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PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
PCR Archives 2000
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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2002!

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La Floridiana
Deadguy's Dementia
Movie Review
Matt's Rail
DVD Enthusiast
Mike's Rant

(Links listed above indicate "final edition" status.)
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Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
   Number 122 (Vol. 3, No. 30). This edition is for the week of July 22--28, 2002.
The Nation's Teetering Economy
Plus:
The Case of The Missing Moon Rocks
The Case of the Monster Fish
Two more comics legends pass on
A collection's sad end

I seem to have misplaced several billion dollars...
Anyone remember the Keating 7? They were the ones to whom we (primarily) owe the downfall of the Savings and Loans of the 1980s. During the best of the Reagan years, they were themselves buddies with many on Capitol Hill. Horrible crimes. Could never happen again they said. Never say never.

In the current display of the most monstrous abuse of corporate management since then---surpassing then--the public, just barely recovering from the Enron scandal, must now deal with the largest corporate bankruptcy in American History, that of World Com, owners of MCI and others, with a bail-out of some $4 billion previously misrepresented dollars in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy that will include the firing of tens of thousands of employees.

I suppose what gets me--being as I'm poor and don't know what owning a billion dollars feels like---is how you can get to that part of the American pyramid and still be reduced to swindling??

The spin has something to do with the head accounting guy getting creative by showing great debt as great profit (ha ha, love that), and for that he's been fired. The weird thing is they're taking about $2 billion in interest debt that they need to be relieved of. My God, that's a staggering number. The output of a small country just in interest.

Now the government's getting serious about regulations. Whoa, brilliant. I thought they did that after the S&L disaster. I guess that was strictly about banks, not about stocks, so there were still loopholes to plumb. Somewhere out there, 4 billion dollars is missing.

Would you like to buy a gen-u-wine moon rock?
Four twenty-somethings in Texas got the brilliant notion one day last week to steal moon rocks from a local exhibit and sell them on Ebay! Apparently they had access to the lunar lumps by being in building maintenance or something, broke the display case, lifted the lunar samples, and skeedattled. The FBI managed to track them down after a report from overseas(!) indicated that the moon rocks were for sale on Ebay. A special agent took about a month to arrange a meeting with the ringleader. After being captured, the kid said he figured he could get a quarter million dollars for the rocks. What he and his friends will get is prison time. A spokesman said the lunar samples were genuine, but separate from a private cache of material kept for scientific scrutiny.

I hope that that famous Mars rock, with the evidence of a "microbe relic", is under heavier guard. Just think of what some bored teenagers could get for that!

Monster Fish
It seems we have these, like, Asian monster fish that have been spotted in several states and are, like, super-dangerous? HA ha ha...sorry, I can't keep a straight face with this. Terence alerted me to this bizarre story yesterday. Apparently this land-crawling fish--which got here from Asia by stowing away on ships or something--grows to three feet in length, walks on land for up to three hours, and can swallow other fish and small animals to the extent of being classified an environmental threat. So President Bush has ordered this species banned from import.

We've had things banned from import before. And there are usually good environmental concerns for doing so. It's just rare when a report of one like this one has me laughing my ass off for an hour. Monster fish...geez.

Two more comics legends....
The first one I'm waaaaay behind on. I meant to post it weeks ago but kept forgetting, and it was old news even then, but I have to document it now. Tom Sutton, cartoonist, graphic artist, painter, and writer passed away last May at the age of 65 from cancer. Tom Sutton was very influential on me in my early development as an artist (Nolan calls himself, snark snark), particularly Warren's "Eerie", "Creepy" and weirdly enough, Marvel's "Not Brand Echh", a satire 'zine in the spirit of the early MADs. (One of my faves, but couldn't remember the name in time for our Top Ten Comics list.) Sutton was particularly gifted at spoofing cartoon characters like Peanuts or Pogo. I only found out about Sutton through a mention in The Comics Journal. He will be missed.
Just barely recovered from that, I pick up the current MAD magazine (speaking of MAD) and discover Dave Berg has also passed away. They gave no details, age or anything , but I'll be watching for that in an upcoming issue. Dave Berg would be mostly remembered for his "The Ligher Side of..." strips which satirized Amercian life in a consistently ascerbic, yet funny way. He will also be missed.
UPDATE: 7-25-02. Our correspondent from Middle-Earth (aka New Zealand), Steve Beasley, was able to find out a little more on an internet search: Dave Berg passed away this past May (same as Sutton!) at his home in Marina Del Rey, at the age of 81, from cancer. He began working for Mad as a free-lancer in 1956, introducing "The Lighter Side of" in 1961. Besides writing 17 books for MAD, he also produced two humorous books on religion, "My Friend God" and "Roger Kaputnik (character based on himself) and God." His final "Lighter Side" panels are scheduled for the September issue of MAD, marking the magazine's 50th anniversary.

The end of Ackermansion
I promised Matt Drinnenberg he could do the full story on this, but it was Drew Reiber who brought it to my attention first: Forrest J Ackerman, 85, senior fanboy for many generations, film historian, writing agent, editor of the classic Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, and collector extraordinaire is selling his collection of memorabilia and, eventually, the Ackermansion itself, presumably due to recent health concerns. For the full story, see Matt's Rail, this issue.

