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Now in our eleventh calendar year!

PCR #514 (Vol. 11, No. 5). This edition is for the week of January 25--31, 2010.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! News and notes for the last week of January. Shall we begin?

"Edge of Darkness" †by Mike Smith
Forgotten Horrors: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things †by ED Tucker
January Albums †by Terence Nuzum
Ahoy! Pirates In Pop Culture †by Lisa Scherer
Curse of Japanese Toy Shopping †by Jason Fetters
I Love St. Pete @ ARTpool †by John Miller
Love Is... .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf †by Mike Smith


The saying goes that there is someone out there for each of us. Another is that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince...or in my case, princess. The other night, around 1 a.m., my wife Juanita stirred from sleep, awakened by my coming to bed after writing my weekly film review. She said to me, "I just had the weirdest dream." The dream centered around her seeing Donny Osmond in concert (we are both big Osmond fans from childhood). She made a comment about Donny's appearance, adding that he then began singing "Puppy Love." I told her that, based on her description, he should have been singing "Yo Yo." After a few moments of silence, I heard a voice sing "Whoa ho ho...just like a yo yo." I joined in on the second line and then, in the darkness, we sang the first verse out loud, amusing our dog, Baxter, who was at the foot of the bed. Yes, kiddies, this is what love is. Hopefully you younger readers can someday find someone that will sing Dave Matthews songs to you in the middle of the night.


In announcing a change in representation Robert DeNiro also let slip a couple of upcoming projects. First he is considering portraying late Alabama governor George Wallace in the film "Selma," to be directed by Lee Daniels ("Precious"). Also on his slate is a sequel to the popular comedy "Midnight Run." No word on whether his "Midnight Run" co-star Charles Grodin would also appear in the film. With the exception of a brief role in an independent comedy film four years ago, Grodin has not appeared on screen since starring in "It Runs In The Family," the unsuccessful sequel to "A Christmas Story."

Hot after "Avatar" and about to open in "Clash of the Titans," Sam Worthington is in talks to star in "Dracula Year One," a new project being developed by director Alex Proyas ("The Crow," "Dark City"). The film, written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, will combine elements of Vlad Tepes, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler, and Bram Stoker's creation. Sazama and Sharpless are also undertaking the screenplay for the planned "Flash Gordon" reboot.

Various trade unions are reporting that James Cameron is hoping to sign their members to 3-5 year contracts to work on his planned sequel to "Avatar."

Columbia Records will release the album "AC/DC: Iron Man 2" on Monday, April 19, 2010. The album will feature 15 classic AC/DC songs selected from ten of the bandís studio albums, ranging from 1976 to 2008.


Pernell Roberts, who left the television show "Bonanza" after it's 6th season to pursue a movie career that never took off, died this week after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81. Concerned with the way his character, Adam Cartwright, was being written on "Bonanza," he declined to renew his contract after his sixth season. The show lasted another eight. As season seven began, it was announced that Adam had moved to Australia. Supposedly at Lorne Greenes' insistence, the door was always left open for Adam to return to the Ponderosa, yet he never did. After more then a decade of professional failures, including a stint as Rhett Butler in a musical version of "Gone With the Wind," Roberts returned to television as "Trapper John, M.D." That show ran for seven seasons, earning Roberts an Emmy nomination for Best Actor in 1981. Ironically this week Entertainment Weekly listed Roberts leaving "Bonanza" as the 6th biggest mistake in television history. Other actors who share that dubious honor include David Caruso and Shelly Long.

Zelda Rubenstein, diminutive actress best known as spiritual adviser Tangina in "Poltergeist," died this week due to kidney failure. She was 76. In addition to the three "Poltergeist" films, Rubenstein appeared memorably as the church organist in "Sixteen Candles" and had a three year stint on the television show "Picket Fences."

Glen W. Bell, who founded the Taco Bell restaurant chain in 1962, died this week at the age of 86. No cause of death was given. At press time it hadn't been decided if his coffin would have a soft or crispy shell.

J.D. Salinger whose character Holden Caulfield in the novel "The Catcher in the Rye" raged on against the phonies of the world, telling them "you make me so depressed I go crazy," died at the age of 91. The first of his literary works (later followed by three collections of short stories), "The Catcher in the Rye" is truly one of the greatest books of all time and has sold more then 60 million copies since it's 1951 release.

William Shatner "LIVE"

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Music and Lyrics written by Richard O'Brien, Incidential Music by Richard Hartley

Ah, the seventies! It was the decade where I truly came of age, especially in my appreciation for all things fanboy. I had been introduced to "Star Trek" through my father, who made weekly viewing of the television program a ritual at our home. The year is 1977 and "Star Wars" has taken charge of the nation's box office. At the time, William Shatner was an actor in search of a job. Yes, I know, it's hard to believe today that at one time you could turn on the television and NOT see Shatner. No commercials, talk shows or series. His latest attempt, "The Barbary Coast," had been cancelled and the biggest thing on his plate was a cheap horror flick entitled "Kingdom of the Spiders." In an attempt to catch a ride on the phenomenom which was "Star Wars," Shatner's agent book an appearance at New York's Hofstra University. Here Shatner would read aloud from the classics and tell some stories from his past. The event was sold out, the house packed with over 3500 college kids who had learned about "Star Trek" through the constant re-runs that permiated UHF television stations. The double album captures the Shat at his best. His interpretations of the works of Shakespeare, H.G. Welles, Norman Corwin and Edmond Rostand (to hear Shatner read scenes from "Cyrano de Bergerac" is to be transported, though not necessarily back to 16th century France). But to me the highlight of the album is when Shatner teases the audience with mention of a "Star Trek" movie. He goes into great detail about the various talks he has had with Paramount and even leaks some possible plot details. One that has him upset is that the studio thinks the film will do well if Kirk dies at the end. "What," Shatner exclaims! He then claims that the way to bring in the audience is to "Kill Spock!"

Since we're in 1977, what better time then to introduce "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Yes, sticklers, the film was first released in 1975 but it wasn't until two years later that it became the huge phenomenom it is now. Of course everyone who saw the film at midnight screenings had to go out and buy the soundtrack, if only to learn the songs to sign along to the next time you went (and believe me, there was ALWAYS a next time). The album is pretty much the songs from the film, presented in order. But wait! There's a song entitled "Super Heroes," that doesn't appear in the film. What's that about? Good question. For some reason, the prints of "Rocky Horror" released in the US did not contain that musical number, which occurs after the castle has lifted off to return to the planet of Transexxual. I'm not sure who made the decision to cut the scene, as it appeared in the version shown in England and other countries. I first became aware of the scene in the early 1980s when I obtained a VHS copy from a friend in Philadelphia who owned the British version on 16 mm film. Because the film was still doing so well at midnight showings, it wasn't until 1990 that 20th Century Fox released it to home video. But it wasn't until 1998 that the "Superheroes" scene was released. I had hoped to find a clip on YouTube to post but for some reason all that are available are either from live productions or fan produced. I did find a clip from a song that was recorded but didn't make the album, a tune called "Once in a While." It is performed by Barry Bostwick in the film after he has been seduced by Tim Curry. Enjoy:


Well, that's all for now. I'll have my Oscar nominations in to Nolan by Monday night. I'll be honest now and tell you that matching 10 Best Picture nominees is going to be a bitch! Have a great week. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2010 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 ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.