Sunday, 09 January 2011 10:48
altA couple of years ago, my husband got me for Christmas the complete season of Honey West on DVD. It just shows you how well he knows me.

Honey West , for those who don't know, was the first "girl" detective series on TV. It wasn't a huge success, lasting one 1965-1966 on ABC. But for some kids of that time, especially girls, who had never seen a woman run her own business, use her head and even get into fights, it was a momumental series.

So the passing of actress Anne Francis last week at age 80 following a battle with cancer needs to be honored.

Francis was the "private eye-full" Honey West, complete with tear gas earrings, lipstick radio transmitters, a black garter tear gas mask (what every woman needs) and other cool gadgets that had, until then, been reserved just for boys like James Bond.

She got all the great toys and a pet ocelot named Bruce.
Oh, how I wanted an ocelot. (Although Bruce looked great on camera, apparently he was quite a wild little beast and not the charming pet he played.)

Honey also had to put up with a lot of sexism like that "private eye-full" comment. In running her late father's Los Angeles detective agency, she also had to work with the firm's former junior partner, Sam Bolt, played by John Ericson. While Sam was, admittedly, quite good looking and obviously in love with Honey, he also was dumber than a box of bricks. Not as dumb as Sheena's Bob (she was another childhood hero), but Sam would never be mistaken for a Ph.D. candidate. Sam also thought it his duty to try to boss Honey around. Silly man.

Honey West was created during the 1950s by Skip and Gloria Fickling for a pulp fiction series. But the TV version was a bit tamer, more sophisticated and very glamourous. Who cared how thin the plots were as long as Francis got to change her clothes at least three times an episode?

So does this very dated TV series hold up? Yes, and no.

Francis is obviously having a lot of fun with the character and she is fun to watch. The scripts are so-so. The gadgets are cool, but not very sophisticated looking. It's more the idea of these items than what we actually would see in a Bond movie. And the martial arts that Honey West supposedly knows are quite awkward and phony. It wouldn't be until 1966 when America got a glimpse of a real kick-ass woman who made fight scenes seem real in the form of Diana Rigg's Emma Peel on The Avengers.

Flawed, of course. But I wouldn't part with my Honey West DVD.
Anne Francis, may you rest in peace.
Honey West Lives On
Oline Cogdill
honey-west-lives-on
altA couple of years ago, my husband got me for Christmas the complete season of Honey West on DVD. It just shows you how well he knows me.

Honey West , for those who don't know, was the first "girl" detective series on TV. It wasn't a huge success, lasting one 1965-1966 on ABC. But for some kids of that time, especially girls, who had never seen a woman run her own business, use her head and even get into fights, it was a momumental series.

So the passing of actress Anne Francis last week at age 80 following a battle with cancer needs to be honored.

Francis was the "private eye-full" Honey West, complete with tear gas earrings, lipstick radio transmitters, a black garter tear gas mask (what every woman needs) and other cool gadgets that had, until then, been reserved just for boys like James Bond.

She got all the great toys and a pet ocelot named Bruce.
Oh, how I wanted an ocelot. (Although Bruce looked great on camera, apparently he was quite a wild little beast and not the charming pet he played.)

Honey also had to put up with a lot of sexism like that "private eye-full" comment. In running her late father's Los Angeles detective agency, she also had to work with the firm's former junior partner, Sam Bolt, played by John Ericson. While Sam was, admittedly, quite good looking and obviously in love with Honey, he also was dumber than a box of bricks. Not as dumb as Sheena's Bob (she was another childhood hero), but Sam would never be mistaken for a Ph.D. candidate. Sam also thought it his duty to try to boss Honey around. Silly man.

Honey West was created during the 1950s by Skip and Gloria Fickling for a pulp fiction series. But the TV version was a bit tamer, more sophisticated and very glamourous. Who cared how thin the plots were as long as Francis got to change her clothes at least three times an episode?

So does this very dated TV series hold up? Yes, and no.

Francis is obviously having a lot of fun with the character and she is fun to watch. The scripts are so-so. The gadgets are cool, but not very sophisticated looking. It's more the idea of these items than what we actually would see in a Bond movie. And the martial arts that Honey West supposedly knows are quite awkward and phony. It wouldn't be until 1966 when America got a glimpse of a real kick-ass woman who made fight scenes seem real in the form of Diana Rigg's Emma Peel on The Avengers.

