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PCR #492 (Vol. 10, No. 35). This edition is for the week of August 24--30, 2009.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Some news and notes, a few sad passings plus another member of the family. Shall we begin?

"The Time Traveler's Wife"  by Mike Smith
Forgotten Horrors: A * P * E  by ED Tucker
Music In Your Lifetime  by Bobby Tyler
Last Life in the Universe  by Jason Fetters
Medicare Cuts For 2.5 Trillion Obamacare? .... Maher: We're Still Stupid .... Townhall Jokes .... Get A New Ev .... The Charming Liar .... .... Girl Flees Honor Killing .... Ted  by Brandon Jones
Bucs Record .... Burress .... Massive Video Board .... Vick .... .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
2 Dog Night .... And Now A Brief Commerical Message .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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Confirming that my wife and I indeed share the same brain, i learned that while I was checking with a rescue shelter on Brody (our new dog) she was doing the same with a different shelter on another dog. We took Brody and had a meet and greet last Sunday with the second dog and they seemed to get along so last night we added the newest member to our family, Baxter. Isn't he a cutie? And don't I have a HUGE head? :-(

Baxter Smith

Since I'm still in a "talking about dogs" mood, I want to give a HUGE plug and thank you to a friend from high school, Nikki Caravella. These days Nik lives in New York and has found a way to combine her love for art and dogs into quite a lucrative business. After our dog, Elvis, passed we sent her a photo and she sent us this beautiful drawing:

She has an on line store and it is my pleasure to post a link to it:


Please give it a look.

In a puzzling (to me anyway) move, Paramount Pictures announced that SHUTTER ISLAND, originally scheduled for release on
October 2, 2009, will now be released on February 19, 2010. The film, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was already on the short list for this years major awards. According to the press release I received:

"Our 2009 slate was greenlit in a very different economic climate and as a result we must remain flexible and willing to recalibrate and adapt to a changing environment. This is a situation facing every single studio as we all work through the financial pressures associated with the broader downturn. Like every business, we must make difficult choices to maximize our overall success and to best manage Paramount's business in
a way that serves Viacom and its shareholders, while providing the film with every possible chance to succeed both creatively and financially.

Martin Scorsese is not just one of the world's most significant
filmmakers, but also a personal friend. Following a highly successful 2009, we have every confidence that Shutter Island is a great anchor to lead off our 2010 slate and the shift in date is the best decision for the film, the studio and ultimately Viacom."- Brad Grey, Paramount
Pictures Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So does this mean that Paramount has already made so much money in 2009 that they are saving some for next year? Or that they don't have any money to release it? With "Star Trek," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "G.I. Joe" banking the studio at least $1 billion already this summer, my guess is they are thinking the former. It could also mean that the studio did not want to battle itself come Oscar time. With "Shutter Island" now relegated to next year the studio can now focus it's award push on the Peter Jackson film "The Lovely Bones."

How much would you pay to be buried next to Marilyn Monroe? An unnamed high bidder on Ebay bought the crypt at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery directly above Monroe for $4.6 million. Apparently the space is being "vacated," which sounds to me like someone decided to kick grandmas dead ass somewhere else and pocket the money. Or perhaps they want to be remembered for being next to someone famous. Kind of like Ron Tompkins, Bob Bonner or John Hilton. For those not familiar with these men, they appear on the rookie baseball cards of Johnny Bench, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Mike Schmidt, respectively. I'm sure nothing gives them pleasure then taking a friend into a baseball card store and asking how much a Ron Tompkins rookie card is worth, only to smile when told $140.00.

Director Steven Spielberg has announced that he intends to develop Michael Crichton's posthumous novel, "Pirate Latitudes, into a feature film. As of now Spielberg plans to produce the film. However, if his schedule allows, he may direct it as well.

The saying goes that all celebrity deaths come in threes. This week we lost three giants in their field.

