Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


The very unforgettable Nat King Cole.


Generally considered the first modern detective story, Poe's tale has had a long and not always faithful place in motion pictures, from a long lost 1908 silent film that replaced the detective with Sherlock Holmes to a made for TV movie starring George C. Scott.  Along the way, this 1932 film starring Bela Lugosi (one year after his brilliant turn in Dracula) was released by Universal Pictures.

A somewhat loose adaption, Murders in the Rue Morgue changes the name of the detective C. Auguste Dupin to Pierre Dupin for reasons that are beyond me.  The plot of Poe's story , if not the basic crime, is also altered.  Lugosi plays the mad Dr. Mirakle, who kidnaps young women and injects them with ape blood in an effort to prove his theory that man and ape are related.  Dupin, played by Leon Waycroft (better known in his later career as Leon Ames) is engaged to the beautiful Camille L'Espanaye (Sidney Fox, whose promising career started a downhill slide, ending with her suicide in 1942 at the age of 34).  Dr. Mirakle sees Sydney and decides she would make a fine wife for his ape Eric.  When Camille is kidnapped, Dupin suspects Mirakle and vows to get her back.

Also included in the cast are Bert Roach (a former Keystone Kop who is best known as a comic supporting actor), Betty Ross Clarke (a stage actress best known as Andy Hardy's aunt), Noble Johnson (an Africa-American character actor who co-founded Lincoln Studios to make so-called "race films," and a young Arlene Francis in her first credited role as "Woman of the Streets."  Look closely and you'll see Iron Eyes Cody as an "Indian at the Carnival."

Murders in the Rue Morgue was directed by French-born Robert Florey (The Cocoanuts, Meet Boston Blackie, The Beast with Five Fingers).  Florey also adapted Poe's story with help from screenwriters Tom Reed and Dale Van Emery; John Huston was also thrown into the mix to add some dialogue.

Note:  The film actually begins thirteen and a half minutes into the link.  The first part of the link gives you the good old movie experience from touting the snack bar to previews -- fun, if that's your thing.


Monday, January 15, 2018


The Simon sisters, Lucy and Carly, with a song from the Robert Burns poem.


A Pulpish Opening:  You may say I'm crazy, but if you look at me you won't laugh while you say it.  You will turn away from me, shutting your eyes tightly, shaking your head in an effort to forget.  It's not that I'm deformed, and my face is not hideous.  But you will see in my eyes some shadow of the things I have seen -- and you will wnt to forget.  -- Wyatt Blassingame, "Song of the Dead" (Dime Mystery Magazine, March 1935)

I've Been Reading:  Books finished this past week:  Edwin Lester Arnold's Lieut. Gullivar Jones:  His Vacation (yes, I did finish it), Charles Osbourne's Spider's Web (a novelization of an Agatha Chrisite play), Donald E. Westlake's Forever and a Death (the James bond that wasn't from Hardcase Crime), Brian Michael Bendis' Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2:  Angela (a graphic novel with the title character created by Neil Gaiman), and Ryan North's The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1:  Squirrel Power (a graphic novel with my new favorite super heroine).  Currently I'm reading The Beetle Horde by "Victor Rousseau," The very first story to printed in Astounding/Analog, back in January 1930 when the magazine began as Astounding Stories of Super-Science, it's a two-part serial about (are you ready for this?)...giant beetles!

No More Three-Armed Models?:  I see that CVS is doing away with photoshopped or manipulated images on their CVS beauty brands and are placing labels on those from other sources.  A good thing, methinks.  There is a beauty and freshness in reality that is not present in marketing fantasies.

Norwegians Are Staying Put:  Surprisingly, they don't want to move to the United States despite what our president wants.  Going around the internet now is a quote from Bob Phillips:  "I wonder if parents in shithole countries have to tell their idiot kids not to eat Tide laundry pods."

Today Is Martin Luther King Day:  It was not a federal holiday when we first moved down to Virginia from Massachusetts in the 1990s; with true Southern resistance January 15 was designated Lee-Jackson Day. later changed to Lee-Jackson-King Day.  Kind of reminds me of Irish Alzheimer's, where you forget everything but the grudge.

Going to Pieces:  Besides the Rev. Dr. King (and Generals Lee and Jackson), today marks the anniversary of the discovery of the dismembers body of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles in 1947.  The so-called "Black Dahlia" has never been solved.  The crime has been featured in many novels and stories, including those by James Elroy, John Gregory Dunne, Max Allan Collins, Craig McDonald, and Joyce Carol Oates.  Over 500 persons have confessed to the crime (including some who were not yet born) and various writers and experts have put forward a number of suspects.  John P. St. John, an L.A. detective working the case, is quoted as saying, "It's surprising how many people offer up a relative as the killer."

Speaking Of:  Let's take Professor Peabody's Wayback Machine to last October when Senator Ben Sasse said he had spilled Dr. Pepper on Ted Cruz during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, to which someone tweeted, "If I was sitting next to the son of the guy who killed Kennedy Imight do worse than spill some Dr. Pepper."  To which Sasse tweeted the he was wearing his "Lee Harvey Oswald was framed" t-shirt.  Cruz tried to get into the fun and tweeted a cryptic letter by the Zodiac Killer.  The problem is Cruz has no sense of humor and his trying to prove that he does went over like a lead balloon.  I'd tell Cruz not to give up his day job but that's exactly what I hope he will do. 

#FixTrumpIn5Words:  That's what's trending on Twitter.  Any suggestions/

My Sunny Personality:  It's finally warming up here after a few days of frigid weather.  I say it's my sunny personality, my wife disagrees.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Tim Ferris is a self-help guru, business consultant, and entrepeneur.  He is the author of the New York Times number 1 bestsellers The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body, as well as the Wall Street Journal number 1 bestseller The 4-Hour Chef.  His books have been both praised and panned; depending on which side you fall on, Ferris is either glib or thoughtful.  Until 2015, he was one of the planet's leading angel investors in technology;sine 2015 he has been concerntrating on his writing and his media projects.

In this TED Talk, Ferris outlines a process he calls "fear-setting," which helps one to survive in high-pressure environments and allows one to specify what one can control and what one cannot.


Marian Anderson.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


So I guess I'm no longer a Yankee.  It's been in the thirties and forties here on the Florida Panhandle with a wind chill factor of WTF.  Although moving around should warm me up, I have preferred to stay huddled up on the sofa, which is why my man post for today was late and why I missed posting yesterday's Music from the Past.  To make up for that, here's a twofer for today.

There may be a theme with these two.

Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban:

The Serendipity Singers: