Thursday, November 30, 2023


While I enjoyed (and recommend) POKER FACE as the most entertaining television program of the year, hands down the most brilliant and addictive this year is THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, an eight-part mini-series on Netflix. 

Loosely based on various works by Edgar Allan Poe, the series adapts otherwise unrelated stories and characters by Poe into a single nonlinear narrative set from 1953 to 2023. It recounts both the rise to power of Roderick Usher, the powerful CEO of a corrupt pharmaceutical company and his sister Madeline Usher, the genius COO of the pharmaceutical company, and the events leading to the deaths of all six of Roderick’s children. In each episode one of his children dies a most gruesome death, each in the manner of a victim in an Edgar Allan Poe story (which is why each episode is aptly titled “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” etc.). By the third death, Roderick Usher realizes his house is falling down... and it takes the superstitious Madeline less time to figure out who is responsible and why the family is being targeted. 

The series is top notch from directing, writing, and acting and the ensemble cast shines with the performances of Carla Gugino (as a mysterious woman plaguing the Ushers) and Bruce Greenwood as an elderly Roderick. These two deserve an Emmy nomination for best acting of the year for a miniseries.

Carla Gugino as the mysterious woman.

Each episode provides a bit of mystery that keeps you guessing what the solution is until the final episode. For the most part, you’ll figure out who the mysterious woman is before the big reveal, which will come as no surprise. But the fun is knowing what’s around the corner, even if you are a Poe enthusiast. The most brilliant aspect of the series is the writing – superb prose and a well-crafted story.


My recommendation is not to binge watch, but instead to watch one episode a day so you have time to dwell on the mysteries that remain unsolved until the final episode. If you are looking for a series that will keep you glued for days, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER on Netflix is brilliant. And I do not use the word "brilliant" for films or television programs loosely.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Keeping the British End Up: A New 007 Magazine

There’s something traditional about turning the pages of a magazine that arrives in the mail, despite the fact that magazine subscriptions nationwide are still dropping at an annual rate due to the digital format. I am ashamed to admit that I collect magazines, comic books and fanzines in digital format because I found the iPad to be one of the most magnificent inventions made. I can hold the issue, search within the contents, and carry only one iPad that would hold tens of thousands of issues. 


Still, there is a new magazine recently published and I got my hands on the first issue the other week… and discovered how gorgeous the photos are in this well-designed magazine. Lavish, slick and glossy, this is a feast for the eyes. And a must for fans of 007/James Bond films. It seems a fan club was started in England and members are allowed to submit one or two-page articles about various subjects from the history of Aston Martin, a 60th anniversary look back at a classic Bond film, to photos of a large Bond girl gathering for charity. Basically, it is a magazine written by fans, for the fans. 

The magazine is not available on newsstands. You have to be a member of the club to receive the issues. 


The website promoting the 007 Club also has a few samples of such articles. Click on the link below to visit the website and enjoy.

Thursday, November 16, 2023


There are people in this world who need to take time to learn a trade, and there are people who likes to make sandcastles... and last week I met a woman who found a way to make the best of both worlds. She does arts and crafts – including scrapbooking – and took her love of old-time radio and pulp magazine heroes to a new level. She created “junk journals” which are pretty much the portfolios of the likes of Britt Reid (alias The Green Hornet), Richard Wentworth (alias The Spider), Lamont Cranston (alias The Shadow) and Doc Savage, among others. Naturally, I grabbed the one for THE GREEN HORNET and took a few photos to share. This is awesome.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

You Must Remember This by Robert Wagner

Film and television star Robert Wagner delighted audiences for more than sixty years, and his many fans flocked to bookstores when he began to record his memories on the page. In his second 
New York Times bestseller, You Must Remember This, Wagner shared stories of Hollywood life behind the scenes from the 1930s through the 1950s. As poignant as it is revealing—and filled with magical moments like Judy Garland singing Gershwin at a dinner party thrown by Clifton Webb and golf games with Fred Astaire—You Must Remember This is Wagner’s tender farewell to a legendary era. Having read this book at the beach this summer, I have to confess this was one of the most entertaining and fascinating books I have read in quite a while. 

A few yers ago, Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers were among the celebrity guests at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. On stage they talked about Hollywood and answered questions from the audience. Robert Wagner discussed the evolution of Hollywood as he confessed he came in during the tail end of the studio system, and the early days of television. His talk was fascinating and prompted me to buy his books and read them. I Love Her in the Movies was more autobiographical, demonstrating the alchemy of the camera and how the studio system could transform the attractive into the stunning. Along the way, he revealed the transformation as actresses were empowered to become aggressively sexual beings in a way that black-and-white films had only hinted at. 

With You Must Remember This, Wagner (with the assistance of Scott Eyman), is more sociological. From a tour of famous Hollywood restaurants, to the homes of art directors... from the celebrities who liked to golf, to dealing with the press, this book is a historical time capsule of the fashion and style both in front and behind the camera. This book is a walk down memory lane... or, I should say, Hollywood Boulevard.

This book has been available for years so you can probably get it for a bargain. Worth seeking out and reading.