Saturday, March 15, 2008









This is a cool little video tribute to the Rat Pack and their version of Vegas.

The video was compiled by our blog buddy over at





While the world is screaming about global warming and renewable energy sources, a couple of creative designers manage to come up with indigenous products that use renewable sources and are eco-friendly too.

With the oil prices skyrocketing by the day, it’s not hard to imagine whopping amounts airliners have to cough up towards fuel charges. Enter AirshipOne, a futuristic airship designed by Gosha Galitsky, a passionate industrial design graduate.

The AirShipOne is a solar powered hybrid between a semi-rigid airship and an airplane and can comfortably accommodate 25 passengers in its double-deck passenger compartment. The airship’s aluminum-grade skeleton is a semi-rigid structure and has carbon fiber paneling and high-strength fabric to camouflage the skeleton.

The vectored ducted fans enable the ship to hover or cruise around 120mph effortlessly. If you own a chartered flight, you could switch over to AirshipOne and make the world a better place.

Friday, March 14, 2008



Christian Slater may soon be starring in his first TV series, courtesy of NBC.

The network is on the verge of picking up a series that would star Slater as a suburban father whose alter ego is a daring spy. It comes from writer Jason Smilovic ("Bionic Woman") and is being described as a mix of "The Bourne Identity" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

If the series order does in fact happen, it would mark Slater's first starring role in a TV series. He was attached to another NBC pilot last year, but that project didn't go forward.

Slater does have a few TV credits under his belt in recent years, including guest spots on "The West Wing," "Alias" and "My Name Is Earl." His film credits include "Heathers," "True Romance," "The Good Shepherd" and "Bobby."

The untitled spy drama was first conceived as a feature film a few years ago. Producer Armyan Bernstein ("Children of Men," "Bring It On") brought the idea to the network last year, and Smilovic signed on as its writer.

Smilovic was an executive producer on the ill-fated "Bionic Woman." He also created NBC's "Kidnapped" and worked on ABC's "Karen Sisco."



Whenever I am channel surfing there are three movies I will always stop and watch to their conclusion: Ferris Beuler’s Day Off (John Hughes finest film and the fun standard by which all other teen films are judged), Streets of Fire (Walter Hill’s rock-n-roll fantasy), and The Idolmaker – an underrated gem in which the late lamented Ray Sharkey gives a career defining performance as a man driven to a fault to live vicariously through more handsome men, men he could control just long enough to see them reach his own goal.

I recently caught The Idolmaker again on AMC and was struck anew by the uniformly impeccable acting, direction, cinematography and both writing and song score (by the legendary Jeff Barry). I’ve seen this film so many times, I know all the songs by heart, yet the performances director Taylor Hackford (in his debut) draws from his stars makes each one a show stopper.

Set in the 1950s, when every show business promoter was desperately searching for the next teen idol, Vinnie Vacarri (Ray Sharkey in an award-calbre performance) is a man of limitless talent, but limited looks – he doesn’t have the ‘it’ factor, but he can spot it and exploit it in an instant.

Loosely based on the real-life story of legendary South Philadelphia pop music impresario Robert Marcucci (who was the film’s technical advisor) and his protégés Fabian and Frankie Avalon, The Idolmaker has it all – pathos, humor, and an unflinching look at the free-for-all, pre-Beatles, teen idol gap resulting from Elvis' stint in the Army.

Hitting it big with Tommy Dee (Paul Land), Vacarri and his creation implode as they both fight for complete control. Finding himself back at square one, Vicarri also finds Caesare (Peter Gallagher – doing his own singing), a handsome, clumsy, and naive busboy in whom Vicarri envisions his future. When Caesare becomes even more meglomaniacal than his predecessor Tommy Dee, Vacarri is again at a heartbreaking crossroads.
Refreshingly bereft of dead spots, contrived moments and false notes The Idolmaker is deserving of far more attention that it received when it was originally released.

Due to his heroin addiction, Sharkey's career floundered in years following this star-making role. He ended up flat broke, living with his mother in NYC. He later claimed it was while rewatching himself in the Idolmaker on TV, he was inspired to enter rehab, to get clean and sober, and fight his way back into the game.

