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Now in our eleventh calendar year!

PCR #523 (Vol. 11, No. 14). This edition is for the week of March 29--April 4, 2010.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! News and notes to share this week. Shall we begin?

"Clash of the Titans"  by Mike Smith
Sounds of Terror: Dracula vs. Frankenstein Soundtrack  by ED Tucker
The Top 30 Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Actresses, #3  by Lisa Scherer
The Dark Side of Fandom  by Jason Fetters
Good Riddance, Hollywood Video  by John Miller
Passing On .... Movie Notes .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith


John Forsythe, popular actor best known for his work on television's "Charlie's Angels" and "Dynasty," passed away at his home after a long bout of pneumonia. He was 92.

Known for his distinctive voice, Forsythe began his career as most upcoming actors did in the late 1940s and early 50s by appearing on the many television "theatre" shows, among them "Kraft Television Theatre," "The Actor's Studio" and "The Ford Television Hour." In 1957 he starred as Bentley Gregg in the long running comedy "Bachelor Father," playing an unmarried attorney who takes in and helps raise his niece aided by his houseboy. After the show ended in 1962 he again returned to episodic television, appearing on such shows as "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" and "The Dick Powell Show." In 1965 he starred as Major John Foster, a retired Air Force officer now in charge of a boarding school for girls, in "The John Forsythe Show." The show co-starred Ann B. Davis, who would soon go on to play Alice Nelson, the family housekeeper, in "The Brady Bunch." The show lasted one season. After it ended he branched out more into feature films, playing the chief detective in "In Cold Blood." He also starred in Hitchcock's "Topaz." In 1969 he began a two season run as a widowed teacher who takes his three daughters to Europe to teach there in "To Rome With Love." He did more episodic television in the early 70s and then was cast as the head of the Townsend Detective Agency whose investigators were "Charlie's Angels." The novelty about this role is that Forsythe was never seen on screen. He was only known to fans (and to the Angels themselves) as a voice on a speaker phone. In 1979, while still doing "Angels," he gave an award worthy performance as Al Pacino's judicial nemesis, soon to be client, in "And Justice For All." When "Charlie's Angels" ended in 1981 he moved right into the role he is probably best remembered for, patriarch Blake Carrington on the night time soap opera "Dynasty." He worked sparingly after the series ended, doing the occasional television film or voice over. He did reprise the voice of Charlie in both of the "Charlie's Angels" movies, the last one, "Full Throttle," being his last screen appearance.

Jaime Escalante, the math teacher who turned his East Los Angeles high school math class into college honor students died after a bout with bladder cancer. He was 79. Edward James Olmos portrayed Escalante in the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver," earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Television writer David Mills, who worked on such shows as "The Wire" and "ER," suffered a brain aneurysm while on the set of his new show, "Treme." He was 48

One of the purest voices of the do-wop era, Johnny Maestro, died this week at the age of 70, also from cancer. He led the groups the Crests and Brooklyn Bridge, where he scored his biggest hit with a cover of The Fifth Dimensions' "Worst That Could Happen."


Ryan Reynolds will slip out of the Green Lantern's tights to star in yet another comic adaptation, the supernatural comedy “R.I.P.D.” In the film Reynolds will play a young police officer murdered in the line of duty who agrees to enlist in “God’s police force” for a chance to catch his killer. His partner is a gunslinger who has been dead for centuries.

Want proof that nobody in Hollywood listens to me? “Gossip Girl’s” Sebastian Stan has signed on to play Bucky Barnes in Marvel’s “The First Avenger: Captain America”. Which means that 27 year old Bucky will be mentored by the ancient 29 year old Captain America. Am I the only one that thinks this doesn't make sense?

Remember when I reviewed the second "XXX" movie and pointed out that the producers went out of the way to establish that Vin Diesel's Xander Cage had died? Oops. Paramount has announced that director Rob Cohen will return, with Diesel, for “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage." My apologies to those I apparently lied to.

"Out of the Blue" by Electric Light Orchestra

Xanadu - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - featuring music by Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton John

I have to give thanks at the top here to Scott Gilbert, who turned me on to the music of E.L.O. Sure, I was familiar with their hits but never really listened to their other stuff. "Out of the Blue" is a double album that brims with the talent of Jeff Lynne, who, when you get right down to it, IS E.L.O.
The album contains such radio friendly songs as "Sweet Talkin' Woman," "Turn to Stone" and "Mr. Blue Sky" as well as great cuts like "Wild West Hero" and "Summer and Lightning." To me the album showed a more, if this word is right, romantic side of Lynne. Songs like the aforementioned "Summer and Lightning" and Standin' In the Rain" are classic ballads. Lynne was truly one of the great songwriters of his time and it's truly a shock that he and E.L.O. haven't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, especially when you consider his work as a producer and as a member of the Traveling Willburys. There is actually a Facebook page stressing Lynne's induction and I urge you to join:


Here's a look at the group doing "Mr. Blue Sky"


A place, where nobody dared to go
The love that we came to know
They call it Xanadu

Sadly, critics called it a lot worse.

A combination of music and magic and...roller skating, "Xanadu" was Olivia Newton John's follow up to "Grease." Sadly, it also marked the great Gene Kelly's final film appearance. But while the movie wasn't that great, the music was. The soundtrack album is divided into two sides, one featuring E.L.O. and the other Newton John. The E.L.O. cuts include the hits "I'm Alive," "All Over the World" and the title song, which Lynne wrote but Newton John sang. On the ONJ side, hits "Magic" and the ONJ/Cliff Richard duet "Suddenly," kept the album on the charts for 36 weeks. "Magic" became Newton John's biggest song (five weeks at number one) in the US while "Xanadu" became E.L.O's only number one hit in England.

Take a peek at that title tune (and catch a few glimpses of Michael Beck, whose career seemed to come and go all to quickly):


Of course, like all bad things, the story of "Xanadu" had a happy ending when it was turned into a very successful Broadway musical in the summer of 2007.

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. Happy Easter! 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.