Saturday, January 05, 2013

Cult-TV Gallery: Ron Harper

On Garrison's Gorillas (1967 - 1968).

On Planet of the Apes (1974)

On Land of the Lost (1976)

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Land of the Lost: "Cornered" (October 16, 1976)

This week on Land of the Lost (1974 – 1977), the episode is titled “Cornered” and it involves a fire-breathing dinosaur, nicknamed Torchy.  This Dimetrodon-like dino arrives in the Lost City and begins spraying flame into the Sleestak tunnels.   Torchy also battles Big Alice, at least briefly.  The mighty Allosaurus turns tail and leaves her territory in a hurry rather than confront the biological flame thrower.

The Sleestak blame the Marshalls (again!) for the presence of Torchy in their valley and Enik (Walker Edmiston) demands that the humans eliminate the threat by nightfall.  As leverage, Enik offers Uncle Jack (Ron Harper) the cure to a mysterious illness that has felled Will (Wesley Eure).  

The young man was struck by Torchy’s poisonous tail and now risks falling into an eternal sleep.  Enik promises that if Torchy is dispatched by sundown, he will give the Marshalls the cure.

With Holly (Kathy Coleman) and Chaka (Philip Paley) in tow, Uncle Jack attempts to lure Torchy out of the valley, using giant coal bricks as breadcrumbs.  The mission is successful, and Will heals on his own. 

In other words, Enik was tricking them…

Although “Cornered” is perhaps not as downright, upfront awful as “Survival Kit” or “The Orb,” it’s pretty close. 

Once more, the Sleestaks are out to destroy the Marshalls, despite a past history of cooperation.  And once again, Enik lets himself be used as the Sleestak mouthpiece…as though he is just a slightly-less evil member of that race.   

It’s actually grating to watch the scenes of the Sleestak Leader ordering Enik around because these scenes forget that Enik is an evolved Altrusian from another era, not a lapdog or lackey for the barbaric Sleestak.  Why Enik allows himself to be used this way is a mystery.

Once more, in “Cornered” we get a strange reference (from Uncle Jack) to Enik’s “famous logic,” an allusion not to the real Enik, but to the “Mr. Spock Enik” that this season has introduced.

Finally, just when you think “Cornered” can’t possibly get any worse, Will wakes up and sings a syrupy song while plucking the guitar.  At this juncture, the series loses any sense of respectability and dignity, and emerges as ridiculous high-camp, going from fire-breathing dragons one minute to terrible musical-numbers the next.

Then, the episode just stops…mid-moment, as though in terminal embarrassment.   The final cut and lead-in to the end credits is jarring and sudden…but you can’t blame the editor for pulling out.

I don’t object in theory to the idea of a fire-breathing dinosaur in the Land of the Lost, but as usual, the third season writers seem to forget that the land boasts rules.  Altrusia maintains a sense of balance, and it is also closed universe.  Given these facts, where did Torchy come from?  Why hasn’t he been seen before?  I’d be perfectly happy to accept that the earthquake of “Aftershock” stirred him from a long subterranean slumber.  But no such explanation is provided.

Next episode: “Flying Dutchman.”

Friday, January 04, 2013

Late Night Blogging: Eco Horrors

Cult Movie Review: Prophecy (1979)

Prophecy (1979) is a socially-conscious “environmental” horror movie from prestigious director John Frankenheimer (1930 – 2002), the talent behind cinematic classics Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seven Days in May (1964) and, more recently, Ronin (1998).

All those films have in common a brand of technical precision and visual brilliance that isn’t often paralleled, especially in today’s cinema. 

So the clumsy nature of Prophecy indeed remains a baffling puzzle.  The film is alternately brilliant and inept in terms of staging, editing, direction, and pacing.  Some scenes of suspense are absolutely spell-binding, whereas many of the more visceral moments -- including an animal attack on unsuspecting campers -- play as unintentionally hilarious.

Recently, I reviewed another environmental horror movie from a “mainstream” director, The Bay (2012) by Barry Levinson. That film, however, managed to maintain a consistent tone throughout, even if in the final analysis the director’s message (about water contamination) played as more important than the movie’s genre trappings. 

The odd thing about Prophecy is that the film is so damned inconsistent.  It’s a work of art of great, praise-worthy highs and sad, sad lows. 

On one hand, the movie intelligently charts the uncomfortable nexus of big business/government/environment/pollution, and on the other hand, it consumes itself with gory moments of decapitation, bloody mutations, and other macabre tricks of the trade.  Now, I happen to like such tricks of the trade, but Prophecy proves jarring at significant junctures because it can’t stick to a particularly tone, either the high-minded “cerebral” horror route, or the messy pathway of bleeding viscera.

As I wrote in a Memory Bank post before Christmas, here, I remember well the year 1979 and the cinematic battle royale between Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and Prophecy, two horror films that involved (at least in their ad campaigns…) horrible monstrosities hatched from eggs.  Alien, however, ascended to masterpiece status while Prophecy remains a cult oddity.  Watching the two films back-to-back, one can see why one effort succeeded and the other effort failed. Scott’s film maintains a consistent tone of suspense, surprise and curiosity, while Prophecy lurches from environmental polemic to soap opera, to mad monster party.

At the time of the film’s release, critics were generally unkind to Frankenheimer’s genre film too.

In The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote:Mr. Frankenheimer treats this material with the kind of majesty usually reserved for movies about Cleopatra, Napoleon and General Patton.  "Prophecy," which opens today at Loews Astor Plaza and other theaters, is full of lingering lap-dissolves and elegant camera movements that suggest history is being made. Leonard Rosenman's soundtrack music is so grand it could be played at a coronation, and it's so loud that it pierces the ears and threatens the head.  None of this fits the movie, which includes a fight between a man with an ax and a man with a portable power saw, and a number of attacks by the mutant monsters on random campers and forest rangers as well as on the film's principal players. For extra gore, there's the obligatory decapitation and the strong suggestion that one fellow is bitten in half at the waist.”

Writing in The New Yorker, Susan Lardner likened the Frankenheimer horror film to an “ill-cut jigsaw puzzle re-assembled by force by someone who has lost a few of the pieces.” (July 2, 1979, pages 66-67). 

And writing for The Progressive, Kenneth Turan noted the goofiness of the monster: “Unfortunately, Prophecy begins to unravel the first time we get a good look at the monster, a berserk mess that resembles a nightmare version of Smokey the Bear.” (September 1979, pages 38 – 39).

Still, the film had at least one prominent defender in Master of Horror Stephen King, who copped to having seen the film three times.  He felt that “settling into Prophecy is as comfortable as settling into an old easy-chair and visiting with good friends.”  While he noted that the monster is “pretty hokey looking,” he admitted to loving the “old monster” as a spiritual sister to Godzilla, Mighty Joe Young, or Gorgo. (Danse Macabre; A Berkley Book; 1981, pages 205–206).

I should admit that I have seen this particular film, myself, considerably more than three times, and that I possess a kind of love/hate relationship with the bloody thing.  Portions of Prophecy are extraordinarily rendered, namely a scene of high-suspense set in an underground tunnel, while other scenes are either cringe-worthy or intoxicating in their badness, depending on your love of bad movie tropes.  Prophecy is self-important and preachy, yet it also possesses wondrous bad taste in terms of what it reveals on screen.

Some might (accurately) note that I have often praised horror movies on the blog that showcase just such lack of decorum.  The problem arises, for this viewer anyway, in balancing the film’s incredible highs and lows. I can appreciate bad taste as much as the next fellow, but Prophecy is schizophrenic in approach.

“Here everything grows big.  Real big.”

In a forest in Maine, a rescue expedition is murdered by an unseen monster. 

Not long after, an environmentalist named Rob (Robert Foxworth) is assigned to determine the destiny of that very forest, because it is at the center of a dispute between American Indians and a local, industrial paper mill.  Rob visits the forest with his wife, Maggie (Talia Shire) a cellist who has just learned that she is pregnant, but is reluctant to reveal the information to her husband.

In Maine, Rob and Maggie meet Mr. Isely (Richard Dysart), the paper mill owner, who tells them that lumberjacks and rescuers have disappeared in the woods and that he feels the Indians are responsible.  He thinks they are attempting to bring to life an ancient legend about a monster with the eyes of a dragon, called Katadin.  Rob soon meets John Hawkes (Armande Assante), the leader of the local Native Americans, and is not so certain his motives are impure.

