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Number 74 (Vol 2, No. 34).  This edition is for the week of August 20--26, 2001.
Short, but good, issue this week!

We've had a really good run of terrific issues of PCR over the summer. Lots of good fan writing. Lots of good movie talk, movie lists, movie and TV gossip, everything. I'm very pleased.

It's kind of surprising when you reach one of those weeks where nothing much happened (fan-wise) and you're facing the computer (typewriter in the old days) and nothing's really happening creatively. It happens to me 3 or 4 times a year or so. But, so far, it always passes. After a prolonged dead period last spring, for example, I suddenly...er...sprung back into action, writing something I was excited about in this section every week all summer.

Some of my writers have experienced some changes. Lisa Zubek (Lisa's Lambast) has been pursuing a news-anchor career. Now she's dealing with a slight detour: she just called the other day and informed me she's among some finalists scheduled to appear on "The Weakest Link"!! LOL! I'll keep you posted. In any event, she's not in a position to contribute any "Lisa's Lambasts" for a while (altho I told her she'd better do up a good one on the behind-the-scenes of The Weakest Link!).

Mike "Deadguy" Scott, long a prolific and stalwart contributor, is changing jobs. We likely won't hear from him until that business has settled. BUT...we were/are(?)..getting close to intiating some serious ghost-hunter/buster shenanigans. Possibly for TV specials as well as a new website. I'll keep you posted on that, too. Which brings me to....

I'm back at Public Access TV. My UFO "partner", Malcolm Hathorne, was suspended for the rest of the summer season (don't ask) and his show was canceled. I did some soul-searching and decided to start dubbing my old programs onto the new digital format they've installed (Panasonic DVCPro for all you tech-heads out there), which has proven to be slighly more problematical than I would've thought. But, long story-short, I will persevere and, hopefully, finally get my old "World of Nolan" shows back up, not to mention the long-suffering re-mix of "The Horror Writer". And then...and then....MORE ORIGINAL EPISODES of each. It's actually quite exciting.

Will Moriaty and his new "La Floridiana" columns have been a real success. Will is a diligent writer and I get his columns over a week ahead! LOL! It's a surprisingly popular stop for readers--I would've thought these trinkets of local folklore would be lost on non-Floridians (or non-Tampans). Well, I think they are, but a large percentage of my readership is ex-Florida! And, besides, people everywhere get a kick out of seeing how "the other half" lives/lived. Another excellent installment of La Floridiana immediately follows this column. I remain extremely grateful to have Will aboard.

And I would be remiss in my reverie if I didn't credit my two original god-sends, here from the get-go; the most regular and loyal and GREAT column-writers ever: Mike Smith and Matt Drinnenberg. I couldn't have made it without them. Don't forget to check out "Matt's Rail", this issue, following La Floridiana, where Matt chalks up his list of the Top Ten Best Movie Sequels of all time!

La Floridiana by William Moriaty LOCAL TELEVISION FROM THE 70's AND 80's IN TAMPA      by William Moriaty
In previous installments La Floridiana, we reviewed Florida Folk Heroes, The "Big 3" TV networks local news shows and, last week, we reviewed local television horror shows and their hosts.
This week:  TACKY TV ADS

