Monday, October 24, 2022

Frank Sinatra Dies Hard--"Doobie Doobie Doo, M*****F*****!"


 In 1966, author Roderick Thorp published a tough as nails novel entitled THE DETECTIVE, which became a bestseller all over. 



 Two years later, in 1968, the inevitable movie adaptation was released, starring Frank Sinatra in his first serious acting role in ages as Detective Joe Leland. In it, he received some of the best notices of his career as a jaded tough guy cop investigating a murder in New York' gay community.

The all-star cast highlighted such familiar names of the time as Jack Klugman, Ralph Meeker, Jaqueline Bisset, Lee Remick, Robert Duvall, William Windom, and Al Freeman, Jr. In smaller roles, look for an unknown Bette Midler and actor Frank Raiter, later the big bad of Christa Helm's LET'S GO FOR BROKE.


 That might have been the end of the story if Roderick Thorp hadn't gone to see the movie, THE TOWERING INFERNO when it came out a few years later in 1974. A co-production of two studios, that disaster film was one of the biggest hits of its day, with an even bigger all-star cast than THE DETECTIVE--Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Fred Astaire, Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner, and on and on and on.


 The movie's tougher to watch these days in the wake of 9-11 but at the time, it reportedly gave Thorp dreams of a cop running through a skyscraper with a gun. In 1979, the result of those dreams was a new novel, NOTHING LASTS FOREVER, a sequel to THE DETECTIVE in which his now older, retired protagonist, Joe Leland, flies to Los Angeles to meet his daughter at a Christmas party at the skyscraper where she worked, only to have it taken over by terrorists. 

Sound familiar?

Since Sinatra had starred in the original, he was asked to reprise (no pun intended) his role in a film version of the sequel. Then 64 years old, he turned it down, although he had likely already filmed THE FIRST DEADLY SIN, released in 1980, another serious drama with DETECTIVE vibes. It was based on the first of Lawrence Sanders' "Deadly Sin" novels and was expected to start a new franchise. Instead, Frank would finish out his acting career over the next few years with various cameos, usually as himself.


 So the role of Joe Leland was offered to the big stars of the time--Sly, Arnold, etc., as the screenplay went through various rewrites, ending up with no Joe Leland at all, but rather the much younger, not-retired, New York cop, John McClane. 

The TV series MOONLIGHTING premiered in 1985 while all this was going on, making an immediate star of the wiseacre Bruce Willis. Ironically, according to IMDB, Willis's first big screen role was as an uncredited extra in Sinatra's THE FIRST DEADLY SIN.

 Bruce's first starring feature, opposite Kim Basinger, was a not particularly memorable comedy called BLIND DATE in 1987, but it was enough to get him noticed and when the newly retitled DIE HARD debuted in 1988, it was Bruce Willis as Detective John McClane. and an all-new franchise was born. 

Presumably the final film in the series, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, released 25 years later in 2013 and still starring Bruce Willis as John McClane, brings us full circle as Frank Sinatra, gone since 1998, appears on the soundtrack singing his classic rendition of "New York, New York."


Saturday, October 15, 2022

Mimi and the Snake-©2013, 2022 Steven Thompson

Ran across this short bit of amusement I wrote 8 years back and still thought it was pretty funny. The action--such as it is--takes place in a series of early morning texts or DMs among a group of hight school friends.

Mimi-Can't get 2 school, guys! Being held hostage by Mr. Kemmelman's big snake on my porch. 7:25 AM

John-Mine's bigger. 7:26 AM


Mimi-Shut up! I mean his real snake, Babydoll! A Burmese python. GFot out from her cage. 7:28 AM


SuziQ-OMG, is this Kemmelman guy rping you or what? What's going on!!!!???? 7:28 AM


Mimi- Sigh. See above. 7:29AM


Mimi-WTF am I s'posed to do?? 9 ft snake slithering around on my porch. No other way out. Advice, plz. 7:30 AM


