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Now in our eighth calendar year!

PCR #370. (Vol. 8, No. 17) This edition is for the week of April 23--29, 2007.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Apologies for my tardiness, I was unaware that "send email" didn't take for nearly 24 hours. Just some odds and ends this week. Shall we begin?

"The Shark Is Still Working"  by Mike Smith
"Gamebox 1.0"  by Mike Smith
Who Are Our Gracious Hosts Each Month At the Tampa Film Review?  by Paul Guzzo
Get Back to Where You Once Belonged....In The Hall (Well, Not The Hall)....Get Well Soon....Revenge of the Chicken....Passing On....Whatever Happened To...? Chapter 17: Kevin Dunny  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2007
Archives 2006
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Well, it took a while but the wise people who vote for "Dancing With The Stars" finally kicked Heather Mills to the curb. Paul McCartney's soon-to-be ex, who apparently convinced the show producers that one definition for the word star is "I used to fuck one of the Beatles, " fell a couple of weeks ago and had danced poorly since then. To paraphrase Macca, "She's off the show.....bye, bye."

Congratulations to Fred Lynn, who was inducted recently into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Lynn, who along with Ron Santo and Cal Ripken, Jr comprise my trifecta of favorite players of all time, starred in college as an outfielder for the University of Southern California. I was crushed when Lynn was not only voted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame but didn't even receive enough votes to stay on the ballot. The man only won Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same year, hit the first (and only) All Star Game Grand Slam and, because of the way he played all out, is the reason the walls in the outfield are now padded. Other players joining Lynn include Jim Abbott and John Olerud.

Speaking of old #10, please join me in wishing Ron Santo a quick return to the WGN Radio booth. Santo was hospitalized this past weekend while undergoing tests for an irregular heart beat.

Next month will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of "Star Wars." To celebrate this feat, actor Seth Green and friends will produce a special 30-minute "Star Wars" themed episode of their animated series "Robot Chicken." Not only did the notoriously protective George Lucas grant permission for the project, but Lucas will also voice an animated version of himself. Also on board: Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. The show will air on June 17.

Imagine you've just been told that you have terminal cancer. Then you buy a lottery ticket and win $1 million. That was the story of Wayne Schenk from New York. Mr. Schenk requested a lump sum payment in the hopes the money would allow him to pay for a visit to a hospital that specialized in treating his form of cancer. The state lottery denied his request. New York's lottery law does not allow heirs to collect money scheduled for payout by annuity. Mr. Schenk died this week at the age of 51, thereby donating $950,000 back to the state lottery.
Pulitzer prize-winning author David Halberstam, who wrote about everything from sports to history, was killed in California this week after the car he was riding in was struck by another vehicle. He was 73. As a young reporter at the New York Times Halberstam wrote extensively about the Vietnam War, winning the Pulitzer Prize for his efforts. Some of his best sellers include "The Best and the Brightest," "The Education of a Coach" and "Firehouse," which was inspired by the loss of twelve New York City firemen who died on September 11, 2001. Mr. Halberstam lived next door to their fire station.
Jack Valenti, the man who created the current Motion Picture Rating Code, passed away shortly after returning home from the hospital after suffering a stroke. He was 85. A former speech writer for Lyndon Johnson, Valenti was a passenger in the motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated. In 1966 he was named to head the Motion Picture Association of America, where he developed a system of ratings to help audiences gauge the movies they went to. One of my greatest memories while working in the "biz" was attending advance screenings at the MPAA headquarters in Washington D.C. While there I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking with Mr. Valenti on many occasions, more about politics then films. He had a way of telling a story that would hold your attention from beginning to end and I will never forget them.



Many character actors spend their entire careers as people whose faces are known but their names are not. This is the case of Kevin Dunn. I say this because I've actually had someone describe a role of his to me with the words, "I know his face but I can't remember his name." A late bloomer, Dunn began his career just short of his 30th birthday with appearances on such television shows as "Jack and Mike," "Cheers" and "21 Jump Street." He broke into movies with a small role in the civil rights drama "Mississippi Burning," following this up the next year with a brief appearance in "Ghostbusters 2." Other film roles include "Marked for Death," "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and "Hot Shots!" A stand out performance as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the film "Chaplin" brought him to the attention of director Ivan Reitman, who cast him as a top White House operative in "Dave." Reitman didn't even remember Dunn from "Ghostbusters 2." He has appeared in several episodes of television's "7th Heaven" and "Prison Break" and continues to work steadily in films. He will next be seen in the upcoming "Transformers."

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week! See ya.

"Mike's Rant" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.