As any casual visitor to this blog knows I’m a huge pulp fiction fan, so I’m always on the lookout for vintage or new age pulp covers that grab me. Under the heading risque Vintage Pulp Fiction covers comes the following selection of classic, caustic, and even calamitous covers from the defunct but rightly named SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES.
Take a gander and enjoy!
And if you’d actually like to read one of these stories (A Norvell Page!!) go here.
While picking the companions I disliked was easy. Narrowing down my five favorite companions is a LOT more difficult, because in 30+ years there have been some great companions. On the whole the good companions far outweighing the ones I dislike.
So narrowing down all those great companions to my five favorite, very difficult, and very subjective. But as stated, having recently watched all 30+ seasons of the show, you can call my choices informed subjectivity.
So without further ado:
I have some issues with Russell T. Davies as discussed in my worst companions posting, but one thing you can’t fault him with is in building up the dynamic/relationship between the Doctor and his female Companion, and doing a great job of casting that companion role… well, and writing it… well.
I think one of the common complaints many actresses who played a companion to the Doctor had, was in the writing of their roles. Davies with the characters of Rose and Martha created companions who had it all, beauty, brains, guts, and adventuresome spirit, and a personality, an aura… magnetic. And roles that complemented the Doctor.
So while I really love a lot of the companions that have been in and out of the ship of time, the two I come back to the most, which is a way of saying the two who are great characters, brought to life by great actresses, and they have great stories under their belt, and a great complement to the doctor… in other words they have it all…
Martha Jones played by the stunning Freema Agyeman and Rose Tyler played by the effervescent Billie Piper. They get the one, two spot.
Sarah Jane- I don’t think any list of best companions would be complete without Sarah Jane, played by the fantastic Elisabeth Sladen, who brought such a caring, and humanity, and belief to her role, and whose tenure bridged both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.
Liz Shaw, played by Caroline John, acted opposite Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. And she brought beauty, brains, wit, sophistication to the role, and at the time they thought that was too much. She was too capable, and she was replaced in a single season, with a dumbed down companion Jo Grant(that’s not a kick against Kathy Manning, who played Jo Grant, she quite made that role her own, and made that dynamic work, and became a great, woman of action companion for the bulk of Pertwee’s run). However, it was still an unfortunate replacement because she was a fantastic companion. And you look back at the handful of stories she did and they all stand out as fantastic Doctor Who episodes.
The last spot is a tie between Leela and Ace.
Leela- I really liked the character of Leela, playing opposite Tom Baker’s Dr. Who. Played wonderfully by the beautiful Louise Jameson, I thought she was a very interesting character, but her relationship with Tom Baker’s Doctor, and seemingly Tom Baker himself, was seemingly frictious and dismissive. Possibly because she was such a strong and striking character, and a strong and striking actress, and Tom Baker at the time wanted no competition for the spotlight. But despite the less than stellar dynamic between them, they still were in 2 or 3 of the best story-lines in the history of the series.
And tying her for fifth place was Ace played by Sophie Aldred. Ace was just a fantastic companion, and had a great relationship/chemistry with Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor. And they were in some amazing stories together. Their REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS being easily in the top ten of any list of best Doctor Who stories.
Honorable mentions are:
Ian Chesterton – played by William Russell from 1963 to 1965 with William Hartnell
Barbara Wright – played by Jacqueline Hill from 1963 to 1965 with William Hartnell
Susan – played by Carole Ann Ford from 1963 to 1964 with William Hartnell
The first companions, if they had failed, if their chemistry had failed, we wouldn’t still be talking about the show.
Jamie – played by Frazer Hines from 1966 to 1969 with Patrick Troughton
His chemistry with Patrick Troughton, was a great, almost vaudevillian dynamic.
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart – played by Nicholas Courtney from 1968 to 1989 with all the “old” Doctors apart from Colin Baker.
While not a companion, Nicholas Courtney’s reoccurring role as Brigadier Stewart, head of the UNIT, was a great addition to the Who mythology, particularly during the earthbound Pertwee era. He’s just a fantastic straight man for the Doctor’s craziness.
Jo Grant – played by Katy Manning from 1971 to 1973 with Jon Pertwee. She took the ditzy role she was given, and made it into a courageous character who would risk anything for the Doctor.
Peri – played by Nicola Bryant from 1984 to 1986 with Peter Davison and Colin Baker.
Let’s be honest, Nicola Bryant was brought in, by hit-and-miss producer Nathan Turner, for T&A… to sex up the show in hopes of salvaging the lackluster Peter Davison years. She was brought in for her huge breasts, and they were paraded prominently.
