Chesley Bonestell: Futuristic Artiste

Titan Viewpoint

DATELINE: Sci-Fi Art 

An artist you likely never heard of by name may be one of the most intriguing personalities of the 20thcentury. His name is Chesley Bonestell, and you have seen his work all over the world.

A staggering biographical documentary called A Brush with the Future tells his amazing story.

Living to be nearly 100 years of age, he passed away in the 1980s But, his life transcended the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake to days of Old Hollywood and New York City at its pinnacle.

He managed to succeed in whatever he put his energy. Though he preferred to be an artist, his first years in a profession was work as an architect. After the great earthquake in his hometown, he helped to re-build the city with Willis Polk. It was Chesley who drew the illustrations for investors and made the schematics come to life.

When he went to Los Angeles in the late 1930s, he took a job for several studios as the matte painter. You’d think that to be a rather anonymous job, but he transformed it into a peak of success by making all the set designs for Orson Welles in Citizen Kane and also Magnificent Ambersons.  It was his vision of Xanadu, interior and out.

Between jobs, he did the design brochures for Golden Gate Bridge and made it a popular idea across the world with its startling originality and beauty.

Later, he designed the architecture for the movie version of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.  Then, in New York, he worked on the Chrysler building. It was a full life: but not his true fame.

Yes, in 1944 for Life magazine he did some color illos of the planet Saturn that looked like a rover had landed. It was a true vision of the future, and made him a staple of science fiction.

His terrain paintings of Mars, the Moon, and other planets, decades ago showed a man who saw the future and painted it as it is. It was his teaming with scientist Willy Ley (from TV’s Tom Corbett Space Cadet)  who  co-authored a book called Conquest of Space.  Ley was a friend of Frank Thomas and Jan Merlin,  stars of the show (who later teamed with this writer). How many degrees is that?

Jan Merlin and Dr. William Russo collaborated on six books.

Roswell, Part Three, End All

Marcel’s Wreckage from UFO

DATELINE: New Info on Roswell

The results of History’s Greatest Mysteries  may be the least disappointing of a well-produced series. You can’t have a steal of home base on every episode, but the show has taken the safe road nearly every time.

The Roswell investigation has uncovered some disturbing testimony that contradicts government coverups of 70 years, now by grandchildren of the original witnesses. If you add new technology into the mix as a means of corroborating, you have a new case.

If there is anything to be claimed, it is that your U.S. government cannot be trusted.

Researcher Ben Smith starts with a 1981 taped interview with a college journalist who became Dr. Linda Corley who managed to extract more info from Major Jesse Marcel:  the marks were written on a block of wood (or something like wood) in a Tyrolean Note form of ancient writing.

When apprised of this, he backed off: someone came and threatened him from an unknown agency. Men in black?

His notebook was written by a colleague who had a home-made code, nearly impossible to break. Marcel did begin to reveal more and more as the 1980s came, shortly before his death. He may even have kept some artifacts to prove his case, but they are now “lost.”

Another officer not interviewed previously told his relatives that he was in charge of destroying files. He may have written the memo book. His name was Patrick Saunders, and now another name is added to the registry of fame.

If you want that smoking gun, it isn’t here. Nothing is definitive, but everything is suggestive. Key information is being withheld, but we do hear that U.S. military radar used some kind of ray to shoot down UFOs, about six in a year in New Mexico in the late 1940s. So, the flying saucers were not smashed up because of bad drivers.

We could only think of Nikola Tesla and his death ray.

 

John le Carré’s Cold Spy Diamonds

George Smiley’s Best Friend

 DATELINE:  Spy Writer of Cold War

With the passing of  John le Carré at age 89 at the end of 2020, we have the true ending to the Cold War. If anyone managed to portray it for forty years in all its cold-hearted, ruthless, black and white ennui, it was this master writer.

If you wanted spy humor, you went to James Bond. If you wanted spy thrills, you turned the the former spy who worked for MI-6 and then worked for himself as a novelist.

Back in the 1960s, if you  wanted a thinking man’s spy thriller, you went to a film based on John le Carré, and if you wanted a thriller with twists, you went to Mission: Impossible. If you wanted laughs, you turned to James Bond.

He created one dull master spy who was deadlier than 007. That was George Smiley. Some of the greatest actors jumped at the chance to play him—even if they changed his name to something less ironic in the adaptations.