Upon deeper investigation of the forest, Rob learns that the Indian people are suffering from a host of unusual maladies.  Their babies are being born deformed, and many locals are losing their mental faculties, as if suffering from brain damage. 

When Rob sees several mutated examples of the local wildlife (including a giant tadpole…) he becomes convinced that the paper mill is somehow contaminating the water supply.  He finds evidence that mercury is being used in the mill’s refining process because it is cheap and effective. However, mercury contamination can also decimate healthy nervous systems.  Worse, it can jump the placental barrier and deform a developing fetus, a fact which terrifies Maggie since she has eaten contaminated fish.

As Rob, Maggie, and Hawkes investigate further, Katadin -- a giant, mutated bear -- strikes again and again, even murdering a family of campers. 

After Rob and Maggie take possession of one of Katadin’s mutated offspring, the Mama Bear turns her murderous eye towards their party, and a night of terror and death ensues.

“It’s not the hours.  It’s the damned futility.”

Bad reputation to the contrary, there are moments of pure beauty and sleek terror in Prophecy.  The film was lensed in gorgeous, mountainous British Columbia, and Frankenheimer and cinematographer Harry Stradling Jr. certainly have an eye for capturing the picturesque terrain.  The movie features moments of breathtaking natural beauty, particularly in long, establishing shots.  Much of the film’s running time is spent outdoors, in mysterious terrains of heavy mist, or impenetrable black lakes.

In contrast to those moments, the film also features moments of pure human ugliness.  The paper mill is first seen in a long, moving establishing shot (from the vantage point of a helicopter in flight, approaching), and its dominance over the natural landscape is evident immediately.  The approach to the environment-destroying paper mill is accompanied by Leonard Rosenman’s Wagnerian score, and the moment achieves a kind of portentous, ominous feel.

Similarly, I can’t write enough positive words about a sustained scene, late in the film, during which Rob, Maggie, Isely, Hawkes and a few others hide from Mama Katadin in a subterranean tunnel system. 

These shots of terrified survivors are artistically composed, making extraordinary use of foreground and background fields, to capture the terror of those trapped in the caves.  Frankenheimer’s editor (Tom Rolf) cuts brilliantly from one shot of worried survivors’ faces to another shot, to another…and the suspense builds and builds until it feels palpable.

I admire this sequence in Prophecy in large part because it remembers that horror films must possess peaks and valleys, cacophony and silences.  This scene represents the (brief) calm between surrounding storms, but every moment of apparent “peace” is spent worrying about the next attack.

Just look at some of these beautiful shots, pictured below.  The blocking, the color palette, the focus on faces near and far, big and small, sell the terror of what remains unseen in the frame. 

Note as well the image of the old Indian man, Ramona’s grandfather M’rai (George Clutesi) as flames are reflected upon his eye glasses.  This is a shot that visually reveals how his world has been destroyed; how his people’s “protector” (Katadin) is actually but another destroyer, a monster.  

Again, you’ve got to give the devil his due here.  Frankenheimer knows how to stage and execute powerful visuals, and Prophecy features many such compositions.

Yet for every such moment of eloquent, sterling visualization, Prophecy also features sequences of horror that are, in a word, laughable.

The most ridiculous (and yet beloved…) of these sequences involves the giant bear attack on a family of innocent campers.  The bear approaches the sleeping campers, and one young camper -- wrapped up in a yellow sleeping bag and resembling nothing so much as a giant banana (or perhaps a condom…) -- tries to hop away from danger. 

The hopping away from danger is funny enough on its own, but then Katadin’s tail whacks the unlucky lad, hurtling him into a rock at warp speed…where the camper literally explodes on-screen.  
After the camper and sleeping bag are pulped, feathers (from the sleeping bag, apparently), rain down, blanketing the frame.    Generously speaking, the moment plays as high camp.

Or to put it another way, this scene is hilarious in a way the filmmakers surely did not intend.  We were not meant to laugh at the murder of an innocent child, yet all the creative decisions in the scene are questionable…and risible. 

Why make the unfortunate camper hop about vainly in the sleeping bag, instead of unzipping the bag, exiting it, and running from danger? 

Why does the strike of Katadin’s tail hurl the camper through the air at speeds defying the laws of Physics? 

