Orson Steiger: The Man Behind Johnny LaCrosse.

typewriter pulp

The Orson Steiger Story: The Man, His Legend and His Times

The character of hard boiled fiction Private Eye called Johnny Lacrosse was the brainchild of little known and often ill-tempered, racist, sexist, draft dodging and foul mouthed alcoholic author Orson Steiger. Steiger’s reputation as it stands now due to mainly modern mores rather than any critical assessment of the Pulp Fiction Genre makes him out to be less like a big fish in a small pond and more like a minnow in a lake. I hope the brief summary of the writer’s life below will do much to challenge such narrow minded preconceptions and that his name will now be associated with the written word rather than the misery he wrought on so many people (strangers and loved ones) in his turbulent private life.

If it helps then please imagine that you are watching a Ken Burns documentary and that the voice of Morgan Freeman is gently reading aloud the following chapters.

Chapter 1: The Start Of It All: Early Beginnings.

Orson was born in Texas around 1925 in Spatula County to a well-established family of German-Swiss descent, or as he went to great pains to and liked to claim instead, to a family of pure breed ‘native’ White Americans which had been in the Americas before the United States even existed. After a few drinks he would often even make outlandish claims that they had actually sailed over with the first Viking explorers or even descended from a white tribe of Welsh speaking Indians.

It is now almost certain though given what scant records do survive that his family line descended no later than a German speaking family who had immigrated to the USA in the 1870s and taken up trade at various times as wooden spoon makers, night soil men, village retards and general tinkers and scroungers. Whilst on his mother’s side the family appears to have come from a very mixed background of Poles, Irish, Moors, Eskimos and Spaniards and this seemed to be even more of a constant source of irritation to Orson than his German sounding surname. He was known to fly into a foul rage should it ever be mentioned within the family home.

Orson took up writing when he was in his late teens after a freak accident involving a wasp nest, a bicycle pump and his private parts which left him bedridden, sore, bandaged and bored for many months. He only started to write to keep the utter tedium at bay (and his hands busy on other things) and soon he discovered that he had a rare talent for it, for him it seemed just so easy and as he put it many years later in the 1960s during a phone interview from prison for Playboy-

“I soon realised that I could spin a f*****g yarn and if I threw enough sex into it then people soon forgot how f*****g bad the overall plot was and continued to read at least until the next dirty part which I could drag out into entire F*****g chapters.”

Aged 21 Orson married his childhood sweetheart Deborah Gunther-O’Shea and to please her as well as her dangerously unstable and inbred family he converted to their peculiar own strain of Mormonism which seems only to have existed within the Gunther-O’Shea clan. They bought a small dirt farm close to where they had both grown up and as Orson worked the land for little reward Deborah ate the meagre profits and got fat. Desperate for some cash to support himself and the bizarre extended ‘family’ in which he now belonged Orson took up his pen once again and began to write. With no real schooling to speak of or any true knowledge of the world outside of his rural shit kicker home town of Graceburg, Texas (population 35 excluding livestock) he somehow managed to write a gritty urban detective story set for some reason within Blackpool, England which was so exceptionally detailed that it even fooled the editors of the various magazines he sent the work into who all later admitted that they just assumed he was actually a gnarled world weary established writer in his fifties using a pseudonym for obscure tax reasons or as some great hoax.

dirt farm dustbowl


The first Johnny Lacrosse story proper was the short ‘From Here to Infirmary’ first published in the pulp fiction and light porno semi-weekly pin up magazine ‘Slinky’ in 1949 (issue 24 in a total print run of 25). After that Orson’s writing career stalled somewhat as he fled the States after a serious falling out with his unorthodox Mormon wife and her other five husbands. Vast amounts of speculation still lingers on as to the exact nature of the falling out or what caused the lifelong rift between Deborah his morbidly obese first love and her other husbands with whom Orson had apparently gotten on rather well with often bunking down top to toe in the same bed as them whenever the weather got too chilly. All that is known for certain is that after he had moved out two of the husbands were dead, killed when a dozing Deborah rolled over in the night and crushed them and the other three left her to join the circus. Deborah lived on and despite her obesity and various serious health issues she would even outlive Orson, some claim simply kept alive only by the hatred and sheer spite that she felt toward him.

slinky Mag

Orson though now briefly moved to Peru where he struggled to set himself up first as a paid by the minute gigolo and then as a Guinea Pig farmer. Upon finding it impossible to herd the small furry critters from end of his vast estate to the next by horseback. He later wrote-

“If I’d known now that these little bastards just scattered and ran around f**king squeaking in a terrified huddle everywhere all the time then I’d have eaten more of them frankly.”

Upon his return to America in 1951 Orson was very publically arrested at the airport and put on trial for an inflammatory text he had written for a Peruvian national paper which praised the then American President’s wife as a ‘Fine piece of ass’. The trial went nowhere when it became apparent that simply just saying the President’s wife was a ‘fine piece of ass’ wasn’t exactly illegal or even treasonable and by now if anyone even dared question the validity of that statement the First Lady got rather annoyed. At any rate President Truman also seemed to agree that indeed she was a ‘fine piece of ass’ and the matter was quietly dropped by the Whitehouse. Orson quickly fell back into his writing flushed with the amount of controversy and publicity his comments had afforded him as the offers of work came rolling in from publishing companies he moved to California.


Chapter 3: Pulp: ‘This Is Hardcore’- the L.A. Years.

