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The History of Miami International Airport--Part Two
 by William Moriaty

 by Mike Smith

2005 Did Not Really Exist
 by Vinnie Blesi

Trials of a Mother
 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott

In Search of Christmas
by Mark Terry

The Point of Existence
by Dylan Jones

True Christmas Spirit....Man of the Year....Biggest Surprise of the Year....Bigget Disappointment of the Year....I like Superman?...300?
by Brandon Jones

Christmas Greetings....The Chronicles of Narnia
by John Lewis

Issue 300....Freedom of Holiday Choice....Christmas Time
by Matt Drinnenberg

The Big 3 0 0....Merry Christmas....What The?...Passing On....India On Line....WTF?, Part 2....Jaws: The Story, Part 48 -- Final Chapter
by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
Number 300  (Vol. 6, No. 51). This edition is for the week of December 19--25, 2005.
Merry Christmas From Crazed Fanboy!
  • PCR Reaches Issue Number 300!
  • The Year That Was: 2005 in Review
  • My Gift: "Our Rocky Horror Song"
  • "Santa Claus" (1960) Review by ED Tucker
  • Welcome to PCR Issue Number 300! Another landmark accomplishment for us and another reason to be proud. Coincidentally, it's right at Christmas.

    Incredible to believe another year has come and gone so fast. Even a year as terrible as this one. A year brimming with so much potential and promise, and as I look back, I am awed at how many disappointments and setbacks, from projects that never got off the ground to record hurricane numbers. But I am grateful we are still here and still together.

    Over the next two issues, the final ones of 2005, I will write my traditional summary of the high points and low points, starting this issue with January through June of 2005. I want to acknowledge and thank the many PCR writers who are contributing to these last issues with such thoughtful columns as well.

    Alrighty then, here we go...

