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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
Mike's Rant

(Links listed above indicate "final edition" status.)
CONTRIBUTOR'S
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Michael A. Smith's
The Omnipresent M. Smith homepage and Email                    

Matt Drinnenberg's
The Masters of Horror

Terence Nuzum's
Viddywell Productions

William Moriaty's
T.R.E.E., Inc.

Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
  Number 142  (Vol. 3, No. 50). This edition is for the week of December 9--15, 2002.
After the big bang...
Potpourri

 Wonder Bread and Bigfoot

 MTV: FEAR revisited

 An old fan friend visits after 20 years

 
"Letters to the Editor" on Ed Gein's construction methods.

HA ha ha, oh lord, isn't it always the way? This magazine has seen lots of peaks and valleys this year, but one of the most pronounced valleys is the one we're in this week.

Last week, we covered the Renegade Film Festival 2, we had fantasitc feedback in the lettercol, I mentioned my feelings about Spielberg's "Taken" and The Roswell Incident. And we had no less than SIX contributors who have their own regular columns.

Then, typically, everyone disppeared on me again, spent from the fangasm last week's issue brought on. Well, thanks to Mike Smith and Will Moriaty, I won't spend this PCR entirely alone! And, chances are, the missing-in-action will return once again for our traditional year-end holiday two-parter.

The end is near....
That's right, people. It's sneaking up on us at an alarming rate (me, especially), and it's time for me to break out my Santa graphics and doll up the PCR in traditional fashion. Then, after Christmas, for the last issue of the year I expect everyone to tell-it-like-it-is: your thoughts and feelings on the year that was, 2002. The best, the worst, the highs, the lows, both personally and in pop culture. Start thinking about those columns now. I'll tell you what...I've got a lot to say!

Mini-La Floridiana Update....      by William Moriaty
Wonder Bread Factory To Shut Down. Another south Tampa landmark is about to become history. The 80-year-old Wonder Bread factory located next to the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (formerly the South Crosstown Expressway) will be closing its doors on January 31, 2003, eliminating close to 100 jobs. One of the few enjoyable sights and smells along the Selmon, in the Hyde Park district, the historic Wonder Bread plant produced Wonder bread and rolls, as well as the Home Pride bread line. According to Mark Dirkes, a senior vice president at Interstate Bakeries of Kansas City, Mo., the plant "was an antiquated facility in a residential neighborhood". A small number of displaced workers might be transferred to jobs at Interstate's three remaining Florida bakeries in Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami.
(This was actually quite a shock to me when I first read it in the paper and meant to write up something myself in the edition of PCR. For decades, I myself could always judge about where I was on the Crosstown Expressway by how strong the scent of baking bread was. A WONDERFUL thing that, like passing a grand bakery, it evokes awe. I'm very sorry to see it go and will always miss the baking bread smell around the Hyde Park area of the Expressway. And thank you Will for writing it up in lieu of my oversight.---Nolan)

Last month 300 jobs were lost when U.S. Airways shut down its hanger operations at Tampa International Airport. These two developments continue to underscore our anemic economy and Tampa's losing battle as an economic force in the state. Oh well, there's still the bread factory next to I-4 in Orlando to enjoy with the windows down!

Bigfoot's creator(?) dies.      by Nolan Canova
SEATTLE (Dec. 7) - The man who used 16-inch feet-shaped carvings to create tracks that ignited the ``Bigfoot'' legend has died. He was 84. Ray L. Wallace's family admitted his role in the creature myth after his death Nov. 26 from heart failure. ``The reality is, Bigfoot just died,'' his son, Michael, said.

That's the press release. The reality is Ray Wallace was one of HUNDREDS seeking to perpetrate the regional versions of Bigfoot this way through the decades. I don't believe he "invented" anything, other than his own personal hoax. Sightings of Bigfoot go back decades before him, and if you count Indian legends, centuries.

Skeptics, while usually enjoying any kind of revelation like this, might agree it's unlikely Bigfoot came "to be" due to the hoax of single indvidual.

Paranormalists point to the worldwide evidence-gathering of hair, footprints, and eye-witnesses to support the case that something is out there.

But it does remind me of the deathbed confession of the hoaxer of the "Doctor's Photo" of the Loch Ness Monster, circa 1933. Before that, the main details reported by witnesses were the humps, and a general disturbance in the water. Since the famous photo of 1933 (I wish I had a copy handy, but I'm sure you all have seen it)---a high-contrast, grainy image of a small, dark dinaosur-like neck sticking out of the water---the Loch Ness creature began evolvong into a pleisiosaur. The deathbed confessor (I don't remember his name, sorry) claimed to have created the figure by molding putty onto the conning tower of a toy submarine. Photo analysis of the ORIGINAL print--and not the cropped version shown in almost all other cases---show the concentric water rings surrounding the figure to be too small to be caused by a gigantic creature, thereby supporting the small model explanation.

