Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I was never A Man From Uncle fan and today Turner Classic Movies is reminding my why. They've been running Uncle movies and Uncle compilations peddled as movies all day. If Flint was a K-Mart version of Bond at least it had James Coburn and a certain merry Cold War cynicism. Uncle had Robert Vaughan, who always struck me as a singularly uninteresting mid-level corporate executive, and some of the chessiest sets outside of an Irwin Allen TV series. I watched a half hour of one of them today and the only fun was seeing Dorothy Provine again. Damn she was good looking. Those facial bones were perfect. Jack Palance was the overwrought bad guy and David McCallum looked sort of lost in all the to-ing and fro-ing. I didn't get it back then and I still don't.


My old buddy John McCarty was on NPR this afternoon talking about the American fascination with mobsters. He did a damned good job as usual. I hope they have him on again soon.


I have a link to Martin Edwards' blog. Very good writer, very good reviewer. He's of the old Brit school, which is to say he honors the past as well as the present. A few days ago he reviewed the first two volumes of my Collected Works, for which I've thanked him. But this isn't log-rolling. I really do like his fiction, which is rich with character, incident and a serious look at the world around us. He should be much better known in the States. I'm hoping we publish him in Five Star again. Poisoned Pen has done a few of his novels, too. Try the link. I think you'll find him interesting and erudite.


I see that one of my favorite Elmore Leonard novels Killshot has been turned into a film with Diane Lane. Now that' may be worth seeing.


Anonymous said...

I was a fan of UNCLE back in the day (the day being when I was 14), and hadn't seen any of the episodes in years, until I caught a few scenes from two of the comps on TCM today. I guess at age 14, I didn't notice the scratchy stock footage and chintzy sets. One segment I saw had another blonde '60s lovely, Carol Lynley, in a short skirt. Be still, my heart. The other segment had Leslie Nielsen playing it straight as a bad guy; odd to see him in one of those old straight-arrow '60s TV roles again after his latter-day success as a goofball.

I've ordered a (I suppose bootleg) DVD of some "77 Sunset Strip" episodes over the Internet -- will be interested in seeing how it holds up.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We forget how much the production values have improved and how actors on TV today are not the B actors they were in that era.
UNCLE always had an unearned self-importance about it too and no male heartthrob for my teenage self.

Gonzalo B said...

Is this the same John McCarthy who’s written a few books on horror films and who also authored a horror novel a while back? I can’t remember its name but I’ve always wanted to read it seeing how McCarthy is such a perceptive critic of the genre. It seems it’s impossible to find, though.

Anonymous said...


How odd, caught the same on TCM the same time you were... and at first thought, ah, what fun... and after a few minutes, I was bored out of my skull....

But later, yum, saw one of the best fun movies of my childhood, "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming..." What a gas... still hilarious after all these years.

-- Brendan

Ed Gorman said...

Yep it's the same John McCarty who writes books on all aspects of movies and tv. Including horror.

Anonymous said...

Hell, I'm always impressed how poorly the Connery Bond films hold up for me. Likewise I SPY, which like UNCLE for Patti often seems pompous, gassy and preachy...but both UNCLE and I SPY have a few good episodes mixed in. And I like the jazz version of the UNCLE theme...even if SECRET AGENT had these all beat in nearly every way.