Still under the weather, so another short Scroll.
Feel free to add in comments that should have been scrolled today!
(1) SEAN CONNERY DIES. Actor Sean Connery died October 31. Here is an excerpt of Leonard Maltin’s tribute.
I only spoke to the actor a few times, but each meeting was memorable. The encounter I will never forget came when I was assigned to cover his hand-and-footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1999 to promote the movie Entrapment, which costarred newcomer Catherine Zeta-Jones.
As we stood in the famous forecourt of Grauman’s, I asked what this honor meant to him. He gestured over his shoulder at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and told me that he’d stayed there on his first trip to Los Angeles in the late 1950s. Now, decades later, he was here to perpetuate a tradition that went back even farther than his career.
He had vivid memories of his first trip to Movieland. “My expenses were a hundred bucks a week. I was staying in this hotel and found out that it was like sixteen bucks a day and I had nothing left for food, drink, or a car, so I walked from here to Fox. I got stopped once en route by the police saying, ‘Where are you going, buddy?’ I said, ‘I’m walking.’ He said, ‘Smartass, stay where you are.’ ” Once the problem was unraveled, Fox eventually agreed to give him a car and be more flexible with his per diem.
(2) BARD NOT BOND. [Item by Michael Toman.] On the off chance that Other Bardophile Readers of File 770 might also be interested in seeing a play with witches this Halloween, try Googling “Sean Connery Shakespeare Macbeth” for a link to see a young SC as the doomed Scottish king.
(3) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
- October 31, 1962 — First Spaceship On Venus premiered In the Eastern Bloc. It’s a 1960 East German/Polish film based on the 1951 Stanis?aw Lem novel The Astronauts. Lem did not like it at all and asked his name to be removed as he hated the strident politicization of the story. IMDB still lists him as the story source. Mystery Science Theater 3000 would lampoon it in 2008.
(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born October 31, 1760 – Katsushika Hokusai. (Name given Japanese style, personal name last.) His famous woodblock sometimes called “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa” is actually a view of Mt. Fuji, first in a set (note Zelazny’s story “24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai”). Here is “The Ghost of Oiwa” from One Hundred Ghost Tales. Here is The Oxford Book of the Supernatural. Here is “The Mansion of the Plates” used for Apparitions. Here is a magician. (Died 1849) [JH]
- Born October 31, 1795 – John Keats. In his twenty-five years he wrote poetry soon recognized as great. He said “My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.” Here is Virgil Finlay’s illustration for “La belle dame sans merci”. This illustration by Bell for Endymion will remind you of some JK lines. Here is another illustration for Endymion (look up the myth if you don’t know it). Here is an Endymion illustration engraved by Joubert from a painting by Poynter. Here is an illustration by Riviére. JK wrote this sonnet about Chapman’s translation of Homer, a fantasist writing about a fantasist. (Died 1821) [JH]
- Born October 31, 1923 – Art Saha. Research chemist whose work was used on Space satellites. Futurian. President of the Lunarians (New York) and of the First Fandom organization. Edited half a dozen Year’s Best Fantasy, and with Don Wollheim, a score of Year’s Best SF. Program Book for SunCon the 35th Worldcon. Fan Guest of Honor at Empiricon 4, Unicon 10, Lunacon 29. First Fandom Hall of Fame. (Died 1999) [JH]
- Born October 31, 1937 – Jael, 83. Three dozen covers, thirty interiors; in her seventy-year career, ten-thousands of images all told. Here is Venus Plus X. Here is the Fall 1993 Aboriginal. Here is Letters to Jenny (note the author at upper right). Here is the Summer 2000 Dreams of Decadence. Interviewed in Lighthouse 2. Artbook Perceptualistics (with John Grant). [JH]
- Born October 31, 1941 – Dan Alderson. At JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) wrote software used by Voyager 1 & 2; his Trajectory Monitor used by low-thrust craft at least through 2008. Much-loved member of LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society). Inspired the Alderson Drive in Niven & Pournelle’s Mote in God’s Eye and The Gripping Hand; Dan Forrester in Lucifer’s Hammer is based on him (German Wald is “forest”). Unfortunately self-esteem notoriously as low as his genius was high; he joked about it but meant it too; in one famous incident he said “We could always hold a self-denigration contest. Of course I’d lose,” cracking up his driver and nearly the car. (Died 1989) [JH]
