NOIR CITY: CHICAGO

Poster for Noir City: Chicago August 28-31, 2017

I’ll be co-hosting NOIR CITY CHICAGO from 28-31August. Hope to see you there!


 

ONE WAY STREET

 

Thoughts and insight into the history of Tinsel Town

TV's Mightiest Mouthpiece—The Noir Roots of Perry Mason

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CROOKED MOUTHPIECES date back to the era of 1930s porto-noir gangster movies (reaching their apogee with Louis Calhern’s turn in The Asphalt Jungle), but crusading defense attorneys who trod the line between cleverness and corruption proved to be scarce onscreen.

   And then came Perry Mason.

   His creator, Erle Stanley Gardner, was a self-taught trial attorney who began submitting mystery stories to the pulps in 1923. Over the next decade, under a number of pseudonyms, he turned out an average for 3,200 words per day (1.2 million words per year) describing the adventures of protagonists such as Lester Leith, Speed Dash, and Ken Cornin.  “By the time I’d learned my craft—and that took about ten years—I was ready to use my law background for my stories,” Gardner recalled in a 1965 interview.

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© Copyright 2017 Alan K. Rode - All Rights Reserved

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Dinner with Alfonse: A Family Remembrance

 Alfonse at work
Alfonse at work


Grandfather lit up a Salem and recalled the young Joan Crawford as we sat around the dining table.  “She would do anything with anybody,” he said with a knowing wink.  Grandmother shushed him with  “Alfonse!” as she and Mom cleared the table.

Mom stamped her foot on the kitchen floor, interrupting the cat licking the butter stick on top of the table. Grandmother Levy laughed and recalled a story involving a cat and her Mother who had been a six-gun toting Texas constable.

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Look Under the H for the Money!

hollywood

By 1954, the venerable HOLLYWOOD sign had been the symbol of Tinseltown for over three decades. The fifty foot high milestone on Mount Lee was emblematic of the aspirations of those worthies who appear everyday in Hollywood in pursuit of their respective holy grail.

Most didn’t make it and still don’t. There were more than several who longed too much and cared too little that became authentic casualties. Let us offer a moment of silence for those unfortunates as personified by unemployed actress Peg Entwistle whose despondent swan dive to eternity off of the top of the Hoccurred in 1932.

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