Now in our sixth calendar year!|
PCR #278. (Vol. 6, No. 29) This edition is for the week of July 18--24, 2005.
Hello, gang! Sorry for the delay - between the mid-west heat wave and American Legion baseball, I've been keeping busy this week! Shall we begin?
I first met Jimmy Doohan on February 20, 1983. I was living in Baltimore and helped a friend who was putting on a local "Star Trek" convention. James Doohan was the main guest of honor and thrilled the hundreds of fans who gathered to get his autograph and take a photo. But the best part was late at night, after all of the fanboys and fangirls had gone home. After a late dinner several of us gathered around a table in the bar of the Hunt Valley Marriot and listened intently as Doohan told us story after story about his life. Sadly that life ended this week when James Doohan passed away at the age of 85 of pneumonia.
Doohan was born in Vancouver, Canada on March 3, 1920. He left home at the age of 19 and enlisted in the Canadian military. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he led his fellow soldiers onto the beaches of Normandy. During the charge he was wounded several times, with one bullet taking off his right middle finger and another slamming into his chest, his life saved when the round hit a silver cigarette case. Following the war he earned a two-year scholarship at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.
He began working on radio, film and early television, appearing on the early science fiction series "Space Command." But it was his role as Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott on "Star Trek" that cemented him as a pop culture icon. During his auditions for the role Doohan read using many accents, deciding that Scottish worked the best. He played the part for almost 30 years, appearing in the various spinoffs and films in the series. Though he often appeared to be at odds with the role, he eventually learned to take it in stride and relished the fan response. He truly enjoyed his fans and I can honestly say that I never saw him refuse an autograph or a request to take a photo. It was almost a year ago that Doohan received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was his last public appearance. Though he was suffering through the early stages of Alzheimer's, he was able to appreciate the event. Afterwards, he told "Trek" co-star Nichelle Nichols, "it's the most wonderful day of my life." He is survived by his third wife, Wendy and seven children.
Like "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, Doohan's ashes will be launched into space. Hopefully he will always be heading to the third star on the right and straight on 'til morning!
If you read this week's review of "Bad News Bears" you'll see where I mentioned Tanner Boyle's original un-p c description of his teammates. These words could NEVER be used in a PG-13 comedy today yet, 30 years ago, they were prominent in the trailer for "The Bad News Bears." I shared this line with a friend earlier today and he was so surprised to hear them that I thought I would do the same for curious PCR readers. For the uninformed, Tanner complains that the team is made up of, "...a bunch of Jews, spics, niggers, pansies and a booger eating moron!"
Lost in the discussion of James Doohans' passing was the death of Oscar and Tony nominee Geraldine Fitzgerald. Ms. Fitzgerald passed away this past week at the age of 91 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Nominated for an Academy Award for her work in 1939's "Wuthering Heights," Fitzgerald also appeared in such films as "The Pawnbroker," "Rachel, Rachel" and "Easy Money." She is probably best known to PCR readers as Dudley Moore's grandmother in "Arthur." In 1982 she directed Jack Lemmon in the Broadway production of "Mass Appeal," earning a Tony Award nomination for her work. Her son, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, directed the Beatles' film, "Let It Be."
Also, I meant to mention in last week's issue the passing of Freda Wright-Sorce, the wife of radio personality Don Geronimo, who died July 10 after being involved in a head on car accident on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I was a HUGE "Don and Mike" fan when I lived in Baltimore and Freda was often brought onto the show via the telephone making for some great moments. If I remember correctly, the syndicated "Don and Mike" show is broadcast in Tampa.
