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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2008!
   Assistant Editor / Co-Moderator:  Terence Nuzum.                                                   HOME       ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our ninth calendar year!
Number 427  (Vol. 9, No. 22). This edition is for the week of May 26--June 1, 2008.

"The Strangers"
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee: The Monkees on Record, Part 1
Book Review: Waiting For Agnes  by Joe Bullard
Rays Best in Baseball ... Iraq Kicked Out Of Soccer League ... There’s No Replaying in Baseball!.. Big Brown, Triple Crown? ... Congrats Lakers Congrats Celts
So Long Harvey .... Dick Martin .... Happy Birthday New Fm .... o
Sorry We Kicked Your Ass In Softball! .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1972 Should Have Gone To... o

Dick Martin....Sydney Pollack....Earle Hagen....Harvey Korman
We Say Goodbye To "Filmlook", For Now
Scott McClellan's Tell-All Book on Bush
Readers Comments

I wish to acknowledge the recent sad passings of Dick Martin, 86, Sydney Pollack, 73, Earle Hagen, 88, and Harvey Korman, 81. Rare talents who will be sorely missed.

Dick Martin, along with Dan Rowan pioneered comedy television in the '60s with the inimitable Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, the trippy template from which many later shows would (IMHO) derive their inspiration, like, say, Saturday Night Live. (Of course, I'm not ignoring the fact that Groove Tube and Second City Television also had something to do with that!)

I confess that, at the time, I'd never heard of the comedy team of Rowan and Martin until the premiere of Laugh-In. I later learned they had been a stand-up act of some duration even making some low-budget comedies in the '50s.

Rowan played the straight man and the voice of reason to contrast Martin's non-sequitur, nonsensical and downright weird-but-hilarious view on life.

The 60 minutes of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In made Monday nights bearable during my school years and I was heartbroken when it was finally cancelled in the early '70s. (Hee-Haw, which played the timeslot after it, I was initially turned off by, but grew to like its looney view of country pop culture.)

Letters to the Editor Two notable pieces of Laugh-In lore I witnessed first-hand were, 1. the first TV appearance of Tiny Tim following weeks of announcements, and 2., the cameo of President Richard Nixon saying, "Sock it to me?" glibly parroting a popular running line on the show.

Dick Martin went on to become a successful television director, and frequently appeared on Bob Newhart's show, Newhart.

Sydney Pollack. The first time I remember Syndey Pollack to associate him with a movie was 1969's They Shoot Horses Don't They, about the Depression and marathon dancing, which starred Michael Sarrazin, who later became Frankenstein's monster in a TV movie (Frankenstein: The True Story). HAHA, what an association, eh?

Pollack was an amazing director, responsible for so many Oscar-nominated/winning films such as Tootsie (in which he also acted along with cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman), The Firm, The Way We Were, and Out of Africa (for which he won 2 Oscars).

He was diagnosed with cancer about 9 months ago and was taken from us way too early.

Earle Hagen may be unknown to most people, but older baby-boomers like myself might remember his music credit on the old Andy Griffith Show. Turns out he not only wrote the main theme song, but was himself the whistler!

As a young man he was a featured player with big bands like Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Ray Noble. On the road with Noble in 1939 he wrote "Harlem Nocturne", a tribute to Duke Ellignton and Johnny Hodges that later became the theme song for Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.

He is also responsible for scoring the original Make Room for Daddy and won an Emmy for his work on I Spy. Need more? How about The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, Eight is Enough and The Mod Squad?

He was a man who definitely captured the ambience of an era (kind of like I think of Vince Guaraldi). I can't get The Andy Griffith Show theme out of my head now. I'm sure he loved to hear things like that.

News of the passing of Harvey Korman at 81 came in just as I was putting PCR "to bed" for this week.

