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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2009!
   Assistant Editor / Co-Moderator:  Terence Nuzum.                 HOME           ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our tenth calendar year!
Number 481  (Vol. 10, No. 24). This edition is for the week of June 8--14, 2009.

"The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3"
Forgotten Horrors: The Deadly Spawn
Summer Memories: Enchanted Forest
The Return...bully Pulpit? .... Fangoria Turns 30! .... Spider-man 4 .... Sporcle Addiction .... .... .... .... Quote h
Back To Some Basics .... Collapse? .... Indiana Pension Lawsuit...laughing At Geithner .... Deese The Savior .... Nader Resurfaces .... The Rev Returns .... Sea Kittens .... a
$22.5 Million Couch Potato .... Down But Not Out .... Buccaneers Want Your Money! .... Ed Werder Is An Idiot .... Al Bundy Was A Bear! .... Magic Finally Steal One .... Iwfl .... 2
Happy Birthday .... Zac Efron For Spidey? .... Kid Friendly? .... Bond 23 .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... a

What's New
Goodbye Analog, Hello Digital
Land of the Lost
The Return of Splash Page
The Return of the Lettercol


As I write this, June 12, 2009, analog television in these here United States is enjoying its last minutes on the air. For the first time in 60 years, all TV broadcasting will be -- or has been -- converted to digital. By the end of today, analog television will be no more. There is no set time of day, all affiliates pick their own time. In Tampa, WFLA Channel 8/NBC turned off their analog signal at 5:00am. WTVT Channel 13/FOX (formerly a CBS affiliate), turned off their analog signal at the end of their noontime talk show by announcing "the studio engineer is standing by." Then at the stroke of 12:59:45pm, the picture on a studio rabbit-ear TV -- perched on a stool -- went to snow.

Those on cable or satellite TV saw no difference, nor did those with the notorious set-top converter boxes like the one employed by Ye Olde Editor. I've had mine for a little over a year. It took a bit of getting used to -- and I still have problems getting all the stations in reliably -- but, all in all, I digitized comfortably.

During the above-mentioned noontime talk show (Your Turn), a popular conspiracy theory was addressed about this all being to force consumers to buy cable or brand-new HDTVs. While this is plausible to my conspiracy-prone cerebellum, the official version is three-fold: 1.) It's to catch up with the rest of the world that's been digital for years. 2.) The now-unused analog frequencies are going to the government for emergency channels, also to cellphone providers who are increasingly desperate for bandwidth to grow (one commentator heard values in the trillions for these signal bandwidths), and 3.) HDTV is not the same as DTV. Despite the similarity in initials, "HD" stands for High-Definition (aka, Hi-Def) and the "D" in DTV merely stands for "digital". In fact, WTVT's local origination programs aren't even Hi-Def yet, but are expected to be by the end of this month.

The awareness campaign for this transition has been admirable, with non-stop announcements and advisories televised over the past two years and especially in the past few weeks. The original target date for switch-over was February 17 of this year, but was delayed until June 12 to allow more viewers to buy converter boxes (or cable or digital TVs or whatever).

The biggest annoyance of digital TV broadcasts -- and this includes all types, not just converter box -- is the signal has to be strong and perfect at all times, or the picture breaks up into an unintelligible mess, or more frequently, degrades into no picture at all. With analog, you could at least get a crappy, snowy, but acceptable picture and sound even on the worst stormy days. This is especially a concern for Floridians with hurricane season already upon us.

But there is no turning back now, the future is here. On my next trip to the pawn shop, I must make a note of how the used TV section is going.


Although I am on record as saying Land of the Lost would likely be near the top of my "not interested" list of the summer movies to see, a surprise invite from FX maestro Corey Castellano who was taking his 9-year-old son, Nicholas, to see it -- and who especially wanted me along for the ride -- softened my attitude. I so rarely see the little guy, how could Uncle Nolan say no?

It was great for Nicholas, I'm sure, but I found it to be just as awful as I as afraid it would be. A prolonged SNL stunt mixed with the barest minimum of the original Sid & Marty Kroft original series, this was purely a vehicle for Will Ferrell and his patented mugging and little else.

