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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our sixth calendar year
    PCR #275  (Vol. 6, No. 26)  This edition is for the week of June 27--July 3, 2005.

The Sanford Summit, Part One
 by William Moriaty
"War of the Worlds"
 by Mike Smith
NolanCon Cancellation .... Fantastic Films Magazine Revisited, Part 1....Bob Newhart Patient Dies
 by Andy Lalino
"Land of the Dead"...."Batman Begins" rating....Comics Talk
 by John Lewis
Happy 4th....NolanCon....Masters of Horror
 by Matt Drinnenberg
NolanCon....The Curse of the Pooh....Stupid People....Terence Must Be Smiling....You Talking To Me?...Jaws: The Story, Part 23
 by Mike Smith
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The Sanford Summit, Part One

Prelude to A Summit
The “Sanford Summit” had its roots in “Charlie Carlson’s Weird Florida: Unleashed!” book signing party on April 30, 2005 (see La Floridiana, PCR # 267).

After your intrepid author had connected with this kindred spirit, we were both determined to see one another again, so I concocted a get-together at the Blue Dahlia Restaurant in Sanford that I nicknamed “The Sanford Summit”. As I had eight hours of Personal Holiday leave time I had to use by July 1st or risk losing, I chose Friday June 24, 2005 for the event.

After some ironing out of what time to hold the event, both Charlie and I began to invite friends and acquaintances many of which had similar interests and talents. By “Summit Eve” the official guest list consisted of the following:

1. Harry Wise, magician
2. Charlie Carlson, author and historian
3...and his wife Dot
4. Susan Thompson, spiritualist medium
5. Tom Begley, Professor of Film, University of Central Florida
6... and his wife Elise
7. Lisa Clardy, author, artist and e-entrepreneur
8. Brenden McWilliams, props designer and installer for theme parks and private parties
9...and his girlfriend Anna.
10. Owl Goingback, Native American author
11. ...and his wife Nancy.
12. Myself, author and founder of an environmental organization
14. Drew Reiber, UCF student and columnist for Nolan's Pop Culture Review
15. Peter Card, UCF student and columnist for "Nolan's Pop Culture Review
16. Jim Robison, journalist

Magic Lost Then Magic Found
A glimpse into the world of magic as this shrunken head acts as a guard to the portal of Harry Wise's front porch in Sanford.
Friday June 24, 2005, 6:20 P.M.: Lisa Clardy and I pulled up to the curb fronting magician Harry Wise’s house. A tall, lean man with red hair dressed in black approached my car as Lisa and I were getting out of it. He directed his gaze upon me and asked, “Are you William Moriaty?” Answering the gentleman in the affirmative, he then responded “I’m Tom Begley!” I replied “Professor Begley, it’s an honor to meet you!” In a gentle demeanor he replied, “It’s Tom, please...”

I handed Tom a copy of my new book “William Moriaty’s Florida”. He thumbed quickly through the book then broke the news “Harry won’t be able to attend dinner tonight as he is under the weather right now. I was on my way to Winn-Dixie to get him some medication.” Brenden McWilliams and his girl friend Anna Everhart pulled up behind us and were informed about Harry’s infirmity. Brendan had his heart set on meeting Florida’s Mister Magic, “Wise the Wizard” and witnessing first hand the stage props and pieces of the magician’s life located on the front porch and a back room of his house, but it was sadly not to be this go ‘round.

Across the street from Harry Wise and Tom Begley is George Touhy Park where a Famous and Historic Tree Grove points the way toward the 1902 school that Sanford natives Harry Wise and Charlie Carlson attended many moons back. It is in that building where "Wise the Wizard" performed his first magic act to the public on a Halloween Night over five decades ago!
Just as one door closes another one opens again, Tom introduced Lisa, Brenden, Anna, and me into his own world of magic. He took us first on a magical mystery tour of the Famous and Historic Tree Grove located across the street from his and Harry’s house in George Touhy Park. I of course went into freak-out mode as I had designed, cultivated and installed, with the help of volunteers, a Famous and Historic Tree Grove at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa under the auspice of my tree planting organization the Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc..

As the five of us leisurely strolled between an Edgar Allen Poe Hackberry; a Sergeant Alvin York Tulip Poplar; a Frank Lloyd Wright Ginkgo; and about four-dozen other trees associated with famous people and historic events, incredible revelations started to pour forth from this new found Florida Folk Hero.

While thumbing through my book Tom exclaimed, “I used to live next door to this guy!” He held the book up to us and pointed to the photo of Dr. Paul Bearer on the first page of Chapter One. He went on to state, “When I moved to Winter Haven I remember seeing this Hearse parked in the next door neighbor’s driveway. When I approach the next door neighbor to introduce myself the owner told me that he was a TV horror host known as “Dr. Paul Bearer” and the Hearse was one of his props.”

And guarding the portal to Tom Begley's house is this garden gnome.
Ratchet the evening up to ultra freak-out mode...

But the magic didn’t end there. Tom invited us to his absolutely magical house where as one approached his early 1900’s Cracker style house, they could not help but notice the garden gnome protecting the porch area and the black coffin parked immediately next to it. The inside of the house was a treasure trove of Irish history, antique arms, and archaeological finds, ornate magic paraphernalia and memorabilia associated with the ill-fated ship, the Titanic.

We four guests were in shock and awe, trying not to let the sound of our jaws hitting the floor not disturb the adorable pet dogs and cats that were diggin’ on Anna big time (did you know that the first dog park in Florida is not far from Tom’s house and is called "Paw Park"?. Tom and his wife Elise were fascinating and gracious hosts.

Tom bid adieu at about ten after seven and gave us directions to the Blue Dahlia. He said he would meet us there after he got Harry situated, but sadly that was not to be as it took Tom until almost ten to tend to Harry.

PCR’s Ever Expanding Sphere of Influence
Or maybe the gnome and this cat are guarding the contents of this casket which resides in front of the Begley household!
Immediately after, Brenden and I pulled our cars into the spaces across the street from the Sanford Police station in downtown, lo and behold two figures familiar to me were waving at us from across the street. They were none other than PCR columnists Drew Reiber and Peter Card!

Peter was in fine form, but Drew was nursing a rather nasty headache. By the time the six of us met and rambled along 1st Street to the Blue Dahlia Restaurant, the Sanford “delegation” was already in the courtyard of the restaurant waiting for us.

Fortunately the rainy weather, which had been the rule of the day, finally departed making for what would end up being an incredible outdoor gathering.

Stay tuned two weeks from now (your intrepid author will be on a well-earned vacation in North Carolina) as we ratchet up the events of the Sanford Summit to ultra-ultra freak out mode, right here in Nolan’s Pop Culture Review!

"La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.