And why make the camper and bag literally explode, and include the ridiculous sight of what appear to be chicken feathers falling to Earth?

Listen, I love horror movies and also boast a tremendous love for “bad” movies, or even genre movies that violate decorum.  But the sleeping bag scene is so ridiculously vetted that it actually damages the credibility of Prophecy. 

Similarly, the film’s valedictory moment -- with a rubbery second mutant rearing its ugly head -- ends Prophecy on a low note.  The monster looks awful in the light of day, under the full glare of sunlight, and the moment is simply a pitiful “sting in the tail/tale” hoping against hope for a sequel.  Like the sleeping bag scene, the final punch of Prophecy is humorously inept.

I wrote in Horror Films of the 1970s (2002) that Prophecy is “sometimes obvious, sometimes clever” in its approach to its thematic material, and over a decade later, I feel I can stand by that assessment. 

The film’s best scene is actually one far away from the “monster movie” material, and set at a place of "real-life: human horror: the paper mill.  As if shooting a documentary, Frankenheimer’s probing camera tours a real-life factory, a massive industrial park dedicated to transforming nature’s logs into shredded pulp.

Filmed in both exterior and interior with long informative pans across its grotesque girth, the mill is revealed to be an ugly, dehumanizing place dedicated solely to environmental destruction.  Chemicals such as chlorine are deployed here, and the plant’s interior is bathed in an ugly, sterile, green-white light.

No preaching is necessary here because one of the prime gifts of film as an art form is its ability to reveal things to audiences that they have never seen before, but which nonetheless exist.  I’ve never been to a paper mill, but Prophecy certainly makes a compelling case about one's capacity for destruction.  I also like how the film attempts to portray Isely’s character in less-than-villainous terms.  The paper mill owner makes a memorable speech about supply and demand, one that reminded me of my own career as a professional writer and consumer of paper.

I’ve written how many books?  And how many copies have been sold?  How many pieces of paper is that, exactly?

How many trees destroyed is that?

I’m also on the fence here regarding Frankenheimer’s treatment of Maggie.  This is a character that learns she is likely carrying a mutated fetus in her womb.  Maggie becomes so obsessed with this (horrific) idea that she takes Katadin’s youngling as her own, essentially, during the film’s last act, carrying it round on her shoulder and protecting it from harm.  At one point, the monster baby seems to nurse from the blood on Maggie’s neck-wound, furthering the metaphor of mother-and-child.  Yet the film gives the audience no catharsis regarding Maggie’s ultimate disposition. 

Does she deliver the baby or undergo an abortion? Is the baby born mutated or healthy?  If it is mutated, can Maggie and Rob love it anyway?

Prophecy doesn’t provide any information or dramatic closure on this key character/plot point, instead focusing on that rubbery final sting-in-the-tail/tale.  In the end, the dopey monster movie aspects of the film thus win out over the excavation of character and theme.  I sure hope Talia Shire complained, because it's clear from her performance she gave the film her all.

Prophecy is one of those horror films that I return to at least once or twice every five or so years, and I suspect that is the case because there’s so much potential evident in the film.  In certain moments, Prophecy possesses a kind of undeniable visual poetry.  In other moments, it is pure, unadulterated schlock. 

I suppose that as an optimistic film reviewer I return to Prophecy again and again because I keep hoping to see something that I’ve missed or overlooked, or to discover that somehow the balance of poetry to schlock has changed for the better.

As of this 2013 viewing, however, it hasn’t. 

I’ll let you know in 2020 if I feel differently.  Meanwhile, below you'll find Prophecy sleeping bag kill in all its bloody glory.

Movie Trailer: Prophecy

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Late Night Blogging: The X-Files Promos


Memory Bank: The Variety Show, 1970s Style

One form of television entertainment or programming that seems to have largely fallen out of favor with the American public -- but which I remember from my childhood in the 1970s -- is the variety show

For those who don’t remember variety shows, they represent an unholy blend or combination of genres, but usually feature both comedy skits and musical production numbers.

The seventies represent the last age of variety programs on the tube. Why did these programs begin to diminish in popularity in the decade of Nixon and Carter? One can only speculate, but the musical form lost its relevance perhaps because of the new film “reality” aesthetic of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Popular films featured more violence and seemed more gritty and realistic, as in the case of the blockbuster hit The French Connection, or even Jaws. The musical form -- which is all about artifice -- became less and less relevant in age which prized naturalism over theatricality or artifice.

