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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 486  (Vol. 10, No. 29). This edition is for the week of July 12--19, 2009.

"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"
Movies and The Mob: part 2
Movies That Scared Me for Life
Summer Memories: Old Forge, NY
Birthdays: A Sponge .... A Witch .... A Nap .... And A Gameboy .... .... .... .... i
16.5% Unemployment ?!?! .... Fuzzy Math .... Quid Pro Quo? .... Fall Of Vader? .... Rattner Who? .... .... .... Giant Leap Turns 40! 6
“the Robbery” .... Back To Sports, Mcnair’s Death .... Obama At The All-star Game .... Rays Win All-star Game (again) .... .... .... .... t
Elvis The Dog .... Happy Birthday .... They Did Something Right .... Reel/real News .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... l

Walter Cronkite, Dead at 92
Birthday List Update
Oscar G. Mayer Dies At 95
Readers' Comments


There has been an arrest in the "shotgun bandit" robbery case that victimized three South Tampa businesses last week, amongst which yours truly was a target.

See the sheriff's website for mugshot and description here.

I'll have the full story next week. Congratulations to Tampa police and detectives for bringing this episode to a rapid -- and casualty-free -- conclusion!


I doubt there is a single baby-boomer who can recall an important news event while growing up that wasn't associated with the deep, authoritative voice of veteran newsman Walter Cronkite.

My earliest memory of this is likely the assasination of President John F. Kennedy, where Cronkite broke up on the air while reporting the story, the only time he was known to do so.

Just as pivotal is his association with the Apollo moon landing. It is especially sad he didn't live to see it 40th anniversary celebration which is this upcoming Monday, July 20th.

Frequently cited is his public renunciation of the Vietnam War which caused President Lyndon Johnson to remark, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle-America."

As kids, any time we imitated what a late-breaking story would sound like, we invariably tried to sound like Walter Cronkite. It was simply more official that way.

Like Edward R. Murrow before him, Cronkite was a pioneer and an original. He will be sorely missed.

For more on Walter Cronkite, please see this week's Mike's Rant.


I guess it had to happen sometime. For the first time in my life, I was held-up at gunpoint at my job.

No shots were fired, and I'm OK. But I was a little shook up post-facto, and only now can say I'm coming back to normal after being not quite right in the head for the past two days.

7-Eleven on Gandy & MacDill, Sunday morning, July 12th, 1:41 AM. I was at the register finishing up with a customer, when a dark '98 Toyota Avalon drove up to the curb. A short, husky, older man, caucasion, got out dressed in a thick, blue sweatshirt/jacket with the hood pulled up. I remember thinking, "Wow, he's dressed awfully warmly for the middle of summer!" I was preparing to make a joke when he approached the register about the store's very powerful A/C necessitating a jacket. I never got it out.

He faced me and mumbled something that sounded like, "mmm....gun...robbery....money" as he pulled from underneath his jacket a single-barrel sawed-off shotgun. He swung it around, placed it on the edge of the counter (both hands on it), and pointed it directly at me. I remember looking directly into the barrel for what seemed like several seconds and realized he must've said, 'I have a gun, this is a robbery, give me your money,' and that this was a hold-up!

I felt weirdly detached from the scene, it was so unreal to me. I never knew how I'd react to something like this and now I knew how it felt. Just....not real. Like I'm there, but not really there. For some reason, I don't know why, rather than open the register, I offered him some money I had off to the side, forty dollars I hadn't dropped in the safe yet (note--in an earlier version of this article I omitted the amount stolen on advice from the authorities. However, The St. Pete Times has already published their story with the amount included). Apparently, this was enough to satisfy him; he gave me a curt little nod, stuffed the gun back under his sweatshirt, turned and walked out. My partner, Chris Munger (yes, he of Sports Talk), had just come out of the walk-in cooler where he'd been doing stock work. As I reached for the telephone to call 911, I told Chris we'd just been robbed at gunpoint and asked him to please go outside and see if he could get a description of the vehicle (he's good at ID'ing cars, I suck at it). It was he who identified the car as a Toyota Avalon.

The Tampa police, who are regular fixtures at my store were uncharacteristically absent this night, due to a heavy workload (and, I suspect, some understaffing, but this is speculation). Two officers responded within minutes (last year it would've been about twenty cars!). Chris had called the 7-Eleven Hotline (a requirement following a robbery), and my boss and the district manager arrived within about forty minutes. The surveillance video was played back and forth several times and it was only then that I realized the entire robbery took place within about 20 seconds. After the police and my managers established I was alright physically and emotionally, I went back to work, and I was fine with that, believe it or not (there was no coersion, I wanted to stay). The boss stayed until morning and there has been at least one squad car in the lot at all times since.

Everyone has been extremely supportive and I sincerely appreciate the well-wishing friends and customers who've been checking in on me this week.

