Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Edge: Ten Grand

Edge #2: Ten Grand by George G. Gilman
Published by Pinnacle Books in July 1975 (7th printing)

Our story opens, I assume, after the events of the first book in the series. Edge has been hired as the sheriff of Peaceville after the previous one was killed. While the town is sleeping, El Matador and his band of cutthroat Mexican banditos ride into town and rob the bank. Before Edge can fully awaken, the bandits burst into his office and hold him at gunpoint. After finding and taking his hidden stash of money, they take him as a hostage in order to escape the town.

It's not long before the situation deteriorates and he is left for dead in the middle of the desert. He soon would be dead too, if his quick actions didn't save him from the strike of a deadly rattlesnake. After making his way back to the town, he is warned by Gail, his horizontal refreshment in Peaceville, that two territorial marshals are waiting to arrest him for the $100 bounty on his head. She takes him aside, binds his wound, gives him his gear and her horse before he quickly throws her away.

Edge sets off on the road to Mexico to track down El Matador and get his money back. Along the way, he runs into a band of three of bounty hunters. They try to capture him and he quickly kills the two men, but spares the woman; at least for a while. Although her looks leave much to be desired he does enjoy beating her up every now and again. She also proves useful when the two marshals catch up to him - he pushes her off a cliff to lure them out to their deaths.

We catch back up with El Matador who enters another town where he and his men proceed to rape the pretty women and kill everyone else. Everyone except an old man who remained hidden in the hay loft of a barn who watched the whole scene unfold. The bandits leave and while the old man is sleeping among the bodies, Edge comes across El Matador's trail.

Edge forces the old man to take him to the bandits hiding spot, which he does. Unfortunately, the Mexican Army is already there waiting to capture El Matador and his gang.  Beleiveing that Edge and the old man are bandits, they are taken prisoner.  It is here that we learn that the old man knows the way to a hidden stash of ten thousand American dollars. El Matador now decides to show up and unwittingly rescues them. Using the ten thousand dollars, the old man is able to buy his life, at least for a while.   In a plot point taken out of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Edge tells the bandit leader that the old man knows the town the money is hidden in, but only he knows the location.

They all set off in search of the gold. The bandits get restless and decide to torture the old man to get the name of the town from him. He remains resolute and secretly gives the information to Edge which doesn't sit well with them. He finds himself in a knife fight; a knife fight in which he appears to be unarmed. Luckily he has a hidden straight razor which he uses to finish El Matador and make his escape. The bandits are too busy fighting over the money from the bank robbery to put up any kind of pursuit.

Edge heads straight to the town to find the ten thousand dollars but picks up two more partners along the way; one of them is also the only other living person who knows about the hidden stash. Using the old man's ring, which tells the way to the money, they enter the El Serpiente brothel. Events unfold and Edge gets too carried away with finding the money and is caught unawares. A shootout ensues, his "partners" are gunned down, a fire breaks out and the only thing left is a single five dollar bill as a group of rats has used the rest of the money in the building of their nest.

Edge: Ten Grand is the second book in "a violent new series" written by George G. Gilman and the first one that I've read. It was very hard to like the main character, especially with the way he treated the ladies in this story; but, by the end, I was rooting for him. The book has a certain spaghetti western flavor about it, which I really enjoyed.  Edge is a half-breed Mexican/American and I kept picturing Tomas Milian in the role.  The book was being advertised as a "violent new series" and the first page contains this warning "this story is not for the faint-hearted reader." While some of the violence and rapes are sometimes graphic, it's nothing shocking for today's reader. There is even a touch of James Bond added to the mix as Edge is constantly delivering pithy one-liners, which did get rather tiresome after a while. The Edge series proved to be rather popular and ran for a total of 61 books. I will certainly be picking up more when I come across them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

They're At It Again

Best Buy is up to their old tricks yet again. After reading online that they're selling the Death Wish 2 blu-ray for only $7.99, I checked their website to see if any of the Chicago area stores actually had it in stock. To my surprise, both of the stores that are most convenient for me have it! When I arrived at the store, I went to the movie department and didn't see it on the shelves. Okay, I thought.  No problem, it must be in one of their sale areas... nope, it wasn't there either. How about the $7.99 dump bin? No luck again. It has to be here somewhere, so I asked a friendly sales associate.