The last sacred cow to fall will be the Roger Patterson Bigfoot film of 1967. That's the famous 16mm, 20-second color film of the best-documented Bigfoot sighting of all time. There have been many holes shot into this story over the years, despite the testimony of "experts". Interestingly, the Ray Wallace family claims to know who was "in the suit" in the Patterson film.


MTV: FEAR revisited.      by Mike "Deadguy" Scott
Over the past few months, I've been getting emails regarding a couple of articles I did on MTV's Fear program awhile back. Well, not about the articles themselves, but about the show. Basically, they all want to know the same things... Where is it? Why was it cancelled? Is there a new season coming out?, etc.

I don't know why they keep finding those articles, obviously whatever MTV:Fear searches they're throwing into the search engine is finding them. (Ha, ha, who's complaining?--N)

In any event, I promised them all that I'd check with the Location Scout for the show, and find out what I could, and get it posted here. It's been a few months since I emailed her, but I finally got a reply recently.

The show has not been cancelled, in her words: "Currently we are on hiatus, which means that we haven't been cancelled, but we aren't in production either. Your guess is a good as mine."

I'm checking with her now to see if there's a season that's already gone through production, but hasn't been aired yet, or if we're automatically going to be a year behind if the show get's a production slot again. News, if any, will appear right here in the NPCR, so if you're interested, be sure to bookmark us and come back to find out.

For those who don't know what her statement REALLY means, she's basically still officially working for the show, which means she's probably drawing a retainer fee to stop her from going elsewhere. That's a very good sign for fans, but since the show is not in production, it could still go either way.

I'll also check to see if any format changes are in the works, or if she knows of any that are being considered. She asked for my input on that, awhile back, so it's possible that the break may signify that "higher-ups" are working out new ways to approach the show. I guess she wouldn't necessarily know about that kinda thing, but she's got a better chance than most, so I'll give it a shot.



Vinnie BlesiA visit from Vinnie Blesi

This was an unanticipated Christmas present.

WWWwaaaaaayyyyy back in PCR #77, Will Moriaty wrote one of his landmark pieces, beginning a three-parter on Tampa Bay area fanzines of the '70s and '80s, one of his top five most popular articles of all time. I heard reactions from many old friends I hadn't seen in years and I was elated. But I did not hear from one.

After Will's article on the comics/sci-fi fanzine "Advent", I mentioned that the publisher, Vincent Blesi, hadn't been seen nor heard from in many, many years. Vinnie was notoriously reclusive, and camera-shy to boot. But, he had quite an impact on me and many others with his vision of an inter-connected fan network (fairly presaging the internet and this magazine, I dare say).

Shortly after Christmas of last year, I opened my email box and found the first communication from Vinnie in over 20 years. He enclosed links to his fansite on Cornell Woolrich, and a couple pics of Vince's band, Strange Agents. The pictures were too low-rez to reveal much of anything, but I was happy he made the effort. (These appear in the first PCR lettercol of this year, issue #94.) He continued to make several contributions to the PCR during 2002.

Flash-forward to last week. Vince came over for a visit, armed with a box of old monster and sci-fi newsstand 'zines. Very grateful for this contribution, I also realized this is the first time we've met face-to-face in 20 years.

With a break in the weather resulting in moderate temperatures, we sat in a couple lawn chairs surrounded by the long shadows and warm glow of the late afternoon sunset, and caught up on everything. Vinnie and I found we had a lot in common regarding computers and web design (why did that shock me, I wonder?). Predictably, we spent a lot of time with propeller-head talk. He is also into custom-building computers and trouble-shooting/repair. He's also associated with Curtis Circulation, who is responsible for the American appearance of Japan's Shonen Jump.

Vinnie BlesiA very quiet and private individual, I reminded him of how many of his old friends check in on this 'zine from time to time, and that they'd like to know where he's been and maybe see some pictures...clear ones, haha. As far as personal details, like I said, he's very private, but he did say he was married once and is now divorced. He then allowed me to take the two pictures that appear here.

2003 promises to be an exciting year, as hopefully we all recover from this devastating economy and move forward with fan-related projects. Vinnie has some projects in the works, and is still active in web design and music.

And if there's anything to report and I get wind of it...you can bet you'll read about it right here!