Out of rehab, he made a huge comeback when he landed the role of Atlantic City mobster Sonny Steelgrave in the first season of TV's Wiseguy (opposite Ken Wahl). Those episodes remain cult classics for the sparks Sharkey made as he strutted across the screen – his talent is sorely missed.

The Idolmaker is notable not only for what it does, but for what it bravely and commendably avoids doing. Although set in the much sentimentalized 50's, it isn’t a rosy nostalgia piece. Instead Taylor Hackford, directing from Edward Di Lorenzo's smart, cheeky, astutely observed script, offers a tantalizingly tawdry warts'n'all depiction of the blithely amoral behind-the-scenes music business wheeling and dealing: payola, groupies, wheedling, backstabbing and betrayal, sneaky advanced promotion tactics, rock music as strictly a hot marketable commodity to make money through exploitation – in short, all the tasty lowdown dirty behind the scenes action the record-buying public isn't supposed to know about.
Moreover, the songs and on-stage performances are all top-notch productions. The songs themselves are bouncy, moony, incredibly perky and catchy tunes accompanied by vital, mildly lewd, daringly impertinent and provocative dance choreography (by Denny Terrio of Dance Fever infamy).

The acting beyond Sharkey is also excellent: Land and Gallagher are amiably wide-eyed and convincing, while Joe Pantoliano (also in his movie debut) as Vinnie's loyal songwriter best friend, Tovah Feldshuh as a canny, demanding teen magazine editor, Olympia Dukakis as Vinnie's loving mom, Richard Bright (Al Neri in all three "Godfather" films) as Ray's ineffectual loser uncle, and everyone's favorite Brady girl Maureen McCormick as an eminently desirable teen zine writer acquit themselves superbly in supporting roles.

Ultimately, it's still Sharkey's show all the way – forcefully projecting a certain low cunning, oozing scintillating reptilian charisma from every vibrantly oily pore, dressed to the nines in sharp suits, perpetually on the make and furiously talking a dazzling line in the rhythmic rat-a-tat-tat pitter-patter of the consummate con-man, Sharkey’s spot-on, positively electrifying characterization rivets you to the screen.



I don’t watch a lot of television these days, but occasionally I get drawn into giving a new show a try, and in the case of ABC’s Eli Stone, I’m glad I did.

This quirky low key show about a San Francisco lawyer (Eli Stone – portrayed by Johnny Lee Miller) who begins having visions at the most inappropriate of times (board meetings, in court, making love) is evolving into anticipated, must see TV. Part of the shows charm is the quandary presented by Eli’s visions – are the prophetic or simply the result of an inoperable brain aneurysm.

In some ways, this set-up echoes British TV’s Life On Mars (recently seen on BBC America) where a detective is the victim of a hit and run in 2008 and wakes up in 1971 – is he dead, crazy, suffering delusions while on life support, or is it real?

Discovering the brain aneurysm is genetic further complicates the plot. It is suddenly clear Eli’s late father, an alcoholic loser whom Eli despised while growing up, was suffering from the same type of aneurysm (explaining much of his erratic behavior). This forces Eli and his physician brother (Matt Letscher) to reinterpret their relationship with their deceased father and each other.

Reevaluating his life in the context of the aneurysm and the possibly prophetic visions, Eli is led to accept cases with little monetary gain but a lot of moral goodness – it’s the only way to stop the madness.

There is a tremendous supporting cast all playing very specific parts in a larger scheme that is only slowly becoming clear. The show structure, created by Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti, is very clever – the production numbers work far better in this context than in the disastrous Viva Laughlin from earlier this year (although, if you ever get the chance to see the British original, Viva Blackpool, don’t miss it) – and the appearances by George Michael and his music are priceless.

There is layer upon layer here, yet the whole concoction is light and breezy with none of the incomprehensibility or darkness of other popular layered shows such as Lost or Prison Break.

Eli Stone is an uplifting Thursday night break – see it for yourself and get addicted.




Make lost keys, mobile phones or iPods a thing of the past!
(but who is going to wear them?)

by David Derbyshire for The Daily Mail

Those frustratingly frantic searches for mislaid car keys or mobile phones could soon be a thing of the past.

Japanese scientists have invented a pair of intelligent glasses that remembers where people last saw their keys, handbag, iPod or mobile phone.

The spectacles - which come with a built in camera, display screen and computer brain - can even identify unfamiliar plants or faces.