(Oh come’on don’t get offended, we’re all adults here, and that’s absolutely the truth. They were real, and they were fabulous. . Oh, I’m joking! )
With the exception of Davison’s last episode, the only thing that was watchable about his tenure, was Nicola Bryant. But surprisingly enough, she was more than just a pretty face and a stunning body, she was a solid actress, and she was exceptionally likable, and this became very obvious during the Colin Baker Doctor years.
Colin Baker off-putting pompous portrayal of the Doctor, only made somewhat palatable because of Nicola Bryant’s Peri. I quite liked her, and unfortunately she was saddled with questionable characterization by the writers of her and her Doctors. But despite that she does manage to be part of 2 or 3 stories that transcended those issues, to be quite entertaining.
So that’s it for this installment. Five favorite companions and the honorable mentions! Feel free to mention your favorite companions.
So there is typically method to my madness.
Not always, but typically.
Any number of sites you can go to and see fools, without the good sense to cover their camera when not in use, undressing in sight of the laptop or webcam or hear their conversations when they are off camera, and they think the computer is asleep.
If that just scared you, even a little, it shows only… that you are still sane.
What I have just described, that’s the technology of yesterday. Not only have hackers been using it for years but so have ‘legitimate’ companies, that sell software that does just that, turn on the cameras and mics of a laptop remotely, without the user being aware. Ostensibly the idea for most companies is to use this in laptop retrieval, should the laptop be stolen. But any technology is more often used in salacious ways before constructive.
Example being, the first widespread use of pictures and video on the Internet was the female form.
For obvious reasons. Sex as they say… sells.
And all new forms of communication, to achieve widespread adoption… use sex to sell themselves to an un-trusting population. Whether it’s men in the wilds of Wyoming, being able to pick up this new fangled device called a phone, and hear a woman’s voice, an operator, speak to them for the first time, or the still common practice of draping a beautiful woman across a new car or motorcycle… it’s the allure of that oldest of motivations that drives new things.
So while the purpose of such technology may have been theft retrieval, by taking pictures of the person in possession of the laptop, then using a combination of GPS and IP address to determine their location, then notifying law enforcement; the truth is… that technology is in more widespread use, to invade privacy.
And as I said, that… is yesterday’s technology.
It’s got nothing on the technology of today, and tomorrow.
Ah, the joys of always on technology.
You know we have a whole generation raised on the idea of giving everything to the Internet, and not questioning or requesting safe-guards on individual liberties.
There’s a reason why we have (had much stronger) wiretapping laws, because there is the assumption that privacy is a central right of man. But what happens, generally through entertainment, through ease of use, is we give away rights, we relinquish the assumption that men have rights.
Take CANDID CAMERA, a show which began in syndication in 1948, before its most popular CBS run from 1960 to 1966… made it a national sensation. The show,virtually single-handedly shaped consent-less video recording as something harmless.
This show, funny, watched by everyone, often not in the best taste, but still had America laughing, was a show about video-taping people when they were not aware of it, and had more than anything to do with defining that as something innocuous. And suddenly in the pursuit of entertainment, a right you had with audio recordings, namely ‘a recording without your knowledge is against the law’, became lost with video recordings.
“Most audio recordings without consent of one or all parties are illegal…. Most video recordings are legal with or without consent.” — UVU
Yes, after the fact they still have to get you to sign a waiver to broadcast the video, but as far as taking the video of you without your permission (through a TV show, through pursuit of ‘fun’ and ‘social media’) that has became a defacto standard.
By not questioning the rights and boundaries being overstepped, those rights became lost. and that’s why we have the surveillance heavy society we have today, because in the pursuit of ease of use, and fun, and jokes, the masses gave up a fundamental expectation of privacy. And things like Face-book and You-tube and reality television are the 21st century extensions of the axiom: ease of use = deterioration of rights.
So we have a whole generation growing up with a pretty invasive technology in, of, and around them at all times. And what begins as entertainment today, that you have a choice in: Kinect, Siri, Face recognition; becomes obtrusive corporate policies and laws of the land tomorrow, that you don’t have rights to dispute, to adjudicate, to deny.
If you don’t care about your computer potentially having the mic and camera turned on remotely, without your knowledge or intervention, than this post isn’t for you.
But it is for those of us who want to have the right to disseminate our information, data, video, audio; when and to whom we choose. Or to have the right to not disseminate that info if we so choose.
But here’s the thing, increasingly pursuit of social media and ease of use and gaming is, by the very nature of the technology being used, incompatible with concepts such as privacy.
