BOOK REVIEW - THE GREEN HORNET: HOW SWEET THE STING

October 15, 2021
BOOK REVIEW - THE GREEN HORNET: HOW SWEET THE STING

I've been a fan of the 1966-67 television version of the Green Hornet and Kato for literally as long as I can remember; some of my earliest memories are of sitting on my father's knee watching the show with Dad during its original ABC-TV run when I was 3 years old in 1966. That being the case, I like to think I know a little bit about the character portrayed by Van Williams, and for that reason have followed Moonstone's series of Hornet tales with great interest. (I even had the great good fortune to contribute one of those tales myself - a story entitled "Bad Man's Blunder" - to Moonstone's third Hornet anthology, The Green Hornet: Still At Large.)


I say all this by way of preface, in order to share the following observation: Jim Beard's The Green Hornet: How Sweet The Sting is one of the best Hornet stories Moonstone has given us. I particularly enjoyed the way Beard works in references to several of the actual television episodes (including the one that was the basis of the View-Master Hornet reels my parents bought me when I was little), and the way he showcases the character of Lenore Case to a degree she never received (but definitely deserved) in the series. 


Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book for me is the fact that the Hornet himself is not even the main character this time around. The real protagonist is a fellow named Dane Knoble, home we are told is a former Special Forces soldier who has returned home after serving overseas (in Vietnam, obviously, although that is implied rather than stated outright). Distraught over the condition he finds his old hometown in upon his return, Knoble falls in with one of the local crime bosses; this leads to an encounter with the Green Hornet that lands Knoble in the hospital and seeking revenge...


To say more would be to give too much of the story away. Suffice it to say that his efforts to exact his revenge on the Hornet don't go as planned, in part because of the unexpected love he develops for Casey...


I was already a fan of Beard's work after reading his novels detailing the adventures of that famed action figure-turned-comic book hero, Captain Action. In How Sweet The Sting Beard spins a tale worthy of Van Williams' Hornet, and it is my sincere hope that he gets the opportunity to add another tale or two to the Hornet's annul. Anyone who loves the series as I do will find a great deal to enjoy in this book, believe me.


Let's roll, Kato!

 

POSTHUMOUS BIRTHDAY CONJURES NEW WAVE OF MEMORIES

September 27, 2021

Today - Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 - would have been my father’s 83rd birthday.

A little more than three years later, it still feels strange to put it that way: “would have been.” Dad died roughly a month before his 80th birthday, and almost a year and a half after the passing of the woman he promised to love, honor and cherish on a warm August day in 1962. 

He kept that promise, and so did she, and they made doing so look so easy - a fact that I probably took for granted for most of my chi...


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ZEN AND THE PROPER CARE AND FEEDING OF PET PEEVES...

September 24, 2021

Many moons ago - when I was still a young nipper, filled to the brim with optimism and idealism and probably one or two other positive “isms” - my standard answer whenever someone would ask me if I had any pet peeves went something like this: “Oh, good heavens, no. I have no pet peeves; I wouldn’t know what to feed them.”


Later, after I became a husband and the father of two young boys (yes, in that order, even though it wasn’t necessarily the norm at the time), I would typically...


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FOUR DECADES LATER, I STILL DON'T GET IT...

September 17, 2021

Back in 1971, while awaiting the fate of his first feature film - the dystopian science fiction parable THX-1138 - and before being inspired to begin work on what eventually became Star Wars, writer-director George Lucas was challenged by his friend and mentor, Francis Ford Coppola, to write a script that would appeal to the larger, mainstream moviegoing public.


Though reluctant at first, Lucas eventually embraced the idea (no doubt in part an “I’ll show him” response to Coppola) and go...


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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD

August 31, 2021

Today would have been my mother and father’s 59th wedding anniversary. Much love going out to them today.


There’s a backstory to their nuptials - one which I’m certain is most interesting but which, after all these years, I am still only partially aware of. Apparently Mom had been engaged to another fellow at some point, but broke it off; whether she broke it off before meeting Dad, or her decision was in fact the result of meeting Dad, is something I’ve never learned. Ultimately it ...


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LEGENDS AND TALES OF SIPOKNI WEST

August 20, 2021

Sipokni West – the REAL Sipokni West, that is – is located in the small town of Reagan, Oklahoma, approximately two hours south of Oklahoma City and just a few miles north of my hometown of Ravia (the childhood home of Gene Autry). Designed as both tourist attraction and motion picture set, this recreation of an Old West town is the brainchild of a buddy of mine, Reagan resident Johnny Shackleford – sort of a hometown Will Rogers, rarely seen without a twinkle in his eye or a funny stor...


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"LIKE A BAND OF GYPSIES WE GO DOWN THE HIGHWAY..."

August 11, 2021

I love road trips. Always have.


I guess that’s one more thing we can blame on my late parents. Many of my happiest memories from childhood revolve around the road trips my family took - not just the traditional summer vacations, but those unplanned, spur-of-the-moment treks we would make whenever Dad got the itch. 


One such voyage in particular stands out in my memory almost as if it happened yesterday. 


It was in the summer of 1969. Mom was still expecting my youngest brother, who would...


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THE BAND ISN'T STYX WITHOUT DENNIS DEYOUNG

July 7, 2021

A friend and colleague of mine who lives in Texas recently persuaded me to give a listen to the latest studio album by the rock band Styx, entitled Crash Of The Crown.


Now understand that the friend in question is one with whom I have more agreements than disagreements when it comes to such things as music, books, movies, et. al. For the most part our tastes seem to be fairly similar, which for me is always gratifying because my personal tastes in general always seem to run counter to that o...


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EINSTEIN, THE JETSONS AND THE VOICE OF WORLD CONTROL...

July 2, 2021

“Books, young man, books!”


It’s probably not the sort of thing a lifelong science fiction nerd like Yours Truly ought to be admitting publicly. There are fellow nerds out there who will almost certainly demand that I turn in my old Buck Rogers secret decoder ring and surrender myself for interrogation by Darth Vader’s sinister Death Star probe droid once the news gets out.


I’ll just have to take my chances, I suppose. After all, I’m the guy who years ago got chased out of a Star Tre...


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LOOKING FOR DÉTENTE IN THE BATTLE OF THE GENERATIONS...

June 16, 2021

I wish I knew what I thought I knew when I thought I knew everything…


At some point - generally around the time its members hit adolescence - every generation comes to believe that it is smarter, better and/or more “with it” (whatever THAT means) than the generation that preceded it. And all too often, that belief is expressed in a way that leaves members of the previous generation confused, hurt and/or angry.


We’ve all been guilty of it at some time or another, whether or not we want t...


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About Me


John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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