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  • Noir Movie of the Week: “Murder Me, Murder You”, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer starring Stacy Keach, 1983

    Posted on March 13th, 2013 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    murder-me-murder-youIt’s in color, made for TV, and from the ’80s…in spite of all that, this flick is a surprisingly well done, gripping movie with Keach playing Hammer truly like his namesake from  the book. He pulls no punches, and has no qualms about killing the bad guys.

    “Murder Me, Murder You,”

    from 1983 staring Stacy Keach, Tanya Roberts, Don Stroud and Tom Atkins.

    The 1980s were not known for the decade’s great Noir movies, and TV murder mysteries of the era were often some of the worst ever made. Consider this flick an exception. With a limited TV budget and Reagan-era censorship, Director Gary Nelson (a seasoned TV & Film director) managed to capture the true essence of Spillane’s style: dark and deadly serious, kept human by a few rays of sarcasm, a few laughs, and some hard liquor.

    Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer

    Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer

    What makes this movie interesting to people like you and me is that it’s timeless. Mike Hammer is a 1950′s detective, living in the ’80s, driving a ’66 Mustang and listening to music from the ’40s. He talks, dresses and acts like a Noir gumshoe (including Porkpie hat) while fighting off Punk rockers and spandex-wearing muscle-heads.  He carries his army issue .45 (named Betsy, just like in the books) and hangs out in a basement bar that only plays Swing on the Wurlitzer. Yet he’s got modern smarts, and although he runs into trouble with a whiny DA, he doesn’t think twice about beating the pulp out of some scumbags – and always gets away with it.

    Velda

    Velda

    The Scene: The Art Director and locations manager did a bang-up job picking out “old” looking streets in New York. If it weren’t for the modern cars, this filrm would look like the outdoors were shot in the middle of the century. Don Stroud makes a grew Pat Chambers, Hammer’s friend and connection on the police force. And Tanya Roberts plays a fantastic Velda, sexy and sweet but tough underneath. Her ‘look’ is a lot more ’80s than you might expect, but it works – because Hammer is the only one really pulled from the past.

    Ah yes, Hammer. Mike Hammer. Stacy Keach. Big, muscular, and already in his 40s when he shot these movies, Keach plays Hammer closer to the book than any other actor I’ve ever seen, including Spillane himself (No offense, Mickey). He perfectly combines the sarcastic, know-it-all detective with the dark, lonely and murderous killer that lurks beneath. That’s right, killer: In the books, Hammer admits to enjoying killing bad guys. He likes it. He looks forward to it. He admits (to himself) that he’s basically a serial killer who gets off on the thrill of watching someone (who deserves it) die, and found a way to do it legally. He does this very well, without the corniness or silliness that other actors just couldn’t leave alone.

    Dark stuff.

    Keach pulls it off like a champ. And the writing, although a little hokey at times (to be expected from an 80s TV movie, I think) really nails the character when it comes down to how Hammer would react to the given situations.

    Hammer's old Mustang, What would expect him to drive, a Yugo?

    Hammer's old Mustang, What would expect him to drive, a Yugo?

    What the movie is about:
    Any movie that starts off with two hot chicks getting knocked off the road and crushed and burned to death in their car is going to keep you enthralled. Two female couriers, transporting an important briefcase (contents unknown) are murdered. Mike Hammer is subpoenaed when it turns out his ex-fiance (Chris) is connected to the courier agency (in fact, she is a partner). The big bomb is dropped when it’s revealed that this chick had Hammer’s daughter 19 years earlier. She of course never told him.

    Chris dies in the courtroom in Hammer’s arms, and although it looks like a heart attack he knows it’s murder. That’s when the Hammer character from the book kicks in full swing, vowing to avenge her death by killing her killer. He also needs to track down his daughter, and embarks on a journey that takes him through his own past, the pornography business, corrupt businesses and a 1-2 punch ending that will have your head spinning.

    Fun stuff: Look for Michelle Phillips (yes, THE Michelle Phillips) and a very young, very sexy Delta Burke with more hair than should be legal on a chick’s head. Also look for Lee Meredith (Ulla from “The Producers”) and Jonathan Banks (that guy who was in a million things and always looked like he was about to fall asleep).

    mike-hammerFood & Booze:
    This is an easy one. Hammer orders a “Police Special” which, apparently, is a bottle of Jack Daniels in a paper sack. So, yeah. As for food, this a New York movie. Throw together a couple of fat, corned beef sandwiches with slaw and Russian Dressing and a pickle.

