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.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Ed McBain's King's Ransom - Episode 10, Bonus: As If It Twere A Serpent's Tongue

Hark! It's the 87th Precinct Podcast Bonus Episode!
Join in again with our first birthday party, as we muse on Party Blowers, bakelite telephones and unidentified oscillators, the 87th Precinct TV series episode "King's Ransom" and answer some listener questions and queries. We discuss whether there should be a British novelisation of a Tollywood version of a Bollywood version of a Japanese Version of this American book.
Everyone's favourite peculiarly-accented ghost, Groff Conklin, pops by to give us some extra information! Right-ho - we'll be back soon for "Give The Boys A Great Big Hand"! Please like, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Ed McBain's King's Ransom - Episode 10: Worthy Of A Long Pause

**Hark! It’s the 87th Precinct Podcast! **

…and it’s our birthday! A year since we began putting the podcast together. Have some cake!

It was a little longer ago (about 58 years longer) when Ed McBain’s “King’s Ransom” was released, the tenth of the 87th Precinct mysteries, and the last to be published in the 1950s. In this episode we look at McBain’s moral compass, propose a theory about P G Wodehouse and contemplate the voice of grief-weasel Adrian Score. It’s such a good book, we’re not even that silly! Don’t worry, because there’s lots more stuff to come. 

There's some true crime comparison, some more chat about The Bill and plenty of Columbo comparisons scattered throughout.

Thanks for listening. Please take the time to like/rate/review on whatever podcast app you use, as it will really help us to extend the reach of our McBain fandom.

See you soon for “Give The Boys A Great Big Hand”


Thursday, 26 October 2017

The "Real World" 87th precinct

Did you know there was once an actual 87th Precinct in NYC? McBain's books take place in a fictionalised equivalent of Manhattan ("Isola"), but in the real world the 87th Precinct was based on the corner of Humboldt and Herbert in Brooklyn.

The station house is now condos. Originally built in 1891 in the days when stables for horses needed to be incorporated into the design of the precinct houses.


There were proposals to close the precinct for quite some time. News reports from 1954 and 1971 show community protests against the proposed closures. Clearly the precinct was important to the community. An article from the Greenpoint Weekly Star in 1967 reports on the final day of the precinct's "Village Art Exhibition".



Sadly, the '71 protests didn't prevent the precinct from closing, merging - along with the 92nd Precinct - into the 90th Precinct which still operates out of 211 Union Avenue.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Ed McBain's 'Til Death - Episode 9, Bonus: McBain's McTime McChine

Hark! It's the 87th Precinct Podcast Bonus Episode!

Good grief! We go on quite the journey in our bonus episode. Morgan tells us all about the intriguing CAPTAIN VIDEO, Paul finally reveals the link between the worlds of Ed McBain and the 'Carry On...' films and Stevo recalls the Many Masterminds of our youth. Oh, and there's the usual book cover comparisons, a light book huffing and the lizard prophecies of David Icke for your entertainment too.

Thanks for listening! Join us next time for Ed McBain's "King's Ransom". Please rate, review and share - cheers!