LETTERS  PCR #276     (July 4--10, 2005)

  • Vinnie Blesi on Oddservations
  • ED Tucker on NolanCon
  • John Matrulla (Collector Zone) on NolanCon
  • Joe Davison on NolanCon
  • "Lisa Film Fan" (of the message board) on NolanCon
  • Ashley Lewis on NolanCon
  • Christian Dumais on NolanCon
  • Mark Terry and Vito Trabucco (Other Side Cinema) on NolanCon
  • Donald Woodford '60s Nestle's Ad
  • Steve Beasley on '60s Nestle's Ad
  • Creature Feature Inquiry (and ED Tucker's reply)

    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


    Re: your current Oddservations column. While I agree with you on almost everything you have to say about Live 8, I believe you are incorrect in your oddservation concerning "black artists". The objection was that there were not enough African artists, not black or rap artists. This prompted Peter Gabriel to sponsor his own concert in Africa, see the story here, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8379757/

    Being the 80's-phile you are, I am surprised you are not more familiar with WOMAD and Peter Gabriel's continued support for African musical artists as well as for other world culture artists.

    Take care,
    Vinnie Blesi


    First let me extend my deepest sympathy at the premature demise of Nolancon. I believe you were trying to give the public a truly unique and rare animal, especially in this day and age. While I would think pop culture enthusiasts would jump at an opportunity to attend an event like this that harkens back to the true “by the fans, for the fans” conventions of the '70s and '80s, apparently I would be wrong. At least you can take some satisfaction in knowing that you tried, which puts you ahead of the many who only talk or dream.

    I would like to clarify one area of your “examination” of the failure of the con, the section entitled “Ray Who?” (Frontpage, PCR #275 ---N). Ray Steckler and Bill Rebane were chosen by you (with the input of several others if I recall correctly) from a list of about a dozen potential guests that I volunteered my contacts on in an effort to assist you. Mr. Steckler would be traveling to Tampa from Nevada and Mr. Rebane would be coming from Wisconsin, both considerable distances. The fees requested for these gentlemen were in line with what the minimum appearance fees were back when I stopped promoting shows in the late 1990's so I can attest that it would be difficult to find many guests of this caliber that would be willing to appear for less. There were other options on the list who were closer and would have required less in terms of travel expenses but they were passed over in favor of Mr. Steckler and Mr. Rebane.

    I will be the first to admit that I am unfamiliar with the “fanboy community” of South Florida as it stands these days but I believe the genre credits of both of these individuals are considerable. Mr. Steckler has produced, directed, and/or starred in over thirty feature films, the majority of which saw theatrical distribution. Mr. Rebane has produced a smaller number of theatrical features but among them was one of the highest-grossing independent films of the 1970’s, The Giant Spider Invasion. Mr. Steckler has routinely packed venues in California with revival showings of his films and Mr. Rebane just returned from a similarly successful event in his native Wisconsin. I cannot speak for Tampa, but I would be willing to wager that I could organize and conduct a successful film festival for either gentleman in the North Florida area with the proper promotion.

    Now perhaps I am out of touch with the current direct-to-video market, but I find it difficult to believe that Debbie Rochon and especially Conrad Brooks are “more familiar to fans”, even by a “little”. I respect the fact that Miss Rochon has appeared in over 50 genre-related titles (few of which have seen any type of theatrical release) and she could easily have a cult following I am unaware of. Mr. Brooks on the other hand made his last truly notable genre contribution in 1959 by appearing in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, notable mainly by its (undeserved in my opinion) reputation as one of the worst films ever produced. Granted he has had roles in other theatrical features but most of these, save for a few cameos, ended over forty years ago in the early '60s. His post 1960’s career has consisted mainly of lending his name to direct-to-video titles. I do not begrudge either of these individuals their place in cult film history but, at least in my opinion, their contributions are not on the same level as those of Mr. Steckler or Mr. Rebane.