    Note: The Mike Hammer series and TV movies from the ’80s were great. In the 1990s, Keach revived the series which, I believe, went straight to video. Although still decent, the production value of the later series isn’t as good as the original. Watch the originals first. If you dig them, move on to the 90s episodes.

    My Take: Although I was a young teenager when these movies came out, I was already a fan of Spillane, the Hammer novels, and wearing fedoras. Spillane’s writing and Keach’s portrayal of Mike Hammer would highly influence my first works of writing, including my scripts for Stardust Theater in the 90s. Hammer’s character would also influence the main character in my best-selling murder mysteries, “Murder on Tiki Island” and “Murder Behind the Closet Door”: Detective Bill Riggins.

    I found a TV trailer from ’83. This movie is second (around the 1:00 mark). Prepare to go back in time 30 years…

    -Tiki Chris reporting from a basement bar with a 1939 Wurlitzer playing “Harlem Nocturn”.

  • Noir Mystery “Murder Behind the Closet Door” By Chris Pinto availabe FREE for Kindle!

    Posted on March 3rd, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment
    Murder Behind the Closet Door, The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery By Tiki Chris Pinto

    Murder Behind the Closet Door, The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery By Tiki Chris Pinto

    Many of you know that I write noir-style murder mystery ghosts stories. Well, here’s some great news…

    Yours truly is now a 5-star rated, Top 10 Amazon Best Seller! That’s right, Murder Behind the Closet Door has hit the #7 spot on the top 10 list for fiction-horror-ghosts, and the #10 spot for fiction-mysteries-hardboiled! So, in celebration…

    Amazon.com is currently offering the Kindle version of Murder Behind the Closet Door: The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery by Christopher Pinto FREE.

    There’s nothing cheaper than Free, baby!

    You don’t even need a Kindle to get the ebook. You can read Kindle ebooks on your Mac, PC, iPhone, Android Phone, iPad and some other readers. Just download the free app from Kindle.

    Murder Behind the Closet Door is a murder mystery-ghost story that takes place in Wildwood, NJ in the late 1970s, with flashbacks to the 1930s and ’50s. The book, written over a span of eight years, is a modern noir-style thriller mixing a fifty year-old murder mystery with the occult. Truly entertaining and original, Murder Behind The Closet Door opens a door on a very plausible, supernatural world where anything is possible.

    About the book:

    “A dilapidated house with an evil secret in the basement. An auto-wrecking yard with the devious, rusted remains of a murderer’s getaway car. An unsolved bank robbery with hundreds of thousands of dollars never found. A detective trying to solve an age old murder before his ticker runs out. A slow, agonizing death for an unfortunate victim and his soul reaching from beyond…

    “Murder Behind The Cl
    oset Door” is a murder murder mystery ghost story that keeps you engaged and guessing from the first paragraph. Creepy, riveting, this story reveals another existence, one just beyond our own, where the occult and the paranormal meet reality and everyday people find themselves swept into very extraordinary circumstances.”

    Read more about the book and get your FREE KINDLE BOOK at Amazon.com! Tell your friends…the Promotion ends soon!

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the virtual library at Tiki Lounge Talk.

  • Murder, Sex, Ghosts & The Jersey Shore: Murder Behind the Closet Door

    Posted on July 16th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments
    Murder Behind the Closet Door, The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery By Tiki Chris Pinto

    Murder Behind the Closet Door, The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery By Tiki Chris Pinto

    Murder Behind the Closet Door: The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery by Christopher “Tiki Chris” Pinto, paperback now ON SALE for only $10.76 at Amazon.com!

    Many of you who follow this swingin’ B-Lounge already know that yours truly is an aspiring writer millionaire.

    Last year I published my first full-length retro-style neo-noir novel, Murder Behind the Closet Door. Original price for the 600-page masterpiece was $16.95, $3.95 for the kindle version. A hefty price tag for any tome, but everyone who’s read it has said it is worth it :)

    A few months ago I re-tooled the layout to bring the paperback down to a more manageable (and less intimidating) 425 pages, at a tag of $14.95. Sales increased!