His next writing success was an article for ‘Macho’ an LA based men’s magazine. This publication was primarily targeted at wealthy well groomed bachelors about town and other likeminded single men. The paper would often feature articles on everything from sports, showering Vs Strip Wash methods, fast cars, hunting in the woods whilst stripped to the waist, the latest body lotions and grooming tips as well as politics and where the best Turkish Baths were located in California. Orson’s article entitled ‘Homos: How To Spot ‘Em & How To Deal With ‘Em the Macho Way!” was a big hit with the subscribers and soon he had been allocated a regular slot to complete every month.

He quickly followed up his first article with equally successful-

‘Pansies: Worse than commies?’

And more soon followed with such titles as:

‘Who Runs The World’s Banking? Yeah, You Guessed It!”

“Canada: America’s Next Logical Colony.”

‘Zoot Suiters & Darkies On The Bus? Not On My Watch America!’

‘Catholics. Why One Will Never Be President.’

The inflammatory- ‘It’s Why We Call It The ‘WHITE’ House Liberal!’

And the far less successful science fiction stories which were written for Macho’s sister publication a short lived fantasy fiction based magazine simply dubbed ‘Discus’. Short stories such as-

‘Naked Hula Paradise’ as well as ‘Bucky Tonto & The Last Galaxy Rodeo’ and finally –

‘One Earth Man And A Million Moon Women’.

Which would later be made into a low budget sex comedy film starring a befuddled but financially desperate Lou Costello and the entirety of the Playboy Bunny Girls.

lou costello


Although his most famous article of the entire Macho Magazine period was undoubtedly-

“Pfft! Women. I Mean Just C’mon Guys, Just Why?”

            By 1952 though the ‘Macho’ had almost shut down all its various publications and soon the magazine itself completely folded due to ever changing tastes as well as the blow caused by loss of its main movers and shakers and almost all of the ‘live in’ editorial staff in a single dawn raid on an LA based 24 hour  steam baths by the LAPD vice squad.

So once again Orson was forced to quickly move on, packing up his ever trusty portable typewriter and several hip flasks he next relocated to New York where he fell into a routine of occasionally writing, drinking every day in the Chelsea Hotel bar rubbing shoulders with and more importantly for Orson, shouting abuse and exposing himself at New York’s self-appointed elite art crowd and visiting foreign bohemian types.

Discus Magazine mock up


Chapter 4: New York, Fleeting Fame and Fortunes.

            By 1954 he was once again writing short and serialised fiction for various low brow pulp and “saucy” publications such as ‘Otter’, ‘Brick’, Horn‘Pelt’ and ‘Idle Hands’ but the main title he supplied with his prodigious talents during this period was one called ‘Smooth-E!’ for which some of his best work was published. Titles written then included-

‘She Said Turn Left Now Idiot!’, ‘No Way For A Real Man To Die’, ‘Blood On A Dirty Glass’, ‘Hot Nights and Colder Sweats’, ‘That Damned Cherokee Lady’, ’Hot-Rod Hell Queen’, ‘The Thighs The Limit’, ‘Half Moon Highway Hula’, ‘The Sixth Column: Pansies!’ and of course many of the best loved stories in the Johnny LaCrosse series like ‘The Case Of The Jade Frog’, ‘Yellow Peril In Downtown Chinatown’, ‘Plot X-Ray’, ‘Cold Steel On Warm Bosoms’, ’Slum City Sluts’ as well as ‘If The Hat Fits Then Steal It Baby!’.

Suddenly truly wealthy for the first time in his entire life Orson fell in with a younger crowd of painfully hip Beatniks who had taken to following him around the streets totally enamoured with the man’s vast vocabulary of swear words, his earthy pallor, the ability he had to hand roll his own cigarettes, his saggy jumper and unkempt beard which by now had almost reached past his knees. Looking like a tanked up Old Testament prophet he led his shambolic, awe struck band through some of the worst slum bars, ghetto gambling houses, Honky-Tonks and flea infested whore palaces in New York. He remembered little of this time but did seem to think that these impressionable young finger snapping wealthy hobo looking skinny kids had set him up almost as a father figure or in his own words –

“A Goddamn Christ like figure sent from the almighty his-self to lead the shower to the promised-land, dig?”

In fact all he led them to was tragically a series of early graves brought on by successive desperate binge drinking sessions fuelled by their trust funds and the cheap buzz afforded to him by flat warm coke with nutmeg mixed into it. In turn and before they inevitably died off his Beatnik minions had turned Orson onto Cool Jazz, reefer, casual sex, the joys of extreme Frisbee at night and randomly saying ‘Dig’ and ‘Man’ to pointlessly finish his sentences. His most notable achievement of this short time in the Big Apple was as the self-proclaimed inventor of the ‘Beer Bong’ which had quickly taken off with the male student Jock fraternity with whom he would often play touch football in just his jockey shorts in central park whilst loaded up on flat cola/nutmeg and JD.

dirty beatniks

Sadly for Orson and maybe even more sadly for the world of literature and for all fans of a good read in general his art suffered greatly from such excesses and by 1957 he was down on his luck having by now simply forgotten where he lived and resorting to eating garbage from trash cans, drinking his own pee from a hubcap and writing his short stories when the muse took him on the backs of sleeping homeless people. A passing encounter with the renowned newspaper tycoon and magazine publisher J. C. Longfellow III outside a penny arcade ended in a terrible scuffle with Orson making off with the great man’s shoes and so seemingly now eliminating any possibility of Longfellow ever offering him work in New York. Orson was last seen in New York City turning tricks for loose change outside of a gang run bookies off Broadway before he simply vanished from the public gaze for the next nine years.

