AMAZON’S KINDLE

Amazon’s Kindle of my book Lee Marvin Point Blank has been temporarily suspended. Click the link in blue and you’ll see what I mean. Rather disappointing considering how brisk the sales have been, lately.

Kindle sales rank from January 2nd.

 

 

Kindle sales rank from January 5th.

Due to the percentage of royalties it generates (more than the paperback or hardcover) the regular payments I get will surely suffer.
When I first noticed the absence of the Kindle I thought it was just some sort of technical glitch. When it went on for several days, I contacted my publisher, Tim Schaffner of Schaffner Press. He did not know about it being suspended but did explain the reason. Apparently, he negotiated a deal for a new distributor as he no longer is distributing his titles with the Independent Publishing Group (IPG) out of Chicago. According to Tim, the new distributor (the name of which escapes me at the moment) casts a much wider net, especially internationally, which is why he went them. He assured me that ultimately it will be a good thing but in the interim, Amazon’s Kindle won’t be available for a little while longer.
When it comes back I have no idea, hopefully soon. When it does, however, I’ll post about it here. But in the mean time, there’s still the paperback with its revisions intact. Just so you know, those revisions include a Q&A with yours truly, updated info in the text, a Reader’s Guide and more. So, with that in mind, feel free to get the paperback as a gift for friends or family members until the Kindle comes back. Besides, a physical book can be autographed where a Kindle can’t. Just saying….

– Dwayne Epstein

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CHARLES BRONSON’S CENTENNIAL

Charles Bronson’s centennial took place earlier this month (November, 3rd, to be exact) and his legion of fans has grown considerably since his passing in 2003. I have always been among the legion and although many of his later films are rather cringe-inducing, he did leave behind an overall impressive body of work. So much so that my Lee Marvin Point Blank publisher, Tim Schaffner, agreed to publish my bio of a proposed Bronson book as a logical follow-up. Without going into too much detail, it obviously didn’t come to pass for a variety of reasons. Some other publishers actually showed interest but ultimately, it was not to be. It may still see the light of the day eventually, but in the meantime, allow me to pay tribute to the pride of Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania in my own way. Below the proposed cover image is the introduction I wrote for the proposal. Tim didn’t care for the title but I still think it works. So in honor of Charles Bronson’s centennial, I give you the reason and theme in the life and work of the late Charles Bronson.
CHARLES BRONSON: AMERICAN SAMURAI

Proposed cover title and image for the bio I had planned to do on Charles Bronson.


