(Published for PCR #509, December 21--27, 2009)

  • Reader shares her Romper Room picture
  • Reader remembers South Tampa's Mexican Burro
  • Reader remembers Tom Stimus
  • Reader comments on Renninger's Flea Market
  • Reader comments on Nolan's "Everything Sucks Now" piece
  • Reader congratulates Nolan on PCR #500
  • Reader tries to remember a movie title
  • Reader recalls WPIX Channel 11
  • Flight 401 survivors recalls airliner convention
  • Reader recalls Creature Feature
  • Filmmaker Bill Grefé on Retrorama
  • Reader knew Stephen Stills
  • Reader opines on talk show hosts
  • Reader shares airliner career memories
  • Reader praises La Floridiana's DC-8 article
  • Reader inquires about Toy Shop Magazine
  • Reader inquires about Linda Harrison website

    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


    Dear Nolan,
    Here is my Romper Room photo -- in case you have anyone else looking for November, 1972. I am the blonde on Miss June's left.

    Dawn Parrish

    Miss June and The Romper Room

    Dear Dawn,
    Thanks so much for writing. What an adorable picture! Those were indeed the days, eh? Simpler times. Seeing the Romper Room set brings back so many memories! You seem to be the happiest one on the panel, haha.

    I appreciate your sharing this with me. Thanks again for writing.

    Yours in fandom,
    Nolan B. Canova


    I just read this about the Mexican Burro (I premume Ray is referring to Will's retrospective in La Floridiana, PCR #149 -- Nolan) and for years I've been trying to find someone with a recipe for the chile rennehoes that they served there as my parents spent a lot of time there back in the day and they crave these things, so if you could help it would be a blessing, thanks.

    Ray Chavez in South Tampa

    Hello, Ray!
    Thanks so much for writing. Many of us used to hang out at the Mexican Burro back in the day, but I'm afraid no one here knows the proprietary recipe for their chili rennehoes.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

    Yours in fandom,
    Nolan Canova


    I saw a guy dressed in a cowboy hat talking a little enthusiastic for an Atlanta car company. That made me think of Tom Stimus. He had a car place by I-75 in Forsyth, GA.

    He would get on TV and holler at the top of his voice, and swing his fists, and smash in the hoods of cars, as I remember. On one ad, a fellow in a fireproof suit rolled out of a burning car, I believe.

    I looked on YouTube and could find no Tom Stimus commercials.

    I found your note and email here: http://www.crazedfanboy.com/npcr06/letterspcr349.html



    Dear ED,
    You and I haven't met but I was reading your great article on Renninger's Flea Market in Mount Dora. I attended the market about 8 years ago and plan to attend this November (2009).

    I need your help. Do you think it is better to attend the outdoor market on Friday, Nov. 20th or Saturday, Nov. 21st. I was going to pick only one day to go. I was thinking Friday might be the better day because it's the first day. But perhaps the majority of the dealers don't arrive until Sat. What would you recommend?

    I appreciate your time on my behalf.


    Hi Lynne,
    What day you attend the extravaganza all depends on what you are going for. To addresss your concern though, I would say at least 98% of the vendors are there and set up on Friday. Going on Friday gets you the best selection of merchandise and if you are a collector like I am, that is priority number 1. Friday also costs more for admission so if you are concerned about your spending money, Saturday is a little cheaper. If you are looking for the most bang for your buck, Sunday is probably best because sellers tend to cut deeper discounts if they have not made a lot of money and/or don;t want to take stuff home with them. Needless to say, I always go on Fridays these days and plan to be there when it opens on the 20th. If you see me there, please say "Hi".

    - ED Tucker -


    Hello Nolan
    I've been reading the "Everything Sucks" debate and it reminded me of this fascinating radio show I heard on NPR a few years ago. I have often wondered "why does it seem that nearly everything from the '60s (music, tv shows, cars, architecture, etc) seem better than anything new? Is it just me or was the past really that much better?"

    This program suggests that the sense of "everything sucking" is biological.


    David Henderson

    Thank you, David! As you know from reading my columns on this topic, I'd been leaning in the direction of it being an age issue already. Good to know the experts agree!

    Thanks again for sending me that.

    Yours in fandom,
    Nolan B. Canova


    WOW! All I can say is "WOW!" Your enduring popularity is well-deserved. Thank You, and all your contributors for the great reads throughout the years. Much respect and love is thrown your way. I'm very proud to call you "friend". Ah, hell! You know what I mean, we love ya, ya big lug ya!

    Dave T.