He looked it up in the computer and it told him that they have three copies in store. He led me over to the shelves and he couldn't find it. He led me over to the sale area and couldn't find it. I followed him to the $7.99 dump bin and he couldn't find it. He finally went into the back room to take a look around and he still couldn't find it. He returned a short while later with a confused look on his face and told me that he didn't know why the computer says they have it, unless they sold all three copies and there was a glitch somewhere and the system wasn't updating. He said there was nothing he could do about it and that I should wait until the next day, check the website, and if it still shows up come back to the store.

Needless to say, I left empty handed, but I decided to follow his instructions. I waited until this morning and the website still said they have it in store. This time around, I purchased the movie online and selected the in-store pickup option. A few hours later, I received my confirmation email that my movie was in hand and ready for pickup. During my lunch break, I headed over the Best Buy store to get it. 

I handed my confirmation email to the friendly man at the pickup counter. He read it over and looked in the closet for my movie and he couldn't find it. He looked on his computer and it said they have my movie. Another sales associate called over the radio and asked the staff where the movie was, because no one had brought it down like they were supposed to. While no one was bothering to respond, the first friendly sales associate went off to the movie department to find it. He checked the shelves and couldn't find it. He checked the sale area and couldn't find it. He then checked the $7.99 dump bin, and you know what, he couldn't find it.

Did I end up with Death Wish 2 on blu-ray? Nope, no one could find it. What I don't understand is why they told me I could come and pick it up when not one bloody person could find the bloody thing?!?  You know what they could do about it? Not a bloody thing! I'm really getting tired of Best Buy. If I feel up to it after work tomorrow, I'll have to head on over to the second store and take a look around. Do you think they will have it?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Deadly Gold - Part 007

Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
Page 33
Page 34

James Bond Will Return...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Deadly Gold - Part 6

Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Deadly Gold - Part 5

Page 20
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 24

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Deadly Gold - Part 4

Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Deadly Gold - Part 3

Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14

Monday, August 20, 2012

Deadly Gold - Part 2

Page 05
Page 06
Page 007
Page 08
Page 09

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Deadly Gold - Part 1

After eighteen hours of overtime in the past two weeks, my long overdue (and very much deserved) holiday is finally here. With any luck, by the time you're reading this, I'll have already hopped in my rented Dodge Challenger and be heading out onto the road. Fear not faithful readers, I shan't be leaving this site neglected while I'm away. I put in a little more overtime and have translated issue #4 of the James Bond Zig Zag comic series.  This time around we see Sean Connery facing off against Orson Welles in a little something called Deadly Gold. The splash page says this is part one of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, but I don't remember any of the events on the following pages contained within the book - and I've read it at least three times.

Page 01
Page 02
Page 03
Page 04

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bela Lugosi and Walt Disney?

I came across this article a few months ago and promptly forgot which magazine it was in. Being a fan of Bela Lugosi, and having never known this before, I thought I'd share it with the rest of you. Without further delay, here is the article from Famous Monsters of Filmland issue #40.

Great Lugosi Mystery
by Forrest J. Ackerman

Was he really haunted by a ghostly woman with yellow eyes?
Wait!  That isn't the question.  Ever since we ran that article on "Lugosi's Secret Terror" we've been getting complaints from Belaphiles (that's a gib word for Lugosi fans), some going so far as to brand it a Big Fake. So we won't make the mistake of opening that  hornets' nest again.
Did he, as shockingly revealed in "Inside Lugosi's Haunted House" in the Feb. '66 issue of FM, have 2 sons besides George (Bela Lugosi Jr.) - 2 boys (now middle-aged to elderly men, if living) that he left behind in Hungary? Motion picture personalities make many statements, or permit many stories to be circulated about them, which are untrue, for the sake of publicity, but there would seem to have been no particular advantage to Lugosi's public image for him to have "invented" a pair of sons just for the sake of the readers of a monthly movie magazine.
Was he really in at least 4 films whose titles have not yet been revealed in any filmonster magazine?  Answer: yes! And we will reveal them all - soon.
In the meantime, just to assure you we're telling the truth (and, thanks to Lugosi's friend the producer, Alex Gordon, we have the pictures to prove it) we'll tantalize you and be revealing just one title. Der Tanz Auf Oem Vulkan. That's German. Translation, The Dance of the Volcano!

