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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 504  (Vol. 10, No. 47). This edition is for the week of November 16--22, 2009.

Holiday Movie Preview
"The Blind Side "
Texas Terrors: The Late Night Films of Larry Buchanan Part Two
USA Network’s Black Belt Theater
The Top 30 Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Actresses, #16-13
Lebron James Changes Number .... No More ‘captain’ In It For The Nfl? .... Guess There Still Is Some Left In The Tank! .... Chris Simms .... Belichick The Bonehead? .... .... .... e
Do You Think We'll Make The Sullivan Show? .... Zack Attack! .... And The Oscar Goes To .... Passing On .... Last Week In "my Favorite Films" .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2 o
Outta The Gate
Florida's "Mr. Magic" Harry Wise, Dead at 75
Early Week!
R.I.P. Carl Ballantine
Readers Comments


It is my sad duty to inform you that Harry Wise, Florida's "Mister Magic", passed away around midnight on Thursday November 19, 2009 in Orange City, Florida after a two-year battle with prostate cancer. His lifelong friend Mr. Lynn Ashe is Harry's Executor and will be administering Harry's estate. There is not yet any mention of any funeral or planned memorial service as of this writing. Harry had just turned 75 the day before.

I had just posted his birthday on the PCR roster, and now this. To honor Harry, it will stay up until month's end.

Long-time readers of PCR may remember when William Moriaty (La Floridiana) and I went to The Third Sanford Summit to meet Harry along with Weird Florida author Charlie Carlson, Dottie Carlson, and Art Litka in the summer of 2006.

William, great man that he is, had stayed in regular touch with Wise the Wizard right up until the end. He, Charlie, and Harry attended many special events together and Harry knew how fondly he was remembered by his fans. Because so many of these were in or around Sanford, FL, yours truly's abysmal transportation situation prevented me from attending many of these long-distance affairs, but I always sent my best wishes regardless.

While in Sanford, however, I did do some extended videotaped interviews with Harry which will hopefully see the light of day soon in Memoriam. His knowledge and humor were compelling, and I regret I only had the opportunity to meet with him twice. But at least I have that.

It is also extremely important to note that a few years back, Charlie Carlson wrote an excellent biography of Harry Wise entitled, "The True Story of Magician Harry Wise, A Wizard's Tux and Tales", which is very highly recommended if you can find a copy.

Harry is among the last of old Florida's TV showmen who also had a national career and are leaving way too soon. We have also recently lost Dottie Carlson and magician Roy Huston to the scourge of cancer. That is way too many, too soon.

Rest in Peace, Harry. You will be sorely missed.


WOW! As Ye Olde Editor sat down to compose the homepage this morning, I discovered no less than FOUR writers had already sent in columns! Mike, Jason, ED, and Chris Munger all had stuff on the web Tuesday or very early Wednesday. Way to go, gang, that's the way to do it! Plus it keeps yours truly on his toes, haha.


As Mike Smith noted last week in Mike's Rant, comedian, magician, and actor Carl Ballantine recently passed away at the age of 92. Mike also noted that Ballantine was possibly best known as Lester Gruber, a member of McHale's Navy, an early '60s sit-com situated in WWII starring Ernest Borgnine and Joe Flynn.

Until a few months ago, I might've disagreed. Although I had only foggy memories of McHale's Navy, I vividly remembered Ballantine as the inept magician "The Amazing Ballantine" (or some derivation of that) appearing on The Merv Griffin Show or The Tonight Show. Actually well-skilled, he bumbled his way through the act in the best tradition of vaudeville, one of the last to do so.

This year, my local TV area started carrying a retro-TV station called...Retro TV. Through that, I re-discovered McHale's Navy. (I re-discovered a lot of things on Channels 8.2 and 32.2 I'll go into some other time, namely that some things didn't hold up over time.)

Slight digression: While I definitely remembered Ballantine, and stars Tim Conway, Ernest Borgnine and Joe Flynn, the biggest shock is that I had no memory of a pre-bigtime Gavin McLeod (Mary Tyler Moore, The Love Boat) being onboard as a very minor (but regular) character who barely had any lines! My how times changed for him!

