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PCR #291. (Vol. 6, No. 42) This edition is for the week of October 17--23, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! A few notes, a couple rants and some passings you may have missed. Like last week, more coming Saturday morning. Shall we begin?

"Good Night and Good Luck"
 by Mike Smith
The Halloween Horror Picture Show '05....Game Show Cool
 by Vinnie Blesi
All Hallows Eve! A Brief History of our Favorite Holiday
 by Dylan Jones
That Boy's Good--Good and Terrible .... Rockin' Doctor Noah Drake .... Commercials .... It's All White in the NBA .... Movie Notes....Passing On....Jaws: The Story Part 38
 by Mike Smith
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Over the years I've taken some, I'm sure, good natured barbs from my former band mates about my musical abilities. I believe it was my best friend Matt who once said I "couldn't play the radio." Despite the emotional damage done, I do like to perform and a few weeks ago appeared in a company talent show. I'm the guy in the green shirt who obviously wore sunglasses that day! Notice the emotion...I had 'em swooning!

For fans of Rick Springfield who remember him before "Jessie's Girl," you'll be happy to know that he is returning to "General Hospital." Well, I'm happy anyway.

Why do advertisers take the time to "personalize" a commercial to a certain city when they have no idea about how the city works. A few years ago a radio spot ran in Baltimore about a certain cell phone company. It began, "When you throw your change into the basket as you head through the Harbor Tunnel..." Sadly, there are no baskets to throw change into at the Harbor Tunnel. The other day I heard a spot for a local hospital. It went something like this, "I love my uncle Jim. The other day he told me that he may have to undergo open heart surgery. When I asked him where he might have it, he said, 'oh, maybe the Cleveland Clinic.' Well, uncle Jim, if you're listening I'd like to tell you about blah..." IF YOU'RE LISTENING?? I'd think that if you REALLY loved uncle Jim you wouldn't hope he was listening to the radio. You'd call him on the phone, wouldn't you?

If you look up the word "hypocrite" in the dictionary, you might find a picture of National Basketball Association president David Stern. This week, in an effort to alter the "hip hop/thug" image of the league, Stern initiated a new dress code that players must follow when showing up for a game, traveling or making a personal appearance. Among the newly forbidden articles of clothing: jeans, sneakers, hats, headphones, t-shirts and jewelry worn on the outside of clothing. Also banned are the very popular throwback jerseys. THE VERY POPULAR NBA THROWBACK JERSEYS! So the players are not allowed to wear an item licensed by the NBA. Stern also thinks his edict will satisfy corporate sponsors. Apparently Stern has never seen a commercial from McDonalds, whose entire ad campaign is built around the hip hoppish "I'm Lovin' It" campaign.

As I reported some time ago, Sylvester Stallone was shopping around his script for "Rocky VI." Well, somebody bit and the film is scheduled to start filming as soon as he's done with a fourth "Rambo" film. If memory serves me, Rocky should be close to 60 years old now. I just don't see Rocky defeating anyone at this stage of his life, let alone father time.

Citing "differing creative aspirations," director Peter Jackson has released composer Howard Shore from his duties of scoring, "King Kong." James Newton Howard will now score the film.

As I mentioned, quite a few people shuffled off this mortal coil recently, sadly all but one of them from cancer. I apologize for not mentioning Louie Nye last week but I felt Nolan covered his passing well. Others from the world of Pop Culture we lost were:

Charles Rocket who, as a member of the first "replacement cast" of "Saturday Night Live," was supposed to be the answer to Chevy Chase, died last week at the age of 56. He was found in a field near his home with his throat cut and authorities are classifying his death as a suicide. Though Prince had done it earlier in the season, Rocket will probably be best remembered for uttering an obscenity live on the air. With the country in a wave of "Who Shot J R" fever, "Dallas" co-star (and, I believe a Brandon, Florida native - please correct me if I'm wrong) Charlene Tilton was hosting the program and was saying goodnight with the show's cast around her on stage. Having just done a "Dallas" spoof, where Rocket played JR Ewing, Tilton wondered aloud who really HAD shot JR. If memory serves me, Rocket said something along the line of "Who the fuck knows?" He was reprimanded and did apologize for his comments but, along with most of that year's cast, was let go at the end of the season. He took over the "Weekend Update" anchor chair and would sign off with, "I'm Charles Rocket...good night and watch out!" He found work later in such films as "Dumb and Dumber," "Dances With Wolves" and "It's Pat."
Gordon Lee, who played Porky in the "Our Gang"/"Little Rascals" shorts, died earlier today (Friday) from cancer. Often described as Spanky's little brother, I don't recall that being true. Nice little kid, though.
Jack White, whose article on Richard Nixon's underpayment of his Income Tax brought about Nixon's now famous "I Am Not A Crook" comment, died recently at the age of 63.
Tom Cheek who, until last season, had broadcast every game in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays, passed away from brain cancer. He was 66. Cheek worked every game the Blow Jays (sorry, that's my Oriole bias popping up) played until last season, when the cancer was diagnosed. He was a fine broadcaster and will be missed by baseball fans everywhere.
Jerry Juhl, the first employee hired by Jim Henson at the beginning of his career, sadly also died last week from cancer. he was 67. When Henson was looking for help with his local Washington D.C. series, "Sam and Friends," he approached Juhl, a writer, and later brought him with him to "Sesame Street." Juhl won 2 Emmys for his work on "Sesame Street" and was the head writer of "The Muppet Show." He also co-wrote "The Muppet Movie" and later went on to create "Fraggle Rock."

Though "Jaws" was based on a best-selling novel, the majority of the book did not make it to the screen. Director Spielberg wisely cut out a lot of the back story and fast forwarded to the hunt for the shark. Some major differences:

  • In the book, Chief Brody has three sons: Billy, Martin, Jr. and Sean. In the film he has two: Michael and Sean.
  • In the book, Oceanographer Matt Hooper is portrayed as a spoiled rich kid. That notion is not helped when he has an affair with Ellen Brody. In the film, Hooper is cute and cuddly, though he has a habit of eating other people's food.
  • In the book, Hooper is eaten by the shark. In the film, he lives.
  • In the book, Harry Meadows, the local newspaper editor, has a very large part. In the film, Meadows only appears in a few scenes. Ironically, the actor who played Meadows was also the films co-screenwriter, Carl Gottlieb. Carl has often said it killed him to cut Meadow's lines but decided those cuts made the script better.
  • Finally, in the book, the shark gets exhausted and drowns. In the film the damn thing goes up in a geyser of blood thanks to an air tank and a well placed rifle bullet.

    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.