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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 549  (Vol. 11, No. 40). This edition is for the week of September 27--October 3, 2010.

Strange Vibes

  • NBC To Reboot "The Munsters"?
  • R.I.P., Tony Curtis
  • Enlightenment PCR #115 Repaired
  • UFO Conference
  • US Gov't Wants to Spy on Facebook Users
  • R.I.P., Gloria Stuart


    Crazed Fanboy's Most Memorable Moments, 2000--2009
    As submitted by PCR writers, compiled by Chris Woods
    From 2002, Terence Nuzum's four part guide to Cannibal Films, Slasher and Splatter Films, Occult Films, and Zombies Films of the 1970s.
    Ashley Lewis, Oct 2, 26 yrs
    Hugo Morley, Oct 2, 43 yrs
    Josh Montgomery, Oct 4, 27 yrs
    Lisa Rio Zubeck, Oct 5, 45 yrs
    Josh Sullivan, Oct 13, 29 yrs
    Autumn Rio, Oct. 18, 28 yrs
    Paul Guzzo, Oct. 20, 35 yrs
    Corey Castellano, Oct 27, 47 yrs
    Richard Sousa, Oct 28, 48 yrs
    Mike "Deadguy" Scott, Oct 28, 39 yrs
    According to The Ausiello Files, NBC has teamed up with "Pushing Daisies" creator Bryan Fuller to reboot the classic '60s comedy/creepshow The Munsters, and the new version has been described as "Modern Family" meets "True Blood."

    Ummm....so, it's a splatter-comedy? Splat-Com??

    Although NBC has ordered a pilot, no casting had been confirmed at the time of this writing.

    Despite the near-impossibility of trying to capture the comic teamwork of the original cast (particularly Fred Gwynne's "Herman Munster" and Al Lewis's "Grandpa"), long-time TV watchers may likely remember the fairly abyssmal attempt at an upgrade in the '80s called Munsters Today with the reliably cheeky John Schuck as Herman in a weirdly-fitting Frankenstein make-up. Entirely shot on video, it had a studio-y, low-budget look. Nevertheless, I admired Schuck's attempt to over-act his way around pedestrian scripts and into Fred Gwynne's shoes---not an easy task, given the obvious height and weight difference between the two.

    In any event, the new version hints at more soap opera than pratfalls, so I'll give it a chance, since it doesn't appear to want to be the same thing as the '60s version. The same chance I gave the new Addams Family when it played on cable many years ago (and whose most memorable episode featured a cameo by John Astin, the original Gomez Addams, as "Grandpa Addams"). At least they kept the original theme song, like that was ever in doubt.

    I can't imagine the new Munsters with the original's rock 'n roll "twang" theme song (and one that every budding guitarist learned to play), but hey, maybe they'll prove me wrong.

    Maybe. But not likely.



    One of the most famous classic actors ever identified as a Golden Age "romantic lead", Tony Curtis, has died at the age of 85.

    With my tip-of-the-hat to Mr. Curtis complete, I confess I only ever saw two Tony Curtis movies at an actual theater. 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962) and The Manitou (1978).

    Although "40 Pounds" was released in 1962, I saw it on a double-bill with another flick sometime in the mid-60s (either Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller's Boy Did I Get A Wrong Number or Disney's The Gnome-Mobile with Walter Brennan. Likely the former.) A star-studded Norman Jewison film I blew off at the time, "40 Pounds" stars Curtis as a casino owner who somehow is baited into babysitting a troublesome little girl (Claire Wilcox) and winds up in Disneyland where hijinks ensue. I wasn't into family comedies then or now and that marks my only viewing of this film.

    The Manitou is another story. Here, Curtis plays a psychic whose girlfriend (Susan Strasberg) finds out a lump on her back is actually the growing reincarnation of a 400-year-old demonic Native American spirit. Enlisting the aid of a present day medicine man (Michael Ansara), he discovers the evil spirit of Misquamacus is coming back for revenge. Or something like that. My strongest memories of this film are the fairly goofy script, and Michael Ansara chewing up the scenery as John Singing Rock. But what a fun movie! A guilty pleasure, but one I caught whenever I could on the late late show, as it were.

    Of course, I would be remiss not to mention that Curtis voiced his own stone-age incarnation, "Stony Curtis", in TVs The Flintstones (couple of times, I think), a series which itself just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

    Tony Curtis was a show business legend, a golden age personality, and will be sorely missed.