For all y'all born north of the Mason-Dixon line, it may be of surprise to you to learn that Florida was the fourth state to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. This act of Civil War (or to the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" fan, "Wah between the States!") rebellion would live on into the present with a sizable proportion of this state's population still espousing their Southern support by sporting such gems as the "Hell No I Ain't Forgittin!" bumper sticker.
   Florida, particularly in its northern and rural areas, never lost its Southern flavor, and this was no secret to the advertising gurus who jammed the airwaves with their wily wares throughout the 60's, 70's, and mid-80's. Sales people with Southern drawls (usually of a South Georgia/Alabama or North Florida vein---Ogeeche and Tidewater are too sophisticated for us, and a Tennessee twang only sounds real in Tennessee) made their rounds on local Florida TV stations for years sellings cars, used auto parts, T.V.'s, farm and lawn equipment, building supplies, and easy credit (some persist today such as "Jeb" and "Eb" with First Choice Auto Finance). So let's take a nostalgic look at the soulfully Southern--and terminally tacky--T.V. ads broadcast in the Tampa Bay area throughout the 70's and 80's.
"Tahs ain't prettay-- when they stop, you stop-- when they go, you go-- but ya need tahs, and ya need 'em cheap!" If anybody in advertising knew their target market, it was Allied Discount Tires in the early 80's. With a good ol' boy announcer from Alabama with the last name of Bahr, Allied quickly propelled itself as a leading tire dealer in Florida, largely due to the hump and get-it-down home-style ads by Bahr. Not to be outdone, a competing Florida tire dealer, Tire Kingdom, featured ads with its president dressed up as pre-1700s British royalty-- never was quite as compelling and convincing as "Allahd Discount Tahs" tho. I've seen my share of regionally-produced T.V. ads and this was about as good as it ever got (made me wanna sing "Dixie" and slap myself silly).
Now there was a real man! This sucker was such a real (or real stoo-pid as you read on) man, that he a commissioned a hit-list with Muhammar Khadafy to get whacked! Mr. Stimus would scream at the camera while jumping up and down and tearing price placards to shreds in the following manner--
   "This 1979 Dodge Dart WAS $3,700, we're slaaashiing that price--RRRRRIIIIIIIIIPPPPPP!--down to just $2,995!"
As enjoyable as Stimus' show-biz schtick was, were his guest celebrities. He would feature wrestler Dusty ("the American Dream baby") Rhodes who would exclaim, "If you don't buy from Tom Thtimus, you got a hole in yo thole!" There was also the fat-bellied Southern sheriff from the old Dodge ads of the 60's who "arrested" Tom Stimus while fretting the following "Tom Stahmus, yo a menace to society!" A mainstay on independent stations Channels 28 and 44, Tom Stimus and his dealerships, so big during most of the 80's, seemingly vanished not long after the Khadify contact controversy (hold on just a few minutes while I clear these raindrops from my eye-eyes).
Copher Brothers of Tampa features an incredible array of u-pull-it auto parts, such as engines, wheels, doors, radios, mufflers, and a plethora of other gadgets and gizmos for your horseless carriage. To the Southern do-it-yourself-er, this place is PARADISE! Featured heavily in the mid-to-late 80's on independent Channel 28, Copher's occasionally used wrestler "Black Jack Mulligan" to promote their wares.
A retailer located east of Brandon on Highway 60 featuring lawn and agricultural equipment, Christy's was a common ad fixture in the early 70's on "Big 13" WTVT. Featuring owner Pierce Christy, he would announce in his best Southern drawl the following: "This is Pee-ahs Cristay-- we feetcha a fahn assotemint of John Dee-ah, Intinashunal Hahvistah, and Yazoo ridin' equipment".
   Nowadays all we see are pinstriped pipsqueak lawyers whining about nursing home abuse and slip-and-fall foolishness (I don't know about y'all, but somethin' really screwball has happened to our society over the past 20 to 30 years).
Another favorite of independents Channels 28 and 44, from the mid-80's to the present, Bay City Plywood would feature bumpkin Bob Vilas and others walking around and practically into each other while holding pieces of plywood. At the end of each ad this goober brigade would do a little redneck two-step (Actually they were spoofing the "Charleston".---N) while taunting others in their industry with slogans such as: "You think the competition can beat our prices? HA HA HA HA !!! A-HA HA HA HA HA HA!" (Insert dance here..---N) (if ads was art, this'd be a Picasso)

Other notably tacky ads from that era were Bromley's ("Hey Sham, where didja git that rock?" reply: "Why Bromley's, of course!") Jewelers, Florida No-Fault Insurance, Lloyd Townsend Auto Sales, Ja-Mac Used Auto Parts, Po Boy Porters, Waterbed City, Ralph Kazarian Insurance, Chick ("Check with Chick last") Smith Ford, and Tiki Gardens where Trader Frank implored you to "Visit, explore, dine, beautiful Tiki Gardens".

Next Week: A Florida book review.
Florida Folk Heroes (Addendum #4): "Hollywood" (formerly "Hulk") Hogan, John Reeves, Ted Webb, and Howard Hewes.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Movie review by Michael A. Smith
* * * ½  out of  * * * * stars
 Starring: Ben Affleck, Shannon Elizabeth, Will Ferrel, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes and Chris Rock. Cameos include Carrie Fischer and Mark Hamill
Written by: Kevin Smith
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Rated: R
Running Time: 112 minutes

As a filmmaker, Kevin Smith is either revered or hated by critics. There is no middle ground. After the success of "Clerks," he went the studio route with "Mall Rats," quickly crashing and burning to the scathing reviews that film received. One review was so bad that he incorporated it, word for word, in his next film, the highly-praised, romantic comedy "Chasing Amy." He then took heat from the Catholic church, who completely missed the point of the film, "Dogma." Now, he has taken the characters from his many films and put them together one last time in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

When stoner/slackers Jay and Silent Bob find out that they are going to be the subject of a movie, they head to Hollywood to stop the film from being made. Along the way, they receive hitch-hiking tips from George Carlin, share some "doobie snacks" with a group of kids and their dog and join up with a beautiful gang of women jewel thieves. They mistakenly go from one adventure to the next in their quest to stop the film. Told that the film will probably star Miramax regulars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, they end up on the set of the duo's latest film, bent on stopping the film from being made. To say anything else will spoil the fun. By all means, see this movie and laugh out loud.

