LETTERS  PCR #260     (March 14--20, 2005)

  • Reader asks what happened to actor Barry Robbins (Ed Tucker responds)
  • Reader uncovers rare aviation memorabilia. (Will Moriaty responds)
  • Reader asks for information about strange plane crashes (Will Moriaty responds)

    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


    I found your site when I Googled "Bless the Beasts and Children". This is a film that had a profound impact on me when I was in Jr. High. You reference the film when meeting Billy Mumy and refer to "the late Barry Robbins." I have not been able to find any information on Barry Robbins and was wondering how you learned that he had passed away. Any cross reference you can provide would be appreciated.

    Also, glad I found your site. So much cool stuff to explore.


    Bill, thanks so much for writing and I'm glad you enjoy the site! The article you referenced is from our PCR MegaCon 2004 issue where ED Tucker and I wrote about meeting actor Billy Mumy. However, It was ED, not I, who commented on Barry Robbins. I forwarded your letter to ED, who responds below. ---Nolan


    Thank you for your inquiry about actor Barry Robins. I have known for many years that he died prematurely and my conversation with Bill Mumy at the 2004 Megacon confirmed this. The IMDB list his date of death as April 1, 1986, which would have made him 41, but other than that not much is known. I seem to have some recollections from when he died but since they are both vague and unpleasant, I would rather not speculate.

    Robins career in entertainment appears to have been brief but very memorable. From my research, "Bless the Beasts and the Children" appears to be his only feature but he was in a number of television shows and movies including "Rat Patrol" and "Columbo". His career in acting apparently ended some time in the late 70's or early 80's.

    Even if he had never done any thing else in his career, his portrayal of the manic youth Cotton in "Beasts" would have guaranteed he would be remembered. If you like the movie, then I highly recommend you read the book by Glendon Swarthout. The film follows the book very closely except for a markedly different ending. Let's just say that Cotton's outcome is the same but the circumstances are completely different. While the book chose to keep the situation self contained and in many ways more powerful, director Stanley Kramer got a little heavy handed in trying to give the film version a message.

    - ED -


    I have Leonard W Bonney’s leather flight suit and an Original Scale Model of the Bonny Gull. Know anybody that would be interested in these items ?

    Michael B Davis
    Retention Team
    North Central Florida


    That's incredible!

    I will have your request put in our letter column.

    For those who aren't familiar with this legendary figure of Florida aviation history, Leonard W. Bonney was the father of aviation in St. Petersburg and was the first to fly over that city on February 17, 1912 in his Wright bi-plane. You can read about Bonney and others like him by linking to La Floridiana" #194.

    Thanks presenting this offer and for reading our publication!



    My name is Neil J. Donnelly. I am 56 years of age and live in Durham, NC.

    I was wondering if you had any additional information on:

    Location of Crash--Gulf of Mexico: Bound From--Tampa: November 16, 1959: Aircaft Type- Douglas DC-7B: Airline- National Airlines: Fatalities-42: Flight 967, again bound from Tampa International Airport to New Orleans Moissant International Airport may have been the result on an unlawfully act. It was never proven if "an unlawfully act" indeed took down the four engine piston aircraft and was ruled as cause unkown.

    My father (Leo J. Donnelly), was a passenger on that flight. (His body was never recovered.)

    I know that there was a book written about the flight in reference to a possible plane bombing. I also found out information years ago that it was found that the plane was possibly taken out of the air by a ground to air missile that Howard Hughes was experimenting! My sources were:

    #1 A man I met in a club in Miami that owned a salvage company and stated he recovered the nose of the plane.

    #2 Lynn Farrell, (the daughter of my father's employer, (William Farrell), who was also a passenger on the plane). She found out information from an FBI agent she was aquatinted with that gave her the same information I heard from the Salvage Company owner.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank You,
    Neil Donnelly


    Dear Mr. Donnelly:

    Thank you very much for your interesting and intriguing e-mail below.

    Regrettably I don't know any more about the crash than what was in my original article (La Floridiana, #124, August 5-10, 2002. I recommend that you link to the Aviation Safety Network about this crash at http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19591116-1 and contact them to see if the sources who contributed to that report have more knowledge about it.

    You may want to also consult with Amazon.com or Alibris to see if there might be the book on the subject that is mentioned in your e-mail (unless you already possess a copy of it). My own search with both of them proved fruitless, but perhaps you will have better results.

    Best of luck, and please update us on any revelations that you may uncover in your quest for the truth.


    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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