Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Adventures of Captain Graves - Now Available!



Airship 27 Productions is proud to present author Thomas McNulty’s newest full length novel, “The Adventures of Captain Graves.”

Of all the colorful men who sailed the exotic waters of the South Pacific, none was more legendary Captain Elliot Graves. Rogue, pirate, spy, explorer were all titles used in telling of his adventures aboard his ship, The Reaper’s Scythe. Then in 1944, Captain Graves disappeared without a trace, his ship supposedly sinking of the coast of Australia with all hands lost.

Eight years later, reporter Bill Harrison finds him living in Honolulu and manages to persuade Graves to recount the events of his last and greatest adventure. Now for the first time the legendary sea captain will reveal what actually happened on a remote South Sea island that changed his life forever.

“I first met Thomas McNulty at the Windy City Pulp show years ago,” reports Airship 27 Productions Managing Editor Ron Fortier. “At that time he was selling his comprehensive biography of Hollywood swashbuckler, Errol Flynn. We became friends and I later learned he is one of the premier western writers in the country today.”

Though successful at writing westerns, McNulty had always wanted to pen an old fashion pulper inspired by the man whose life he had chronicled, Errol Flynn. From that inspiration was born “The Adventures of Captain Graves.” He approached Fortier with the idea and soon the book was in full production.

Now Thomas McNulty spins a fast paced tale of two-fisted men, beautiful women and lush island paradises where both heaven and hell await. Canadian Ted Hammond provides the gorgeous cover and Ed Catto, a well known marketing personality, donned his own artist cap to do nine black and white interior pieces, all of which was assembled by award winning Art Direct Rob Davis.

“The Adventures of Captain Graves” is a classic pulp adventure delivered by a master storyteller.


Friday, June 22, 2018

The Land of Sky Blue Water

We were sitting in a northwoods bar where the varnished pine walls were decorated with musky and pike frozen by taxidermy and bigger than anything we had ever pulled out of a lake. There was a plug-in Hamm’s beer sign glimmering on the wall, which fascinated me. The blue electronically enhanced water rippled just like it did for us a few hours earlier as we trolled a lake. My uncle didn’t like Hamm’s beer, but my father was a liberal beer drinker whose taste changed with his mood. Dad had a Hamm’s and uncle Bob had a Schlitz.

Today those Hamm’s beer signs are coveted by collectors. It was not unusual for my father to drink Hamm’s beer. All of these decades later and I still associate fishing with beer drinking. The two go hand in hand, like two old friends eager to share a boat for a day of bass fishing.

The Theodore Hamm Brewing Company was founded in 1865 in St. Paul Minnesota. The beer achieved national attention with its 1950s era television commercials featuring an animated bear and a catchy jingly with music by Charles Wakefield Cadman and lyrics by Nelle Richmond Eberhart.

From the land of sky blue water
Comes the water best for brewing,
Comes the beer refreshing,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing.

Brewed where nature works her wonders,
Aged for many moons, gently mellowed,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing.

From across the rippling water,
through the whispering pines and birches,
Comes the beer refreshing,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing.

Comes a call to cool enchantment,
Comes a call to cool refreshment,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing.

Hints of lakes and sunset breezes,
Dance and sparkle with each glassful,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing.

This jingle, and its various revisions became a staple on television complemented by a brilliant merchandizing boon that resulted in the current nearly fanatical collector’s market. The animated Hamm’s bear became as popular as Smoky the Bear and Yogi Bear. The infectious song was based upon music collected by Alice C. Fletcher in 1909, a translation, reputedly, of the native Dakota language referencing the Minnesota River. Fletcher was an anthropologist who studied among the Sioux in the 1880s and published numerous ethnography and monographs on their customs.

All of this history and academic factoid comes together with the Campbell Mithun Advertising Agency in 1953 with the creation of the Beer Bear mascot joined with the Cadman-Eberhart song. Today, Hamm’s is brewed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by the Miller Brewing Company who recently embarked on a promotional campaign that effectively elevated sales. Driven by nostalgia and a canny approach to marketing, Hamm’s sales have risen dramatically with a national campaign focused on transforming the brand from a regional success to a national spotlight that includes craft beer connoisseurs.

Interestingly, Miller Brewing has foolishly caved in to modern day political correctness and limited the use of their Beer Bear out of fear the image might attract underage drinkers. They are not creating new collectibles with their advertising, intent simply to offer a sales pitch linked to nostalgia. This fact does not sit well with Hamm’s collectors who have longed for a new wave of advertisement using the bear and the jingle.