    Dave, thanks. Hopefully, if my health holds out, I can get in another ten years!



    This is a longshot but I've been trying to figure out the name of a movie I saw on Creature Feature in the early/mid 80's and was hoping you might be able to help me. Keep in mind I was 7 or 8 at the time and my memory on it is probably not perfect.

    The basics are a guy who looks something like Richard Dreyfus in "Jaws" finds a dying alien the woods. That alien tells him that he was sent to get other criminal/bad aliens who escaped from space jail or were on their way to space jail. Then dies.

    The only other thing I really remember is the bad aliens all looked very different (Star Wars cantina-looking) and each had a different sort of alien power I remember one had a sonic power of some sort. And looked like a bug.

    Any ideas?


    The film you are referring to was a Creature Feature staple called "The Alien Factor". It was directed by the late Don Dohler and sold directly to television stations in the wake of Star Wars. It played on the 44 Creature Feature many times. In the movie, a space ship crashes in woods outside Baltimore and three aliens from different planets escape. A stranger named Ben Zachary (the Richard Dreyfus looking guy) shows up and starts hunting the creatures. One is a cockroach type insect, another is a bigfoot like thing, and the third is invisible until the very end when it turns to be a giant reptile type creature. At one point Zachary finds the alien pilot and learns what has happened just before the pilot dies. In the end, Zachary turns out to be an alien himself, sent to neutralize the escaped "animals" before they do too much harm. This film was available on DVD from Retromedia and you should still be able to pick up a copy.

    - ED Tucker -


    Howdy Chris!
    I was just on your site, and was reading your entry about WPIX Channel 11.

    I am from central Pa, and had the same 3 independent stations you had in your area... WPIX 11, WWOR 9, and WNEW 5. Funny.. their jingles still go through my head when I type them,.... Metromedia New York...5!

    I am writing to ask you.. DO you remember an afternoon show for kids that involved a Barnabas Collins-type character that was in a haunted mansion.. that had cartoons and stuff on. I know I am not remembering Dark Shadows, because this guy spoke directly to the camera.

    Thanks either way..

    Dave Emel
    Lock Haven, Pa.

    Hey Dave,
    Thanks for writing in and thank you for reading my article on WPIX, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Channels 11, 9, and 5 were awesome and great to have growing up. I don't remember an afternoon horror show on when I use to watch, but they use to have a show called "Chiller Theater" back in the '60's and up to the early '70's, not sure if that might be the show you're remembering. Here's a couple links I found on YouTube of the opening to the show, hope this helps.



    Chris Woods


    Dear William,
    I cannot tell you how moved I was by the beautiful write-up you gave us! To know how much it meant to you to meet us and have time to share with us is especially rewarding! Thank you so much for your very special and kind words, William!

    We will keep you posted on our progress and if you are going to be in the Miami area please let us know and we would love to take you to lunch or dinner!

    This Saturday we are meeting at the 94th Aerosquadron Restaurant near the airport, as we have a special guest, Nick Bavington...our 401 Tribute rep in the UK! He is a 28 year police officer who is very interested in aviation, especially 401. He is in Orlando on his first trip to America!

    Please check our blogspot from time to time and we'll look forward to seeing you in the future! Thanks again, William, for that wonderful write up!!!

    Beverly :)

    Thank You very much for that great article. It was my pleasure to have meet you and thank you for your support in our long time dream to become a reality.

    We have alot of work ahead of us to raise the monies needed to construct a mini museum worthy enough to honor those who died, but to also make people aware that CRM (Crew Resource Management)came about because of Flt 401.

    Once again thanks for recognizing our Tribute Committee and please spread the word around using our website and blog spot to help us raise the awareness and money needed.

    Kind Regards,
    Ronald Infantino

    Dear Ms. Raposa and Mr. Infantino:
    I wanted to let you know what an honor is was to meet you at AI2009 last month!

    Thank you for the great work that you are doing on behalf of the survivors of Flight 401!

    William Moriaty
    La Floridiana


    Uncle Creatures' recall on Clearwater Theaters was fun! I saw my first ever movie at the Carib: "The Incredible Mr. Limpet". After that I never leaned too far over the rail at Big Pier 60. No one I know remembers the Egyptian men on the HUGE theater with the velvet curtains. Glad he did. Did it ever show Cinerama? Years later they split it in two, but skimped on the soundproofing, and you could hear the other movie very clearly. Ruined "Smoky and the Bandit" for me.

