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Win The Twilight Zone FAQ!

Once again Applause Books has partnered  with Erie Gay News to give away a copy of one of our books! If you want to win a copy of The Twilight Zone FAQ all you have to do is enter between January 15 to February 5. The contest is open to US residents only. We wish you all the best of luck, enter before it’s too late!

>>Enter Here<<

00130445The Twilight Zone is among the most beloved shows in American television history, a pioneering fantasy behemoth that bridged the cultural gap between the 1950s and 1960s with thought-provoking mystery, mind-boggling theorems, and occasionally outright horror.

The Twilight Zone FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Fifth Dimension and Beyond by Dave Thompson takes the reader back to that era, looking back on the show and its impact as a force for societal change, via reflections on the manifold topics and controversies that the show took on – from the space race to the Red Menace, from paranoia to madness and beyond. Thompson traces the history of the show, from its earliest flowering in the mind of then-unknown Rod Serling through its slow birth, shaky beginning, and breathless five-season run. Along the way, he shows how it became the blueprint for so much of the fantasy television that has followed.

Within The Twilight Zone FAQ, fans will read about the comic books, novels, and many other spin-offs, including the movie, the TV revamps, and even the amusement park ride. In addition, Thompson offers a full guide to every episode, providing details on the cast and music and pinpointing both the best and the worst of the series.

As Thompson writes in his introduction, “Today, as much as ever before, The Twilight Zone is one of the yardsticks by which great television of all eras is measured.” The Twilight Zone FAQ is a brightly opinionated time machine that catapults the reader back to the true golden age of American television.

Dave Thompson on Tomorrow Will Be Televised

Dave Thompson, author of Twilight Zone FAQ, spoke with Simon Applebaum host of Tomorrow Will Be Televised. Click on the link below to listen to them speak about the impact The Twilight Zone had, The Twilight Zone FAQ, and more! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

>>LISTEN<<

00130445The Twilight Zone is among the most beloved shows in American television history, a pioneering fantasy behemoth that bridged the cultural gap between the 1950s and 1960s with thought-provoking mystery, mind-boggling theorems, and occasionally outright horror.

The Twilight Zone FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Fifth Dimension and Beyond by Dave Thompson takes the reader back to that era, looking back on the show and its impact as a force for societal change, via reflections on the manifold topics and controversies that the show took on – from the space race to the Red Menace, from paranoia to madness and beyond. Thompson traces the history of the show, from its earliest flowering in the mind of then-unknown Rod Serling through its slow birth, shaky beginning, and breathless five-season run. Along the way, he shows how it became the blueprint for so much of the fantasy television that has followed.

Within The Twilight Zone FAQ, fans will read about the comic books, novels, and many other spin-offs, including the movie, the TV revamps, and even the amusement park ride. In addition, Thompson offers a full guide to every episode, providing details on the cast and music and pinpointing both the best and the worst of the series.

As Thompson writes in his introduction, “Today, as much as ever before, The Twilight Zone is one of the yardsticks by which great television of all eras is measured.” The Twilight Zone FAQ is a brightly opinionated time machine that catapults the reader back to the true golden age of American television.

Haunted America FAQ

Haunted America FAQ

All That’s Left to Know About the Most Haunted Houses, Cemeteries, Battlefields, and More

by Dave Thompson

Website

Asked if she was believed in ghosts, Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand (1697-1780) replied, “No, but I am afraid of them.”

Whether you share the Marquise’s position or not, there is no doubt that the idea visitors from the afterlife has gripped humankind since time began. Ancient cultures East and West took spirits for granted, and reported sightings continue to this day—many of them close to home in every corner of the United States.

 In Haunted America FAQ (October 2015, Backbeat Books, $19.99), Dave Thompson has created a fast-paced survey of the ghosts, ghouls, and associated denizens of the country’s haunted history. Tracing local ghost stories back to Native American legends and then forward through horror tales both ancient and modern, the book revisits some of the best-known haunted locales, as well as some of the most obscure creepy places, in America.