THAT AIN'T GOOD ENGLISH
Came across an article by Bill Dawson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that studied the terrible use of the English language in popular music. Some examples of bad grammar:
"In this ever-changing world in which we live in." Live and Let Die -- Paul McCartney
"There ain't no one for to give you no pain" Horse With No Name -- America
"You keep lyin' when you oughta be truthin" These Boots Are Made For Walking -- Nancy Sinatra
"Songs you sang to me, sounds you brang to me" Play Me -- Neil Diamond
As for stating the obvious:
"When that shark bites, with his teeth, babe" Mack the Knife -- Bobby Darin
"He's got feet down below his knees." Come Together -- The Beatles
"The heat was hot" Horse With No Name (again) -- America
(To those I would add the-most-insipid-excuse-for-poetry-including-stating-the-obvious:
"As I was walking down the street one day, a man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was on my watch; and I said, 'Does anybody really know what time it is?'" Chicago Transit Authority -- Chicago. --Nolan)
And, finally, doublespeak:
"Only time will tell if we stand the test of time" Why Can't This Be Love? -- Van Halen
(And don't even get me started on Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic"!!! --N)
This Tuesday, July 26, my son, Phillip, turns 21. Wow! If I felt old last week when he moved into his own place I feel genuinely ancient at this news! We've shared some great moments and battled some bad ones, but through the years we've done it together. Happy birthday, son. I love you!
THE STORY OF JAWS - PART 26
After the success of "Jaws," the studio begged Zanuck and Brown for a sequel. The producers agreed to make one and while "Jaws" was still in theatres Universal announced that "Jaws 2" would open on June 16, 1978. Director Steven Spielberg and star Richard Dreyfuss expressed interest in the project. Both were currently working in Alabama on "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and, when production was extended, had to drop out. Z/B then hired John Hancock to direct. Hancock, who up to then had made a few films, including "Let's Scare Jessica To Death" and "Bang the Drum Slowly," was married to actress/screenwriter Dorothy Tristan, who was hired to write the script with playwright Howard Sackler, who had done some uncredited work on "Jaws." With Dreyfuss a no go the producers approached the other lead actors. Even though Robert Shaw's character died in "Jaws," he was approached with two ideas. The first was a retelling of the tragedy that occurred when the USS Indianapolis sank (described chillingly by Shaw in "Jaws.) The second was a film that would feature a younger Quint as he learns his trade and takes out his revenge on the sharks. Neither appealed to Shaw so the producers approached Roy Scheider. At the time, Scheider was committed to playing Michael in Universal's Vietnam epic, "The Deer Hunter." After a few weeks on the picture, Scheider left the project, citing creative differences over the story line. SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN "THE DEER HUNTER" SKIP DOWN TO "BACK TO THE STORY" -------- In the original script for "The Deer Hunter," Michael is the one who stays behind in Vietnam, playing Russian Roulette for money. His best friend, Nick, goes back to bring him home and arrives too late as Michael loses his last game. For reason's I've never seen discussed, directed Michael Cimino decided Nick should stay in Vietnam and that Michael should be the one to attempt to rescue him. In the film, Michael ends up buying his way into the game and, while across the table from Nick, watches in horror as Nick shoots himself in the head. Scheider argued that any friend that traveled half way around the world to save his friend wouldn't just sit there and let him shoot himself. BACK TO THE STORY: After "Jaws" Scheider signed a three film deal with Universal and had already completed "Sorcerer." Universal informed Roy that if he were to do "Jaws 2" they would count it as two films and he would be released from the contract. After looking over the script, Roy agreed. However, early in the production Z and B were unhappy with Hancock's work and fired him. Of course his wife went with him, leaving the production with a script that still hadn't been finalized. "Jaws" co-screenwriter Carl Gottlieb was brought in to complete the script. Gottlieb's greatest contributions included eliminating a mafia/crooked developer plot line and more concentration on the young cast. With new director Jeannot Szwarc on board, the film began production on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts before moving south to Navarre Beach, Florida. After five months the production wrapped up in December 1977. The film opened on June 16, 1978 on 640 screens, earning $9.8 million dollars in it's opening weekend. A very successful premiere considering that "Grease" opened on 862 screens the same day and grossed $8.9 million. "Jaws 2" went on to gross over $102 million in the US and an additional $108 million world wide.
Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 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 ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.