The surveillance video has hit the local news stations over the past two days. I myself saw it on Channel 8's 6:00pm Crime-Tracker Alert segment Tuesday night. I heard from several customers who saw it on FOX 13 News. Chris Woods (Growing Up Fanboy, Bay News 9 editor) and Julianne Draper (Miami Examiner columnist) both sent me links to the Bay News 9 website story which has a good presentation of the video, complete with some zoom-ins, repeat and slo-mo (and includes where Chris Munger and I walked out to see the car).

See the Bay News 9 segment on 7-Eleven here: http://www.baynews9.com/content/36/2009/7/14/496081.html?title=Video:+Robber+holds+up+7-11+with+sawed-off+shotgun

The Channel 8 segment I saw Tuesday night is here (thanks to Juli for the link): http://www2.tbo.com/video/2009/jul/14/convenient-store-robber-50216/video-news/

Postscript: The robber hit another convenience store late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, a Sunoco store on MacDill and Azeele. He ditched the blue hoodie for a baseball cap, but kept the shotgun. They got an even clearer video of his face. Although the police initially thought the suspect might be in his mid-40s (judging from the newer video), press reports have stuck with my original assesment of 50--60 years old. (This edition of my Postscript is updated from an earlier version that contained errors.)

Here's the Sunoco surveillance video, courtesy of Channel 10 News: http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=109688&catid=8.

Here's the St. Pete Times Sunoco story: http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=109688&catid=8

A Message Board thread has been started on this topic

Apologies to Christian Dumais, aka, "Puff Chrissy" for somehow missing that his birthday was this month. It was Brandon's readers comments post from last week that alerted me to the oversight. I took the previous list from last year's early July PCR where it was missing, but I dug back further into The Archives for verification on the date (July 11th). I restored the birthday into the list (finally) for this year.

Happy Belated 35th Birthday, Puff Chrissy! You shan't go missing again, sir.

Oscar G. Mayer Jr., grandson of the original meat-processing tycoon of Wisconsin that produced the famous weiner, has died at the age of 95.

His grandfather, Oscar F. Mayer, died in 1955 and his father, Oscar G. Mayer Sr., died in 1965. Mayer retired as chairman of the board in 1977 at age 62 soon after the company recorded its first $1 billion year. The company was later sold to General Foods and is now a business unit of Kraft.

  • Although Oscar Mayer has been in business since the late 1800's, the Oscar Mayer brand weiner is about a hundred years old.
  • Richard Trentlage wrote one of the most famous commerical jingles of all time, "Oh I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Weiner" in 1962 as part of an ad agency contest. The song has been a part of Americana ever since.
  • The Wienermobile has toured the United States for over 70 years. The first Wienermobile was created in 1936, and six have since been built.

    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 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 [20-07-2009 14:13] 
    Thanks Lisa. I feel your "non-birthday" pain. My wife, son and his girlfriend all celebrate in July. I'm the lonely Virgo in the middle of September. Of course, the good thing is I only have to pay for one birthday dinner for everyone!
    No Birthday in July Lisa [19-07-2009 16:07] 
    Nolan -- So glad you're okay! And glad they caught the guy.

    Mike -- Sorry to hear about your dog.

    Happy b-day to Mr. P.C. and to the Smiths.
    ED [18-07-2009 18:29] 
    Yep that's the one.
    Michael [18-07-2009 12:38] 
    ED, is it the "JAWS vs APE" cover? If so then I have it somewhere. Glad to see they caught the guy that robbed Nolan. I hope he gets many years alone in a 5 x 9 cell to dwell on his actions.
    ED [18-07-2009 07:11] 
    Mike - It's the issue with the cool artwork for A.P.E. on the cover. That the reason I bought it. I need to do an article on that stinker one of these days.
    Michael [18-07-2009 07:01] 
    ED, in thinking back I think I remember that issue only because Matt had a subscription and showed it to me. We just assumed it was something trimmed from the film (like when FM published the photo of a "cocooned" Tom Skerrit from "Alien"). But still, it's always cool to discover something new about a favorite film.
    Steve Beasley [18-07-2009 05:30] 
    I'm glad to hear that you're okay, Nole! You had a great run for many years, it's kinda surprising that it hasn't happened sooner. Having said that, South Tampa thankfully isn't really a bad area, like Suitcase City or East Tampa.
    ED [17-07-2009 20:50] 
    Mike - yes I have seen that footage on the DVD supplementals but I had no idea that FM published a still from this some 25 years earlier.
    Michael [17-07-2009 20:13] 
    ED - there is a deleted scene from JAWS that has the man from the boat (Ted Grossman) being taken through the water while in the sharks jaws. He physically pushes Michael Brody out of the way. I think this was cut after the film was edited some. As you recall, there is a shot of a leg floating to the bottom of the ocean. Moments later, when Michael is dragged out of the water the camera seems to linger on his legs, as if reassuring the audience that he wasn't the one bitten. Of course, it also took me years to realize that Ted Grossman is barefoot in the boat but there is a sneaker on the foot of the leg that hits bottom.

