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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2010!
Assistant Editor / Co-moderator: Terence Nuzum

Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eleventh calendar year!
Number 540  (Vol. 11, No. 31). This edition is for the week of July 26--August 1, 2010.

This Week
More Retro TV Surprises
This Week
Congratulation to Tampa Bay Rays


Crazed Fanboy's Most Memorable Moments, 2000--2009
As submitted by PCR writers, compiled by Chris Woods
From 2008, Lisa Scherer's tribute to the iconic pinup queen, Bettie Page.
Shelby McIntyre, Aug 9, 41 yrs.
Nolan B. Canova, Aug. 13, 55 yrs.
Joel D. Wynkoop, Aug. 24, 50 yrs.
Long-time PCR readers may recall that not too long ago Ye Olde Editor extolled the virtues of non-cable television channels exclusively featuring vintage TV programs. In the Tampa Bay area, the channels are 8.2 (literally "Retro TV /RTV") and 32.2 ("THiS TV"). I have no idea if they are also on cable (cable has plenty anyway), but are a feature of a digital-converter boxes such as the one I own. I have been discovering, and re-discovering, not only favorites from my youth, but am frequently amazed at the caliber of talents we took for granted back in the day. Many future movie stars started their careers here and many old Hollywood types ended their careers here. It's quite a history lesson.

In PCR #478 (May 2009) I reviewed The Outer Limits episode "Soldier" starring Michael Ansara (about mid-career), Tim O'Connor (pretty fresh), and Lloyd Nolan (nearing the end). O'Connor acts in at least two OL episodes that I remember. Like many TV shows of the '50s, '60s, and '70s you'd see the same actor show up on different episodes playing different parts. I've lost count of how many episodes of OL Robert Culp was in. But, I digress...

About a year ago, I stumbled onto an episode of Peter Gunn -- a show I was too young to know when it was new (except for the catchy theme song by Henry Mancini)--but have been watching religiously ever since on Ch 8.2. Black & white film noir television at its best! A Blake Edwards production starring Craig Stevens as Gunn and Herschel Bernardi as Lt. Jacoby, I'm stunned by how much goes on in its half-hour time slot. (Stevens would appear in other Edwards productions over the years, while Bernardi may be remembered by some of you as "Arnie Nuvo" from the short-lived TV series "Arnie", 1970-72.) Occasionally, I recognize other familiar faces on the show, poignant in how many are no longer with us. Popular midget actor Billy Barty is on at least two episodes. More shockingly was an appearance by James Coburn as a jazz trumpetist out to kill his wife, and .....brace for this.....TOR JOHNSON as a mute thug, hired to kill Gunn inside an insane asylum! That was memorable.

While channel-surfing last Sunday morning I happened on a unique episode of the '70s Dennis Weaver vehicle McCloud, entitled "McCloud Meets Dracula". Despite being tired from the previous night's work, I couldn't resist a title like that and decided to invest the 90 minutes to see what Weaver's folksy no-nonsense crime-figher was up against. I wasn't disappointed.

Marshall Sam McCloud....Dennis Weaver
Chris Coughlin.................Diana Muldaur
Loren Belasco.................John Carradine
Morris.............................Reginald Nalder
Tom Snyder.....................himself

As we open, McCloud (Weaver) is anxious to get to the bottom of a series of "sniper murders" in NY and is impatient with any distractions. There are few clues to go on and more people are getting killed. His partner is trying to convice him to attend a meeting, but McCloud feels it's a waste of time and having none of it. A short distance away and unseen, a tall, slim figure dressed in a cape and evening clothes attacks and kills a bum in an alley. When the crime is reported, McCloud assumes this is the sniper at work, but the M.O. is different. Much different. The blood has been drained from the victim's body with nary a drop to spare.

Meanwhile, across town, McCloud's girlfriend Chris Coughlin (Diana Muldaur), an investigator and author, is fascinated by a TV marathon of Dracula movies starring "Loren Belasco" (a thinly-disguised John Carradine). I seem to remember it had to do with the book she was writing.

McCloud arrives at the coroner's office to receive the report on the bum in the alley. The young coroner, Dr. Harvey Pollick (Michael Sacks) already burdened with some kind of murky past, has to explain to the no-nonsense marshall, that this is not the work of the sniper....but that of a vampire! McCloud brushes that off entirely, and tells the young man to do more homework and get serious. However, word leaks out to the press that a vampire's loose in the city, putting egg on the face of the police who still haven't caught the sniper. McCloud takes every opportunity to downplay the "vampire" angle, himself still not a believer.

The girlfriend, Chris, is launching her own investigation, which McCloud at first assumes to be a joke about her watching the Belsaco marathon, but she is quite serious. This leads to much conflict between the two as "secret sources" and "prime leads" are jealously guarded between a public servant like McCloud and an author who wants to sell books.

Loren Belasco (Carradine) is interviewed on The Tommorrow Show starring Tom Snyder as not only the actor the most identified as Dracula (in this episode's universe anyway), but as the world's foremost authority on the villain. It is revealed in the interview that Belasco is actually a distant relative of the bloodsucker! Coughlin is on the show also as an expert guest.

You can see where this is going. After two more victims of the vampire are found, the plot thickens.