It may also be that, in the 1970s, there was a growing belief among viewers at home that the conventions of the variety show -- now colored in polyester and bell bottoms -- had grown stale, and were threatening to descend into full-on, high-camp.

Still, in disco decade, some variety programming managed to remain popular for a time.  The most successful of these programs was no doubt Donny and Marie (1976 – 1979) starring the Osmonds. 

This ABC series ran for several years and featured the likable, smiling young hosts singing both country and rock-and-roll songs.  I recall that, as a kid, I watched the show for its relevant if not particularly good pop culture skits.  In its time, Donny and Marie parodied Star Wars and ABC’s Battlestar Galactica, for example. The former featured R2-D2 and C3PO, plus Red Foxx (as Ben Kenobi) and Kris Kristofferson as Han Solo.

ABC attempted to duplicate Donny and Marie’s breakthrough success with a second musical duo on The Captain and Tennille, which saw such guest stars as John Travolta, Leonard Nimoy, Jackie Gleason and Bob Hope. The series was canceled after a year, but the ratings never dropped, and several Captain and Tennille specials followed.

Interestingly, both Donny and Marie and The Captain and Tennille were considered popular enough to merit toy merchandise.  Donny and Marie had action figures and a TV studio available from Mattel, and Captain and Tennille Action figures were manufactured and sold by Mego.  Today, these items are all highly-prized collectibles.  One of the best toy/nostalgia blogs, Plaid Stallions, recently featured a look at the 1977 Donny and Marie Catalog, here.

One of the truly bizarre variety shows of the 1970s was The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, a spin-off of the popular sitcom, and sponsored by Sid and Marty Kroftt.  The series featured the mixed-family in the unlikely role of disco singers and hosts.  It (mercifully) lasted only a handful of episodes before a prompt cancellation and today remains a strange television artifact.  The singing and dancing are awful for the most part, and more often than not the Bradys are decked out in the tightest jump suits humanly possible.

Just about the last prominent variety show I can think of also came from Sid and Marty Krofft: 1980’s Barbara Mandrell and The Mandrell Sisters.  This country-themed series ran for two successful seasons, and I remember watching it every week in my house.  I don’t know exactly why that was the case, since I’m not a huge fan of country music…except that my family didn’t own a VCR yet.

Perhaps the most successful variety program of the 1970s is the one still airing today: Saturday Night Live (1975 - ).  The series is billed today largely as a comedy, but pretty clearly it remains a mix of music and comedy, and just tries to avoid the old-fashioned label of “variety” show.

Below, please enjoy some of the weirder moments of the mid-1970s variety shows.  They remain a (mostly) extinct relic of a time long gone, and an aesthetic that has lost its relevance in the pop culture.

Pop Art: Amsco Edition

Collectible of the Week: Doctor Who Tardis Playhouse (Dekker Toys; 1982)

If you saw my Christmas photograph from a few days back, you know that the TARDIS came to visit Joel’s holiday this year...filled with Doctor Who toys, including a bump-and-go-cybermat and a lego-like Cyber-conversion chamber.  

Specifically that holiday TARDIS is the Dekker Toys “Tardis” playhouse from 1982, an officially licensed product from the BBC. 

This TARDIS stands four feet high -- just a little taller than Joel at this point -- but is not alas, bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.  We’re still working on the issue of dimensional transcendentalism.

As you can detect from the images of the Tardis playhouse above, it was produced and marketed in the era of the fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison.  Joel hasn’t seen any episodes of that age, yet.  We started our Whovian survey with Patrick Troughton (“The Tomb of the Cybermen,” “The Mind Robber” and “The Krotons”) but have also now watched “The Sontaran Experiment” and “Revenge of the Cybermen” from the Tom Baker Era.   I'm debating whether I think he'll be freaked out by the giant Wirrn in "The Ark in Space."

The Tardis playhouse is actually something of a tent, one held up by narrow PVC poles at the corners. And inside there is even a control room and view screen…a feature which Joel loves.

