun to watch and I only felt it slowed down briefly just past the hour mark. It picked up for a pretty good finish. Something entertaining for the zombie movie fan who's seen it all.
The 3rd series of A Touch Of Frost appeared on British TVs in January 1995. David Jason is Jack Frost, a Detective Inspector on the Denton Police Force. He does a good job on the detecting part of his job but the paperwork is where he falls down. There's a running gag on the topic as his boss, Superintendent Mullett, a stick up his butt kind of guy if I ever saw one, chivies him to get caught up with his reports. There's usually a new partner to work with each episode. Each of these episodes are about 100 minutes long. It's modern day England in a smallish town with nothing too modern about it. The crimes are often sad making and young people are killed or injured. There are 15 series in the set and so far all the stories are well written, well acted and well produced. It's more serious than I might like but I like the characters and want to see what happens as the story plays out. Well worth the watch. Some you can stream from YouTube and you might be able to do the same from NetFlix. I know NetFlix has the DVDs but I got them from the library. For some reason the local Hennipen County Library System sure has a lot of British shows. Yay, for me. Here's the four episodes for this series.
Frost's got two problems this week, a missing 8 year old girl and joy riders. His main suspect on the first case is Billy, a 19 year old fellow with Downs Sysndrome. The young man who plays Billy is really quite good. Of course the locals turn against him and his family when he's held at the station for questioning. This week Jack is working with his pal DS Toolan played by John Lyons. Toolan is a semi regular who appears in 39 of the 42 episodes. He's a good character and I like the actor playing the part.
There's trouble as one of a group of people protesting fox hunts is killed. Matt Burdock plays DC Clive Barnard, the Chief Constable's nephew, who's re-assigned to Denton CID. He also appeared in the first episode of the first series. Jack likes him and they get along well. Sean Pertwee plays one of the protesters.
Dead Male One
WPC Hazel Wallace, played by Caroline Harker, is Jack's partner this week. She helps Jack with the dead guy in the river and a footballer who had his drink spiked with steroids. Hazel is another character I like a lot. She only appears in 11 episodes over the course of the series.