LETTERS  PCR #338      (September 11--17, 2006)

  • Barry Robins ("Bless the Beasts and Children"), remembered (ED Tucker responds)
  • Terence Nuzum on Mike Smith's review of "The Black Dahlia"
  • Andy Lalino on Crazed Fanboy meetings
  • Reader remembers Miss June and Romper Room (Andy Lalino responds)


    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.

    BARRY ROBINS, REMEMBERED

    Nolan,
    Just by chance I came across your page: http://www.crazedfanboy.com/npcr/letterspcr260.html.

    Actually, I did Google "Barry Robins", as I do occasionally, to see if there is anything new.

    The letter by ED [Tucker] is correct, the circumstances surrounding Barry's premature passing was sad and tragic.

    My friend Vince and I met Barry in San Francisco before his death and became fairly close friends for a short time. At the time he became sick, he arranged to travel to the Pasteur Institute in France. He asked me to accompany him, but, unfortunately, my uncompassionate employer denied me (I still have the letters).

    My friend Vince ended up traveling with Barry to Paris. His accounting of the story was both heart-wrenching and comical at times, but tragic, given the circumstances. Barry returned to the States after a sort-of falling out with Vince over his treatments and his ever-increasing stubbornness. After his return to the States, there were a number of times we tried to see him, but he refused. There were only a couple of times after that I was able to see him briefly at his apartment, but over time, he refused to return phone calls and wouldn't answer his door, even though I knew he was home because his car was there.

    I always was fond of Barry and it broke my heart to be shut out like that.

    I mention Barry at the top of my memorial page, (my pages are in dire need of updating, but just too overwhelmed with day to day life), and many years ago, received an email from his sister, Elizabeth. I have since lost touch with her. She also gave me the name and address of his mother, who wanted to talk to us about knowing Barry. We unfortunately never connected.

    Well, that's about all I can add as far as what I know. I miss him so much.

    Patrick Dennison
    Rest In Peace, Barry. We all miss your smile.

    Patrick, what a beautiful letter, thanks so much for writing and sharing your memories! I forwarded your letter to ED Tucker, and his response appears below.

    I saw your website and it's truly remarkable. I sometimes wonder if Barry realized how many lives he touched?

    Thanks again for writing. Take care. ---Nolan

    ED TUCKER RESPONDS:
    Patrick, thank you for your letter regarding Barry Robins. I am very sad to hear that the last few years of his life were as filled with frustration as you indicate. It was certainly not a worthy end for an actor who had packed so much into such a short period of time and, at 41, he was far to young to leave us. Following the letter you came across, I was also contacted by Barry's sister Elizabeth. She volunteered more details about his death than I felt comfortable with disclosing in my original reply but she has obviously made peace with his passing in the intervening years. It seems that Barry Robins made a strong and lasting impressions on just about everyone he touched either through his professional career or personal life. Regardless of the circumstances that lead up to his death or his apparent bitterness at the end, he will always be remembered fondly.

    - ED Tucker -


    TERENCE RE-REVIEWS "THE BLACK DAHLIA"

    Nolan
    I just want to add a note to Mike Smith's review of The Black Dahlia. While I loved James Ellroy's novel of the same name now that it is being made into a film it is sad that the public's perception of the case and murder will be based on what they see in a completely ficitonal tale.

    First off, Elizabeth Short, aka, The Black Dahlia, had a lot of myths surounding not so much her murder, but her life! So as a somewhat amateur student of the case, I want to make sure everyone understands that Short was not a prostitute like I had heard and assumed for years and also that she was not, I repeat not, an aspiring film star. That rumor started and was far more glamorous, but acutally was one of Short's many lies she would tell friends. She moved to LA after the death of her husband who was a serviceman. From then she constantly went out with servicemen most of whom stated she never slept with them.