    The Capitol was where I saw "Jaws" in '75. Almost never went swimming in St. Joseph's Sound again. Also saw Neil Young's "Rust Never Sleeps" in '78 there. Full of heads.

    Remember seeing "Heavy Metal" at the Drive in around '77.

    There was a theater in Dunedin called the Jerry Lewis theater. Great place to cozy up to the girlfriends. Remember doing that during "Tom Sawyer" with Johnny Whitaker in '73, of all movies. Never saw the movie...



    Dear ED,
    Just saw your Retromania, Ed Tucker Nostalgic File!!! No reporter could have covered it better. A magnificent job.

    Thank you so much for the mentions of all our family and of Melanie, who has worked so hard in the business. We appreciate all the details and compliments and thank Cindy for taking pictures. We look forward to seeing the CD and the DVD.

    Best regards.
    Bill Grefé

    You are most assuredly welcome. It was both an honor and a privilege for me to be the person who nominated you for this award and to be able to sit in the audience and watch you receive it. You are a legend in the Florida film scene and deserve the acknowledgement this award brings. It was a pleasure to meet your family and document the evenings events. Congratulations Bill!

    - ED Tucker-


    FYI: Steve Stills was my BOYFRIEND when we went to Wilson Jr. High School in Tampa...how does that shake up your world?? Ha!

    Did you ever hear of the Tampa Bands "The Arena Brothers"? (late '50's early 60's) (Their song "When" hit top 40) and also in the early 60's "Travis & The Continentals" ....

    I enjoyed your info...Keep on keepin' on!


    Dear MZ:
    WOW! That does shake up my world! HAha. Thanks for sharing that, it's cool to know.

    And thanks for writing! I'm glad you enjoyed the website.

    Yours in fandom,
    Nolan B. Canova


    Let's get this outta of the way. Nobody can touch Carson. Okay, deep breath. I will never watch Leno's show. He used to be funny before the Tonight Show, then all of the sudden sucked. Same with Conan. Except for the writers' strike. He became funny again, then went back to State Quarters. Again? When it comes to serious interviews Dave is the best. When it comes to wacky off the wall hilarity Craig is the best. So, go on and support your lame late night hosts. I'll have no part of it. Except Craig Ferguson. Now that guy is fucking funny. Well, I have a soft spot in my heart for Tom Snyder. I miss him. But anyway, you get the gist. Leno and Conan, NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! CRAIG, YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Well I liked the Daily Show a lot better when it was hosted by Craig Kilborn and written by Liz Winstead. Now it's crap. It has become the Jon Stewart show, not The Daily Show. This has bugged me for years. Colbert Report is much more cleverly written and entertaining. Steven Colbert is the Man!

    Dave T.


    I've been enjoying your articles on Air Florida & its commuter airlines. I thought you might enjoy hearing the story of my career in the airlines.

    I was a flight attendant for National Commuter Airlines (Natcom) from June, 1983 until they ceased operations in September of the same year. In fact, I made the news, as the Captain, CO-Pilot & I were filmed deplaning the aircraft in Miamithe day they ceased flying. We flew Nord 262 & Mohawk 298 aircraft, and some of the cities we served were MIA, FLL PBI, MCO, JAX, SRQ, TPA, TLH, EYW, as well as Nassau,Freeport, Marsh Harbor & Georgetown in the Bahamas.

    The President of the Airline was a man called Ricardo Samitir, and the airline's struggles began at around the time I began to work for it.. In fact, in order to save money, we were paid only once per month. Despite this, it was a fun job, and I was sorry to see it end.

    I moved back home to NY shortly after Natcom ceased operations, and was hired by Air Florida at HPN in December 1983 andworked as a Customer Service Agent. Air Florida declared bankruptcy on July 3, 1984 but we continued to bring in revenue for the airline, as we servicedmost of the airlines that flew into HPNsuch as Air North (Later Brokway), Atlantic Airways, United Airlines, Northwest Airlines,and USAirways We were paid by the US bankruptcy court until Midway Airlines bought the assets of Air Florida in late 1984. At that time, we became employees of Midway Express, and continued to work for this new company until the old Air Florida ground handling contract expired and was not renewed by Westchester County due to bad blood between the County government & Midway Airlines over a lawsuit filed by Midway over Westchester's policy of having a lottery for landing slots at the airport.