As a bass fishing, beer drinking northwoods property owner who enjoys nostalgia, I have been known to break out into song on occasion, usually to the consternation of those around me. Try singing “From the land of sky blue water, from the land of pines, lofty balsams, comes the beer refreshing...” with a bellyful of beer and fish. My warbling talents are not among my finer qualities. As for the beer, these days I prefer Blue Moon.

These are the original song lyrics:

From the land of sky blue water,
They brought a captive maid,
and her eyes they are lit with lightnings,
Her heart is not afraid.
But I steal to her lodge at dawning.
I woo her with my flute,
She is sick for the sky blue water,
The captive maid is mute.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Browning 1911 .380 Pistol

Occasionally my radar falls onto some non-literary pursuits, and, in fact, I have invested in firearms with a passion equal to that of book collecting. See my previous posts about the Walther PPK and the Ruger American .45. The Browning Arms Company has a wide array of quality handguns, rifles and shotguns. John Moses Browning (1855-1926) is perhaps the single most important firearms designer, responsible for dozens of quality designs, patents and innovations that have stood the test of time. His design of the M11911 pistol was the standard military firearm for over 70 years (as manufactured by Colt). Browning’s designs have been licensed by multiple companies, and to this day the 1911 automatic design is the standard by which all automatics should be judged. A recent addition to my collection is the Browning 1911-380, the Black Label model. What follows is the product description from the Browning website:

(The Browning 1911-380, the Black Label model) “boasts a high strength/lightweight composite full size frame at 85% of the original 1911, machined steel slide, target crown, fixed combat sights, eight round magazine, extended ambidextrous manual safety, and skeletonized hammer. Size Matters. The Browning 1911-380 combines two of John M. Browning's most lasting innovations - the Model 1911 and the 380 ACP cartridge - into a modern, lightweight pistol. Unlike most of the modern "pocket pistols" that chamber the snappy 380 ACP cartridge, the 1911-380 is slightly larger to better manage recoil for improved control that makes follow-up shots faster and more accurate. The longer barrel increases bullet velocity for more downrange punch and improved accuracy. The grip is compact, yet is long and wide enough to allow the shooting hand full purchase for added shooting comfort.”

For those of you with a concealed carry license, this is a prime concealed carry firearm. The flat body makes it impossible to detect on a belt holster. The barrel Length is 4 ¼, the weight is 18 oz, and the magazine capacity is 8. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $669.99. This gun shoots straight and true, with nominal recoil, and a smooth slide action.

As always, please follow the basic rules of safe firearm handling. When firearms are used in a safe and responsible manner, they provide much pleasure, satisfaction and protection, and represent a fundamental part of our personal liberty. Be smart, stay cool, and Buy American.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Chameleon Thief of Cairo by Stephen Jared

The Chameleon Thief of Cairo is the third Jack Hunter adventure and can be enjoyed independently of Jack and the Jungle Lion and The Elephants of Shanghai although reading the first two books is just as fun as this one. Author Stephen Jared is not only a fine writer, but his knowledge of Hollywood history, and especially classic films, adds another dimension of enjoyment to the Jack Hunter adventures. As I was reading The Chameleon Thief of Cairo I could easily imagine this as a film starring Cary Grant or perhaps Tyrone Power. In this adventure Jack travels to Egypt but soon discovers this trip won’t be as friendly as his last, and may be his last if he’s not careful. Jack has been asked to locate an old friend from the First World War, William Cavanaugh, who is now missing. Cavanaugh is an operative for the government and they’d like to know where he is. Accompanied by his pal, Clancy, who has taken to drinking again, author Stephen Jared paints a vivid picture of these two men upon their arrival in Cairo. It is also evident that Jared has done his research, and this story might well have been published in a pulp magazine like Five Novels Monthly. The details are authentic and the suspense grows with each page. The sudden appearance of a corpse in their hotel room puts Jack and Clancy under suspicion. A great plot with some complicated twists and turns, a nasty Nazi named Kruger, and the fact that Jack and Clancy are too tough to die, all keep the pot simmering at an even level. There are multiple secondary characters, and by the conclusion readers will appreciate how vital they all are to the story. The Chameleon Thief of Cairo is a short novel, but beautifully written. It is now my favorite of author Stephen Jared. That seems to happen to me with every book he publishes! I really enjoyed the exotic descriptions of Egypt and its hotels, smarmy characters, and tumultuous culture during this period in history. The Chameleon Thief of Cairo is a fine piece of writing, and a fine adventure tale with a nostalgic feel to it. The action continues right through the tenth and final chapter before tying it all up, but without sentiment. The Chameleon Thief of Cairo is published by Solstice with great cover art by Elizabeth Yoo.