the sixty-fear dollar question?????
Now comes the real stumper, the question that has plagued the minds of filmonster fans every time they've seen a so-called "complete" list of Lugosi's film appearances:
DID he appear in Disney's Fantasia?
Of course nobody live appeared in the principal cartoon section - but was his voice heard?  Experts agreed: nobody heard his voice.  Then what was the basis for the rumor that he had something to do with Fantasia?
In the early 40s I worked at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. I called my old friends there at the archives. They checked out all their sources, came up with a blank, "All we can suggest is that you call the Disney Studios," they said.  I did.
The Publicity Dept. there seemed very suspicious of my motives. Somehow I couldn't seem to put across to them that my question was a very innocent one, that I merely wanted them to clear up this mystery for the benefit of you readers. Whoever I was talking to was very uncooperative.  They acted like I was accusing them of something and was going to sue them if they admitted Lugosi had something to do with Fantasia.  Or perhaps if they confessed he didn't.
Anyway, they half-heartedly agreed to check their records and call me back.  But my hair has grown gray, waiting for the day.
the supreme authority speaks
Well, who should know best of anybody in the world whether Bela Lugosi had anything to do with Fantasia?  Bela, of course, but he's been dead 10 years. The one living person most likely to know: The head of the Studios himself, the man who made Fantasia: Walt Disney!
So I asked Walt Disney.
Not in a letter.
Not over the phone.
But in person.

I was in Hollywood, next door to the Cinerama theater, having dinner with Wendayne "Rocket to the Rue Morgue" Wahrman when my eyes popped out of my head like Peter Lorre. For who should I recognize sitting all by himself eating dinner but the great Mr. D. himself.

I excused myself from Wendayne and went over to the stool at the counter at which Walt Disney was very calmly sitting, like any simple citizen, having a simple bite to eat and drink. I begged his pardon for the interruption, identified myself as the editor of Famous Monsters and Monster World, then, so as not to intrude on his privacy any longer than necessary, asked him the burning question.
The answer?
In Disney's own words: "Yes."
"Yes, we used Bela Lugosi in Fantasia. He pantomimed the scenes for us for A Night on Bare Mountain."

So there you have it. It wasn't his voice that was used in Fantasia. He wasn't - yet he was - seen in the picture.
In the Night on Bare Mountain, when you see the great black demon swirling his cloak on the mountaintop, squint your eyes a bit till the screen becomes hazy... and the phantom figure will be Bela. For after all, the drawing was based on his body movements.

When Fantasia was made, Dracula was there.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

One Dollar Blu-ray Sale

I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who made a purchase on my last eBay sale. And to those who missed out, now's your chance to snag a few one dollar blu-ray titles; not to mention some old back issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland and a few other things too. 

Titles Include:
Blazing Saddles
Evil Dead 2
Gods and Generals
The Proposition
Rambo: First Blood Part II

Famous Monsters #50, 52, 58, 67, 81 & 92

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Duke F'in Wayne!

The Horse Soldiers by Harold Sinclair
Published by Dell in October 1959 (third printing)

Acclaimed from coast to coast!

"A well conceived, masterly written novel of men, guns and guts."
-New York Times

"Deserves a place in the first rank of recent American historical fiction."  -Springfield Republican

"A story that raises our hackles."  -Saturday Review

"A novel which can hold its head up high in company with the very best of American writing."  -Raleigh News & Observer

"The best Civil War novel of this season and many others. A bang-up good story, a bang-bang-bang-up good one." -Associated Press

The Barbarian and the Geisha by Robert Payne
Published by Signet in April 1958 (first printing)

Townsend Harris was the American envoy - a foreigner, strong, outspoken and fearless.

