First, let me apologize for not welcoming Vinnie B. to the family last week. Love what you've done so far. And I agree completely that Andy Lalino should have his own spot here at the PCR. In the early days, Matt and I occupied the letter page until we were deemed worthy enough to appear on the front page. Suggested masthead: ANDY'S ALLITERATIONS. Mentioning the different comic book venues brought back some memories. Of course the Book Nook has been well documented. And I have fond thoughts of The Fandom Zone because I used to have a store inside the store there, which Corey ran for me. Also, it was the last place that the HATS, minus Corey, played together. Sort of the Tampa version of the roof of the Apple building. And one time, on a visit to Tampa, I stopped at a place on Busch Boulevard that was operated by Tom Bowle's ex, Jean, and her new husband (Frank?). I'm shocked that no one mentioned LouBees. They had a little bit of everything there. And as for Marlon Brando showing up in "Superman II," the producers made sure he wasn't in one single frame so they wouldn't have to pay him. I'm sure Roy Scheider wishes the producers of "Jaws the Revenge" had been kind enough to do the same to him.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Spike TV is on it's way! Tuesday Viacom and director Spike Lee settled their differences. In a statement, Lee said that he no longer feels that Viacom "deliberately intended to trade on my name." I'm sure Lee started feeling that way when a judge made him pony up $2.5 million dollars to cover any revenue Viacom lost during his pointless suit. With all of the new networks popping up on cable, I'm sure "Savage" Steve Holland is calling his lawyer.
BECAUSE HE CAN
Normally, I try to keep away from racial topics. To be upfront, I did not go to school with black children until I moved to Florida. I've made plenty of friends, black and white. To me they are just friends. Not white friends. Not black friends. Just friends. This week Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker commented that minority players in baseball are better suited to play in the summer because "we were brought over here for the heat....." Baker also noted that "you won't find too many brothers in New Hampshire or Maine." Wow! Baker feels what he said was no big deal since he, too, is a minority. And that is supposed to make it right? If any white manager had said that about his minority players, he'd be gone! GONE! Don't believe me? Ask Al Campanis. Campanis was a long time Dodger official who had helped champion Jackie Robinson. One night on national television, Campanis theorized that there were no black managers or general managers because some in power may feel they didn't have the "necessities." CBS sportscaster Jimmy the Greek said blacks were better athletes because they were "bred that way." And Howard Cosell commented on Washington Redskin Alvin Garrett's breakaway speed by yelling, "look at that little monkey go!" It didn't matter that Cosell had used that term before, one that he considered endearing, to describe a white player. The results? Both Campanis and Jimmy the Greek were fired. Cosell went through so much spin control that it soured him on broadcasting. It's a sad commentary when you feel that the color of your skin, or lack of it, gives you the right to say something stupid.
George Clooney is threatening to sue Miramax Films if they don't stop using his image in trailers for "Spy Kids 3." Clooney has a cameo in the film and feels that the use of his image may convince potential movie goers that he has a substantial role in the film. He also has asked that his appearance not be publicized. Not the first time this has happened. Posters and trailers for "The Thin Red Line" had to be destroyed and replaced when John Travolta was listed in the credits. And Disney took a hit from Robin Williams when they used his name in the advertising for "Aladdin." Because another film starring Williams, "Toys," was being released at the same time, Williams stipulated that his name not be used to promote "Aladdin." Williams was so miffed that he did not reprise his role as the Genie in the "Aladdin 2" video. However, many dollars later, Williams did return for the third video.
Not since Kevin Costner tried to convince the world that he had persuaded Princess Diana to star with him in "The Bodyguard 2," has the memory of the late Princess of Wales been tarnished. Now, Marvel comics has announced that Diana will rise from the dead in issue #13 of "X-statix." An "X-men" off shoot, the story, entitled "Di Another Day," will insinuate that the Princess was really a mutant. I find that hard to believe. Now, as for Prince Charles................
Wow! 3 more this week. Bad time to be a celebrity:
N!xau, a bushman who became an overnight star in the film "The Gods Must Be Crazy," died this past week. His age was estimated at 59. His name is a transliteration of his tribal language, which has no letters in English and uses clicking noises.
Barry White, whose deep vocal sounds made for many a night of passion, died this past Friday at the age of 58. White had been hospitalized for many months due to kidney failure. As a solo artist, and with the Love Unlimited Orchestra, White was a major force on the radio in the 1970's. Virtually unheard in the 80's, White gained a new fan base when his music, as well as White himself, appeared in several episodes of "Ally McBeal." He also appeared occasionally on David Letterman's show, where his deep bass voice was often put to good use. One of my favorite bits was when White appeared to be auditioning for the role of Darth Vader in the new "Star Wars" episodes. "Leah, "he oozed, "come over to the dark side. You know what I mean!" Though his early hits were often nominated, for many years White boycotted the Grammy's, feeling bitter that he lost the Best New Artist award to Bette Midler in 1974. He received 2 Grammys in 2000 for his album "Staying Power."
Buddy Ebsen, known to three generations for his television work, passed away Sunday at the age of 95. Born in Orlando on April 2, 1908, Ebsen decided to try his luck as a dancer in the late 20's. He arrived in New York City with $25.26 and a note from a friend of a friend of a Broadway producer. Soon, he found himself on stage. Later, with his sister Vilma, he performed a vaudeville act. The duo headed to Hollywood, where they worked in several films, including Eleanor Powell's first feature, "Broadway Melody of 1936." Ebsen appeared with Judy Garland in "Broadway Melody of 1938" and with Shirley Temple in "Captain January." Originally cast as the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz," Ebsen almost died when the aluminum dust they used to coat his skin made it's way to his lungs. If you happen to have the "Oz" DVD or deluxe video, you can see some early footage and photos with Ebsen as the Tin Man, as well as hear his version of "If I Only Had A Brain." Upon his recovery, he returned to the stage and was on the verge of leaving show business when he was asked to read for the part of Davy Crockett for a Disney television series. Though the role went to Fess Parker, Ebsen was cast as Crockett's sidekick. While working on Crockett, Ebsen did the occasional film. Paul Henning, a television producer looking to cast a new series about a rural family who becomes wealthy and moves to California, saw his work in "Breakfast at Tiffanys" and immediately knew he had his star. As Jed Clampett, Ebsen and the rest of the "Beverly Hillbillies" ruled the television ratings for several years. Ironically, though still quite popular, the show was canceled when CBS decided that it wanted to distance itself from such rural shows as "Hillbillies," "Green Acres" and "Hee Haw." In the mid 70's he returned to television as private investigator Barnaby Jones. His easy going manner was a perfect way to solve the cases weekly. A staunch Republican, Ebsen even helped campaign against former "Hillbillies" costar Nancy Kulp when she ran for office. Married three times, Ebsen had seven children. He also authored two books. His autobiography "The Other Side Of Oz," was published in 1995. In 2001, as a lark, his novel "Kelly's Quest" was picked up by an on line publisher. Like it's author, it soon became a success.
That's it for this week! See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 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 ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.