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Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #428 (Vol. 9, No. 23) This edition is for the week of June 2--8, 2008.

"You Don't Mess With the Zohan"by Mike Smith
This Week's Column Is Sponsored By The Letter K: King and Kormanby Lisa Ciurro
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee: The Monkees on Record, Part 2by ED Tucker
Put It Down Jerramy!... Itís Up To Us For A Stadium ... Oklahoma Sonic Sooners ... Inside The NFL on Showtime ... Lord Stanley Back In HockeyTown USA by Chris Munger
Congrats Obama...and Dnc .... Famous Monsters Battle Looms .... .... oby Matt Drinnenberg
Clint 1, Spike 0 .... Heinz 57 .... More From Michael Bay .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1972 Should Have Gone To... cby Mike Smith
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FANGRRL by Lisa Ciurro

This Week's Column Is Sponsored By The Letter K: King and Korman

As usual, the Crazed Fanboy message board has got me thinking. It does this on a regular basis. (It also regularly amuses, enrages, enlightens and befuddles me. And takes up time that otherwise would be spent having a life, if I actually had one, which I donít because Iím on the message board all the time.)

All Hail the King

Is there anyone alive who hasnít heard of Stephen King? Even if youíve never read anything Kingís written, you know who he is. Heís sold more novels than anyone else. Heís sold more horror novels than anyone else. Heís won numerous awards, including the controversial National Book Awards lifetime achievement award in 2003. Both of Kingís sons are published authors, as is his wife. (The one book of Tabitha Kingís that Iíve read was pretty good too.)

King has written under a pseudonym to see if his writing could be successful without his name being attached to it. He infuriated book publishers by publishing one of his books exclusively online and baffled them by publishing a serial novel in six parts. Heís written political commentary, essays, memoirs, liner notes for the Ramones, an episode of the X-Files and a play. Kingís monthly column on all things pop culture on the back page of Entertainment Weekly is my favorite part of the magazine.

Not only has King changed the publishing industry and the literary scene, heís changed lives. He certainly changed mine. I got in trouble in my 10th grade business class because I was reading a beat-up copy of Carrie that I had hidden (or so I thought) inside my textbook. Odd images from Night Shift and Skeleton Crew still pop in my head from time to time (the man on the ledge, the lone survivor on the raft, the Mangler, those damn rats and that stupid, annoying monkey). Iím scared of choking because of Christine. I vividly remember reading Misery, although I canít remember which friend I stuck with all the driving on that road trip or where we were headed to be in the car for so long. I remember calling the friend who had loaned me his copy of The Talisman over the summer to breathlessly tell him I had finally finished it. Another friend kept bugging me to read Kingís Dark Tower series, which I finally did. I didnít like it at first, then something clicked and I loved it.

Thatís when Stephen King broke my heart and pissed me off.

I still havenít forgiven King for the jarring, abrupt ending of one of his Dark Tower books. (I canít remember if it was the second or the third in the series; apparently Iíve buried that traumatic memory deep within my mind somewhere. Kind of like the memory warehouse in Dreamcatcher.) I havenít recovered from it, either. I stopped reading King for a long time after that. Didn't want to hear about him, didn't want to know what he was up to.

Since then, Iíve tried to patch things up. I read his Entertainment Weekly column. I've watched movies based on his stories. I drove by his house when I was in Maine for a friend's wedding. (Took some great photos of his infamous "spider web" front gate, complete with my car's antenna fully in the shot.) I finally read a few of Kingís books Ė Tommyknockers, Cell and Liseyís Story Ė and have enjoyed them, but itís not the same. Maybe you never really forget your first love. Maybe you canít ever fully recover from heartbreak. I have hope, however. The recent message board posts about Kingís books have encouraged me to give King another try. Maybe Iíll be swept off my feet again.

If not, Iíll always have Dean Koontz. (Where are all the message board posts about his books, hmmm?)

The King (the Royal Nonesuch, the Great Gazoo himself) and I

Not to take anything away from any of the other important and talented people who have died recently, but I was particularly saddened to hear about Harvey Kormanís death. Itís been a long time since Iíve seen Blazing Saddles or The History of the World Part I, so my memories of Korman are mostly from his hilarious performances on The Carol Burnett Show. The annoyed husband Ed in the Mamaís Family skits. In the ďepisodesĒ of As The Stomach Turns. As Max in the Sunset Boulevard spoof and as the Rhett Butler character in Went With The Wind. And of course, finally breaking out into laughter, after fighting it for so long, because of co-star Tim Conway's silliness.

In an incredible turn of luck, I was able to see Harvey Korman and Tim Conway in 2003 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. I donít usually laugh out loud much while watching a funny performance or TV show Ė I usually just smile and nod Ė but they were absolutely hilarious. Korman did a stand-up bit about how it sucks to be old, although he was in his late 70s and touring the country giving live perfomances. (He had more energy then than I did.) Then Korman and Conway did various skits together, recreating some of their infamous characters. I spoke to them both briefly afterwards, getting their autographs and a photo. Conway was nice and polite but slightly standoffish. Korman, however, was wonderfully kind and personable.

This dum-dum will miss him.

"FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro.   All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.