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PCR #438 (Vol. 9, No. 33) This edition is for the week of August 11--17, 2008.
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Hello gang! It's time for the Vegas issue! Shall we begin?

The Tampa Film Review for August áby Nolan Canova and Chris Woods
"Tropic Thunder" áby Mike Smith
Let's Stroll Historic Roser Park! The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part 9 by William Moriaty
Kiddie Matinee Memories ľ Part 2 áby ED Tucker
VHS Grindhouse: "She-Gods of Shark Reef" (1958) áby Andy Lalino
The Man Behind the Curtain at the Tampa Theatre by Paul Guzzo
Who Does What? by Corey Castellano
Michael Phelps On Your Wheaties .... John Lynch Joins Patriots .... Rays Getting Stung .... Tampa Little League .... Tj Whosayourmama .... .... .... áby Chris Munger
This Week's Pcr .... Viva Las Vegas .... Sign #3 That The Apocalypse Is Upon Us .... I Spy .... Enjoy Your Time .... Passing On .... Wow! .... .... And The Oscar For 1980 Should Have Gone To... áby Mike Smith
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Great issue this week everyone:

Paul, great story on the manager of the Tampa Theatre. I was part of the group that helped restore/reopen the theatre in the late 70s and I'm glad to see the old girl is still going strong.

Andy, love the memories of Gatewall Mall in the Letters Column. I too remember the creepy pet store and Morrisons. In fact, I was just talking about Morrisons with my wife last week. And of course the Country Dinner Playhouse. The spring after "Saturday Night Fever" opened Karen Lynn Gorney was appearing there and I went to interview her for the school paper. The entire time we talked she had a really quizzical look on her face. When I got back to Tampa I discovered that someone (I'm guessing his name rhymes with "Bat Hindenberg") had written in bold letters on the back of my notebook "Karen Gorney makes me HORNY!" As I was facing her and jotting notes down I can only imagine what she must of been thinking.

ED, love the summer movie memories. Just curious as to how big the GIANT bag of popcorn really was? And was "Puss N Boots" the best fun in town?

Happy Birthday boss! Wow, 53! You and James Dean were actually alive at the same time (though he left us a month later). It's amazing that we have known each other for over half of our lives. Time does indeed fly!

How ironic that I'm writing about our trip to Vegas the same weekend fans all over the world are remembering the death of Elvis Presley. Of course, you can't swing a dead cat in Vegas without hitting an Elvis impersonator and we saw several, including one that looked more like Kam Fong (the actor who played Chin Ho on "Hawaii Five-O") then the King. To pay proper tribute to "E" I have included a photo of our dog, Elvis, in full concert regalia, as well as one of the phony Elvi from our trip.

We had a great time in Sin City, taking in some sights we had missed on previous trips. Along with us for the adventure were my son, Phillip, and his girlfriend Jessica. While there we met up with our friends Mike and Patty, fellow JAWS fans and an all around great couple. While there we met up with Yano Anaya and his wife, Selena, for a great meal at the Paris hotel. We dined outside with an excellent view of the strip. Incidentally, Yano is a former actor. You may remember him as Grover Dill from "A Christmas Story" or the paperboy ("I Want My Two Dollars!") from "Better off Dead." Music fans may recall him as the young Michael Anthony in Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" video. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of "A Christmas Story" and we will all be meeting up later this year in Cleveland to celebrate that milestone (the film was shot there).


This week I was stunned to see that tribute bands to both Hillary Duff and Hannah Montana will be appearing soon in Kansas City! Take me now, Lord!

Long before the C.I.A. was created, our government had an agency known as the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), created during World War II. The members of this group were, basically, spies. However, instead of your stereotypical man in dark glasses and a black trench coat, a recently released list of the members of this group includes everyone from a famous chef (Julia Child) to a Supreme Court Justice (Arthur Goldberg) to a member of the Chicago White Sox (Moe Berg). Among other well known people that worked as Uncle Sam's eyes and ears: actor Sterling Hayden, author Thomas Braden (his book "Eight is Enough" was the basis for the popular television show) and Miles Copeland, father of the Police drummer Stewart. Maybe there was something to that "every breath you take, every step you make I'LL BE WATCHING YOU" lyric.