    Well, Amazon has done me the great favor of running a DISCOUNT on the book now, which makes it even more enticing! Now you can get the paperback in all its glory for only $10.76, a fantastic bargain for this wild ride. Or, of course, you can still pick it up on Kindle or Nook for $3.95.

    Why buy this book?

    Good question. Let me just take a sip of my coffee and bourbon, and I’ll lay it down for you (siiiiiip).

    Hudson House, one of the two haunted houses in Murder Behind the Closet Door

    Hudson House, one of the two haunted houses in Murder Behind the Closet Door

    This book swings you back in time to Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, the grooviest, funnest towns on the Jersey Shore (sorry Asbury Park, you’ve got nothing on Wildwood). The action starts with a heart-wrenching murder…as experienced by the victim…then moves into the life of Heather, a 22-year old woman starting her life as marketing manager for the famous Hunt’s Pier on the Wildwood Boardwalk in 1979.

    Almost immediately her story turns to one of mystery and fascination, as she admits to being haunted by an entity in her closet. This all seems innocent at first…

    The Wildwood Boardwalk, 1970s

    The Wildwood Boardwalk, 1970s

    Using my own style of flashback, character-weaving and time-rearrangement, the story unfolds to reveal a multi-layered plot of murder, revenge, phantoms, wartime coverups, denial, hot women, the afterlife and the people who protect us from myriad unseen demons. All of this wraps itself around a solid, noir-gumshoe style detective story, featuring one of the freshest, most interesting and exciting hero detectives to come along since Mike Hammer (IMHO), Detective Bill Riggins. (Riggins is also featured as the main character in my latest novel, Murder on Tiki Island, and will continue his adventures in the upcoming Murder Under the Boards: The Atlantic City Murder Mystery.)

    For an in-depth look at Murder Behind the Closet Door, visit the MBTCD official website.

    OK, that sounds cool, but why should I think Tiki Chris’ writing is worth 11 bucks?

    Fair question. Short answer is if you dig what you read here, you will absolutely dig this book, and my other writings.

    "Tiki" Chris Pinto, old-school style

    "Tiki" Chris Pinto, old-school style

    Although I compare the book to those of Stephen King, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler and Dean Koontz, my style doesn’t copy any of theirs…my style is my own, hammered out over 30+ years of writing, learning, experiencing and, well, drinking.

    I’ve been writing since I was 12, winning a prize from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin for a short story, then taking a stab at writing a full-length musical (entitled “Swingtime”) which was performed at my high school during my senior year (it too was a neo-noir style drama).

    In 1989 I picked up the pen for my first paid advertising assignment, and have been writing advertising copy professionally (and making typos) ever since (just like Mad Men, I’m the Creative Director of a national ad agency…except my office is in Hollywood, Florida, not CA).

    "Tiki" Chris Pinto and Jeannette Pereda in "One Crazy Mystery", Stardust Productions, 1995

    "Tiki" Chris Pinto and Jeannette Pereda in "One Crazy Mystery", Stardust Productions, 1995

    That same year I formed Star Dust Productions Mystery Theater, and began writing and producing comedy plays and murder mysteries, mostly for dinner theater settings. With my wife Colleen, we successfully ended a 10-year span of over 400 performances of six different shows (written by me) with a 1930s radio show performance on the Ocean City Music Pier, NJ.

    After moving to South Florida in 2000, I decided to turn my talents toward writing noir fiction, and began a series of short stories and flash fiction (due out in book form & ebook this summer). A flood of memories from my shore days in Jersey came with the move, and in 2002 I sat down to write my first novel. I decided to make it something I’d want to read myself, something fun and full of action, something spooky yet believable, with interesting characters and an unusual plot line. At 2am on a thunder-filled south Florida night, “Behind the Closet Door” was born.

    Today, I write for The Fort Lauderdale Examiner, manage the Facebook Retro Tiki Lounge, and of course run amock here at Tiki Lounge Talk.

    So, yeah, I’ve got some experience as a writer, right? So trust me, the book is solid.

    What makes Detective Riggins so special?

