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Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Writer's Life 10/22 - Hollywood Stalwarts

I love Hollywood trivia, especially that from the sound era until circa 1970. Last night, courtesy of Netflix, I watched a movie that had slipped through the cracks for me, Deadline USA (1952). Written and directed early in the career of the esteemed Richard Brooks, it stars Humphrey Bogart, Kim Hunter, Ethel Barrymore and a host of talented Tinseltown supporting players: Warren Stevens, Ed Begley, Paul Stewart, Parley Baer, Willis Bouchey and Jim Backus, the latter marvelously cast as a gossip columnist. It is a good film, solid from start to finish. The paper in question sticks to the highest standards, which, of course, had me thinking of the woeful state of journalism today. The story is simple: a newspaper in its last days tries to take out a mobster, played by Martin Gabel. James Dean may have had a cameo as a copyboy, but that, according to IMDb, has not been confirmed. In researching the cast, I wondered if this flick holds the all-time record for cumulative credits among its cast. Of the six actors I researched that accumulated more than 300 credits, five were not not even vaguely familiar, which is particularly rankling to someone who considers himself a movie buff. Dabbs Greer, who I recognized, rang up 312 credits, Forbes Murray 355, Joseph Crehan 372, Harry Tyler 374, Selmar Jackson 429 and Harry Harvey 444 -- those numbers list only titles, not multiple appearances on TV shows. Here are pictures of these stalwarts:






A blurb in today's NY Post led me to a search about a product designed to prevent bicycle and motorcycle theft. 1.5 million are stolen each year. Skunk Lock carries a unique chemical deterrent that is released when the device is compromised. The only way to expose the chemicals is by trying to cut through the device with an angle grinder. Could a thief wear a mask or protection? Technically, yes, but the formula is detectable through even some of the most robust gas masks. More importantly, the chemicals create a scene that makes people take notice, and it has economic implications for the thief, ruining the clothes or any protection he/she may be wearing. Replacing such items is likely more expensive than the resale value of a stolen bike, which generally is only one-tenth of the retail price. The device will be available in June of 2017. Prices range from $99 to $529 for a family pack.

The floating book shop was rained out today.
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