The other hoot is how old some of the actors were playing sailors on their (presumably) first hitch. McHale would regularly refer to his men as "kids", yet Ballantine was well into his forties at the time, and Conway, then about thirty, was nearly totally bald.

Anyway, back on topic. Carl Ballantine's "Gruber" was easily the most heavily-featured supporting character of McHale's Navy, next to Conway's "Chuck" Parker. Always a fast-talker, Gruber was basically the huckster of the group.

Carl Ballantine was among the last of old Hollywood whose like we'll never see again. Rest in peace.


I'm probably going to get sh*t about this from our regular critics (all two of them under a variety of fake names) whose job it is, among other things, to lambast the close-knit camaraderie of the PCR staff. But, I'm compelled nonetheless to respond to last week's very unusual--and moving--FANGRRL.

Although the mutual admiration displayed on each week's Readers' Comments might annoy the more cynical of you out there, I think a few of you may have missed the point of Lisa's column.

Starting it with "Dear Nolan" made it more personal (plus, I'm, you know, the publisher), but it was more like an open letter. An open letter to me...and to all of us here. I'm not real good at emotional stuff like this, but here goes....

Dear Lisa,

I was deeply honored and very moved by your comments in last week's FANGRRL. It is no secret how much I admire you and what you've meant to me and to all of us. The day you accepted my invitation to join Nolan's Pop Culture Review is one I will always remember. I am more glad than you can know, and very honored, that anything I did or we did at CrazedFanboy.com helped you get through the rough times you've experienced over the past three years. And, more than anything, I'm extremely grateful your cancer went into remission, your recovery is under control, and you're still with us.

I will always be there for you. You certainly have always been there for me. You're a gas to talk to, and I enjoyed every minute of every day we've worked together. Or played together. And I hope to continue that for a loooong time.

Love and best,

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.
JP Richardson [23-11-2009 23:33] 
Hey Mike, thanks for the nod!
Michael [23-11-2009 19:28] 
T, met them at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of The Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. To actually be able to stand on the same stage that Buddy Holly, Valens and the Bopper did was a thrill I won't forget. My son was 15 at the time and, because of my insistence, is also a fan of that eras music. He can even play a little Holly on the guitar. If you're ever up this way we can head up for a visit. As someone who appreciates the history of the period it is definitely a place to visit.
Terence [22-11-2009 15:43] 
I understand where you are coming from but at no point did Ritchie Valens in any footage anywhere do the moves Lou Diamond was doing. as for the families approval it wouldnt be the first time a family let stuff slide and was just happy to have a movie made about their dead relative. Bob Morales in interviews has been always been mysteriously vague when asked what was true and what wasnt. and Donna was not as major of a player as the movie made out. but to each their own. you trust what version you want and ill trust what version i want. im still gonna read your article as i want to see what your take on it is.