Orson photo fit pic


Chapter 5: California Dreaming ‘All The Leaves Are Brown’.

He reappears back in California in 1966 although now located deep in the northern half of that state and secured behind a high, razor wired compound wall only answering to the Yogi name of ‘His Most High-Man’ and where he was running a sort of personality focused new ager cult based around his own particularly unique teachings that mankind had all descended from potted plant life. His male adherents wore red flowerpots strapped to their heads at all time and very little else (a photo of his Cult later inspiring the look for Art Punks DEVO).

His odd religious mythos expanded greatly overtime to eventually include the Bigfoot as a Messiah destined to lead the world back to a righteous path of living in the woods and eating straying backpackers, a meteorite which would land in the sea and boil up all the earth’s water forcing everyone to drink their own urine, panhandling for gin money and the uttermost ideal above all others was that of free love amongst all his female followers just as long as he could sit in and read their auras during the act to better gauge their emotional wellbeing for the good of the entire Commune.

hippie cult

All too soon though this dreamlike idyll ended when law enforcement agencies raided the ranch on which the Cult had settled and sent many of the young followers to institutions for a regime of deprogramming and Orson (after a brief fight in which he had climbed up a tree and claimed he was ascending to heaven) to a brief stay in high security state prison. Prison was the saving of Orson as now free from all nutmeg based stimuli his mind cleared for the first time in years and as he succinctly put it-

“I now looked in the mirror and it was like I was seeing myself for the first time, I just thought ‘What the f**k man! Where did that beard come from and who tattooed my forehead?!”

The kindly prison chaplain, himself a former reader of ‘Macho’ from back in the day, managed to find Orson an old typewriter. It had the ‘R’, ‘X’ and ‘P’ keys missing, only red ink ribbons and a jammed space bar but that didn’t bother Orson in the slightest and soon he was reeling off pages and pages of new un-spaced tracts and short stories and essays which he sent around every publishing house, magazine and newspaper in the country.

None were interested.

Orson duly took his own life by hanging himself from the bare light bulb in his cell with the spare typewriter ink ribbon in 1970. He left a hastily scribbled note in pencil which simply read ‘I blame the damn pansies!’. A week later a letter arrived addressed to him and it was opened by the Chaplain, to his horror he read that it was an offer of work from the aged and by now quite barmy J. C Longfellow III who claimed to fondly remember Orson as ‘that bearded shoe thieving son of a gun scamp off the Bowery!’. Deborah his long estranged wife upon hearing of the demise of her tearaway husband simply said “Finally!” laughed for fifteen minutes exactly before dropping dead on the spot and causing a minor tremor felt through the entire county.

Orson’s remains were quietly cremated a month after his death without any fuss and his ashes simply binned when nobody claimed them, he has no final resting place but there was once a plan to have a plaque of fame attached outside the alleyway where he once lived and turned tricks for pennies. Years later an illegitimate son would emerge from Peru to claim his percentage of the publishing rights as the only living relative but he soon left disappointed by the actual amount owed which hardly covered the price of his airfare and saddened by his father’s legacy of stirring up race hate which often included Peruvians amongst his favourite targets. He refused to settle his late father’s bar tabs or to take his belongings (which had been in state storage for years) with him so the typewriter which Orson had used to write his final works ended up in a flea market before being bought by a shadowy private collector known only as ‘The Colonel’.

broken typewriter


If one could say anything of Orson it was that he left few friends in the world and even fewer completed works which would still be printable never mind even readable in today’s multi-cultural environment overly concerned as it is with ‘Political Correctness’ and women’s rights. No doubt Orson would have simply pulled out his trusty sock gun and fired a few wild rounds off at such detractors whilst sipping from his flask, laughing manically and dismissing their horrified protests as the voice of the ‘Damn F*****g Liberal Pansy’ he so despised. His surviving works have been bound together in various collections most notably the book series ‘Dire: How Not To Write Fiction. A Guide’ and ‘Hateful: Clichés, Bigotry, Stereotypes and Racism in Pulp fiction’s Heyday’ both published by Taschen which includes all his articles for Macho and many of his lesser science fiction and short stories but none of his Johnny LaCrosse series. The only book which attempted to collect some of these works was published by Hawk books in the late 1970s entitled ‘LaCrosse. A Very Hard Man’ which contained only three stories and several summaries of others and is now long out of print and impossible to find on the second hand market.

Third Instalment of the just terrible pulp novella- ‘CHEAP DAY RETURN’.

RECAP- When last we left our hero Johnny LaCrosse he had stolen a black cab from outside a local council building and was hurtling into the night in hot pursuit of the Fat Man aka Leroy Entendre. Without a plan or any idea of the plot he arrives in chapter 26 of the damn hard slog of a read that is Cheap Day Return.

Chapter 26: ‘ Cul de Sac of woe’.


            If only ‘She’ could have seen me now I thought as I pulled up outside the address I’d been given by the staff at ‘Dave Achmed’s Genuine Yankee Doodles Fried Innit Chicken Shack’. They’d explained how this address was the sole reason for the great fried chicken drought in Blackpool in ’08. Must be the Fat Man’s address and inside he’d have the key to it all, the veritable ruby slippers that could send me home.

