I thought it worth mentioning this personal detail just 'cuz, it's, you know, historic and everything. This month marks ten years I've been on the internet. Not just PCR (whose anniversary is technically next March), but on the internet at all !
I didn't get my first email address until December of 1999. I was a late-bloomer in computer-related affairs as I've noted here in the past (and friends continue to rib me about). The CrazedFanboy.com domain was registered at the same time, so although I've owned it for ten years, it was "parked", as they say, for about two more years while I fiddled around on AOL's webspace.
And believe it or not, none of those early moves were accomplished with my own machine. I wouldn't actually have an internet-capable computer of my own until early 2000 (although a friend lent me an under-powered "practice" model Windows 3.1 PC to get acquainted with).
My grand experiment has had its drawbacks and occasional catastrophes, of course, but that comes with any endeavor. Ultimately, however, it's been an interesting, exciting and very educational ride, I must admit.
POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2009
Since I'm not a big sports fan I blew this off initially, but now that it's become a MAJOR story, capturing headlines at least in part every day since it started, I can no longer ignore it.
I'm talking, of course, about the massive infidelity scandal that exposed celebrity golfer Tiger Woods as the horn-dog he is, and likely always was. If it was a Hollywood celebrity it wouldn't garner this much attention, nor would it if it had been a garden variety politician (well, OK, those do get juicy, too, on occasion). Every day for over a week, it seems, new women are coming forward to say they slept with Tiger.
It seems incongruous he's been voted athlete of the decade. He's lost almost all of his sponsors (Nike's hanging in there for a while), and Tiger himself has taken an "indefinite leave of absence" from golfing. Well, yeah, where's he gonna play where he isn't booed by the spectators and dogged by the press? Naturally, his marriage is wrecked, and his career may very well be irrecoverable.
I think the pertinent point is that he was seen as a family-friendly, all-American role model, easy to sponsor and promote, and put a face on golf that hasn't been seen since Jack Nicklaus. I wish him luck in this post-tribulation, because he's going to need it.
Ye Olde Editor certainly has his nose to the grindstone this month. Not only writing PCR's final year-end issues, but designing and testing the (hopefully) upgraded PCR for 2010! I've already experienced a time setback courtesy of my tree-trimming accident (covered in the last two issues of PCR), plus there have been shake-ups at work -- two employees were fired inside a week's time -- to where my web-development time is at a premium. Web videos have suffered the worst delays as website maintenance usually gets first priority. But I am doing the best I can and -- theoretically -- everything should be on schedule for 2010 regardless.
For many baby-boomers, the earliest recollection of "religious/inspirational" television likely consisted of Billy Graham (legendary Baptist preacher), Bishop Sheen (Catholic commentator), Norman Vincent Peale ("The Power of Positive Thinking"), Robert Schuller ("The Hour of Power"), Rex Humbard, Ernest Angley, and Oral Roberts. These last two, Angley and Roberts, fall under that most mystical of disciplines, the "faith-healer".
Oral Roberts, a pioneer in televangelism died this week at the age of 91 following bouts of heart disease and pneumonia.
Starting out his ministry with a typical traveling tent show, Roberts eventually televised his revivals in 1955 which attracted a large audience. He enlarged his traveling shows to become evangelical and faith-healing crusades, and was hired to speak at national and international meetings and conventions. Many people wanted his brand of healing. His televison appearances increased exponentially.
I've never been entirely sure how much Roberts (or any traveling religious showmen) bought into their own press, but he was notorious for claiming to get messages from God himself. He certainly knew what played to the public and used that to tremendous monetary advantage.
He founded Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1963, stating he was obeying a command from God. (PCR friend and noted author Chris Heyn attended Oral Roberts University in the '80s and actually met the man himself).
The two most publicized examples of Roberts' heavenly-communications-for-profit came in 1977 and 1987. In 1977, Roberts claimed to have had a vision from a 900-foot-tall Jesus who told him to build City of Faith Medical and Research Center, and the hospital would be a success. In 1987 during a fundraising drive, Roberts announced to a television audience that unless he raised $8 million by that March, God would "call him home," which some interpreted to imply suicide, but Roberts' critics determined was merely another fundraising stunt.
To be fair, Roberts was hardly unique to this brand of religious hucksterism, and I'm sure many people benefitted from the sheer energy of the revivalist format, as they have done for over a century.
He was a very important fixture in American pop culture and, for better or for worse, his influence was felt across the board. For that, he deserves a place in history.
Back in the early '60s, the only Wild West dramas I remember watching regularly were The Rifleman, Bat Masterson, and The Rebel. Later, I grew to like Gunsmoke and Bonanza OK, but they never got to me as much. Of course, I became completely being obsessed with The Wild Wild West. Those were the days.
Actor Gene Barry played dashing lawman Bat Masterson as the suave and debonair counterpart to Chuck Conners' more rough-hewn Rifleman (although in the history of the universe there has never been a badder bad-ass with a rifle than Lucas McCain! But I digress...).
Born Eugene Klass in New York City, Gene Barry had a slew of steady work in movies and the stage before landing the plum role of Dr. Clayton Forrester in George Pal's classic 1953 sci-fi epic War of the Worlds, another baby-boomer treasure. (Barry later made a cameo appearance in Steven Spielberg's 2005 War of the Worlds, along with his 1953 co-star Ann Robinson.)
