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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #250  (Vol. 6, No. 1)  This edition is for the week of January 3--9, 2005.

Will and Karen's Cabbage Key and Key West Kraziness, Part Three
 by William Moriaty
"Beyond The Sea"
 by Mike Smith
Romper Room Memories, 1973....Will Eisner Is Gone...."Sellevision"....While They Suffer, Let's At Least Make Sure We Feel Good
 by Andy Lalino
One Angry Young Man
 by Joshua Montgomery
2004 To Me
 by Clayton Smith
Hell Didn't Freeze, Well, Maybe Not Yet....Some Comments Regarding The Year's End
 by Brandon Jones
Happy New Year....I Am The Champion....Winter Fest
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Congrats....25 More....Passing On
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Romper Room Memories - 1973
Take a look at the picture below. Recognize the chubby kid, third from the right? Yup, that's me, when I appeared on the local production of "Romper Room" way back in the great year of 1973 - 2 years after we moved to Florida (I was in first grade). The show featured the very popular Miss June, who all of us elementary school kids loved growing up with. I was on Romper Room from Feb. 12th to 23rd, 1973.

Being on Romper Room was a great experience, and I recall bits and pieces quite well. My favorite part of the show was when the mini-milk truck would come driving out, followed by a "Felix the Cat" cartoon. I also remember at the end of Romper Room, Miss June would reveal the "Magic Mirror" (a hollow hand-held mirror with secret powers), which produced hypnotic magical effects. Does anyone remember how you make "hand goggles" from the show? You'd make an "OK" sign with both hands, and turn them upside-down, then, place the "O" shape (thumb and index finger) over your eyes, and your other 3 fingers would cover the cheeks.

Personal recollections I have are: the fact that I was on the show during my birthday (Feb. 17th). If I'm not mistaken, I think we had a cake for me, and possibly one of the other kids who was on the show who had a birthday in February. If you look to the right of Miss June, you'll see an easel with valentines on it, signifying that this was on or around Valentine's Day 1973. I also remember Miss June letting me draw a picture on a large pad of drawing paper on an easel. I think I drew a duck, and for some reason drew it in a cage, but I think I overdid it on how many "lines" I drew to simulate a cage! I remember her asking why I drew so many lines. Maybe it was the "Monster" of my Id.

Interestingly, at the times I was friends with two of the girls who appeared on the show with me. The blonde girl with her hair up on the very left is Lisa Carr, who I would later (in 1975) attend Holy Family School with. I remember always wondering why Lisa's family spelled their last name with an extra "R"! Hey, give me a break; I was only 7! The blonde girl with freckles on the extreme right is Amanda Schubert, a neighbor of ours and an old friend.

Sadly, "Miss June" Hurley passed away years ago, but her memory will always live on with countless children who grew up with her. (Editor's note: several weeks after this Oddservations was posted, we were informed that Miss June Hurley is still alive, still lives in Tampa, FL, but now goes by the name "Young" after her late husband of 28 years. Andy blamed the mistake on bad info likely gleaned from the internet and regrets the error. --Nolan)

The show was taped (or broadcast live) from the WLCY TV 10 studios on Gandy Blvd. in St. Petersburg. It's so sad that these were the days before home VCR's, so there's no way of going back and finding the old shows. The Channel 10 studios are very much still there (with new call letters). Hope you enjoyed this good memory from the early 1970's, the same year Dr. Paul Bearer appeared on the air here!

Will Eisner is Gone
Will Eisner, creator of the popular, long-running comic strip "The Spirit", died on Jan. 3rd of complications from quadruple bypass surgery. He was a resident of Florida and died in Lauderdale Lakes. Eisner was also the father of the modern-day graphic novel, which he pioneered in 1978 with the publication of "A Contract with God"; four interconnected stories about faith.

Growing up, I was unfortunately unfamiliar with The Spirit comic strip/comic book, but I do have a couple of nostalgic Oddservations about Eisner to relay, the first dating back to 1976, when I bought the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. It featured Eisner's "The Spirit" on the cover. I can't tell you how many times I read that price guide; it had to have been at least a thousand. It was the price guide that meant the most to me growing up, and I will always recall Eisner's fantastic cover art.

