Book Heaven

Where the world of books and life intersect

Location: South Amboy, New Jersey

I am deeply involved in trying to solve the discrepancy between being interested in zen and trying to acquire all the things I've been accumulating

Friday, October 22, 2004


Well, it's time once again for the Friends of Old Time Radio Convention, and as usual I haven't really been listening to any old time radio shows .... until now of course. The week before the convention had me searching for shows that I want to listen to, but of course can't find. This year I'm listening to one of my favorite shows, The Lives of Harry Lime (The Third Man). I'm not really a big spy series fan but I can never get tired of Orson Welles' portrayal of Harry Lime.

Similarly, I'm not a big fan of the espionage field, either fiction or nonfiction. You could count the spy books I own on one hand. Somewhere I have a copy of Herbert O. Yardley's The American Black Chamber (Bobbs-Merrill, 1931), a book about cryptography that my father had. I recently purchased Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage 2nd Edition (Random House Reference, 2004), by Norman Polmar and Thomas B. Allen. Despite the fact that this is mostly real life spy stuff with very little attention paid to spies in books or movies, the encyclopedia sucker that I am couldn't resist it.

When I was seriously collecting films, I occasionally would get a call from Danny Biederman who was always looking for spy material. I knew he was a diehard fan but I was still surprised to come across a book he has just written: The Incredible World of Spi-Fi (Chronicle Books, 2004) is a very attractive (and at $19.95 attractively priced) book that is subtitled: Wild and Crazy Spy Gadgets, Props, and Artifacts From TV and the Movies.

I can't possibly describe this better than the flap copy: The ultimate in espionage eye candy, The Incredible World of Spi-Fi captures four decades of our favorite spies and their impressive cache of gadgets. Danny Biederman, creator of the legendary Spi-Fi Archives, has collected over 4,000 rare pieces -- salvaging them from the darkest, dustiest corners of old Hollywood soundstages and studio back lots. So thorough is his collection that the CIA visited the archive and invited Biederman to display a portion of his massive collection at CIA headquarters.



Blogger Bud Wiser said...

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11:04 PM  

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