Spotlight – Frank Herbert Jr.

Without change, something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken. – Frank Herbert

I remember as a senior in high school my English teacher, Mr. Mitchell, had us read the science fiction novel, Dune, by Frank Patrick Herbert, Jr.  When the teacher handed me my copy of the book my first reaction to it was how thick the darn thing was and we only had three weeks to read it!  I could have done in three days! It was that enthralling.

Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides. In the year 10191, a spice called melange is the most valuable substance known in the universe, and its only source is the desert planet Arrakis. A royal decree awards Arrakis to Duke Leto Atreides displacing his sworn enemies, The Harkonnens. They take back their kingdom by force and, it is up to Paul to lead the natives of Arrakis in a battle for control of the planet and its spice. It is classic science fiction and won a Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Frank Herbert Jr. - Author of DuneDune’s author, Frank Herbert, is another story. Though he became famous for science fiction, he was also a newspaper journalist, photographer, short-story writer, book reviewer, ecological consultant, and lecturer. Because of a poor home environment, he ran away in 1938 to live with an aunt and uncle in Salem, Oregon. In 1939 he lied about his age to get his first newspaper job at the Glendale Star. Herbert then returned to Salem in 1940 where he worked for the Oregon Statesman newspaper (now The Statesman Journal).  He began writing short-stories for science pulp magazines in 1952 and never looked back.  

Herbert began researching Dune in 1959.  The novel originated while writing a magazine article on the Dunes of Florence, Oregon. He became too involved and ended up with more raw material than he needed. Also, the article was never written but did plant the seed that led to Dune. In all, Dune took six years of research and writing to complete. The book was much longer than any commercial science fiction of the time and, it was rejected by nearly twenty book publishers. One editor prophetically wrote, “I might be making the mistake of the decade, but …”

The Chilton Book Company (known mainly for its auto-repair manuals) offered a $7,500.00 advance plus future royalties for the rights to publish the book. The rest is history. Frank went on to pen five total books based on Dune and each was a classic in its own right. Frank passed away in Madison Wisconsin in 1986.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the podcast this week we have three classic tales. A short story from the author of the Dune Series of novels, A true-crime tale from Scotland Yard and a listener’s tale about his foster grandmother. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

November 02 – David Larsen’s Marionette (HE #19)
November 09 – Old Rambling House (RAS #303)
November 16 – Suspense Week – (RAS #304)
November 23 – Thanksgiving Podcast Replay
November 30 – (RAS #305)

Spotlight – Ghost Stories With Sylvia

Coming this week on Ron’s Amazing Stories is the episode with Sylvia Shults we have been leading up to. I can’t begin to tell you how much I personally enjoy listening to Sylvia spin her amazing stories. It truly is something to look forward to. What impresses me is that research and care she takes learning all of the details that go with a particular story. That is what makes her books so good. If you have not read one of Sylvia’s books I highly recommend it.

Because of this, I thought that it might be a good idea to list all of the shows that Silvia has been on thus far. Also, I will keep this blog post updated with new visits as we go through life. Here is the current list updated on October 24, 2017

Ghost Stories With Sylvia: Volume I (2014) Volume II (2015) Volume III (2016) – Volume IV (2017)

The Horror Express: #8 Return of the Ghost with Sylvia Shults (2015)

To connect with Sylvia Shults follow these links: FaceBookAmazon Author PageWebsiteWordPress

This Week’s Podcast:

You can listen to the new podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6 pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

October 03 – The Thing on the Fourble Board, hosted by the Conductor.
October 05 – Old Time Horror VII With Jim Harold – RAS #300
October 12 – Death Pays The Freight – RAS #301
October 17 – Ghost Stories With Sylvia Shults Volume 1 (2014)
October 19 – Ghost Stories With Sylvia Shults Volume 3 (2016)
October 26 – NEW!  Ghost Stories With Sylvia Shults Volume 4 (2017)
November 2 – Horror Express #19 with co-host Jason Dowd.
November 9 – RAS #303

Spotlight – Phil Leech MUFON

On Ron’s Amazing Stories – The Blog the spotlight points to a man who has served us in many ways during his life. He has been in public service as a sheriff, police officer, fireman, worked in a coroner’s office and even supported a terrorist task force. He has done it all! When it came time to retire from public service, he decided to become a field investigator for the (Mutual UFO Network) MUFON. Philip Leech did not stop there and after only three years he has become the Indiana State Director of MUFON.

Phil Leech - MUFOnWhy he joined MUFON is Simple. Phil is not only an investigator, but also had two experiences in his life that he cannot explain. He joined MUFON in hopes of finding an answer to his own questions about the UFO story.

“After each incident I experienced memory loss, to an extreme. It was instrumental in my reporting the events to MUFON. There is a CMS report in the system, along with a photo of me in the very car I was driving during the first event in 1980. I told no one of either experience, most of my life. I have worked in the public service sector, this type of thing had to be kept to myself for obvious reasons. Recently, I decided to tell my story to MUFON, undergoing regression, thus leading me back to today. I am a MUFON Investigator now, and trying to understand what happened not once, but twice.”  – Phil Leech

What is the Mutual UFO Network?

