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

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Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
   Number 128  (Vol. 3, No. 36). This edition is for the week of September 2--8, 2002.

Saved by TV Land
ALSO....

American Idol

Introducing Beasley's Bits

Some people take great solace in old record albums; I have myself from time to time--still do. Others talk a walk in the park, or drink themselves into a stupor, or both, as I've been getting into the increasing habit of doing lately. With my stress level off the meter lately, I thought I was beyond normal consolation, mere inches away from a near-total nervous breakdown for the last three weeks. Then, almost by accident, TV Land re-connected me with The Adventures of Superman and Batman. Oh sure, baby-boomer nostalgia, you say. Maybe. But I experienced something kind of special this past Monday night that on any other week would not even be worth writing about.

First of all, I say it was almost by accident, because it was actually close friend, and PCR contributor, Terence Nuzum, who has been urging my attendance at these wee-hour-of-the-morning showings on the just-posted channel to our local cable line-up, "TV Land", that I even was paying attention. Over the last part of the summer, he would frequently call me at home to discuss the last episode of Superman that aired. The irony is, for Terence at 23, these episodes are a fairly new discovery for him. I delighted in talking to him about these shows that I thought I knew every scratch and sprocket hole of.

Anyone who has read my ravings here over the last few years knows what an impact The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves, had on my early development as a fanboy. Batman (Adam West, Burt Ward) was not that far behind (well, it trailed Lost in Space a little, but that's another story). It amazed even me how much of these episodes I remember from decades ago.

Last Monday was kind of special and I don't know why it impacted me so much except that I'm stressed-out lately: last Monday, due to the slot-machine nature of series' rotation, the first episode of Superman ("Superman on Earth") aired back-to-back with the last episode of Batman ("Minerva's Mineral Spa" or something like that, with Zsa Zsa Gabor).

I sat transfixed as the pulsating black-and-white images from a decades-old TV show once again had me on the edge of my seat as Clark Kent left Smallville on a bus for Metropolis (uncharacteristically, large parts of this episode I didn't remember), saved his first man (the one hanging from the dirigible--actor Dabs Greer) as Superman, and, as Clark Kent, won his job at the Daily Planet--and I was nearly in tears.

Batman ("in color!") had outgrown the "Same Bat-Time" promotion it was known for by the time Zsa Zsa made the scene for this last episode (she ran a massage parlor--some kind of hair-dryer-looking device could plumb the dark secrets of millionaires--like their safe combinations or secret identities). But, dammit, this formulaic schlock, predictable in the highest degree, and with abysmal writing, hammy acting and a campy send-up approach had me mesmerized.

And don't even get me started on The Twilight Zone episode--playing the same night, different channel--dealing with a man lost in an old neighborhood he soon discovers was his home as a child. (Fortunately, the Turner networks have been Zone-friendly for some time.) OK, OK, yes, I'm an easy target for this now---adult problems sending me back to the safe shell of childhood. But I've talked to a lot of people about this, young and old, and we agree: they really just don't make 'em like that anymore!

And the most important thing is: it put me back on the track I need to be--a crazed fanboy of this exact kind of thing, sci-fi fantasy TV, old bad horror-movies with a TV host, comic books and pop-culture good/bad/schlock entertainment, adult problems be damned. I am better focused. And it helps me deal with things like...

American Idol... and the winner is--
For chrissake, I am SO over this! I actually taped this monstrosity Tuesday night to fulfill some vague preconceived role as a "journalist", so you people would know if either semi-finalists Justin Guarino or Kelly Clarkson won this miserable, summer-long talent contest. After I get home from work, I find out when I play the tape back, nobody's won it yet because we have to count viewer's votes!! WHAT IS THE FREAKIN' POINT!?!? To milk another day out of it? OK, whoever's reading this paragraph today (Wed, 09-04-02) will likely not see it after tomorrow night (Thur) when I remove it to politely state who the "winner" is, with some accompanying happy talk. So my contempt will be our little secret, OK?
UPDATE 09-05-02. OK, so I lied and left everything up anyway. The winner was Kelly Clarkson. I'm sure she's a very nice girl and she does have a lot of singing talent. Now, let's move on...

Beasley's Bits                by Steve Beasley
New odds-and-ends column by Steve Beasley, our correspondent from "down under", New Zealand.

