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PCR #184. (Vol. 4, No. 40) This edition is for the week of September 29--October 5, 2003.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! News, notes and TOO many people are passing on! Shall we begin?

UFOs I Have Seen -- Part 2
by Will Moriaty
"School Of Rock"
by Mike Smith
Fall Television Round Table Discussion
 by Vinnie Blesi
Beyond Belief....Deadly Visions
 by Patty G. Henderson and Terri Davis
 by John Lewis
Top 10 Albums Revisited....Celebrity Deaths...."Rush" To Judgement
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Rush Limbaugh IS a Big Fat Idiot...Whatever Happened To..?....Who's Next?....Get Well....Passing On
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Ah, fall is in the air, the leaves are changing and el Rushbo has stepped on his dick! This past weekend, Limbaugh accused the NFL of playing up the talents of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, saying they are only trying to highlight him because he's black. As if the NFL hasn't had any great black quarterbacks until the century turned. Joe Gillium, Vince Evans, Warren Moon, the Bucs own Doug Williams (a Super Bowl MVP, by the way). Even now, Steve McNair and Dante Culpepper are leading their teams in fine fashion. I notice that Matt brings up the notion of free speech, which is something I am strongly for. Unfortunately, in these times, speech, not matter how free, needs to be acceptable. Like Al Campanis and Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder before him, Limbaugh got what was coming to him. Now, about those illegal pain killers...................

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO...............
I was going through some boxes the other day and came upon a long forgotten collection of old Variety inserts and movie studio announcements. Among the films that never made it to the screen (at least not in their original conception): "The Verdict" starring Robert Redford, "Apocalypse Now" (advertised in a 1969 MGM folder as "coming soon.") and, in the role of San Francisco cop Harry Callahan, FRANK SINATRA as "Dirty Harry." The one that most struck me as something I would have liked to have seen was a movie written by Neil Simon entitled, "Bogart Slept Here," which was to star Robert DeNiro as up and coming actor Elliot Garfield handling life in Hollywood. For whatever reason, the project was dropped. Luckily, Simon had another script featuring Garfield before he went to Hollywood. Richard Dreyfuss won an Oscar for his role of Garfield in "The Goodbye Girl." But I must admit, I sure would like to know how Elliot fared in Tinsletown.

Just occurred to me that if Arnold Schwarzenneger is elected governor of California he would be the second star of the film, "Predator," to be voted into the governor's mansion, after former Minnesota boss Jesse Ventura. Who's next, Carl Weathers? My vote would be for Sonny Lanham, but as an ex-porn star I don't think he'd have a chance.

Even with the most common first and last name in the English language, very few Michael Smiths' have followed their rock and roll dreams. Last year, we lost Paul Revere and the Raiders drummer Mike Smith. Earlier this week, keyboardist/vocalist Mike Smith of the Dave Clark 5 seriously injured himself in a fall at his home. Best wishes for a full recovery, Mike.

My, God, did we lose some great ones this past week --

Robert Palmer, who's videos influenced many of the MTV generation, died last Friday in Paris from a heart attack. He was 54. Palmer was on a short vacation after filming a television special in England. I was stunned to hear of his passing as he had just been interviewed on air here in Kansas City about 2 weeks ago. The son of a British naval officer, Palmer performed with many rock bands before hitting it big as a solo act. His first solo single, "Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley," which he recorded with some of the members of Little Feat, hit the British charts in 1974. He gained recognition in the states with the song "Bad Case of Loving You." In 1983, he fronted the group Power Station, which was a side project for Duran Duran members Andy and John Taylor, producing hits like "Some Like It Hot" and a cover of the T-Rex hit "Get It On (Bang a Gong)" In 1985, he released the album, RIPTIDE. His hits "Addicted to Love" (#1) and "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" (#2) topped the charts, and his video for "Addicted to Love" became an all time classic, mimicked by many artists, including, most recently, Shania Twain. 1988s "Heavy Nova" included the #2 hit, "Simply Irresistible." Palmer's sales slowed in the 1990s as he began experimenting in different styles of music. His last album, entitled DRIVE was a collection of future blues. It was released earlier this year. He is survived by a son, James; a daughter, Jane; his parents and his ex-wife.

