■ The nice fellows at Bookgasm have a number of items of interest to readers of this site. First is a fine review of a title chronicling the history of that goofiest of all Western film subgenres: the singing cowboy flicks. The book is Singing Cowboys by Douglas B. Green. Next is the always entertaining section Bullets, Broads, Blackmail & Bombs with a review of three so-called adult Westerns, including two early Longarm titles and one installment of its spin off series, Lone Star.
■ Speaking of adult Westerns… or is it porno Westerns as Richard S. Wheeler calls them in this interesting discussion he started at fellow Western scribe Ed Gorman’s blog? Check it out as authors like Bill Crider, Robert Randisi and James Reasoner weigh in on the subject.
■ Here’s an interesting post at Pulpetti on Western author H.A. DeRosso.
■ On NPR’s All Things Considered, writer Benjamin Percy dwells on the seminal Western, The Virginian. According to White, “[the novel’s author] Owen Wister, like some great and terrible Moses draped in leather and carrying a buffalo gun, taught me to re-examine what it meant to be a man.”
■ Pat Hawk, the author of several invaluable reference books on Westerns and other fiction genres, has launched a very timely website: Western Reference.com.
■ Western author Jim Griffin informs us that his latest novel, Big Bend Death Trap has been officially released.
■ Here’s an excellent site to watch classic Western films online: Rope and Wire. Just click on the titles. There’s plenty to choose from, including Ride Ranger Ride (1936) with Gene Autry and even a silent comedy starring Stan Laurel.
■ Russell Davis announces in his blog that he has just finished editing his second Western anthology for Kensigton, Ghost Towns of the American West, including stories from Elmer Kelton, Margaret Coel, Steve Hockensmith, Loren D. Estleman and many more. The book should be out in late spring, 2008 and if it is anything like his previous anthology, Lost Trails, we are in for an excellent read.
■ The name Francisco González Ledesma might not say much to readers in the English-speaking world and yet he is probably one of the most prolific Western writers ever. The author of literally hundreds of pulp Westerns under the colorful nom de plume Silver Kane, his novels were published and sold in Spain during the Gen. Francisco Franco years as well as distributed all over Latin America.
Many of his titles are still in print, including his first novel, Sombras Viejas (Old Shadows), a mystery that earned him a prestigious literary award, accolades from authors like W. Somerset Maugham and censorship from the Franco regime given its allegedly “pornographic, subversive and red (ie. communist)” contents. Given the governmental suppression of his work, González Ledesma resorted to write pseudonymous Westerns, one of the few viable means of subsistence for a professional author during the lean dictatorship years. Thus emerged one of Spanish pulp fiction's best scribes.
Sombras Viejas, which was first published in 1948, has been just reissued in Spain and comes as a belated homage to González Ledesma's legacy. To read more, click here (the link is in Spanish).
■ This is only tangentially related to this blog, but what the heck. This clip, retrieved from The New York Times’ book blog Papercuts, brings us Dean Martin, Truman Capote, James Stewart and Jack Benny as they answer the question: What’s Your Favorite Country Song?