“Hello Fat Man, my name is Lacrosse and I’ve come on behalf of kismet” I whispered to myself as I sidled out of the cab door. I flicked my business card onto the seat for the unconscious driver to send me his bill should he wake and headed toward the no 33 on the Rue Morgue Cul-De-Sac.

Rue De Morgue Cul-De-Sac was like a million other cul-de-sacs in a million other suburban areas that since their building had gradually been hemmed in on all sides by the expanding violent darkness of the city scape around them. What once had been a pleasant and green patch of middle class heaven was now in a state of siege, like the Alamo if the Alamo had well catered lawns and flower borders. The surrounding city’s filth and detritus blowing in from the tree lined driveway into this burb was a daily reminder to these people how much things had changed and how little the world seemed to care for their hopes and aspirations. I took a whiff of the air, yep this was Daily Mail country all right. I pulled the collar of my overcoat up around my ears like a down an out Dracula and headed over to number 33 or ‘Pink Eye Retreat’ as the name plaque had it.

cul de sac 1

The door was like a Hammer Horror film, being as it was long, outdated and in a pseudo Gothic style. The door-knocker was in the shape of a silver eagle, wings outstretched carrying a bundle in it’s talons. It looked like the Eagle had mugged the stork and was taking the baby with it. On closer inspection the bundle turned out to be a money sack complete with the dollar, pound and Euro symbols all joined together like the logo of a bankers Olympiad. The eagle was in fact a vulture and on it’s chest it wore a medallion with an ‘all seeing eye’ carved upon it. The conspiracy theorists would go nuts.

gothic door


I decided not to pull the bell chord instead I’d work my way over the link fence and make a dramatic rear entrance, a part of me laughed at the thought of the words ‘rear’ and ‘entrance’ but I shook it off. Now was no time for hijinks. Unstrapping my firearm I gently cocked the hammer and put the safety on then scrambled with all the ease and natural grace processed by the offspring of a ballerina and a commando such as myself, over the fence and into a shrub. Pausing just long enough to make sure that I hadn’t been seen I scuttled under the kitchen window and towards the back door.

Neighbourhood Watch area my ass, this was easy.

Then the back door creaked open and a booming voice rich in the sort of tone you’d expect from a man who gargled with gravy every morning spoke.

“My dear Mr Lacrosse! Why if you wished to join our little tête-à-tête then all you had to do was ring our front door bell though I must confess watching you scramble over the fence, catching the hem of your overcoat and falling flat on your face was highly amusing for all assembled. Please, do join us… and wipe your feet when you come in there’s a good fellow. There’s wine and cheese on the table as you enter.”

I heard the fat man shuffle from the door and the natter of people’s voices became clear from inside the house. Standing up I straightened out my attire and brushed down my clothing. If I was going in I wasn’t going to do it looking like a hobo. I retrieved the spare neck tie that I keep rolled up in the inside pocket of my sports jacket for special occasions and removed my old one. Catching my reflection in the kitchen window I was struck by how damn good I always looked when my life was in immediate danger and then headed toward the door.

The house looked like it had been decorated to suit the tastes of a man who was under the illusion that the pad he inhabited was less a bungalow on a quiet cul-De-Sac and more a stately home fit for a prince. The cheap walls had all been covered in a faux oak frame and wooden panelling and on those walls hung crests, ancient weaponry and framed pictures of famous people all seemingly signed by them and addressed to the fat man himself. Unless the Fat Man had found the secret of immortality I doubt they were genuine as most of the people he proudly displayed had been dead long before he’d been born. On closer inspection I noticed that they were all addressed to a L. Entendre II, the Senior. This fat bastard was L. Entendre III Jr.

fat mans walls

“Ah Mr Lacrosse I see you’re an admirer of history, as you can see my father was, as you’d say, a ‘big player’ in the world of far right political thinking. He was highly regarded for the unique service he offered his clients.”

“I see you have a portrait of Chevy Chase.” I said, the Fat Man sighed wearily.

“  Really Mr Lacrosse! You know full well that the man your looking at is Petrovich Zagreb Androvian the fifth president of the small landlocked yet wonderfully oil rich state of Zebredistan. This function is in his honour as very soon and thanks to his generous payments I shall be leaving this hovel to return my family to the status in which they were formally accustomed.”

chevy chase

“So you’re a chip off the old block? Your going into your daddy’s line of work then I get the picture.”

“Mr Lacrosse, I’ve been engaging in the family trade for well over a year now, my job at the cleansing department of the town council was merely a ruse, a handy cover story should a petty snooper like yourself ever come calling..”

“And now I have.” I said.

The fat man took out a dirty hankie from his trouser pocket and pointlessly made a show of dabbing the tidal wave of sweat from his forehead, the fat bastard. He looked more flustered than usual.

“Yes. Indeed, and now you have… you see you’ve put me in a very difficult situation Mr Lacrosse, by all rights I should just have you killed and your body effortlessly dumped into a meat grinder to be served to unsuspecting students from one of my many takeaway businesses that I own but seeing how close we are to realising the fruition of our goal I think allowing you to live for an extra half an hour won’t harm us. Just long enough to see what it’s all about and to know you can do nothing to halt it.”

