Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Recent readings & what to read next

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 28 May 2002

> Rene mused:
> > For me an amusing
> > coincidence is that a character in THE DEADLY PERCHERON whistles
> > Packin' Mama" which, IIRC, was a hit for Spade Cooley, western swing
> > bandleader & erstwhile minor Elroy character.
Jim replied:

> Spade may have done it (as did everyone from Bing Crosby to Glen
> Miller's AAF band--complete with strings and a harp), but the massive
> hit was by Al Dexter and his Troopers.

I'm always happy to learn the true provenance of great old songs like that one. I had Cooley's version on a compilation CD(or maybe I had both these guys on the same CD & confused them.This is entirely plausible as a situation). I also seem to remember a rockabilly version by the great Gene Vincent, also. What year did the original date from?

> BTW, the earliest literary reference to Spade I've come across is a
> mention in a short story in John O'Hara's collection *Hellbox*. Just
> of trivia to clutter your brain.

Thanks, Jim. The sad truth is that my warped & fragile little mind thrives on this kind of trivia.(I'll have to read the O'Hara book someday. I liked APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA & PAL JOEY tremendously, especially the first one.)

> > (Spade had a bass player
> > who was a dog lover, in as literal a sense as Elroy could make it.
> > thought I'd throw that in, re: hardboiled cats'n'dogs threads of the
> > past).
> Poor ol' Deuce Spriggens--a perfectly normal, decent guy who's legacy
> as an unsavory character in a James Ellroy novel ... it ain't fair, I
> tells ya!

Did Elroy actually use this guy as a model? I assumed that he was either completely fictional or, less likely, based on a real canine lover or other deviant about whom there was gossip or conspiracy theories - such as the gossip surrounding such celebrities as Johnny Stompanato & Lana Turner. Which actually reminds me - is there any suggestion anywhere that Sal Mineo, aside from actually being a murder victim, was ever involved in murder or extortion (let alone the Kennedy assasination)?Why I'm asking, if Mineo was alive he'd have ample reason to sue Elroy. I just wonder if there was anything else to Elroy's character assasination of Sal Mineo in THE COLD SIX K aside from the fact that he was, in real life, a gay man who was murdered. (Which, by the way pretty much sums up what I know about Mineo, aside from the fact that he was in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE with James Dean & some other less memorable flicks). I don't mind Elroy speculating about lowlife such as Edgar Hoover & Carlos Marcello but vilifying innocent & harmless entertainers such as Spade Cooley's bass player & Sal Mineo seems both unnecessary & extraordianrily vicious - unless Elroy has knowledge the rest of us don't, & it's always possible he does, then I can't help but speculate why he chose these people to create such nasty myths about. Surely these guys aren't so long gone they don't have any friends or loved ones left? I guess none close enough to sue.


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