Letters to the editor
Matt's Rail             by Matt Drinnenberg

Greetings, one and all! Sorry I keep being the flailing twig when it comes to Top 10 Lists. The good thing is, I'm super busy at work (again) and am logging tons of mileage throughout my division, so having a Top 10 to do is saving the day, as I literally have no time. (Your fans--myself included--very much appreciate any writing you have time to contribute. Turning out this newsletter every week shows dedication and discipline on the part of ALL PCR contributors!  But, I admit, even a "labor of love" can test one's patience. Congratulations on your success at work.---Nolan)

So without further ado.........MATT'S TOP 10 BEST MOVIE SEQUELS OF ALL TIME!!!!
10. Damien - Omen 2:
Incredibly intense thriller, where William Holden plays father figure to a teenage Damien, who is beginning to understand who he is. This really keeps you glued to the screen, and has an awesome ending as well.
9. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: As much as I despised Temple of Doom, I loved this! Sean Connery was perfect as Indy's dad, and the two had immediate chemistry. I like this so much, in fact, that today I still have a hard time deciding which is my favorite, Crusade or Raiders.
8. Dawn of the Dead: I remember all of us getting together at the Hillsborough to catch the sneak preview of this now classic movie. At the time, I was ignorant of fact that movies like this were actually made, because back then, for the most part, they weren't. I asked Mike what it was about when we were in line and laughed and said, "It's a love story, huh,huh,huh,huh". He was right, I immediately fell in love with the genre and have been a fan ever since! Superbly done.
7. Jaws 2: I don't rate this as highly as Mike, as I try to live a little closer to reality. It "does" make the list, however. Naturally, Mike and I saw the first showing of this together. I think we had to skip class to do so, but hey....this was Jaws 2. I recall that the crowd applauded thunderously at the climax, and am today happy to report that it still holds up on its own.
6. Return of the Pink Panther: I mentioned this in last week's Pop Culture. EXCELLENT sequel, which I can't help but watch every time it's on. For a time, this was shown at University Square on one screen and the rerelease of Jaws on the other. I would go from one to the other and back again...it was great. One of the all-time classic performances by one of the greater actors of our time, and all time for that matter, Peter Sellers.
5. Star Trek IV-The Voyage Home: Like Mike, I have a very strong affection for Wrath of Khan, but I recall when I saw this I thought it was the best effort of the series, and still believe so today. I can simply say I am in complete agreement with Nolan's assessment of this fun movie.
4. Escape From The Planet of the Apes: VERY happy to see this on Nolan's list. Also my personal favorite, sans the original. Cornelius and Zira are inspirationally played by Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter. The ending is one of the saddest in the history of cinema, but most certainly realistic. Unfortunately, even by today's standards. Great movie, though.
3. Bride of Frankenstein: What can I say. On
my site I convey that this movie is evidence sequels don't have to suck, for it far outshines the original. Much more content to the character of Frankenstein's Monster, and Karloff is quite simply superb. Great story, thought-provoking conversation, and excellent ending.
2. Aliens: WOW. Talk about racing the adrenaline to the max. Puts you on the edge of your seat and then blasts you into tomorrow. I feel very much on this movie as I do Bride (3 above), in that it is my favorite of the series, but I still have a unique fondness for the original, which was much more suspenseful and dark.
1. The Empire Strikes Back: No other movie sequel I have ever seen has blown me away like this one did. From meeting Yoda and learning "there is another", to the now classic "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father", uttered to a disbelieving Luke from Darth Vader. After I watched Phantom Menace, I lost faith in George Lucas, so I had to come home and put this on to restore my faith. Hopefully he did the same, and we won't see any more of that Bantha Fodder he's been shoving down our throats.

That's it for now, so till next time
Take Care and God bless

Mike's Rant!

Hello gang. In the vein of the rest of this issue, I'll make it short and sweet. Shall we begin?

Last month I quoted director Tim Burton as saying the sequel will explain the much-discussed ending to "Planet of the Apes." Now Burton tells Britain's "Independent" newspaper, "The idea of doing a sequel - I'd rather jump out of the window, I swear to God." Wonder if Kevin Smith will give him a push.

Kevin Smith, I had the great pleasure of previewing the latest offering from the auteur from Red Bank, New Jersey last weekend. "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" is the funniest film I have seen in some time. While it helps if you have seen Kev's other films, ("Clerks," "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma) those who haven't will still enjoy it. Among the many highlights are cameos by Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as well as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck re-visiting their "Good Will Hunting" characters in the sequel, "Hunting Season." But what made the screening so enjoyable were my special guests (I sound like a talk show host, don't I?) Anyone familiar with the 80's film "Purple Rain" are very aware of the R&B band The Time, headlined by singer Morris Day (sadly, our esteemed editor was not). (I avoided Purple Rain because I can't stand Prince or whatever he calls himself now. Sorry I missed The Time, tho.---N) The evening I screened the film, The Time were playing at the venue next to my theatre. During the show, I went backstage and invited the boys in the band to come watch the film with me. I was happy to see that they accepted my invite. Nothing like watching a movie with people who are in the movie and watching them watch themselves (is this a run on sentence or what?) As of this writing, none of the band members have died!

Of the many commercials mentioned, I only remember the one for Tiki Gardens. (Re: "La Floridiana", this issue.---N) However, I must add that I left Tampa in July 1979, so many of them aired after I moved.
   Great sequel list, Matt. Glad you could find room for "Jaws 2." Actually, we were out of school by then, though not by much. "Jaws 2" opened June 16, 1978. "Car Wreck 1978" occurred June 13, 1978.

Well, that's it for this week. Entertaining friends from Baltimore, so off I go. Have a great week!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2001 by Matt Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2001 by Will Moriaty    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001