He grinned, his yellowing bent teeth made a mockery of the word ‘smile’ and his cheeks looked like they were struggling to lift his lips in any other direction but a downward chomping motion. I took in the rest of the scene, the gathered posh Nobs he was playing host to appeared to be people much better off than himself. Here there were guys in full penguin suits and all the gals had more silk, fur and pearls drabbed over their bony frames on than Liberace had ever managed to pull off. Each carried a small wooden panel with a number on it, an auction was about to take place and I wanted to see what the prize would be.


Dredd 2

Dredd 2

Heard the second instalment in the Judge Dredd film franchise is on its way to being made very soon. Although it might cause some consternation with fans of the 2012 ‘Dredd’ movie as its earmarked as a buddy-comedy cop romp like classics of the 1980s such as Turner & Hooch, Beverly Hills Cop or Lethal Weapon.

Working title is supposed to be – ‘Right Said Dredd…’

Edgar Wright is earmarked for the directing and the plot sees cuddly life loving yet ultimately a bit of a loser service bot who has never really fulfilled his full servile potential Walter the Robot (or ‘Wobot’) , played by Nick frost in a dustbin and a pair of headlamps, team up with sulky misanthropic workaholic Dredd (still played by Karl Urban) in an attempt to win back Dredd’s true love Andersen after a spat during a Block War cross fire shoot out in a leafy suburb of a curiously Londencentric Mega City.



Leaked opening scene concept:

Track- ‘Boss Drum’ by the Shamen plays in the scene. Close up tracking shot of Dredd’s heavy boots stomping in rhythmic motion almost in beat to the music. A soccer ball rolls into his path, we hear some children ask for it back, he squashes it without remorse and keeps on strutting… music gets louder as still from the perspective of Dredd’s boots we see him kick a wheelchair out of the way, a cat then a baby buggy… camera pulls out to show Dredd in a simulated street scene used in order to train the new judges in a less harsh approach to law giving.

What follows is a pretty standard homage to Police Academy series with an increasingly desperate looking bunch of raw recruits being put through the meat grinder (some die in comical yet horrific live round misfire accidents and climbing rope strangulations) to the backing melody of ‘All together Now’ by the Farm as the cast credits run across the screen.

dredd boots

Eventually Walter wins the seemingly cold hearted and guarded Dredd over to the concept that although Dredd technically outranks Andersen a successful long term relationship is built on compromise and mutual respect and not just giving orders and filling out a series of fortnightly sex request forms. Also he should take a break from issuing arbitrary justice in the streets every night including weekends to jolly well take some time off in order to wine n’ dine Andersen (played by the utterly lovely and ever delightful Kate Ashfield.. gosh she’s lovely, really mean that.) in their local curry house at least once a week. This close friendship being achieved only by the process of a series of heart-warming but witty banter matches around a pub snug and a very funny scene where Dredd attempts to leap a garden fence in pursuit of a perp only for something completely unexpected to happen.

Ashfield Cop

Andersen though decides to leave Dredd for Max Normal who runs his own successful franchise of bookies and doesn’t shoot people for littering or parking in the disabled space without a blue badge. A despondent Dredd returns to his new and empty apartment in the single Judge’s quarters and cries, his helmet’s lenses steam up and everything. Music track: ‘This is how it feels to be lonely’ by Inspiral Carpets.

Deciding to win Andersen back Dredd enlists the aid of three woefully unprepared mates to get him back to the peak of physical fitness and back in the game. What follows next are so many self aware ironic 1980s styled montage scenes that your eyes will bleed uncontrollably.


Ultimately everything goes tits up big style with the sudden and apocalyptic arrival of the Deadworld  Dark Judges (Played by a heavily made up Simon Pegg, Simon Farnaby, Stephen Mangan & Bill Nighy) and much hilarious Hollywood styled blockbuster antics ensue with Dredd and Andersen being chased through the streets of London/Mega City by Judge Death & his posse on commandeered golf buggies to the soundtrack consisting of Fluke’s- ‘Absurd’. All the time Dredd is attempting to crash course teach Andersen the basics of a decent golf swing in order for her to pelt balls at the pursuing Death & pals before it all ends in a massive shoot out in a Mega City traditional boozer and a real tear jerker of a scene with Walter shot to shit, just pissing oil all over the shop whilst CGI explosions go off as the heroic couple scarper into the night and onto a late honeymoon thanks to Walter’s sacrifice.

Its okay! They managed mid flee to scoop up just enough of Walter to incorporate his ‘Banter Programme’ into a talking microwave, Walter becomes a robotic pet and we see Dredd & Andersen leave their beach hut to wander down to the sea in matching grass skirts, Andersen is visibly preggers.


Fade to black, run end credits to the Chemical Brothers ‘Let forever be’


… then wait to collect the BAFTAs!

Slingers, a series that needs to see the light of day

Slingers title card

Previously I’ve mentioned the saga that was the ‘Legionnaires‘ project which in hindsight was probably destined to its fate. Now I’d like to be a bit more positive and mention a potential series that I for one would happily put up some of my own cash into seeing it one step closer to it’s completion.Slingers screenshot 3

Slingers is a premise for a British (in feel and cast at least) Science Fiction series that personally for me ticks all the boxes, it inhabits that corner of the modern sci-fi world that is happy to tip its hat in the direction of classic Cult TV serials of the 1960s such as the Avengers but casts it against the backdrop of the far future. A future where kitsch lounge music, orbiting gambling ships and sharp sixties suits mix freely as the cocktails with artificial intelligence, holograms and smart weaponry.