I was thrilled to see Gene Barry in action once again as Bat Masterson in the 1991 Kenny Rogers vehicle The Gambler Returns: Luck of the Draw with Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp and Chuck Connors as The Rifleman!
Of course, this is only a personal remembrance and not intended as an exhaustive history. I know Barry was in notable '60s dramas like The Name of the Game and Burke's Law (for which he won a 1965 Golden Globe), but to me he will always be Bat Masterson.
Gene Barry died earlier this week at the age of 90. Barry is a favorite of baby-boomers everywhere, is one of too many TV pioneers we're losing as time marches on, and will indeed by sorely missed.
January. New Year's Eve must've been overly taxing for the PCR staff who seem to be anywhere but here, as only me, Mike, and ED are here to usher in the new year. Mike resurrects "My Favorite Films" as a special section for The Rant. For the first time, adjustments are made to the Message Board as the old Florida Filmmakers thread is deleted due to lack of use, and a new Video Game section is introduced---which is barely used. Oh well, it was worth a try. The biggest story locally for January is the closing of The Tampa Film Review, a five-year-old institution. The organizers, the Brothers Guzzo, felt they had taken it as far as they could and were moving on. On a personal note, I had never had anything like a root canal done and this month I had TWO. Yikes. Cult filmmaker Ray Dennis Steckler passes away and Coach Jon Gruden is fired from the Bucs. The biggest story nationally is, of course, the swearing in of America's first black President, Barrack Obama. He was controversial going in and still is. His past associations and current Health Care initiatives would dominate and polarize Capitol Hill all year. February. As analog TV is experiencing one last reprieve before the transition to digital, champion swimmer Michael Phelps is caught on tape smoking dope. He wouldn't be the first and certainly not the last athlete caught in scandal in '09. As staff writer Terence Nuzum summarizes the Top 20 albums of 2008, And ED Tucker's Retrorama gets an upgrade to the new posting system, the 81st Academy Awards shake things up in Tinsletown. Two words: "Slumdog Millionaire". Robert Quarry "Count Yorga" passes away. March. I get to meet cult filmmaker William Grefé at the Gasparilla Film Festival. Legendary news commentator Paul Harvey passes away. I re-introduce The World of Nolan online web video series with the best of intentions to keep up with it. Naturally, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. At least I got two of 'em off the ground and started my first YouTube uploads. The first is just a minute-long intro. The second would come in April. I begin to discover Retro TV by way of my digital decoder, and Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston call off their engagement. It wouldn't be the last we'd hear of Levi, by far. As ED Tucker recalls MegaCon '09, I diss the "Serpent of Borneo" photo hoax. Radioactive Television re-launches on Crazed Fanboy with the premiere of Chris Woods' "Spaventare" -- Ye Olde Editor is featured in an introduction. As our country reels from the economic collapse, one bank after another continues to close. There wouldn't be much good news for months. April. The court battle over ownership rights to Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine is finally settled (winner: Phil Kim) as reported in Matt's Rail. Although it ends on that upbeat note, sadly, it would be Matt's final column for PCR. The second World of Nolan web video is produced and uploaded and features an in-depth discussion about the then newly-released Watchmen movie. Record producer Phil Spector is convicted of murder and porno star Marilyn Chambers is found dead at 56 (the two stories are not related). Lisa Scherer, Terence Nuzum and I head off to Orlando's F/X Con to meet up with ED Tucker and company and hopefully also score a close encounter with Leonard "Spock" Nimoy. That hope is dashed as news flashes advise us of the $65 autograph fee. But I got close enough to see him anyway. As PCR columnist Brandon Jones becomes more involved with politics, State of the Nation is created, our first entirely political forum. Criticism started almost immediately, but I defended it and would for months. Indie Film News changes hands as Paul Guzzo leaves us to pursue a book-writing assignment, and Lisa Scherer now becomes our official indie film reporter. May. Star Trek, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Angels & Demons, and Terminator Salvation start off the summer movie season. We lose Dom DeLuise, original Munchkin Mickey Carroll, and are seeing Farrah Fawcett slowly waste away from cancer. I rediscover The Outer Limits via "THiS TV" and review "The Soldier". It Came From The PO Box resurrects this month with my review of "Katchoo" from Shocker Toys. June. As Conan O'Brien takes over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno, news surfaces that Kung Fu star David Carradine is found dead in the Orient, apparently of erotic asphyxiation. Carradine was into some kinky things, it seems. It Came From the PO Box again surfaces with a review of The Great Kat's Shreddin' the Classics. I retune my digital decoder because this time it's necessary: all TV stations have stopped broadcasting analog signals. We are now a digital country. Encouraged and inspired by his work on State of the Nation, Brandon Jones brings back Splash Page, his old pop culture column. This is welcomed by the PCR staff who are increasingly irritated by his political column. Mike Smith reviews an independent film (The Graduates), the only time he has done so. The celebrity death toll rises by leaps and bounds as we lose Farah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, and Michael Jackson all in the same week. For fans of traditional photography, Kodak's announcement of the end of Kodachrome production signals the end of yet another era.
Next Week: The Year That Was, Part Two -- July through December. An armed robbery, more celebrity deaths, we gain two new columnists, we ask why everything sucks now, we lose an old columnist.
Plus, the year's final (and only) Lettercol, and....The PCR Graveyard of Fallen Columns! Be here.