Okichi was the number one Geisha - tiny and delicate, versed in the intricacies of oriental courtesy, trained to hate foreigners.

She agreed to become his mistress in order to destroy him. But she fell in love and stayed to help him...

And from this strange encounter, grew the bitter-sweet romance that changed the course of history.

Now an exciting movie called THE BARBARIAN.
Starring John Wayne. Directed by John Huston.
A 20th Century Fox Production
in CinemaScope and De Luxe Color.

The Comancheros by Paul I. Wellman
Published by Pocket Books in October 1961 (second printing)

Paul Regret had his orders:

Find the nest of Comancheros - find the head of the snake. CUT IT OFF!

For former playboy-gambler Paul Regret this suicide mission was a far cry from the soft life of gay New Orleans.

But he had volunteered for it - demanded, in fact, as his right, that he be sent.

And now just the three of them - tough Texas Rangers but still only three - set off into the trackless, scorching wastes in search of a thousand fierce Comanches and their bloodthirsty brethren, the Comancheros.

Chisum by Sam Bowie
Published by Ace Books in 1970

Chisum: The Legend
toughest of men, greatest of cattle drovers.

Chisum: The Man
who held the Pecos in his grip and carved an empire in New Mexico

Chisum: The Hero
at whose side rode Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, who was to become Billy's nemesis.

Chisum: The Western
a Western novel to match the best.

A Batjac Production - starring John Wayne as Chisum
Written and Produced by Andrew J. Fenady
Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Executive Producer Michael Wayne
from Warner Bros.

True Grit by Charles Portis
Published by Penguin Books in 1971

"True Grit is the best novel to come my way for a very long time... marvelous it is. He hasn't put a foot wrong anywhere. What a winner!"  -Roald Dahl

Mattie Ross was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shot her Papa down in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Being the eldest of the family, and a girl of true grit, she sets off while snow is on the ground to avenge her father's blood. Mattie hears tell that Chaney has tied up with a robber called Lucky Ned Pepper and is on the scout over in Indian Territory. So, armed with her Pa's Colt pistol and mounted on faithful Little Blackie, she heads into Coctaw Nation in the company of two double-tough lawmen: one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. deputy marshal, and a fancy Texas Ranger called LaBoeuf (say it LaBeef). Thrased, shot at, kidnapped by desperate outlaws, knocked cold, bitten by a rattlesnake, Mattie pulls through it all to win her spurs magnificently and bring her man to justice...

Front cover shows John Wayne in a scene from the Paramount Pictures presentation of True Grit. A Hal Wallis Production, directed by Henry Hathaway and starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby.

For copyright reasons this edition is not for sale in the U.S.A. or Canada.

Rooster Cogburn by Martin Julien
Published by Signet in October 1975 (first printing)

John Wayne
as Marshal Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn, the pig-headed, quick-shooting, whiskey-loving lawman with the True Grit to form a posse of one and track down a gang of murdering desperadoes hauling a wagon full of nitro that could blow the West apart.

Katharine Hepburn
as Eula Goodnight, a Bible-belting lady out to avenge the death of her father, but with enough energy left over to try and save Rooster's neck and reform him at the same time.

Rooster Cogburn,
by Martin Julien - the story of a man, a woman, and a glorious era of the American West!

McQ by Alexander Edwards
Published by Warner Books in 1974

The killers have gunned down three police officers - and one of them was close friend of McQ's. The brass blames the radicals' nationwide campaign against cops. But McQ is certain the drug traffic is behind these killings.

He has contacts, the guts, and the gun to smash this case the way he's broken a hundred others... even if he has to quit the force to do it.

The Shootist by Glendon Swarthout
Published by Bantam Books in August 1976

Here he is. The shootist. A man looking for his own killer. A killer himself. Yet a man of principle. The only surviving gunfighter in the American West. He's heading for the last showdown against the one antagonist he cannot beat. But before he vanishes like the sun sinking over the western rim, he wants to take three skunks with him, Cobb, Crosseye and Pulford.