The few pleasant surprises were mostly in the effects department, with an imaginative layout for the lost land. Loved the background sets of our pop culture past buried in deep sand. That's about it.

Not recommended for adults, even if former fans of the TV series, but the kids will probably get a kick out of it.

A Message Board thread has been started on this topic.


Last seen and officially pronounced dead in 2006, Brandon Jones' fan column Splash Page makes its return in this issue of PCR.

Brandon has been getting more than a few knocks for concentrating solely on politics with his comeback column State of the Nation, which I think brings some interesting news onto the stage, but not everyone agrees. After numerous requests and much discussion between us about another pop column with a new title, Brandon decided to simply resurrect Splash Page as the best solution. Sporting its original slogan, "Where the comics and movie world collide," Splash Page, with its valuable news and op-ed on these topics, is a valuable addition to the PCR.

Brandon intends to continue State of the Nation, so he will be penning two separate columns a week -- something only Mike Smith has ever done before and pulled off with admirable consistency. Mr. Jones seems to be up to the challenge, and I wish him good luck with this endeavor.


Last seen at the end of 2008, The PCR Lettercol was once the main avenue of interaction between the staff writers and our readers here at PCR. Gradually, the Message Board and Readers' Comments provided such a convenient path to instant gratification for this purpose, there wasn't a need to knock myself out hand-formatting the Letters column for the odd email that would still come in the usual way (and almost always asking for info on Retro TV episode availability or celebrity contacts). I decided to post Letters only occasionally to take care of those strays, then I discontinued it altogether. But that may have been premature.

Lisa FANGRRL Ciurro and were talking recently about the fact that we still get some interesting emails occasionally that we'd like to share with our readers. I'm sure the other staff writers get them, too (I can't believe Will Moriaty's fan club abandoned him, haha). But I remarked there is NO time for me to hand-code the Lettercol the old-fashioned way, which was the main reason it was discontinued.

However....with the development of the Content Management System I personally built for this website (and continue to tinker with), I figured we could hijack some blog-like code -- say, along the lines of the Indie Film News page -- that would allow the writers to access the Lettercol from their personal accounts and upload interesting emails throughout the year on an ongoing basis. I'll be working on this over the next week or so, and it should be ready to test sometime soon after that.

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section for this issue of PCR is now closed. To continue to interact, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor! The comments below are listed starting with the most recent. Thank you.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
Michael [15-06-2009 14:08] 
Oh, and Ron, enjoy the tour. "Giddy up, a woo, papa ooh papa maw maw!"

For those not familiar with Ron Canova, he has the deepest voice this side of James Earl Jones. Or at least it seemed that way to me when I was 16!
Michael [15-06-2009 14:05] 
ED, I agree that I usually bypass the AOL polls but it also caught my eye, especially when I saw the films listed. I can remember getting complaints from parents who took their kids to see "Fantasia" and "Pinocchio" because scenes were too intense for them.
ED [14-06-2009 09:51] 
Mike - I saw that top 11 list on the AOL headlines. It's obvious whoever wrote that piece just phoned it in. Films like Dances with Wolves and Orca, which were clearly NOT made for children made it on the list while films like Old Yeller or Benji the Hunted do not. Most of the "top 10" type lists on AOl are this badly researched so I usually avoid them but this one caught my eye too.
Ron Canova [14-06-2009 05:55] 
This is the real Ronald!
Thanks to Nolan and all for the birthday wishes!..
Stevie boy, I enjoyed the birthday heckling!..Worthy indeed of a profound birthday chuckle!
P.S. My tour with the Oakridge boys starts next week.
Michael [14-06-2009 04:05] 
"One of the earliest was the Best of Sex & Violence hosted by John Carradine. All of his sons made a guest appearance at the end." Obviously David paid more attention then Keith or Robert.
ED [13-06-2009 17:36] 
Chris - those old VHS horror compilation tapes were great and introduced a lot of films to potential fans. They would be worthy of an articel one day. One of the earliest was the Best of Sex & Violence hosted by John Carradine. All of his sons made a guest appearance at the end.
Chris Woods [13-06-2009 16:59] 
ED - Liked your piece on The Deadly Spawn. I first heard of it when I saw clips of it on Terror on Tape, which showed many great clips to almost all of Continental's video library. Years after that I final saw it in a video store and checked it out. It's a really cool horror flick.
Ronald [13-06-2009 04:24] 
Thanks! another year older.
Laure [12-06-2009 18:55] 
Happy Birthday, Ron!
Ronald [12-06-2009 17:14] 
That Bono gal looks like a guy. No change there.
Nolan [12-06-2009 14:28] 
Holy cow, now this: Chastity Bono is having a sex change! She will now be known as "Chaz" Bono.
Michael [12-06-2009 13:57] 
First: The Re-Imagining!