You can find Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Denholm Elliot,  Gary Oldman, and James Mason, all playing Smiley.

In one film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, you will find Tom Hardy as a slimeball gay agent. Now he has graduated to be the next James Bond.

All-star casts wanted to play small roles in these chess-match movies. You needed nerves of steel to be an espionage agent who was treated like T-paper at the end of the roll. Great actors like Toby Jones, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Oskar Werner, Hugh Laurie, Maximilian Schell, and others wanted roles in various versions.

The stories and characters are all of a piece, no matter who directed and when they came together. The seminal opener was The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, or two versions of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  You might find The Night Manager a surprise, or Deadly Affair  so different from your usual spy novel/movie fare.

This grand writer of espionage and spies has left us with a brilliant legacy and a smorgasbord  of human drama. Whether it happens in the rivalry between Soviets and Americans, the psychology and personality of the men who did this work make for compelling tales.

We think John le Carré (a pen name for David Cornwell) will live forever, and we did enjoy his cameo appearance inThe Night Managerin his latter years. Start anywhere. You can’t go wrong with watching—or reading a master storyteller.

 

 

 

Another Smart Woman on Oak Island

Cartographer Erin

DATELINE: Cartographer Erin

So much for that dumb Fellowship of the Dig. They wouldn’t know what they have or where to look if it weren’t for the occasional drop-in woman scientist. The latest is named Erin Helton, and she is a cartographer with IT skills.

She has taken the 1397 map Rick Lagina found with the help of an elderly woman five years ago, Zena. She claimed it was drawn by the Templars of Oak Island. It contained many written site markers that can still correspond to the Island today, but several items are vague and unknown.

She has taken her computer skills to find east-west markers of great precision that correspond to the map. It even makes Marty Lagina sit up and take notice. She identifies the “anchors” on the map, heretofore a mystery. They may be located and could provide data to triangulate a Templar find.

When the key members of the group go out (Alex, Jack, Gary, and surveyor Steve) to find the stones, they are small and precisely where they ought to be.

It is Alex Lagina who draws a parallel to a Templar carving in Westford, MA, that is of a sailing ship, thought to be from 1347. He thinks there is a vague outline similar on another rock. If these are accurate, the team has found something of significance as markers of treasure.

Another smaller finding has Rick Lagina go out with Gary, usually a sign that something big may happen: they locate a hinge from what Gary calls a Victorian cabinet. We never doubt him, and we never need the so-called experts to arrive to confirm his insights.

Small findings, on the surface, may mean bigger news later.

 

 

Keyless or Clueless on Ancient Aliens?

Marty & Giorgio Team Up Again

 DATELINE:  Keyholes Everywhere 

Ancient Aliens has provided us with another fascinating topic for the 16thseason. “The Galactic Keyhole,” looks at ancient structures built in the shape of keyholes (though they are not uniform in style or relative shape).

 The suggestion is that the metaphor of keyhole unlocks a gateway in the universe.

Almost immediately, you have Giorgia Tsoukalos jumping the gun to call these structures “sacred.”  They may be old, and they may have even had some religious significance, but burial mounds are not always sacred. Sometimes they are egotistical, like a pyramid to one man.

However, Ancient Aliens begins to catalogue these items to all parts of earth, all cultures, and now a shape of keyhole can be seen on the Mars surface. Whether it is shadow, like the infamous face, will await personal visits by people. 

One of the highlights of the show is when Marty Lagina from Curse of Oak Island rejoins Giorgio Tsoukalos on the Italian island of Sardinia. The keyhole mystery is tied into the Knights Templar, but do not go to Oak Island this time.

Here they examine some keyhole shaped cisterns built thousands of years ago, as precise as the pyramids from a society that had no engineering math. It’s a wow moment for Lagina. He is there only for a few moments and feels like a sequence filmed a few years ago.

The Sardinia keyhole is a mirror of one likely from the same timeframe in India.  However, they fail to note that many of these keyholes are different, some like St. Peter’s Square ae gigantic, which experts theorize mean the Holy Grail whose shape in profile is a keyhole is in Vatican City, not Oak Island.

 The best theory from Giorgio is that Buddha in the Stupah is a cross-section of a man going up in a space capsule.

 All in all, it is way beyond the anthropology skills of most college students and a highly intelligent discussion, which we always appreciate.

 

 

Top of the World, Ma!