    At the time we were laid off from Midway Express, Pan Am Ground Services was awarded the ground handling contract. Midway Airlines continued to fly to HPN until about 1986, when they lost their slot in a new lottery. However, I took a position with Midway Airlines in March 1985 and moved to Chicago and continued to work for Midway until mid-september 1985, shortly after Midway expanded their rout by acquiring the assets of Eastern Airlines, which included their PHL operations base. I saw the writing on the wall, and resigned my position and moved back to NY and was hired by the newest company to be awarded the ground handling contract at HPN, named Ground Handling International. I believe this company continues to provide ramp & baggage handling service at HPN today.

    That was just a brief synopsis of my career ... although it looks like I worked for 4 different airlines over a -year period, I consider National Commuter, Air Florida, Midway Express & Midway tobe a continuation of the same airline. When the "merger" was finalized sometime around 1989, I received credit for all the time I worked for Air Florida & Natonal Commuter Airlines (much to the disapproval of some Midway Airlines employees who I now bumped in seniority). It was an extremely turbulent career, but I am glad that I had the experiences I did.

    Thank you for the time!


    Dear Ms. Buckley:
    Thank you for your informative letter and for reading Nolan's Pop Culture Review.

    I well remember the National Commuter Airlines Nord N-262's on the tarmac of Tampa International Airport in the summer of 1982. I especially got a kick out of the "Sun King" tail logo that reminded me of National Airlines. My half brother, Patton Pender, flew National 727-200's before his untimely death at age 33 in 1973. He was stationed in Miami.

    Author David Henderson has a synopsis of National Commuter and the Air Florida commuters in his fabulous book "Sunshine Skies, Historic Airlines of Florida and Georgia"(http://www.sunshineskies.net/). David will be making a guest appearance at the Airliners International 2009 (http://www.ai2009.com/) convention in Orlando this upcoming July 23-25.

    My wife and I visited my good friend "Miami Mike" Hiscano down in Miami Springs last weekend. Karen and I toured the perimeter road around Miami International Airport and I noticed how much has changed over the years at MIA. Eastern, Pan American, Air Florida, all gone - - the Southeast Bank Building a memory only - - the Airliner and the Airways are now all dust to be covered over with the Miami Intermodal Center (http://www.micdot.com/). It seems the only things left intact nearby are the Airport Diner and the Tally-Ho on NW 36th and El Dorado Furniture, the only seeming remaining plane spotters area since 9/11. The oldest aircraft still left during our visit was a Convair 580, presumably from the now defunct Air Tahoma. Gone are all those classic pistons, corrosion corner and the first generation jets - - at least there's still Opa Locka with its old classics as well as the Art Deco of the South Beach and MiMo along Biscayne Boulvard.

    Thanks again for sharing these memories with us and reading our on-line publication!

    William Moriaty
    La Floridiana


    Great article! I LOVED the DC-8s. When my dad was flying for Delta and my grandparents lived in Miami in the 1980s, I used to go out of my way to catch DC-8 flights from Ft. Lauaderdale home to Atlanta. Unlike the average traveller, I prefer watching the scenery below than viewing inflight "entertainment". There is nothing like seeing the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico from 35,000 feet! DC-8s had huge windows compared to their Boeing counterparts, and with their relatively narrow cabins, it was always a good bet that I could snag a window seat. Those were some good times!

    By the way, my Airliners International 2009 Sunshine Skies presentation is scheduled for the Jasmine Room at 10am Saturday July 25.

    David Henderson, author
    Sunshine Skies, Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia


    Hello, Do you know if there is anyone or anyplace that is selling back issues of Toy Shop Magazine? I was just sick over the way it just ended, too. I sent them an email telling them that as well.

    Thanks, and have a wonderful New Year!!

    Ann Bata

    Dear Ann,
    Thank you for your letter. I share your feelings over the loss of Toy Shop Magazine, it was a great read and served a very important purpose in the pre-eBay world. Unfortunately, Toy Shop has always been viewed as an advertising-driven magazine even though the later issues had many good articles. No place that I know of has any back issues for sale on a regular basis. You could try contacting Krauss Publications but they were having trouble coming up with back issues even before Toy Shop folded. Ironically, your best bet is going to be eBay. Even then though you will likely only find issues from the last 2-3 years when it was printed as a glossy stock magazine. Prior to that,Toy Shop was printed as an oversized newspaper on cheap paper and it did not hold up well. Good luck in your search.

    - ED Tucker-


    The Linda Harrison website mentioned in her interview -- I cant find it, it is me? Happy New Year!


    Hello, Rik!
    The official Linda Harrison website mentioned in the interview you read was discontinued a few years ago. The link on the interview was left up because the website was expected to be replaced by now but never was. Sorry for the confusion.


    To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

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