In fact, the only thing it can't help you find are your glasses.

The Smart Goggles are the brainchild of Prof Kuniyoshi at the University of Tokyo. He believes they could revolutionise the lives of people who suffer from regular "senior moments", as well as those suffering from serious memory problems caused by dementia.

The Smart Goggles contain a compact video camera which films everything the wearer looks at - and a viewfinder which fits snugly in front of the right lens.

The glasses are connected to a small, but smart computer processor worn on the back which can learn to recognise shapes extremely quickly.
To use the glasses, the wearer first wanders around a house or workplace for an hour or so, looking at the objects he or she may later want to find in a hurry.

Each time the camera focuses on a object - such as a set of keys, a mobile phone or a purse - the wearer says the name aloud. The name is then recorded and stored into the memory.

Once the names have been programmed in, the glasses will try to find the right name for any object they come across. The names appear in small type on the viewfinder.

If they are unable to recognise an object they make a guess and - if they get it wrong - learn from their mistakes.

At some point in the future, if the wearer is trying to find their keys in a hurry, they simply name the object.

The glasses search its video memory and show its last known location on the display.

In a demonstration at the university last week, the team were able to programme in the names and identity of 60 everyday objects, including a compact disc, a hammer, a potted begonia and a mobile phone.

Prof Kuniyoshi believes the invention could become a useful memory aid for the elderly. The technology could also be useful for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

The high speed, image recognition technology could also help develop robots - like the Terminator androids from the science fiction series - that have human like abilities.

And it could also be used as an educational tool. If given the right programming, it could allow wearers to walk through gardens, stare and unfamiliar plants and find out their names instantly.

More sophisticated versions could also help people who are bad at remembering names get through awkward social situations.

The invention does have flaws. It cannot cope with family members who insist on hiding or moving objects. And it struggles to cope with objects placed in unusual positions.

And the prototype version is still too bulky and obtrusive to use. However Prof Kuniyoshi said it should be possible to shrink the camera and viewfinder down to a more sensible, and fashionable, size within a few years.



This spring, Dave Heeley will take up the Seven Magnificent Marathons challenge and run marathons on seven continents in seven days. April 7th through the 13th, Dave and his running partner Malcolm Carr will run in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, Santiago, Los Angeles, Sydney, Dubai, Tunis, and London. Heeley is in it for his favorite cause, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Oh yeah, Dave is blind. If he accomplishes his goal, he will be the first blind runner ever to complete seven marathons in seven days.

For more information check out: http://www.7mm.org.uk/

Thursday, March 13, 2008



Talk about being up all night reading...

The Great Eastern Hotel and fourteen students from the acclaimed Royal College of Art designed reactive installations and objects inviting visitors to take part in an experience and step into a hidden dimension where a hotel is more than just a place for the night.

Part of the project was entitled Bedtime Stories. This blanket, designed by Tiago da Fonseca, was one of the inventive ideas to come out of the experience.

The blanket consists of several sheets (or pages) containing a traditional bedtime story. Each sheet/page can be turned to add or remove a layer of linen making you warmer (or cooler) and comfier – hopefully guiding you and your partner into a pleasant night’s sleep.
Once upon a time there was a blanket…



This feather-light concoction turned out to be a delight – a cross gender bending of Harry Potter and Sex in the City (Hex in the City?). I bought if for my daughter-in-law (picking it off her want list on her shelfari.com web site), but began reading it and couldn’t put it down. I had to then go and buy my own copy to finish it.

The tale presents the cliché of twenty-six year, old small town girl-next-door, Katie Chandler, trying to make it in big, bad New York City. However, when Katie gets offered a job at MSI, Inc. (a corporation marketing and selling spells to the hidden magic community), she finds her clichéd ordinariness is the key to her success in the world of magical businesses and corporation in-fighting.

Enchanted, Inc. was surprisingly refreshingingly inventive. I kept turning the pages, amused by the story’s events and interested to see how it all played out. I was…well…enchanted. Currently, there are three books in the series with a fourth to be published later this year. The best recommendation I can give is I have set aside other compelling reading to read the first three back to back.


While I prefer Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth tales, I’ve read (or listened to) many of her Agatha Raisin tales as well. Agatha is a self-indulgent, self-absorbed, semi-retired professional woman living in a small Cotswold village.

