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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
Movie Review
   I Spy
   Jackass: The Movie
Deadguy's Dementia
Mike's Rant

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Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
  Number 137  (Vol. 3, No. 45). This edition is for the week of November 4--10, 2002.
Florida Election Successful...finally!
Touch-screens work this time; Jeb Bush re-elected Governor. No re-counts planned.

ALSO......

 "Dr. Zachary Smith", Jonathan Harris, dead at 87

  Art Bell retires

I Voted!After two of the most embarrassing elections mishaps in Florida's history, we finally got it right with Tuesday's polling!

The Touch Screen voting system, implemented after paper ballots were blamed on the near-disastrous 2000 presidential election (also figure in cognitively-challenged retirees from Broward County, but that's another story), were launched during September's primaries with many precincts reporting they couldn't get the machines turned on, or they malfunctioned (see PCR #129 for more details on that fiasco). Due to my tumultuous personal situation at the time, unfortunately, I didn't participate in that.

I was there, however, Tuesday, to try and help get Jeb Bush out of office, and I voted, but I failed. Oh well, life goes on. He does have the distinguished honor of being the only Republican Governor in Florida history to be elected for a second consecutive term. Whoopee, another four years. (For the record, Bill McBride, a Tampa Lawyer, was his Democratic opponent, with a respectable 43% of the vote.) Pictured above and to the right (on my screen anyway) is a scan of the actual sticker they gave me to put on my shirt as I exited my polling place (on 800 X 600 monitors, it should appear about 20% larger than real-life). I'll tell you something else, too: the new touchscreens rock. I really like them. It's going to be a real challenge to screw up such a simple system.

For my non-Flordia audience, about the only amendment worth mentioning here that got approval you might find interesting is "Smoking Banned in Public Places". 70% approved (I was not one of them, just being my jerk self. What's next? Voting to limit the milligrams of fat in a burger?). Only exemptions: tobacco shops, stand-alone bars, and, of course, private homes (for now). We voted to clarify some wording on our death penalty statute ("cruel and unusual punishment" replaces "cruel or unusual punishment"). There is now a law to reduce class size (I voted yes for that), and to prohibit cruel confinement of pregnant pigs (I voted yes after I finished laughing...did we really have a problem with that?).

One measure we did not have on the ballot is legalization of marijuana. Nevada had all the fun with that one (it was defeated, however). I knew quite a few people who spent quite a bit of time petitioning for that for Florida.


Jonathan Harris, dead at 87

Jonathan Harris died this past Sunday at his home in Encino, California, from complications resulting from a blood clot in his heart. He was 87. I almost missed the announcement because it was buried in a tiny paragraph in the Tampa paper. Shameful.

Jonathan Harris a Dr. Smith
Dr. Zachary Smith. Jonathan Harris's most successful and enduring creation.

"NEVER FEAR.....SMITH IS HERE!"
That phrase and a host of similar ones are immediately identifiable to a generation of TV fans who were raised on the original 1960s TV sci-fi/fantasy series, "Lost In Space", and to its irrascible anatagonist, Dr Zachary Smith, aka, Jonathan Harris.

When Harris toured the country over the last few years, appearing at fan conventions and the like, he would always open his speech with those very words---and usually to pandemonious applause. It was the false bravado accompanying them in the series that made them so funny and endearing.

"OOOooooh DEAR, WHAT IS TO BECOME OF ME?"
Originally, the character of Dr. Smith was added on by series producer Irwin Allen to be the series' villain after network executives grumbled after pilot showings that the show needed one. Initially a thief/mastermind/criminal/spy sent to sabotage the Robinson's voyage into space to colonize another planet, Smith's demeanor became less threatening and more annoyingly selfish as the series progressed. (It is interesting to note that another actor was originally tapped to play Smith before Harris: Carrol O'Connor, TV's Archie Bunker! As fate would have it, his unavailability resulted in the greatest-luck casting change in history!) Eventually, the show centered around the triumvirate of Smith, Will Robinson (Billy Mumy), and the ship's robot ("Danger Will Robinson!").

"YOU BUBBLE-HEADED BOOBY!"
Many fans point to this shift as a reason the show's decline in quality. I would hasten to defend this shift with the understandable tremendous pressure all prime-time shows were experiencing trying to compete with "Batman" (on at the same time as LIS for a while), as far as color and "camp" appeal (trust me kids..you hadda be there). "Lost In Space" caved in HARD to this and the show became almost synonomous with "camp" (equal to, ironically enough, "Batman"). There were a host of other factors that affected Lost In Space at this time, but that's another story for another day.

Jonathan Harris was featured on several dramas in the early days of TV (including "Twilight Zone") and continued to work in television long after, from guest appearances on "The Sandy Duncan Show", to a Saturday Morning kid's sci-fi show, to being the voice of one of the Cylons (I think) on "Battlestar Galactica".

