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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 560  (Vol. 11, No. 51). This edition is for the week of December 13--19, 2010.

The Year That Was, Part One

  • R.I.P., Blake Edwards
  • Another Retro TV Sighting
  • Reflections
  • The Year's Top Five News Stories
  • The Decade's Top Five News Stories
  • The Year That Was, Part 1


    Crazed Fanboy's Most Memorable Moments, 2000--2009
    As submitted by PCR writers, compiled by Chris Woods
    From 2002, a guide to each episode to the public access TV series, The World of Nolan.
    Writer and director Blake Edwards, the prolific filmmaker responsible for modern comedies like The Pink Panther, passed away from complications with pneumonia last night at the age of 88, his wife (Julie Andrews) and children at his bedside.

    Edwards was an actor, writer, producer, and director. While The Pink Panther movies are probably his greatest claim (having his name attached to the title helped), Edwards was also director of Breakfast at Tiffany's and 10 among many others.

    Long-time PCR readers may remember me re-visitng the classic '50s detective drama Peter Gunn produced by Blake Edwards. I appreciated even more deeply that his wry sense of humor and sense of irony was displayed prominently in this TV show, foreshadowing those same sensibilities in his larger motion picture work.

    His was a classic influence that will be felt for generations and he will be sorely missed.



    Long-time PCR readers may recall my frequent pronouncements on this page regarding my retro TV-viewing that stir a particular memory or feature a surprising guest star. The previous record-holder for any jaw-dropping experience by Ye Olde Editor watching late-night retro-tv (both RetroTV and THiS TV, I refer to generically as "retro tv"), was a walk-on cameo by Jack Nicholson in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, circa 1960, playing an estranged husband reuniting with his wife and child; it was at literally the last minute of the show and he only had a couple of lines.

    Well I found a new one last night that may unseat Jack. While watching an episode of the mid-'50's classic crime drama Highway Patrol  (starring the legendary Broderick Crawford in his defining role), I couldn't help noticing one of two actors playing motorcycle punks looked and sounded familiar, but I couldn't quite place it right away. The small town featured in the episode had had problems with motorcycle gangs, you see, so anyone on a cycle was not welcome. Though looking like your typical '50s greaser types, the two bikers in question, one blonde (doing most of the talking) and his taller, quieter buddy (with a dark pompadour) were innocent. A disgruntled citizen took the law into his own hands to try and get them arrested, but wound up getting himself arrested.

    OK, long story short. While they were being questioned by Dan Matthews (Crawford), the taller darker one finally had enough lines that I finally placed his voice. A glance at the closing credits confirmed my suspicion: CLINT EASTWOOD!! A very early role, not long after his uncredited appearance as a lab tech in Revenge of the Creature. Only about 25 years old at the time and surprisingly baby-faced, the hair and face combination still conveyed an Eastwood look, though his acting chops were obviously still forming. Although IMDB dates this episode as 1956, the show's actual closing credits show the copyright in Roman numerals that add up to 1955.



    2010 was an emotional roller-coaster ride of a year for me, let me tell you. As I intimated a couple issues back, it will go down as a general downer for Ye Olde Editor. Most of the events that shaped my personal outlook were outlined in these electronic pages, a few were not. Of course, I'm speaking on a personal level here. Nationally, the country is still reeling from an historic economic crisis, midterm elections brought a shift in power to Washington, and various world-wide disasters demonstrated how truly vulnerable we all are.

    We here at PCR saw many shake-ups caused by a massive wave of suddenly shifting priorities inside and outside the Crazed Fan Realm. I admit the synchronicity of it all happening at once took me by surprise. "Shifting priorities" is a phrase I'm probably going to use a lot when referring to these events, especially as I prepare to write next week's Graveyard of Fallen Columns, and determine awards and special mentions.

    Don't get me wrong, it hasn't all been bad. Our video output, at long last, reached a respectable level of quantity and quality I found most encouraging, especially since Crazed Fanboy was originally intended to be video-intensive, but has been stymied by a halting start-and-stop process from the beginning. Thankfully, that seems to have been cured.

    Every weekly issue of PCR presents new challenges and I feel fortunate, as I always have, that the quality level of writing on PCR has always remained extremely high, as staff writers continually output excellent content which tacitly prohibits me from letting down my guard for even an instant on my own writing.

    Being an op-ed writer always involves some risk, and being a PCR writer can, at times, seem especially hazardous, haha. It certainly isn't for everybody. But the strongest survived and are still here. The most enlightening revelation was rediscovering the dedication of the small band of loyal friends who never let me down and never compromised. It is through their unwavering support that I was--and am--able to continue this grand experiment.