Madame Blavatsky

DATELINE: Mahatmas & Other Spirits

For the 16thseason of Ancient Aliens we are going sky-high in Tibet, the ceiling of the planet where you are closer to the unknown fly-bys that have christened the population.

The location of a Shangri-La city high up on the roof of the world brings together many legends: physical and non-physical beings who lived for hundreds of years and live with little oxygen.

Of course, this series always goes for the jugular of most outrage: such as the Yeti Snowmen are magical extra-terrestrials. And those who live in that spot where Mount Everest reaches over five miles high are somehow more enlightened than the rest of us. This place is an airport of UFOs from all parts of the universe.

The series offered an insight into Madame Blavatsky, the theosophist who had befriended Mahatma Gandhi. She believed she was in contact with a spiritual creature that she called a Mahatma, or ancient alien being from another dimension.

Her circle included young artist Nicholas Roerich who worked with the Diaghilev ballet around 1910 in Paris. He worked on designs for Nijinsky ballets. He later moved to New York and conducted research in India and Tibet.

The Nazi research connection to Tibet in the 1930s included finding an old iron statue with a swastika on the figure depicted, a Mahatma. In the 21st century, tests on the figure indicated he was sculpted out of a meteorite that likely landed in Tibet.

Experts on the episode revealed a new word, Ultra-terrestrial to describe these travelers of the universe who use Yeti as the guardians to protect their secret base beneath the Himalayan Mountains

 Nicholas Roerich

Eulogy for Tommy Heinsohn

Soul of a Team

Tommy Heinsohn is gone. For the past few years, he had been less likely to broadcast games, giving up road trips entirely. But he still went to the studio into his eighties to provide insights no one else could know.

He has gone off now with Red and the Leprechaun to a better place.

And what he had to give may be matchless: he knew them all in basketball. He played with them all, coached them all, advised them all. He was one of the original Celtics—and his fiery attitude made him like someone from Mount Olympus on a holiday among mortals. From the 1950s to the 21stcentury, he made an impact on the Boston Celtics.

We do recall the crew-cut blond who had a passion for play that struck us many decades ago. We watched him every chance.. How thrilling it was that he never went away from Boston. He stayed as coach, holding such old-fashioned loyalty. And when the team moved away from his bombast and ref-bashing, he would not take another coaching job anywhere else. He was a Celtic.

He gave counsel to all—from Rondo to Couz. When irked with Bob Cousy, he called him “Robert.” When Dave Cowens in retirement and in an interview complained he never got a Tommy point, Heinsohn rolled his eyes, “Okay, okay, you have a Tommy Point.”

He was immutable and beyond the adjectives of media where they change voices like some people change T-shirt slogans. Tommy Heinsohn was indelible.

It’s not to forget that he was a cultured man who had a skill for painting, perhaps as a form of therapy or relaxation. But like basketball, he mastered whatever he put his talents to doing. How we would like to have one of those prized watercolors.

How we will miss his insights and his colorful expression. He knew what to say and how to say it. And, now that is gone from us. Oh, let’s not be selfish: he shared all those gifts with us for a long time. We should not be greedy. He deserves his time in immortality, high above the parquet for real.

Adieu, Mr. Celtic.

My Friendly Ghost is Not Caspar

Happy Halloween?

DATELINE:  Haunted House at Halloween

A recent Geico insurance commercial shows a couple haunted by Caspar the Friendly Ghost. His child-like demeanor is irksome (as usual) as he chews popcorn in their ears while watching TV.

Friends often say I ought to have guests visit on Halloween for fun

In real life, such as it is, when your home is haunted by a friendly ghost, even more when he is  is college-aged, you may have some amusing experiences.

For example, just this week, the friendly ghost here, named Richard who died at age 21 in a horrible disaster, knew I had retired to my upstairs office for the night when I discovered I left my new box of cough drops downstairs.

To kill two birds with one stone, I would fetch them when I went downstairs with something else. Laziness leads to all kinds of trouble.

So, half-an-hour later, I traipsed down the narrow stairs to the kitchen where I put away some stuff, and promptly turned to leave. At that point came a loud crashing sound.  As a retired college professor, I am more or less accustomed to college age student antics.

 

 

When I turned around, there I saw my cough drops had fallen off the shelf and onto the counter, knocking over several items. Oh. I profusely thanked my ghostly assistant.