"OH THE PAIN...THE PAIN"
Harris was asked to participate in the dreadful 1998 big-screen motion picture version of "Lost In Space", but wisely declined (as did Billy Mumy). Series cast members June Lockhart, Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, and Marta Kristen, however, were in the picture.

Harris's actual last movie part, I believe, was the voice of the grasshopper/magician in "A Bug's Life". (Correction. Thanks to Steve Beasley and Mike Smith for pointing out that after "A Bug's Life", Harris did two more voice-over parts after "A Bug's Life": "Hubert's Brain" and later, "Toy Story 2".)

Jonathan Harris
Jonathan Harris as I'll always remember him.---Nolan

I was honored and privileged to meet this man at a poorly-attended sci-fi convention in Orlando in 1994. Tell you what, for a small audience we made a lot of noise! Harris told the story of his life and how he got involved with Irwin Allen. Afterwards, he took questions from the audience. The small crowd lined up for autographs, yours truly among them, and I got my picture with Harris (Taken by the aforementioned Mr. Beasley, who accompanied me), one of my prized possessions. (I would've repro'd it here if I could find it--shoot.) I remember him as being gracious and enthusiastic, but properly blustery (wouldn't be the same without that!)

He is only the second original cast member of the series to pass away, the first being series' lead Guy Williams in the late 80s. Hollywood really missed the boat on a Lost In Space reunion movie which could've and should've been made before then.

Jonathan Harris will be sorely missed.

For more on the career of Jonathan Harris, see this issue's "Mike's Rant".---Nolan

Art Bell announces retirement
This is a little behind, but my overnight radio-listening has been curtailed considerably with my change of employment.

Everyone knows I am a big fan and supporter of Art Bell, the sometimes-controversial, overnight radio talk show host whose program, "Coast-to-Coast AM", focuses on the paranormal.

Late last week, I thought I heard the tail end of a rumor that Art Bell was retiring from Coast-to-Coast AM "in January". I did a little research and found out that Art is INDEED retiring December 31, 2002 because of back problems. Part-time host George Noory was named as permanent replacement (as was expected).

This was announced on the show of October 23, 2002. You can listen to the relevant 9-minute segment of the program here: http://www.artbell.com/schedule.html (small announcement at the top of the page--click on "AUDIO CLIP")

Not only that---Keith Rowland, Art's webmaster, is apparently looking for a new job!! From an animated banner on Art's homepage, the impression is left Keith will no longer be associated with Coast-to-Coast once Art's tenure ends, although I'm not sure why that necessarily follows. Maybe he won't be needed as much.

Art stated he will be back on rare occasions to "fill in" and that this is part of an "agreement".

Anyway, that's the end of an era. I've been a listener since 1997, and George is a fine host, but it won't be the same without Art. Good luck Art, and I'll be listening out for you!

Announcements
SAINT PETERSBURG, FL -- 11/01/02 -- Renegade Films, Inc. will be hosting "SS2" on Saturday November 30th 2002 at the State Theatre in downtown Saint Petersburg. The event will showcase local independent feature-length and short films in the categories of "Non-Horror Comedy and Drama" (Saints) and "Horror and Thriller" (Sinners). A festival jury will present awards to the winning film in each category. The purpose of the festival is to gain greater exposure for the local independent filmmaking scene and generate interest in the business of filmmaking in Florida.

The first Saints and Sinners Film Festival was held earlier in the year, Renegade Films Inc. showcased over fifteen local films to a sold out theater.

The festival schedule features many exciting and acclaimed films from Florida film makers, including; 'Justice' - Pete Bauer, 'We Believe' - 12th Man Films, 'When shadows lie darkest' - Fear Films, 'The Pledge' - Renegade Films, 'The Uninvited' - Relic Films, 'Wonder Boy 2' - Minor League Pictures, 'Winter's End' - Jennifer Whitaker. And several others.

A special feature will be screened from Michael Maiello, who helped bring us the Academy Award winning 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' and 'Ciao Manhattan'. Other special guests include Linne'a Quigley of 'Return of the Living Dead', Mike Fox of 'Independent Edge Releasing', Peter D'Alessio of 'Yo Soy Irini' and a Special Indie Film presentation from the makers of the upcoming film, 'Filthy'..

A full schedule for the event is available at http://www.renegadefilms.net/festival.html. We are looking for volunteers to assist in the promotion and still accepting proposals for additional corporate sponsors.

Doors open at 3pm and admission is $10 for the entire slate of films and presentations. Discount coupons for various local eateries will be available at the Festival and th bar will be open. Tickets for the Festival will be available at the door on the day of the event and through Ticketmaster.


Attn Filmmakers: The 3rd Annual Tambay Film & Video Festival is now accepting independent films (short, student films, documentary & feature) in most formats.