McCloud arrives at Belasco's house to obtain some records relating to the investigation, and is greeted by his creepy manservant "Morris" (Reggie Nalder). Belasco only meets with the marshall once. Afterwards, Morris is continually evasive about his master's whereabouts in daylight hours. (Hint, hint)

Growing impatient with the runaround, McCloud and Coughlin both arrive at Belasco's house the next day determined to obtain the records. They search room by room, Coughlin stumbling onto a room with a coffin. Belasco emerges from the coffin and grabs Coughlin who screams. McCloud comes running, just in time to see Belasco drop Coughlin before his leap out a window.

The chase is on.

About the same time, the police have set up a stake-out nearby on a hunch the original sniper-killer (remember him?) is going to show. They are surveilling rooftops via light-enhancing binoculars and the like. Meanhwhile, McCloud is chasing Belasco, rooftop to rooftop, convinced the old man can't possibly last much longer. In a wonderful---and plot efficient---piece of stage business, one of McCloud's rooftop jumps lands him right on top of the sniper they've all been looking for! Knocking the man out, and muttering "Well, don't that beat all!", McCloud handcuffs him to a piece of railing and continues his hunt for the vampire. (By the way, at this point McCloud has reluctantly surrendered to the fact that either Belasco really is a vampire, or more likely, a nutcase who thinks he is. Either way, his energy seems boundless for a very old man, as Carradine certainly appears to be.)

The climax takes place on a suspension bridge Belasco starts to climb, McCloud right behind him. "You can't make it, old man, give it up now!" To which Belasco replies, "But you forget, vampires can fly!" Dracula actor and authority Loren Belasco then jumps to his death, or so it seems, because only his cape is recovered from the water. As authorities arrive at the scene, a lone, large bat is seen hovering nearby, then flying away.

  • McCloud was one of a series of rotating "Four-In-One" NBC Mystery Movie episodes that split off in the early '70s. This episode, that I at first presumed would've aired on Halloween, actually was broadcast in April of 1977. It was the last episode filmed for the series.

  • The name "Belasco" is very likely a take on Bela Lugosi's original name of Bela Blasco.

  • Not surprisingly, all the clips of Dracula movies and the relevant posters are taken from John Carradine's films.

  • The scenes with real-life talk show host Tom Snyder were obviously filmed at two different locations since he and his guests never appear on-screen together. A little research confirms that Snyder's scenes were shot in NY on the Tomorrow Show set, and the others were done in LA (kinda ironic since the story takes place in NY).

  • Many sci-fi fans recognize Diana Muldaur as a frequent screen presence back in the day, but Star Trek fans most remember her as Kate Pulaski, the USS Enterprise's chief medical officer on Star Trek: The Next Generation, replacing Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher) for a single season when the latter was unavailable.

  • Reggie Nalder ("Morris") would revisit the vampire genre in a most spectacular way just two years later as the vampire in Salem's Lot.

    While far from perfect, this was a most delightful TV-viewing experience with a mix of humor and drama. There's quite a bit of padding to get to the 90-minute mark. John Carradine, already riddled with arthritis, obviously couldn't do much running, and relied on a stunt double for many scenes. That said, he did do some running and it was definitely him on the bridge. The part of the coroner was handled a little goofily (did I just coin a word?) and the sniper sub-plot seemed to end rather abruptly, with a tacked-on speech at the end having to do with an ex-military mama's boy who went psycho; it seemed to border on the political.

    In any event, if you can catch it, this is great stuff.



    Just a reminder to everyone that what I'm able to write and update on Tuesday is strictly a reflection of my current work schedule versus the original work schedule I had at year's beginning when I made this commitment. It has nothing to do with lack of inspiration, Terence's mind-control tricks, or creeping Alzheimer's. That said, I do have some fan-related things I want to discuss over the next few days---when I have time off from work.

    At the risk of alarming my critics once again, the new material has to do with Retro TV, of which I've become quite enamored, but should not be construed as my "hating anything new"!

    Plus....if we're really lucky....this Friday's "Weekend Video" will be the first new episode of The World of Nolan to be assembled in many years. I'm happy and excited to announce its return and we'll be using the same, or very similar, format I developed at Public Access TV, that is a roundtable discussion about a fan-related topic. First up: part one of a two-parter on the 50th anniversary of Psycho. My guests will be Terence Nuzum and Chris Woods. We're trying a new approach to videotaping these I'll go into at a later time.


    Even though I'm not a big sports fan, it's hard not to share the local community excitement over the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team's first ever no-hitter.

    In last night's game against The Detroit Tigers, Rays' pitcher Matt Garza threw the first no-hitter in the franschise's history, and helped lead the team to a 5--0 victory. As of this writing, the Rays are only three games behind the NY Yankees for the Eastern Championship.

    Go Rays!


  • Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
    "Mike's Rant" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith     "The Audio Philes" is ©2010 by Terence Nuzum     "La Floridiana" is ©2010 by William Moriaty    "FANGRRL" is ©2010 by Lisa Scherer    "Retrorama" is ©2010 by ED Tucker    "Growing Up Fanboy" is ©2010 by Chris Woods    "Sports Talk" is ©2010 by Chris Munger     "The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova    
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