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PCR #476 (Vol. 10, No. 19). This edition is for the week of May 4--10, 2009.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! So sorry for the delay. Extra innings last night and this old body doesn't recover as quickly as it once did. Shall we begin?

"Star Trek"  by Mike Smith
Summer Movie Preview by Mike Smith
Glen and Randa  by ED Tucker
Movie Marathon Begins .... Instead I’d Recommend .... Our Nation Gets The Flu .... Make The Fed Be Transparent .... TARP Not $700 Billion, But 3.5 Trillion?... Enemy of State: Ted Stevens .... One-Hit Wonders  by Brandon Jones
Nfl Network’s Top 10 Home Field Advantages .... Cowboy Tragedy .... Two Faces .... Coyotes Moving .... The Richest F**k Up! .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
You Can Dance If You Want To .... Fly By Night .... This Hurts .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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Hat's off to 17 year old Tyler Frost. Frost, a student at the Heritage Christian School in Findlay, Ohio has been threatened with suspension if he accompanies his girlfriend, who attends public high school, to her prom. The school considers music and dancing sinful. In fact, the school handbook describes rock and roll thusly: (Rock and roll) "is part of the counterculture which seeks to implant seeds of rebellion in young people's hearts and minds." Oooh, scary.

Prior to the school year, Frost signed a "statement of cooperation" agreeing to obey school rules. Findlay High School requires students from other schools attending the prom to get a signature from their principal, which Frost did. At the time he received the signature he was told that if he attended the dance he would be suspended. If he drank alcohol or had sex he would be expelled. Dude, if you're going to get into trouble you may as well go for the Full Monty. Here's the number to the Quality Inn there in Findlay - (419) 423-4303 - use my name to make a reservation...most people do.

This sounds like a movie. From 1984. Speaking of "Footloose," am I the only one that wondered why, in a town where dancing was forbidden, every kid in that town danced better then Kevin Bacon at the end?

Remember that nasty little joke Air Force One played on New York City two weeks ago when it decided to buzz lower Manhattan without notifying the mayor, presumably for a "photo shoot" of the plane flying by the Statue of Liberty? Well the guy that authorized that little stunt has now joined the ranks of the unemployed. Not only that but the photos, which cost an estimated $328,835 to take, will not be released to the public. Let's see....they wanted a cool publicity shot of Air Force One and the Statue of Liberty and now that they've got it (presumably) they won't release them. I smell coverup. Perhaps the photographer left his lens cap on.

I have two words for the Obama administration: PHOTO SHOP. Remember after 9/11 there was a photo circulating of a man purportedly taken on top of one of the World Trade Center Buildings with a plane approaching. You can find the photo by going to the 2001 Archives and finding issue #81, or just click here:


I STILL love the one with the Staypuft Marshmallow Man!

Perhaps the boss can reproduce the photos here.

Anyway, this was done almost 8 years ago. Do you mean to tell me they can't mock up a shot of a plane and the Statue of Liberty? 300 grand! Our tax dollars at work.

While researching back issues for the above link (or photos if Nolan has worked his magic) I came across this blurb by Terance, who was writing a review for "Ghost World":

"First off, I do not write movie reviews---or for that matter, I usually don't read them either. They are usually written by some guy or some teenage kid who never quite made the jump to actually making their own films.

As an AWARD WINNING filmmaker in high school (I still have the award) I await my apology! :-)

Jack Cardiff, British filmmaker widely regarded as one of the greatest cinematographers of all time, died recently in England. He was 94. Cardiff began his film career as an actor, appearing in silent films of the 1920s. He graduated behind the camera in 1929, where he started out as the "clapper boy" on various productions. He worked his way up through various camera departments and finally got his first work as cinematographer in 1935. Among his best known films as DP: Black Narcissis, The Red Shoes, The African Queen, War and Peace, Death on the Nile, Ghost Story and Tai Pan. He eventually graduated to directing. Some of his films: The Story of William Tell, Sons and Lovers, and Young Cassidy, which is a favorite of Martin Scorsese. Mr. Cardiff received three Oscar nominations for his DP work, winning the award for "Black Narcissis." He also earned a directing Oscar nomination for "Sons and Lovers." In 2001 he received an honorary Academy Award for his body of work.

Ken Annakin, writer and director of some of Disney's earliest classics, died from complications suffered by a stroke. He too was 94. Walt Disney was so pleased with his work on 1960s "Swiss Family Robinson" that he asked him to do several episodes of televisions' "Disneyland." Among his best known films as director: "The Longest Day" (Director's Guild Nomination), "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (Academy Award nomination for his screenplay) and "The Battle of the Bulge." And, no, he was not the inspiration to George Lucas for Anakin Skywalker.

