|1997 - 1998|
|Call me Ishmael.|
|Call me 90s Mike.|
I'm not knocking the cinematography - provided in several episodes by longtime vet of the industry Nicholas Von Sternberg -
when I say "generic-90s-cable look," more the set design, wardrobe, and casting choices for guest stars. But what do I know?
In between this 90s incarnation and the 2 TV movies I just mentioned were two currently-unavailable-on-DVD shows called Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (1984) and The New Mike Hammer (1986 - 1987.) Why am I skipping over those, you ask? Well, like I say, they're not available on disc, and if it can't be vinyl, 90s Mike digs discs, baby.
Also because in 1984 I was sentenced to Reading Prison in England when I got busted at Heathrow trying to smuggle a piddling amount of cocaine (1.3 ounces!) out of the country. I said come on, bros, 1.3 ounces wouldn't even be enough to get my pals in Mötley Crüe out of bed. No sale. No sense of humor, those Cromwells.
As a result of my incarceration, the first series got cancelled and then different copyright issues with the second and yadda yadda - no DVD as of yet. I served 6 months in the same cell that once held Oscar Wilde. The full stretch was 9 months, but I got out in 6 - allegedly for good behavior but just between you me and the cappuccino machine, I did the guards a few favors. Nothing political was my only rule. Prison's full of troublemakers. Cigarettes were my empire. You scratch my back? I shoot your face. I shoot it DEAD.
|Anyway, if they ever release the show on DVD, I'll be right back here at the ol' Dog Star Omnibus HQ giving you the straight and lowdown.|
|This time around, they bumped up the action...|
Well, sort of. TV was in a transitional period in the late 90s. Contrast the action you find here with the action on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, another show premiering in 1997, and it's clear which one more resembles anything anyone would call an action show on this side of the twenty-first century. In MH,PE, the choreographed fight scenes and defenestrations - and the scripts call for an awful lot of them - come across a little clunky.
Speaking of throwing things through windows, remind me to tell you about the time I ran into Leonard Nimoy at the vending machines on the 25th floor of the Acme Building, the night the lights went out in Burbank. First time I ever ate human flesh. (Not Lenny's.) Got into some hot water and had to shoot our way out - hell of a guy, Nimoy.
|Rest in peace, bubala.|
Shannon Whirry is arguably best known as the lady who breastfeeds Jim Carrey in Me, Myself and Irene. I don't know what the hell Shane Conrad did before or after - hell, I barely paid attention to him in the 90s Hammer. The reason he's on the show is because they figured adding him to the cast would help us skew to a younger demographic. Didn't work. I could have told them that. Hell, I did try and tell them that - unfortunately it was at the Crüe concert at Madison Square Garden. How you going to make yourself heard over a Tommy Lee drum solo? You just can't. Don't even try.
Shane was a good kid, though. Not his fault his character was blander than the Scrambled Tofu Surprise at the Little Rock Hotel.
You might remember my best friend from the old shows, who was always bailing me out of trouble or providing pretext for me to go off half-cocked:
In 1992 Don came to the aid of a man being mugged in Greenwich Village and was stabbed repeatedly, including in his right eye, which he still can't see out of to this day. I don't know if that had anything to do with his not coming back for Mike Hammer, Private Eye or what. His heyday as an actor would appear to be behind him, but he's still out there, kicking ass. Anyway - the suits created a similar character for me to pal around with, Skip Gleason, played by
|aka Con Stapleton from Deadwood.|
|Kent Williams returned as Barry, the District Attorney who always wants my badge.|
|You remember Barry, right?|
The shoehorned boobage is not quite as egregious as it was in the 80s movies. But it's still very much the order of the day.
|They didn't seem to have the budget they had back in the day, though. Ergo:|
|Bobbie Brown, now an author of some notoriety but mainly what they used to call a "video vixen."|
|She played the yoga instructor next door to my office who was always losing her keys or somedamnsuch.|
|Here we are with two of our little Hammers.|
|On the smack, he was useless. But sober, he was always there for a friend. Thanks, pal.|
|(l-to-r from top) Mickey Rooney from "Lucky in Love," Frank Stallone from "Songbird," and Michael Fairman and Raye Birk from "The Art of Murder." That's Dutch Kincaid and Walt Twitchell from Cheers to you.|
|I get a little chance to be meta in "Countdown to Murder."|
|And we flash back to a young Mike Hammer selling newspapers in "Dump This Creep." (A Depression-era timeline that doesn't quite make sense with the show being set in the '90s.)|
|And I mix it up with cultist-crazies in "Halloween."|
Every now and again, I would espy this lady:
|aka "The Face."|
|Whereupon I'd make this face.|
|The Face was played by Donna Denton in the 80s and Rebekah Chaney in the 90s.|
|Season 1, Episode 3.|
Directed by Jim Lemmo and written by Chris Baena.
This little back and forth plays every time you put in one of the discs or switch back to the menu. Which translates to hearing it something like way-too-many-goddamn-times if you sit down to watch the series. And hey, it makes sense for my character to both not understand the internet and to flirt with the teacher. I'm just saying, when you watch "www.murder" it's a relic of a very specific era in television production.
Our story begins:
|Just another day in the office. Great, now I've got a fish and I have to share space with this Nick kid.|
|Turns out there are these girls disappearing who keep showing up on this horrendous-looking fake sex site.|
|She discovers this creepy dude.|
|When I follow him around, I get clobbered, Batman-in-the-70s-style.|
|Barry shows up and tells me I'm in over my head. This fucking guy! He |
I bring Nick in with me so he can look over the computers and tell me something. He gives them a thorough once-over.
|"Yup - these computers are networked."|
|Then I make a joke about how these bodies are networked to the ceiling rafters. Cut to commercial.|
|I find the agent's been deliberately doped up; her cover's blown. I get her out of there.|
|Well, so long.|
The TV Tomb of Mystery is an ongoing attempt to stave off acquisition of any more impulse-buy DVDs by taking better inventory of the ones already in hand.