    .45 Auto used by Detective Riggins in Murder Behind the Closet Door

    .45 Auto used by Detective Riggins in Murder Behind the Closet Door

    Riggins is not your regular ole goodie-two-shoes, uphold-the-law kind of guy that you read about in most books or see in a lot of flicks. To say he’s flawed is a true understatement. He’s big, tough, sarcastic, arrogant and has his own code of conduct and sense of morality that doesn’t always jive with the establishment, but he’s smart enough to stay out of most trouble, and to get away with dealing out justice the way he personally thinks it should be dealt. He does some screwed up stuff but in the end you’ll find yourself on his side, routing for him to succeed. He’s an old-time tough-guy cop with a young, hard-drinkin’ jazz-diggin’ spirit. He learned how to kill on the battlefields of Korea and still carries his military-issue .45 automatic. He likes hot rods and fast women and doesn’t have time to settle down with just one dame. He’s a New York vice cop who has a deep hatred for pushers yet a soft spot for junkies and hookers, as he usually sees them as victims. He doesn’t have many friends on the force; he prefers to hang out with beat musicians and barflies, as he finds them much more interesting. And somehow, for reasons he’ll never learn (but you will), he seems to attract the spirits of the murdered dead.

    If you’ve read through this whole long-assed post, I guarantee you will truly dig this book. You can read the first few pages on Amazon, and can find snippets of it at Stardust Mysteries Publishing or the official Murder Behind the Closet Door website.

    Oh, and if you do dig it, please post a review on Amazon.com. Every little bit helps, and maybe someday you can say you’re pals with a famous mystery writer ;)

    -Tiki Chris Pinto reporting from the library at Tiki Island Resort, Florida
    Tiki Lounge Talk – Everyone’s favorite B-Lounge for kookie retro fun stuff!

  • Tiki Bar’s Top 20 Christmas Movies & Shows, for Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on December 13th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 7 comments

    Christmas Tiki Stocking stuffed with Tropical FruitMele Kalikimaka!

    With Christmas around the corner I thought it would be fun to post Colleen and my favorite Christmas movies and TV shows. I know many of you kats and kittens drop by to find new (old) flicks to favor, but I think today’s post will be more about remembering all of our favorites that we’ve loved for years. So pour yourself a bourbon egg nog, log on to Netflix and get ready for…


    Tiki Lounge Talk’s Top Twenty Christmas Shows!

    rudolph-new-year20. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, 1976: Not exactly a Christmas show, but close enough. Our old Friend Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer finds himself trying to save the Baby New Year. Long story short, it’s more of that great old stop-animation stuff that we loved as kids. Computer generated imagery just doesn’t have the same old-fashioned, homey Christmas feel that these shows did. And the toys were real!

    year-without-santa19. The Year Without A Santa Claus, 1974: Another stop-animation goody from the same guys who gave us Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and Santa Claus it coming to town, Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. Santa (Mickey Rooney) catches a cold, and believes nobody cares if he comes to town anyway. This is the one with Heat Miser and Snow Miser. Classic, wonderful show, except for a whiny version of “Blue Christmas” from a little girl. Oh, and every time it dips below 40 here in South Florida, which isn’t often, we joke, “It’s gonna snow in South Town!” You’ll have to watch the show to get it.

    2003_elf_00318. Elf, 2003: Not an oldy but definitly a goody, this Christmas flick is about a man (Will Ferrel) who was orphaned and adopted by Santa’s elves and brought up at the North Pole. Sometime in his 30′s or 40′s he decides to find his real father, James Cann, in New York City. Hilarity ensues. Add in cute-as-a-button Zooey Deschanel and Bob Newhart, and this goofy comedy can’t miss. Plus it’s packed with the koolest Christmas music by Ella, Frank, Les Baxter, etc. etc.

    scrooge-mcduck17. Mickey’s Christmas Carol, 1983: Scrooge McDuck. Need I say more?

    16. White Christmas, 1954: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney team up in this post-WWII musical. Bing & Danny play ex-GI’s who form a song & dance team (yeah, that happened a lot after WWII, right?) They go to play a B&B in Vermont, find it’s owned by their old commander who’s not doing so well financially, so they help him get the place hopping again while falling for a couple of dames in the outfit. Of course, Bing sings White Christmas.

    homealone15. Home Alone, 1990: It’s hard to call this one “new” as it is officially 20 years old now. Krazy, huh? The first really good Christmas movie to come along in years (1989′s Christmas Vacation gets an Honorable Mention), this movie re-defined what Christmas was all about, while sending us the same, time-honored message: There’s no place like home for the holidays, even if you bludgeon would-be burglars with gallons of paint and a clothes iron.