    The Year That Was
    Part 1, January through June, 2005

    January. The world is still counting victims of the 2004 tsunami that killed nearly a quarter million people. After the US was battered by hurricanes we thought it couldn't get much worse, but of course, we were wrong. On a positive note, Crazed Fanboy® finally became my legal registered trademark. The last major film festival in Tampa, The Tambay FilmFest goes out of business for good, leaving a vacuum in fandom. President Bush finally calls off the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, and I start the baby steps on what would be NolanCon, whose existence at this point still a gleam in my eye. A space probe land on Titan, a moon of Saturn, and Stan Lee wins his major lawsuit over Marvel Comics. January ends with the sad death of Johnny Carson and late-night talk shows never seem the same again. Mike, Drew and I talk about the just-announced Academy Award nominations via new episodes of Nolan Radio. February is a big convention month and as we're gearing up for MegaCon, ED Tucker visits the FX Show in Jacksonville. Our Dr. Paul Bearer/Creature Feature Database gets its first major update in months. Garland Hewlett's "Brain Robbers From Outer Space" is released as a two-disc set; this low-budget video starring Plan 9 star Conrad Brooks was ten years in the making. Ed Tucker interviews cult legend Ray Dennis Steckler. Sister Lucia, the last surviving witness of the Miracle of Fatima, passes away, and with her, the secret of the third prophecy...or did it?. Andy Lalino, Tom & Alice Linkcowitz and myself have a one-time meeting where Independent Art Magazine is created and I am invited to be editor-in-chief and Andy is to be webmaster. Announcements were made, but unfortunately, communication breakdowns begin almost immediately afterwards. February ends with another celebrity death, namely Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalist extraordinaire, and model for the "Duke" character in Doonesbury--Thompson is remembered by the character in an imaginative way. ABC Television broadcasts a UFO special starring Peter Jennings, a much-ballyhooed event, but poorly received by yours truly. PCR writer Will Moriaty regales a fascinating childhood experience with what may very well have been a top-secret gov't experiment. The tail end of February brought MegaCon and the wonderful fan reunions it engenders. After a particularly meaningful encounter at the Con, I reflect on different paths I could've taken in life. Veteran newsman Dan Rather stepped down from his anchor chair in March amid accusations of biased reporting, but agrees to stay on as a consultant. The PCR celebrates 5 years on the web, the Message Board 1 year. Flushed with great feelings after MegaCon and optimistic about the future, after nearly two years of talking about it, fellow PCR staffer Brandon Jones and I secure a hotel for NolanCon and announcements are made for a convention like no other to take place on my 50th birthday, August 13th, 2005 at a Best Western Hotel in Tampa. Ray Dennis Steckler, Bill Rebane, Conrad Brooks and Debbie Rochon are among the very first celebrities to commit to the event. Around this time I am contacted by Sarasota Film Festival president and businessman Neil McCurry who expresses interest in underwriting NolanCon and initiating an included film contest. As April unfolds, Terri Shiavo, the brain-dead woman kept on a feeding tube for over ten years is allowed to die following an historic legal battle. One of the greatest comics-to-movie adaptaions of all time, Sin City opens to great reviews and yours truly's is one of them. As Sister Lucia's passing earlier in the year greatly affected Catholics world-wide, it is superceded by the death of Pope John Paul II, whose reign was one of the longest in history. He is succeeded by Pope Benedict. Will Moriaty shows me a flyer offering a ten-thousand dollar reward for capture of a live Bigfoot. This turns out to be a promotional stunt for a book-signing by Florida author Charlie Carlson. Will enthusiastically attends the signing, which begins a social/professional relationship that lasts to this day. John and Ashley Lewis put on the first Creature Productions Film Fest as part of Tim Gordon's Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show. Due to health problems I'd suffer later in the year, it is the last Doubletree/Comic Con I'd attend in 2005. As NolanCon ramps up and I continue work on its website, my priorities change, and with Andy Lalino apparently having left the project and PCR as well, my already strained association with Independent Art Magazine begins to fall apart. I regretfully remove myself from the project. On the Crazed Fanboy website front, complaints from difficult customers regarding misunderstanding the sales arrangements from my online store forces me to reconsider its continued operation and I eventually close The Last Outpost. Come May I have completed or transferred any and all previous webmaster assignments/commitments so I can concentrate on NolanCon. Mike Smith and Matt Drinnenberg pledge to come to Florida for a reunion. Jason Liquori, himself finalizing his "Death Plots" DVD, has secured some scream queens for the event and excitement builds. After informing Neil McCurry the deadline for commitment to the hotel is imminent, he assures me of his total financial support. In fact, all the event coordinators pledge some monetary help should money fall short. Unfortunately, dealers were unexpectedly reluctant to commit to tables (save for Enigma Films and Sirens of Cinema magazine) and the public is slower to warm to the idea than previously thought. The resulting crisis of faith threatens the entire project. At May's Romeo Coffeehouse meeting, Neil McCurry and I announce the first NolanCon Film Contest which would've awarded cash prizes. I'm advised soon afterwards by PCR writer Vinnie Blesi and filmmaker Joe DiCanio that a badly-worded rule-sheet on Neil's website may scare off potential applicants, which it did. By the time the "legalese" is straightened out, the damage is done. I develop a bitterness at the abandonment I feel by the very people I helped support over the years and I'll certainly never look at comics dealers the same way again; I laid out the red carpet and I was spat on. Whether due to stress or age, I develop pains in my legs, my right one in particular, and I start walking with a pronounced limp about this time. I am so swamped with work and commitments I unwisely ignore these warning signs and hope they'll go away. They do not. On a ligher note, the final episode of George Lucas's Star Wars saga "Revenge of the Sith" opens nationwide to great fanfare. But then Frank Gorshin, "The Riddler" dies at 72. Peter Card and Drew Reiber start new columns on PCR. "Deep Throat", the man who informed Woodward and Bernstein about Watergate, is revealed to be ex-FBI man Mark Felt. The June Romeo Coffeehouse debuted Gus Perez's Light of Blood a horrible piece of schlock I did camera on, but it gains a weird cult following anyway. On a national level, Batman Begins opens at theaters and is, to me, the definitive depiction of the Caped Crusader. Andy Lalino temporarily returns to the PCR. Talented local filmmaker Chris Woods, often my ride to the Romeo Coffeehouse and whose films have graced many a meeting there, offers to create a NolanCon TV commercial. It is completed quickly, and it's great (I saw it much later, here I was going to submit it sight unseen), but it must get on the air quickly to do us some good. Ed Tucker comes to visit Tampa and together we inspect the Best Western Hotel. Ed sets up his projector and we work out the film room arrangements. It is when Ed and I sit down and talk turkey that I turn white as a ghost and numbed as I am made to realize how expensive this has become, that I'd drastically underestimated all the many celebrity's needs/demands, that it was falling on my shoulders entirely, and that without Neil McCurry's help, NolanCon simply could not go on. The Monday following that fateful weekend, I placed a call to Neil and heard exactly what I'd feared: despite early promises (apparently based on higher dealer turn-out and film contest expectations), Neil was not going to pay for the guests Ed had secured (who Neil had never heard of) and he was not going to fund the TV commercial. Since that effectively killed the Con, he did offer to go 80/20 on expenses incurred by me already, which I accepted. NolanCon 2005 was cancelled. As a bittersweet postscript, about this time, Scary Monsters Magazine appeared on the newsstand with the only nationally-published graphic NolanCon advertisement. Efforts begin to salvage the remnants of a convention and turn it into a birthday bash at the same hotel. My mounting health problems and more pronounced limp start to worry me that I'll even be able to do that much, but plans are begun anyway. The stress, humiliation and disppointments of this experience affected my relationships with everyone for quite some time. Although we were all speaking, scars remained.

