LETTERS  PCR #314      (March 27--April 2, 2006)

  • '80s TV/Radio Personality Inquiry (and TEDD WEBB response!)
  • Captain Kangaroo Episode Inquiry
  • Creature Feature Episode Inquiry
  • GE Theater Episode Inquiry (and ED TUCKER response!)
  • Reader Has Kaypok Tree Glasses
  • Brandon Jones on Splash Page Reaction

    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


    First time I've visited your web site which I located through Google, and really enjoyed it, especially politically! (Woo-Hoo! Nice to hear. --N)

    I'm researching (what probably everybody else in the literary world already knows, but I'm at a loss...) the character in Connie May Fowler's book, "When Katie Wakes": who was her abusive mate and was, in 1984, the washed-up TV/Radio personality known as "King of Tampa".

    I live in Tampa now, and have since 1989, so this is before my time, but not my husband's....and he can't remember who this person is. Do you know who the TV/Radio personality was who was fired repeatedly from just about every station he worked for, and who is the person who was abusive in Connie May Fowler's book?

    Thanks for letting me know the answer to my query, if you are aware of it. I have a bet with my husband that he'll never remember the name, but he thinks eventually he will (HA!).

    Jayne Lisbeth

    The character you write about is John Eastman, the former talk show host who successfully sued the tobacco industry and won millions just 2 years ago.

    They were a couple. She later married Mica Fowler, an outstanding photographer, whose studios I took over in the late '80s in Ybor City.

    -- TEDDY


    Does anyone have the original Captain Kangaroo show series or single shows on video or dvd? Can't find any on the 'net. I, too, grew up with the show and want to share it with my young kids.

    Please help if possible
    Scott Griswold

    Scott, thanks so much for writing! Your letter and a few that follow inspired me to write a piece on this week's front page about the plight of good folks like yourself who, with increasing frequency, are hopeful and optimistic that there has to be copies of just about any TV show or movie ever produced available for sale somewhere.

    If by "the original" episodes of Captain Kangaroo, you meant the ones from the '50s, '60s and early '70s, no, they were broadcast WAY before the advent of personal video recorders. Since they were produced on a daily basis, any that were pre-recorded were most likely destroyed ages ago due to tape storage concerns. HOWEVER....I have seen ads in magazines such as Filmfax for one or two individual episodes of Captain Kangaroo---likely kinescopes from around 1960.

    Of course, Captain Kangaroo was moved to PBS in the late '80's with the original host Bob Keeshan still at the helm, but with a pared-down set. Some of these episodes may be available.

    In the '90s a whole new Captain Kangaroo was produced with a new host, but this version did not last long. The first episodes may have been recorded by many people.

    If any of those are available, they are likely found on auction websites like eBay.

    Thanks so much for writing and good luck! ---Nolan


    My name is Carla and I remember watching Creature Feature and Dr. Paul Bearer when I was little. I have been feeling pretty nostalgic lately and wanted to catch a full show for old times' sake, preferably with original commercials. Do you have any such thing on tape (i.e. with commercials too, like an actual taped-off-TV, uncut) sort of thing? If so, I'd definitely like to find out how I could obtain a copy and reminisce. Thanks, and thanks for putting up such a neat and detailed website, it really takes me back!

    Carla [no last name]

    Carla, thanks so much for writing and for the kind words about Crazed Fanboy.

    As beloved as Creature Feature was, it is, unfortunately, among the locally-produced product whose original master tapes were not kept by station managers. Thanks to the foresight of Dick Bennick (aka, Dr. Paul Bearer) who went to great lengths to keep personal copies of his more involved material himself, four master tapes were preserved from that period. Otherwise, there would be no professional evidence that the show existed at all.

    HOWEVER...roughly 15 years' worth of "Creature Feature" episodes were produced after VCRs were invented and in the majority of American homes. Auction websites like eBay do decent business trading the only remaining extant videotapes of Creature Feature, recorded and saved by fans, known to exist. Many of these are burned to DVD, but they all originated on personally-recorded Beta and VHS tapes. Good luck! ---Nolan


    I am a first time visitor to your site and love the exchange of information on years gone by.

    Hope you can help with this one.

    When I was a child there was a TV program I believe called GE Theater Presents. I am looking for the name of the episode in which there is a marathone race held by the government and and the winner would receive their own home. Thousands upon thousands entered. It was a futuristic view to those of us watching of what the future would be like. Some of the scenes I vividly remember were: a world where smoking was banned and people were digging at the ground for butts, no one could enter a hospital or have a child without government permission so people were turning in individuals who they knew were pregnant without permission in a desperate attempt to gain entry to a hospital. These scenes would switch back & forth to the marathon racers. At the end of the show the cameras do a close up of the winner and his family standing outside their new home and the cameras pan back to show this huge barb-wire fence and thousands of people clinging to it. The message to the viewers (I believe): that the world would one day become so overpopulated that the government will control who would get a small piece of it.

    Would you know if this can be purchased anywhere??

    Thanks much,
    Sarasota, FL

    This required some research and unfortunately I have not been able to turn anything up thus far. Assuming you are correct and this was an episode of General Electric Theater, this show ran for 10 seasons with just over 300 episodes between 1953 and 1962. I was never syndicated so getting a synopsis of the individual episodes is almost impossible. Your description of the episode was excellent but do you have any information on who starred in it? That might help narrow things down.

    Thanks for writing.
    -- ED


    While looking up the history of the Kapok Tree Inn in preparation for putting a couple of their glasses on e-bay, I noticed on your website a plea from "Robert" who was looking for a pair of glasses to replace those he had broken.

    The pair I have are from the 1970s and are in perfect condition.

    If you'd like to share contact information, I'd be happy to give him an opportunity to purchase them before I put them on e-bay.


    JB, thanks so much for writing! I hope "Robert" still reads the PCR and sees your email because, unfortunately, I lost his original email one computer crash ago (in that machine I'm still hoping to recover some information from, though). Sorry I can't personally be of more help.

    To Robert: Here's your chance! Please hurry and write back!



    Re: Vinnie Blesi's reaction to Splash Page PCR #313: "Comments such as 'Skin color does matter' are just blatantly racist and ignorant."

    That was sort of my point. I should have put Nolan's name on it, to make it clear that what I meant was: "Nolan's comment indicates how skin color does matter." It was directed at Nolan. Color does apparently matter. Maybe it's simply insensitive, not racist.

    His point of the Urban Culture, etc...actually solidifies my point to Nolan that his comments are inappropriate and proof that society has a long way to go.

    Of course, it's all about politics and Vinnie's stereotyping of me. I support President Bush so I have to be a racist.

    I don't even know how that got turned around on me.

    You see, that was my point. Nolan gets a pass even though he's arguing sensitivity. But instead, it's about Bush, Brandon being ignorant and following who must be a racist who can't handle race issues or that his kids will marry into a "mixed" relationship. Nice use of mixed. Very similar to the "Cream of Rice" label (i.e., Vinnie's nickname for Condoleeza from past message board posts --N) which is a little too racial of an implication for me.

    So my test is complete and I'm done. If Terence chimes in then it's complete.

    Brandon Jones

    Brandon, thanks for weighing in and for clarifying your comments. Once again, I'm alarmed how merely speaking about obvious stereotyping in Hollywood gets me branded a "racist", but like I said in last week's lettercol, you were the only one to call me out on it. Now...was that because everyone's "giving me a pass"? Or maybe it's because more people are agreeing with me than you...OR...at the very least....nobody found my remarks racist except you? --- Nolan

    To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

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