There’s an old joke concerning two bulls at the top of a ridge looking down into a canyon filled with young cows. The much younger bull says to his companion, “I have an idea. Let’s rush down to the canyon so we can each grab one of those pretty young cows and make passionate love to it!” The older bull thinks for a moment and responds, “I have a better idea. Let’s slowly walk down to the canyon and make love to them all.”
   In the transitional decade of the 1960s, the younger bull symbolized America’s popular culture. Pepsi sold its product to “those who think young” and later in the decade a popular warning was “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” In American films, Hollywood studio heads also took the point of view of the younger bull, trying everything in sight in an effort to please its patrons. Old Hollywood had given way to the New Hollywood as the feudal studio system crumbled and the antiquated production code gave way to a controversial rating system. Traditional genres were revamped with revisionist concepts that were tried on everything from westerns to musicals. Fans of action-oriented genres still enjoyed the stalwart horse operas of the older John Wayne but they also reveled in the militaristic Lee Marvin, the younger good ol’ boy antics of Burt Reynolds, as well as Clint Eastwood, who encompassed a little of each.
   Then Came Bronson. His popularity in the 1970s was unparalleled, even competing with the popularity of the decade’s Blaxploitation films. When the previously mentioned action film stars faded or died off (Eastwood simply went behind the camera) and a new crop of stars emerged, such as Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, there was still Bronson. Older and more wizened, his appeal remains one of the most unique in film history.
   That appeal proved to be both classic and ironic. Following the screening of one of Bronson’s most popular films, an anonymous 33-year-old California man told a NY Times essayist, “I go to a movie to see Bronson, and not so much for the story. His movies are pretty much the same, but what I like to watch is how he plays his character. He’s kind of tough and rugged, an individualist. He does things his way.” This apt summation applies to any number of classic film stars, from James Cagney to Russell Crowe. What makes Bronson’s appeal ironic was how he was nearly forgotten in his own country, like many a forgotten American Blues artist. When British Invasion artists The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin sang the praises of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon, that’s when a whole new and young audience of ironically, American listeners discovered their countrymen’s music. Like those Bluesmen, Charles Bronson had hit a glass ceiling of middling success in his own country until he begrudgingly went to Europe to make films. He then became an international superstar via several tailor-made vehicles, revamped his image and came back to the States bigger than ever — albeit in his fifties!
   He was also no longer the Charles Bronson American audiences had been used to seeing on their movie screens and television sets. The chiseled physique was a little more rugged, accompanied by a thinly drooping mustache. The slitted eyes were a little more snake-like, along with the rarely seen but now slowly revealed smile, usually at the point of imminent violence. It was a visage in keeping with what could only be called that of an American Samurai.
   Why Bronson proved to be so popular in such a youth orientated industry is an enigma to be explored in this definitive biography via his personal life and professional career. He may have appeared late in the game to major film stardom, but like the old bull, the filmgoing audience reaped the benefits of his slow amble down hill.

Hope you enjoyed, or the very least appreciated my tribute to the late Charles Buchinsky on this, Charles Bronson’s Centennial.

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TUCSON ARIZONA & LEE MARVIN

Tucson Arizona, a city with a surprising history of filmmaking (mostly westerns, of course) was also the home to Lee Marvin the last few decades of his life. Recently, I came across an online photo spread of Tucson’s rich celebrity enriched images which can be seen here
If you don’t want to scroll all the way down to find Lee Marvin like I did, here’s the image below…

Original caption: “Sarah Gorby and actor Lee Marvin hold baby javelinas before a fundraising dinner at the Tucson Racquet Club for the Sarah Gorby Wildlife Rehabilitation Fund in 1983.” Anybody know what the hell a javelina is?

 

Of course, the plethora of film & TV actors captured in photos at work, play and various other venues is certainly worth scrolling through. Pretty impressive as it runs the gamut from the 1950s to today and features everyone from John Wayne (natch!) to Ted Danson! Particular favorites are Groucho Marx and Jayne Mansfeld. The info is intriguing, as well, despite the fact that Jack Lemmon never made a movie called It Happened One Night (1934) but did costar with June Allyson in a 1956 musical remake called You Can’t Run Away From It. Also, the Paul Newman movie in which he’s getting his boots shined was not Pockey Money (whatever that is!) but Pocket Money (1972), costarring the subject of this blog. 
 Speaking of the subject of this blog, the fact that he did reside in Tucson Arizona played a pretty significant role in my biography of him, Lee Marvin Point Blank finally seeing the light of day. Publisher Tim Schaffner, a Tucson resident himself, was pondering whether to publish my work or not Told me that when he noticed his local video store having a speical on Lee Marvin movies, several folks told him some Lee Marvin stories. Hey, every little bit helps! 
 As for Lee Marvin stories, social media can help in the strangest ways. It didn’t make the book but rocker Brad Brooks had his own interesting tale to tell I wrote about here. He later told me he met the man while he worked delivering water to the Marvin home and the serial rapist was real! Just goes to show ya, you never know where or how Lee Marvin can pop up in the world!

-P.S. Been so busy on other projects I haven’t had time to blog in a while. With that in mind, allow me to wish a wonderful yet belated happy 90th birthday as of September 30th to the legendary Angie Dickinson! She is a class act I was fortunate enough to interview for my book and unpublished selections can be seen here. All the best, Angie!
– Dwayne Epstein

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