DIRECTOR J. LEE THOMPSON DEAD AT 88
LOS ANGELES -- British director J. Lee Thompson, whose more than 50 films included the original ``Cape Fear,'' ``The Guns of Navarone,'' ``Planet of the Apes'' sequels, "White Buffalo", and nine Charles Bronson movies, has died. He was 88. Thompson, who spent summers in Canada, died last Friday of congestive heart failure in Sooke, British Columbia, publicist Robert Rooney said Monday.
   He got his start as an editing assistant in Elstree Studios in London and worked with actors as a dialogue coach on Alfred Hitchcock films. He had two plays performed in London's West End before he was 20. His first film was ``Murder Without Crime'' in 1950.
   Thompson moved to the United States after the Academy Award-nominated ``The Guns of Navarone'' in 1961 starring Peck and Quinn, and tackled American subjects such as the musical ``Huckleberry Finn'' in 1974; ``Conquest of the Planet of the Apes'' in 1972 and ``Battle for the Planet of the Apes'' in 1973.
   Thompson is survived by his wife of 40 years, Penny, a daughter and a granddaughter. His son, Peter Lee, is deceased. The family spent winters in Los Angeles.

AND WHO SAYS THAT AFRICA IS NOT AN "ENLIGHTENED" CONTINENT??
Swaziland's parliamentary speaker, who has been asked to resign for taking cow dung from the royal yard, has insisted he did so in order to perform rituals to protect the king. An official from the Swaziland National Council, who attended a weekend hearing into speaker Mgabhi Dlamini's conduct, told journalists that Dlamini said he had had a series of dreams in which he was warned that King Mswati III was in danger. Dlamini said he took the dung - which is associated with witchcraft ceremonies in the Swazi countryside - to conduct magical rituals to render the king invincible.

THE OFFICIAL WIZARD OF NEW ZEALAND
Since 1969, New Zealand actually has an official, government sanctioned WIZARD! Not only that, but various villages and townships have their own wizards as well, as evidenced by the websites! In one story they came together for a big job. New Zealand is very surreal as evidenced by this news and the Matamata story in a recent NC-PCR. They do get hassled by the Anglican church here, though. (Wouldn't ya know it, the church can't take a joke?) I found out about this by reading the paper today, which I rarely do here because nothing is familiar like in the Tampa Tribune. I highly recommend reading the "raindance" website linked at the bottom of this column. It's a great story. As you can see, after reading the newspaper article, I just had to check it out online.

The following is an excerpt:

Wizard talks of vanishing....08.24.2002
The Wizard is thinking about hanging up his hat, and is looking for a successor willing to shun life as a normal human being. The Wizard, who turns 70 on December 4, is considering retiring as a living work of art and going back to being a normal person, and maybe even shifting to Australia. This means his titles of Wizard of Christchurch and New Zealand will be up for grabs by a suitably qualified successor....
http://www.canterbury.net.nz/personalities/ (the last personality in the list is the Wizard of Canterbury)
http://www.wizard.gen.nz/raindance.html



La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
Book review: Dan Allison's "All the Little Birdies". It is not often that I find myself in totality or near-totality of agreement with an author, but this is one notable exception. Florida Noir from a native Floridian perspective..... ..................................Click here for more.

The Digital Divide This week's issue
Music News and CD Reviews
by Terence Nuzum and William Moriaty:
   Check out Terence's take on the latest by Frank Black and the Catholics! Then see what Will Moriaty has to say about The Damned!...........And Terence's "CD news" feature is up!! .....................................Click here for more.

The Unapologetic DVD Enthusiast This week's issue
The Unapologetic DVD Enthusiast
TARANTINO OVERLOAD —
• RESERVOIR DOGS
• PULP FICTION
• JACKIE BROWN
..................................Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
REVISITING THE PAST........NOBODY WON........REASON #171 TO HATE THE DISNEY CORPORATION........ ..................................Click here for more.


Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
Nolan,
Forget TV Land...

..Encore Mystery Channel broadcast 24 hours of "Night Gallery", plus a retrospective on the show (called "Art of Darkness") on Labor Day! And it featured Phyllis Diller!

- Andy Lalino.

Yes, that would've been great as well, Andy!.....I only wish we got that channel on Time Warner cable in Tampa! (Ummm...we don't do we? Is this a satellite thing?)---Nolan


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 Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty    "Beasley's Bits" is ©2002 by Stephen Beasley    "The Digital Divide" is ©2002; this issue by Terence Nuzum and Wiliam Moriaty for their respective pieces    Add'l thanks to Andy Lalino for his input in "Letters"    All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova

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