Flawed, of course. But I wouldn't part with my Honey West DVD.
Anne Francis, may you rest in peace.
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 10:20
altA year ago on the third day of 2010, my husband and I stood on a beach holding towels, a hat and some water to greet Randy Wayne White as he finished his swim across Tampa Bay.

It was one of the coldest mornings last year, but that didn't seem to matter to Randy or the others who were swimming with the Navy SEALS as a fund-raiser. It was an amazing sight and no could help but be moved by watching these hearty men and women come ashore, freezing, but happy and knowing they had just raised money for a SEAL who had been disabled fighting for our country.

I was there to interview Randy for a cover story for Mystery Scene. I had brought the towels in case his wife, the singer Wendy Webb, was unable to get his car to the finish line. We didn't want this New York Times best selling author to freeze.

This year, I stayed home.

But not Randy.

altOnce again he joined the fund-raiser and he was there for the 2nd Annual Frogman “Toasty Warm” Swim, which the organizers hope will be a yearly event to raise money for those brave men and women who have fought for this country. This year, 67 people made the swim in hopes of raising $50,000 for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation, which provides services for Navy SEALs wounded in action and college educations for children of fallen SEALs. More information is on the fund-raiser's web site and here is a link to the St. Petersburg Times story.

Randy said the water was a bit warmer this year but, I am sure, the sight was just as dramatic and the reason for the swim as important as ever.

In the cover story that Mystery Scene published, Randy discussed his volunteer work and I hope the story gave readers a different view of this author whose book Night Vision, his 18th novel about Doc Ford, a marine biologist and former government op who lives on Florida’s Sanibel Island will be published in February. (The interview ran in the Winter 2010 Issue, No. 113.)

Sometimes tells me that, as long as he can, he'll also be back next year to swim with the SEALS.
PHOTO: Randy Wayne White after his 2010 swim. Photo by Bill Hirschman
Randy Wayne White Takes the Plunge Again
Oline Cogdill
randy-wayne-white-takes-the-plunge-again
altA year ago on the third day of 2010, my husband and I stood on a beach holding towels, a hat and some water to greet Randy Wayne White as he finished his swim across Tampa Bay.

It was one of the coldest mornings last year, but that didn't seem to matter to Randy or the others who were swimming with the Navy SEALS as a fund-raiser. It was an amazing sight and no could help but be moved by watching these hearty men and women come ashore, freezing, but happy and knowing they had just raised money for a SEAL who had been disabled fighting for our country.

I was there to interview Randy for a cover story for Mystery Scene. I had brought the towels in case his wife, the singer Wendy Webb, was unable to get his car to the finish line. We didn't want this New York Times best selling author to freeze.

This year, I stayed home.

But not Randy.

altOnce again he joined the fund-raiser and he was there for the 2nd Annual Frogman “Toasty Warm” Swim, which the organizers hope will be a yearly event to raise money for those brave men and women who have fought for this country. This year, 67 people made the swim in hopes of raising $50,000 for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation, which provides services for Navy SEALs wounded in action and college educations for children of fallen SEALs. More information is on the fund-raiser's web site and here is a link to the St. Petersburg Times story.

Randy said the water was a bit warmer this year but, I am sure, the sight was just as dramatic and the reason for the swim as important as ever.

In the cover story that Mystery Scene published, Randy discussed his volunteer work and I hope the story gave readers a different view of this author whose book Night Vision, his 18th novel about Doc Ford, a marine biologist and former government op who lives on Florida’s Sanibel Island will be published in February. (The interview ran in the Winter 2010 Issue, No. 113.)

Sometimes tells me that, as long as he can, he'll also be back next year to swim with the SEALS.
PHOTO: Randy Wayne White after his 2010 swim. Photo by Bill Hirschman
Sunday, 02 January 2011 15:03
altSo many tourists, so many scenes in Venice, so much confusion.

When I first saw the previews of The Tourist, the movie starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, left, I wondered, is this the same The Tourist based on the 2009 novel by
Olen Steinhauer.