Delving deep into the cultural history of American hauntings, Haunted America FAQ features chapters on ghosts in cemeteries, amusement parks, government buildings, hospitals, and more, as well as ghostly books, movies, and television. Also included are a roundup of reality-TV ghost hunts and a state-by-state gazetteer of haunted spots.

 Haunted America FAQ will amaze believers and skeptics alike with the history and range of spectral sightings it uncovers from around the country and, maybe, just around the corner.

$19.99
6.0″ x 9.0″
408 pages
9781480392625
BackBeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dave Thompson is the author of more that 100 books on television, music, and pop culture, with previous titles in the Backbeat Books and Applause Books FAQ Series on Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, South Park, and soccer. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Goldmine, MOJO, Melody Maker and other outlets. He lives in Newark, Del.
00128461

Dave Thompson on The Peter Tilden Show!

Haunted America FAQ author, Dave Thompson, was a guest on The Peter Tilden Show on KABC in Los Angeles! He spoke with Peter about how and why he decided to write Haunted America FAQ and also talks about the most pointed out some of the most haunted locations in Los Angeles and around the country.  Listen to the full podcast below!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00128461Asked if she believed in ghosts, Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand (1697-1780) replied, “No, but I am afraid of them.”

Whether you share the Marquise’s position or not, there is no doubt that the idea visitors from the afterlife has gripped humankind since time began. Ancient cultures East and West took spirits for granted, and reported sightings continue to this day—many of them close to home in every corner of the United States.

In Haunted America FAQ, Dave Thompson has created a fast-paced survey of the ghosts, ghouls, and associated denizens of the country’s haunted history. Tracing local ghost stories back to Native American legends and then forward through horror tales both ancient and modern, the book revisits some of the best-known haunted locales, as well as some of the most obscure creepy places, in America.

Delving deep into the cultural history of American hauntings, Haunted America FAQ features chapters on ghosts in cemeteries, amusement parks, government buildings, hospitals, and more, as well as ghostly books, movies, and television. Also included are a roundup of reality-TV ghost hunts and a state-by-state gazetteer of haunted spots.

Haunted America FAQ will amaze believers and skeptics alike with the history and range of spectral sightings it uncovers from around the country and, maybe, just around the corner.

October is finally here!

As we enter the month of October, we over at Hal Leonard are excited for Halloween. As we count down the days until Halloween approaches, here is an excerpt of one of our spooky books, Haunted America FAQ!


00128461From the bright lights of New Orleans, the avid fan of Louisiana cemeteries could take no more dramatic turn than toward the swamp lights of Manchac, and the mass grave that was perforcedly dug here to bury the victims of the Great West Indies Storm of September 1915.

Or, at least, the storm is what the official story blamed. Local lore, however. insists that the weather was simply the weapon that finished them off. The real killer was Aunt Julia Brown, the elderly voodoo priestess who owned almost all of the property around the town of Frenier Beach, out on Lake Pontchartrain, and who appeared to begrudge every tenant she had.

“One day I’m gonna die,” she used to sing to herself, and to anyone who might be passing by as she sat out on her porch. “One day I’m gonna die, and I’m gonna take all of you with me.” So she could not have timed her funeral more perfectly than to coincide with the landfall of a Category Three hurricane that modern equipment would tell us moved northwest from the Gulf of Mexico at around 14 mph, with sustained winds near its center of 115 mph, and which crashed into Frenier Beach like an express train.

At exactly the same time as Aunt Julia’s funeral.

The old woman had certainly unnerved her fellow townspeople. But they had admired her as well, and the whole town was out to pay its final respects. The funeral service began at four, and that was precisely when the storm hit. Gathered around Aunt Julia’s coffin, mourners were scattered as the windows of her house blew in and the walls peeled away.

Then the winds snatched up the coffin and carried it into the bayou, along with everything else it could gather—livestock and the living included. Later, once the winds had died down and the waters finally started to recede, Aunt Julia’s body was found deep within the cypress swamp.