    silent_night_deadly_night14. Silent Night, Deadly Night, 1984: “You’ve made it through Halloween, now try to survive Christmas” was the tagline for this early 80′s-style slasher film. Forget the plot, it’s SANTA murdering half-naked women. Put this one on after the kiddie’s hit the hay.
    13. A Christmas Carol, 1951 with Alistair Sim: There are about 400 version of this movie, dating back to the 1890′s when Scrooge was drawn on a notepad and flipped through. This particular one is the one my family watched every year, and so it’s my favorite “live action” version. (Rich Little’s version was funny as hell, but is impossible to find.)

    the_santa_clause12. The Santa Clause, 1994: Another one that’s hard to call “new”, this very original movie was both funny and heartwarming. Tim Allen makes a great Santa, and the way he gets the job is a fantastic example of originality and creativity to make this flick lots of fun. The second one was pretty good too. Don’t really remember the third one. Might not have even seen it. Sequels, you know…FROSTY THE SNOWMAN

    11. Frosty The Snowman, 1969: One of the few cartoons that made it big in the era of stop-animation, Frosty lives on as one of the favorites among favorites. With Jimmy Durante narrating and Jackie Vernon as the voice of Frosty, no one will ever forget (or forgive) that bad magician, Professor Hinkle. (Bizzy, bizzy bizzy!!!) and what he did to Frosty. Whew! Santa comes by to save the day!

    scrooge-muppet-christmas-carol10. The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1992: Coming years after the success of the Muppet Show, this welcomed Muppet movie starred Micheal Caine as Scrooge, in a damned good performance too, considering his co-stars were a frog, a pig, a bear, and a whatever. Puns galore. Muppets. Music. Rats. Who could ask for anything more?

    muppet-christmas-bob-fam


    astair-santa-claus-is-comin9. Santa Claus is Coming To Town, 1970: Hard to believe this Rankin/Bass stop-animation favorite came out 40 years ago. I mean, it was new the first time I saw it! (I was two). Fred Astair, Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn lead the starring voices for this story of Santa’s life, from when he was an orphan to when he started bringing toys to children. When I was a kid, I looked at it as a biography…which it is. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. santa-comin-youngListen for the voice of the Burgermeister – his name is Paul Frees, and he’s done voices on almost every cartoon and stop-ani show EVER made.

    rudolph-hermie8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1964: As far as original, old stop-animation goes, this one is the tops. I mean, come on, it’s Rudolph! The Island of Misfit Toys, great music, an elf who wants to be a dentist, 1940′s cars and a Bumble. If you’ve never seen it, well, you’re a dork.rudolph-santa

    nightmare-christmas-jack17. The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993: Everyone knows that Tim Burton is bat-ass crazy. His dark, twisted mind gave us a glimpse of his warped version of Christmas with Edward Scissorhands, and he took the money from that to make his real movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s just this: You take Halloween, and you take Christmas, and you collide them at 180 miles per hour with some LSD and a fog machine. Then you film it in the most expensive, most time-consuming and hardest to shoot stop animation ever, invented just for this movie.

    nightmare-christmas-jack2A giant, skinny skeleton, Jack Skellington, accidentally discovers Chrismastown after taking a long walk away from Halloweentown. He falls in love with the colors, the lights, the pies, the toys, so different from his gray and orange home. He decides to give Santa a night off, and take his place with some horrific toys and a sleigh built from a coffin (the skeleton reindeers are creepy). It’s an opera-style musical, but the music is boss. Especially The Boogieman’s Song, where he sings and dances á la Cab Calloway.

    christmas-story-leg-lamp6. A Christmas Story, 1983: If there’s still anyone out there who hasn’t seen this flick, as it’s been broadcast 24 hours on Christmas Day for around the last 15 years, I think I’d faint in my egg nog. “You’ll shoot your eye out” is probably one of the most quoted (and imitated) lines in pop culture. That, referring to the Red Ryder BB gun (I got one!) and that crazy leg lamp (I got one’a those, too) make this movie one of the most popular Christmas movies of all time. christmas-story-ralphie-bunny“Messy Marvin” did a great job as the clueless kid who didn’t care about anything in the world except getting that BB gun. We’ve all been there – with me, it was getting a slot car track when I was a kid (then later in life it was about getting this blonde stripper I knew and bottle of Johnny Blue, but that’s another story). And of course, this is where you learn what Chinese Turkey is.