Obsessed with staving off her encroaching middle age, Agatha plows through life as a menopausal Miss Marple, estranging friends and enemies alike as she finds herself a magnet for murder: a British Jessica Fletcher with a rotten attitude.

I can’t say I like Agatha, but I don’t think Beaton intends for the reader to do so. Beaton’s strength as a writer in her ability to make the reader find sympathy for the character in the midst of the character’s insufferable personality. As with the Macbeth books, the mysteries in the Agatha Raisin series are as consumable as chocolate while being somewhat interchangeable. The more important thing is returning again and again to spend time in the comfortable world and with the familiar characters Beaton has created.

It doesn’t matter that the victim in this book is a narcissistic church curate. He could be easily interchanged with the viscous veterinarian, the foul-mouth slag Agatha encounter’s while on vacation, or any of the other disposable victims presented as maguffins (sort of anyway – the maguffin is actually the solution to the their murder, not the victims themselves – but let’s not quibble) at the start of each new series entry. It is the journey to the solution which is so enjoyable.

To compare Beaton to the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie would not be inappropriate. Their story telling strengths and structure are much the same, as is their use of humor and modern day motives. The books are to be read and enjoyed without being sanctioned to analytical scrutiny.


Set in a Victorian era girl's boarding school, A Great and Terrible Beauty has received raves from Young Adult genre reviewers as a reinvention of the gothic novel. However, even accounting for the fact I am not the target demographic for a book of this nature, I was expecting far more than the book delivered.

While the writing is at times lyrical and the atmosphere created almost right, I was left with the impression the author was still trying to work out the magical, gothic world she has created. Bray struggles to bring off a Jane Austen sensibility of the lives of wealthy young women in 19th century Britain and all the expectations placed upon them. At the same time, she allows her characters to act like irrational, spoiled brats as they endanger themselves and those who attempt to help them. Coupled with a supernatural world that remains only partially explored and explained for the length of the novel, and what evolves is a beautiful, but hollow, concoction.

Perhaps the sequels will resolve much of this criticism. The problem is I have no desire to pick up the next book in the series and find out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008




The list of James Bond related titles being released this year (Ian Fleming’s centenary celebration) is continuing to grow.

http://commanderbond.net has just provided a glimpse at the cover art for the American release (finally) of the first novel in the Moneypenny Diaries series. This is a fantastic trilogy of ‘60s-set James Bond novels by Samantha Weinberg (writing under the name Kate Westbrook) told from the point of view of M's secretary Miss Moneypenny, here given the Christian name of Jane.

The first volume, Guardian Angel, was originally released in the UK in 2005. It was followed by the second volume, Secret Servant, in 2007. The final volume in the trilogy, Final Fling, is set to be released in the UK this year.

As with the cover art for the new Bond novel Devil May Care, the art for the American version of the first Moneypenny volume is far superior to the original UK art. I can’t tell you how unusual this is. For years, I’ve spent large wads of cash to obtain British hardcovers of favorite authors (Dick Francis in particular – and even my own novels) due to the superior binding and cover art. To have an American publication be the better cover makes a great change.

The Moneypenny Dairies is a well written, thoroughly enjoyable series, setting Bond back in the ‘60s period where he is most at home.



"Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries is a .45 caliber fueled ride into the dark heart of the city in the arms of a nightmare blond who'd just as soon kill you as boink you. Christopher Mills and Joe Stanton have given us a stunning new take on the noir landscape. Femme Noir is as hard hitting as a psycho weilding a baseball bat" -- Paul Bishop

In April, Ape Entertainment will be soliciting the first issue of a brand-new, 4-issue, full-color comic book miniseries by writer Christopher Mills and legendary, Eisner Award-winning artist Joe Staton. This miniseries is called: FEMME NOIR: THE DARK CITY DIARIES.

This series is comprised of four, 28-page, standalone stories, each of which revolves around a mysterious blonde crime fighter in a midnight blue trench coat, snap-brim fedora and black fishnet stockings. She also packs a pair of .45 automatics, and isn't shy about using them. Each night she stalks the mean streets of Port Nocturne, the Dark City of every film noir and hardboiled crime pulp; a city of cold, gray fog, unrelenting rain, and impenetrable shadows.