But they only found her body. Her casket had disappeared, and so had more or less everything else she had owned. The personal possessions that she kept around her house, the house in which she lived, most of the property that she had collected around Frenier Beach, and a lot of the people who lived in it.

Speaking of earthly riches and treasures, people always say that when you go, you cannot take it with you, and maybe that’s true. But Aunt Julia certainly put it someplace.

The bodies that could be found were buried in a mass grave in Manchac Swamp, floated across the lake on makeshift driftwood rafts, and for a century since then the swamp has howled with their restless, and so wronged spirits.

In 2009, A&E’s Extreme Paranormal investigative team even visited the grave site, and although they returned with little more than a prime-time half hour of jumbled voodoo, mini-cam entombment, and the kind of outrageous exaggerations that only reality TV can supply, still it was one of the most captivating shows of its ilk ever broadcast. They found nothing, but that didn’t mean that something wasn’t there.

Besides, the cemetery is just one of Manchac’s claims to fame because there’s reasons aplenty why the locals used to call the place “the swamp of the ghosts.”

Reasons like nearby Manchac Lighthouse, automated in 1941, decommissioned in 1987; derelict and barely accessible but, says legend, occupied to this day.

Reasons like the Blood Red Hanging Tree, an old-time instrument of local justice, whose strange fruit can still be seen hanging from its branches today.

Reasons like the Cajun rougarou that has stalked the swamp for centuries, and reasons like the ghostly highway that crosses the swamp where, until its deadly collapse in 1976, a modern road bridge once stood, although woe betide anyone who attempts trust to its tarmac today.

In fact, the only thing that Manchac Swamp has more of than ghosts and supernatural horrors is probably alligators. Which is maybe why not many people go there at night.

Our 50th FAQ book is…

Haunted America!!

00128461Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the leading publisher of books on music, theater, film, television, and pop culture, is celebrating the arrival of the 50th book in its popular FAQ Series with the publication of Haunted America FAQ by the series’ most prolific author, Dave Thompson.

Since the release of Fab Four FAQ in 2007, the FAQ Series, published under the Backbeat Books and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books imprints, has evolved into a robust, wide-ranging, and successful line, offering books that are one-stop sources for information, history, and minutiae on any given topic, be it an music artist, a film genre, an iconic television show, or, in the case of the 50th FAQ, a pop culture topic. Packed with a staggering amount of data, rare photographs, and period ephemera, these reader-friendly volumes are presented in a lively, engaging style. Each chapter in any FAQ book serves as a freestanding article on any aspect of the story, allowing readers to put down and pick up the book with ease.

“A key aspect of the FAQ series is that the authors are rabid fans of the subjects they write about, and they have keen insight into what other devoted fans are hungry for,” explained Backbeat Books series editor Bernadette Malavarca. “The flexibility of the series’ topical editorial format gives authors an opportunity to cover the subject matter widely but at the same time in great detail. In an FAQ book, info a fan would have to glean through devouring a multitude of different types of media—articles, biographies, documentaries, music histories—comes together in one cohesive, lively volume.”

True to that description, Haunted America FAQ is a fast-paced survey of the ghosts, ghouls, and associated denizens of the nation’s haunted history. Tracing local ghost stories back to Native American legends and forward through horror tales, both ancient and modern, Thompson visits some of the countries best-known haunted locales and most obscure creepy places – from private homes and hotel rooms to schools, parks, prisons, hospitals, battlefields, and nearly anywhere else people go.

In addition to Haunted America FAQ, this fall’s new entries in the series include The Twilight Zone FAQ, also written by Dave Thompson; Star Wars FAQ by Mark Clark; The Beat Generation FAQ by Rich Weidman; The Smiths FAQ by John D. Luerssen; Dracula FAQ by Bruce Scivally; Michael Jackson FAQ by Kit O’Toole; A Chorus Line FAQ by Tom Rowan; The X-Files FAQ by John Kenneth Muir; and TV Finales FAQ by Stephen Tropiano and Holly Van Buren.