He likes to toss things about to call my attention like this occasion. The next day he tried to use modern technology, my smart watch to communicate.

I found a rather large bug on the wall in my bathroom. Not being Zen, I removed a shoe to bang it to the next world. As I did so, my smart watch went on with a text message: one of those spam notices: “Do you need pest control?” it asked.

Oh, Richard, you are too too much. No, I haven’t saved any money with my friendly ghost, but he is quite helpful around the house and makes for witty comments.

 

 

 

Essential Movie Critic: Pauline Kael

DATELINE: Role Over Model

A documentary on the life of movie critic Pauline Kael would seem to be counter-productive. The late genius of insight into movies was hardly the stuff of action melodrama, but this film takes on her life—unwed motherhood, marriages of convenience, a history of working in low-level jobs trying to find herself.

What She Said is about the art of Kael. It is more about words than images. For that reason it is a topic doomed to be wordy and not visual, yet there are plenty of home movies and photos of Kael. That notion might not please her. Her ideas were the key.

When she first sells a movie review in the early 1950s to the New Yorker, it was a scathing attack on Charlie Chaplin’s bloated egotistic movie, Limelight. It won her an audience and a career.

Her insights into movies, which she loved as a medium, contain brilliant insights that some movie makers in this film tell us were influential to their productions. We don’t believe it. They may have read Kael, but it was to see how she shot down their rivals.

We would have preferred a film in which someone simply read some of her most scathing comments about well-known films over her life. She collected about 14 books of her critiques. And, they are delightful to read.

Sometimes she is utterly wrong about a film and its importance, but she always gives an interesting perspective on what the cultural or artistic value really may be. Her views are meant for the wider, lasting meaning of life in the film world.

We admire Kael and used to read her work when it came out. It frequently put good movies into a framework, and bad movies into a trash can.

She might have been the first to tell you this documentary is unnecessary and superfluous. Just read her books.

Enchanted Cottage: Ghostly Choice!

DATELINE: More Augurs

Into the Vortex?

When I entered the library this morning, where I have many Titanic books and keepsakes, there was once again something out of place. The house once belonged to a couple of victims who died on Titanic, and their presence is never far away.

So, on the floor, tossed off the wall shelf was a single DVD, tossed quite a distance. It landed on the edge of a new addition to the room: a vortex rug.

When psychics told me there was a vortex in the floor, through which the spirit world had a rapid transit station, I covered it with a vortex rug.

How appropriate that my spirit resident nearly had a bullseye with his toss.

The DVD is The Enchanted Cottage,little fantasy movie from 1945 about a wounded war veteran, harmed emotionally and physically, and an ugly girl who is the cottage housekeeper. They soon find the house makes them see the world differently. The stars are Robert Young and Dorothy Maguire.

A spirit at the cottage makes them see each other as whole and spiritually lovely. They grow beautiful and young. It is all tied together by a blind man (Herbert Marshall, of course) who helps them understand.

The film was based on a play by Sir Arthur Wingo Pinero and was adapted by DeWitt Bodeen for the screen.

The film is a trifle, but my ghostly resident thought enough of it to give it a look. When he visits books or DVDs, he finishes up by tossing them to the floor. He seems to have the power to enter them as an orb and see what’s inside. 

Since I set up the library, he has put many a film or book to the carpet, including a couple of Titanic books and DVDs, as well as a photo of his family homestead on Diamond Head, Hawaii. He likes to visit these items, and I am happy to make them available to interested ghostly parties.

Humming a Tune

DATELINE: Tiny Speedster

 

The littlest birdie in the world is the hummingbird, and you have David Attenborough ready to spill the beans in the heartbeat in this documentary from 2012 called, Hummingbirds.

When in flight, their hearts beat around 1200 beats per minute. When they sleep at night, they go into a suspended animation that leaves their hearts beating 40 times per minute. It takes them half an hour in morning to wake up—and they are prime choice for predators in this condition.

They must eat every fifteen minutes to keep their prodigious lifestyle. Besides flower nectar, they go after little bugs. They avoid bees whose sting could kill them.

These remarkable mammals are the fastest, smallest, and most amazing of creatures: they came about ten million years after flowers and adapted to become the cold morning pollinator. Insects could not do the job.

