I created that YouTube “channel” you came across as an entertaining supplement to my award-winning crime-fiction blog, The Rap Sheet (http://therapsheet.blogspot.com/). I have long been a fan of vintage TV mystery and crime dramas, and every once in a while I’d come across the main title sequence from one of those shows on YouTube. Finally, in 2010, I decided to collect a few of them. That enterprise grew and grew, until now I have more than 300 such opening sequences posted.Since I wrote to Thompson, I have managed to locate those hard-to-find openings to Dog and Cat and Dellaventura, but I’m still searching for the rest. Let me know if you spot them.
I don’t spend a lot of time trying to expand the offerings on that page, but I have accumulated more than 600 subscribers over the years, so I guess I’m doing enough to please some people. Probably folks much like me, who remember these old shows and get a kick out of seeing at least some portion of them resurrected. I’m not in the questionable business of uploading whole episodes of classic programs onto YouTube; that would seem to be an obvious violation of copyrights. I see what I do as a small tribute to some older shows that many viewers have never heard of, but would do well to investigate further. Use of these clips is for historical and entertainment purposes only, and is not meant to establish ownership of such materials.
As I said, it has taken me years to accumulate all these series intros, but I don’t devote a lot of energy to the game. I check in regularly on YouTube and use Google alerts, looking for the TV intros I remember best and would like to showcase for Rap Sheet readers. By that means I have located most of the entries on my wish list, including the hard-to-find openings from the 1976 private-eye series City of Angels (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGcaFtxJH8A), the 1982-1983 comedy-drama Tucker’s Witch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7buWx-U_-so), the 2001 cop show Big Apple (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPA-HBkE2g4), and the 1974-1975 historical crime series, The Manhunter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fEorRm_90c).
There are still a number of main title sequences I’d like to add to my collection. For instance, I haven’t yet managed to dig up the original, 1972-1973 opening from The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie “wheel series” (with theme music by Quincy Jones) -- though I have posted a later version of that opening (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9IGmzsX8ek). I’m also still on the hunt for the introductions from Dog and Cat (1977, starring Lou Antonio and Kim Basinger), Chase (1973-1974, starring Mitchell Ryan), Caribe (1975, starring Stacy Keach), Dellaventura (1997-1998, starring Danny Aiello), and Michael Hayes (1997-1998, starring David Caruso). But give me time. I’m patient, and these intros have a tendency to pop up on the Web when you least expect to see them. There always seems to be someone out there with access to old shows and the time to upload them to YouTube.
Hey, something's wrong with this plane!
I don't think a single strand of
Lawford's hair moves during the film.
LAWRENCE BLOCK – The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza. Random House, hardcover, 1980. Pocket, paperback, 1982. Reprinted many times since, including Signet, paperback, December 1998.
The copy I just read was a fairly recent Signet paperback from the 1990s, so it took me by surprise the first time Bernie Rhodenbarr, the bookshop owner in Greenwich Villagewho does a little burglary on the side, needed to find a phone booth to make a telephone call in New York City.
How many generations ago was 1980? Long before Google came along, that’s for sure. Think how much time Bernie could have saved making a whole series of long distance calls, trying to track down information about a rare coin called the 1913 V-Nickel.
Today, you could look it up. According to web page on the other side of the link, the coin, were you to burgle a home in Manhattan and find one, would be worth three to four million dollars, perhaps more.
And burgle a home in Manhattan and find one is exactly what Bernie and Carolyn Kaiser, his lesbian friend and oft-times confederate in crime, do. Soon ending up dead is Bernie’s good friend (and neighborhood fence), elderly Abel Crowe. Since the theft matches Bernie’s MO, the police suspect him for not only that killing, but also the death of the wife whose home was robbed. One problem: Bernie and Carolyn were the only the second of three sets of burglars that night.
Which means there are a lot of characters to keep track of, even more than this brief outline of the story might suggest. But Bernie tells the story in such a light, humorous way, punctuated by witty observations about the city and its inhabitants, that the pages simply fly by in very enjoyable fashion.
Until that is, page 223 of a 302 page novel, when the shark is jumped or the pooch is tipped or whatever the current vernacular may be. Now this is between only you and me, and it may be only me, but up until that time I got the idea that Bernie and I were buddies, and he was keeping me informed of everything he wa seeing and doing.
But on page 223 he suddenly cuts me out of the picture. He tells Carolyn who he thinks did it. Reluctantly, to be sure. It takes until page 224 before she convinces him to tell her everything. Me, nothing. And here I thought we were friends.
Of course, I really didn’t want him to tell me, but why Carolyn? I was disappointed.
It also put a strain on Bernie in the pages that follow. Doing this and that, going here and there, making those phone calls to who knows who, and not being able to tell me what it was that he was doing. It’s not until one of those “gather everybody together in one place” that Bernie reveals the truth and gets the killer (or killers) to confess.
And of course a book by Spinoza takes its rightful place in the denouement, exactly as the title says it would.
The Bernie Rhodenbarr novels —
Burglars Can’t Be Choosers (1977)
The Burglar in the Closet (1978)
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling (1979)
The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza (1980)
The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian (1983)
The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams (1994)
The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart (1995)
The Burglar In The Library (1997).
The Burglar In The Rye (1999)
The Burglar on the Prowl (2004)
The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons (2013)
PostScript: I do not know what kind of name Rhodenbarr is — Googling it turned up only six full pages of Bernie’s before I gave up. Perhaps Lawrence Block simply made it up. That plus the fact that Bernie tells the story himself makes it difficult to put a face to the character. I do not know who should play him in the TV series I have in mind.
One thing for sure. It won’t be Whoopi Goldberg.
by Erin Mitchell
This post was inspired by a segment on RTE Radio 1 about THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, during which John Connolly valiantly tolerated some pretty impressive book snobbery. Click here to listen (popcorn at the ready recommended).
1. Use the phrase “transcends the genre” frequently and in a complimentary fashion. (For more on this, please read Sarah Weinman’s excellent piece on the topic.)
2. Damn genre authors with faint praise at every opportunity.
3. Choose one or two popular genre novels and refer to them as your guilty pleasure. You need not have actually read them.
4. Have (ideally snarky) opinions about books you wouldn’t be caught dead reading.
5. Speak often and loudly about your love of reading, but take no action whatsoever to encourage other people to read.
6. Should you accidentally (or under duress) read and enjoy a genre novel, be sure to point out the ways in which is isn’t really a genre novel (see #1).
7. Should you happen to encounter a writer of said genre novels in the course of your fabulous life, be sure to educate him or her all that is wrong with genre fiction.
8. Never, ever set foot in a library, unless it is a private one or you are attending a specific (ideally invitation-only) event.
9. Criticize common readers whenever possible. Sharing lists of obscure books you absolutely adore on social media is an excellent means to illustrate how much better you are as a reader and a human being, and be sure to express your shock and outrage should any of your “friends” not have read and appreciated them all.
10. Remember that people who live outside wherever you do (or New York City or London) and/or possess less formal education than you do are lesser life forms, and couldn’t possibly know a single thing about Real and Worthwhile Literature.
Together, we can make the world safe for Real Literature and save potential readers from themselves.