Dom Deluise hiliarously funny character actor and celebrity chef died this week from kidney failure. He was 75. After getting his start in local television in the early 1950s, Deluise moved on to episodic television, appearing in such shows as "The Munsters," "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." and "The Dean Martin Summer Show," which led to him getting his own variety series in 1968. In 1970 he began his association with Mel Brooks when he appeared in the director's "The Twelve Chairs." He teamed with Brooks again in "Blazing Saddles," "Silent Movie," "History of the World Part I," "Spaceballs" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." He also starred in the film "Fatso" directed by Brooks' wife, Anne Bancroft. He appeared in many popular comedies in the 1970s and 80s, often teaming up with good friend Burt Reynolds. One of those films, 1982's "The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas," showcased a sining/dancing Deluise as crusader Melvin P. Thorpe. Another favorite role of mine was in "The End," where he delivers one of my favorite movie lines. As Burt Reynolds runs off, Deluise shouts, "That man's nuts! Grab 'im! I don't know if it's the way he delivers the line or his look after he says it, but just thinking about it now is making me smile. An accomplished chef, Deluise published two cook books. He voiced two very popular animated characters, Itchy in the "All Dogs Go To Heaven" series and Tiger the Cat in the "American Tail" films and videos. In 1979 he directed the Crazed Fanboy Favorite "Hot Stuff." He was married to actress Carol Arthur (she was the school teacher who wrote the letter to the Governor in "Blazing Saddles), and had three sons, Peter, Michael and David, all actors who have been regulars on episodic television. The three boys and their dad appeared together in such shows as "Seaquest DSV" and "Third Rock From the Sun."

James David Oyer, all around great kid, died this week after a long, courageous battle with cancer. He was 28. I first met Jimmy when he would visit the theatre I worked at and where his sister, Julie, was an employee. He later came to work for me as well and I was proud when both Julie and he were promoted to assistant managers. Jimmy eventually became an EMT and was also the drummer in a band. I used to tease him he should name his band "Boo, you suck," so that they would think people were chanting their name when they played. He is survived by his wife, family and friends who will miss him very much. About his illness, Jimmy once said "There is always hope, even in the end there is always hope."


Planet of the Apes
Starring: Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall
Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

FIRST SEEN: Morton Grove Public Library, Morton Grove, Illinois.

FAVORITE LINE: Isn't it everyones? "Get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty apes!"


1969 Honorary Academy Award for Makeup - this was only the second award given for makeup. The category was not recognized regularly until 1981.

1969 Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Original Score

Have you ever gone to the zoo and watched the apes? Swinging on tires or just staring back at you, you probably think "boy they have a good life." Really? Have you ever wanted to trade places with them? That is basically the premise of "Planet of the Apes." A group of four astronauts prepare their ship for re-entry, ending a six month mission. However, something goes wrong and when the ship crashes the astronauts find themselves on a bizarre world....one dominated by Apes!

The backstory of "POTA" is as fascinating as the film itself. Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, who also wrote the classic book "Bridge on the River Kwai." In fact, Boulle won an Oscar for adapting his book for the big screen, even though he didnt write the screenplay. It was actually written by Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, two writers who were blacklisted at the time the film was released. "POTA" the film was written by well known television writer Rod Serling, who adapted the novel to fit the big screen. Serling's main contribution to the film was it's climactic ending. In the novel, the main astronaut escapes and lands back in Paris (remember, Boulle was French) only to find the Eiffel Tower surrounded by apes. Had he ever left? The film ends ----SPOILER ALERT---- when Taylor (Heston) heads down the beach on horseback, he comes across the devestated remains of the Statue of Liberty. Whoa!

The casting of the film is just as unusual. Originally Edgar G. Robinson was slated to play head orangutain Dr. Zaius, and even went so far as to shoot a make up test with Heston and a young actor named James Brolin. The test is available on the DVD "Beyond the Planet of the Apes." This DVD was originally available on the "Apes" boxed set but I believe you can order it seperately now. I highly recommend it as one of the best back story DVDs of all time, containing great information on all of the films and television shows. Because of his age and heart condition, Robinson did not think it would be wise to spend so much time in makeup and passed on the project. He did end up working with Heston in what would be his last film, "Soylent Green." With Heston still a go in the lead, Maurice Evans, probably best known to American audiences as Elizabeth Montgomery's father on "Bewitched," took the part of Zaius. Roddy McDowall was cast as Cornelius. A note here: though James Brolin played a "Dr. Cornelius" in the make up test shot, it is not known if he was ever offered or even considered for the role. For the final lead role, that of Zira, the first choice was Ingrid Bergman. After much consideration she passed, though she later told her daughter she regretted the decision for two reasons. One, she would have erased the somewhat "regal" image she had in films and, two, she very much wanted to work with Heston. However, the role went to another Oscar winning actress, Kim Hunter.

The impact the film had on audiences is quite easy to understand. Even I, as a 12 year old boy, gave the premise great thought after I saw it. The film was released during the high point of the American civil rights movement (in fact, the film opened the day before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated). The message of one part of a society keeping another part in an almost slave-like environment was not lost on the audience or reviewers. As the film series progressed, these topics were re-visited again and again.

There were a total of five "Ape" films ("POTA," "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," "Escape from the Planet of the Apes," "Escape from the Planet of the Apes," "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" and "Battle for the Planet of the Apes." Of the actors invovled in the series, Roddy McDowall appeared in the most films, four. (Cornelius was played by David Watson in "Beneath.") He also starred in the CBS television series.

The film was "re-imagined" by director Tim Burton in 2001 to mixed reviews from fans, many of whom were upset by Burton's ending, which was very close to Boulle's original ending in the novel. The fans were happy to see Heston and Linda Hamilton (Nova) make cameo appearances. I personally found it funny that Heston played the only ape that possessed a gun, seeing he was head of the National Rifle Association at the time. I had the genuine pleasure of interviewing Ms. Hamilton several years ago for the PCR. If you haven't already, give it a read:


Next week, in honor of the opening of the new "Star Trek" film, I'll take a look at what is still the best of the bunch, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2009 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 ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.