    For another all-around view of 2005 from another perspective, I highly recommend Chris Woods excellent piece on 2005 on the ICON website. Besides the more familiar headlines, Chris features many of the accomplishments of the Tampa area film community during 2005. --Nolan

    Next Week: July to December, 2005

    And Now...My Christmas Present To You: "Our Rocky Horror Song"
    It's not much, but it's all I've got for now. In many a column on PCR frequent mention is made of my old heavy-metal/pop band BLADE, and the only recording we ever made of an original song for public consumption. Since we were a cover band, writing originals was not my ambition at the time (although some talented writers were in the band).

    Matt Drinnenberg - vocals
    Nolan B. Canova - guitar
    Scott van Sickle - bass
    Corey Castellano - drums


    I'm pickin' up my baby tonight
    Gonna see a movie that starts at midnight
    Gonna act insane, dress in crazy clothes
    Gonna holler through the streets so everybody knows
    We're gonna see The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    We're gonna have a wild life there
    Got a newspaper to cover my hair
    I don't want no Meatloaf roast
    Keep an eye out for the flying toast
    We're gonna see The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    (Tempo break -- rock out part)

    All our plans about tommorrow we're puting on ice,
    Buy a nifty water pistol and a bag of rice.
    If we can't take it in we're gonna try and sneak it,
    We won't be denied because we're really freakin'.
    She'll meet her girlfriends there and I'll meet my bros
    Everybody's gonna see The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

    I see an image in my mind:
    A juicy set of lips, redder than iodine.
    We'll take a seat on the very first row
    'Cause in a few minutes it's comin' for you
    It's The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    YEAH! There ain't no mistake, this is it!
    The lights are going down and everybody's shouting:

    A recreation of the Eva-Tone soundsheetIn 1985, the cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show was celebrating its ten-year "Decade of Decadence" and many of us were regular patrons of the midnight shows. Roughly a month before its anniversary on Halloween, Matt Drinnenberg and I sat down and wrote what could be called a "fan song" in tribute to the movie's landmark success. I wrote the music and Matt supplied the lyrics. The intention was to closely emulate the movie's music soundtrack, while still being original, and I remember it came together pretty quickly. The background music was recorded by the band live on a small 4-track recorder (the Tascam 244) at my house over a few nights' time. Matt came over on another night and knocked out the vocals.

    We knew the manager and the assistant manager of the only venue in town still doing live Rocky Horror shows, the University Square Mall in north Tampa. So arrangements were quickly made for a live performance of our song by BLADE at the celebration. (It may strike you this notice would've been more appropriate for this year's Halloween issue, but, hey, I didn't think of it until it truly hit me that 2005 marked 20 years since its recording. That, plus BLADE's 22nd anniverary was just a couple weeks ago.)

    To distribute the recording, I pressed it onto the only viable medium available to me at the time, the "Eva-Tone Sound Sheet" (long-time music magazine readers may remember these plastic disc magazine inserts that could be played on a turntable). Over the two successive weekends we played the Mall, we sold/distributed hundreds of these discs. The few remaining I'll probably auction off one day.

    Earlier this year, I found the original tape master of "Our Rocky Horror Song" and made it into an MP3, basically, so my friend Terence Nuzum could hear it, and a few of our staffers could have a souvenir copy. The link below is that MP3 version. KEEP IN MIND, this was dubbed from an old cassette tape and there is hiss, but I cleaned it up the best I could. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, "Our Rocky Horror Song" written by Nolan B. Canova and Matt Drinnenberg, and performed by BLADE in 1985.

    Our Rocky Horror Song, © 1985, 2005 by Nolan B. Canova and Matt Drinnenberg

    And now ladies and gentlemen, ED Tucker contributes an in-depth review of a little-known cult film I actually remember seeing at a theater in the '60s! A very weird Mexican production simply entitled "Santa Claus" and has everything from wind-up reindeer to a scary devil/Lucifer character. So, without further ado, ED Tucker and "Santa Claus"...

    SANTA CLAUS (1960)
    A Film Retrospective
    By ED Tucker

    Kenneth Gordon Murray may not have created the Kiddie Matinee but he is certainly one of the foremost pioneers of the format. The flagship of his Childhood Productions distribution company was a 1959 Mexican holiday film, Santa Claus. K. Gordon Murray first released this Technicolor treat to American movie audiences in 1960 and would continue to haunt theaters at holiday time for the next fourteen years, using the exact same prints!

