Oct. 9, 2002

Celluloid Evil

By Roy Rivenburg
Weird Polls Department: Who’s the biggest villain in cinema history? According to a survey of the Online Film Critics Society, Darth Vader ranks No. 1, followed by Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates of ‘‘Psycho’’ and Hans Gruber from ‘‘Die Hard.’’ Others who made the top 100 list, which can be seen in its entirety at ofcs.org, include the shark from ‘‘Jaws,’’ Hal from ‘‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’’ the Wicked Witch of the West, Biff Tannen from ‘‘Back to the Future,’’ Freddy Krueger and the ‘‘mountain men’’ from ‘‘Deliverance.’’

Obviously, the survey is flawed. The true top movie villains are anyone responsible for the financing, filming and release of ‘‘The Piano,’’ ‘‘Battlefield Earth’’ and ‘‘A Night at the Roxbury.’’

Meanwhile, in other polling news, a survey by Pet Supplies Plus found that 46 percent of dog and cat owners plan to put their animal in a Halloween costume on Oct. 31. Of those, 32 percent plan to dress their pooch like a devil, while 15 percent will opt for an animal angel outfit.

Alarming Trends Bureau: More proof that the world is in a hand basket:

-- Clothing made from shelf liner paper was recently modeled at Bloomingdale’s. Well, at least if there’s a spill, it mops right up.
-- A federal judge has ruled that imitation is the sincerest form of flatulence. He said a flatulent doll manufactured by an Indiana company infringed on the copyright of another company’s gassy action figure, Pull My Finger Fred.
-- Fisher-Price is coming out with a Chicken Dance Elmo doll.
-- McDonalds is running ads featuring Donald Trump and the restaurant’s character Grimace.
-- Author Joey Green has written a book that claims Cheerios can be used to ease sunburn pain, Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer can cure back aches and Colgate toothpaste zaps zits.
-- The owners of a Christian candy company named Sweet Blessings say they are on ‘‘a divinely inspired mission to share their spiritual faith through candy.’’ After all, everyone knows that Jesus fed the 5,000 with gummi fish and M&Ms.

Press Releases We Ignored This Week: ‘‘Botox for Your Car?’’ ‘‘Lawn Care Book Makes Great Gift.’’

Going Postal: Regarding our recent item on the various pronunciations of New Orleans, reader Gordon G. Alexander, a self-described native of the city, says New OR-lenz is correct. ‘‘I never heard it called ‘the Big Easy’ until the movie,’’ he adds.

On another note, for those who didn’t notice the phrase ‘‘probably apocryphal’’ in our recent blurb about a Montana cattle rancher installing an ATM in his tomb, the Bozeman (Montana) Chronicle confirms our suspicion that the tale is bogus.

However, we did goof when we said Capt. Kirk from ‘‘Star Trek’’ would be born on March 22, 2228, in Riverside, Iowa. Richard Arnold says Kirk will be born in 2233 and that the Riverside claim was fabricated by a fan group in that city. Although Kirk will be born in Iowa, no town has ever been specified, Arnold says. On a related note, William Shatner denies reports that he spent thousands of dollars to convert his master bathroom into a replica of the bridge on the Starship Enterprise.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Redneck Space Aliens Raising Hell on Earth! They’re Rude, They Smell -- and They Fly Their Saucers While Drinking Beer’’ (Weekly World News)

Bonus headline, also from WWN: ‘‘3,000-Year-Old Mummy Pregnant! Janitor Admits: ‘I’m the Father’ ’’

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Chicago Sun-Times, PR Newswire, Snopes.com.

Copyright 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
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