Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed.
Flash Fantastic #* Flash Fantastic #*
Archives of
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
PCR Archives 2005
PCR Archives 2004
PCR Archives 2003
PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
PCR Archives 2000
Email PCR

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

Dealing with reactions to NolanCon's cancellation has put me way behind, sorry. Expect an expanded Lettercol in next week's PCR
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
    Number 275  (Vol. 6, No. 26). This edition is for the week of June 27--July 3, 2005.

NolanCon Cancelled
An examination of its failure

  • "War of the Worlds" opens
  • Sad Passings: Paul Winchell and John Fiedler
  • Where do I begin? I am not in the best of spirits to discuss the failure of one of my all-time biggest projects, let alone go into the harrowing detail of its demise. But the empty computer screen beckons me that I can put it off no longer.

    Next to this website, NolanCon 2005 was the most ambitious undertaking ever attempted by yours truly since...well...ever. It has crumbled and died before my very eyes. Strange...it seemed so incredibly exciting and doable just a few months ago.

    I've received quite a few emails expressing sympathy (thank you, everyone), many included opinions of just what may have gone wrong. I agree with some, I disagree with others. Meanwhile, I can hear my enemies chortling with satisfying laughter. That's OK, knock yourselves out for now.

    Basically, the problem was I thought if I built it they would come. I was wrong. I also counted on everyone I had ever supported and helped in the past racing to get into the dealer's area to help out financially---wrong again, save one (thanks to Rick Danford and RAK Media!) by the time we cancelled. I counted on comics dealers exploring a cross-sales potential with outré film fans. BIG time wrong. Oh, there were plenty of good folks I could get in the door for free room and board, tables and expenses, and more and more excellent guests were signing on (so to speak) all the time. But when it came to paying the bill, no dealers, no advanced ticket sales, not even a nibble for the film contest, I stood alone. That wasn't the plan. That wasn't the plan at all. Even the UFO/conspiracy folks, many of whom I knew from public access TV, (evidently) felt the NolanCon/CF websites were too carnival-like in tone to risk appearing with their super-serious subject matter in anything other than somber and intellectual surroundings, save two (Thanks, Dave Andrews and Dinah Arnette!)

    OK, I didn't exactly stand alone paying the bill. Somewhere around March or April I was approached by Neil McCurry of The Sarasota Film Festival about sponsoring NolanCon and including a film festival. I was all for it. In this case, sponsor doesn't mean "here's the money, go play", it means "investor". As an investor, Neil saw the probability, like I did, that a convention of this magnitude including a cash-prize paying film fest couldn't possibly lose. There were rumblings when the initial rules of the contest were disclosed of unclarified details that spooked some filmmakers off, and possibly, by the time that was straightened out, the damage was done, but here I'm only speculating. The fact is lots of money was being given away to deserving filmmakers. Trouble is, nobody seemed to care.

    I've gotten some emails suggesting the Con was underpromoted. I promoted alright, but looking back, I'm not sure any prospective dealers properly understood the scenario. I did some regular contacting in March, April, May and June, but wasn't planning on assaulting Tampa's John Q. Public with the Con until July, when (we presumed) all the dealers tables would be long gone (although flyers were already put out at several locations). While Neil and I considered two or three more weeks' campaigning may have turned the tide, there were no guarantees, and this close to showtime we desperately needed guarantees. The evidence of the last 90 days was not an encouraging harbinger. (NOTE: the new issue of Scary Monsters Magazine, #55, may even be out now, has the only nationally-published NolanCon graphic ad in the back section, a quarter-pager! Look for it and pick one up as a souvenir!)

    Ray Who?
    I've been assailed over the guest list many times. While most super-insider film fanboys know who Ray Dennis Steckler and Bill Rebane are, more casual fans were left scratching their heads. (If you haven't yet read Steckler's interview by Ed Tucker, shame on you!) Unfortunately, Ray and Bill carried the highest price tag for an appearance (I'm not saying it's undeserving, they're a rare combination), but it was one I couldn't meet in the end and Neil didn't see getting his money back for their expenses at this point. Mouse Surplus's Brian Ramsey (there's another great Tucker interview), another wonderful find, I felt was still doable and we partitioned a lot of required space for his theme park memorabilia---well, we had lots of space at one point but had to downsize when the budget tightened, which also presented security issues. Conrad Brooks and Debbie Rochon were a little more familiar to fans, their deals were more flexible, and I regret I may not be seeing them this summer (believe it or not, that part's still up in the air, they both indicated they may come down for my birthday party!)

