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Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #410 (Vol. 9, No. 5) This edition is for the week of January 28--February 3, 2008.

"Rambo"  by Mike Smith
FX Show 2008, Suzanne Pleshette/Allan Melvin, Star Trek trailer  by Andy Lalino
FX 2008  by ED Tucker
It's True ... The Arts ARE Important  by Paul Guzzo
Super Bowl XLII....Presidential Dropouts....Rondo Time  by Matt Drinnenberg
I Was There! .... Never Trust A Ute .... Movie Notes .... Speaking Of Psychotics .... Oops, I Forgot .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1994 Should Have Gone To... by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

FX Show 2008, Suzanne Pleshette/Allan Melvin, Star Trek trailer

Special FX

I left Clearwater at about 9:30am, heading to the increasingly popular FX Show, held annually (with spinoff gatherings here and there) at the Orlando Convention Center. This show held the potential promise of finally hooking up with Ed Tucker for that elusive lunch we're always talking so much about. Well, it seems like that event was in the cards. More on that later.

As I drove down 1-4 heading east, I made a point to look out for the area in Lakeland where a recent highway disaster had occurred - a massive car/truck pile-up that claimed the lives of several travelers due to a dense fog that mixed with a brush fire. I believe I did spot the area as I drove through, though the county seemed to have cleaned it up well with the exception of manic, horrifically black skid marks. What I found particularly eerie about the scene was that a ghostly fog was still lingering over the entire area - not just on the way there, but on the way back!

I preceded my arrival at the Orlando Convention Center with a call to Ed, letting him know that I was just minutes away. Ed graciously gave me excellent recommendations as the best exit to get off at and where to park (and how much it was - $6 as compared to MegaCon's hefty $10). The FX Show was held at the older concourse, which was fine with me - less walking! I met Ed and his friends Byron and John at the entrance area. We then hopped in to Byron's car for a fanboy lunch expedition.

Being that I had already eaten breakfast before leaving, I wasn't hungry, but sipped on a Coke while the guys chowed down a Chinese buffet lunch. The conversation was great. Ed told us about his history of collectible acquisitions (lucky guy!) while I stared agape. We also talked about The Giant Spider Invasion, Adam West, and H.G. Lewis/David F. Friedman . We were happy to be a part of the universe that Crazed Fanboy mastermind Nolan Canova has intelligently designed (why do I feel like Nolan's somnambulist?) and talked at length about The Suspendered One's addictive site.

After lunch, Ed and Byron had to get started on their way back to Jack. They were nice enough to drop me off at the concourse so I could begin my FX Show experience. I probably made it into the dealer's room at about 1pm. The vendor sites were massive, and I began to weave my way around the maze of fandom and collectibles.

Familiar faces were in abundance. There was my old pal Terry Cronin of Students of the Unusual/ Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival fame, enthusiastically pitching their outstanding Students of the Unusual comic book. If your comic book store doesn't carry this title, please let them know it's a book they can't be without. Students of the Unusual features great artwork and writing along the lines of Creepy and Eerie magazines, though at times with a lighter and more humorous twist. Nearby Terry's booth was Screamfest Orlando's organizer Pete Mongelli and promoter Michael Broder.

Across the way were a presence of Tampa Bay-based talent: popular authors Glenda Finklestein ("Perfect Copy") & Andrea Dean van Scoyoc, and award-winning actor Joel D. Wynkoop. As usual, it was great checking in with the crew who had an impressive array of work. Everyone was part of a sizable artist's area, which featured authors, comic book/fantasy artists, pinup girl illustrators, actors, filmmakers, and a few national celebs as well - most notably Ken Kelly, famed illustrator of select Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine covers: Godzilla/Rodan (the famed Japanese Monsters issue) and one of my personal favorites, Frogs (a bloated frog with a body part sticking out of its mouth).

At the other end of the convention were a gaggle of media celebs: Erik Estrada from CHiPs; Helen Slater (Supergirl); Star Trek's George Takei; Jeremy London, Batman's Adam West; Grindhouse's Zoe Bell; Halloween I & II's Tony Moran (Michael Myers); from The Warrors: Deborah Van Valkenburgh (also in The Devil's Rejects), Brian Tyler, Terry Michos, and David Harris; and Welcome Back Kotter's Charles Fleisher. I skipped most of the celebs, with the exception of J. LaRose, handsome American Indian actor best-known for his tour-de-force performance in Saw III and narration of Nanette Fenton/Sheri Lawrence's Secrets of a Medicine Man. LaRose has strong Florida connections and we hope he does more work in the state.

It was great to see a slew of vendors with a strong emphasis on toys. Some were outright recognizable: I saw but was not able to maneuver close enough to say hello to Tampa Bay hero Tim Gordon, organizer of the fabulous Tampa Bay Comic Con. He was on-hand selling comic books and movie memorabilia in outstanding condition. I also almost dropped to the floor when I saw a booth for the Intergalactic Trading Company, a fandom-friendly company that has been doing business for decades. I used to mail-order from them in Starlog magazine back in the late '70s and early '80s! There were so many vendors with such cool stuff: late '70s Star Wars toys still in the box; I spotted original movie posters for Damnation Alley and Hammer's Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires; a Herman Munster hand puppet (which I used to have!!!); monster mags galore; exploitation film books in hardcover; and on and on. My purchase were: about seven (7) '70s monster magazines (mostly Hammer's House of Horror, due to interviews with Argento and Lamberto Bava) and a gorgeous U.K. hardcover book called "Shock Horror" - a pictorial history of "video nasty" VHS covers from Britain in the early '80s.

My day wrapped at 6pm, when they began to shut down the dealer's room. I was then on my way to have dinner with my parents in St. Pete., all the way thinking what a grand day it was at the FX Show.

Susanne Pleshette and Allan Melvin
I wanted to echo Nolan and Mike's observances of the deaths of these two outstanding actors and perennial pop culture icons. Truth be told I had a crush on Pleshette in the '70s as an avid Bob Newhart Show watcher. And who can forget her in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds? She will be sorely missed.

Allan Melvin was another welcomed face on TV screens across the nation from back in the '70s. He was a character actor who we enjoyed immensely, especially Sam the butcher (sounds like a slasher movie villain!) from The Brady Bunch and, as Nole pointed out, Sgt. Hacker from Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. reruns (of which we as kids watched endlessly...).

Star Trek trailer
Thanks to Mike Smith for providing a link to the new incarnation of Star Trek, this time, a motion picture.

What I liked:
- Leonard Nimoy's voice-over.
- The sound effects/music from the original '60s TV show as part of the audio montage.
- The obvious reverent approach to classic material.
- The logo isn't bad; the incorporation of Starfleet's emblem is a plus.

What I probably won't like:
- The casting.
- Pixel wizardry overload.
- After some of the things I've heard about Cloverfield, can Abrams, a supposed student of '60s TV, be trusted??? I've heard Cloverfield contains throwaway characters (not that I expected anything different...).
- The dry dock/construction scenes seemed reminiscent of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- A little weird seeing some sweaty guy in goggles building the Enterprise - weren't there any mecha-droids around?!?
- A little warning: As Joan Crawford would probably state: "Don't fuck with the design of the Enterprise, fellas."

"Oddservations" is ©2008 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other 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.