I describe it here. In short, when I sent their pittance check back to them and requested my gold crowns be returned, these crooks kept one of them and then claimed that they sent me back everything I sent them. So I created a yelp page and mailed a letter of complaint to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Division. The other day I got a call from the consumer protection entity: cashfordentalscrap.com is blowing them, off, too! Do business with them again? I'd sooner be held up at gunpoint. At least the guy holding the gun is representing himself honestly.
Moral of the story: Have some gold you'd like to sell? KEEP IT.
Check out this cool Burbank photograph, from January, 1950. Looks impressive, huh? Proud city officials posing in front of City Hall with their new fleet of police cars, painted in black and white Burbank law enforcement livery and aligned for the cameraman in a seemingly endless row. The four gents look like the very image of respectable 1950s city fathers in their double-breasted suits. The fellow on the right, Floyd Jolley, who was in fact the Mayor of Burbank at this time, looks natty in his dark blazer and light colored trousers. Law and order, 1950's style, right? (Cue 1950's police procedural movie march music.) Well... not quite.
In fact, two of those men, City Councilman Walter Mansfield and Mayor Floyd Jolley, would later be found to be involved in corruption and in cahoots with a criminal gang operating a gambling ring - a story right out of a period film noir. (In fact, it's the plot to The Phenix City Story.) Former mayor Paul Brown, who is also pictured, was questioned about the same. It's all described in this article which appeared in a May 1956 Coronet magazine, "Small Cities Can Lick Crime, Too!" Mansfield would be forced to step down; Jolley was recalled in a 1954 election. As a final note, Jolley Street was a part of our cruise route when we were in our early twenties...
I am now reading Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton, author of The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, Tex and other angst-saturated teen epics. (My dreamy gal pal Angela gave it to me when I was in Southern California earlier this month.) Hinton was a teenager herself when she wrote The Outsiders, and it shows. This book's vogue among late 1960's/1970's teens is probably due to the fact that its language and style is, well, teenage. It's an embarrassingly bad read, and I'd hate to be the English teacher who had to use this; I'd feel like I was dumbing down the curriculum. Is it still popular among high schoolers today? I don't know.
I once read all of Hinton's teen books during my phase where I was interested in juvenile delinquency, but I can't say that any of them were especially memorable. Irving Shulman, author of The Amboy Dukes, is a writer with much more skill.
Hawkes Harbor, however, is decidedly an adult work and is a real oddity. Reportedly, it was meant to be a legitimate novelization of some characters and plots from Dark Shadows, the 1960's soap opera about vampires and werewolves (and the subject of the current flop Tim Burton movie). But the original publisher turned it down, and so she changed the names and places and recycled it as a different work. But the characters and story are unmistakably familiar to any fan of the series. Is it plagiarism, since there is no note that "The characters and situations in this novel were originally developed in the television production 'Dark Shadows' by Dan Curtis Productions?" I would think so.
Hawkes Harbor is rather good, for all that. Hinton focuses on the character I always thought was the most interesting in the story, Willie Loomis, the servant of the vampire Barnabas Collins. (It helped that Loomis was played by far and away the best actor in the ensemble, John Karlen, shown above.) Hinton gives him a credible backstory. The tale describes what would perhaps now be called a "bromance" between the vampire and his hapless servant. As the vampire becomes more human via treatments by a doctor who fatally falls in love with him, he comes to regret his past savagery with the first twentieth century human he encountered, Willie (or Jamie, as he is known in this book). The possibility of the vampire reverting back to his bloodthirsty nature gives the plot tension.
In Dark Shadows there eventually was a touch of mother hen in the way Willie attempted to protect Barnabas, which seemed wholly original to the vampire genre; it worked. Hinton explores the complex relationship between the two characters in a way that fleshes out the television production. If the story about Hinton being rebuffed by the publisher is true, I have no idea why her manuscript was rejected. Reading the book I am continually thinking, "This is really Willie Loomis, and this explains why..." I know what situations in the television show give rise to plot features in the novel, in other words.
If there is a major flaw in Hawkes Harbor, other than it being glorified fan literature, it is with the needless way the story bounces around in time in a non-linear fashion. One flashback is enough! (I sometimes have this criticism in film noir, which overused the flashback technique more than any other genre. I once saw a noir which had a flashback within a flashback within a flashback - good grief!)
Roll on, week. Let's get to the Memorial Day weekend, the opening of the pool and time to knock off accumulating household chores. And, of course, the proper reflection of what veterans killed in action have done for us.
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