When I was a kid, I would have traveled to the ends of the Earth (or Zeti Reticuli, in Whovian terms…) to get my hands on a TARDIS playhouse like this one.  I understand that a full-sized, inflatable TARDIS is also being released soon for further Time Lord adventures.  I think it would look great in our garage when Joel outgrows the playhouse.

Model Kit of the Week #12

Monday, December 31, 2012

Remembering 2012 on the Blog, and Looking Ahead to 2013...

Well, 2012 ends today.  Thankfully, the Mayan Calendar worries proved to be as big a catastrophe as Y2K...meaning none at all.

Here on the blog, Reflections registered its biggest year yet in terms of readership and by a considerable margin too.   There were also more posts here, as I hope you noticed. 

Last year: 383 posts. This year: over 1090.  

In terms of specifics, we had Saturdays with Sinbad and a retrospective of the Jurassic Park films to start things out.  I also reviewed the Star Wars Original Trilogy, and the first four Superman films.

In 2012, we also celebrated Breakaway Day, Buck Rogers Day, and Star Trek: The Next Generation Day for its 25th anniversary.  We also had many Savage Cinema Fridays and celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of James Bond at the movies.

We also remembered the Films of 1982, and began a survey of the Films of 1983, which will continue in 2013.  I initiated the new feature “Ask JKM a Question” and to my delight we had more than fifty-nine questions from readers.  I love answering these terrific questions, and still have several more in the queue that I'm working through.   

We also went through a handful of cult-TV series together, including The Fantastic Journey (1977), Otherworld (1985), Ark II (1976), Ghost Story/Circle of Fear (1973 – 1974), Land of the Lost Season Two (1975) and Season Three, Jason of Star Command (1979), and Brimstone (1998 – 1999).  We're currently in the thick of The Starlost (1973-1974).

For Thanksgiving, we had a monster-thon with King Kong and Godzilla, and my most widely-read, quoted, and talked about review of 2012 was, by far, for Ridley Scott's Prometheus.

I plan to have as active and exciting a year on the blog in 2013, so I hope you’ll all be back for more "reflections" on film and television too. 

Two things definitely in the cards: We’ll be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Chris Carter’s The X-Files (1993 – 2002), and I hope to review at least one-episode-a-week, picking my fifty favorite episodes or thereabouts.   Similarly, 2013 is the fiftieth anniversary of the original Doctor Who, so I'll also be looking back at some my favorite serials there.  Plus, we'll see the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness and The Man of Steel.

As I always like to say at the end of each year, the best is yet to come.  

Thank you for your readership in 2012, and for your continued support.  This place would be nothing without your energy and commentary.

Television and Cinema Verities #51

“Reality is incredibly larger, infinitely more exciting, than the flesh and blood vehicle we travel in here. If you read science fiction, the more you read it the more you realize that you and the universe are part of the same thing. Science knows still practically nothing about the real nature of matter, energy, dimension, or time; and even less about those remarkable things called life and thought. But whatever the meaning and purpose of this universe, you are a legitimate part of it. And since you are part of the all that is, part of its purpose, there is more to you than just this brief speck of existence. You  are just a visitor here in this time and this place, a traveler through it.” 

- Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tribute Gallery 2012

Michael Clarke Duncan (1957 - 2012)

Neil Armstrong (1930 - 2012)

Tony Scott (1944 - 2012)

William Windom (1923 - 2012)

Carlo Rambaldi (1925 - 2012)

Sally Ride (1951 - 2012)

R.G. Armstrong (1917 - 2012)

Jonathan Frid (1924 - 2012)

Ralph McQuarrie (1929 - 2012)

Davy Jones (1945 - 2012)

Ernest Borgnine (1917 - 2012)

Larry Hagman (1931 - 2012)

Dolores Mantez (1938 - 2012)

Gary Collins (1938 -2012)

Jack Klugman (1922 - 2012)

 Charles Durning (1923 - 2012)

Gerry Anderson (1929 - 2012)

Lee Hansen (1968 - 2012), star of my web series, The House Between and beloved friend.

If I failed to include any movie/cult-tv luminaries in this list I culled from the blog in 2012, I apologize wholeheartedly for the oversight. No slight or insult is intended.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and memories regarding these personalities -- or  any others who passed away in 2012 -- in the comments section, below, if you would like.