Good friend Scott van Sickle and I went to see Forry at the Ackermansion in the spring of 1988 while we were vacationing in LA. The whole week was an experience I'll never forget, but the visit to the Ackermansion definitely rates as a personal high point. Forry took us on a tour of his house and spent about an hour telling us stories and showing us stuff. Then, before we left, asked us if we could move a Godzilla costume downstairs for him!! We couldn't get to it fast enough. Yes, it was genuine, from a recent film, and weighed about a million pounds, but we did it. Scott and I signed his guest book, I posed for a picture with Forry, and we left. The next time I saw him was at the Famous Monsters Con '93 (Corey Castellano and Mike Smith also in attendance). I showed Forry an enlargement of the picture we took from 1988--he gave me the funniest look, like IS THAT REALLY YOU?? Ha ha. Then he signed it and we left. I still have all of that and they are among my most treasured possessions.

I'm glad Forry's recovered from his recent health scare (stroke). He should live to be a thousand.


La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
Dr. Paul Bearer---Gone But Not Forgotten.
On February 18, 1995, the Tampa Bay area lost one of its most colorful and wonderful characters. On that day, 66-year-old Ernest "Dick" Bennick passed away. For those of you who don't know who Dick Bennick was, he portrayed WTOG TV's horror host "Dr. Paul Bearer" on that station's "Creature Feature" from September 15, 1973 until February 1995. Bennick earned the distinction of being the longest-running horror host in American history.... ...................................Click here for more.

Deadguy's Dementia This week's issue
Deadguy's Dementia by Michael Scott
DVD Review: Vanilla Sky David Aames is wealthy by birth, and has inheirited a very successful Fortune 500 entertainment magazine. He's a guy that's very used to getting his way, and being a very rich, influential, and attractive, playboy millionaire. He's president of the magazine company, but surrounded by "stiffs" that feel he's too playful to take the position seriously, and would love to usurp him.... ..................Click here for more.

Movie ReviewMovie Review
This Week's Movie Review:
"REIGN OF FIRE"
Review by Michael "Deadguy" Scott
Take the post-apocaylptic "good-guy tribes" from "Beyond Thunderdome" & "Road Warriors," add "Jurassic Park" to it, a very slight smattering of "Predator", throw it all into the context of a pseudo war film, and add a thick layer of cheese, and you've got quite a bit of this film in a nutshell. When archeologists dig too deep into the Earth, a dragon is awakened.... ................................Click here for more.

Matt's Rail This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
THE END OF AN ERA. In 1957, when Forrest J Ackerman and then publisher James Warren started their little magazine, they had absolutely no idea just how gigantic and life-altering it would be to the tens of thousands of kids all across the land who would rush to the newsstand to get their hands on the latest issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.... .............Click here for more.

The Unapologetic DVD Enthusiast This week's issue
The Unapologetic DVD Enthusiast by Drew Reiber A slight change of plans and direction here, folks. In the wake of a rather ebullient debut column by master Drew (issue #119), and considering some new directions taken in his life, the decision was made that his column would be more useful toned down a bit and concentrated on news and reviewing current release DVDs. Additionally, altho originally Drew was going to take this as a solo project, after this week the column will be open to anyone who wants to write a DVD review. First up: Drew looks at The Last Dragon, Lethal Weapon (3-pack Director's Cut), and Night of the Living Dead (1990). Plus, current DVD news. Check it out. ........................Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
MONSTER FISH and HORROR HOSTS (This week's issue of PCR)........HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES UPDATE (The Rob Zombie movie)........YAH! YAH! (Leo McKern passes on) ........TAKING THE NEXT STEP (Baseball developments and Phillip's birthday).... ..................................Click here for more.


Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
Nolan,
Being a fan of Rube Goldberg ....I agree with your notes on Minority Report (Re: the movie review of "Minority Report" from issue #118.---N) and must convey my feelings on the Rube Goldberg contraption used to determine the names involved in the crimes, since no one else mentioned it.. That was possibly the neatest thing about the film, what with the polished wooden balls rolling and tumbling through the gizmo. Seems a bit low tech but it's cool in a nostalgic fashion. For a computer as highly evolved as PreCrime's....you'd thing the names would maybe float in front of him or something. Whatever....

Did'ja know William Mapother was in this, as he is in most of Tom Cruise's films? He's a cousin of Tom Cruise. Graduated from Notre Dame with an English degree, not that anyone would care. He played the motel desk clerk who attempted giving Anderton a hard time.....until threatened at gunpoint by Anderton, who was holding Agatha around the chest to keep her from falling. Anderton was looking for Leo....the man he was supposed to kill.

Missing Tampa and the gang,
From someplace deep in Middle Earth,
Steve Beasley


To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan


"Mike's Rant" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2002 by Matt Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty    "Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2002 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott    The movie review of "Reign of Fire" is ©2002 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott    "The Unapologetic DVD Enthusiast" is ©2002 by Drew Reiber    Add'l thanks to Steve Beasley for his input in "Letters"       All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova

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