p.s. Wow i never knew you met the Crickets. thats awesome. the only 50s rocker I have seen or met was Bo Diddley. it was in 2005 or 06 before he died. i regret not going up and getting a picture taken with him.
Michael [22-11-2009 15:28] 
I know we've had this talk before and you know that I've always complemented you about your knowledge of that eras music. I've been fortunate to have met the Crickets (joe b, jerry and sonny curtis) and am friendly with Niki Sullivan's family, who live close by. Listening to their stories is 1000 times better then anything you can get out of a book.
Michael [22-11-2009 15:25] 
T, when LaBamba came out I had the great opportunity to spend a couple of days with Luis and Daniel Valdez as well as Bob Morales, and they stressed that everything portrayed was to the best of their knowledge true. Did Ritchie stand still and play like Lindsay Buckingham does...or did he move around? Depends on what footage you watch. As both Bob and Ritchie's mom, Connie, were on the set almost every day you can rest assured that authenticity was stressed. Luis and Daniel Valdez were both very protective of Ritchie's image and in fact Luis chided me as you just did when I mentioned "The Buddy Holly Story" because in that film Valens was reduced to a maracca shaking, flamenco shirt wearing monkey. The family felt the film did justice to Ritchie's legend, which to me means it's a well done biography. Unfortunately to get a whole life story told in under two hours is impossible, even one that only lasted 17 years. And don't worry...I didn't listen to Nirvana either!
Terence [22-11-2009 15:01] 
Mike- seriously La Bamba? one of the best biographys ever made? thats the most ridiculous claim I can think of. have you ever read up on Ritchie Valens? that movie has nothing to do with anything that happened. it is almost complete fabrication. even so far as making up that Valens did wild moves while playing guitar while in fact he stood static most of the time. that movie is a complete historical travesty. when I was in High School while everyone jammed out to Nirvana i completely immersed myself in rockabilly and 50s rock n roll and i still hold it very dear to this day as one of my favorite musical eras second only to pre-war blues. when i finally saw La Bamba I was horrified. was it a good movie? yeah actually. but was it a good biopic? hell no.
daniel moreira [22-11-2009 08:35]  
hi nolan...... it me Daniel.. lol... i was checking ur website... it is so funny.... i like the pic.. ahahah.. i dont know how to add the pics here.. it to much thing on the page..... lol.. i couldnt find it... hahah well teach me how and i going to do t.. see you at work... hahah at 11.... xoxo daniel
Terence [20-11-2009 20:55] 
I never got to meet Harry but from Will and Nolans tales its almost like i did. of course i hope to see the video that Nolan shot of him so I can kinda get a better idea of him. he was probably one of the last of the old school magicians. everytime we lose one of these guys its like a part of a different time and culture dies too.
J.MILLER [20-11-2009 18:34] 
Nole - Sucks to hear about Harry Wise...As a fan of the PCR Ive always felt that the write ups featuring Harry Wise were some of the best stuff ever published on this site...I remember one morning we had a discussion about him and know you had the highest respects for him...Hope you can upload the video interview eventually
ED [20-11-2009 14:50] 
Wow, that is a real bummer about Harry. He was a true original. I got to meet him on several ocassions and even catch some of his routines once. He was always extremely nice and fun to talk to. They don't make them like that any more. He will be missed.
Steve Beasley [20-11-2009 12:16] 
I'm sorry to hear that Harry Wise has passed away. He was a true Florida folk hero, as mentioned many times by Will Moriaty. I've never missed reading an article that had him in it, but then...I've never missed any of Will's columns.

Chris Woods [20-11-2009 08:42] 
Nolan, I'm very sorry to hear about Harry Wise. I always enjoyed the articles you and Will wrote about him. He will be missed.
ED [20-11-2009 03:48] 
Chris - the other version of Nurse Sherri - now referred to as The Posession of Nurse Sherri, is available on a DVD double feature set with the common version. Posession is actually the original version which Sam Sherman felt had too few special effects and too much nudity. It was reworked into the version you saw with the green fog optical effects added to some scenes. Like most Independant International titles, this film was re-released several times under different names and with different marketing campaigns. I personally like the original version better but the film is pretty dull under any title. Try to get a copy of Exorcisim at Midnight if you can. That's one of II's last gasp entries and a fun watch.
Jason Fetters [19-11-2009 23:20]  
Thanks Chris.
Chris Woods [19-11-2009 20:41] 
Lisa - I enjoyed #16-13 of your list of Sci-Fi Horror Actresses. Some very good info on all the actresses and a lot of stuff I didn't know about them. Very informative.

Jason - Enjoyed you article on Black Belt Theater. USA use to kick ass! I use to watch Commander USA, Saturday Nightmares, and Night Flight. Those were the days.

ED - Like part two of Larry Buchanan. Didn't know too much about him and that he made films for Corman that were TV.
Simon Lynx [19-11-2009 14:42] 
Nolan - no prob, was just curious what happen.
Nolan [19-11-2009 14:28] 
Lonnie: And with Ch 32.2 (THiS TV) it's all MGM stuff, but between the two, a LOT of stuff is covered.
Joe Friday [19-11-2009 14:01] 
Lots of Mark VII-produced crime dramas. Not that I care. Just the facts.
Lonnie Dohlen [19-11-2009 11:14]  
Happy Birthday Ed Tucker (33 Years Old). Nolan,did it ever occur to you that RetroTV only has Universal Shows.Plus with MIDNIGHT MONSTER HOP & OFFBEAT CINEMA On Saturday Night.
Fangrrrrrrrl Lisa [19-11-2009 09:35] 
Photos are finally up in this week's column. Sorry about that.