So a young generation, going by the mandate ‘I don’t have nothing to hide! I want my fun!’ is going for the immediate pleasure, seeing any technology infiltration as harmless. Here’s the thing it’s not about ‘having nothing to hide’ it’s about ‘having the right to choose who you share with, and where your boundaries begin, and where they end’.
That is a part of socialization that is being lost in this mad rush of always on technology, and ‘trusted’ computing and ‘cloud’ computing, and strangers as ‘friends’.
Who we are as people, who we become, is a lot about developing for ourselves our boundaries, and more importantly the people we let into and out of those boundaries. It’s about developing judgment and values and trust. And what is happening in a post Face-book, You-tube, Kinect world is a society where, like the 1950s audience for CANDID CAMERA, you have relinquished the right to boundaries… even in your home.
The Microsoft Kinect Device controller, is not just about motion detection, the underlying principles of it, which have not yet been scratched; is more than a face recognition machine, dressed as a game sitting in your living room recording your family.
It is a head to toe biometric unit, that is capable of mapping you, and identifying you from your brother or sister or father. It’s a wonderfully advanced whole body scanner… and database.
That’s the part that’s lost on people… Database. It’s a database with a map of your family that can phone home, and store detailed data about you and yours on remote servers. And call Microsoft what you will, but short-sighted and stupid is not among their sins. Kinect is an experiment, taking place in the consumers home, that has so many more profitable applications, beyond gaming.
So it’s more than a controller to create more accurate avatars to interact in 3D games. Its potential is to create a biometric representation of you, as unique as a fingerprint.
Why? Because it’s the holy grail of a new age of on-line transactions and commerce.
Think of the potential of Kinect, really think of it. A society that is becoming increasingly wired, and increasingly house bound, can shop virtually in immersive 3D environments. Banking done like you are playing the most stunning 3D game ever, but done with a unique, and for the purposes of commerce and law, legally binding avatar. An avatar that in terms of how your body moves and how it reacts (eventually incorporating heat ranges, and electromagnetic patterns), can tell potential advertisers more about you then you can tell about yourself.
I can see a day when Kinect biometric pattens are sold to advertisers just like home addresses and email addresses are sold today. So advertisers can tailor directly to you based on the things the pattern tells them, whether you’re balding or having menstruation issues or skin issues or an unhealed limp. Or how about Kinect used in the future to do on-line job applications, and submit a bio-metric pattern, like a signature with your application. Or perhaps even used as a rudimentary polygraph test.
You open the door for motion detection, body mapping, facial recognition, probability analysis in the comfort of your home, for the benefit of ‘entertainment’ and ‘ease of use’ and like that CANDID CAMERA audience of the 50s, you’ve relinquished the assumption that privacy in your home, or of your person, is in any way… a right of man. But you haven’t just relinquished it for yourselves, you’ve relinquished it for future generations, and that may be a path… worth pausing on.
Nope, I’m not telling you any of that.
I’m only telling you there are no rights of man, without the effort of men to preserve those rights.
Every man, every woman, every child, the rights they would ensure, must be jealously, fanatically even, guarded… from even the seemingly most innocuous intrusion or, they will, in the fullness of time, be taken from you. They must be guarded even from yourself and such easy answers as ‘entertainment’ and ‘ease of use’.
I’m saying Nero fiddled while Rome burned, and I would hate to think a whole generation was playing games on Kinect while, things far more valuable… burned away.
For more on conect, both pro and con, see the following links:
Those are just parts of the argument, research it for yourself… and decide.
As far as checking out your camera:
Here’s a pretty simple, and straightforward way to see how accessible your camera is (it is NOT one of the hacking sites I was mentioning earlier. At, least I don’t think it is ) without your express permission.
Once on the site, on a less secure system, you may see your face if you click the button (on some really insecure systems you’ll see your face whether you click on the button or not). I’m not responsible for any pop-ups or hacking or viruses that may invade your system. or anything that occurs should you visit the site.
It appears to be an innocuous site, but I don’t own it, and am not affiliated with it, so I can’t vouch for it; beyond saying my system, which is pretty secure, was unaffected by the site. Your mileage however, may vary. Responsibility for your security, like anything on the Internet… is yours.
As it should be.
I hope you’ve found this article of help. If you have, please toss some likes and comments this way; as well as using the button on your left to purchase the snazzy pdf/epub article I have for sale. Also go to the WEDNESDAY WORDS column and purchase nifty books, using the showcased links. Thanks!
COMIC BOOK COVERS OF THE DAY!
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Man I really suck at the guitar. .
This self teaching thing… not going well.
Oh well, that’s a complaint for another post, this post I wanted to talk to you… about traveling.
I like traveling.
I like to move. I like to… find in motion what was lost in space, to quote Tennessee Williams.