    wonderful-life-ending5. It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946: Jimmy Stewart almost didn’t make this movie. He had been overseas during the war, and thought it was too soon after he came back to make a movie. Lionel Barrymore talked him into it, and Stewart later said it was his favorite movie he ever made. Another “There’s no place like home for the holidays, no matter how screwed up things are” movie, it didn’t do so well at the box office first time around (even though it was nominated for five Oscars). It wasn’t until later TV and video releases that the film was realized as one of the top 100 films (American Film Institute) and given the honor of the #1 Inspirational Film of all time by the AFI. wonderful-life-potterThis was always one of my favorites from when I was a little kid. After all, don’t we all want to believe there’s an angle looking out for us? Or maybe an angel?

    grinch-smirk4. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (original cartoon), 1966: The “new” Grinch live-action movie with Jim Carey was slick, over-the-top, extreme, and therefore dullsville compared to the understated excellence of the original cartoon. With Boris Karloff narrating, this made-for-TV special by master cartoonist Chuck Jones took the book to an incredible level while keeping the look and feel of Dr. Seuss intact. grinch-whosThe Grinch’s theme song is so absolutely perfect, the toys are so absolutely annoying, and Cindy-Loo Who is so absolutely cute that it all fits in perfectly with the absolutely abysmal Grinch. He even admits to being 53, which makes him a crotchety old man! He’s basically yelling at the Whos to get off his lawn. Perfection. (Note: Dr. House stole his look from the Grinch)

    mirical-34th-street-santa-n3. Miracle on 34th Street (Original Movie), 1947: Again, the “new” version of this movie is an over-the-top catastrophe. Stay far away from it lest your eyes melt in your head. But the original is pure magic. John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn as Santa a little girl named Natalie Wood make this Christmas special a very special one indeed. An up-and-coming lawyer falls into a situation where he has to (wants to) prove in a court of law that not only does Santa Claus exist, but that he works at Macy’s. Natalie Wood is a little girl who’s taught not to believe in such silly things. Santa is determined to help everyone, even if it means he could be locked up for Christmas Eve. You’ll never guess how it ends! Well, ok, maybe you will. Still, it’s a fantastic movie.

    magoo-christmas-coins2. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, 1962: Credited as the FIRST Christmas Cartoon to start the trend of running cartoons on network TV every Christmas, Magoo’s Christmas Carol may not be as popular today as it was nearly 50 years ago, but it’s still considered one of the top by pretty much anyone who watches Christmas shows. Jim Backus of course voices Magoo as Scrooge, and the story is of course filled with Magoo-esque jokes like, (Ghost of Christmas Present) “Scrooge, have you ever seen the likes of me?” (Magoo) “I’m not sure I see you now!” magoo_christmas_futureThe Dickens’ tale is paraphrased down to about an hour (less commercial breaks) but keeps the original story mostly intact while giving it a sort of live-theater feel. The cartoon itself is pure early ’60s animation, kind of Bullwinkle-like in its art direction, and very clever. The music is great (ever had Razzleberry jelly?) and it’s loads of fun to watch. This is one my family and I would watch every year on TV, and on video tape (I still have the tape from 1980 when we taped it off HBO) later. It was my Mother’s favorite Christmas show ever, so it holds a special place in my heart.

    And of course, the number one Christmas show at the Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar and at homes around the world…

    charlie-brown-christmasA Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965: Seriously, nothing taught me more about the true meaning of Christmas than this show. When I was a kid, there were no DVDs, no video tapes, no computers. So you got the TV guide, found the date when CBS was showing it, and stayed home that night to make sure you caught it or you’d be out of luck until next year. And it was worth the wait. That incredible musical score by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, the homey, home-made feel of the art and the edits, and the acting by actual kids…it was like watching Peanuts Christmas cards unfolding on the screen. charlie-brown-tree“A great, big, shiny aluminum Christmas tree”. “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest”. Snoopy dancing to Schroeder’s jazz piano. Absolute perfection.

    Well kids, that’s our Christmas show wrap-up for 2010. Sure, there are dozens more, from Bob Hope Christmas specials to Saturday Night Live skits, but I had to limit it to the top 20. Hell, I started with 10! If you haven’t seen any of these flicks, I’m pretty sure they’re all available on DVD or for rental, and some may actually be on TV soon. So keep a lookout, have plenty of nog on tap, and Merry Christmas!
    Here’s some video clips, on the house…


    -Tiki Chris reporting from under the great, big shiny aluminum Christmas Tree at Tiki Lounge Talk, the Tiki & retro lovers blog for vintage-style fun.

