The selection of art here, representing what we generally call pulp fiction and film noir was chosen using the old rule once in referred to regarding pornography, i.e., “I know it when I see it.” I’d like to know which ones are your favorites. You can vote using the contact form at bottom.
Years ago I wrote a feature for Texas Monthly about Jim Thompson’s pivotal years in Fort Worth, growing up in Cowtown during the Roaring Twenties. As far as I know, there’s no statue or other big memorial to the man who wrote pulp classics like The Killer Inside Me, The Grifters and Pop 1280, but there ought to be. Jim’s family had fallen on hard times and during his teen years, he was working as a bellhop at the Hotel Texas, smack dab in the middle of Hell’s Half Acre. Jim pocketed tips catering to the guests’ needs, especially late at night, fetching bootleg booze, dope, whores, etc., and for some reason, had trouble staying awake and focused on his studies at Poly Technic High in East Fort Worth during the day. Read the story here.
Robert Polito, author of Savage Art, a very fine biography of Jim Thompson (below), was a big help to me when I wrote the feature for Texas Monthly. I called him for advice when I was in Fort Worth, claiming that Jim Thompson was haunting my room at the Radisson Plaza, the modern incarnation of the hotel formerly known as Hotel Texas. By the way, Thompson and his family eagerly followed the news of JFK’s last visit to Texas, and were pleased that he stayed in the Hotel Texas on the night of November 21, 1963, and made his last speech there, too. Besides being racked with grief at the news of the assassination, the Thompson family never got over their feelings of bitterness regarding Texas’ association with the murder of the President they loved and admired so greatly. Thompson’s daughter told me about this.
MORE EYE CANDY… I’ll keep adding stuff so keep coming back, make comments and I’ll make a special effort if I know people are enjoying the page.
Also, I’m sure you can tolerate a plug or two for my own work …
A few images from the Kindle / iPad versions of Grave Digger Blues, also by me.
Now it’s time for a little Raymond Chandler, who is largely responsible for my evolving into a noir aficionado, with films like The Big Sleep and Murder My Sweet, which led me to the novels, and everything else. It started in my freshman year in college, when a good friend of ours was always quoting lines from Bogart movies, and we attended the classic film series at the Paramount Theater in Austin, seeing Bogart and Bacall in close quarters in The Big Sleep, setting fire to that big screen, Bacall’s nostrils flaring, sex pheromones buzzing back at us through the magic time warp of art.
I celebrated a major birthday last week, and our good friend, Kathy Valentine, hosted the party and provided the birthday cake, which had a photo of me playing my Fender bass and the great line, “The minutes went by on tiptoe, their fingers to their lips.”
Check out this essay and slide show about the book Daylight Noir, by Catherine Corman, a book of photographs chronicling Los Angeles through Raymond Chandler’s eyes, from the New Yorker.
Kiss Me Deadly, (loosely!) adapted from the Mickey Spillaine novel, is a mean, weird, perfect 1950s noir. The cast, cinematography, script–everything is just about perfect. Below, a few images from my own post-apocalyptic noir novel, Grave Digger Blues. (indulge me, please, I went to a lot of work to publish this novel, in print, in Kindle with >illustrations, and an enhanced iPad edition with music, video and >images. The illustrations below are from the print edition. Order one through the contact form below, $19 + $7 S&H USA.)