Legendary for his contributions to The Carol Burnett Show and movies like Blazing Saddles, Korman was the ultimate second-banana. Attempts to star in his own series proved unsuccessful as he really was best at reacting. Like his legendary sketches with Tim Conway on the Burnett Show, so popular as to inspire a touring act featuring the two gentlemen, Korman will be best remembered as the husband, partner, ne'er-do-well, brother-in-law or store-owner, than the star performer, but in that he became as big and well-loved as any star could be.

Like so many of his contemporaries who saw Hollywood in its classic era, Harvey Korman consistently defined a quality style and he will be sorely missed.

We Say Goodbye To Paul Guzzo's Filmlook, For Now...
For well over a year, Paul Guzzo has been a valued member of the PCR writing staff, contributing in-depth stories for his column, Filmlook, which focused on Bay area filmmaking and on Tampa history in general. He also has been diligent in updating the Indie Film News every Thursday.

While we all know Paul is talented, his abilities have recently been noticed by someone outside our sphere who wants to employ him in another way. What follows is Paul's personal announcement. ---Nolan

I have good news and bad news for PCR readers ... well, for some it may be good news and good news, and for others it may be bad news and good news.

I have been commissioned to write former Mayor Dick Greco's memoirs. When you add this new job on top of my duties at La Gaceta Newspaper and my work as a filmmaker, I unfortunately will not be able to continue by column here at PCR. As most of you already notice, I currently only publish a column every three to four weeks. With this new writing job, I don't even see myself being able to publish a column that frequently. I have too much respect for this website and the other columnists to publish on an even less frequent basis. I will, however, continue to update my Indie Film News every week.

I thank Nolan for the opportunity to publish my work on his website for the past year and a half.

Paul Guzzo

Paul, the pleasure has been mine, my friend, in providing a forum with which to share your stories and insight. I sincerely wish you the best of luck with this new endeavor, and am grateful you'll be continuing to update Indie Film News. I'll hold out hope for the possibility that someday you can return to these hallowed halls with Filmlook, or any other column idea, so know the door is always open for you here at PCR. We'll be ready when you are.

Scott McClellan's Tell-All Book Bashes Bush Best
I'm sure you've all heard this by now, but I'd love some reactions. Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan published a Bush-bashing tell-all book that has his former gov't cronies hopping mad. The book, lovingly titled, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception (officially on-sale June 1st, but advance copies have shown up all over) basically paints all of them as charlatans and liars who, among other things, manipulated data to rush us into a pointless war with Iraq. I first read the story on AOL, but all news agencies are climbing the walls with this. Unprepared for the firestorm(?), now McClellan's being a little defensive and seems poised to do some back-peddling.

To me, he's just one of many to come who'll be writing and publishing books and memoirs about their days in this administration, to say nothing of historians who'll be, you know, judging Bush in retrospect and such. The thing with McClellan is A.) I think he wanted to beat everybody to the punch with a Bush administration tell-all book, and B.) just in case everyone else mentions him in their tell-all books, McClellan wants his rather apologetic version to be accepted prima facia.

"Apologetic"? Well, kinda. He'll say something in the book to the effect of "those lying bastards manipulated us all into going to war," and follow it up with, "Yeah, I know I was one of 'em, and I was all for it, and I publicly supported going to war BUT THAT'S BECAUSE THEY TRICKED ME! THEY TRICKED ALL OF US!"

The book's full of references like these. He's harshest on Bush himself, yet weirdly affectionate in other respects. Painting Bush as a sincere and earnest politician who, unfortunately, has problems with getting the facts straight by learning new things (called "lack of inquisitiveness" in the book), and was himself the victim of misinformation (by the lying CIA, of course), yet proceeded into war throwing caution to the wind is not only slow-witted, but dangerously reckless and disheartening to confirm. (Apparently, Bush didn't know, nor particularly care that the Muslims were divided into Shiites and Sunnis. They were just "all them Muslims over there".) There are also case summaries of what happened during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath and the Valerie Plame leak.