Jason-I got yer snake in my pants, baby! 7:37AM


Mimi- Srsly? GUYS!!!!! 7:38 AM


K'shanna-Can you like chase it away or s'thing? 7:40AM


Rory-Yeah. Just show it your face and it'll run, bitch. 7:42 AM


Mimi-Rory, I am SO unfriending you right now, a-hole. SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT TO DO HERE??? 7:45 AM


Mimi-Bus just went by. Tried to get their attention but didn't see me. Double sigh. :( 7:48 AM


Kendra-Call a Uber and tell the Uber guy to bring a big gun. 7:49AM


SuziQ-I'd call the police and have this Kemmelman dude arrested for letting a dangerous animal loose!!!!!!! 7:52 AM


Mimi-Calm down, Suz. Kemmelman's OK. Just that Babydoll got out somehow's all. Curled up looking like a superthick garden hose rite in front of my steps now, dammit. Normally she's  a sweetie when she's under control. 7:52 AM


K'shanna-Can u sneak by it while it's sleeping? 7:54AM


Kendra-Uber guy. GUN! Blow that sucker away, girl!!! 7:56AM


Mimi-I'm’a NOT kill K's snake! He'd kill ME! Or worse, he'd SUE my dad! 7:59AM


Mimi-And no, I can' t sneak by her. She's blocking everything!!!!! She's huge. Will try to upload pic here in a minute. 8:00AM


Jason-Hey, U and me. Friday. Still on? 8:05AM


Mimi-What part of CRISIS HERE do you not understand, dude? 8:06AM


Jason-Hey, I got my own crisis, k? Horny here. You playin' with YOUR snake, I'm playin' wit mine. Fap! Fap! 8:07AM


SuziQ-Ewww!!!!!!!! 8:07AM


Mimi- :/ Suddenly I'm busy every Friday from now on. Jerk. 8:09AM


Jason-Saturday, then? I can't hold out forever y'know. I got needs. 8:14AM


Kendra-Maybe the Uber guy could kill Jason instead? JK! 8:15AM


Mimi-LOL. Hmmmm...........8:15AM


Jason-HEY! 8:17AM


K'Shanna-U still there, babe? 8:28AM


SuziQ-OMG!!!!! That monster got her!!!!!!!!!!! Call the CIA!!!!!!8:30AM


Kendra-Maybe the Uber guy showed up finally????? 8:30AM


K'Shanna-She didn't call no Uber, girl. STFU! 8:32AM


Kendra-Hey my idea was better than your "sneak around the big snake" idea. Jeezle. 8:33AM


Jason-Srsly, babe. Where u b? 8:37AM


Mimi-S'ok, guys! Mr. K finally came and got Babydoll. Said he'd been out looking for her all morning. Thanks for your support. 8:44AM


Jason-U comin' on in to school, then? 8:45AM


Mimi-Hells, no! Babydoll on my porch was enough excitement for me. I'm’a call off sick and go back to bed!  Nite-nite. 8:46AM


Saturday, October 08, 2022

Two Two-Gun Kids

In later reprints, Marvel took their earlier version of the Two-Gun Kid and made him LOOK like the later version. Here's an example of a 1960 coloring page by John Severin completely changed and reprinted a dozen years later. They even left in the part about coloring it, even though they colored it themselves!!!


Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Dick Tracy at 91

 I'd be remiss if I didn't wish a happy 91st to the ultimate square-jawed hero--Dick Tracy! Tracy was my late father's favorite and he passed that love along to me at an early age with the strip, the cartoons, and the earlier movie serials. In the early 1970s, we bought the out of town copies of the New York Sunday News every week specifically because it had the Tracy strip a full week before it turned up in our local paper! (Don't ask me why but the entire color comics section wraparound was always for the following week.) In the 1970s and 1980s, with multiple trades and mass market books about and/or collecting the strip, then Blackthorne's Dick Tracy paperbacks and weekly comic books, my dad found himself enjoying it all over again, as this time I was sharing it with HIM. So, thanks Tracy! From both of us!