Mystery Scene, Spring 2019
The opening music is lush but ominous. As the movie credits roll, strains of carnival music break through, accompanying the camera as it moves in on a barker, doing his best to entice crowds outside a tent with a sign that reads GEEK. GEEK? To modern audiences, a geek is someone with minor social skills – possibly combined with extra-ordinary intelligence. An eccentric. An oddball. A dweeb. Back in the 1940s the term implied something else – something dark. And tragic. Something within this movie tent, where a striking looking man, wearing a white T-shirt and great physique, watches and waits. “This exhibit is being presented solely in the interest of education and science!” claims a handler, who points to an unseen figure below. “Is he the missing link? Is he man or beast?” The man in the T-shirt – his name is Stanton Carlisle, and he’s a newcomer to the carnival biz – stands, appalled, among the gaping onlookers. When the (unseen) geek is tossed live chickens to eat, Carlisle walks away from the squawks of brutalized poultry, and the resulting gasps from the crowd. He goes on to say, incredulously, “I can’t understand how anybody could get so low.” It’s a prophetic line that serves as a dirty welcome mat to “Nightmare Alley,” a weird, unsettling 1947 movie about an enigmatic grifter who uses the women he meets to con his way to the top …
Mystery Scene, Spring 2019
Orange Coast, November 2016
As a child, Julie M. Rivett knew that her deceased grandfather was a famous writer…. She became a Hammett authority so she could represent his legacy. For Rivett, it’s tough to separate the man from the writer. “His personality is inherent in his writing – which is logical, succinct, thoughtful. Even his inability to write for all those years was about his devotion to perfection.” She adds, “I’ve come to feel a great fondness and attachment to him.”
by Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske
Howard Hughes was one of the most amazing, intriguing, and controversial figures of the twentieth century. He was the billionaire head of a giant corporation, a genius inventor, an ace pilot, a matinee-idol-handsome playboy, a major movie maker who bedded a long list of Hollywood glamour queens, and ultimately a bizarre recluse whose final years and shocking death were cloaked in macabre mystery. In this fascinating, revelation-packed national best-seller, the full story of one of the most daring, enigmatic, and reclusive power brokers America has ever known is finally told.
The New York Times, February 5, 2006
During her brief lifetime, Elizabeth Short never starred in a single movie. There is no record of her having played so much as a bit part. Yet within popular culture, Short — who frequently told friends she wanted to break into show business — has emerged as something of an honorary leading lady whose shadowy life and violent death follow the contours of a classic film noir script.
Orange Coast, September 2012
Since Jeff’s death, his music has been named to assorted critics’ best lists. There have been biographies and articles and numerous documentaries—and, as a result, the posthumous spotlight has found his father, who was previously eclipsed by psychedelic, in-your-face ’60s acts. Tim also is the subject of several biographical books and a slew of print appreciations. His music is being rediscovered.