Well, following the above advice I tried again to install PCLOS. When I reached the final screen saying installing boot sector -- I waited and I waited a whole 25 min--I timed it! The window was blank for the entire time and occasionally I heard the CD rom start up. Finally, a message appeared saying the system was installed. Clicked Finish and rebooted successfully.
Now, I've installed LINUX on machines for over 15 yrs and Yes each Distro has its quirks -- BUT, to wait 25 minutes with a blank screen! No, not acceptable and no very user friendly, at least a message or progress bar could provide feedback. Ok, this is an old, 8 yrs, machine. But, Mandriva, SuSe, Fedora and Mint have all been installed and while slow for some at least I knew what was happening. A blank screen tells me nothing, hence after a few minutes, I did do a restart as noted in my original post.
If this situation happened with go old Win you can bet the LINUX community would be all over it. I don't think this kind of problem is something to gloss over--fix it! Newbees would never use LINUX if this happened.
On the positive side I like what I see of PCLOS -- very polished. Would I put it on my desktop machines which currently run SuSE--I doubt it.
Thanks for the help. My old laptop seems to be happily running PCLOS so we'll explore and who knows!