LETTERS  PCR #203      (February 9--15, 2004)

•  Will Moriaty on "Mike's Rant"
•  Mike Smith reviews Sal Mineo history
•  Floridata meets La Floridiana
•  Reader questions Terence's "Enlightenment" (includes Terence's response)
•  Derrek Carriveau on Johnny Sokko
•  Will Moriaty on Johnny Sokko
•  Andy Lalino on Johnny Sokko and The Enlightenment
•  Reader's Poll: Andy Lalino
•  Reader's Poll: Vin Blesi
•  "Today's Television: A Super Disgrace" by Will Moriaty

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


God Bless you Mike Smith.
I consider yours the ultimate pop culture column and you to be our most down to earth and likeable writer and person.

My financial and personal disasters (Re: Mike's Rant, "Hurry Back" section--N) pale compared to some of what you were faced with last year.

The thought of your strength and integrity forced me to get back on the saddle again.

Thanks for all that you do and how you touch and inspire all of us.

Will [Moriaty]


In response to David Brown's letter on Sal Mineo (from last issue), let me add some history. Back in issue #109 (Yikes!) you added a quick note from me on your piece on strange celebrity deaths. According to all news reports I could find as well as the various Mineo tribute sites, the only information on Mineo's accused killer, Lionel Ray Williams, was that he was sentenced to life in prison. Of course, we all know that unless you are Sirhan Sirhan or Charles Manson, life in prison is not necessarily LIFE in prison. Further research now shows that Williams was paroled in 1990. He has subsequently been returned to confinement periodically for various violations of his parole. I will say that in my further research I learned that some authorities were not sold on Williams being the murderer. He never confessed nor could police find any possible motive (robbery, a dispute) for the crime. Thanks for brining this up David. I apologize for not researching further on this matter. Guess I'd better go back and double check on my piece on the Loch Ness Monster possibly being Jack the Ripper!

Michael Smith


Hi Will,
Thanks for visiting Floridata.com and leaving the nice message. I think I've been reading your work on and off for several years now. Great articles! Don't you do a lot of articles for magazines - especially Florida travel?

I'm hoping to visit central Florida this month and intend to stop by and see the Big Trees. I'll look for the tulip poplars - it should be easy to get a good view of them before everything leafs out. I wrote about these years ago and am looking forward to seeing them again (and tulip poplars are one of my favorite trees) - so it'll be fun to update this article.

May I post your message in our guestbook? (I won't include your email address so the spammers can't find it) I'll feature links to your articles on Floridata's home page--this I'm sure our visitors will enjoy them as much as I. (I'm assuming that's OK?)

I had a consulting job in Orlando for 2 years - I wish I had read your article then so I could have visited more of these places!

I am so impressed with your organization - what good work you're doing. You should write a little piece about TREE that I could put in Floridata when you want to "officially" launch the new site (great job on the logo BTW - it's really pretty) - we can link to TREE and to more of your articles. That is something our visitors would be interested in.

Stay in touch!
Jack Scheper


Thank you for the heart warming letter. My writings are limited to Nolan's Pop Culture Review; I've not written for any newsstand magazines.

I would be honored to be included in your guestbook. Your site is incredible and indespensible in the study of Florida's horticulture. I am pleased my earlier suggestion that you also add Tulip Poplar to your Big Tree Park companion listing proved useful, particularly as the populations surrounding the Park are the most extensive in that tree's southern limit. In addition to the specimans near Big Tree Park, many can be seen at nearby Spring Hammock Park, and further west at Kelly Park in Apopka.

Let me link you to two articles I have written about the Central Florida populations of these trees;


I founded the Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort Inc. organization over 20 years ago. Our non-profit group has planted over 45,000 trees to date. We are changing web sites, so I will give you the new and old, as well as links to articles.


Old Web Site Address
New Web Site Address
Article about January 2004 Florida Arbor Day Weekend
Article about 20th Anniversary Planting

William Moriaty
La Floridiana


(Re: The Enlightenment, PCR #202) I've been going to the Gasparilla Parade off and on since moving to Tampa in 1989. With the exception of the parade being called Bombalao (sp?) in 1991 due to Ye Mystik Krewe's refusal to admit female or minority members when the Super Bowl was in town, the only real change to the parade in that time has been in more krewes being allowed to participate in the parade. While I'm sure Terence longs for the days when only Tampa's moneyed white elite was allowed in, the rest of us have not exactly bristled at that change.

Now, the open container law has been suspended during the parade since at least 1988 (a friend moved to the area a year before me), so I’m pretty sure that the drinking and carrying on associated with the parade have been going on a lot longer that the 5 years mentioned by Terence. As far as I can tell, the parade is still called Gasparilla, and not Raymond James Presents the Gasparilla Parade. And unlike Guavaween, no one started charging admission to a once-free event. So Terence, what the hell are you talking about?

