Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Roger Moore and the Crimefighters

In the new Bonus episode you'll hear me (Paul) surprise Stevo and Morgan with a second-hand book I'd come across that weekend. It was too good an opportunity to miss sharing this with them. I mean, just look at the cover!

This is a good example of why you should always take the time to investigate the different shelves in second hand bookshops, but especially in charity shops/thrift stores. Very often the staff make an attempt to categorise and alphabetise the books, but they're looked over by so many people it's hard to trust to that fact. Usually there's some gold hidden between the forty-seven copies of The Da Vinci Code and celebrity biographies. I found "The Siege" on a "4 for £1" shelf. There were no other books there that I wanted and ended up paying 50p for it.

It's really extraordinary. It's like having a book series come out these days with, I don't know, Daisy Ridley appearing in it as herself, using her career-connections to act on a hunch about human trafficking or something. To be honest I would read that, but only if it was written by Doctor Who author Rona Monro, to keep the pattern of the book/celebrity/author connections. The author of "The Siege", Malcolm Hulke, wrote a good run of Third Doctor stories in the 1970s, including the plastic-dinosaur extravaganza, Invasion of The Dinosaurs (1974). Clearly he was so immersed in the world of Doctor Who production and life at BBC TV centre, he's written it into the book as an important factor.

I hope you enjoy listening to our response to this novelty on the last bonus episode. I'm sure the next one we do will be more McBain based, but I'm not promising anything...

Listen to this bonus episode herex

Ed McBain's Give The Boys A Great Big Hand - Episode 11, Bonus: The Incredible Malcolm Hulke

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Bonus Episode!
And what a bonus episode it is! After discussing our copies of the 87th Precinct book, with Paul demonstrating his inability to grasp the relative costs of pre-decimal currency, we get down to some important business.
Imagine a world where Roger Moore appears as himself in a children's crime-fighting story-book written by Doctor Who writer Malcolm Hulke, all set in or around an African Embassy and the BBC in 1977... now, STOP IMAGINING and listen to our reactions as we discuss "The Siege" - the first entry in the Roger Moore and The Crimefighters series! A book that almost defies description!
Listen out in the background for mysterious Mic-stand-spring noises (sorry) and contemplate why George Lazenby never organised children into an impromptu militia.
See you in the New Year for probably more discussion back on the topic of Ed McBain and "The Heckler". Merry Christmas!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Ed McBain's Give The Boys A Great Big Hand - Episode 10: Dropping A Steam Engine Onto A Battleship

Hark! It's the 87th Precinct Podcast.
Ten books and four years into the 87th Precinct series, and we've reached 1960 and the grisly but gripping tale of severed appendages, rainy weather and missing musicians. Along the way you can learn about the great fashions on offer at "Urban Suburban", the history of UK publishers T V Boardman and hear Stevo morph briefly into a pensive lion.
We do our review of music and culture for 1960 and reveal the shocking secrets of Jeff Lynne's collusion with robot overlords. All this and Ed McBain too!
Thanks for listening and please continue to like, share and review. We also want to direct your attention to the website wearecult.rocks in general and the article by Paul, here, about the books.
Bonus episode out soon and get your (still attached) hands and eyes moving over "The Heckler" for the next episode.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Ed McBain and The 87th Precinct

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Podcast Article!

Once again the website We Are Cult is kindly playing home to our expressions of love for McBain and the 87th Precinct books. You might remember we appeared as Podcast Of The Week a little while ago.This time they're featuring an article by Paul. You'll find a little bit about McBain himself, stuff about captivating qualities of the 87th Precinct books and some explanation about why we started the podcast.

Click the link below to have a read!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Side-Pod - Star Trek Assignment Earth: DISCO BEAR

Hark! It’s an 87th Precinct Podcast Sidepod!

We slip time-streams today and end up in the 23rd Century before being whizzed straight back to the 20th Century, 1968 to be precise, as we look at what could have been Star Trek’s swan-song. The episode “Assignment: Earth” was the final episode of season two of Star Trek at a time when the show was threatened with cancellation. This episode was intended as a back-door pilot for a new spin-off.

