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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2007!
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eighth calendar year!
Number 383  (Vol. 8, No. 30). This edition is for the week of July 23--29, 2007.

Back to Business
Passings:  László Kovács, ASC, Tammy Faye Messner
Also these: Will The Internet Help Decide the Next President?
                 Tampa's Public Access TV Threatened
                 Readers' Comments

by Mike Smith


by Andy Lalino

A Tribute to Elizabeth Haslam: Memories of Haslam's Book Store

by Lisa Ciurro

Allow Me To Introduce Myself...
by Mike Smith

This Week's Issue .... Happy Birthday .... What About The Shat?... Going To The Hall .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 25: Joe Pantoliano

I'd like to welcome Lisa Ciurro to the PCR writing staff! She is one of the two new columnists I talked about last week joining PCR. Lisa is a virtual blogging celebrity in Tampa with several websites containing her terrific writing on books, TV, and film. I am proud and honored she's here. Check out her newest column!

ED Tucker's Retrorama will debut next week with a special introductory segment. This column should appeal to a huge segment of our readership into classic TV/toys/movies!

Similar to last week, I'm starting the front page with a couple sad passings from our plane of reality:

László Kovács, ASC
A brief mention of this was made in last week's Readers Comments section just a day before archiving, so I decided it needed some additional attention here.

Alternate spellings, "Laszlo Kovacs" (no punctuation), "Laslo Kovacs" (dropped "z"), "Leslie Kovacs" (mostly early '60s work). After first cutting his teeth on several early '60s Nat'l Geographic Specials, László Kovács went on to helm the photography on the famous classic Steckler schlockfest The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964). His growth as a cinematographer expanded greatly as the D.P. in Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970), Shampoo (1975), 1977's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (DP assist along with William A. Fraker to Department Head Vilmos Zsigmond), Ghost Busters (1984 -- 20 years after "Mixed-up Zombies"), Radio Flyer (1992) a personal favorite, to somewhat less classic fare later on such as Free Willy 2, Jack Frost and Miss Congeniality. Originally from Budapest, Hungary, eventually winner of several awards, and an esteemed member of the American Society of Cinematographers, he was 74.

Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner
Once married to televangelist Jim Bakker of the PTL club ("Praise The Lord"), Tammy Faye tried to etch out her own niche in the TV world with mixed results.

In 1974 they started the PTL Club, and I became an avid fan of the show later in the '70s, but not for the expected reasons (I was an atheist even then). It played in Tampa late at might when most other regular fare was over and before sign-off (yes, kids, at one time TV went off the air in the wee hours). I regarded the PTL Club as a freakish cross between a tent show revivial and The Johnny Carson Show with Bakker as Carson. Bakker even had an overweight jovial side-kick as his personal Ed McMahon. Tammy Faye was notorious for wearing garish facial make-up and had a high squeaky voice when addressing the audience. I watched in rabid amusement as they'd bilk the studio audience out of what looked like thousands of dollars a night by asking them to literally throw their money in the air!

Bakker later had an affair with church secretary Jessica Hahn and was convicted of fraud (he used millions of dollars he had raised from followers) and conspiracy. Removed from PTL in disgrace, he spent six years in jail. Jim and Tammy divorced in 1992. Tammy Faye married fellow evangelist Ron Messner in 1993.

Larry King Live was horrifying, showing the near corpse-like Tammy Faye weighing only 65 pounds. She was dead only days later. Tammy Faye Messner was 65.

Will The Internet Help Decide the Next President?
Although I did not see this live, I saw clips of the Democratic Presidential Candidate debate on YouTube, where an estimated 2 million others also saw it (it was also broadcast on CNN). Questions were sent in from regular folks via YouTube videos they uploaded themselves.

The value of this goes beyond the silly home video stunts (a snowman asks the candidates about global warming; a musician sings about being taxed to death). It suggests that the next groundswell of public support for any candidate is going to be represented on the internet, typically on sites like YouTube.

Example? If all you do is surf YouTube you'd think there is no other candidate running for President than Ron Paul (R-Texas, wants to eliminate the IRS among other things, his YouTube videos are enormously popular). If you watch only TV, you'd never hear of Ron Paul! (OK, OK, this was a sneaky endorsement of my personal favorite, but the facts remain.)

I've heard mixed reviews of the Democratic Debate, so the dubious distinction of being an internet simulcast may take a back seat to the low-grade performances.

In the '60s, a popular slogan was "the revolution will be televised". I'd like to submit an updated version for 2007 that says "the revolution will be streamed".

Tampa's Public Access TV Threatened
Florida's property tax and insurance rate crisis is headline news almost daily. Governor Charlie Crist, to his credit, signed emergency orders that saved homeonwers from runaway insurance rates and from randomly terminated policies (yours truly's among them).

The property tax rollback mandate, while welcomed by voters, has had some undesirable consequences. While we were foolishly expecting wasteful programs to be eliminated, and service jobs like police and firefighters to be safe, such has not been the case.

