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PCR #253. (Vol. 6, No. 4) This edition is for the week of January 24--30, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! A short one this week. Shall we begin?

"Million Dollar Baby"
 by Mike Smith
Goodnight, Johnny....Got the Clap?....Off Beat Cinema '05
 by Andy Lalino
Megacon: Looking Ahead to Wolfman & Perez....Get it While You Can....Things I Didn’t Know But Probably Should Have....Here’s To Johnny and “Slick”
 by Brandon Jones
Heeeere's Johnny!...Rondo Awards Nominations Are Out....Football Fabulah
 by Matt Drinnenberg
In Memory Of....It Was A "Y" for Yale....It's Razzie Time....Dick, Perry, and Friends....It Was 20 years Ago Today....Jaws: The Story, Part 3
 by Mike Smith
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Let me take a few lines to join my fellow PCR colleagues in mourning the passing of the great Johnny Carson. Like an old friend, Johnny was someone to welcome into your home each and every night. That he never found a suitable vehicle after he left "The Tonight Show" is a testament to his beliefs. He refused to do anything that wasn't up to the high standards he had for himself. Sleep well.

Reporters in Norway were curious of a photo taken of President Bush during his inaugural parade. During the procession, the President was caught giving praise to his dark lord, Satan, by extending his first and fourth fingers into the air. Questioned about this, a White House spokesman said Mr. Bush was doing the "hook 'em horns" gesture of the University of Texas, a school that he did not attend. Actually, the Satan thing would explain a whole lot.

Speaking of President Bush, he must be thrilled to know he was nominated as Worst Actor by the Golden Raspberries for his performance in "Fahrenheit 9/11." The film pulled in a total of four nominations. Along with President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld was nominated as Worst Supporting Actor while both Condoleezza Rice and Britney Spears pulled down noms for Worst Supporting Actress. "Catwoman" lead the list of nominees with a total of seven, including Worst Film of the Year. Joining the film in the Worst of the Year category are "Alexander," "Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2," "Surviving Christmas" and "White Chicks." Winners will be announced February 26.

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the murders that inspired the book "In Cold Blood." I was mesmerized by this case as a young man. When I joined the Army, I had my choices of duty stations. I chose Kansas for two reasons. One, it was in the center of the country and I could pretty much travel anywhere. Two, it was where the case took place. Living here in the so called Bible belt gives you a sense of tranquility. You never think about bad things happening here like the murders of the Clutter family 40 years ago. Yet, recently, two very disturbing events have made national news. First, a young woman was strangled to death and her eight month old fetus was cut out of her womb. The woman who did it was caught and, thankfully, the baby survived. Secondly, back in the 1970's, a serial killer terrorized the city of Wichita. Because of his methods, he was labeled the BTK killer, which stood for "Bind, Torture, Kill." Recently, authorities have begun receiving notes leading them to evidence of the past crimes. In fact, they recently received the drivers license of one of the victims in the mail. It's almost as if this killer has gotten bored and is trying to match wits with authorities, daring them to catch him/her. Yikes! Maybe I should have moved to Detroit!

Friday, January 28th, marks the 20th anniversary of the recording of "We Are the World." Following the American Music Awards ceremony on Januray 28, 1985, more then 50 artists headed to the studio to record the song cowritten by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. To keep everyone in line, producer Quincy Jones had a sign posted at the studio entrance asking everyone to "check your ego at the door." I recently learned something I didn't know about this session. I had always thought that the only scheduled artist to not participate was Prince, who either forgot about or blew off the session. His solo lyrics were given to Huey Lewis. Recently, event coordinator Ken Kragen revealed that Waylon Jennings walked out of the session because he objected to the lyrics. Weird.

Roy ScheiderRoy Scheider from French ConnectionWith director Steven Spielberg on board, it was time to cast the film. Universal suggested Charlton Heston for the role of Police Chief Martin Brody. However, having recently saved an airplane in "Airport '75" and the entire city of Los Angeles in "Earthquake," Spielberg passed. He felt that having Heston in the role would signal to moviegoers that the shark had no chance. Spielberg wanted Robert Duvall. After reading the script, Duvall indicated that he would like to play Quint. However, with other actors in mind for that role, Spielberg told him no. The previous year Spielberg had been introduced to Roy Scheider at a Christmas party. Scheider recalled that he overheard Spielberg talking to screenwriter Tracey Keenan Wynn about a film he was going to do. When he heard about a giant shark leaping out of the water and crashing onto a boat he just shook his head, thinking "good luck, guys." autographed Jaws glossySpielberg recalled Scheider's Oscar nominated work in "The French Connection" and decided that the cop Scheider played in that film would be just the kind of cop to leave New York City and become Chief of Police on Amity Island. Universal was wary and only cast Scheider after he agreed to sign a three picture deal, thereby having him available for future sequels if necessary. To find out what happened with that contract, click here JAWSmovie.com

With Scheider on board as Brody, casting turned to young oceanographer Matt Hooper. Next week, I'll explain how Joel Grey, Jeff Bridges and Jon Voight figure into the "Jaws" story.

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

"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 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 ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.