OK, OK, so we all knew Dubya was never the sharpest tool in the shed, but the question I have is what does McClellan have to gain with all this? I have only read extended excerpts from the book and perused a few of the gov't reactions, but to me, it doesn't look like so much a revelatory tome as it does the work of a possibly disgruntled former employee jockeying for his position in history.

A Message Board thread has been started on this topic. Please post your thoughts, as well.

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section for this issue of PCR is now closed. To continue to interact, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor! The comments below are listed starting with the most recent. Thank you.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
Michael [30-05-2008 22:15] 
Wow, Harvey Korman. Truly, along with Art Carney and Don Knotts, one of television's greatest second bananas. I'll be commenting on his passing in this week's Rant, as well as the Double-Star Trek loss of composer Alexander Courage and director Joseph Pevney.
matthew [30-05-2008 17:19] 
wow. sorry to see you go Paul, but under the circumstances, i guess WOWZA is more appropriate. big time congrats on your newest endeavor.

also must pour out some much deserved love to Ed Tucker and his Monkees rundown. already read it twice. will more than likely read it again. and really looking forward to next week. great idea, and great work.

Paul Guzzo [30-05-2008 08:31] 
Some of my fondest childhood memories were watching Carol Burnett with my parents. I'd get SOOOO excited when the show came on, and LOVED the animated sweeping scene more than anything else on television ... I was a kid, gimme a break!

Carol Burnett Show with its cast, specifically Harvey Korman, was one of, if not THE, greatest showcases of sketch comedy ever. I just loved it as a kid.

Wasn't the Muppet Show on before or after? What an hour of childhood television! Immediately after, though, it was always time for little Paulie Guzzo to go to bed.
ED [30-05-2008 07:15] 
That is very sad about Harvey Korman. He was a great comedian and was absolutely fantastic in his films with Mel Brooks. Don't forget his very first feature film was in 1961 in Herschell Gordon Lewis's Living Venus!
Paul Guzzo [30-05-2008 06:52] 
Thanx Steve ... it's about a 2 year job I figure - one year to interview and write and it takes about 10 - 12 months for the publishing to be complete.
Nolan [30-05-2008 06:20] 
R.I.P. Harvey Korman at 81. I just added some thoughts on his passing to this week's issue.
Michael [30-05-2008 04:17] 
Thanks Brandon. I think when I review a film I'm a lot "nicer" then I should be just because, hey, they made a film and I didn't. However, when a bad movie comes around I have no problem jumping on it. I can honestly say that I made better films on 16 mm in high school then "The Strangers!"

Thanks also, Steve, for the kind words. I am indeed a lucky guy!

ED, great first installment. I got your email and I'll be sending you the album titles you requested.

Baseball and a weekend company function are delaying the Rant this week but I'll get to it as soon as I can.
terence [29-05-2008 20:32] 
if you havent seen, loved, breathed, and gave your soul to Jodorowsky's films El Topo included then you dont have much to say in the way of midnight movie or cult knowledge.
Steve Beasley [29-05-2008 19:38] 
Mike & Juanita's trip to NY was a great read! I think I probably would have risked geeting booted off Letterman and shown the sign....but my attitude may explain my station inlife. Always in trouble with someone. Congrats again, on the marriage. Juanita, Mike is a lucky dude!

Paul, congrats on your new writing gig! I will definetely be buying the Greco bio as soon as it's available!
Brandon [29-05-2008 18:05] 
Good to see mike trash a film.

No offense Mike, I love your reviews, usually agree - but there are more 1-2 star films .

What did Mike give INDY 4, just checking
Brandon [29-05-2008 18:00] 
Andy you're simply missing out.

Drop of reference of some golden oldie that most of us have seen and in the end, so what. We've seen it. We're watching something else right now - it's pretty damn good. Too bad you can't/won't / don't relate.