My friend Scott Gilbert used to describe a tough situation as "being stuck between a hard place and Ted Kennedy's head." Guess he wasn't a fan. But I certainly was. Being a child of the 1960s, I was brought up on the Kennedy mystique...one made bigger by the fact that brothers John and Robert were taken from us much too early. That Edward Moore Kennedy, youngest of thirteen children, would outlive all of his brothers was another example of fate. His oldest brother, Joseph, was killed in a plane crash during World War II. He was 29. JFK was 46 and RFK was 42 when they were assassinated. But somehow, through all of his family and personal tragedies, Ted Kennedy survived them all, finally passing away from brain cancer this week at the age of 77. Elected to the US Senate in 1962, Ted Kennedy was a champion for equal rights, racial issues and, most importantly, family health care. He was an unwavering champion for the little guy, a complete contrast to the wealthy life he himself possessed. Of course, no mention of Senator Kennedy can be made without documenting the car accident that effectively kept him out of the White House. In 1969, while returning from a party of former RFK campaign workers, he drove his car off a small bridge on the island of Chappaquiddick. In the car with him was Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned in the accident. It is the one incident in his life that Senator Kennedy refused to discuss and it is that silence that, in my opinion, cost him the 1980 Democratic Presidential nomination. I have no idea whether he would have defeated Ronald Reagan or not, but I would have liked to have seen that fight. I campaigned tirelessly for Senator Kennedy in Kansas. One thing I learned is that you are supposed to give people bumper stickers, not just wander around town sticking them on any car you come across. For my efforts I received an autographed photograph of Mr. Kennedy, one I still have almost three decades later. Last year Senator Kennedy was diagnosed with the brain cancer that killed him. He used that time to finish his memoirs,"True Compass," scheduled to be released September 14 The autobiography is derived from over 50 years of daily journals that Kennedy kept. Perhaps then he will explain the tragedy at Chappaquidick. Not only what happened but why. And how it effected the rest of his life. I should add that I've driven over the same bridge in the middle of the day and found it to be pretty damn narrow!

When "Poltergeist" actress Dominique Dunne was murdered she unwittingly gave her author father a new career. Sitting in court every day of the killer's trial, Dominick Dunne wrote the story "Justice: A Father's Account of the Trial of his Daughter's Killer" for Vanity Fair magazine. He later went on to profile almost every major celebrity for the magazine. Born to a heart surgeon father and heiress mother, it apparently was in the genes that he would become a writer. His older brother was author John Gregory Dunne (True Confessions). Dominick's first job was as the stage manager of "The Howdy Doody Show." In the late 50s he moved to Los Angeles, where he continued his work in television. In the late 60s he became a film producer, sponsoring such films as "The Boys in the Band," "Play It As It Lays" and "The Panic in Needle Park," which his brother had co-written. Shortly after his daughter's trial he left California and began writing full time, producing such novels as "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles," "People Like Us" and "A Season in Purgatory." He would not return to California until he was sent to cover the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. He traveled to Las Vegas last year to cover Simpson's kidnapping trial. While in Vegas he began having severe pains. Doctors there discovered the bladder cancer that would take his life at 83.

Whenever I'm in New York City, I make it a point to visit 1619 Broadway, the address of the Brill Building. It was here, in the late 50s and early 60s that many of America's greatest songwriters used to toil, turning out songs for a tidy $15.00 each. Leiber and Stoller, Carole King and Neil Diamond were just a few of the resident tunesmiths. But one who stood out among them all was Ellie Greenwich, who died this week at age 68 from a heart attack. Collaborating with Jeff Barry (who would become her husband...for awhile) and Phil Spector, Greenwich created such classics as "Leader of the Pack," "Be My Baby," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Chapel of Love" and "River Deep, Mountain High." She later appeared on Broadway opposite Patrick Cassidy and Darlene Love in "Leader of the Pack," a show inspired by her life and music. In 1991, she and Barry were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Yours, Mine and Ours
Starring: Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball
Directed by: Melville Shavelson

FIRST SEEN: On television a hundred times
FAVORITE SCENE: The big adoption scene (as a child of adoption I like to see it when someone finds a family)
FAVORITE LINE: "Go to bed, that's who Fanny Hill is."


1969 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Picture (Music or Comedy)

1969 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress (Music or Comedy) Lucille Ball

1969 Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Written American Comedy

An enjoyable comedy, "Yours, Mine and Ours," along with the same years' "With Six You Get Eggroll," were late night television staples in the 1970s. "YM&O" was based on a true story of a widow with eight children who meets and falls in love with a widower with ten kids of his own. The ideal casting of Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball combined with eighteen rambunctious kids helped convince studios that films about "merged" families were acceptable to audiences. In fact, it was the success of those two films that allowed "The Brady Bunch" to hit the airwaves the next year. It also enabled the studio to put out a remake almost 40 years later, starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, though this film wasn't half as good as the original.

Next week I'll take a much longer look at a film that ranks as one my favorite ever; Lawrence Kasdans' "Silverado."

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

"Mike's Rant" is ©2009 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 ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.