Happy Birthday, Ron! Are you still singing bass with the Oak Ridge Boys!
Nolan [12-06-2009 11:58] 
Happy Birthday to my "little" brother, Ron Canova! 51 years old on June 13.
henry [12-06-2009 10:40] 
my tv dont work!!!!!!
Brandon [11-06-2009 06:54] 
Thanks for bringing up the sour Magic fans. So people seemed shocked that folks in Tampa like myself are sick of it and stopped following, let alone supporting their team. Over what? The Arena football rivalry - what a joke!
Curious [10-06-2009 20:38] 
But Chris, what did you BUY there?!?!?!
Terence [10-06-2009 19:18] 
Chris- cool article. I remember you showing me those pictures. it reminds me of a section that was abandoned in Lowry Park from years ago.

Ed- believe it or not I have yet to see the Deadly Spawn.

Branjo- im glad you at least are writing about pop culture. at least Ill read this column. im hoping the next issue though is more than just a few lines describing a link. more content please. also it might look better if the links were at the bottom of the article. just a suggestion.
Chris Woods [10-06-2009 19:02]
Chris Woods [10-06-2009 19:02] 
ED - Thanks, glad you liked the article. Enchanted Forest is an awesome place. Lots of history there and great memories.
Brandon [10-06-2009 15:45] 
Miller: I'll look forward to your nine columns, especially the one on shoe collecting that you mentioned before. Your opinion for what my column should be seems to always change but I appreciate your feedback. I love Chris, Ed, Mike, Lisa's work as well as Nolan's comment -- it all makes it enjoyable. There's definitely a lot of different things for different folks.

Thanks (publicly) to Mike Every for turning me onto "Tales from the Bully Pulpit" -awesome.
J.MILLER [10-06-2009 14:53] 
Why not just have one good column instead of 2 seperate columns filled with headlines and links?

Seems like all that effort would be better spent forcusing on one subject and writing a stronger article...

Chris and Ed are exactly what makes this site so enjoyable to read...Ed writes something solid every week...It may not be his best work every week but atleast you know the possibility is always there that he is going to drop something classic on us...Chris the same thing...

Mike Smith does the headline and link thing which is fine because they are always a good read but he also post movie reviews and puts out really awesome editorials when he can...

Just seems sort of unfair and lazy by comparison to the other writers...Nole...If your hungry for content and just want a weekly headline and two sentences worth of opinion sign me up for a new column...Actually...Under that formula I can probably write 9 columns a week...
ED [10-06-2009 14:18] 
Chris - Neat piece on the Enchanted Forrest. I don't think I have ever heard of that place before. It's a good thing there was nothing like that around where I grew up. I could have gotten into a lot of trouble there with a can of spray paint and a slingshot!
Steve Downunder Beasley [09-06-2009 20:28] 
First: The Sequel
Melvin [09-06-2009 15:13] 
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2009 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith    "Retrorama" is ©2009 by ED Tucker    "Splash Page" is ©2009 by Brandon Jones    "State of the Nation" is ©2009 by Brandon Jones    "Growing Up Fanboy" is ©2009 by Chris Woods    "FANGRRL" is ©2009 by Lisa Scherer Ciurro    "Sports Talk" is ©2009 by Chris Munger      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova

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