    At the very least, I would have thought that the independent film community I see referenced constantly in the PCR would have welcomed the opportunity to learn from the life experiences of these two proven veterans. I am sure that 90% of the individuals who could have viewed the publicity for the con and asked themselves “Ray who?” would have had to have seen this online and right next to a link to an interview that would have told them everything they could have ever wanted to know had they bothered to look. Again, I am not sure who exactly the “more casual fans” are in relation to potential attendees of this event, but if celebrities like Miss Rochon or Mr. Brooks are more familiar, and therefore more appealing, to them, then considerably more research needed to be invested before invitations to appear at the show were extended.

    I won’t go in to the nuts and bolts of show promotion here but I would like to reiterate two points from our conversations. In my experience, promoters should be prepared to fund their first show 100% out of their own pockets even in the event of a worst case scenario and plan accordingly and there is no such thing as too much promotion for any event.

    I share your loss and while I certainly don’t blame you for not wanting to go down this route again or for reassessing your level of commitment to various facets of the fanboy community, I hope this unfortunate setback will not detract from your primary success –- this website.

    - ED -
    Jacksonville, FL


    Hi Nolan,
    Sorry to hear about NolanCon. One thing I have found as a promoter trying to promote things in Tampa. Tampa is the suckiest place in the world for local music, record shows, or conventions. You would think that everyone down here has the plague. Unless you're some big name promoter, nobody seems to care. I personally want to commend you on all your efforts at least you had the guts to try. Don't take it as a failure, take what you’ve learned from this and when you do another NolanCon, you will be that much more ahead in the game. I think there will be a NolanCon at some point. You had too much to offer to let it go. Maybe not now, but sometime. Take care Nolan, maybe I'll get to meet you in person one day.

    John Matrulla
    The Collectorzzone
    Exclusive distributor for BRAIN ROBBERS FROM OUTER SPACE


    Okay. Let me say this sucks. Just wanted to get that out in the open. Why is it that we as a group or community as it were, have to lay by the wayside and suffer the constant onslaught of the mediocrity and dismay of the inherent collective of what is the Film Community or Independent Artist in general?

    I am truly sorry that this has to come to this. Nolan has helped us all out more then once and as group you would think that some might do the same in return. However, that is not the case. Several of the would be socialites of this fine city feel the need to articulate their ideas as opposed to putting those plans into actions...LIKE FUCKING USUAL.

    From this day forth, I'll seek vengeance on those would be artists by leaving no room for others in the media spotlight. Prepare for the onslaught of Joe Davison, my friends, and be wary; the devil has risen within me and my smite is everlasting.

    May God have mercy on your souls.

    Joe Davison
    Tampa, FL, fresh from Jolly ol' England


    Hi Nolan,
    I tried to post a reply on the message board, but the system kept logging me out. Anyway, I just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear that you had to cancel NolanCon. What a bummer. I can't believe how little response you received regarding the film pitch contest. That really surprises me!

    All the time and hard work you spent on planning showed and was appreciated. Keep your chin up!



    Hey Nolan,
    I'm sure you are sick of hearing this but I am really sorry to hear about NolanCon being cancelled. I was really looking forward to attending. I was actually planning on sending in a pitch for a movie, just with work and school I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Either way your birthday is still gonna be awesome, we all want to be there to ring in the milestone. Definitely let me know when and where, I would be honored to be there. Hope all else is well and hang in there.

    Love always,
    Ashley Lauren Lewis
    Clearwater, FL

    I know you're tired of hearing this by now, but I'm really sorry about NolanCon. Whatever you do for your birthday, I'd like to be a part of it just the same. I'll keep reading your site for the details.

    See you soon.

    Christian Dumais
    Wroclaw, Poland, soon-to-be-vacationing-in Tampa, FL

    Ash and Chris, thank you---I am not tired of hearing sincere comments regarding NolanCon, especially such similar ones from opposite sides of the planet!! My birthday party is still set for August 13th, of course you're both invited (everyone is who still gives a f*ck), but the location decision is still just a tiny ways in the future. By next week I should know something. Thank you both again for writing in. --Nolan