It's a town populated by duplicitous dames and grim gunmen, ruthless racketeers and greedy gangsters, corrupt cops and parasitic politicians. It has more than its share of hardboiled private eyes and enemy spies, plucky girl reporters and pug-nosed ex-boxers, mad scientists and crackpot inventors, cunning cat burglars, slick grifters, stone-cold hitmen, killer robots, vengeful jungle girls, walking corpses and even a talking gorilla or two.

Port Nocturne: where each night seems to last forever, the bitter odor of gun smoke lingers in the air like cheap perfume, every black alley comes to a dead end... and justice is blonde.

Currently pdf files of the first two issues available for review by journalists, reviewers and retailers. Joe Staton and Christopher Mills are also both available for interviews, be they for print or pod. If you are interested in reviewing the comics or interviewing the creators, please contact Christopher Mills at atomicpulp@gmail.com for access to the FEMME NOIR press site.The official FEMME NOIR website is http://www.femme-noir.com/.

CREATOR INFO:Christopher Mills is an experienced writer whose other comics credits include scripting a year's worth of Leonard Nimoy's Primortals for TeknoComix; writing, editing and co-publishing the black & white horror series Shadow House, and scripting the Moonstone/CinemaGraphix graphic novel, The Night Driver. His highly-acclaimed crime one-shot, Gravedigger: The Scavengers with artist Rick Burchett, was published by Rorschach Entertainment and named the best crime comic of 2004 by multiple critics. His Kolchak Tales miniseries, Night Stalker of the Living Dead, will be published by Moonstone Books in March.
His website is: http://www.atomicpulp.com/

Femme Noir is illustrated by comics industry veteran Joe Staton, whose numerous credits include drawing the adventures of such major Marvel & DC characters as the Hulk, Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, Batman, The Huntress, Plastic Man, Scooby Doo, and many others. He illustrated the Paradox Press graphic novel Family Man (written by Jerome Charyn) and is the co-creator of the Charlton Comics superhero E-Man and DC's The Huntress and The Omega Men. In 1998, he received an Eisner award for his work on World's Finest: The Superman-Batman Adventure.

The series also showcases the contributions of inkers Horacio Ottolini and Mark Stegbauer, and colorists Melissa Kaercher and Matt Webb. Covers are pencilled by Staton with digital painting by Alfredo Lopez Jr. Each issue also features a variant cover by guest artists: Issue 1 has a variant cover by Brian Bolland, 2 by Matt Haley, 3 by Phil Hester, and 4's variant cover was pencilled by the late Mike Wieringo shortly before his death.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008




The Eleventh Hour was a limited British TV series starring Patrick Stewart as Professor Ian Hood, Special Advisor to the government's Joint Sciences Committee, who troubleshoots threats stemming from or targeting scientific endeavour. He is accompanied by by Rachel Young (played by Ashley Jensen), a Special Branch operative who acts primarily as his bodyguard, as Hood has made powerful enemies through his work.

Now, action master Jerry Bruckheimer is developing an American version for CBS. Rufus Sewell will take the lead opposite Marley Shelton in the American pilot of The Eleventh Hour. Sewell will be the professor-turned-government advisor who travels the country investigating abuses of science, and Shelton the feisty female bodyguard.

The pilot script for the American version was written by Mick Davis, and will be directed by Danny Cannon, the director behind the pilot of Bruckheimer's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

British action series have not always translated well across the pond - Cracker was brillian television done by the British, but a disaster in it's American incarnation - but Bruckheimer will pull off the translation if anyone can.






Aka: Carnival of Thieves 1967

This is yet another ‘60s caper film in which the crime depends on the serendipity of an unrelated event – in this case the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. And it is only this event which lifts this Spanish-filmed robbery melodrama above the mundane.

Blackmailed into using their skills for criminal purposes, four American ex-servicemen (led by the reliable Stephen Boyd – an actor who was never allowed to reach his potential) time a bank heist to coincide with the traditional fiesta bull running of Pamplona.

The scenes as the film’s anti-heroes race ahead of the bulls, along with most of the male population of the town, are stunning and vibrant. This spectacular, frenzied street scramble, with the thieves, the snorting, uncontrollable animals, and the plot itself singing away on the hoof is the highlight of a film steeped in pictorial atmosphere, but only providing an edge of suspense.