George Plimpton, author and hero to many who always thought about playing professional sports, died last Thursday in New York at the age of 76. No cause of death has been given. A descendant of the families that came over on the Mayflower, Plimpton was well known in all fields: Publishing, Politics, even Hollywood. His book, "Paper Lion," told the true story of Plimpton's attempts at making the Detroit Lions football team in training camp. With only the teams coaches in on the truth, Plimpton took his chances while trying to become one of the teams' quarterbacks. When it was made into a film, Plimpton was disappointed that he was not chosen to play himself. That part went to a young actor named Alan Alda. If you watch the movie, look for an unbilled Roy Scheider playing catch with Alda in Central Park! As a writer, or "participatory journalist," for Sports Illustrated, Plimpton detailed his attempts to box with champ Archie Moore, pitch to Willie Mays and perform as a trapeze artist for the Clyde Beatty - Cole Brothers Circus. His film work included roles in "Lawrence of Arabia," "Bonfire of the Vanities," "Reds" and "Good Will Hunting." He also appeared as the moderator of a spelling bee in an episode of "The Simpsons."

Donald O'Connor, who almost stole "Singin' In The Rain" from costars Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, died Saturday of heart failure. He was 78. The son of vaudevillians, O'Connor made his big screen debut at the age of 11, appearing with Bing Crosby and Fred MacMurray in 1938s, "Sing, You Sinners." In the 1940s he appeared in a series of low budget musicals, usually opposite Ann Blyth and Peggy Ryan. Even though he never took a dance lesson, he is best remembered for the "Make 'em Laugh" number from "Singin' in the Rain." Armed with only a dressmakers' dummy, he holds the screen the entire time as he cavorts about the set, falling, spinning and even running up a wall. If this was his only contribution to Hollywood it would have been enough to make him a legend. His other musical roles include "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "I Love Melvin," in which he tap danced in roller skates. His most successful work was in the series of "Francis" films, featuring O'Connor and a talking mule. He won an Emmy for his work on "The Colgate Comedy Hour" and a Golden Globe for "Singin' in the Rain." His last film role was in the cruise ship comedy, "Out To Sea." Though he was never nominated for an Oscar, his daughter, Alicia, says he would often joke about the speech he had planned for his Lifetime Achievement Award. Though he's no longer able to accept it in person, it is an honor he richly deserves.

Elia Kazan, one of the most respected and honored film makers in history, died Sunday at his home in Manhattan at the age of 94. No cause of death was given. Not only was he a fine film director, he also achieved unparalleled fame on Broadway. So great was his work that five shows he staged ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize for their authors, an unheard of number. Among his Broadway triumphs: "Death of a Salesman," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Skin of Our Teeth" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." He won the Best Director Oscar twice, for "Gentleman's Agreement" and "On The Waterfront." In 1948, he and Lee Strasberg founded The Actors Studio. Studio alumni include Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and, possibly the greatest actor of his generation, Marlon Brando. During the McCarthy hearings, Kazan was forced to name other members of the film community that had been members of the Communist Party with him in the mid-1930s. Offering no apology for his actions, Kazan was quoted as saying, "I'd rather hurt them (those he named) a little then hurt myself a lot." In 1999, he was awarded a special honorary Oscar. His appearance was met by a standing ovation by many. However, some in the audience, most notably Ed Harris and Nick Nolte, sat with their arms crossed. Many who applauded, including Warren Beatty, stated that they were able to separate the art from the politics. Among Kazan's "must see" films: "Gentleman's Agreement," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "On the Waterfront," "East of Eden," "A Face In The Crowd" (which features an incredible star making performance by Andy Griffith. Fans of Sheriff Andy Taylor will be stunned) and "Splendor in the Grass."

Well, that's it for now. Phew, it's been almost 5 days and no one has died. Hope it stays this way for sometime. We are losing too many treasures. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.