  • Chris Pinto’s Murder Behind The Closet Door – A Great Holiday Gift Idea!

    Posted on November 28th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments
    Murder Behind the Closet Door by Chris Pinto

    Murder Behind the Closet Door by Chris Pinto

    You kats and kittens who’ve been following Tiki Lounge Talk probably know by now that yours truly, Tiki Chris has written a 600 page murder mystery ghost story set, of course, in the past. Murder Behind The Closet Door was written especially for people like you – people who dig the rich, fun cultures of America’s pop past.

    The story takes place mainly in the South Jersey shore towns of Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, known to the locals as The Wildwoods, during the summer/winter of 1978-79, with flashbacks to 1938 and the 1950s. It all centers around a young Jersey girl named Heather who starts her adult life as a marketing director of one of the world famous Wildwood amusement piers. She moves into a century-old rooming house with two roommates, Karen and Vicky, and starts having the time of her life. Then, slowly, mysterious things start happening to Heather. Voices in the night. Locked doors opening while she sleeps. Strange sounds coming from her bedroom closet.

    Eventually the disturbances become more dangerous than annoying, and with the help of her boyfriend and some surprising friends she discovers the source of the problems. But it doesn’t end there. In fact, that’s only the beginning.

    It’s a retro-noir thriller, a story that will appeal to people who love Stephen King or Micky Spillane. It’s a retro-style mystery that’s crammed with the nuances that will make you feel like you’re actually in 1979, or 1938, or 1957. It’s got murder, ghosts, beautiful women, a hard-boiled detective, romance, mystery, the boardwalk, the beach, ice & snow, haunted houses, a haunted graveyard, a haunted junk yard and diners. It’s got great music, great characters and great fun.

    To read more about Murder Behind The Closet Door, visit the official page at StarDust Mysteries, check out the Facebook fan page, or jump to Amazon.com for a quick synopsis and several 5-star reader reviews!

    What people are saying about Murder Behind The Closet Door:

    GREAT BOOK!! Started reading it Friday night, barely could put it down, till I finished it Sunday!!!! Highly recommend!!!!!”
    -Susanne Faust- McDevitt

    “While many readers will enjoy author Chris Pinto’s story, what I like most is his literary-quality descriptiveness. I was pulled into each scene, forgetting my own surroundings as I wandered from one of his haunted locales to the next”
    -Joseph M. Faserold-car

    “Retro-culture impresario and swingin’ scribe Chris Pinto has created a vibrant, entertaining, compelling and imaginative portrait of a very specific time and place – South Jersey in the late 1970s – with a grisly ghost story at its center. The reader delves into a richly depicted world where one keenly tastes, feels, smells and lives the sensations of the Wildwood boardwalk area and its residents throughout a series of mysteriously macabre events. I very much look forward to Chris’s next hardboiled but heartfelt endeavor.”
    -Will “Will The Thrill” Vaharo

    “If Stephen King and Mickey Spillane had a son (in a bookish kind of way, that is), Christopher Pinto would be that son. He effortlessly blends the paranormal thriller with the hard-boiled detective in “Murder Behind the Closet Door.” Add to that, healthy doses of mystery and romance, and you’ve got the literary equivalent of a ride through an amusement pier haunted house. And what a fun ride!”
    -Miss CherryBubbles

    gun“I loved this book…from beginning to end it kept me riveted. The mystery, the supernatural angle, the twists in the story that take it in totally different directions from where I thought it would go. A definite page turner! I stayed up late a cpl nights because I couldnt put it down! Being a HUGE fan of mysteries, crime novels AND the supernatural…this was everything i could want in a book.” (Ok, my wife wrote this one, but she meant it!)

    I know a lot of people are apprehensive of shelling out clams on a book. So check out some bits from it on the StarDust site, or even read a few pages on Amazon.com. Plus you can be a fan of the MBTCD fan page on facebook. But if you dig what you read here, I know you’re gonna flip for Murder Behind The Closet Door. And when you do, make sure you leave a nice comment ;)

    Tiki Chris P, aka Mack, writing from the library at The StarDust Mystery Lounge, Florida