    The best book on the murders, and to me the absolute solution to who the murderer was, is "The Black Dahlia Avenger" by Steve Hodel. In the book, Hodel, who is an ex-LAPD homocide detective, claims the killer was none other than his father, a Hollywood surgeon who mutilated Short and several other woman in LA and purposely mutilated Short's corpse to resemble his favorite Man Ray photos. Of course, this sounds so perposterous almost to the very end until you get to the postscript added in 2003 where several undisclosed documents were finally made public three years after Hodel's investagation. In these it is revealed that George Hodel was acutally the prime suspect in the case and had his house bugged and made several startling admissions including the blood-curdling statement, "Supposin' I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn't prove it now. They can't talk to my secretary anymore, because she's dead...". Also proof that it was all shut up by his friends in the police force who were paid off. To this day, several important DNA samples are missing from the LAPD files. I highly recommend this book even if you don't, for some insane reason, believe it is solved, then at least you will read the most accurate telling of the crime and Elizabeth Short's true life.

    Terence [Nuzum]


    ANDY ON CRAZED FANBOY MEETINGS

    Nole,
    Appreciate your personal response to my Crazed Fanboy Live! concept. While I know the PCR crowd is famous for its get-togethers, I was thinking it could be more of a "live TV show"-type thing (minus, of course, the studio and cameras) and not necessarily a round table event. You could be the host/moderator/master of scarimonies, and there could be a panel made up of PCR regulars, giving their opinions on Fanboy-related topics. The only gear involved would be a modest P.A. system, some chairs, and preferably an eleveted stage or similar structure.

    Since we know PCR regulars will attend, the challenge would be getting fresh fanboy faces to attend. The key is likely advertising (b&w flyers would suffice) and get the word out to as many fanboys as possible, via comic book/fandom shops, cons, etc. Plus, it will bring some new blood to the website and message board.

    I personally would enjoy the debate/interactive aspect of it, and it would be fun if it got pretty controversial and rowdy, kind of like a Morton Downey show.

    Hell, isn't that "Sticks & Stuff" furniture store near you? Let's do it in there! Lots of La-Z-Boy recliners for the panel/audience. How folksy!

    Andy [Lalino]

    Andy, I sincerely appreciate your interest in this, and I find it very appealing, don't think I don't. I remember when we discussed a similar concept years ago for late-night TV. But like I said in this week's Oddservations, this idea has been received in the past by a resounding yawn from fandom assembled (I don't think everyone quite realizes how disheartened I was by the failure of NolanCon to launch). "The challenge would be getting fresh fanboy faces to attend" is an understatement.

    However....although I'd personally rather use your advertising chops to drive traffic directly to the website, I don't want to discourage you if you're truly inspired. The Dick Cavett meets Morton Downey, Jr.-type confrontations is what we do best and it was what I was pushing on my old public access show which I truly enjoyed. So...I'm not saying "no", just keep me abreast on how your idea develops. ---Nolan


    READER REMEMBERS MISS JUNE AND ROMPER ROOM

    Hello,
    My name is Heather and I'm 35 years old. I was raised in Clearwater, FL. My question is I was on Romper Room in the '70's and the host was Miss June. My brother and I were on it together. I was either 4 or 5, or 5 or 6. I was sitting next to my brother at a table, I had pigtails and I think I had blond hair like my brother. I was wondering if you had any pictures from the shows that Miss June did in the mid-'70's and, if so, where could I look it up online. I hope you might have some kind of information.

    Sincerely,
    Heather [no last name]

    Dear Heather,
    Thanks so much for writing! We get this type of question all too frequently, and I know of no internet source where photos from '70s Romper Room episodes are posted. We learned long ago that pictures and videos of shows made before VCRs were common got lost or destroyed as TV stations traded owners and storage space became more expensive.

    I am posting your letter here in the PCR Lettercol to see if by any slim chance, someone has some pictures from that episode.

    BTW, to the best of my knowledge, Miss June is still alive and well and living somewhere in Pinellas County. I was contacted by a friend of hers last year and discussed an interview but never heard back.

    Thanks again for writing!
    Yours in fandom,
    Nolan B. Canova

    FROM ANDY LALINO:
    This is in response to Heather's Romper Room inquiry. In 2005's Crazed Fanboy/Oddservations edition #250, I wrote about my experience being on Romper Room in 1973 and even included a photo. I don't think the picture pertains to her appearance (unless she and I were on the same show, which I doubt; we're four years apart in age), however she might get a kick out of it.

    I believe you're correct; last I heard Miss June is living in Pinellas County, most likely St. Petersburg, not far from where I grew up, in fact.

    Here's the link: http://www.crazedfanboy.com/npcr/oddpcr250.html

    Andy [Lalino]


    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

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