Call a Spade a Spade

Cindy, master interviewer that she is, finally asks Cliff a question in today’s strip, but not before hitting a dead end with her traditional method of making a statement and hoping Cliff spits out something interesting in reaction.

Not that actually asking a question yielded anything all that interesting either, but at least the story moves on to something that isn’t a ridiculously obvious red herring. It is understandable that Butter Brinkel’s innocence remains in question when the only guy who could prove it is a fictional detective. I suppose Cliff means Humphrey Bogart told him Brinkel was framed… or perhaps it was his good friend, Sam Spade creator Dashiell Hammett.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “Call a Spade a Spade

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Like I said a few weeks ago, it’s like BatYak has a huge indistinguishable blob of ancient pop-culture references and he just tears hunks of them off as needed. Sam Spade, vaudeville, silent films, Fatty Arbuckle, tramp steamers, Saturday morning serials…it’s all a continuity-free blur of wildly misguided 1920 to 1940s era nostalgia. It seems like it’d be impossible but he’s actually making FW less accessible to readers under eighty-two than it was before, which really boggles the mind when you think about it.

    Coming tomorrow: an obviously confused Cliff insists that Rick Blaine got him a role as one of the Andrews Sisters in “In The Navy” after he discovered him making egg creams at a Coney Island soda fountain while Japanese Zeros screamed overhead in pursuit of the Bismarck. An exasperated Cindy sarcastically asks a confused Jessica if they’re still rolling, to which she replies that she isn’t sure.

  2. erdmann

    “I’m afraid Cliff Anger’s mind is no longer in mint condition.”

  3. Gerard Plourde

    Ok, I’ll play along for a second. Assuming that Sam Spade is a real character based in San Francisco where Dashiell Hammett placed him, what would he know about a Hollywood murder? Doesn’t TomBa know that the classic LA detective of the period is Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe? It’s sloppiness like this that keeps people critical of his work. I guess we should be relieved that Cliff didn’t say that his information came from Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

    • spacemanspiff85

      This is Batiuk we’re talking about. Detective Chimp is far more likely.

    • Professor Fate

      Perfect example of how the Author slaps the reader in the face. As noted Sam Spade was based in San Francisco a fact that causes the reader to go ‘huh’? It’s the kind of unnecessary and unforced error that dare I say it, an editor would pick up in an instant. Along with the Wilson/Williams first name thing.
      And while one is at it. the studio killing someone because they were leaving the studio is tooo bloody absurd for words. For one thing leaving a studio was not easy and not done often. Really if they had though what’s her face was a viable commercial property they would have kept her if not they would have been relived to have been rid of her. And that’s another problem; we know ALMOST NOTHING AT ALL about the victim which is appalling storytelling – was she involved with Butter? What kind of person was she, smart? Stupid? A diva? what? In her murder mysteries Agatha Christie often made the point that something the victim did led to the murder. Here all we have is a cipher.
      Arggg. i’m going to go off and re-read Mark Train on James Fenimore Cooper.

      • Doc

        The Professor was right. Back in the days when the studios controlled everything, they had actors under contract, sometimes for several years. If Warner Bros. wanted an actor from Fox to be in their latest Bathack Ballbuster…er…Blockbuster, they would negotiate and do a “Loan-Out.” Very simple. Just involves lawyers and executives. No hit men needed.

  4. Oh good grief, as a well-known blockhead was known to say. Batiuk, this is so stupid, such an idiotic development that even your nostalgia-fueled fans are likely to balk.

    Why not say Clark Kent told him, or better yet, Superman?

    It’s really sad to watch the decline of a once interesting talent.

    • Epicus Doomus

      They’re starting a Butter Brickel documentary by interviewing a guy who once talked to a guy who investigated the case. You’d think that maybe they’d want to interview a few historians or maybe someone who’d authored a book on the case or perhaps some surviving descendants or something. But instead they’re kicking things off by interviewing Cliff Anger, who happened to be alive at the time.

      • Charles

        And how much do you want to bet that Cliff’s recollections of something someone said to him over seventy years ago will be the only evidence needed for this documentary to show that Butter was framed?

        If Cindy does any work at all to corroborate Cliff’s claim, I’d be stunned. And I’m sure that if Batiuk even addresses the need for corroboration, it’ll just be one thing someone printed in a newspaper such that any idiot who looked at it would have been able to figure it out. It won’t be the remotely realistic outcome where Cindy would need to assemble about 500 different pieces of evidence from hundreds of different sources that only leads to a probable, not certain, conclusion.

  5. Paul Jones

    I don’t think it actually matters who Batiuk steals from because he hasn’t thought his theory of the crime out too well. What does he expect to happen if it’s revealed that the executives of a movie studio decided to have someone killed to scare other actors into staying with them? It’s not as if they can cuff the modern-day studio given that the execs of the time are all dead. All they can do is issue a formal apology to the public, have Brinkel posthumously rehabiliated and pay money to Pond’s heirs and assigns.

  6. gleeb

    I’m holding out for Howard Duff. Batton Thomas definitely seems the kind of guy who would get obsessive over some old radio show used to sell hair oil.

  7. bobanero

    Did Butters and Valerie both work for the same studio? Wouldn’t it be a ridiculously stupid move to frame your hottest property for murder, resulting in destroying his reputation and insuring that he never works again?

    And if Cliff was somehow a contemporary of Butters, are we going to find out he was in attendance at the party? Maybe that’s where the Sam Spade reference comes from. We’re going to find out that Cliff’s source was actually another party guest who was dressed as Sam Spade.

  8. Maxine of Arc

    Batiuk still hasn’t figured out what decade this all happened in, so I’m not too shocked he doesn’t know what city it happened in either. He’s telescoped at least 50 years of a very rapidly changing industry into “Ye Olde Timey Hollywood.”

    I’m also a little annoyed by Cindy’s/Batiuk’s disinterest in the actual victim of this crime, as I don’t believe we’ve heard anything about her aside from her name and the notion that she was planning to jump studios, a thing that happened literally ALL THE TIME.

  9. If I was talking to someone about a crime, and that person said that Sam Spade told him various facts, my first reaction would not be “Wow, new evidence in this story!”

    My first reaction would be something like “Dementia has really done a number on this guy.”

    Maybe Batiuk’s trying to tell a different story–the tragedy of Cliff Asshat and his diseases.