One of my favorite, if short-lived shows of the mid-'60s was The Soupy Sales Show starring someone that, to me, combined the physical comedy of Jerry Lewis, the more slapstick antics of the Three Stooges (particularly pie-throwing), and a certain extra weirdness that's hard to quantify, but I'll call it a vaudevillan's "sneaky adult humor". "Sneaky" in that Sales' show was supposedly for kids, but I always got the feeling there was a wink at the adults in the audience for humor not comprehended by children. Kind of like I felt watching Beanie and Cecil, any Tex Avery cartoon, and later, Pee Wee Herman.
Sales was born Milton Supman on Jan. 8, 1926, in Franklinton, N.C., where his was the only Jewish family in town. They later moved to West Virginia and Sales left for Ohio around 1950 to pursue a DJ gig and later host a children's show. After accruing quite a reputation, he moved to New York in 1964 to debut The Soupy Sales Show which ran for two years.
He had great characters on his show like White Fang and Black Tooth, two dogs of opposite personalities. Through an open door on set, I could swear there was a suggestion of a naked female just off camera.
Many skits devolved into pie-throwing. Over time, even Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis stopped by the Sales set to have pies thrown at them.
Soupy's most notorious antic was instructing kids watching his show to sneak into their parents' bedroom, find their wallets or a purse, remove the little green pieces of paper with the US presidents' pictures on them and mail them to him! That got him suspended from broadcasting for a week and made headlines.
I also remember fondly his participation on the What's My Line game show, the refurbished version that ran from 1968 to 1975, hosted by Larry Blyden. Soupy sat on a panel with three other celebrities (I believe Arlene Francis was the only regular besides Sales). During the show, the panel would try to guess a guest contestant's occupation by asking a series of questions. If they were stumped, the contestant won a prize.
Soupy Sales was a rare talent from the golden days of television and will be sorely missed.
I my zeal Wednesday to crow about my technical achievements on PCR, I kinda neglected to mention why I chose to cover fan-based media on CrazedFanboy.com and make Nolan's Pop Culture Review my flagship publication.
Simply put, it was something I'd wanted to do since a few of us started publishing paper 'zines in the '70s and '80s, that is, create a publication for appreciation of genre-based media, but we now lacked the funds to tackle the overhead. Bills and mortgages can suck the hell out of your screwing-around money.
After the technical epiphany I expressed in the aforementioned story, I got an AOL account that came with free web space and an online web-building tool called "Easy Designer". My first baby steps came to fruition in mid-February 2000 with my first "The World of Nolan, Friends and Family Homepage". (Believe it or not, that still existed in some form or another until October '08, when AOL discontinued Hometown, their webhosting program and online community.) In any event, one month later I started Nolan's Newsstand, which after a few issues became Nolan's Pop Culture Review, or "PCR" for short.
OK, now I'm caught up!
ON PCR #500
POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2009
So the legend goes, short version: Nearly ten years and five-hundred issues ago, artist, musician, occasional videomaker, and aspiring writer, Nolan B. Canova, discovered the internet. Or more specifically, discovered the computer and then the internet. Not that he had never heard of such things before, it's just that they didn't seem all that useful to him. The computer seemed mostly used to play video games, he observed, and the internet was growing as a secondary business card for the dot-com revolution. All well and good as far as that goes, but what can it do for me, he thought? Hell, he could play video games at the arcade for a quarter. At 44 years of age, this all seemed such a frightful waste of time.
His long-time friend, good ol' boy Steve Beasley, a Tampa resident at the time, had been noodling on computers for almost ten years, mostly playing video games and surfing online search sites. Thought computers were the sh*t. Nolan remained unmoved. Other friends had procured WebTV. Slightly more colorful, interesting, but still....feh.
That is, until that fateful day in late 1999 when Steve's brother Adam "hired" Steve to house-sit his place while he was away on business for a couple weeks. Nolan was invited to fool around on Adam's computer as often as he wished until he got back. Nolan gleeful discovery of the internet evolved into an epiphany of sorts over those two weeks. We'll call that "phase one".
Having exhausted every URL and search term he'd memorized from TV, radio, magazines and the like during those two weeks, Nolan began to question how these web pages were built and made available. No one knew. Steve, with only a passing familiarity of such things, built Nolan a phony web page using Microsoft Word and said, "This is how a web page of yours might look." Nolan flipped and his epiphany was complete. We'll call this "phase two". But the hardest was yet to come.