I will admit, though, that I don’t pay that much attention to a lot of the specifics of the parade. I usually wander down, have a few drinks, run into people I only seem to see at this time of year and just enjoy the spectacle. I guess that monumental changes could have taken place in that time, though I doubt it. However, if you would rather stay at home and brood, by all means have at it.

And thanks for the “enlightenment” by recommending a movie you haven’t even fucking seen. That’s something I would have expected out of that train-wreck of a writer, Ashley Lauren.

Jim Franklin


"Sigh" ....to Mr. Franklin,
1. You take my accusations way too seriously; did you not read the line about "that's my hypocrisy acting up again"?

2. I'm assuming from your comments regarding my wanting Gasparilla to return to the old days, that you think I'm a racist. Well, I am far from it as shown by my ten-part blues series.

3. As for movies I "haven't even fucking seen", well I think I stated that....besides, this wasn't intended to be a comprehensive guide! It was simply some choices that I thought would be good for an at-home Gasparilla party.

4. Yes, Gasparilla has gotten more about drinking lately! It's gotten excessive, in fact! Like everything in Tampa, including frickin' Guavaween. This town is one big beer can as far as I'm concerned.

Now you may go.
Terence Nuzum


Hey Nolan,
I just wanted to drop a line and say how much I liked ED's piece on Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. (Re: Guest Editorial by ED Tucker, PCR #202) I loved that show as a kid, but I have not seen it since I moved to Florida in 1981. I remember watching it after school when I lived in Michigan, along with Ultraman, whatever cartoons were on and back-to-back episodes of Batman. I hadn't heard or seen anything about this in a long time and nobody else I had brought it up to knew what I was talking about. I'm just glad that I didn't make it up in my head. If given the opportunity, I don't know if I'd watch it, though. I was excited when the Cartoon Network got the rights to The Superfriends, because that was, by far, my favorite cartoon growing up. Imagine my horror upon watching as an adult and finding it to be simply awful. I'm not sure if I could take that again. Either way, thanks for that glimpse into my childhood, ED.

Derrek Carriveau
Editor, Legion Studios


What an incredible piece of work ED Tucker did on all of our behalf with his Johnny Sokko article.

I first saw "Voyage Into Space" during a Dr. Paul Bearer hosted Creature Feature during a wintery Saturday afternoon 29 years ago.

The movie was interrupted by a phone call from a 16-year-old artist from my alma mater, Robinson High School in Tampa. He said that my name was referred to him by my former Creative Writing teacher Diane Petteway. At the time of his call I was an ad artist for Kane's Furniture in St. Petersburg.

The 16-year-old was looking for an art job, preferably in cartooning or graphic arts. Regretably I had no such position available. He said his name was Denis Lebrun. Denis would, of course, go on to become the lead artist for the King Features comic strip, "Blondie".

Last night (February 5, 2004) we both read ED's great article and I reminded Denis that Johnny Sokko and his Giant Robot were there when a wondrous three-decade long friendship began.

Thanks for the great memories ED, and a wonderfully scripted story.


William [Moriaty]


PCR #202 - another outstanding edition. Ed Tucker's guest editorial featuring "Voyage Into Space" was phenomenal. I admittedly had forgotten much about the adventures of Johnny Sokko from the old Creature Feature days, but once I saw the photos that Ed included in the editorial, it brought back a flood of great memories. I DO remember "Voyage Into Space" on CF, and I recall how much I loved it. I guess every boy who grew up in the '60s/'70s wished they could have a robot like that.

I'm currently watching "Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster" which I taped on "Off Beat Cinema" some months ago. I marvel at the Japanese monster movie makers, especially in the '60s, who created such a believable fantasy world in which giant monsters inhabited earth. Looking back on the great Toho, Daiei, Toei, etc. movies of past decades, no one did it better than the Japanese when it came to giant monsters. The cinematography, the incredible use of sound (Godzilla's roar, Ghidrah's lightning bolt breath, Mothra's silk-slinging, Rodan's screech), and wondrous special effects. This holds true even in Japanese TV efforts like "Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot" and "Ultraman".

Thanks to Ed for including a scan of the wonderful cover of the "Voyage Into Space" Super 8 film. It was a real treat seeing that!

I hope Ed remains a regular contributor to N'sPCR. His insights on and knowledge of '60s/'70s genre pop culture is incredible.

The Enlightenment
Please tell Terence he forgot to list "The Pirate Movie" with Kristy MacNichol & Christopher Atkins. And where was "Yellowbeard"?!?

