Tuesday, April 27, 2004

From the mailbox and other goodies…

I’ve received a few nifty things in the mail of late, and I thought I would share—first off, my copy of Science Fiction on Radio: A Revised Look at 1950-1975 arrived yesterday. It’s co-written by our good friend, Jim Widner, and when I inquired if he had any more copies he informed me that he did but only a few—apparently his local public radio station snapped up a good many of them to use as premiums when pledge time came around. (You know, if my local NPR station offered goodies like that, I'd contribute more often.) So if you’re interested in grabbing a copy, here’s where you need to be.

I obtained a nice little eBay item the other day—a beautiful-looking lobby card for the 1946 Lum & Abner comedy Partners in Time.

I also got some sensational news that Universal will be releasing some of their classic film noirs on DVD on July 7, 2004—they will consist of The Big Clock (1948), Black Angel (1946), Criss Cross (1949), Double Indemnity (1944) and This Gun For Hire (1942). Of these films, only Double Indemnity has seen DVD action before—it was released by Image Entertainment in 1998 on a no-frills disc that has since gone out of print. I’m hoping that even though they’re priced to sell (Deep Discount DVD, my favorite place to buy DVDs, has them at $9.35 apiece) that they at least include some trailers on them—particularly the one for Big Clock, which features a Suspense radio show tie-in, showcasing star Ray Milland. MGM will be releasing a box set (they're also available separately) of some of the Monogram Charlie Chan films that same day: Charlie Chan in the Secret Service (1944), The Chinese Cat (1944), The Jade Mask (1945), Meeting at Midnight (1944), The Scarlet Clue (1945) and The Shanghai Cobra (1945). It would be nice if 20th Century-Fox followed suit, since they own the rights to the earlier and better Chan films, but after the Fox Movie Channel debacle some time back, it’s probably not likely.

Finally, I received my membership card from the Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound (warning: sound) and I've been informed that this and a Johnny Dollar-sized expense account will get me a cup of joe. It's a great organization, based in the Seattle area, and dedicated to keeping the spirit of old-time radio alive. They publish a newsletter, Air Check, and have a voluminous cassette rental library of 6000+ programs, so huge that if you want a printed catalog it’ll cost you ten clams or a CD-ROM is available for five. (It’s accessible via the net, so if you’re online, there’s no need to worry.) They also hold a convention every year that has been characterized by many as one of the finest and although I’ll be unable to attend it sounds as though this year will be a goody—a salute to the Mutual Broadcasting System, with recreations of shows like The Shadow, Superman, Let George Do It, Lum & Abner, The Green Hornet, The Lone Ranger and Quiet, Please on the menu.

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