    Directed by South of the Border legend, Rene Cardona, this “modern” Kris Kringle was not your parent’s Santa Claus. In a bizarre amalgamation of folklore and Christian imagery, this Santa lives high in the clouds in a huge castle. Gone are the elves to make the toys but in their place (in a move that would later be copied by Cathy Lee Gifford among others) are child laborers from every land. The reindeer have also been replaced by clockwork duplicates that are more than a little creepy looking with their half exposed mechanisms. Santa has also enlisted the help of Merlin the Magician to keep him supplied with magic items to assist in his travels. In his upgraded arsenal, Santa now wields a key that can open any door, a flower that allows him to fly, and magic dust to knock out uncooperative children! This Santa makes one other significant deviation from tradition; he has an arch enemy that is none other than Satan!

    Apparently Satan is none to thrilled that Santa brings joy and happiness to children all over the world. He decides to send one of his demons, Pitch (who looks like he hopped right out of a drawing of Dante’s Inferno), to prevent Santa from making his rounds. Pitch is warned that if he fails he will be forced to eat chocolate ice cream (since everyone knows demons hate cold)! What follows is a completely surreal battle between the forces of good and evil, where logic is thrown out the window and the souls of children and a sleigh fill of toys are at stake!

    While definitely aimed at children, this depiction of Santa Claus is filled with one bizarre image after another. Santa lives in a sterile white palace and spies on kids with a weird device that combines a computer and a telescope with a speaking clown face (The Master Eye and Tele-Talker). Once on Earth, Satan’s little helper sets about tempting children to get them on the naughty list so they’ll miss out on Christmas. When Pitch convinces one group of junior thugs to throw a rock at a department store mannequin dressed as Santa, the rock hits the real Santa all the way up in the clouds.

    The main conflict between Satan and Santa is a young girl named Lupita. It seems her parents are so poor they can’t afford to buy her a doll for Christmas (apparently this financial hardship did not occur to them when they recently decided to have Lupita’s baby brother). Pitch tries repeatedly to tempt the poor girl to steal, despair, and generally lose faith in Christmas while he’s also wrecking havoc on Santa’s holiday rounds.

    Pitch’s mischief ranges from moving chimneys to heating up doorknobs and lighting fireplaces while Santa is on his way into homes. Santa seems to always get the upper hand though and in one scene, that would have parents today calling every consumer protection group in the country, Pitch gets stabbed in the posterior by a sharp missile fired from a child’s toy cannon (boy I sure wanted one of those as a kid!). His final prank lands Santa in a tree and out of magic gimmicks while being chased by a vicious dog, the police, the fire department, and an irate homeowner with a gun!

    In the days before electronic babysitters like video players and computer games, holiday matinees like this were Godsends to harried parents who still needed to shop for Christmas. Once paired with a dozen or so cartoons and a few Christmas themed short subjects (some produced by Murray himself), Santa Claus could easily be padded out into a three hour Yule tide orgy that kept the kiddies busy for a whole afternoon year after year.

    Murray re-released Santa Claus at least five times between 1960 and it’s last confirmed appearance in 1974. Depending on how carefully the print copies were monitored though, unscrupulous theater managers could have multiplied these showings many times over. Each year the advertising campaign was updated and modified just enough to convince unobservant parents and slower children that this was, in fact, a new film.

    I saw this film at least twice as a young child and while I am sure most of the occult and supernatural references were lost on me, the devil was still a pretty frightening character. When I was recently reunited with it through the bargain DVD bin at K-Mart (a holiday steal at only $1.99!), I realized just what a weird and unique piece of pop culture treasure this is. With the current social climate of trying to make Christmas a more generic or blended holiday, the notion of Santa Claus as an almost omnipotent being overshadowing the religious undertones seems strangely appropriate if not inevitable.

    A very merry Christmas and a happy new year to all the readers of the PCR. May the holidays bring you peace and joy but keep your Marx Big Bertha Howitzer loaded with needle sharp rockets just in case Satan tries to crash your Christmas party!  --ED Tucker

    Congratulations to Patty G. Henderson on the recent newspaper coverage of the release of her new mystery novel, "The Missing Page"!! Read all about it in the December 9th issue of The St. Pete Times here: http://www.sptimes.com/2005/12/09/Citytimes/Curl_up_with_local_bo.shtml

    Happy Birthday Wishes go out to Drew Reiber who turns 27 years old December 29th! (If I don't note it now, I'll forget it next week, for sure). Many Happy Returns!!

    From all of us at Crazed Fanboy.com and Nolan's Pop Culture Review, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  ---Nolan B. Canova

    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
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    "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    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2005 by Vinnie Blesi    "The Drow" is ©2005 by Dylan Jones    "Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2005 by Michael Scott    "Splash Page" is ©2005 by Brandon Jones    "My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2005 by Mark Terry.   All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
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