This is a great way to get exposure and even discovered. TFVF is managed by filmmakers, just like yourself. We can claim that we truly represent the independent filmmaker at TFVF.

The festival is being held at Channelside Cinemas located along the water in downtown Tampa. The dates of the festival are April 10 - 13, 2003.

The submission prices are as follows:
Entry Fees
35mm Film   ............$35
16mm Film & Video   $30
Student Films   .........$25

The submission forms can be found here: http://www.tambayfilmfest.com. All submissions must be received by December 16, 2002. We look forward to receiving your work.

TFVF Staff



La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
FREE FORM LA FLORIDIANA. A potpourri from party invites to Firehawks! ....................................Click here for more.

Movie ReviewMovie Review
This Week's Movie Reviews:
"I SPY"
Review by Mike Smith...........................................Click here for more.

"JACKASS: THE MOVIE"
Review by Richard Sousa.........................................Click here for more.

Deadguy's Dementia This week's issue
Deadguy's Dementia by Michael Scott
Floodgates Open! The art of dealing with detractors... You gotta' love it when some jackass comes along and says, "You've got really bad taste in films, you suck." It's like, "Ok, that would explain why I refer to it as MY taste, rather than yours. Did my opinion harm you, or something?" ..............................Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
THE VOTE IS IN. Election Day shenanigans  ........YESTERDAY AND TODAY. The notorious Beatles "butcher" album cover........PASSING ON. Jonathan Harris, Lonnie Donegan........ .............................Click here for more.


Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
Readers, the following birthday wish for Mike "Deadguy" Scott got in just as last week's edition was closing out, but I felt it would get better exposure this week anyway. It is also referencing last week's Deadguy's Dementia---Nolan

An aside to Mike "Deadguy" Scott: Congratulations and best wishes from the Sousa family! You both love each other,so you guys will conquer all...and to say happy birthday...Since we both shared the same birthday (Oct. 28th) Here's some proof that we're in good company: Born on October 28th:

Actor Dennis Franz--58
Actress Annie Potts--50
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates--47
Musician William Reid(Jesus and Mary Chain)--44
Actress Daphne Zuniga--40
Comedian Andy Richter--36
Actress Julia Roberts--35

Happy Birthday, Mike, and the best to your new family.

Richard and Janet Sousa


Nolan,
Do you know if there is any video in existence on Shock Armstrong? (Re: Last issue's letter from Paul Reynold's grandaughter, Dawn, stating it was he who played Shock Armstrong--N) I don't ever remember seeing him, but I do remember the show. I had a guy working for me years ago that was from Tampa and used to tell me all about the stuff Shock would do and I would love to see it first hand.

I found the Big13 site the other day and saw the screen capture of the Shock Theater title. My first thought was that someone must have dug up a copy of the show for that. Sometimes people that worked at the studio saved some of these shows for posterity. I have some excellent tapes of Svengoolie that turned up that way.

I also envy getting to go to that Spook Show. (Re: last week's "Spook Show at the Royalty Theater" ---N) I have a really great book called "Ghostmasters" that is all about those old shows. Thanks.

I was really saddened to hear of Jonathan Harris's passing. (Yes, as we all are. See "Jonathan Harris, Dead at 87", this issue, above.--N) "Lost In Space" is one of my top 10 favorite shows of all times. I remember watching it on Channel 44 weekdays at 5PM. I never got to meet Mr. Harris but every report I have heard about him was that he was a great guy. I had the opportunity to meet June Lockhart earlier this year and she told me that Mr. Harris was in poor condition healthwise. She also said that she rememberd celebrating his 57th birthday while the show was in production and she felt like he was probably fudging the numbers on his birthdate back then. This would put his age at over 90 and not the 87 reported in his obituaries. I also remember hearing a later day radio interview with him where he traded quips fast and furious with DJ's and had them (and me) in hysterics. He was even kind enough to do some Dr. Smith Sound bytes for them. To anyone who ever doubted his acting ability or passed him over as a one trick comic foil, I point them to the Lost in Space pilot episode "The Reluctant Stowaway". Dr. Smith's tone in this episode is very dark and the efficiency and calousness with which he dispatches one of the guards and dumps his body out a disposal hatch should make anyone think twice. Oh the pain! The pain!

-- ED Tucker
Jacksonville, FL.

Readers, I've already responded to ED privately, and we discussed Mike Clark's work on the terrific Big13 website. But do any of you out there have, or know anyone who has extant video footage of "Shock Armstrong, the All-American Ghoul" from the 60s-70s run? If so, please contact me ASAP at the address below!---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    "La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty    This week's movie reviews of  "I Spy" and  "Jackass: The Movie" are ©2002 by Michael A. Smith and Richard Sousa for their respective columns    "Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2002 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott    Add'l thanks to Rick Sousa and ED Tucker for their input in "Letters"      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova ©2002; all rights reserved.