It certainly has a lot of similarities -- Venice, clandestine meetings, spies, and the most beautiful people trying to protect the world since, well, James Bond's last movie.

I wasn't the only reader who was confused.
The Depp/Jolie Tourist movie is about an American tourist named Frank who is an American tourist visiting Italy and gets caught up in espionage when he meets the beautiful Elise. It is based on an original screenplay.
alt
Steinhauer's excellent novel is about a clandestine branch of the CIA whose deep undercover agents call themselves Tourists. Milo Weaver is a black-ops agent who wants to get out of the business and devote time to his wife and 6-year-old stepdaughter. Naturally, he agrees to do one last job for the agency. (Where have you heard that plot spin before?)
Steinhauer's The Tourist is the start of a projected triology. The Nearest Exit, the second novel in the mini series, was published a couple of months ago.
This is where the confusion starts.
Steinhauer's novel The Tourist has been optioned by George Clooney who plans to play Milo. According to as many Websites I could find, The Steinhauer/Clooney Tourist is being planned for a 2012 release.
Remember that word "planned" so many novels are optioned but the film version runs only in someone's head, not the screen.
So will The Steinhauer/Clooney Tourist be a real visitor or an accidental tourist?
Who knows.
Steinhauer's novel is a multi-layered novel filled with political intrigue and human agnst of a man who had done some terrible things in the name of his country and just wanted a quiet life. I reviewed the novel very favorably and it was one of my favorite books of 2009.
I would imagine that when and/or if The Steinhauer/Clooney Tourist makes it to the screen, The Depp/Jolie Tourist will be long forgotten, expect by extreme fans of the actors. (Should anyone care, I am a Depp fan.)
Oh, and let's make it even more interesting. Earlier in 2009, George Clooney starred in The American, based on a novel by Martin Booth. That plot also has some similiar aspects -- "an assassin hides out in Italy for one last assignment."
So many tourists, so little ways to keep them straight.
Is 'the Tourist' the Tourist?
Oline Cogdill
is-the-tourist-the-tourist
altSo many tourists, so many scenes in Venice, so much confusion.

When I first saw the previews of The Tourist, the movie starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, left, I wondered, is this the same The Tourist based on the 2009 novel by
Olen Steinhauer.

It certainly has a lot of similarities -- Venice, clandestine meetings, spies, and the most beautiful people trying to protect the world since, well, James Bond's last movie.

I wasn't the only reader who was confused.
The Depp/Jolie Tourist movie is about an American tourist named Frank who is an American tourist visiting Italy and gets caught up in espionage when he meets the beautiful Elise. It is based on an original screenplay.
alt
Steinhauer's excellent novel is about a clandestine branch of the CIA whose deep undercover agents call themselves Tourists. Milo Weaver is a black-ops agent who wants to get out of the business and devote time to his wife and 6-year-old stepdaughter. Naturally, he agrees to do one last job for the agency. (Where have you heard that plot spin before?)
Steinhauer's The Tourist is the start of a projected triology. The Nearest Exit, the second novel in the mini series, was published a couple of months ago.
This is where the confusion starts.
Steinhauer's novel The Tourist has been optioned by George Clooney who plans to play Milo. According to as many Websites I could find, The Steinhauer/Clooney Tourist is being planned for a 2012 release.
Remember that word "planned" so many novels are optioned but the film version runs only in someone's head, not the screen.
So will The Steinhauer/Clooney Tourist be a real visitor or an accidental tourist?
Who knows.
Steinhauer's novel is a multi-layered novel filled with political intrigue and human agnst of a man who had done some terrible things in the name of his country and just wanted a quiet life. I reviewed the novel very favorably and it was one of my favorite books of 2009.
I would imagine that when and/or if The Steinhauer/Clooney Tourist makes it to the screen, The Depp/Jolie Tourist will be long forgotten, expect by extreme fans of the actors. (Should anyone care, I am a Depp fan.)
Oh, and let's make it even more interesting. Earlier in 2009, George Clooney starred in The American, based on a novel by Martin Booth. That plot also has some similiar aspects -- "an assassin hides out in Italy for one last assignment."
So many tourists, so little ways to keep them straight.