Adapted from a fine thriller by William P. McGivern is directed in a meandering style by Russell Rouse until the bull running, when the boys buckle down to crime, and the action finally picks up.

Peter Churchman (Boyd) had stopped robbing banks a long time ago and is now living as a wealthy and respected citizen in Pamplona, Spain. But when his former companion, the purring señorita Angela, appears and blackmails him to help her rob the Spanish National Bank of Pamplona, he calls on his old Army Air Force buddies (Tom Toner, Henry Beckman, and Noah Keen) for help. None of this pleases Churchman’s current tantalizing flame, Grace (the always pleasing Yvette Mimieux), especially when it turns out Angela and her sleazy boyfriend are on the run from Turkish hitmen.

Churchman’s team tackle their task with methodical, even good-natured coolness, under the suspicious nose of Walter Slezak who saunters in as a wise detective. Encompassing the picture postcard perfection of red tiled roofs and white washed buildings, Harold Stein’s cinematography brings a glossy 60’s patina to the film that works to perfection. Topped with a score from the ever reliable Vic Mizzy, and the sum of the good points of the film begin to add up.

While the crime itself is somewhat matter-of-fact (we’ve seen all of this before), the thundering hooves on the Spanish cobblestones during the running of the bulls, and the final ingenious criminal twist – required by the morality censors of the time and edits of the genre – make it a worthwhile effort to seek out an old VHS copy on E-bay or elsewhere.



HBO has ordered an additional 13 episodes of a televsion series based on the bestselling series of books by Alexander McCall Smith featuring Precious Ramotswe, a non-nonsense, traditionally built woman who runs a private investigation agency in Botswana.

The two hour pilot starring Jill Scott (last seen in Tyler Perry’s "why Did I Get Married") was filmed recently on location in Botswana. Direction Anthony Minghella co-wrote the scrit with Richard Curtis.

The additional episodes ordered by HBO, in partnership with the Weinstein Co. and the BBC, will begin filming this summer.



Having just completed the manuscript for By Royal Command, Charlie Higson graciously agree to sit down with The Young Bond Dossier for a quick Q&A about his fifth (and maybe not so final) Young Bond adventure.

Check it out:



Theme songs are generally reserved for movies and television shows. While a couple of books in recent memory have been published with accompanying CDs, theme songs for books are rare indeed. Bucking this oversight will be the new James Bond novel Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks.

The Devil May Care MySpace page (http://uk.myspace.com/devilmaycarebook) has been running a competition to select a theme song to tie-in with the novel’s publication. The voting is currently being tabulated, but the songs by the five finalists are still posted on the site and make for amusing listening. My favorite is by Chantel and The Dry Martinis. What’s yours? Results will be revealed March 17th.

Monday, March 10, 2008



by Allison Waldman

Info from

The Saint is rising again. The venerable character, who was created by writer Leslie Chareris in novels in the 1920's, will be back on television in a contemporary setting, and actor James Purefoy (Rome) has been in talks to play Simon Templar, the suave, British "good guy" thief. Aside from Purefoy, the Hollywood Reporter writes that the production team includes first class talent: Homicide's Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana (Oz), writer Jorge Zamacona, Bill Macdonald, and the original TV Saint himself, Roger Moore, and his son Geoffrey Moore.

Mr. Levinson will direct the two-hour TV movie, which will be the pilot for a proposed series. TNT had been interested, but has since backed off from the deal. Now, the film will be produced independently and then shopped to the networks. Producer Macdonald had previously worked on a Saint project in 1991, when acquired the rights to the books for producer Robert Evans. In 1997, they created a big-screen version of The Saint starring Val Kilmer. It was not deemed a hit and failed to produce a sequel.

The man with the previous, successful connection to The Saint in this new version is Roger Moore. Before becoming James Bond in the 1970s, Moore starred as Simon Templar for seven years on TV. His imprint on the role is more famous that any of the actors who've played in on screen, including George Sanders, Louis Hayward and Hugh Sinclair, who all were Simon Templar at one time or the other. It's hoped that Moore's involvement -- along with his son -- will bring some of the charm from his Saint to this new one.