La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
A MODERN HISTORY OF PICNIC ISLAND-- Part 2. Most of the reforesting efforts that were started in 1984 began to culminate by the end of 1990. The next, and perhaps most, significant change to the park would start in 1991 when backhoes and front-end loaders began digging the earth of Picnic Island Park in order to create tidal canals and a tidal lake as part of a Southwest Florida Water Management District ("SWIFTMUD") Surface Water Improvement Management ("SWIM") project. ..........................................Click here for more.

Movie ReviewMovie Review
This Week's Movie Review:
"Analyze That"

Review by Mike Smith. ..........................................Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
HOWDY........GUESS HE'S NOT GOING TO SING THAT ROBIN HOOD SONG EITHER........ THAT WOULD BE THE BUTT, BOB........HE'S DID THE CRIME, HE'S DONE THE TIME........ PASSING ON............ ..........................................Click here for more.


Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.

Readers: In last issue's lettercol, Terence Nuzum asked about whether the "bone chapels" depicted in Deadguy's Dementia (PCRs #139 and #141) could've had an influence on the production design of movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and similar ones based on the true-crime stories of Ed Gein. Here are two responses.---Nolan

Terence,
The only reference I know of that mentions Ed Gein making furniture from human remains lies in the description of a book by Paul Wood(s?) called "Ed Gein: Psycho!". Unfortunately, the book looks like it sucks because it's one of those dramatized versions where all kinds of fictional dialogue and stuff were added to make it a 3rd person perspective on Ed's life, similar to the movie, with reportedly, no new insight.

It's only redeeming qualities are a discussion on Gein's "contribution" to pop culture, through the forms of films like Chainsaw, etc., and 50 illustrations inlcuding stuff from his arrest, and stills from the Ed Gein movie, etc. (though it seems that only the UK reprint version lays claim to the 50 pictures). Reviewer's state that it's a book that seems to have been written by a generic Gein fan who had enough time on their hands to pull-off a short story, but not enough talent to make it worth reading, and there's nothing in there that didn't show up in the Ed Gein film.

No way of knowing if there's any more info about the furniture in there. The only bit of Gein-modified furniture I'm aware of is a couple of wood chairs where he removed the seats and used human skin to upholster it.

I don't know enough about the Chainsaw Massacre Production to guess where the concept came from, although I suspect it was merely a creative extention of the type of thing Gein would have done. I can't seem to remember what the couch looked like, and dont have the film here, so I'm not much help there, although it IS an interesting idea, and I'll certainly look for that next time I view it.

-Mike [Deadguy]


Nolan,
I think I can shed some light on Terence Nuzum's question (P.S. I'm not trying to steal Deadguy's thunder). The artist who designed the brilliant sets for Texas Chainsaw Massacre is Robert Burns, a Production Designer whose work also contributed to such classic horror films as "The Howling", Wes Craven's "The Hills Have Eyes", Stuart Gordon's "Re-Animator", and one of my personal favorites, "Tourist Trap". (But not to be confused with Bob Burns, the special-effects artist and Hollywood collector.---N) He also had the lead role of a murderer in the critically acclaimed '90s film "Confessions of a Serial Killer". Robert Burns is also the world's foremost authority on the famous 1940's horror actor Rondo "The Creeper" Hatton. Hatton was famous for being naturally "misshapen" by a rare disease (he looked like a Dick Tracy villain), thus requiring no horror make-up. Interestingly, Hatton was laid to rest in 1946 right here in Tampa (I have visited his grave several times).

Sorry about digressing from the question, but Robert Burns is a pretty fascinating person and thought it was important to note a few things about him. To my knowledge, for his TCM designs, he was indeed inspired by the exploits of Ed Gein, but not necessarily the chapels, but it may figure in that he researched the chapels in his quest to find inspiration. On his website, www.rondohatton.com , Burns details the lengths he went to stage such convincing props/effects, citing the "mummies" of Guanajuato as a source, for example. Burns' website is probably the best source for gathering up some knowledge about the man and his movies. It's well worth checking out.

In addition, according to the film "Ed Gein" (superbly played by actor Steve Railsback) Gein indeed made some furniture out of "people", including a lampshade fashioned with human skin. Not sure if this was based on fact or embellished, but I personally think it's factual. Ed Gein was out there.

- Andy Lalino


For Terence and Deadguy:
This probably has a little bit to do with what you guys were talking about. I ran across it the other week. Ed Gein's kitchen after his arrest I found on http://www.anomalies-unlimited.com

Talk at ya later,
Richard Sousa


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 review of  "Analyze That is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    Add'l thanks to Deadguy, Andy Lalino, and Richard Sousa 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.