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PCR #265. (Vol. 6, No. 16) This edition is for the week of April 18--24, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Busy week for me as I've gotten over 100 emails asking me if I'm the spitter on the grassy knoll. Plus more on JAWS. Shall we begin?

"Fever Pitch"
 by Mike Smith
Liberal vs Conservative
 by Nicholas King
The Reptile Show...."The Amityville Horror"
 by John Lewis
Mike Spits In Jane Fonda's Face!!....Jawsfest
 by Matt Drinnenberg
It Wasn't Me....Here Comes The Force....Passin On....The Pope....Jaws: The Story, Part 15
 by Mike Smith
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Not sure if I've ever complained in this forum about the burden of having the most popular first and last name in the English language. I've been stopped for speeding and had my car surrounded by police cars because Michael Smith was an escaped murderer from Texas. When I first applied for a car loan I had to explain that I wasn't the same Michael Smith from Florida that owed over $100,000 on a home loan (I was only 19 at the time). Hell, I even had someone in Baltimore call me on the phone and threaten to kill me for sleeping with his wife. After I assured him I wasn't the guy I asked how he had found my number. "You're in the phone book" he said. I told him there were a lot of "us" in the phone book. He wished me well and hung up. I never read anything about a Michael Smith being killed by a jealous husband, but it occurred to me that it was nice the guy had called. He could have just pulled a "Terminator" on me, gotten my address and killed me. This prologue brings me to this past Tuesday night. Actress Jane Fonda was in Kansas City to promote her new autobiography. As she also has a new film coming out in May, I was one of a number of critics invited to the event. I even went so far as to put my name on the press list. However, when I learned that there would be not time provided to interview Miss Fonda I decided to stay home. So imagine my surprise the next morning when I'm listening to the news to hear that Michael A. Smith had spit tobacco juice on Fonda while in line to have his book signed. The past two days my AOL email has been full of notes from strangers asking me if it was me. Not sure what it says about the past, but every one of the notes have praised "me" for the incident. Most of them read like this, "I applaud what you did to that traitor, Jane Hanoi Fonda." I even received an invitation to appear before a convention of 12,500 retired US Marines. Sorry I won't be there. Semper Fi, gentlemen!

After premiering "Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith" at the Cannes film festival, George Lucas will, for the first time, screen all six films at one time in London for charity. There will also be charity screenings in 10 US cities before the film opens on May 19th.

As usual, fans are planning to line up outside theatres in order to get the first tickets. Last week a group of fans began lining up outside the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the film is booked to play, not at the Chinese Theatre, but at another theatre a mile away. Told this, the fans vowed to remain at the theatre in hopes that the theatre would get the film. Good luck.

Debralee Scott
, best known for her television work on "Welcome Back, Kotter" and "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," died 3 days after her 52nd birthday in Florida. Cause of death was listed as natural causes. She had fallen ill several weeks before her death and had slipped into a coma. She came out of the coma and was released from the hospital on her birthday. On April 5th she went to take a nap and never woke up. Along with her television work, Scott appeared in "American Graffiti" (she was the girl who rode with Harrison Ford) and the first and third "Police Academy" films. Her fiancee, John Levi, was a Port Authority policeman who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Congratulations to our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. If, like me, you want to wish him well you can now do so via email. Drop him a line at benedictxvi@vatican.va. Tell him I said hello.

Back to filming, we come upon the filming of the opening scene. As written in the script, beautiful Christine "Chrissie" Watkins leads her new friend on a run along the beach before stripping off her clothes and running into the ocean for a swim. Her friend much too drunk to follow her, she swims out alone and is attacked. Stunt woman Susan Backlinie was chosen for the part and she certainly fit Chrissie's description. After bravely stripping off her clothes and running into the ocean naked in front of the film crew (director Spielberg shot the scene "day for night," meaning that while it looks like it's night time on screen it was actually broad daylight when the scene was shot) Backlinie was then put into a harness that had a rope on either side. Those ropes were handled off camera by a group of assistants who, on cue, would literally conduct a "tug of war" by pulling Backlinie from one side to the other, seemingly simulating the shark's attack. In a homage' to himself, Spielberg featured Backlinie in the opening scene of "1941" where the actress was again attacked in the water, this time by a submarine. In 1976, Backlinie was again the first victim to be attacked when she appeared in one of the "Jaws" inspired (see: rip off) films, "Grizzly."

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.