    I read on the web site that NolanCon was cancelled. Although most likely I wouldn't have been able to come back to Tampa, I hope I always feel like I was honest and up front to you about it. Also trying to help anyway possible, too. Anything like this in Florida is an uphill battle. From making a film to putting on a film fest. Same thing happened with TamBay [Film Festival]. Just like making a film everyone in Florida will promise everything and then not come through. So, I am sorry to hear about it 'cause I know it was something important to you. Lack of interest or broken promises to me are why Florida film is where it's at. Your site is a great place for filmmakers to talk to each other and see what's going on. Vito [Trabucco] said it best a few years back, but one of Florida's biggest downfalls is there are just no fans for what we do. Decent indie music scene but go to any film fest and it's pretty much all film makers and their families. So what is there to do now? Not sure, but all I can and would do is keep working to reach whatever goal you want to reach. At least you made some friends with Neil [McCurry] and now see who is full of shit and who is not.

    Once again sorry to hear about it and I will be in touch more soon.

    Mark Terry
    Los Angeles, CA

    Sorry to hear the bad news about the convention. Please keep your dream alive though and eventually it will come to life. But just because it couldn't happen now doesn't mean it can't happen at all. Good luck to you sir, and I hope everything works out. If there is anything Mark or I can do for you, let us know.

    -Vito Trabucco
    Los Angeles, CA

    Mark and Vito, thank you, gentlemen! I'm sorry we missed another chance at a reunion. The support of people like yourselves and others like those sampled in this Lettercol have made me reconsider my previous "no way" attitude towards another NolanCon. Though, I have to tell you, it seems awfully remote right now! Thanks for writing in and continued good luck with Other Side Cinema! --Nolan


    Hi Nolan,
    In your "Sad Passing" section (See Frontpage PCR #275 --N), you mentioned the passing of Paul Winchell and that no one made mention of the boy and dog puppet [who performed in the Nestle's Chocolate ads]. FYI: it wasn't mentioned because those were the puppets/ventriloquist figures and signature performance of Jimmy Nelson who is still alive and well in south Florida. Jimmy will be in Ft. Mitchell, KY, July 13-16, attending the 28th annual ventriloquist convention with approximately 400 other ventriloquists from around the world.

    Donald Woodford
    aka, "Woody & Friends"
    Woody & Friends

    Thank you, Donald, I always appreciate an important correction like this! You might've noticed I updated last week's issue immediately upon receipt. Paul Winchell was NOT the performer behind the Nestle's ads, but the still-alive-and-kicking Jimmy Nelson, a performer I frequently confused with Winchell, even in the '60s. Mea Culpa. ---Nolan)


    Re: Sad Passings and "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle's makes the very best.....chooooooc--laaaaaate!" I remember that very well, as a matter of fact I'd spell my last name in the same tune. Don't ask me why, I was a weird kid.

    Steve Beasley
    Auckland, NZ

    And I'm sure ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson would be glad to know his performance of the jingle is still so fondly remembered---thankfully, he's still alive to say so. ---Nolan


    Yes, I am trying to find a Creature Feature show that tells of four motorcycle men that committed suicide. All of them committed suicide and came back to life except one ot them. Because the one did not kill himself, they all turned into frogs. Hopefully you remember this Creature Feature show. What was the title of this and how can I order it?

    Toni Ringo

    The film this person is inquiring about is called "Psychomania", a 1971 (although I have seen it listed as being made anywhere from 1968-1975!) British production starring George Sanders is one of his last roles. This is a dry but enjoyable amalgamation of the zombie and bikers genres that were both doing well in the early 70's. The film also has a "blink and you'll miss it" cameo but Doctor Who's own UNIT Sergeant Benton, John Levine, as a police constable who gets dispatched quickly when the zombie bikers bust one of their buddies out of the pokey. This film was one of the original "questionable public domain" titles released through budget retailers like K-Mart by Goodtimes Video in the early days of home video (when being able to buy ANY feature for under $10 was a rarity!). The film is very atmospheric and feels like a leftover Amicus production or a short from one of their many omnibus films like "Tales from the Crypt" (which also features a zombie biker) expanded to feature length. It's not a bad way to spend 95 minutes and Amazon.com has it on DVD for $9.95!

    - ED -

    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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