    Considering how much we've been through over the years, it's amazing this website has stayed as intact as it has. When PCR switched servers three years ago, it was after a catastrophic crash at our old webhost that rendered hundreds of websites irretrievable, ours included. After months of me painfully trying to re-upload seven years worth of material to another server, my own computer crashed, making hundreds of image files inaccessible (I felt the text portions were a priority, so 99.9% of that was rescued) and several years' worth of PCR back issues had to go image-less.

    In this week's Memorable Moment, Chris decided on an old issue of Terence Nuzum's The Enlightenment which is a "Classic From The Vault" and one of the issues still missing its original images that we wanted to have restored properly from that time. Ter and I thought we had until well into October to do this, but Chris, I guess, missed the wait-until-we-restore-it memo and posted it before the end of September. In any event...

    Terence found some suitable images online and I retrofitted them into the old issue. The Enlightenment, PCR #115 now has its images back. We have a loooong way to go to restore those other missing years, but this is a step in the right direction.



    Long-time PCR readers are well aware of Ye Olde Editor's fascination with UFOs and aliens. Although a skeptic by pronouncement and practice, privately I keep hoping a little grey alien lands on the White House lawn someday and proves me wrong.

    This week, an exciting thing is taking place (for UFO fans like myself anyway). At the National Press Club, Robert Hastings, author of "UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites" will present six former Air Force personnel who will break their silence and disclose dramatic first-hand experiences with UFOs at nuclear weapons sites.

    Evidence will be presented that demonstrates that aliens have been screwing with our nuclear facilities for decades, dating back to around 1947 (remember The Roswell Incident).

    "While most of the incidents apparently involved mere surveillance, in a few cases, a significant number of nuclear missiles suddenly and simultaneously malfunctioned, just as USAF security policemen reported seeing disc-shaped craft hovering nearby," says Hastings.

    Hastings' co-host for the news conference, ICBM launch officer Capt. Robert Salas, was witness to a UFO incident in 1967 that, he says, caused a missile disruption at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, and he was ordered to keep quiet about it.

    "The Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases, and we can prove it," Salas said.

    While Ye Olde Editor is primed and ready for any kind of disclosure like this, especially the kind with the creds this one has, I also remember the major Disclosure (capital "D") movement in the late 90s that promised and virtually guaranteed to pressuring the government to admitting it knew more about UFOs than it ever let on before. Didn't happen then, and I'm afraid it won't happen now.

    Still, I wouldn't want to discourage Mr. Hastings venture. Any and all evidence needs to -- at long last -- come out of its secret hanger.



    I thought I'd heard this before, but a new wave of reports paints a grim picture of government eavesdropping.

    Apparently, government authorities are running dry of wiretapping techniques in an age where more and more people are using cellphones, encrypted messaging, and internet networking sites like Facebook to do most of their communication. Fears are mounting that criminals and terrorists are using these avenues to plot their evil rather than relying on traditional ways like phone lines and such. So, a movement is underway to command outfits like Facebook to re-write their codes to allow gov't eavesdropping.

    At first read, this seems a horrifying invasion of privacy, though gov't spokesman maintain they're only interested in select cases as they've always been, and it's to, you know, serve and protect.

    All fine and well until someone gets labeled a terrorist by accident or conspiracy and their Facebook ramblings are used as evidence against them.



    Gloria Stuart, who once starred alongside Claude Rains in 1933's The Invisible Man but returned to show business in her 80s to star in Titanic has died at the age of 100 from respiratory failure at her home in Los Angeles.

    Stuart, was largely inactive in show business for decades until James Cameron tapped her to play "old Rose" Calvert in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic. ("Young" Rose was played by Kate Winslet.) 85 years old at the time, she had to endure hours of makeup to age her over 15 years to play the 101-year-old Titanic survivor.

    According to a sound clip from an interview I heard on the Coast-to-Coast AM radio show last night, Stuart's first reading for Cameron surprised the director with her rather angry delivery. He said he hadn't written it that way (I've forgotten the particular speech), but was impressed it set the tone of the scene more effectively.

    Titanic went on to become the highest-grossing film in history ($1.8 billion) until it was surpassed by Cameron's more recent epic Avatar.

    Gloria Stuart was nominated for an Academy Award for Titanic at the age of 87, making her the oldest person to receive such an honor. Coincidentally, Titanic also marks the only time that two actors were nominated for playing the same character in the same film.


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