The hummingbird also is the most acrobatic flier in the world: he can fly backwards and upside down, unlike any other bird. Though they seemed to be most closely tied to South America and Brazil, they moved into the Andes Mountains soon thereafter—and a micro-version went to North America.

They must eat every 15 minutes to keep up their energy, but there are so many mysteries about how they live, no scientist can say for sure.

They migrate thousands of miles to Texas each year—and then must fatten up to make a flight across the Gulf of Mexico where there is no rest, no food, and no information on how they do it.

But this film is stunning for the beauty of the birds that have iridescent feathers that explode in color when they are combative. Slow motion photography grants an opportunity to see what is too fast for the human eye normally.

 

 

 

 

 

  Machine That Made Us? Really?

DATELINE: Gutenberg, Not McLuhan 

Docudrama re-enactment from 1880s, not real scene.

A quaint British documentary made over a dozen years ago thrusts the premise at us that the Gutenberg Press is the most important invention of civilization. Hmm, we are skeptical as usual.

As host and presenter Stephen Fry notes, it may be more important than the car, the computer, or other accoutrements of the latest centuries. The little one-hour film The Machine That Made Us never mentions Marshall McLuhan, which is a shame.

Fry is a bibliophile, which is to say he loves books, though that is hardly historical or cultural expertise. He is also an excellent actor and charming as  host for a travelogue and investigation into Johannes Gutenberg and his invention.

There are no pictures or illos of Gutenberg or his press. One early image from Albrecht Durer of a press is 50 years later. So, all pictures and lithographs are actually re-enactments imagined, just like in today’s so-called documentaries.

There are those, however, who’d point out that books are fading fast. That includes authors who find that their sales are now comprised mostly of e-books. We print out of nostalgia for the most part.

Nobody really wants dust-collecting libraries in their homes or even in their universities. When Fry walks down miles of stacks of books, we think the cost of protecting them (miles and miles of books) is staggering. You could probably fit them all in a file cabinet of Kindles.

Fry is no technocrat—and he leaves the making of an original press to a woodworker, and the making of the actual letters to another metallurgist. Since it would take a few years to make one page of letters to print up a Bible, they send to America for pre-made, and use their one “E” in the print block.

Vellum too would mean the death of hundreds of cows, so paper is made the old-fashioned way of 1439 and it is cloth bits into pulp. You make Bible pages between the Black Death that gripped your pressings with old clothes.

There are only a handful of the original Bibles left from Guttenberg’s endeavor—and he never made money from publishing. That fell to his creditors. And, the beautiful illustrations in the margins were always hand-done anyhow.

It is fascinating to watch, but a tad dull—and we never see them actually bind a book or stich it together. When Fry thumbs through one of the surviving books in cotton gloves, you fear he might sneeze on the book and let water vapor take its course.

Biggest Bit Player in 20th Century!

DATELINE: Changing the World

 Shannon.

Imagine being one of the most important people to live in the 20th century and being unknown!

This documentary teases us with the notion that we are remiss to have missed Claude E. Shannon, the greatest inventor/scientist of the 20thcentury. He is called The Bit Player because he is the man who created ‘the bit” as part of the first “thinking machine.”

Yes. He’s right up there with Einstein, though no one has given him the time of day. His theoretics led to the iPhone, email, and all the other unquestioned intrusions into life. He rode a unicycle and juggled, and some thought he was a walking, breathing, thinking carnival barker.

Years ago we used to drive past his home in Winchester, Massachusetts, all the time, but only now do we recognize that a great man lived in that distinctive house. Had we known, we might have dropped in as unannounced as a text message from a stranger.

Eclectic, poetic, he was all you would never think was a scientist. He once invented a flaming trumpet for his high-school age son who was in a marching-band.

Growing up in the Midwest, he came to MIT after writing a stunning Master’s Thesis at age 21, years before Alan Turing’s seminal work. Shannon created codes, and in particular he made the binary code, and his two-number system meant that 1+1=1.  Uh-oh, that meant you were a nutcase in 1930.

Idiosyncratic sometimes makes you an academic pariah, but many of Shannon’s ideas were borderline science fiction and considered useless. If there was no personal PC, how could they be implemented or pragmatic?

How much call was there for a calculator that worked in Roman numerals? He loved to tinker and to let his mind wander the byways of opportunity, much like his pioneer grandfather.