More comments later, of course. My lunch break is almost over so I've gotta run cuz I heart my job. :P
Happy Young Man [19-11-2009 08:14] 
Anyone seen Boondock 2? I hear it is just the first movie all over again.
Nolan [19-11-2009 06:32] 
Simon, sorry about that. In a late-night delete-a-thon trying to get our worst stalker's posts off here, your post was caught in the mix. It has since been restored.

Terence, who now has final say regarding Readers' Comments, has decided to take a much more "no nonsense" attitude about haters and flamers on here, as well as those who stray grossly off-topic. I have been lenient because I enjoy witnessing our stalkers' jealous rage and nervous breakdowns, but Ter is right, that must end.

Again, sorry for the hassle.
Simon Lynx [19-11-2009 04:15] 
Oh no "Boon Dock Saints II" like we really need that...
Simon Lynx [19-11-2009 04:12] 
Why was my post taken down?
Michael [18-11-2009 21:00] 
Sorry, I had "Scream Queen" on the brain thinking of my favorite....I didn't mean to limit Lisa's list to just horror, as she certainly hasn't.

Early birthday wishes to ED Tucker!
Michael [18-11-2009 20:59] 
Love the "Scream Queen" feature, Lisa. I have a special favorite that hasn't made the list yet so I'm hoping she arrives soon (or at #1). I won't name her so as not to influence you. :-) Glad you included Nancy Allen, who also did a great comedic turn in the underrated "1941." Years ago, right before a premiere of Carlito's Way, I attended an event honoring Brian DePalma. They ran a quick retrospect of his films and I swear to God every scene they showed featured Nancy Allen in some form of undress (usually bra and panties). Later on I spoke to DePalma and remarked "that must have been hard to watch." He smiled, knowing what I meant, and replied, "You have no idea."
Simon Lynx [18-11-2009 16:21] 
Lisa - liked your Scream Queen stuff, but I bet Brinke would like to take back Web of Darkness.....
Simon Lynx [18-11-2009 14:44] 
R.I.P. Ken Ober
Steve Beasley [18-11-2009 12:58] 
Carl Ballantine (along with Phil Silvers, Jonathan Winters, Ethel Merman and Buddy Hackett) was also in one of my favorite movies, "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World".
Beasley [18-11-2009 12:47] 
I agree with your sentiments regarding Lisa and her column, "FANGRRL". As a matter of fact, I've often thought it would be nice to add an additional "FANGRRL" to CFB's pages, especially one as talented as Ms. Scherer. This site could do with a little more estrogen to balance out the skyrocketing testosterone. The fact that she's a Georgia grrl who has made Florida her home (too!) naturally didn't sway me from my opinions. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Beasley [18-11-2009 11:19] 
Mason Troupe, Nov. 4, 19 yrs
Joe Davison, Nov. 14, 34 yrs.
Harry Wise, Nov. 18, 75 yrs.
ED Tucker, Nov. 20, 43 yrs.
John Lewis, Nov. 21, 55 yrs.
David "The Rock" Nelson, Nov. 27, 53 yrs.

Hey, The Great Harry-dini is two days older than ED-dini!


*from downunder
ED [18-11-2009 10:35] 
Happy Birthday Harry Wise - glad you are still here to bring us magic!
Happy Young Man [18-11-2009 10:23] 
Ok... I admit... after a poor first episode, V rocks.
Terence [18-11-2009 09:19] 
first. yep thats right.
[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    "FANGRRL" is ©2009 by Lisa Scherer    "Retrorama" is ©2009 by ED Tucker    "Growing Up Fanboy" is ©2009 by Chris Woods    "Sports Talk" is ©2009 by Chris Munger     "The Asian Aperture" is ©2009 by Jason Fetters      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova    
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