    Just my opinion, folks, but these are the top 5 news stories of the year to me. In order:

    1. THE GULF OIL SPILL. British Petroleum's Gulf of Mexico oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, explodes April 20th, 2010 sending about 185 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the next 3 months. After a series of capping attempts failed to completely stop the leak, the well was officially capped for good September 19th. Fallout from the disaster is ongoing. It is the worst oil-related disaster in history, including 11 deaths at the site.

    2. THE HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE. On January 12th Haiti was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter at Logne, approximately 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. An estimated 230,000 people died, 300,000 injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. Relief efforts are ongoing.

    3. THE CHILEAN MINING DISASTER. Not originally covered in PCR, but an absolutely incredible story of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground by a cave-in on August 5th and remained so for a record 69 days due to hostile terrain and difficult drilling. Miraculously, all were rescued.

    4. AIRPORT PATDOWNS. Fall of this year, new security restrictions at our nation's airports become much more draconian with intrusive electronic scanning and personal patdowns required before boarding. The national outcry was deafening, but no significant changes were made.

    5. WIKILEAKS. Julian Assange, director of the WikiLeaks website, exposes hundreds of thousands of classified documents through the website, exposing sensitive government and military secrets, backdoor deals, cables, emails, and enbarrassing confrontations. The egg-on-its-face governments deal less with how security was breached, than on assigning blame and punishment to Assange, and to one private first-class Bradley Manning, who is suspected of smuggling documents or electrocially downloading them to WikiLeaks. Though stared in 2006, Wikileaks became world news earlier this year for these actions.

    Honorable mentions: Action Comics #1 sells for $1 million. The Westboro Baptist Church's "Koran Burning Day". Conan O'Brien being fired as host of The Tonight Show after only 6 months and Jay Leno hired back. The "Harry Potter" movie series closes in on "Star Wars" as the most successful movie franchise in history.



    As a purist, I count the decade as having started in 2001. Although many news organizations are counting "The Decade" as having started in 2000, they're overlooking the fact that that totals 11 years. Technically, 2000 closed the 1990s. So....from 2001, the top 5 stories that stuck with me are, in order:

    1. 9/11/2001. No-brainer. Radical Muslim terrorists deliberately hijack and collide two jet liners into New York's Twin Towers, destroying both. Political, military, and social fallout is ongoing.

    2. THE GREAT RECESSION. Mainly occurring during the latter half of this decade, the worst economic collaspe of the United States, as well as the rest of the world, since the Great Depression. The cause was varied and cumulative, but 45% of the planet's wealth was lost. Credit and loans were stopped, and hundreds of banks and stores went out of business. Real estate continues to stagnate at all-time lows. Unemployment in double-digit figures. Several government stimulus packages kept the economy moving (and some car makers in business), but the struggle is ongoing especially regarding employment.

    3. BARACK OBAMA, FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT. In the snowballing years of the Recesssion, much blame went to Republican president George W. Bush. American voters, angry and hungry for "change" jumped at the most opposite candidate available, and chose Senator Barack Obama, an African-American, who narrowly won the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton. A historic election in any event, as Clinton would've been the first woman president.

    4. THE INDONESIAN TSUNAMI (2004). During the final week of 2004, Ye Olde Editor was closing out the year's top stories when this occured. A devastating 9.0+ undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Indonesia near Sumatra resulted in an equally devastating "tidal wave" or tsunami that affected Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. 230,000+ casualties. The earthquake was enormous enough to vibrate the entire planet for a fraction of a second. A second, less severe tsunami was recorded this year near the same locations.

    5. EXPLOSION OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA (2003). Columbia was destroyed at about 9:00am EST on February 1, 2003 while re-entering the atmosphere after a 16-day scientific mission. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board determined that a hole was punctured in the leading edge on one of Columbia's wings. The hole had formed when a piece of insulating foam from the external fuel tank peeled off during the launch 16 days earlier and struck the shuttle's wing. During the intense heat of re-entry, hot gases penetrated the interior of the wing, destroying the support structure and causing the rest of the shuttle to break apart. All seven astronauts on board died. The worst shuttle disaster in 17 years since the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after take-off due to the notorious faulty "O-Rings".

    Honorable Mentions: After decades of speculation, Watergate's "Deep Throat" is revealed to be ex-FBI director W. Mark Felt (2005); one chapter in the conspiracy catalogue is put to rest. James Cameron's Avatar becomes the highest-grossing movie in history. Terri Schiavo dies after final order to remove feeding tube closes a 15-year orldeal in 2005.

    Qualified Honorable mentions: IF you count the decade as starting from the year 2000, as many news organizations do. I do not, but: The 2000 Presidential Elections, Elian Gonzalez.