- Born October 31, 1946 – Stephen Rea, 74. Actor who’s had a long genre history starting with the horror films of Cry of the Banshee, The Company of Wolves (from the Angela Carter short story)and The Doctor and the Devils. He’d later show up Interview with the Vampire, The Musketeer, FeardotCom, V for Vendetta, Underworld: Awakening, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us and Ruby Strangelove Young Witch. He had the role of Alexander Pope in the most excellent Counterpart series. (CE)
- Born October 31, 1958 – Ian Briggs, 62. He wrote two Seventh Doctor stories, “Dragonfire” and “The Curse of Fenric”, the former of which of which introduced Ace as the Doctor’s Companion. (The latter is one on my frequent rewatch list.) He novelized both for Target Books. He would write a Seventh Doctor story, “The Celestial Harmony Engine” for the Short Trips: Defining Patterns anthology. (CE)
- Born October 31, 1959 – Neal Stephenson, 61. Some years back, Longfellow Books had a genre book group. One of the staff who was a member of that group (as was I) took extreme dislike to The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. I don’t remember now why but it made re-read that and Snow Crash. My favorite novel by him by far is The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (CE)
- Born October 31, 1961 – Peter Jackson, 59. I’m going to confess that I watched and liked the first of the Lord of The Rings films but got no further than that. I was never fond of The Two Towers as a novel so it wasn’t something I wanted to see as a film, and I like The Hobbit just fine as a novel thank you much having read it at least a half dozen times. Now however the Adventures of Tintin is quite amazing indeed. (CE)
- Born October 31, 1972 – Matt Smith, 48. He’s the current and longest-serving editor of long-running 2000 AD, and also the longest-running editor of its sister title Judge Dredd Magazine. He written three Judge Dredd novels plus a number of other genre novels based off the properties he edits. Along with Alan Ewing and Michael Carroll, he’s written the Judge Dredd audiobook, a take on the newly deputized Dredd. (CE)
- Born October 31, 1978 – Lara Möller, 42. Three novels and a shorter story for Shadowrun, two more short stories; also crime fiction, poems (in German). Backpacked in Australia for ten months; “helping [with a] cattle drive … in the Outback or picking oranges on a plantation is … completely different … from sitting at the computer in the office,” which she resumed. [JH]
- Born October 31, 1979 – Erica Cerra, 41. Best known as Deputy Jo Lupo on Eureka, certainly one of the best SF series ever done. She had a brief recurring role as Maya in Battlestar Galactica, plus the artificial intelligence A.L.I.E. and her creator Becca in The 100. Her most recent genre role was a recurring one as Duma on Supernatural. (CE)
(5) COMICS SECTION.
- The Argyle Sweater’s dope joke is classic (in a manner of speaking).
(6) SPECTRAL SCRIBERS. In “All The Famous Writers Who Have Reportedly Come Back As Ghosts” on CrimeReads, we learn that the ghosts of Lovecraft and Poe have been spotted and if you go to Baltimore’s The Horse You Came In On pub and deny that Poe’s ghost haunts the place, bottles will shake!
Concluding our brief list is the one you’ve all been waiting for: the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe. He is wildly believed to haunt several locations in and around Baltimore, the city where he died tragically at age forty. One of these locations is the catacombs of the Westminster Presbyterian Church (which just seems haunted to begin with), which was built on top of the Old Western Burial Grounds. Poe was buried there, though he was not interred in one of the graves that the church was constructed upon. But people claim to have seen his spirit wandering through the tunnels, as well as the hospital where he died, the military fort where he was based when he unhappily served in the army, and the street where he lived….
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, JJ, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kendall.]