So how does this relate to the gritty and down to earth world of Ed McBain and the 87th Precinct? Well, it’s linked by two very thin strands. The main star of the episode is the best on-screen version of Detective (2nd Grade) Steve Carella, Robert Lansing as Gary Seven and also Leonard Nimoy who starred as a skinny-tie wearing, car-hiring, drug-running baddy in the 87th Precinct TV series in 1961.

Joining Paul for the chat is illustrator, educator and all-round sci-fi nerd, Adam Paxman. Search for his various art outputs online: Mister Paxman’s Glorious BastardsThe Museum of Fragmented Shadows and BurningZebra: The Abandoned Storybook – a treasure trove of grotesques, horrors, intrigue, sci-fi, adventure and philosophy in various forms.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Wordcloud - The Titles of The 87th Precinct novels

We switched K.E.N.N.E.T.H. into "Word Cloud" mode over the weekend. We fed in the titles of all of the 87th Precinct novels, stoked his boiler, pulled the lever marked "Go" and then interpreted the resulting punched-card output as follows:
The process removes common linking words, to try and highlight which words are used more often. It's an interesting result in that "Money" appears to be one of the main words but it simply features three times as the title of one book ("Money, Money, Money", 2001). "Hail" also appears three times, but again as a duplicate ("Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here", 1971 and also "Hail To The Chief", 1973).

"Lady" is similar - appearing in two titles as a duplicate and singularly ("Lady Killer", 1958 and "Lady, Lady I Did It", 1961). "Killer's" appears as a result of the three early novels, the Killer's Trilogy, if you like, but otherwise it's clear that Evan/Ed was great at coming up with unique titles for the books, picking out words or phrases that were memorable enough that in most cases they were either released as single word titles ("Ice", "Lightning", "Vespers" for example) or had a key single word element (Heckler, Hand, Ransom). 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Looking Back - Cop Hater

Shall we take a trip down memory lane, to 1956 and the release of the first 87th Precinct novel, "Cop Hater" by Ed McBain - a pseudonym of Evan Hunter?

Copyright for Cop Hater was registered on the 20th March 1956, as can be seen in the "Catalog of Copyright Entries" for the year:

It was published by Permabooks - an imprint of Doubleday begun in 1948, out of their Manhattan office. Part of Permabook's mission statement was to produce "Books for reference, recreation and self-improvement". By 1954 Doubleday had sold the imprint to "Pocket Books" and Cop Hater was published by them on 10th April 1956 with serial M-3707.

The New York Times first reference to the book that would start this extraordinary series of police procedural books was simply this:

The novel was reviewed in the 29th April '56 edition of the NYT, by Anthony Boucher in his "Criminals At Large" column. Boucher himself was an author and editor of mystery and "fantastic fiction" writing. His review of Cop Hater says, "McBain has caught TV's semi-documentary flavor excellently. He's written a tough, sexy novel with inherent honesty and decency." (Full Text)

The UK release (by publisher T.V.Boardman) was reviewed in The Observer on 4/1/59 by Maurice Richardson who considered it "Efficient and Violent [with] convincingly detailed description of police procedure". Richardson further suggested that the book is "Crudely plotted but unforced" and states, rather grandly, "The development of this form is important for the future".

On June 5 '57 the NYT was reporting that newly formed film company, Barbizon films, was planning to make movies of COP HATER and THE MUGGER. Filming was reported to have started on August 6, 1957 with William Berke directing and Robert Loggia as "Carelli" (named changed from "Carella" for some reason!). Editing for the movie of Cop Hater was scheduled to finish by 20th Sept '57 (45 days to shoot & edit a film!) before filming on The Mugger began. The movie opened on 1st October ‘58. A review in the NYT the next day described the “inept direction” & said the best thing about it was that it featured relatively unknown actors.

Should you want to hear our take on Ed McBain's Cop Hater from the 87th Precinct series, our very first ever bumper size podcast episode is available here, or on anyof the main podcast providers.