    T - only people in the know do!
    Chris Woods [17-07-2009 17:44] 
    More Breaking News: Walter Cronkite just passed away.
    Chris Woods [17-07-2009 15:34] 
    If the link doesn't work again go to the thread on the topic on the message board.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafet y/article1019376.ece

    Chris Woods [17-07-2009 15:14] 
    BREAKING NEWS! They caught the robber of the 7-Eleven and the other stores. Just found out about it. Here's a link to the story:

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafet y/article1019376.ece
    ED [17-07-2009 06:21] 
    Mike - Yes I have heard Spielberg relate that story before, including the fact that the water in the pool looked to clear to be the ocean so he poured a gallon of milk in just before filming. You do raise an interesting question about the missing scene though. If they already had a life mask of Craig Kingsbury they must have created that with something similar in mind.

    On a related note - I just picked up an old issue of Famous Monsters from when Jaws 2 came out and there is an article comparing the first film to the second one. One of the pictures used for the original Jaws is of Mike Brody being held by the guy from the rowboat who is in the mouth of the shark in the pond (the original sequence before they switched to the sinking leg in the finished film and which explained why Mike was in shock). FM made no mention of this being an alternate scene and I never caught this when I bought the same issue off the newstand years ago.
    Nolan [17-07-2009 03:48] 
    To Mad Matt: Hardy Har Har! Sorry I couldn't stay on the phone longer, I was surrounded by detectives.

    Thanks to everyone for your continued support. It means a lot.

    MAD MATT [16-07-2009 22:10] 
    Like I said on the phone...You'll do anything to get on T.V...
    Chris Woods [16-07-2009 21:58] 
    Nolan - I'm glad that you're all right and I hope they catch the guy.

    Simon - Glad you liked the article. It brought back a lot of memories for me too.

    ED - Glad you like the Strand Theater. It's a cool theater. Enjoyed your article, lots of good picks for your movies.

    Terence - Liked part 2 of Movie and the Mob. Good read.
    Terence [16-07-2009 21:20] 
    Mike-doesn't everyone think Bugsy is brilliant?
    Terence [16-07-2009 21:18] 
    Nick-yes these are based on true life. if you go to part one you will see that i included The Departed.
    Michael [16-07-2009 20:00] 
    T - great series. I'm glad to see you back on these pages. And I'm glad you agree that "Bugsy" is brilliant.

    ED - ditto. It's amazing how many people cite the "Ben Gardner" scene as the one that impacted them most. It certainly is the scene that I use to judge jolts in any other film I see. Not sure if you know but Spielberg inserted the shot of the head AFTER the first premiere of the film. He was sure he could get one more scare out of the audience. The shot was done in Verna Fields (Oscar winning film editor) swimming pool with a plywood recreation of the hull of the boat and Craig Kinsgbury's lifemask with some work done to it. Of course, that always raised with me the question of what was there before. Later in the film Dreyfuss states he "had an accident" when he can't produce the tooth he dropped.
    Nick [16-07-2009 19:41] 
    Nolan, thank the gods you're alright. Hopefully they'll catch the SOB.

    This one is for Terrence Nuzum, are you going with biographical mob movies, rather than fictional ones? Overall, I think you added some excellent films to the list.

    I too agree that Goodfellas is not the end all Scorsese film. For me, Scorsese's best films are: 1. Last Temptation of Christ 2. Raging Bull 3.Taxi Driver 4. Casino 5. The Departed (I'm Irish, I've gotta include Departed!)
    matthew [16-07-2009 18:11] 
    nolan, thank God you are okay.
    Simon Lynx [16-07-2009 08:33] 
    Chris - I enjoyed the Old Forge piece, brings back alot of memories as a kid.

    Terence - that Godzilla set is 6 tapes
    Older Puff Chrissy [16-07-2009 04:31] 
    Thanks for the birthday wishes, Nolan. And I'm glad everything worked out the way it did with the robbery. Be safe over there.
    Michael [15-07-2009 20:26] 
    As I told you in my email, I'm so glad you're ok. We have a 7-Eleven in Kansas City that has been robbed 16 times this year. Not an exageration. They even have a web cam going to the police station (and publicly announce it) and they get robbed. The important thing is you're safe.
    Joel D. Wynkoop [15-07-2009 18:46]  
    Nolan, Cathy saw this on the news this am. We're glad you're okay buddy. To many of these end up very bad. Glad you're safe and I hope it never, ever happens again.
    Curious [15-07-2009 13:06] 
    I wonder what the robber bought with the money!!! I NEED TO KNOW!!!!
    ED [15-07-2009 12:36] 
    Chris - loved the museum in the Strand. Great photos.

    Nolan - I am shocked this was only the first time you were robbed in the time you have worked for 7-11.

    Oh, and speaking of firsts.........................
    [31-12-1969 16:00] 
    End of Comments    

  • "Mike's Rant" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith    "La Floridiana" is ©2009 by William Moriaty    "The Enlightenment" is ©2009 by Terence Nuzum    "FANGRRL" is ©2009 by Lisa Scherer Ciurro    "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    "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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