When he spent a year at Princeton, Shannon used to wave every morning at Einstein as the genius walked to Princeton, but is vague about their meeting and interactions. He said he met Einstein but Einstein likely had no memory of meeting him.

It is characteristic of oddity in this biographical story.

With much derived from a filmed interview he gave late in life, we have evidence of a vibrant, ageless thinker that displays the power that must have been thwarted all too often in the earlier days of the 20thcentury.

This man gave Marshall McLuhan all the war and peace in the global village that he could muster. It’s always delightful to meet the most important people you never knew existed.

 

 

 

 

Endeavour Takes Turn for Worse

 DATELINE: Unpleasant Developments

 Morse, We Hardly Knew Ye! 

In this abbreviated seventh season, the second or middle part of the trilogy of related chapters will continue to indicate to us something bad has happened to the psyche of Endeavour Morse, our stalwart and brilliant young detective.

Perhaps the constant and unrelenting crimes of violence are having a terrible effect on all the characters. Well, in a thoughtful series like Endeavour, this means your characters are developing into something you may not like.

The three major characters (including James Bradshaw as the amusing coroner) watch a woman view her teenage son on the morgue slab and go mad with denial that he is dead. Not pleasant stuff for our hardened police.

In this case, we saw veteran Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) finally fed up with murders and cruel treatment people inflict on each other. When the old cynical pro goes obsessive, you know that he will have a more divisive relationship with his sergeant Morse (Shaun Evans) likely to destroy their relationship.

The overlap of the first episode is that Thursday still believes another man killed young waitress Molly. He is now obsessed, trailing the suspect off hours when another is going on trial for the crime.

We see more of Morse’s personal beliefs than ever before: He opines the “dead deserve justice,” as to why he does a job he dislikes. He also admits he is not the forgiving type (which we think may include forgiving himself). He loses his moral scruples at last and in disappointing fashion, going after the married woman after all.  Well, actually she goes after him with wanton disregard for her millionaire husband.

Morse’s quondam friend, the woman’s husband, we suspect, knows all about this and has been observing. We will find out in the final episode of the season whether our detective skills are up to Morse’s level. He seems not to see it.

The show is overlaid with racism against Pakistani immigrants in 1970, and cruel violence even among themselves in their diaspora. We were reminded of the old chestnut movie, My Beautiful Lauderette, from the 1980s that also covered the Pakistani prejudice in England.

If this is how the show will ultimately evolve, we may at long last lose our taste for the characters and the series, whether it returns for an eighth season or not. Morse’s moral scruples have been compromised and that is never a good sign for heroic TV detectives.

Endeavour’s Seventh: Crime Goes On!

DATELINE: Night at the Opera

 Shaun Evans, not Groucho.

To kick off the seventh season of egghead murder mystery, Endeavour once again turns to star hotshot, Shaun Evans, to direct the first episode of Endeavour.

He is even better the second time around: with aplomb when it comes to set-ups, color, and the new modern police office settings. He seems to have wasted time filming in Venice for a few scenes that could have been faked without much notice in a studio. Producers even created an opera for the clueless.

The series has grown darker, starting with Endeavour’s heavy narrative opening about the comedy and tragedy he is about to face. Even his boss, Thursday, is now fed up with grisly killings and his humor is turning sour while Morse goes on vacation to Venice.

The episode is over-wroughtly titled “Oracle” when “Psychic” would have done well.

It’s 1970 now, and a waitress at the New Year’s bash is killed walking home from work. It is the heavy-handed start of women’s equal rights—and it is played historically nasty. Most men of the era saw it as a fad and did not take it seriously. If you use this show as history, you see something far more sinister.

Crime goes on, even at Oxford’s new fangled psychic research center where remote viewing experiments are in their infancy.

The red herrings, as usual, pile up in this show, which now have caught Roger Allam’s Thursday short-tempered.

Endeavour (Evans) remains the kiss of death, or so we suspect, as he succumbs to an operatic affair in Venice that is over before vacation ends.

There are a few intrigues that may trip you up: an old former classmate, a millionaire bon vivant seems gay and has an interest in Endeavour, and who could blame him? However, it is the petty jealousy of fellow detective Jim Strange (Sean Rigby) that is most amusing.

Psychic research is given a once-over effectively here and respectfully. If you don’t have it, you can’t fake it—and the ending is going to be a surprise for most.

The series is now in serial form, not self-contained mystery. The three-parts will meld into one.