Watching BSG or LOST hasn't tainted out love of El Topo one bit. Sorry, you may not have seen that yet.
Lonnie Dohlen [29-05-2008 14:32]  
To Andy you're right.There's not enough CULT FILMS ON TV ANYMORE. To Ed,ARISTA Records started issuing the Monkees 1st 4 Albums on CASSETTE.What I did was I put HEADQUARTERS & FIECES,AQUARIUIS,JONES,ETC on on CD-R.I kept the original inside Booklet with the Guys,Except Davy,with their Beards.BTW Hank Ciaclo was the writer for "NO TIME".
Puff Chrissy [29-05-2008 12:40] 
PAUL: Though it takes a while to show its true colors, LOST is probably one of the most complicated and interesting sci-fi shows on television.

You have time travel, dimensions, strange viruses, some kind of creature, ghosts, pirate ships, underwater bases, a countdown clock that needs to be constantly reset or the world ends...yeah, it's sci-fi.
J.MILLER [29-05-2008 10:37] 
Speaking of tv...Did anyone hear NBC's doing a weekly horror show?..
Paul Guzzo [29-05-2008 10:23] 
Isn't LOST kinda sci fi?
Odds [29-05-2008 09:57] 
Here's a question to all those TV watchers out there: Why support a "medium" (ha!ha!) that abandoned genuine fandom decades ago? This goes for both broadcast & cable companies. When's the last time you saw a worthwhile horror/sci-fi film aired on UPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and all those other 3-letter turkeys?

USA Networks once proudly aired Commander USA's Groovie Movies back in the day - and what are they offering you now? Reruns of 'Law and Odor'? And what about those commercials that rob you out of life's minutes?

Honestly, guys, you should utilize the boob tube for one purpose and one purpose only: to play back cult movies from your VHS or DVD players.
Lisa C [29-05-2008 08:43] 
I borrowed seasons 1-3 of LOST from my sister-in-law. I haven't watched any of season 4, currently on. My hubby didn't have the patience for it and gave up after about two episodes. My sis-in-law obviously likes it a lot and I LOVE the show. LOST is amazing, frustrating, brilliant, addictive, confusing, gut-wrenching, mind-boggling, ground-breaking, infuriating, mesmerizing TV.

Now I want to go back and watch the older episodes again. Paul, hurry up and watch 'em so I can borrow your DVD sets. :)
Paul Guzzo [29-05-2008 07:57] 
Yeah, it looks awesome ... ok, Puff, you seem to have a level head ... you convinced me., DVD box set it is! I'm off to sell blood!
Puff Chrissy [29-05-2008 07:31] 
Yes, Paul. I'd call LOST the best show on television.
Paul Guzzo [29-05-2008 07:27] 
Ok, question ... I have NEVER watched Lost. Mostly because when it started I didn't have DVR or TiVO and I am too busy to watch the same show every week without it ... have I missed something? Is the show as good as it sounds? Is it worth me purchasing the DVD set and catching up?!?!
Michael [28-05-2008 22:35] 
Wow! Sorry to see you go, Paul. Keep in touch and we'll see you around the water cooler!
Chris Woods [28-05-2008 19:56] 
Very cool, Paul. Congrats on the memoirs.
Terence [28-05-2008 19:07] 
DRAGOON did not go up as per usual on Wednesday. but it will be up as soon as its all finished. it gets bloody this week! hope you guys enjoy it!
Lisa C [28-05-2008 17:51] 
After reading about the deaths of Dick Martin and Sydney Pollack, I panicked for a split second when I read "we say goodbye to Paul Guzzo..." For a minute there, I thought that announcement was going in a totally different direction!!

Paul, congrats on your new writing job! You're a true professional.
Anytime you miss writing for PCR, you're welcome to write up something and email it to me to post here under my name (and take all the credit for myself, of course).
JMILLER [28-05-2008 12:55] 
Paul congrats on your new gig!
Paul Guzzo [28-05-2008 12:22] 
Thank you for the kind words. It has been an honor to showcase my articles on your website.
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2008 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro    "Retrorama" is ©2008 by ED Tucker    "Sports Talk" is ©2008 by Chris Munger    "DRAGOON" is ©2008 by Terence Nuzum and John Miller      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova    
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