Happy Birthday to Robert Plant!

Today is Robert Plant’s 67th birthday! While best known lead singer for Led Zeppelin, that wasn’t all that defined him. Two years after Led Zeppelin broke up, Plant went solo and has maintained an unbroken career ever since.  Author Dave Thompson’s book, Robert Plant The Voice That Sailed the Zeppelin, shines a light on Plant’s solo career.  Below is an excerpt of the book, check it out!


00120813 It is a rare talent indeed, then, that can sustain the initial impetus and spread
it over much more than four albums; a rarer one still that can keep it going
for four decades; and even Robert Plant will admit that there have been
times throughout his solo career when the roar of the crowd became more
of a murmur, and the plaudits that once popped like corks were suddenly
plopping instead.
On those occasions, it would have been the easiest thing in the world to
make a few phone calls, rehearse a few songs, reprise an old band name . . .
and once, that is precisely what he did. But when the headlines announced
back in 2012 that Robert Plant was re-forming the group he used to play
with, it was a revamped Strange Sensation that roared out of the garage,
and the slate was swept clean overnight.
Whether at the helm of Led Zeppelin, where it was generally Plant’s
lyrics that set the mood of the music; alone with his own band; or drifting through the welter of side projects that have occupied him throughout the intervening years, Plant has rarely stood still for any longer than he needed to—and on the occasions he has, he just leapt a little further the next time around. But it is not the dilettante shuffling of rock’s other shapeshifting skipjacks that sustains him. A straight line drawn from Plant’s first recording will always lead to his latest, no matter how many technical, sonic, or cultural advances might separate the sessions, and no matter what caliber of musician he may choose to work with next.

To read more about Robert Plant, you can buy the book here.

Dave Thompson on The Tony Basilio Show on WJBE 99.7 FM

Dave Thompson, author of Hearts of Darkness, spoke with Tony Basilio on 99.7 FM, Knoxville, Tennessee’s very own Tony Basilio Show. They spoke about all things James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Cat Stevens and how they launched the age of the singer-songwriter in the 1970s.

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00333163Hearts of Darkness is the story of a generation’s coming of age through the experiences of its three most atypical pop stars. James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Cat Stevens could never have been considered your typical late-sixties songwriters – self-absorbed and self-composed, all three eschewed the traditional means of delivering their songs, instead turning its process inward. The result was a body of work that stands among the most profoundly personal art ever to translate into an international language, and a sequence of songs – from “Sweet Baby James” and “Carolina in My Mind,” to “Jamaica Say You Will” and “These Days,” to “Peace Train” and “Wild World” – that remain archetypes not only of what the critics called the singer-songwriter movement, but of the human condition itself.

Author Dave Thompson, himself a legend among rock biographers, takes on his subjects with his usual brio and candor, leaving no stone unturned in his quest to shine a light on the dark side of this profoundly earnest era in popular music. Penetrating, pointed, and laced with vivid insight and detail, Hearts of Darkness is the story of rock when it no longer felt the need to roll.

Ian McKellen is the latest Sherlock Holmes!

Today marks the premiere of the new movie ‘Mr. Holmes’ starring Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes. A multitude of actors that have portrayed Holmes through the years, from Nicholas Rowe to Robert Downey Jr. to Benedict Cumberbatch, and in his book,  Sherlock Holmes FAQ, Dave Thompson has picked his favorite — Basil Rathbone.  Here’s an excerpt from Sherlock Holmes FAQ in which talks about the first, and in Thompson’s eyes, the best Holmes on screen:

00117258Basil Rathbone is the template from which all future portrayals of Sherlock Holmes would be drawn.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 13, 1892—that is, in the same month as “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches” brought the first volume of Sherlock Holmes stories to an end in The Strand magazine—Philip St. John Basil Rathbone was the son of a mining engineer, Edgar, and a violinist, Anna.