As the tag line goes-

“Think… The Rat Pack in space… Ocean’s Eleven in the 30th Century.”


“Getting home one heist at a time!”

The shows concept comes from Mike ‘Sizemore’ Atherton and created a bit of buzz when first mooted. Now this has been on the cards for some time, I first heard about the project back in 2010 so it has been a while since it hit the radar but unlike Legionnaires this actually does have an established set of actors connected to it.

One in particular blew my mind.

Step forward everyone’s favourite British B-List actor Mr. Sean Pertwee. I love Pertwee, I make no bones about it and its a constant source of annoyance to me that he has a habit of dying in almost everything he appears in so the idea of him having a part that could stretch over episodes thrills me with a bizarre buzz indeed.

Slingers screenshot 4

There are also the other cast members being –

Tom Mison (now Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow series),

Adrian Bower (the PE tutor from the much missed series ‘Teachers’),

film actress Margo Stilley

and finally UK based Japanese actress Haruka Abe who is more likely to be known to TV audiences as one of the groupies for the character Fist from the show ‘Ideal’

But before we get carried away with ourselves lets look at what’s been done so far.

True to form we have concept art, lots and lots of quality looking concept art.

Blackjack ship concept art Slingers

Slingers concept artWe have a more than decent and very entertaining promo film (shot in 2009) that sets the backdrop to this world nicely and illustrates that nowadays you hardly need the budget of Hollywood to pull of a decent looking ‘taster’ for the investors and seeing how all that was accomplished in 2009 just imagine what you could achieve now. The fact that it also contains the delightful music of one of the most wonderful yet sadly ignored bands the UK produced in recent years, The Mummers, is wonderful in itself.

The promo has been uploaded to Youtube since 2010 and has attracted to date around 29, 922 views and real buzz amongst the faithful.

Slingers screenshot 2

The extremely snazzy promo was to my surprise directed by Steve Barron, a man maybe better known for such movie ‘hits’ as ‘Mike Basset: England Manager’ and 1990s ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’.

Slingers production

We also have a fully fledged outline for the plot and the characters which helps a hell of a lot… former Legionnaires investors take note, this is the sort of thing to be looking out for next time you think you’d like to invest in any production.

The plot in a nutshell is that after an interplanetary war against nameless Alien scum humankind is now (the year: 2263) scattered across the galaxy, the use of an extremely powerful weapon to win said war closed the route back to the home world off so now everyone who was on the other side of the divide is trapped in a fish bowl like portion of  the galaxy.

Far from home the wealthy live in classy space ships and pleasure stations that make Vegas at the height of mob rule look tame. The ‘Slingers’ in question are a band of cool, hip elite soldiers lead by the character ‘DM’. Now turned hucksters they roam the densely populated yet comparatively small area of space in a stolen military grade craft conning the conmen and robbing the wealthy whilst attempting to stay one step ahead of Sean Pertwee who wants his rather nifty spacecraft back. The ship is the only one capable of taking anyone back to planet earth due to it’s method of travelling by ‘Slinging’ itself through space. Hence ‘Slingers’ of the title. The team are also being chased down by the military from which they’re on the run from…

Okay, well so far it kinda sounds a bit like the A-Team meets Blake’s 7, or the ‘Real Hustle’ set in space but its far, far better than I make it sound, trust me. I mean there’s a combat robot called Junior for goodness sake what more do you want?!

Slingers green screen

All this is fine and dandy but what are the chances of this getting made any time soon?

Answer is that it seems unlikely, often the case being the longer the period a project languishes in limbo post promo and isn’t picked up it’ll probably remain there. Of course its not always the case but there are few second chances in science fiction series production and just as is the case with most other things there is a fashionable time for each show. Wait too long and people are into a completely different area of the fantasy medium and all raving about the latest craze be it zombies or Sherlock Holmes and the less likely a show is to appeal to the masses or at the very least a healthy subsection of an existing audience then the less likely it is to be picked up. Science fiction tends to roll around mainstream popularity every now and then after all.

One of the main things that was noted about Sliders was that it managed with only a promo and a premise to gain a dedicated following which in effect became fans of a series that had never even existed to begin with, but that’s just the great thing about science fiction fans hook them with a great concept and something original from the outset and they’ll feverishly dig up anything they can about the project and create a loyal community around it before it even airs. Of course that can backfire if you deviate too much from the original idea I suppose.


Slingers screenshot

Also take into account that Tom Mison is now well established with the hit Fox show ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and whilst of course you can always change pilot or promo cast I’m guessing that doing so, so long after all the publicity for the shows been out there would be a bit of a blow to say the least to those hoping to see more of what the promo promised.Mison Sleepy Hollow

The Production company who started the ball rolling is called ‘Sleepydog’ and they seem more at home producing the sort of light reality based TV you often see late at night on free view channels, stuff like ‘Weird & Wonderful Hotels’ a series that investigates the odd in the world of the B&B and Motel.

(All the info with regards to Slingers is still up there as is the Facebook page that was created in 2009) On the Sleepydog site there’s a link to a future comic book project between artist Dave Kennedy and Mike Atherton but again this is called a ‘Tease’ and appears to set the back story to the cast and the characters so the main live action series plot can start with a bang.

