LETTERS  PCR #191      (November 17--23, 2003)

 Jason and Horror Hosts
 The Return of Andy Lalino

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.

I'm so jealous. While this whole issue of the new horror host has been going on I was wondering what the big deal was (Re: the "Professor Paul Bearer II" commentary lurking is PCRs 189 and 190.--N). See, I'm a transplant, from New York no less. Cable didn't legally hit the Bronx until I was in high school, so when I saw movies like Fright Night, with characters hosting horror movie shows, I had no idea where these shows actually were aired. The closest thing we had was MONSTERWEEK on a Jersey channel we sometimes managed to get and that usually consisted of Godzilla-style movies.

If a weekly horror/sci-fi show does catch on, get it on a station we can see in Orlando, too. I've missed out long enough!



Re: PCR #190

Art Carney
Yes, indeed, Nole - a sad passing. Like most PCR readers of like age (late '30s to '40s) I fondly remember watching "The Honeymooners" on local TV, which Art Carney was of course a big part of. In fact, Ed Norton was probably my favorite character on the classic show and was even, I believe, the archetype for Barney Rubble.'

Paul Williams Interview
Kudos to Mike Smith for a particularly good interview (great questions!) with Paul Williams (a major force in the great 1970's). My favorite PW memories were of course "Phantom of the Paradise", "Smokey and the Bandit", and his great songs my mom used to play on the radio (WLCY, if you're reading this, Tedd Webb!) while driving to the Tyrone area of St. Pete. to see my grandparents. I didn't realize he composed the music for "The Love Boat"! "We've Only Just Begun" still gives me chills every time I hear it.

As a horror fan, "Phantom of the Paradise", I believe, was Williams' finest moment as an actor. I also forgot he was in "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" (great movie; had to have inspired "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior"!). I think it would have been a good idea for Williams to have teamed up with Pat McCormick for a Big Enos & Little Enos movie. Fellow Florida filmmaker (say that 3 times fast!) Andrew Allan and myself are HUGE '70s southern road movie fans (Burt Reynolds, Pete Fonda) and would have loved an entire movie devoted to those characters. Hey, there's still time!

Hey Mike; how about an interview with Gerrit Graham? Please devote lots of questions to Brian de Palma's "Home Movies"!

"Prof. Paul Bearer II" (Part One of many, I'm sure!)
Okay *sigh* here we go...The reality is this may be shaping up to be THE biggest PCR news of 2004. PCR-heads and DPB fans I feel will be divided (if they aren't already) over this extremely sensitive issue. I'm lucky enough to have met in person the GIANT horror icon idols in my life, namely: Dr. Paul Bearer (Dick Bennick), and most recently FM editor Forrest J. Ackerman and FM cover painter Basil Gogos. The thought of tarnishing the memories of these legends could easily promote animosity toward the instigator (can anyone say "Ray Ferry"?), so I would recommend the resurrectors of the Paul Bearer name tread very cautiously.

...and perhaps they have. Though I did not actually see the Channel 10 footage of the new Prof. Paul Bearer and the make-up artist who created him (Jason Thomas) I have to say I was impressed (as was a friend of mine when I showed him the pictures on PCR) by the pictures I saw of him not just on PCR (which were screen grabs - nicely done, Nolan) but on the "official" PPB website as well. I really think they may be on to something here. The bigger question is, will new-millennium audiences welcome this character with open arms? Hard to say. I would advise the "humor" be updated. The silly, "Famous Monsters" style puns are great, and I'll always love them, but will the general public? If they don't dig it and think it's dated, you may as well kiss Prof. Paul Bearer goodbye. They also run the risk of not connecting with established DPB fans, and that would mean serious trouble.

I was also admittedly impressed by how much PPB resembles the good Dr. - a fine make-up job and casting. Even more striking, when I look at the images of the new character, part of me was transported back to the '70s - I thought it was a faithful re-creation. I only wish I could see and hear the actual footage - much of the appeal of DPB was his voice. Nolan mentioned that PPB spoke faster, due to the fact he's a younger man.

I also fear they may be wasting their time trying to re-acquire airtime on Channel 44, simply because it's not the Channel 44 we grew up with anymore - it's a U.P.N. network (that means it's crap) and is guided by suits in L.A. and not locals. Wasn't this the same station that discarded all the footage of DPB? Instead, they may opt to pitch a more independent station, such as Channel 32. They may have to purchase airtime/find sponsors to get this project off the ground.

Personally, I think Dr. Paul Bearer (the one and only original) was such a legend and towering figure here in the Bay Area from the '70s to the (*groan*) horror-slaughtering '90s that I would think some conglomerate out there would be interested in such an idea. I know I would, were I running a network. There exists a base of familiarity with the character, and that character is beloved and respected possibly more than any other local celebrity in this area's history, which makes a solid foundation for a new show. I reiterate the show must in part appeal to a new audience, many of whom did not grow up with Dr. Paul Bearer. Much thought needs to go into developing the approach to do so.

Only time will bring forth more information about the new character. As of right now, the official site is pretty sparse, but I am anxious to see where they're going to take this. I also advise the creators to listen to the fans, many of whom are right here at PCR, and who have grown up their whole lives with Dr. Paul Bearer.

PCR #190 LETTERCOL - More Prof. Paul Bearer II
I simply have to meet Ed Tucker someday. An intelligent, honest summation of the Prof. Paul Bearer as written by one of his most ardent fans! Might I suggest Ed pen a coffee table book or a "Dr. Paul Bearer Companion" tome?

Being an eternal optimist, I can't help but believe that there's always a way to "bring back" the horror host concept, even in this day and age of Tom Cruises and pixel wizards. "Elvira" and MST3K prove my point. The trick is to find the right person with the right sense of humor to pull it off. Whether the new Prof. Paul Bearer can do that remains to be seen. The very fact that it's an "old school" concept is exactly what people may be looking for. Never forget people still dig the "old stuff" (thank God); just look at the huge success of the new "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movie. Way to go!!!

There were a few revelations in Ed Tucker's letter that astounded me, namely the way DPB was treated at Channel 44, though it would be nice to hear their side of the story. As society "progressed" into the dreaded '90s, we indeed saw the demise of the horror host concept, but as I just stated, I never would have thought the zombie film would be resurrected in 2003/'04 (new "Dawn of the Dead" remake, "House of the Dead", "28 Days Later", etc.), so miracles do indeed happen! I admit in the early '90s I was guilty of not watching "Creature Feature" as much as I should have, and I even managed to miss the "20th Anniversary Special" that Ed mentioned in his letter. It sounds kind of pathetic, anyway, but I would still like to see it.

Ed sounds pretty down about the fact that the classic horror films were kind of lame this year, but at least AMC and TCM actually broadcast them, which is more than I can say for our lackluster local stations and the ever-lame "Sci-Fi Channel". Can't wait for the debut of "The Horror Channel" in October 2004! This is a dream come true!

I have a question: why is the character called "Prof. Paul Bearer II"? If they were to use the II title, shouldn't he be called "Dr. Paul Bearer II"? DPB experts, correct me if I'm wrong, but was there ever a Prof. Paul Bearer I?

I really liked Will Moriaty's response to the situation as well, and agreed with most everything he expressed. As explained in my previous letter, I too am definitely leaning toward supporting PPBII. However, I can understand the superfans being cautious at this point.

- Andy Lalino
Director / Producer / Screenwriter "Filthy"
President, Metropol Productions, Inc.

To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

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