Without getting into a line by line discussion of how screwed up this is (no time for that today), I would like to discuss the ridiculous proposition that the total operating budget of Tampa's Public Access TV (The Tampa Bay Community Network) be eliminated this year. I thank TBCN associate Louise Thompson for the information provided below.

While the recommended budget cuts off funding to TBCN, it contains $900,000 in increases for the Tampa Sports Authority and Tampa Sports Commission as well as a $1.6 million increase to the Tampa Convention and Visitors Bureau and more than $300,000 over the next two years for the Tampa Convention Center.

Just like the Education Channel, TBCN has not received an increase in funding from the County for seven straight years. The budget has been stagnant at $355,443 although they have asked for increases during every two-year budget cycle. Keep in mind that cable subscribers, including memebers of the TBCN, are contributing a portion of the $27 million the County receives from communications services taxes.

If the County does not reverse its position on funding TBCN, they will not be able to serve Hillsborough County residents beginning October 1, 2007. Public-originated programming is a precious resource of free speech as well as its last refuge. We cannot let this shutdown happen.

Budget workshops will take place over the next 60 days and a final budget approved before the end of September. See www.hillsboroughcounty.org for dates.

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section for this issue of PCR is closed. To continue to interact with us on any topic, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor. Thank you!

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
tampafilmfan [29-07-2007 09:38]  
Laure -- Nice to "meet" you. Thank you for the warm welcome.

Terence -- I'm going to see if those movies are available on Netflix and update my NF queue today. Thanks.
Paul Guzzo [27-07-2007 16:47]  
Pete and I gained our first experience on public access, learning how to write, direct and produce short films. It was our public access experience that led into filmmaking. It's a shame if we lose it. In the past month we have lost our Arts Czar and Film Commissioner ... now our television station? Will there be any creative outlets left?
Terence [27-07-2007 14:11] 
oh yeah one last thing to add. Lisa you havent seen M? get to it now!!!!! and Phantasm is pure genius.
Terence [27-07-2007 12:44] 
anyone ever been to The Old Lighthouse used bookstore in St.Pete? is it even still there? i remember being fascinated by it when i was younger. also Just Books closed recently. i always and i repeat always found something at Just Books. i think it was near Busch Gardens or at least down that way. i found many a Dr. Who novel there as well as the best and in best condition movie and horror film books.
Terence [27-07-2007 12:39] 
Jeez yeah Haslams. seems anyone who is into fandom has been there several times. its kind a fanboys rite of passage. the books i remember getting there were usually all mythology books that i couldnt find anywhere else. as a student of world mythology Haslams more than often met my needs. also i found a book about Pirates that i still reference to this day if i ever need any info. not to mention a book called Monster Mysteries that is about UFOs, loch ness, and anyother really wierd legend. i have to admit i dont think i have been there since 1999 though. Wilsoms i remember be ok but nothing great. i never found anything worth buying anyway.
Nolan [27-07-2007 10:32] 
Odds, re: Tedd Webb. COOL! Thanks for letting me know.
yanelis [27-07-2007 09:09]  
Clayton...i seen your pictures on the 100 tears...I will see you at work soon. Looks great and looking forward to seeing the movie. GREAT JOB>..I still want your autograph
Odds [27-07-2007 09:03] 
Tedd Webb mentioned your name again on A.M. Tampa Bay this morning when Bob Ross was on.
Odds [27-07-2007 08:59] 
I read Vinnie Blesi's opinion about Tampa Public Access. How can he call television "outdated technology"? I'd much prefer to see a broadcast or previously taped version of Crazed Fanboy/The World of Nolan on TV than some herkie-jerkie YouTube image, and blogs are a bore. I think there's a lot of potential (and a lot of junk) on cable access, but if a live version of CF was on it, you can be sure I'd be a watcher.
Nolan [27-07-2007 08:13] 
Lisa, I'm very glad you like the Fangrrl graphic! The reception to your new column has been extremely positive -- truly a successful launch. I confess I overlooked the "self-confessional" about your cult film-watching history as to why everyone had something to recommend. Haha, these guys are never at a loss for words when it comes to that!

And Laure....I am so honored you took the trouble to make an appearance here, thank you so much for posting.

Everyone, Laure is the close friend who took over Crazed Fanboy for me when I was in the hospital 2 years ago, and is ready to do so again, should the need arise. And Terence and Chris are in a little better position to help this time.
tampafilmfan [27-07-2007 05:43]  
Odds -- Nice article on the Haslams and their store. Your recent columns inspire me to get off the sofa and go visit these places (Unique Video, Haslams). It's been years since I've been to the Haslams Book Store.

Nolan -- Great job on the FANGRRL graphic! I was a little nervous to see what it would look like (would you put me in cape? a cowboy hat?) but loved it.
Laure [27-07-2007 05:40] 
Welcome, Lisa! It's good to see another grrl in the boy's playhouse. :) Good luck with your new column; I shall be looking forward to it.

