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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Patrick Stewart Sees Ghost

Patrick Stewart, right, saw a ghost while performing Waiting for Godot with Sir Ian McKellen, left
Chrispy is a major Trek fan. And it's an antiquraian story to a certain extent.

Patrick Stewart saw ghost performing Waiting for Godot

Patrick Stewart has told fellow actors that he saw a ghost in what is reputed to be one of Britain's most haunted theatres.

He saw the apparition while performing Waiting for Godot with Sir Ian McKellen.

Stage hands believe he saw the ghost of John Baldwin Buckstone, who was actor-manager of the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the mid 19th century and a friend of Charles Dickens.

Upon coming offstage for the interval, Stewart told his co-star that he saw a man standing in the wings wearing what looked like a beige coat and twill trousers.

Sir Ian asked him: "What happened, what threw you?"

"I just saw a ghost. On stage, during Act One," Stewart replied.

The episode was related in a documentary about the Theatre Royal Haymarket, produced by television channel Sky Arts.

However, it appears cameramen failed to capture images of the ghost itself.

Buckstone had a long association with the Theatre Royal, first as a comic actor, then as a playwright and finally as its actor-manager from 1853 to 1877, during which time it put on some 200 productions. The house became the leading comic theatre of the day.

He did not die in the building, passing away peacefully at home in Sydenham, Kent, after a long illness in 1879 aged 77. But theatre lore professes that he nevertheless haunts the place to the present day.

Nigel Everett, a director of the theatre, said: "Patrick told us all about it. He was stunned. I would not say frightened, but I would say impressed."

Appearances of Buckstone were not that frequent, Mr Everett said, with the last being by a stage hand about three or four years ago.

He added: "The last time an actor saw him would have been I think Fiona Fullerton, playing in an Oscar Wilde, 10 or 12 years ago.

"The ghost tends to appear when a comedy is playing."

While he said he did not consider Waiting for Godot to be a comedy, he thought their production did have comic aspects.

"I think Buckstone appears when he appreciates things," he added. "We view it as a positive thing."

Friday, August 21, 2009

C M Eddy, Jr. Writer, HPL & Houdini Friend.

Thanks, C, for mentioning this article to me. :)