My second encounter with Eisner's work was again in 1976 (or may have been '77 or '78), when I purchased the "Will Eisner's Spirit Casebook - True Haunted Houses and Ghosts" paperback, published by Tempo Books. I recall buying it at my school's Book Fair (I attended Holy Family Catholic School in St. Petersburg). The cover price was $1.25, but I believe I paid a little less for it, because it came from a Book Fair. I still have it! It's a bit worn, yellowing and musty-smelling, but I'd never, ever part with it!

The paperback is fantastic. It has great ghost/haunted house stories (supposedly true) told in such a captivating fashion by Eisner through words and comic illustrations. Eisner's art from this paperback was so influential to me, that I based the original concept art of "Fermentia", an old hag from my short horror film "Filthy", on a pen and ink drawing Eisner had included in a story called "The Ghost of Inmate 23", about a wicked crone named "Crazy Mary" Murphy who hung herself in her jail cell, only to haunt succeeding inmates into committing suicide as well.

Cameras Ready to Roll on Mark Bozek's "Sellevision" in Tampa
Mark Bozek, my former boss at the Home Shopping Network, is about to embark on an ambitious independent film project entitled "Sellevision" - the story of the hilarious behind-the-scenes goings on at a Home Shopping style network. The feature film project is set to roll in Tampa in a few months. Fanboys may take interest in the fact that Carrie Fisher will star, and I hope she makes an appearance or two around town. Meeting Princess Leia from "Star Wars" would indeed give me quite a thrill.

I've heard rumors about this project since 2003 when Bozek left HSN to pursue independent filmmaking once again. Before he became president of the network, he directed an autobiographical short film about growing up in a funeral home, which featured actor Eric Stoltz. I worked for and with Mark Bozek on many occasions as a graphic designer and assistant editor at the Home Shopping Network, creating promos and presentation videos for such high-profile executives as Barry Diller.

"Sellevision" is a major indie project for this area - it's just what we need, and may go a long way in not only attracting entertainment industry leaders to the Tampa Bay area, but establishing us as a legitimate locale for up and coming talent.

While They Suffer, Let's At Least Make Sure We Feel Good
Soon after the deadly tsunami struck southern Asia after Christmas, the United States (and other "rich" countries) got struck with a tidal wave of its own by international sentiments on how "stingy" we are and how the U.S. should be expected to pick up a substantial portion of the cost of the recovery.

All I've heard on the news outlets lately is "How much is the U.S. giving?", "Are we giving enough?", "How much are we giving compared to France, Japan, and the U.K.?", "What is the top 10 list of charitable contributions?". It's enough to sour me and other Americans from giving money for the cause.

Now, I have no problem at all with the gov't and private charitable contributions, but thanks to that lousy group of bureaucrats called the U.N., the U.S. aid effort smacks of a futile attempt to make the rest of the world like us again. President Bush, that won't work.

Mark my words: years after this disaster, southern Asia, with its large population of Muslims, will continue to be a thorn in our side, and will no doubt resume their efforts to bomb western tourist spots and cause further deaths of anyone who doesn't bow to Mecca. It's a genuinely valiant effort that the U.S. has taken, yet again, as the role of world leader, and is, as usual, doing the most to aid these impoverished regions; but if you think, however, that our helping hands will result in them liking us, you may as well tattoo "sucker" on your forehead.

Live Aid 2?
In the wake of the New Wave news blurb that Bob Geldof and Midge Ure were contemplating a new version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (did that ever happen? I hope not), the IMDB reports that Geldof/Ure are planning a second Live Aid geared toward tsunami relief. A noble gesture, granted, but who the hell really wants to see Coldplay and The Darkness? Having venerable bands such as U2 among the drek is insulting to them. If this gets the green light and plays on TV, simply pull out your 1985 edition and play it during the broadcast.

"Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.