(aka Nolan's second in command. :))
tampafilmfan (lisa) [27-07-2007 05:38]  
Thank you all for the warm welcome. I really appreciate it. Nolan -- What they're referring to is from my self-confessional bit about not being a film scholar, critic, etc. where I confess to not having seen several famous/classic films. I can't believe all the movies I haven't seen! Hopefully I'll win the lottery one day and can quit my day job. That will free up a good eight hours every day for movie watching!

Anyway, thanks again Odds, Chris, Joel and Nolan. I'm thrilled to be a contributor.
Nolan [27-07-2007 03:50] 
Joel, Chris, thanks for posting. Lisa, I don't know what appears in your column to make everyone recommend the same two or three films for your review, hahaha, I thought it was clear you'd be reviewing books as a first priority. But, hey, you know fanboys....whaddaya gonna do? HAha.

Thanks again for posting, everyone.
Joel D. Wynkoop [27-07-2007 03:31]  
Hey Lisa,

Welcome to the boards, okay so you've already been on the boards, you know what I mean. Cool to see a column by you. Enjoyed the first one and am looking forward to more. "Let's Scare Jessica To Death" and "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" are getting alot of mention lately, these were classics. I thought I was the only one that had seen "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark".

Nolan, how you doin' buddy?

Joel Wynkoop
cwoods [27-07-2007 02:00] 
Also, wanted to comment on the budget problems with public and educational access. I was a victim to these budget cuts back in 2001 when I worked for The Education Channel. Since they lost funding they had to start doing lay offs. Within a year they laid off half their staff and it was only a full staff of 12 to 14 people.
cwoods [27-07-2007 01:54] 
Andy, Hermiker is very close to Utica, that's the county next to us. Lots of good fan boy memories from Utica back in the 70's and 80's. One of these days I'll write an article on my memories back then. Look forward to seeing the pics with Spidey and it's good to hear the store is still around, I'll have to check it out.

Lisa, welcome aboard. I liked your article. Look forward to reading more from you. Yeah, check out Phantasm and Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Also M is worth seeing too.
Nolan [26-07-2007 16:12] 
Yes, Lisa Ciurro is the first fangirl since Ms. Zubek and Ms. Lewis graced these pages years ago. I, too, am very glad she's here.
Odds [26-07-2007 11:25] 
Lisa: Welcome aboard! Nole: Nice Fangrrl graphic! Is Lisa the first Fangrrl to have a column since Ashley Lewis and Lisa Zubek? I think she may be. I'd definately recommend "Let's Scare Jessica to Death", Lisa, and "Phantasm" as well, when you get the free time. Great introductory piece.
Odds [26-07-2007 09:53] 
BTW, Chris, within the week I'll be adding some photos of my brother Doug, Kevin Bailey, and myself - with Spidey - from the famous 1978 Haslam's appearance. I have to go thru my photo albums, scan them in, and send them to Nole.
Odds [26-07-2007 06:37] 
Chris (Woods),
Thanks for the nice comments about the Haslam's piece. Glad you got to relive some upstate NY memories. I love upstate, though I was born in the Bronx. When I was a kid in the '70s we used to visit my Uncle's "farm" in Hermiker (sp.) which had a waterfall on the property. Those old book stores sound cool.

Book stores are an important place in a young Crazed Fanboy's life.

Just to clarify: Haslam's Book Store is still in downtown St. Pete. at the original location and going strong. Not sure if they still sell comics, but it's well worth checking out.
cwoods [26-07-2007 03:48] 
To Andy. I really enjoyed your article this week on the Haslams Book Store. Wish it was still around, it sounded very cool. Actually, I just got back from vacation and I went back home to Utica, NY to visit my family and I went through my old comics. Mostly Marvel (Spider-Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four), I have tons of my Uncle's comics from the 60's and my own from the 70's and early 80's. It brought back a lot of memories. We had some cool comic book stores back in the day in Utica. Ravenswood, is the only one that is still standing there and I think they only comic book store in the city now, I believe.
Mark Terry [25-07-2007 21:49] 
Message deleted by Admin. The Readers Comments section is for topics being discussed in this week's PCR articles.
Nolan [25-07-2007 19:40] 
What I should've said was she died of inoperable cancer, period. However, in the interests of accuracy, I've re-edited the original wording to say "inoperable colon cancer that spread to her lungs," to reflect she actually had both. It started in her colon in 1996, but the lung cancer was detected in 2004. Different accounts accentuate different things. Thank you for the correction.
capassinault [25-07-2007 16:08]  
Hey Nolan,
Tammy Faye died of colon cancer, not lung cancer.... FYI.
Nolan [25-07-2007 15:03] 
To Andy. Thanks for the tribute to The Haslams. I am sorry to hear of their passing.
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

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"Mike's Rant" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith    "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2007 by Andy Lalino    "FANGRRL" is ©2007 by Lisa Ciurro      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova    
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