Slingers comic art

It would be tempting though to think that the future of this project remains in comic books, or online comics like so many shows cut short in their prime before it. The page has little information on it and there are no links to the comic itself sadly.Slingers cover

It would certainly be nice to see the adventures begin even in comic form as that would obviously drum up more interest and build a fan base based on something tangible than concept art. So far though I’ve found no further info on this comic.

So there you go, Slingers, if it ever sees the light of day then I’ll be a very happy bunny indeed!


The top most perfidious & dastardly Englishmen in Film & Fiction! (In no particular order)

As national stereotypes go perhaps there are worst things than being classed as nation of stiff upper lipped, supercilious, untrustworthy, snidey, cowardly bad guys of epic proportions. For one thing it’s kept our most outrageous and terrible panto-esque Thespians in Hollywood work for many years and frankly it’s rather cool if we’re honest, who wants to be the boring git in the white hat? Although a fallout from this trend has seen the posher side of the English accent become such a cliché and shorthand for utter empirical evil that even when the baddie is supposedly German, Russian or even an alien they’d damn well better have the sort of voice that sounds like a Pathe news reporter circa 1951 and even sees the most unlikely of actors attempt to pull it off. Sean Bean being a good example, when he attempted to do a posh accent to most English ears it sounded like a foreigner … but he is from Yorkshire so that’s pretty much the same thing for most Brits.

There’s a conspiracy theory held dear by many nut cases and right wing fruitcakes (fruit & nut?) that the Hollywood film industry is run entirely by American Jews with a strong bias towards their points of view. This is of course utter nonsense, every Englishman knows that Hollywood is seemingly run by the Irish-American lobby which explains a lot of the typecasting for English actors.

NIven dapper gent

It wasn’t so long ago that the likes of David Niven, Roger Moore and Richard Todd were seen as quintessentially inhabiting the rather more positive English stereotypes of honour, stoicism, fair play and wit whilst the worst of our caddish traits were gloriously displayed by Terry Thomas. And that’s as bad as ‘we’ got. Then things changed, not sure when but I blame the 1980s which is my answer for everything and since then the creeping ease with which this supposed Anglophobia became the norm is now taken for granted.

This is pretty much a work in progress so feel free to suggest anyone for the list.

Here’s the list so far!


Edward Longshanks

Name: Edward I of England aka Edward Longshanks aka ‘Hammer of the Scots’.

From: Braveheart (1995)

Media: Film

Played by: Patrick McGoohan (American born but grew up in Ireland and UK)


Details: His reputation in England is pretty much that of a strong monarch and by ‘Strong Monarch’ we mean he is seen as being a guy who kicked much arse and took names in the process of doing so thus securing his dominion over the entire country and over those of other nations that also cling to this god forsaken rock we call Great Britain namely the Welsh and the Scots (hence his other cool nickname) and like all true English monarchs he was more a product of foreign upbringing than an English one and had that whole angry Norman side to him that pretty much saw him go tonto at a drop of a hat in battle. Yet he also had a softer loving side which is often overlooked, which he demonstrated when he erected several monuments or ‘crosses’ in memory of his wife at every site that her coffin rested on it’s way for burial in Westminster Abbey. The real Edward was no stranger to leading from the front having fought in the Second Baron’s War, a Crusade and several campaigns against those naughty Welsh before even thinking about getting around to the Scottish wars that have since defined him for many.

In the film though he’s simply an out an out baddie, a spitting raging ball of angry impotent Englishness and the inventor of the (fictional!) law Droit du seigneur. A man who won’t think twice before hurling his sons lover out of a top floor window, the sort of guy who’d also leave the toilet seat up and wouldn’t flush.

Portryal: Think the Jungle Book’s Shere Khan when in a good mood and trying to win someone over and then think of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas after someone’s made a crack about shoe shine boxes when royally pissed off. He likes the colour orange as this must be the only explanation as to why all the English wear it.




Name: James MacPherson.

From: ‘Warehouse 13.

Media: TV Series.

Played by:  Roger Reese (A Welshman!)





Details: A man who would think nothing of employing imploding grenades that sucks everything into one huge crater of deadness, disintegrating old inventors into piles of dust or chopping peoples heads off whilst welding a samurai sword all of which is what he’s doing when we first meet the scamp.

Portrayal: Frankly camp as a row of well aligned tents and falls into the same category of ‘English baddie’ as any number of the Watchers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Given his name he could very well be Scottish but the accent alone marks him out for special ‘English Baddie’ status.





Name: Colonel William Tavington.

From: The Patriot. (2000)

Media: Movie.

Played by: Jason Isaacs.



Details: Now, at the time this film caused a real stink in Europe and not just England, ignoring the fact it’s based on a real historical figure of Banastre Tarleton the images of British redcoats (not the guys from Butlins) during the war of independence enacting atrocities and war crimes that the writers supposedly based upon those committed during the Second World War by the SS in France was hardly going to help matters. Outcry followed and for once even the French sided with the English on the matter, then the City of Liverpool, never the most light-hearted of UK citizenry folk or the most likely to avoid a chance of a punch up kicked up a fuss over the portrayal of one of their own (as the real Tarleton had been Mayor of the city- as if anyone cared) and the papers had a field day.

Although as usual it was all forgotten about as soon as the film opened and like Braveheart we all went to see the it and marvel at how utterly evil we English really are and wonder why nobody has invaded us for our own good.