The convicted killer of John Lennon was turned down for parole for the fifth time this week and will spend at least another two years in Attica before his next hearing. The parole board denied his parole "due to concern for the public safety and welfare." The parole board said they had received over 50 letters and petitions opposing his release. Sadly, they also received 3 letters saying he should be set free. I hope when he does he goes to their houses to thank them.

In keeping with my oath to not give this man any credit, I have chosen not to use his name and will not do so until I'm writing his obituary.

What a sad week it's been. We lost two great talents and a few more lesser ones:

Bernie Mac, actor and comedian, passed away at the age of 50 from pneumonia. He had been hospitalized for some time and had battled a life long struggle with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease. Born in Chicago, Mac had a good career as a stand up comedian, making occasional film appearances. That all changed when he was featured in Spike Lee's "The Original Kings of Comedy" film. Despite sharing the screen with better known comedians (Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey) it was Mac who caught the audiences eye. In 2001, he starred in "The Bernie Mac Show," in which his character, Bernie MacCullough (Mac's real name) and his wife took in his sisters kids and raised them. The show would include scenes were Mac would look into the camera and address "America," then explain what troubles the kids were. Mac also made several successful films, including "Ocean's Eleven" (and it's sequels), "Bad Santa," "Mr. 3000" and "Guess Who?" As a film critic, I had nothing but praise and respect for Mr. Mac's performances and truly felt he was a talent we would be enjoying for years to come. He was most recently seen in "Transformers" and has two more films, "Soul Men" and "Old Dogs" to be released. America, we lost a great one.

Issac Hayes, Oscar-winning composer, musical genius and self proclaimed Black Moses, passed away at the age of 65. Cause of death was given as a stroke. Born in Tennessee, Issac Lee Hayes dropped out of high school to pursue music. However, at the insistance of his teachers, he continued to study and finally received his high school diploma at the age of 21. As part of the STAX record family, Hayes and songwriting partner David Porter, wrote hits for such acts as The Bar-kays, Otis Redding and Johnnie Taylor. In 1971, he became the first African-American composer to win an Academy Award when "The Theme From Shaft" won for Best Original Song. Hayes had also been nominated that year for the film's score. He also won the Golden Globe and a Grammy award for the film's music. As an actor, Hayes made his mark in the "blaxploitation" field when he starred in "Truck Turner." Other film roles include "Escape from New York," "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka" and "Hustle and Flow." To this generation he will always be remembered as Chef, a fountain of wisdom on all things female, on "South Park." Originally created as a one shot character, Chef became one of the most popular on the show, though his character was killed after Hayes quit the show after the controversial "Tom Cruise in the Closet" episode, in which Scientology was poked fun at. Hayes will appear later this year as himself alongside Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson in "Soul Man."

Robert Hazard, Philadelphia born songwriter who penned Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" died at age 59 after a short illness.

Don Helms, known as "the man of Steel" for his steel guitar prowess and the last living member of Hank Williams' Drifting Cowboys, died of a heart attack at the age of 81. Besides Williams, Helms worked closely with Lefty Frizzell and Patsy Cline, on whose "Walking After Midnight" his work is featured.

Jerry Wexler, songwriter and producer who worked with Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield among others died this week from congenitive heart disease. He was 91. As a songwriter, Wexler wrote/co-wrote such hits as "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman," " In 1978 he was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the song/score for "Pretty Baby."

OK, somehow I really blew up the photos here. Sorry about that. Still new to the process. Hopefully ye olde editor will correct things so they are not as huge!

(Done and done! ---Nolan)


Next week. Honest!

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2008 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 ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.