OK, enough of referring to myself in the third person. Kinda creepy.
"Phase three" is still being played out on your computer screens right now. I had to learn the basics and grow from there. Crazed Fanboy and Nolan's Pop Culture Review is the result of a self-taught journey of discovery and renewed purpose. I did it the way I always do everything: the hard way. A couple friends who'd had some basic HTML experience (John Petrey, Julianne Draper) helped break the ice in the very beginning, then it was books and more books, online tutorials, and plain ol' experimentation. But it's been exquisitely satisfying.
I usually save the "thank yous" for year-end issues, but this is a special case. As far as content, obviously, I didn't build this website's reputation alone over the years. Will Moriaty, Mike Smith, Matt Drinnneberg, ED Tucker, Andy Lalino, Chris Woods, Terence Nuzum, Drew Reiber, Lisa Scherer Ciurro, Brandon Jones, Vinnie Blesi, Chris Munger, Patty G. Henderson, Julianne Draper, Paul Guzzo and Jason Liquori are the most talented and influential writers I could've hoped to have on board to help build -- and steer -- this ongoing experiment. Newcomer Jason Fetters has added an international dimension. John Miller has helped with the reinvigorated Schlockarama. Of course, I have not forgotten those whose columns only lasted briefly but were all worthy additions to our volumes. Nor have I forgotten Message Board contributors. All content lives on in The Archives. Thank you, everyone.
Next March, we celebrate ten full years of existence. I will likely go into a more exhaustive retrospective (the good, the bad, and the ugly) at that time. There is a party/gathering in the works. And then....on to issue #1,000 !
You know, it's funny how during an otherwise slow news week, a simple, almost stupid story captures the public's imagination, the media runs with it, and before you know it, you have a sensation. Remember John and Lorena Bobbitt? The Runaway Bride? Now we have The Balloon Boy. Headlines for nearly a week now.
Last Thursday, a panicky call to 911 from one Richard Heene (rhymes with "weenie") of Fort Collins, Colorado reported that his saucer-shaped helium balloon, purportedly developed for weather research, had escaped its back yard moorings with his 6-year-old son, Falcon, aboard. Calls went out to every government agency for help. Two local airports temporarily shut down for fear of interfering with the balloon and endangering the boy. Dozens of videos were taken of the balloon in transit. Finally, the "craft" set down several miles away and rescuers scrambled to find the boy.
No one was aboard at all. The boy was later found to have been at home, hiding in the attic the whole time, supposedly fearing punishment for triggering the accidental launch. Now it looks like the entire thing was a hoax, staged by the parents in the hopes of stirring interest in a reality show with Roswell overtones.
Richard and Mayumi Heene met in acting school and had already had experience with reality shows when they participated in ABC's Wife Swap some time ago. Looks like the attention, money and notoriety were addictive.
Now huge fines and federal charges are being filed against the Heenes. Their publicity stunt was successful and we certainly know who they are now, but I doubt the price they'll pay will wind up being worth it.
Favorite moment: during an interview on Larry King Live, fill-in host Wolf Blitzer talked with the Heenes. The Heenes asked their son why he had not come out from hiding when they called his name. "You guys said we did this for the show," the boy responded.
Out of the mouths of babes. At least the Heenes taught their kids to be honest, even if the example they set was atrocious.
In a refreshingly progressive move by the Administration, President Obama has instructed his Attorney General and Drug Czar NOT to prosecute any medical marijuana cases until further notice.
IT'S ABOUT GODDAMNED TIME. I have long held in deep contempt how so many states could legalize medical marijuana only to have the Feds threaten prosecution regardless. States' rights haven't been sovereign since the Civil War, OK, but they've gotta mean something!
Dubya was particularly vicious about legal pot users, but Clinton doesn't get off the hook, either. Janet Satan Reno was the first administration official I remember -- a Democrat under Clinton, no less -- to threaten prosecution and jail time for the sick and terminally-ill if legal pot was the only pain-reducing drug they could use that was effective.
Under Obama's directive, the reefer must be prescribed legitimately, of course, and users must adhere to their particular state's laws governing its use.