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Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Writer's Life 4/3 - Rondo & Fred

On Saturday nights at 10 PM Me-TV, channel 33 on Cablevision in NYC, runs a horror movie hosted by a character dubbed Svengoolie. It's silly fun. The MC provides a lot of interesting trivia about the flick and the cast. Last night it ran House of Horrors (1946), notable because it features the now legendary Rondo Hatton. Who? Film buffs will probably recognize his face if not his name. Hatton fought in WWI and was hospitalized when he ingested poison gas. Eventually, that led to a disease that slowly deformed his facial features and other parts of his body. He first worked as a newspaper reporter, but his looks were a natural fit for the silver screen producers could not ignore. He accumulated 25 credits in his short life, three as the Creeper: The Pearl of Death (1944), a Sherlock Holmes mystery starring Basil Rathbone; the aforementioned HoH and The Brute Man (1946), the later two released posthumously. He suffered a fatal heart attack at 51. In researching him, I was led to Fred Olen Ray, whom Svengoolie also mentioned. The name rang a bell, but I did not spot a single familiar title among his amazing list of credits at IMDb. He has logged 43 as an actor, 66 as a screenwriter and 143 as a director, mostly in B movies, TV movies and videos. He wrote a tribute article: Rondo Hatton: Monster Man. He has written under 30 different pen names. He has also dabbled in pro wrestling, fronting an independent outfit, ACW, in which he has wrestled under the moniker Fabulous Freddie Valentine. Kudos to these remarkable men. Here's RH's high school yearbook picture:
And here's a collage related to Fred Olen Ray:
Another baseball season has arrived. I'll be surprised if the Mets and and Yanks don't make the playoffs. Who will win the World Series? The Cubs look awesome on paper, but I thought they would beat the Amazin's last year, and instead were drubbed by the boys in orange and blue. Play ball!

I usually take the floating book shop to Park Slope on Sunday. Since the wind was so savage, I decided to stay local, although I suspected the shelter of the Chase bank, which has served me so well through the years, wouldn't be much help in the face of such gusts. To my surprise, the area was benign. I even unzipped my jacket, so pleasant was it there. And it paid off in sales. While Thomas was browsing through three volumes of Reader's Digest abridged compilations of best sellers, he noticed that the name of several of the books on display were the same -- mine. I gave him a rundown of all seven and he chose Killing. I was signing it when his wife, Mei, showed, grocery bags in tow. She was intrigued by a beautiful pictorial on party food. Since her husband generously insisted on paying for the three compilations, which I would have given him gratis with the purchase of any of mine, I urged them to take it. Thomas is interested in translating classic Chinese works into English, which he speaks very well. My thanks, and to Monsey, who babysat the wares while I hustled to the car and parked it in the spot that had just opened up in front of the display. In thanks, I let her have the book on memory she was thumbing through. An hour or so later she returned with a donation of three novels, parts two and three of 50 Shades and another that seemed in the same vein. Given that the forecast calls for rain tomorrow and blustery conditions Tuesday, it was a big score. For the 1000th time my mantra, Take a Shot, came true.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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