MUFON is an American-based non-profit organization that investigates cases of alleged UFO sightings. It is one of the oldest and largest civilian UFO-investigative organizations in the United States. The group maintains a chapter in each state and has investigators who undergo training administered by MUFON. They investigate UFO sightings and collect the data in the MUFON Database for use by researchers worldwide. They Promote research on UFOs to discover the true nature of the phenomenon, with an eye towards scientific breakthroughs, and improving life on our planet. MUFON aims to educate the public on the UFO phenomenon and its potential impact on society.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the Podcast this week we have Phil Leech. He will tell his two stories, talk about MUFON and cases that he has personally investigated. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

August 03 – He #17 – Out Of Body
August 10 – You Were Wonderful – (RAS294)
August 17 – The MUFON Story – (RAS295)
August 24 – Western Week – (RAS296)
August 31 – Science Fiction Week – (RAS297)

Spotlight – Lena Horne

On this edition of Ron’s Amazing Stories – The Blog, we will throw the spotlight on one of America’s best, Lena Mary Calhoun Horne. An amazing woman with, as it just so happens, an amazing story. Horne was an American jazz and pop singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne’s career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater. Her real love and many would say her passion was in the night club.

Spotlight - Lena HorneAt the young age of sixteen she began her career in earnest. In the fall of 1933, Horne joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City. In the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade starring Adelaide Hall. Unsavory roots some would say, but truth was it was the perfect place for Lena. She would connect with band leaders such as Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington. A few years later, Horne joined Noble Sissle. Lena toured with Noble and made her first records with him and his orchestra.

At 21 years of age Lena made her first film, The Duke Is Tops (1938) followed by Panama Hattie (1942). Lena had signed with MGM but, unfortunately for her, the pictures were shot so that her scenes could be cut out when they were shown in the South. Most theaters there refused to show films that portrayed blacks in anything other than subservient roles to whites. At that time most movie studios did not want to take a chance on losing that particular source of revenue. Very sad we ever thought like that.

Horne was long involved with the Civil Rights Movement. During World War II, when entertaining the troops for the USO, she refused to perform for segregated audiences or for groups in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen. She staged her own show for a mixed audience of black U.S. soldiers and white German POWs. Seeing that the black soldiers had been forced to sit in the back seats, she walked off the stage to the first row where the black troops were seated and performed with the Germans behind her.  Amazing!

By the mid-1950s, Horne was disenchanted with Hollywood and increasingly focused on her nightclub career. She was blacklisted for her affiliations in the 1940s with communist-backed groups. She would subsequently disavow communism and returned to the screen three more times ending by playing Glinda in The Wiz (1978), which was directed by her then son-in-law Sidney Lumet.

Horne continued to perform well into her 80s, in fact her last public appearance was in 1999. It is hard to imagine what life would have been like for us without women like Lena Horne. If you want to know more about her I suggest the book: Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne written by James Gavin.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the podcast this week we have Lena Horne in a OTR story from Suspense called, You Were Wonderful. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

August 03 – He #17 – Out Of Body
August 10 – You Were Wonderful – (RAS294)
August 17 – The MUFON Story – (RAS295)
August 24 – Western Week – (RAS296)
August 31 – Science Fiction Week – (RAS297)

RAS Spotlight – Victor Mature

What does the name Victor Mature mean today? Most have either forgotten him or never heard of the man. In his day he was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. If you are an old movie buff you no doubt know the name. Movies like The Robe come to mind. On the RAS blog this week we throw the spotlight on Victor John Mature (January 29, 1913 – August 4, 1999).

Victor MatureVictor was an American stage, film and television actor who starred most notably in several Biblical movies during the 1950s and was known for his dark good looks and mega-watt smile. His best known film roles include One Million B.C. (1940), My Darling Clementine (1946), Kiss of Death (1947), Samson and Delilah (1949) and The Robe (1953). He also appeared in a large number of musicals opposite such stars as Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable.

Mature studied and acted at the Pasadena Community Playhouse. For three years he lived in a tent in the backyard of Mrs Willigan, a mother of a fellow student, Catherine Lewis. He was spotted by an agent for Hal Roach while acting in a production of To Quito and Back. Mature signed a seven-year contract with Roach in September 1939.

In July 1942, Mature attempted to enlist in the U.S. Navy, but was rejected for color blindness. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard after taking a different eye test the same day. He was assigned to the USCGC Storis, which was historically significant vessel in its own right. He rose to the rank of chief boatswain’s mate and then join the US Coast guard recruitment group. Here he would tour country performing and encouraging young men to join the Coast Guard.

After the war, Mature was cast by John Ford in My Darling Clementine, playing Doc Holliday opposite Henry Fonda’s Wyatt Earp. The film was massive success and propelled Mature to stardom. It is still regarded by many film critics as one of the best Westerns ever made.

In 1974 Victor retired from movies and married Loretta Sebena. They had his only child, daughter Victoria, whom he was very proud. His last feature film appearance was a cameo as a millionaire in Firepower in 1979. Mature was quoted on his decision to retire:

“I was never that crazy about acting. I had a compulsion to earn money, not to act. So, I worked as an actor until I could afford to retire. I wanted to quit while I could still enjoy life… I like to loaf. Everyone told me I would go crazy or die if I quit working. Yeah? Well, what a lovely way to die.”

Victor Mature died of leukemia in 1999 at his Rancho Santa Fe, California home, at the age of 86.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the podcast this week we again have a collection of great stories. Victor Mature takes center stage in the Suspense classic, The Girl in Car 32. This one has an intricate plot that follows a detective as he uses a women to trap a arch criminal. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

June 01 – A woman of Many Names – (REPLAY)
June 11 – Horror Express #16 – (HE16)
June 15 – Crane Creek and Other Stories – (RAS288)
June 22 – Suspense Week – (RAS289)
June 29 – Science Fiction Week – (RAS290)