    Wrong Time, Wrong Place
    This leaves the only other objection, which is the time of year to hold a convention and Tampa as a location. There are conventions nearly every month somewhere, and I don't see why Tampa is that "out of the way" as a location, but maybe I'm being naive. I felt these were the weakest objections, EXCEPT in cases where the "time of year" was meant to suggest postponing NolanCon to, say, next Spring, to allow us to regroup and allow MUCH more time for proper promotion, more effective planning, and better guests. That might seem like the best of all possible worlds except I'm bummed out, burned out and don't want to be involved in anything like this again---if someone else wants to put on a NolanCon and ask me to be the guest of honor, knock yourselves out, I'm there.

    Special Thanks....
    To Brandon Jones, who helped me find just the right hotel for NolanCon (The Best Western), and was the original event coordinator---I'm glad your life has settled down and your back onboard the Crazed FanTrain! To Corey Castellano who was taking time out of his valuable schedule to do a two-hour seminar on FX Make-up. To Ed Tucker for securing our first celebrities and getting the first viable promotional materials for NolanCon up and running. To Conrad Brooks, for being a special kinda guy, calling me at all hours just to talk, and for being there for me. To Jason L. Liquori for his tireless efforts at event organization and getting some special females involved, namely Debbie Rochon and Hollie Winnard. To Debbie Rochon for being such a helpful sweetheart through all this, I really mean it, I can't convey properly how much your kindness and support has meant to me. To add'l special guests Dick Kulpa, Joshua Sullivan, Krista Grotte, Joel D. Wynkoop, Garland Hewlett, José Prendes, and Jeff Strand thank you so much for your pledges and support. Joe Davison you're always full of surprises, man! Shout out to Mark Terry and Vito Trabucco in LA, thanks for everything, wish we could've done it! To Strange Agents, Boney Fiend, and Can't Do It, I know the night would've rocked with all that band power! To Mike Smith for the expected JAWS film showing and seminar, plus add'l help with the Con. To Scott van Sickle and his wrasslin' she-babes, what can I say? You'd've been the showstopper. A really big thank you to Chris Woods for assembling the first and only NolanCon TV commercial on his own time, which regrettably will never be broadcast (make a helluva bootleg collectible though! HA ha). And to the whole crew of PCR who was expected to appear at the largest gathering of PCR writers, past and present, ever attempted at one time and place....thank you.

    So....what happens on August 13th now?
    It depends on several factors, namely how Neil and I work out the remaining hotel issues. We may still have a big party at the hotel, or we may do it somewhere else...and smaller. We may still have the films, the bands, and the wrasslin' she-babes! Whatever happens, you'll know where to find the updates. Right here.

    Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds"
    I saw the movie the day after it opened and I must agree with Mike Smith's review, it is definitely worth seeing. A very strong performance by Tom Cruise. To me, the best thing is how Spielberg remained more faithful to the original H. G. Wells novels than anyone before him (well, advances in technology helped), and yet was able to update it to make it seem like it could happen today. There is a subtle reminder of "Close Encounters", another Spielberg film scored by the amazing John Williams----the noises emitted by the tripods sound more like ominous musical notes than anything organic. Special effects are terrifyingly in-your-face with a combination of CGI and Stan Winston studio practicals. Look for our friend Corey Castellano in the closing credits for make-up (as "Leo Corey Castellano"). On our zero-to-4-star PCR rating scale, Three and a half stars.

    Sad Passings: John Fiedler and Paul Winchell
    Due to ovewhelming backlash regarding NolanCon this past week, I was unable to mention something Andy Lalino and Mike Smith already have: the death of two Winnie the Pooh voice-over actors, John Fiedler (Piglet) and Paul Winchell (Tigger). Andy and Mike remembered Fiedler as Mr. Peterson, the short, bald patient of Dr. Bob Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show, and, of course, Paul Winchell as Tigger (Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, et., al.). And while proper mention was made in the press about Paul Winchell's past career as an inventor (one of the first artificial hearts) and ventriloquist (Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff), NOBODY in the press that I saw seemed to remember the boy-and-dog puppet combination Winchell performed in the '60s Nestle's chocolate ads: "N-E-S-T-L-E-S....Nestle's makes the very best...chooooooooc-laaaaate." John Fiedler was 80 and Paul Winchell was 82. (Tip-of-the-hat to sharp-eyed reader Donald Woodford for an important correction: Paul Winchell was NOT the performer behind the Nestle's ads, but the still-alive-and-kicking Jimmy Nelson, a performer I frequently confused with Winchell, even in the '60s. Thank you for the correction, Donald! ---Nolan)

    Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
    Amazon.com Platinum Visa Card
    In Association with Amazon.com
    "Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Asian Film Update" is ©2005 by Peter Card    "Chiller Cinema" is ©2005 by Drew Reiber    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2005 by Vinnie Blesi    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
    Crazed Fanboy dotcom is owned and operated by Nolan B. Canova

    Back to Top