Pulp-era horror is resurrected in book of tales
By Doug Norris/Features Editor

NARRAGANSETT - A close friend to H.P. Lovecraft and Harry Houdini, lifelong Rhode Islander C.M. Eddy Jr. is perhaps best known for his stories in Weird Tales. Eddy's tales of horror, the supernatural and detective mystery appeared in several pulp magazines in the early 20th century.
Just in time for Halloween, a partial collection of his work, "The Loved Dead and Other Tales," consisting of 13 stories from the pulps, has been compiled and published by his grandson, Jim Dyer, owner of Fenham Publishing of Narragansett."He was a pack rat," said Dyer of his grandfather. "He kept all of his stories, letters, notes. It's something that runs in the family."This is the second collection of Eddy's tales that Dyer has published. Fenham Publishing's first venture into the Eddy oeuvre was "Exit Into Eternity, Tales of the Bizarre and Supernatural," a collection of five stories, including one novelette and one unfinished fragment titled "Black Noon." Dyer later edited and published "The Gentleman from Angell Street, Memories of H.P. Lovecraft," which included writings from his grandfather and his grandmother, Muriel, who both knew Lovecraft well."My grandparents became friends with Lovecraft in the early 1920s," Dyer said. "He used to walk to their house in Fox Point and stay late into the night. My grandfather and he would take late-night walks in the streets of Providence, looking for interesting places or just talking about ideas for stories. My grandmother typed some of his manuscripts."Dyer said that Lovecraft encouraged Eddy's writing, offering advice and editing, as he did with many writers of the day."He wasn't competitive at all," Dyer said, adding that, according to his grandmother, "Lovecraft had a hand in a lot of stories that he never got any credit for. He had a circle of friends, who would mail each other different stories and make comments.""The Loved Dead," the opening story in the new collection, was so controversial in its day that it almost didn't get published. It deals with the subject of necrophilia."His agent said no one would touch it in America," Dyer said. "He told my grandfather to try to publish it in France. He thought it might find an audience in Paris, where they had the Grand-Guignol, a theater of the bizarre. Eventually Weird Tales published the story in 1924, even though the editor still had his doubts. As it turned out, the controversy helped sell more copies of the magazine." The story is even credited with helping Weird Tales avoid bankruptcy.Seven stories first published in Weird Tales make up part of the new collection. Dyer's favorite of these is a tale titled "The Ghost-Eater.""It's a werewolf story," Dyer said, "but it's an offbeat werewolf story, about a ghost werewolf."Eddy wrote horror and supernatural tales, along with detective mysteries such as "Sign of the Dragon," first published in Mystery Magazine in 1919 and re-published here. Other stories describe mad scientists, Neanderthals, phantoms and ancient curses."Supernatural had to do with something not of this world, like werewolves, vampires," Dyer said. "The horror story was more based in real life, but just scary. But I don't think they differentiated back then with all of the subcategories. That came later.""It's the kind of writing he liked to do," Dyer added. "Magazines like Weird Tales published stories that didn't fit into the other magazines of the day. My grandfather called his stories his 'brainchildren.' "In addition to pulp fiction writing, Eddy was a composer of lyrics and melodies, whose songs included "Dearest of All," "When We Met by the Blue Lagoon," "Underneath the Whispering Pine," "Sunset Hour" and "Hello, Mister Sunshine (Goodbye, Mister Rain).""People used to send him their poems and he'd put them to music," Dyer said.Eddy became a theatrical booking agent in Providence, which was his residence throughout his life (except for a short stint in East Providence). He befriended a number of famous vaudevillians and performers, including the great Houdini, one of the most popular entertainers of his time."He worked as a ghostwriter and an investigator for Houdini," Dyer said. "Houdini paid writers to write stories that had his name on them in popular magazines. He also used to go around the country breaking up seances and exposing mediums as fakes. My grandfather would travel to a town ahead of him and find out everything he could. He'd figure out how the voices were coming from the walls, how the table might be moving. Then he'd type up a report for Houdini, who would show up with all of the newspapers and expose the act as if he was doing it on the spot.""The Loved Dead and Other Tales" costs $16.95 and is available at local bookstores or through the publisher's Web site,

Bradbury Manuscript Seen

Bradbury, Ray. "Watchful Poker Chip of M. Matisse, The" [Short Story]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT SIGNED (TMsS). 17 leaves of letter-size bond, typed on rectos only, signed by Bradbury on first leaf. The setting copy, with many minor edits in pencil, as well as typographical instructions. One of Bradbury's better-known stories, appearing first in Horace L. Gold's BEYOND in 1953, and collected in THE OCTOBER COUNTRY (1955). The story concerns a "terrifyingly ordinary man" named George Garvey, whose very banality makes him a camp darling of the avant garde -- but they watch in true horror as he unconsciously manifests one genuinely hip trend after another, the final phase being his decision to replace his body parts, one by one, for artistic objects: a bird cage in an artificial leg, a hand of jade and copper, and, most notably, a false eye consisting of a poker chip with an eye painted on it by Matisse. "Bradbury's target in this uncharacteristic excursion into cultural satire is trendy intellectualism, which finds itself always one step behind the ingenious banality of George Garvey, as he moves from campy nostalgia to florid romantic decadence." - Mogen, Ray Bradbury (1986), p. 55. It belongs to the period, from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, that most critics consider Bradbury's most fruitful. On the front page is a pencil notation: "Vouchered 8/17/53 $400." Gold's BEYOND lasted for just ten bi-monthly issues from 1953-1955. Bradbury's story is a good example of the ironic tone that Gold preferred. A bit rumpled and smudged, with a ragged hole in upper right corners of each leaf from former brad binding, generally very good. (#128346)
Price: $4,500.00

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Damn Thing Fanzine

The notes from the seller:

THE DAMN THING - #1, #2, #3 & #4 - Nov 1940, Dec 1940, Feb 1941 & Mar 1941. Editor: T. Bruce Yerke. Contents: #1 (18 pages)- Assailing The Pro-Scientists by Damon Knight, Bedlam on 9th Street by Lothar Penguin, Is Ackerman A Schizophrenatic? by Prof. Carlton Fassbeinder, Over Hill and Dale to Pomona! by T. Bruce Yerke, The Last Man by Ray Douglas Bradbury, Boosting the Editor, List of Persons Attached in This Issue: Forrest J. Ackerman, Raymond Van Houten & Co, Chas. D. Horning, Price System Justice, Morojo, Bill Crawford, Futuria Fantasi, The Rocket, Shangri-La, T. Bruce Yerke, All Pro-Sceintists, All Fan Feuders. #2 (20 pages)- Cover drawn by Bradbury, The Editor Sits on His Platform, Genie Trouble by Ray Bradbury, Archibald was a Fan Mag Editor, Van Houten Says--, After Armagedddon by Fywert Kinge, Prof. Fassbeinder's Corn-Or, The Newark Convention by TBYerke, The Sucker Bites by Readers; #3 (20 pages) -The Editor Sits on His Platform, Hollorbochen by Lothar Penguin, Column Left! by Rigour Fungus, The Black Supreme br Eustance Bildgewater, The Demise of Clifton's Cafe by Thornton Craymyre, A Dispatch frm Shangri-La by Yerke, Scientifictionurserymes by Prof. Stinkywitz, "How Am I Today, Doctor?" by Ray Bradbury, The Sucker Bites by You & Yoy & You, Notes on Local Mags by Editor; #4 (20 pages) - Contents - Right in Front, The Editor Sits on His Platform, Illustration by Ewing Brown, Hodgkins, The Enigma by Lothar Penquin, The Trouble With Humans Is People by Ray Bradbury, For Fans by Walt Daugherty.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Robert Bloch Remembrance

Uncle Robert, I hardly knew you
August 6, 11:30 AMMilwaukee Horror Movies ExaminerAaron W. Tellock

One of Wisconsin's most infamous writers actually has little association with his own claim to fame. Mr. Robert Bloch wrote the story that horror/mystery legend Alfred Hitchcock would later turn into one of the greatest horror films in the history of horror, although Bloch is a name seldom associated with the film. It also just so happens to be that Robert Bloch took an interest in my great aunt Marion Holcombe and in 1940 they were married. Together they raised a daughter and moved to Weyauwega, Wisconsin where he would later write the story for which he was best known. Psycho is by far his most notable work partly because of the great success of the film adaptation, but Robert Bloch wrote numerous short stories and even episodes for a radio program as well as his many novels.

I never met him, partly because his marriage to my great-aunt Marion dissolved in the mid-1960’s but mostly because he had moved out to Hollywood to pursue a career in screenwriting some years before that. I’ve heard stories about my mother and her siblings going to visit his home in Weyauwega when they were younger. He was a humorous man despite his chilling horror stories and fantastic science fiction adventures. I’ve read in all of his biographies on the net and in his book about how nice he was and how much loved his family, and from what I’ve heard he truly did. The most common story is about his desk, a giant slab of oak that he sat behind creating his masterworks including one of my favorite stories, Terror.

I think about everything that I was told about the great-uncle that I never met and the most renowned feature about him was his attachment to reality. Success never tainted him or changed him; he took everything with quiet dignity and respect for the craft that he so delicately evolved into what it is today. He was one of the first to take horror outside of the supernatural during a time when the supernatural was the topic of most horror tales. His stories influenced generations of writers to follow just as H.P. Lovecraft influenced Bloch himself when he first began penning stories for Weird Tales literary magazine. I think that all authors are influenced by someone, their favorite author, having read a lot Bloch’s work in my teens and early twenties; I guess my own work was probably influenced by him.

Robert Bloch passed away in September of 1994 after a long battle with cancer.


Derleth in Redbook

REDBOOK Jan1941 - in same issue as Disney's Fantasia; A Derleth novel. he Novel of the Month at the end of the issue (pgs 113-146) is a rare novel by noted fantasy writer August Derleth. (Some silverfish damage shown in image, a fitting homage to he who revels in arcane and musty nefarious books).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Virgil Finaly Illustrations (1947)

Here are a couple of Virgil Finlays from March 1947 Startling Stories (illustrating Murray Leinster's "The Laws of Chance").

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Oh, Chrispy is flying high. Not only did I get three more 1940's era Startling Stories pulps (for my Young Lin Carter research and sheer enjoyment of reading those old tales when they were new) but just came back from watching on the big screen in glorious black and white The Wolfman (1940) and Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954). They were just as much fun - and sometimes as corny - as I remember.

A great Saturday!


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