PCR's past banners
Now in our fifth calendar year!

PCR #209. (Vol. 5, No. 13) This edition is for the week of March 22--28, 2004.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! More news and notes, the first excerpt from my book and chapter 10 in the Beatles story. Shall we begin?

A special commentary on The Passion of the Christ
 by Mike Smith
"Dawn of the Dead"  by ED Tucker
There and Back Again: The Pivotal Year of 1987
 by Andy Lalino
The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's Legacy
 by Nick King
Dawn of the Dead....The Passion of the Christ....Comics  by John Lewis
What In The Name Of God...?
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Passion Of The Python....I Love Rock And Roll....Andy Says....Check Your Calendars....Me And The Lord (with book excerpt)....Meet The Beatles, Part 10
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR

The other day I was speaking with a friend and told her I'm surprised that Universal doesn't try to make a few bucks and reissue "Jesus Christ Superstar" to take advantage of the whole "Passion of the Christ" brouhaha. Apparently no one at Universal is listening to me, but I'm happy to announce that soon we will all be able to enjoy the 25th Anniversary presentation of "Monty Python's Life of Brian" back on the big screen. A hilarious story about a Jewish lad whose life adventures are very similar to Jesus' (after all, he was born in the stable next door). If you've never seen it, now is the time to take advantage of catching it on the big screen. When it was released, it was met with a lot of the same negativism that has greeted Mel Gibson's epic. Look for producer (and huge Python fan) George Harrison in a cameo towards the end.

Speaking of Harrison, this week he was inducted, for the second time, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This induction recognized his work as a solo artist. Other inductees included Bob Seger, ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, The Dells, Traffic and Prince. Aside from individual musical performances, there was a great jam session at the end on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," with Prince more then ably handling the lead riffs. I may have to send a tape to Nolan since he doesn't share with me the idea that Prince is a musical genius.

Reference Andy's piece on horror films made in the 1990's, I would agree in part that Hollywood relied more on gizmos and gimmicks instead of concentrating on story and atmosphere. However, the 90's weren't all bad. Off the top of my head I came up with 6 films made in the 90's that managed to hold my attention and give me the occasional willies: SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, CANDYMAN, SEVEN, INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, DRACULA (just ignore Keanu Reeves) and MISERY.

Here in Kansas City the Catholic Diocese has filed for dismissal of the many sexual lawsuits pending against the diocese and three former priests. The reason for the filing: that the victims, who were children at the time, have failed to provide THE SPECIFIC DATES as to when they were molested. Something tells me that when little Bobby was being forced to play "Pet the Bishop" with the family priest he wasn't taking the time to memorize the date. May the guilty parties burn in hell........quickly!

I have, for the past 20 years, been writing down my various experiences, adventures and shenanigans that have occurred to me, mostly my adventures in the movie theatre business. The working title is "I Don't Make Them, I Just Show Them," and, if nothing more, it gives me good insight onto what has happened in my life. Last week, while commenting on the death of Carl Anderson, I mentioned a story regarding my meeting Mr. Anderson and the cast of "Jesus Christ Superstar." I jokingly referenced repeating the story here and, with Nolan's encouragement, will do so now. The chapter this tale is taken from deals with the various personal encounters I have had with celebrities. I welcome any feedback on this tale, positive or negative. Enjoy.

It's early 1993, and I have been invited to attend the dress rehearsal of the 20th Anniversary presentation of the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar." As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, "Jesus Christ Superstar" was the first movie I ever saw alone and it left quite an impression on me. I was visiting my grandfather in St. Petersburg, Florida and he allowed me to go see the movie one afternoon.
      If you are not familiar with the film, it begins with a group of school buses stopping in the desert. A group of performers get off the bus, build some quick sets and basically stage the story. At the end of the film, after Christ is crucified, the actors get back on the bus and leave Jesus behind, still on the cross. For whatever reason, the thought that they had left Jesus was very troubling to my 12-year-old mind. After much questioning, my grandfather assured me that Jesus was all right and I went about enjoying the rest of my trip.
      After the show ended, I went backstage and was quite shocked to run into actor Ted Neeley, who played Jesus in both the film and the show I had just seen. Still in costume, he was the spitting image of every rendering you've ever seen of Jesus. I'm telling you, this guy must win every Halloween costume contest he enters and he probably scares the hell out of people when he attends Easter Mass. As I approached him I jokingly said, "I'm so glad to see you're all right," and proceeded to tell him my story of seeing the film. When I was finished, he looked at me and asked, in a very quiet voice, "and how is your grandfather?"
      Wow! That really floored me. You hear a story like mine and maybe you kind of laugh about it, but you don't ask about granddad! "He passed away some time ago," I told him. Neeley replied, "I'm so sorry," stepped towards me and gave me a huge hug. I can't begin to tell you the feeling I was having. My friend, Marty, who was standing behind Neeley, told me that I had a look on my face like I was going to cry. It is still a feeling that is hard to explain. Anyway, we spent the next 10 minutes or so talking about the show, he introduced me to Carl Anderson, who played Judas in the show, everyone signed autographs and we said good night.
      A few years later, the show comes back through Baltimore and I go backstage afterwards. In the time since I last saw Ted Neeley, I had grown a full beard and gained about 50 pounds. As Neeley came towards me, I stuck out my hand and said, "I bet you don't remember me." To my surprise, he said, "you're the little boy who thought they had left me behind at the end of the film. I love that story. I tell it all the time."

March 23-29, 1967 - In the middle of the recording of the "Sgt Pepper" album, the boys complete the majority of vocal work on "Getting Better," "Good Morning, Good Morning" and "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite." During the 10 hour session on "Good Morning, Good Morning," John Lennon comes up with the idea of having animal noises at the end of the song. A quick browse through the extensive sound library at Abbey Road studios supplies a myriad of noises, including 'Volume 35: Animals and Bees' and 'Volume 57: Fox-hunt.' They also begin work on a vocal track for Ringo, briefly entitled "Bad Finger Boogie," but later renamed "With A Little Help From My Friends."

Well, all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 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 ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.