    The Year That Was, Part One
    January--June, 2010

    January. A new look and a slightly different approach greets PCR readers the final week of 2009 and the first few days of 2010 as an upgraded PCR homepage swings into view. We announce that Crazed Fanboy is now on Facebook. Chris Woods starts "Memorable Moments, the First Decade, 2000--2009" that will run this year only. All PCR writers from 2009 are present and accounted for, but not all will last the year, unfortunately. The Haitian Earthquake justifiably dominates the news. Late-night TV gets weird again as Conan loses his Tonight Show gig to Jay Leno. In a 2-part feature, PCR writer Jason Fetters recalls toy-shopping in Japan, while Mike Smith starts The Rant with a new feature spotlighting his record collection. The iPad is born, but J. D. Salinger dies. Will Moriaty hangs around "Corrosion Corner". February. Actor Rip Torn cannot stay out of trouble, actor Seth Sklarey gets interviewed by ED Tucker, Will Moriaty appears in the St. Pete Times, and Lisa Scherer continues her "Greatest Horror Actresses" list started in 2009, and John Miller lists his favorite hip-hop films. A few of us see The Wolfman remake and, except for the make-up, are less than greatly impressed. While yours truly is out and about at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, Action Comics #1 sells for $1 million, Detective Comics #27 sells for $1.2 million. March. The robber who pointed a gun at me in a hold-up last year is sentenced to 20 years in prison (YAY!). The Academy Awards are documented and our predictions are compared. Against huge competition, The Hurt Locker wins best picture. ED reviews a Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD, and Chris Woods recalls the awesome vintage horrors of The USA Network. PCR celebrates 10 years on the web (YAY!). We lose Peter Graves, Alex Chilton, Fess Parker, and Robert Culp. President Obama's controversial Health Care Bill passes, Terence Nuzum reviews a new Jimi Hendrix album(!), while Michael Smith interviews Henry Winkler in the final installment for the "CFB interview series" by Mike. April. We lose jazz guitarist Herb Ellis, Action Comics #1 surprises everyone by again setting an auction record ($1.5 million), and Polaroid Film makes a comeback (yay!). I have a little fun with an April Fool's gag. Clash of the Titans remake in "fake 3D" comes out to middlin' reviews, and John Miller comments on the closing of Hollywood Video. We lose actor John Forsythe. I wonder what the big deal is about everything going 3-D, Chris Woods recalls The World of Wrestling, Jason Fetters recalls Gamera, and John Miller interviews renegade projectionist/movie collector John Petrey. ED Tucker remembers the wonderful world of Saturday morning cartoons, and Equinox. Lisa Scherer reports on various film festivals, reviewing several films (this is a big month for that). Leonard Nimoy announces his retirement and Star Wars is re-released, once again, but on Blu-Ray. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexicao resulting in the worst oil spill in US history. As we exit April, Terence dishes on Hole's new album, Mike watches a new Freddy Krueger, and ED interviews Creature Freature alumnus Erma Broombeck. May. The Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show gets my attention, as well as John Miller's. I revisit some hoaxes we've talked about and Vinnie Blesi takes a shot at a WordPress blog. Iron Man 2 grabs some attention at the box office. Lisa Scherer concludes her list of "Best Horror Actresses" with number 1: Mary Woronov. Chris celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. Our public-service column Indie Film Update is officially discontinued--filmmakers have plenty of other avenues now. Sadly, we lose Frank Frazetta, Lena Horne, Ronnie James Dio, and Art Linkletter. As American Idol announces its winner, Jason hunts zombies, John and I ponder the state of pop culture, and ED's loose in Las Vegas. June. We lose Dennis Hopper, Gary Coleman, and Jimmy Dean. Mike Smith recalls K-Tel and The Rutles. Jason recalls John Woo, Lisa previews this summer's book recommendations, and, a surprise...*drumroll*...Chris Munger returns with Sports Talk!...for precisely one issue (sigh). I'm glad to discover some lost silent movies have been discovered and saved, and speculate what could be next in the future of American pop culture. Terence and I debut our first "Weekend Video", A Grave Matter, the first in what thankfully became many videos to come, and fulfilled a long-standing ambition. Little Orphan Annie calls it a day and I observe Michael Jackson's "deathiversary". Ed and Lisa join forces on the premiere of Ted Mikels' Astro-Zombies M3: Cloned. As Phillip Smith takes a crack at This Week's Movie Review by deconstructing the teen hit Twilight Saga and ED salutes Video Watchdog magazine, I decide to remove from the site one of its most controversial elements: Readers Comments. The three-year-old homepage section, once quite convenient and useful, turned too frequently into a war zone and abused by stalkers. It does not see another issue and is officially closed.

    Next Week: The Year That Was, Part 2: July--December! Lettercol! Final Thoughts! Awards! And, of course, The Graveyard of Fallen Columns!


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