I like to find in motion, what was lost in space.
I like traveling by train, I can deal with traveling by bus, but flying? Due to what our government has made of the flying experience, the chore just getting to your plane has become, I abhor flying. Well, let me correct that, I like flying; I abhor the cancer inducing process it has become just getting to your flight. .
So most weekends I hit the train, or the bus. I could do the car, but part of traveling, is about sitting back, relaxing, watching the country at speed, reading, writing; all things you can’t do when behind the wheel and stressing in traffic.
So I get on the train or the bus, and I…find in motion what was lost in space.
Last weekend the seven or so hours on the road gave me a chance to read a book that has been on my to-read pile for sometime. Namely Richard Laymon’s THE WOODS ARE DARK. I’ll talk more on that later, suffice to say, the book defines page-turning.
A horror/thriller novel, the late Laymon has his share of writing issues in this book, with wildly inconsistent character behavior and actions (and these inaccuracies are both in the original and revised edition) but he moves the story along at such a pace that you don’t pause too long pondering the inconsistent, illogical, even nonsensical behavior of his characters. I was dragged along by his story all the way to the curt end. Flaws and all, it was a fun read and a recommended read.
But more on that later.
This weekend, I’m not sure where the road will lead me yet. I have an idea, but I’m not a huge planner, I never know until I’m on the bus, or the train, or in rare occasions the plane. I never know— until I’m in motion.
Finding in motion what was lost in space.
Three tentative books on the pile to finish up this weekend while traveling (when home I’m so busy doing, that reading can get difficult to make time for, so traveling is a godsend), the options are:
OMENS by Richard Gavin. I’ve read most of the stories in this collection, but I have two or so left. And a couple I wouldn’t mind rereading.
AS THE SUN GOES DOWN by Tim Lebbon
USE ONCE THEN DESTROY by Conrad Williams
I’ve read a couple stories from the last two books, really, really strong. All three books and writers share a thematic feel, the use of understated horror.
So yeah, looking forward to some good reading, which will translate to some reviews in the next couple of posts. And yes the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM revised Interview schedule will go up this weekend as well. So the death threats can stop now.
Thanks for looking, come back tomorrow and I’ll have some wacky pics or something. Till then be well and be good.
Movie Showdown: THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS vs GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Rather than the differences of these two films what strikes me is the similarities. Both are 1946 films. Both big budget A pictures for the time, with high profile directors (Lewis Milestone while a forgotten director today, for his time helmed many a top-tier film). Both successes, the films share that theme of young people and the great expectations the adults in their lives have for them, and what becomes of these children because of those… great expectations.
In David Lean’s seminal GREAT EXPECTATIONS the story is told from the boy’s perspective, (Pip played by Anthony Wager and John Mills) who meets a girl (Estella played by Jean Simmons and Valerie Hobson)who is also subject to…great expectations. Greater expectations even than his.
[A nice aside about the two young actors who played Pip and Estrella comes from Sean Axmaker of TCM. He writes:
'The most visually evocative scenes in the film, however, take place in Miss Havisham's shadowy mansion. [Pip] Summoned by the mysterious matron to her shuttered manor, he enters a Gothic haunted house that time forgot and finds an eccentric, possibly mad dowager in a rotting wedding dress, holding court in a musty throne room dominated by a decomposing wedding cake, a reminder of the day she was jilted at the altar. Havisham has sent for Pip to become a playmate for her ward Estella (Jean Simmons), an impertinent young beauty with whom Pip immediately falls in love. Apparently, young Anthony Wager [the Actor] also fell in love with [17 year old] Simmons (how could a thirteen-year-old boy with stars in his eyes not?) and even played the hero in real life. According to Simmons, her dress caught on fire from a candle she was carrying through a scene up a flight of dark stairs. “Everybody stood aghast, but Anthony came and tore it off me and put it out. This boy was the one who saved me.”]
In Lewis Milestone’s STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS the story is told from the girl’s perspective, who (as in EXPECTATIONS) is molded by the expectations of a domineering matriarch who shapes her to marry for power and money.
“He wanted to make something of his son, and I was tied to them both from that time on… [He used my guilt to make me marry his son]. Sam you’re not going to go away again! I want you here, Sam! I’ve lived so much inside myself. So choked with wanting something else that lives and breathes, so desperate for air and room to breathe it in! Oh, please, oh please… stay here.”
—Barbara Stanwyck as Martha in THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS
And in both films the course of those lives are neither easy nor straight, but undulating tales of loves deferred, and tragedies… born.