His filmography includes starring roles in such well-remembered epics as David Copperfield, A Tale of TwoCities, Anna Karenina, Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Last Days of Pompeii, Son of Frankenstein, and The Mark of Zorro. But his crowning glory,at least in terms of his future reputation, arrived in 1939, when he was cast as Sherlock Holmes in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming production of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Still regarded among the definitive retellings of Holmes’s best-known adventure, the movie was only ever intended as a one-off. Its success, however, prompted the studio to swiftly follow up with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a movie ostensibly based upon William Gillette’s original play but scarcely recognizable in any form. Indeed, Rathbone’s second Holmes movie retains only a handful of that earlier piece’s characteristics—a bit of subplot, a couple of characters, and a nice piece of sparring between Holmes and Moriarty. Like so many of Rathbone’s performances, however, his very presence overcomes any attempt to contextualize the story in terms of the original Holmes; he is just such a great actor, with such a formidable grasp on the role, that one is instantly sucked into this tale of fiendish ne’er-do-welling, while admiring the fresh insights into a genuinely Holmesian mind that it delivers.

It is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, for instance, that introduces moviegoers to the detective’s attempts to discover the most potent insecticide ever known; having trapped some bluebottles inside a brandy glass, he is now plucking his violin at them, “observing the reaction on the common housefly of the chromaticscale.” It is his belief—or, at least, hope—that somewhere within the range of notes, there will be one that will strike such horror into the heart of the pest that it will leave the room directly.


Who was your favorite Holmes?  How does Ian McKellen measure up?  Let us know in the comments section!

 

The Cup – Soccer FAQ

Tomorrow at Wembley Stadium, Arsenal will face Aston Villa in the final of the FA Cup, the oldest and most-revered competition on the football calendar.  Dave Thompson took a long look at “The Cup” in Soccer FAQ and recalled some of its more memorable finals.

00126956Legendary FA Cup finals dot the history books. Prior to 1923, the Cup final had never had a home; rather, it wandered around different grounds and even different cities. The 1923 eventwas the first to be staged at the newly built, suitably grandiose Wembley Stadium, and such was the anticipation surrounding the event that no fewer than 126,000 people attended that game—and possibly more; some reports claim up to

200,000 were present, once the barriers broke and the crowds surged in.

The game itself, Bolton Wanderers vs. West Ham United, may or may not have been memorable. But history has never forgotten the image of the police officer riding a white horse around the perimeter of the field, keeping the crowds in order.

There was the 1953 final, when the entire British Isles, it was said, was willing Stanley Matthews’ Blackpool team to victory, simply out of love and admiration for one of the finest players ever seen on an English field. They were rewarded with a seven-goal thriller, and Blackpool triumphing over (again) Bolton Wanderers.

Sometimes it is not entire games, but mere incidents within them, or anecdotes around them, that consign a Final to legendary status. The passage of play, in the dying moments of the 1983 clash between Manchester United and Brighton, which culminated with an excited television commentator insisting “and Smith must score…”—only for Brighton striker Smith not to score, and his side’s chance of victory reduced to a replay instead.

The 1987 final when Coventry City not only shocked much-fancied Spurs to take the trophy home with them, they also finally removed themselves from the punchline to one of Monty Python’s Flying Circus’s most venerable routines, that moment in the Communist Quiz when Che Guevara is asked the fateful question, “In what year did Coventry City last win the FA Cup?” The answer—which neither Che, nor fellow competitors Mao Tse Tung, Lenin, and Karl Marx could supply—was “Coventry City have never won the FA Cup. It was a trick question.” Not any longer. Although there was certainly a Pythonesque surrealism to the side’s defense of the trophy the following season. They were bundled out in the third round by non-league Sutton United.

We remember the 1988 game, when all-conquering Liverpool faced unfancied Wimbledon, and not only lost 1–0, but also earned the ignominious title of becoming the first team ever to have a penalty saved in a Wembley final. Moments like these, and a hundred more besides, are what long ago established the FA Cup final among the most fondly remembered, and hungrily anticipated dates in the entire soccer calendar, in countries all over the world.

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