LETTERS  PCR #299     (December 12--18, 2005)

  • ED Tucker reviews "King Kong"
  • Reader remembers Richard Pryor
  • ED Tucker remembers Richard Pryor
  • Reader on Cell Block H and Circle of Fear (and ED Tucker's response)
  • Reader remembers the Kapok Tree Inn

    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


    I just returned from seeing the new King Kong on opening day and I have to say I was very impressed. I knew after watching his painstaking work in recreating the spider pit scene from the original Kong (which is worth the price of the new collector's edition DVD by itself), that Jackson was the right man for the job. There are some great references to the original film in the new one including working in some snippets of dialog in surprising ways (also look for exacting replicas of the gas grenades from the first Kong stored with the chloroform). Jackson also tosses in a few references to his own films like the rat monkey cage from Dead Alive. The CGI is some of the best I have ever seen and it's integration is flawless in most of the scenes. The Skull Island of this film is truly a dangerous place and makes the one of the first film look like a walk in the park! On the down side, Jack Black does the best he can but can't really carry the Denham role. His scenes where the character turns more sinister are actually good but he seems to only posses one style of mugging and that makes a few of New York scenes painful. Jackson is great with the action sequences but some of romance scenes are heavy handed and stop the film dead in it's tracks. The film starts off at what can best be described as a leisurely pace so by the time it finally picks up, the last thing you want it to do is slow down again. Some of the scenes also walk the fine line of being epic so closely that they fall head first into implausible. Over all though the pros out weigh the cons ten to one and I believe this is going to be the blockbuster film of the holiday season.



    There's really no need for me to go into all the groundbreaking history Richard Pryor bestowed on us. Just thought I'd share a funny story, that's all.

    In fifth grade I auditioned for a talent show. I sang Styx's "Too Much Time On My Hands". Well I made it through. However, when the actual show came around, I set it up for the sound guy to not play the music. I went up to the mike and performed, verbatim, "Mudbone" from the album "Was It Something I Said"

    A skinny white guy performing Richard Pryor. I was suspended, thought my mom was going to have a stroke.

    None of that means anything.

    I miss you, Richard. You were a big part of my childhood, and a big part of me now. I love you. Thanks for the laughs and entertainment. There's a hole in my heart now. Goodnight.

    Dave [no last name]


    Did you ever catch the episode of The Wild Wild West Richard Pryor cameoed in? James West was captured by a sultan and Pryor was one of his entertainers who did a ventriloquist act. He never spoke in the whole episode, only his dummy did. My first exposure to him was his legendary guest host spot on SNL. The exchange between he and Chevy Chase in the word association sketch is a TV classic. I went out after that and bought his "That N*'s Crazy" album (which I still have) that has his Exorcist spoof on it.



    Could you inquire whether anyone remembers the "late night" sort of soap operaesque show called "Prisoner Cell Block H" ? A cell block in an all womens prison, either in the UK or Australia. It was on channel 20 (WDCA) or 45 (baltimore) in the DC metro area around '75-'77 at 10 or 11 o'clock pm.

    Also, in a previous Lettercol, a Mr. Perez indicated that "Circle of Fear" was a favorite show and mentioned the episode "doppleganger" as his most memorable.

    I haven't discussed this show since I was 12-14. Not for lack of desire, but for lack of anyone who knew what I was talking about. Anyway, I would like to know if Mr. Perez remembers the episode in which the rocking horse, upon removal from its gift box (approx. 1 sqare ft, if memory serves) became unnoticably larger and wouldn't fit back in the box. Then, of course, continued to grow to the size of a carousel horse? In fact, I don't remember the premise or in what context this was chilling. I just remember that episode branded itself in my mind and was at the least, fearfully disturbing. In general the series served its purpose and exposed us to the "circle of fear," hautingly well.

    Lastly, I didn't know the name was changed. I can only presume that perhaps Mr. Perez would agree the new name doesn't reflect the real nature of this show. I hope that the new name wasn't indicative of content quality. The way to go was down.

    Mike Ferry

    Mike, I myself remember "Prisoner of Cell Block H", but I didn't watch it all that regularly. Do you have a special memory of it you'd like to share with our readers? As re: "Circle of Fear", this seems to be a "lost" classic series that keeps coming up in the Lettercol! PCR special feature writer, ED Tucker, a formidable TV and film historian, has some answers below. Mike, thanks for writing. ---Nolan

    ED TUCKER responds:

    The episode of Circle of Fear that Mike Ferry is referring to was called "Dark Vengeance". It stared Kim Darby and Martin Sheen. This was one scary episode (as were a lot of the episodes in this highly underrated series) and as I recall the toy horse was returned to the box through a mirror in the lid. At the climax when the horse is charging Darby, she opens the box lid with the mirror inside and by the time the horse reaches her it is back to normal size and she imprisons it in the box again. I have a few episodes of the series on tape somewhere and I think this may be one of them. It was rerun in the late 80's in Jacksonville at around 1AM on Sunday morning when I was in college. I introduced more than one of my roommates to the series. The reason for the change from Ghost Story to Circle of Fear was simple, ratings. The entire series ran 23 episodes and was originally hosted by Sebastian "Mr. French" Cabot. 15 episodes into the run, the network decided to junk the title and Cabot and broadcast the remaining episodes under the COF title with no host. I always figured these were a collection of bedtime stories Mr. French used to tell Buffy and Jodie when they misbehaved on Family Affair! I also remember The Prisoner of Cell Block H. It was on a local channel (44?) in the '70's around 11PM weeknights and I watched it in the summer. It was an Australian soap opera about life in Wentworth Prison, an all female correctional institution. I remember it seemed pretty gritty for it's time and had a memorable theme song called "On the Inside". There is a website dedicated to the show that Mike can check out here: http://www.prisoner-cellblockh.co.uk/oti.html

    - ED -


    I, too, have wonderful memories of the Kapock Tree Inn, I went there as a child. I had saved for many years glasses from the Inn. But the glasses broke while being washed. If anyone has any information about where I may be able to find a set for sale I would like the information. Also I would love to get in contact with anyone who may have photos of the Inn. It is such a shame that it is gone I would love to have taken my granddaughter's there.

    Thank you,
    Robert [no last name]

    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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