Portrayal: A master-class in duplicity and utter maligned cruelty, this guy is almost kinky with it to boot. Clearly he’s all about the warfare and knows how to kick rebel arse in the process andeven his skin seems to ooze evil. Frankly he’s also the most interesting person in the entire film as well as being the best dressed, shame he get his comeuppance really. Oddly enough in America the character appears to have something of a loyal fan base for his dastardly ways amongst the ‘slash fiction’ bloggers, fan fiction writers and of course the Redcoat reanacting fraternity. I found this quote on one such fan fiction site dedicated to ‘bad boys’ and the last bit rather made me chuckle for some reason. The writer uses the real Lt. Col. Tarleton in their work and felt some explanation as to who he had been was in order.

“Ban Tarleton is a highly fascinating and attractive man in his own right, with more than a little of the bad boy about him, though he never burned a church with people inside.”




Name: BishopBishop

From: The Saboteur (2009)

Media: Console Game.

Played by: John Noble (an Aussie!)





Details: The Saboteur was a game that took the true life wartime adventures of an Anglo-Frenchmen William Grover-Williams and keeping the resistance and race car elements then simply chucked the rest out of the window. Its maybe interesting to note that main protagonist Sean Devlin was indeed played by an English voice actor and given how bad that Irish accent was perhaps we can see this as some revenge.

Portrayal:Your pretty basic creepy Englishman here, looks like he enjoys to wear rollneck jumpers whilst smoking a pipe, head of the SOE in occupied France and just oozes smug self assuredness. Clearly rankles Sean and he seems to get off on that truth be told. I can’t tell you any more about the character as the game is bloody terrible so I’ve never been able to get more than half an hour into it without simply ejecting this piece of rot and putting something else into the Xbox instead.




Name: Archibald Cunnighamarchibald

From: Rob Roy (1995)

Media: Film

Played by: Tim Roth



Details: A foppish sword swinging murderer and rapist who commits his vile crimes in an extremely laissez faire manner. In short an utter dick.

Portrayal: Tim Roth does an excellent job at creating a character that goes from comic period piece Macaroni to menacing and truly dangerous nut job in minutes. You clearly understand that Cunningham isn’t just an overgrown spoilt brat but is utterly unhinged and has no empathy for anyone other than himself – but there’s no reason as to why he can’t look good in the process.



Name: Hans GruberThe Rickman

From: Die Hard (1988)

Media: Film.

Played by: Alan Rickman





Details: Your average West German psychotic leader of a armed robbery commando team. So impeccable was Alan Rickman’s method acting that he removed himself away from the world of Hollywood prior to the making of this movie going to a small Bavarian village where he spoke in the local dialect, dressed entirely in lederhosen and lived off nothing but sauerkraut, sausages and ‘beesting’ cakes. The end result being that Hans Gruber is in fact just Alan Rickman with only the slightest hint of any sort of German accent, basically making him to all intents and purposes an English baddie in all but name.

Portrayal: Alan Rickman doing a damn good impression of Alan Rickman.




Major Bingham

Name: Major Bingham

From: Passchendaele (2008)

Media: Film

Played by: Brian Jensen (A colonial from Canada)





Details: A film that serves in a similar manner for Canadian armchair revisionist historians and casual Anglophobes to that of Mel Gibson’s ‘Light Horsemen’ for Pom hating Aussies. Paul Goss who some of you might remember from turgid Tea time favourite show ‘Due South’ directs and stars. Whilst the action sequences are rather nifty the film is a mixed bag indeed.

Portrayal: Pompous pig featured, bull necked REMF who whilst in Calgary recruits Canadians for the slaughter in No Man’s Land and never stops banging on about how ruddy great the Empire is. Jingoistic was a word invented to describe this guy. A bully and sneeky with it he ends up somehow close enough to the front to get his throat torn out by some passing shrapnel whilst cowardly whimpering and attempting to duck out of massive ruck, something that doesn’t even appear to raise an eyebrow amongst the sturdy Canadians who obviously never liked him anyway. He’s presumably supposed to be English given his dodgy comments about the Canadians and his love of the Mother country to say nothing of the rather dodgy accent. Although he does get kudos points for the saying the clichéd English phrase ‘sticky wicket’ and somehow managing to make it sound like the most heinous thing ever said to a woman.


Ethan Rayne


Name: Ethan Rayne

From: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Media: TV Series

Played by: The late Robin Sachs (English actor)




Details- Powerful English sorcerer but hey aren’t we all? He’s old mates with Giles and whilst Giles sorted his life out and got a steady job at the Watchers Council Payne went a bit dark to say the least. It’s not clear when we first see him if he has any agenda other than finding the chaos he’s caused entertaining.  Soon it all comes out that he and Giles were fellow drop outs at Oxford, listening to their terrible prog rock albums, maybe dropping quality acid whilst table tapping and calling on dark forces… in my opinion they might also have had a ‘thing’ going on. Like Giles he has a wide range of knowledge and research in the paranormal to fall back on and like Giles (and in fact a lot of former public school boys) has a fluency of Latin. In fact let’s just say he’s the ‘Anti-Giles’ and move on shall we?

Portrayal: Well, we’re going to start repeating ourselves now but here goes. Duplicitous, creepy and frankly I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. His demeanour is really very similar to that of an old drama tutor I knew, in fact he reeks of being an old ‘luvvie’ in his mannerisms and movements.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...