And both films were the first appearance of two future stars. GREAT EXPECTATIONS being the first film appearance of Alec Guinness, and STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS being the first film appearance of Kirk Douglas.
[Guinness' performance is little more than a bit part, but Kirk Douglas is revelatory in his first screen role. Imbuing a difficult role, with a suffering that makes him neither hero nor villain... but something more sad, and memorable than both. But everyone gives strong performances in STRANGE LOVE, Heflin an oft dismissed leading man gives, perhaps his best performance here. Barbara Stanwyck adds some rare vulnerability to her tough as nails persona. However, arguably it's Lizabeth Scott's performance as Antonia Marachek, the one caught in the crossfire, that lets everything work in this film. That and the script of Robert Rossen (of ROARING TWENTIES and HUSTLER fame) that has to rank as one of his best.]
And finally the ultimate comparison, both films… come highly recommended. .
You can view THE STRANGE LOVES OF MARTHA IVERS online here.
And when ready to purchase there is a great Criterion DVD for David Lean’s film, loaded with special features. However, the various DVD versions of STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS are, on the whole, bare-bones affairs, sporting no special features. Check the links below.
Hope you enjoyed today’s selections, and come back tomorrow for the much awaited next installment of… WEDNESDAY’S WORDS! Till then… be good.
TODAY’S BEST COMIC BOOK AND TPB COVERS
THUNDER AGENTS 2. Hearing nothing but good things about Nick Spencer’s work on this series.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Vol. 1
BLACK PANTHER 527. Great Francavilla cover highlights this issue. I’m going to pick up the trades.
Saw some pages of this horror story that takes place during the era of Napolean. Looks promising.
X-MEN 23- Too many X-MEN books, translates into me being uninterested in reading any of them. That said, that’s a great cover.
AVENGERS ACADEMY 24- Simialy too many avengers books, means I have no interest in reading any of them. That’s the problem with MARVEL/DISNEY comics, they saturate the market, choking their own products/brand to death. It’s like a garden with too many plants, too close together, fighting for soil and light… they all end up dying. That said, another great cover.
VESCELL 5- That’s a great cover. Unfortunately the interior sample pages were just a bunch of talking heads, gabbing on about nothing. Too bad, the cover showed promise.
VAMPIRELLA VS. DRACULA- Great cover.
BLUE ESTATE TPB VOL II- That is a phenomenal cover. Unfortunately the interior art that I saw doesn’t look anything like that, and the writing was pretty darn pedestrian/boring. You can decide for yourself.
FATALE 2- Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have for the last few years been making some of the best comics available, and one of the few you really should be buying monthly rather than waiting for the collected edition. Though you can’t go wrong with their CRIMINAL DELUXE EDITION. Their take on pulp noir is always highly recommended.
So Kim Delaney gets escorted off of stage for a rambling speech at a military awards function.
My memory of Kim Delaney is from the short lived 1989-90 series TOUR OF DUTY, I know she starred in NYPD BLUE and MIAMI VICE and is currently starring in something called ARMY WIVES, but, beyond the first year of NYPD Blue, I haven’t watched any of that stuff.
So what I know of Kim Delaney is a hazy memory of a show from over 20 years ago. But I remember having a huge crush on her. And having seen recent pics, time if not quite life, has been very kind to her. She looks even more attractive, if not happier, than that woman of two decades ago.
But my opinion of her seemingly troubled speech??
Things happen. People have bad days. We all do.
Life gets in the way, for all of us.
Our lives don’t turn out like we want them to. Marriages fail, Family try you, friends betray you, jobs limit you, and governments disappoint you. And acting is the only job, where none of that is supposed to get in the way of you smiling for the cameras… both on and off duty.
But things do get in the way. Bad days, like rain, falling on the just and the unjust alike. On the famous and the unknown.
The only problem is when you’re a celebrity those… bad days, instead of just being between you, and maybe a few co-workers or family or acquaintances, those bad days are shared with millions if not billions of strangers.
Your bad day… made infinitely worse by… celebrity.
Take Mel Gibson. He has a bad day. He says things he shouldn’t when he’s in pain. Who amongst you is any different?
Tiger Woods, all of them. I refuse to judge, because I realize there is not one of their detractors, that can walk in the fishbowl the media makes of their lives… and not be crushed by it.
I realize that ‘casting the first stone’ was written for just such situations. I do think the press crosses the line, and I don’t think an actor sells his liberty when he sells his services.
I don’t think they sell their right to privacy or the occasional bad day.
Kim Delaney had a bad day at an awards show (I personally wouldn’t have been at an award show for a bunch of right wing leaning types myself, but hey, to each their own), but so what.
Life gets in the way.
Leave her be.