All I want is a lousy sword-cane, Is that too much to ask? | Street Jazz

Sunday, June 8, 2008

All I want is a lousy sword-cane, Is that too much to ask?

Posted By on Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 10:20 AM

For a brief few moments it seemed as though my prayers had finally been answered.  Tracy showed me a catalog (the BUDK Catalog, if you’re interested) which featured an item listed as “The Hottest Sword Cane to Hit the Market!”

It’s true, I’ve had a fascination with sword-canes since I was a kid - even before John Steed and his umbrella-sword. There was Adam Adamant, Victrorian adventurer frozen in mid-adventure only to awaken in London in the swinging 1960s - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Adamant_Lives!

But even before then there was Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks, one of the helpers of the famous Doc Savage. But more on Doc Savage in a moment.

A sword-cane! At long last! My needs are simple, really.

To quote from the catalog:

Handcrafted from rattan wood, this dependable sword cane offers traditional styling coupled with contemporary craftsmanship. The handle easily unscrews from the base to expose a 17 ½” bl constructed from 240 stainless steel. The brass fittings add a touch of elegance to this must have item.

And then, at the bottom, are the dreaded words:

No Ship to CA, MA, NY or AR

What! A sword-cane just within my grasp, and they won’t ship it to Arkansas?

Devils!

******

Then again, maybe I don’t want this particular model

I’m looking again at the words, “ . . . handle easily unscrews from the base . . .”

Say what? Did John Steed have to unscrew his sword-umbrella? Did Sherlock Holmes? And Holmes did have one, if only in the movie where he met Jack the Ripper. No, they simply unsheathed the devils and let fly at the miscreants.

Imagine being accosted by  a street gang, or a roving band of Rogue Rosicrucians, and you have to whine, “Hold on, fellas, while I unscrew my sword-cane?”

Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the romance?

*****

Doc Savage - a hero for our time

I mentioned Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks, one of the gang of helpers of the great pulp-hero, Doc Savage. I began reading the Doc Savage books in Junior High school, where they probably made a lot more sense than if you read them as an adult - as with the case of most pulp fiction, which were essentially first drafts, and never great literature.

Doc Savage was an adventurer/crime fighter, in the 1930s who surrounded himself with a gang of men who were tops in their field  - though all they usually seemed to do was get in fist fights.

While Brooks was described as a dapper lawyer, another was a chemist, and so on.

Two stand out. One man’s talent was “electricity” - a rather quaint talent today, but who really knows how much bad wiring there was in the Great Depression? He may have been the busiest member of the team, for all we know.

My favorite was Colonel  John "Renny" Renwick, whose sole talent seemed to be that he liked to smash his fist through wooden doors.

Simpler times.

Simpler men.

When you consider the fact that these men were all-high ranking officers in that fun-filled adventure known as World War I, it may go a long toward explaining why it took so long to bring it to a close.

Anyone wishing to know more about the world of Doc Savage can go to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Savage

***

Doc Savage trivia

Renwick was played by William Lucking, one of our great American character actors. The older he gets, the more fun it is to watch him at work.

Though there is only one film version of Doc Savage (starring Ron Ely), in 19766, Chuck Connors was all set to star in a movie, but funding fell through. Somewhere out there is a Gold Key comics adaptation of the unmade movie, though.

**

Quote of the Day

It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home. - Carl T. Rowan

rsdrake@nwark.com

 

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