Andy [Lalino]


Here's what I'd like to see more of and less of in the PCR:

Horror Films (all eras, but with special emphasis on pre-1987 movies)
Horror Literature
Horror Comic Art magazines (Creepy, Eerie, Eerie Publications)
Sci-Fi (all eras, but with special emphasis on pre-1987 movies)
Fantasy (all eras, but with special emphasis on pre-1987 movies)
Punk, New Wave, Goth, Synthpop
Old Florida
Florida Independent Film
'70s-produced N'sPCR staff drawings/writings (Where's "The Kanlon Khronicles"?!?)
More celebrity interviews
'70s humor magazines (Mad, Cracked, Crazy)

Buffy T.V.S.
'New' Star Trek stuff
Modern pop culture references ('Justin Timberlake'). We have to fight against that.
Sci-Fi Channel-produced movies
Modern TV offerings (Yeech!)

Andy [Lalino]


Here's what I'd like to see more of and less of in the PCR:

I like the purty pictures!

Vin [Blesi]


Admittedly, I am neither a fan of the Carolina Panthers nor the New England Patriots (although I have a slightly less than lukewarm favor for Carolina over New England).

When Nolan and I were finishing up dinner on Super Bowl Sunday the score prior to halftime was a whopping 0 to 0. I even nicknamed this first thirty minutes of playtime "The Bore Bowl".

After we left to get for our ritualistic shakes at Sonics, and totally unawares to us, the Bore Bowl suddenly became very interesting...

MTV Defines Itself Yet Again
Based on accounts I read in Monday's Tampa Tribune and Wall Street Journal, the Super Bowl audience was mistreated to one of the raunchiest and sleeziest fifteen minutes of half time hooey in history.

Hip hop artist Nelly (who?) seemed to have a jock itch problem, while Kid Rock made a poncho out of "Old Glory", while scantily clan nubiles jiggled around stage.

...We also had ads of horses breaking wind into peoples faces.

But that's not all!

The "climax" of this pabulum was the exposure of one of Janet Jackson's breasts thanks to former Brittany Spears (don't get me started here) beau Justin Timberlake during a stage act where the gist of the song was "I'll have you nekkid by the end of this song".

Of course, and as to be expected, everyone is blaming everyone else for this bargain basement burlesque show. CBS execs stated that they went to the auditions and saw nothing "objectionable". What were these guys smokin?

Breasts are Not Necessarily Objectionable, Actions Are
The human body and its members can be a thing of beauty, as demonstrated in countless paintings, photographs and statues. How it is displayed can be a totally different thing however. In the instance of Ms.Jackson and Mr. Justin there was of course no artistic allusion here, instead it was a shameless display meant for titilation and shock, of which it succeeded admirably, if not notoriously. Regardless, sagging Janet Jackson recording sales are sure to skyrocket after this sleazy marketing ploy (even if it was unintentional, which I doubt).

Family Affair
Like it or not folks, the Super Bowl is THE television event of the year and CBS and MTV failed miserably in providing millions of its viewers with a quality and wholesome half time product that families with young children or teenagers could enjoy watching together. Instead they were treated to a scene out of a veiled strip show - - and the Bono's and MTV pundits wonder why their polar opposites, the conservative watchdog groups, go so ballistic when they misbehave like this. Those of us with moderate tastes and dispositions are as always left to pick up the wreckage that these two forces leave for the rest of us when they are done trying to gain the upper hand on one another.

I do not need to see Janet Jackson's red bra or nipple ring at any time, let alone during a football game. Nor do I let the NFL off the hook - - their Coors "Party Hardy" ads with bouncing bimbettes belie its Commissioner acting "offended" over the "Janet-Justin" affair.

If only football ads were limited to the glory days of Poulan chain saws and Raymond J. Johnson (although several years ago there was a delightful Super Bowl ad with "cat herders" dressed as cowboys - - but unlike flatulent equines and brass nipple rings, that ad actually utilized wholsome and entertaining content derived from that network-despised word CREATIVITY!).

Apologies Owed to the Viewers and to New England
Although the New England Patriots will go down in the record books with this Super Bowl win, it must have been difficult for them to bask in any post victory afterglow in light of how the "Janet-Justin" affair captured everyone's attention.

In addition to the fans and viewers, I feel that the New England Patriots are owed a big apology too.

Karen Sisco, R.I.P.
Well, it's now official, ABC canned the Elmore Leonard inspired and Miami-based series "Karen Sisco" on the grounds that they didn't like its creative direction (please see commentary immediately above). Outside of "Smallville" and "Angel", I have finally written off prime time television as a useful, creative, educational, entertaining and enlightening medium.

My deepest sympathies go its pioneers and patron saints such as Edward R. Morrow, Rod Serling, Walter Cronkite, Irwin Allen, Michael Mann, Jackie Gleason and Chris Carter.

William Moriaty

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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