Simon Templar is a character who's been described as a Robin Hood type, stealing from the rich and doing good deeds along the way, all the while being dogged by Inspector Claud Eustace Teal, the Interpol agent determined to catch Templar red-handed. For this new incarnation, they're also casting Patricia Holm, a romantic interest/assistant, Patricia Holm, and an enemy-turned-partner in crime, Baldwin Aleppo.

At one point, Macdonald, Zamacona and the Moores interested TNT in The Saint as conceived, but they passed. Zamacona, who had his first writing job in the business on Homicide: Life on the Street, which Levinson and Fontana created, turned to them and they became attached to the project, too.

"One of the things we lost a little bit of in the movie but want to bring to the TV series is that Simon Templar is very funny character with great lines and situation humor, and I don't think there is anybody better than Levinson to tackle that," Macdonald said.


New Bond collection from Penguin coming in May 2008

By Devin Zydel

Info from http://commanderbond.net

When Quantum of Solace was first announced as the title of the 22nd James Bond film, many fans wondered what sort of book tie-in would feature this time around as the short story of the same name is already included in Ian Fleming’s For Your Eyes Only collection.

It appears that Penguin has now taken the first step in answering that question.

Due for release on 29 May 2008, the same day all 14 of Fleming’s Bond novels are reissued in hardback in the UK, is Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories.

To be published by under the Penguin Modern Classics label, this trade-size paperback will retail for £8.99.

While the amazon listing does not go into specific detail regarding the contents inside the book, it’s a fairly safe bet to assume this will be the For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy & The Living Daylights collections in one book. The previous two collections run at 192 and 128 pages respectively, while this new collection is listed at 320 pages.

The For Your Eyes Only collection features From a View to a Kill, Quantum of Solace, Risico and The Hildebrand Rarity in addition to the title story. The second previous collection, Octopussy & The Living Daylights, features the stories Property of a Lady and 007 in New York in addition to the two short stories in the title.

Sunday, March 9, 2008






It's the birthday of crime novelist Mickey Spillane, (books by this author) the pen name of Frank Morrison, born in Brooklyn, New York (1918). He spent his childhood defending himself as the only Irish boy in a tough Polish neighborhood. His father worked in a hardware store, and it was there that Spillane saw a typewriter for the first time. He later said, "I would type on it. ... I loved the sound it made ... [and] I knew I was going to be a writer."

As a high school student, he wrote for a local newspaper, and he covered bootlegging scams and other criminal activity. He would make carbon copies of the newspaper stories and turn one copy in as a writing assignment for school and get paid for the other. In 1940, he got a job as a scripter of comic books for Funnies, Inc. Other writers required a week to produce a Captain Marvel story while Spillane could write one in a day.

After he served in World War II as a fighter pilot, Spillane bought some land in the Catskill Mountains, where he lived in a tent while building his own house. He kept a typewriter on a wobbly table in that tent, and he wrote at night by the light of a Coleman lamp. It was there that he wrote his first novel, I, the Jury (1947), which introduced his famous detective Mike Hammer. It begins, "I shook the rain from my hat and walked into the room. Nobody said a word. They stepped back politely and I could feel their eyes on me."

I, the Jury got terrible reviews when it came out in hardcover. The critic for the New York Herald Tribune called Spillane, "An inept vulgarian." The hardcover only sold 7,000 copies. But when the paperback came out, with one of the most sexually explicit covers ever printed on a book at that time, it sold a quarter of a million copies in one week, and it went on to sell about 9 million.

Spillane published six more books in two years, all best sellers, including My Gun Is Quick (1950), The Big Kill (1951), and Kiss Me, Deadly (1952). He was known for including far more graphic sex and violence in his books than any other writer at the time. His work helped spark the pulp fiction craze of the 1950s, and he was one of the targets for a U.S. Senate Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency.

Spillane never got as much respect as other detective novelists like Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, but he sold many more books than they did. Six of his books are now among the 25 top-selling novels of the 20th century. It's estimated that there are about 130 million copies of his books in print.

Spillane was once asked why detective Mike Hammer is always depicted drinking beer. He said, "Mike Hammer drinks beer, not cognac, because I can't spell cognac."

And, "If you're a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. [But] a writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes."



Michael Caine returns to the swinging '60s and to the type of caper flick he did early in his career (Gambit, The Italian Job) matching up with Demi Moore in Flawless!