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Now in our eighth calendar year!

PCR #400 (Vol. 8, No. 47) This edition is for the week of November 19--25, 2007.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! I slowly recover from my Tryptophan coma to bring you a short one this week. Shall we begin?

Holiday Film Preview  by Mike Smith
"No Country For Old Men"  by Mike Smith
Happy #400 & Thanksgrave-ing, VHS Grindhouse  by Andy Lalino
Show Review: Renningers Antique & Collector Extravaganza  by ED Tucker
Happy Thanksgiving....The Big 400....Famous Monsters of Filmland Coming to an End  by Matt Drinnenberg
Age Is Only Relative .... Passing On .... Strike! Strike! Strike! .... How Come I've Known This Since I Was A Kid? .... Happy 400! .... .... .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 34: Robby Benson  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2007
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Congrats to 36-year-old Winona Ryder, who has been cast to play Spock's mother, Amanda, to 30-year-old Zachary Quinto in the upcoming "Star Trek" film. Who knew they had babies that young on Vulcan.

Very sorry to see Dick Wilson (Mr. Whipple) pass on as well. Those commercials (over 500 of them in the series) are very prominent in my childhood memories.

Also leaving us this week was Sigrid Valdis, who played the commandant's secretary Inga on "Hogan's Heroes." Of course, Sigrid was a stage name for actress Patricia Crane, who married the series' star, Bob Crane, in 1970. Ms. Crane passed away on October 14 at the age of 72 from lung cancer. Her death is just now being reported because, according to her son, Scott, she had asked that the press not be informed of her funeral. Bob Crane, as you may remember, was murdered in his hotel room in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1978.

The current Writers Guild of America strike is finally starting to affect feature film production. Productions postponed this week include "Shantaram," the story of a heroin addict who goes to India and reinvents himself, starring Johnny Depp and "Nine," the Broadway musical starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, to be directed by Rob Marshall.

Also, due to the stagehands strike in New York City, the live musical version of "The Little Mermaid" will NOT open on December 6th on Broadway. Preview nights as well as a new opening date will be set after the strike is settled.

I've always thought the biggest mystery in music was who Carly Simon wrote "You're So Vain" about. In the almost 40 years since the song has been released, Simon has only given three one-letter clues to the mystery man's identy: E A R. Though I always thought she was writing about Mick Jagger (the lyrics seem to fit him, and Sir Mick sings background on the song, which I think is not only pretty cool, but pretty vain), other supposed subjects include Warren Beatty and James Taylor.

This being said, this week Neil Diamond revealed that the subject of his hit, "Sweet Caroline," was President Kennedy's daughter, Caroline. WOW! I figured that out in the late 1960s. Can anyone track down Donovan Leitch and find out who the Hurdy Gurdy man is?

HAPPY 400!
Wow! I can't believe that this is the 400th issue of the PCR. Congrats to everyone that's been a part of it, especially our supreme lord and ruler, Nolan. I've been here since the beginning and it's been one hell of a ride. Here's to 400 more my friend!




  • 1974 Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer: Male (lost to "American Graffiti's" Paul Le Mat)

  • 1983 Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for television for "Two of a Kind."

    Before Zac Efron. Before Paul Walker. Before C. Thomas Howell. Before all of these and more there was Robby Benson.

    Benson first came to fame opposite Glynnis O'Connor (another possible "where are they" subject) in the 1973 television film, "Jeremy." It was also in this year that he would appear alongside another unknown actor in a classic "Reese's Peanut Butter Cup" commercial. And who was the actor who "got his peanut butter on Robby's chocolate?" John Travolta. Benson appeared in several other television movies, most notably "Death Be Not Proud," before making his feature film debut in "Lucky Lady." This film led to him being cast as the title character in "Ode to Billy Joe," again opposite Glynnis O'Connor. In 1977, he had his first hit with the basketball film "One on One," which he co-wrote with his father, Jerry Segal (Benson is is his mother's maiden name.). The success of "One on One" led to roles in "The End" and "Ice Castles." Benson took some heat after being cast as a Chicano gang member in "Walk Proud," though he did get good notices for singing (and co-writing) the film's theme song "Adios Yesterday." He followed this film with the comedy "Die Laughing," a movie that let him show his musical chops by casting him as a musician trying to win first prize in a recording contest. He then took a couple dramatic roles, first as Jack Lemmon's son in "Tribute," which he followed up by appearing opposite Barry Miller as two boys alike in faith but different in life in "The Chosen." In 1983, Benson again drew the ire of people by starring as American Indian Billy Mills in the film "Running Brave." A true story, "Running Brave" tracked the career of Mills, who went from a reservation to the University of Kansas to the Olympics, where he won the gold medal for the 10,000 meter race. The next year, he starred opposite Paul Newman in "Harry and Son," a film that was not well received. In 1982, he married Karla DeVito, an actress/musician he met while performing on Broadway in "The Pirates of Penzance." Meatloaf fans may recognize Karla as the woman opposite the big man in his "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" video. After a few years of minor projects, Benson returned to the top when he voiced the Beast in Walt Disney's animated classic, "Beauty and the Beast." He began doing more television, mostly animated series, where his voice could be heard on "Exosquad" and "Batman," among others. He has reprised the voice of the Beast on several video ventures as well as on Disney video games. He has also made a name for himself as a director in television and taught drama and film making at the college level. Benson currently lives with his family in North Carolina. television.

    Well, that's all for now. Have a great week and save some leftovers for me! See ya!

    "Mike's Rant" is ©2007 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 ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.