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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mickey Rooney on Television

Mickey Rooney, who died on April 6, 2014 at the age of 93, was a show business legend.  He was not a Hollywood leading man like Clark Gable or Cary Grant.  He was not tall, dark and handsome. In fact, Rooney was fair-haired and stood only about 1.57 centimetres tall (5 feet, 2 inches).  Nevertheless, he was an extremely talented and versatile entertainer.  He began as a child actor in a career that spanned over 90 years, from the silent film era until the 21st century.

Born Joseph Yule, Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York, Rooney performed in vaudeville as a youngster.  His first film role was in the 1926 silent comedy short called Not to Be Trusted in which he played "The Nephew." He was six years old at the time and he went by the name of Mickey McBan.  From 1927 until 1934, he called himself Mickey McGuire.  It wasn't until the 1934 film Beloved that he was billed as Mickey Rooney.

Rooney went on to appear in a prodigious number of stage productions and motion pictures.  At the age of 19, he was nominated for an Oscar for his lead role in Babes in Arms (1939), alongside Judy Garland.  He also starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor as a former jockey in National Velvet (1944) and he achieved stardom on the silver screen with the popular Andy Hardy movies he made with Garland in the late 1930s and into the 1940s. For many years, Mickey Rooney was one of MGM's most celebrated actors.

By the end of World War II, Rooney was no longer able to play the teenage roles that had made him such a big box office star.  As an adult, his short stature prevented him from being cast in romantic leading roles. That didn't stop Mickey, though.  He was tenacious and determined.  He adapted to the situation and achieved success by taking on many supporting roles.  When the new medium of television came along, he found new opportunities.

Although Mickey Rooney was primarily known as a movie and stage actor, he certainly made his mark on TV, mainly in guest roles and TV movies.  His own television shows were not particularly successful and they did not last long.  From 1954 to 1955, Rooney starred in The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey, Mulligan, a situation comedy on NBC.  He played Mickey Mulligan, a young who takes a job as a page at a fictional television studio in Hollywood.   The series chronicled Mulligan's misadventures as he tried to break into show business.

According to The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946 - Pressent, Mulligan's aspirations "went far beyond his lowly position.  He really wanted to be a serious dramatic actor, and was using the page job as springboard to bigger things."  He went to drama school at night and he received encouragement from his father, Joe Mulligan (Regis Toomey), a longtime Los Angeles officer, and from his girlfriend, Pat Harding (Carla Balenda), a studio secretary.  Mickey's mother, Nell Mulligan (Claire Carleton), was a former burlesque star who met her husband when he arrested her.

The cast of The Mickey Rooney Show was rounded out by comedian Joey Forman, who played Freddy Devlin, Mickey's best friend and fellow page; English actor Alan Mowbray, who played his drama coach, Mr. Swift, and John Hubbard, who portrayed his boss, Charles Brown.  The series aired for one season and only 33 episodes were broadcast.  It was co-created by director, producer and screenwriter Blake Edwards, the late husband of Julie Andrews.

Rooney in first episode of The Mickey Rooney Show,

From 1961 to 1963, Mickey appeared in four episodes of The Dick Powell Show, an hour-long dramatic anthology hosted by Powell.  In 1963, he appeared in one of my favourite Twilight Zone episodes, "The Last Night of a Jockey" (Season 5, Episode 5, Air Date: October 25, 1963).

In "Last Night of a Jockey," Rooney played the part of Grady, a one-time champion jockey who has been been barred from riding due to his involvement in fixing races and drugging horses.  Grady has declared his innocence and launched an appeal with the racing commission.  His agent, however, is not optimistic about his chances of winning the appeal.  As the washed-up jockey writhes in anger over his predicament, he starts to hear his own voice speaking to him.  Unexpectedly, he is granted his greatest wish.

Rooney was the sole actor in "Last Night of a Jockey" and his performance in the episode was a one-man tour de force.  It is interesting to note that in real life, Mickey was an avid horse racing fan and throughout his career, he appeared in many horse-related movies and television shows.

Mickey Rooney in Twilight Zone episode

From 1964 to 1965, Mickey Rooney starred in another television comedy, this time on NBC.  It was entitled Mickey and it was also short-lived.  Only 17 episodes of the show were produced.  In Mickey, Rooney was cast as Mickey Grady, a Coast Guard recruiter in landlocked Omaha, Nebraska, who yearns for a life at sea.  Mickey and his family relocate to Newport  Harbor, California when he inherits the Marina Palms, a beachfront hotel there.

Emmaline Henry played Grady's wife, Nora, the mother of their two children.  Mickey Rooney's real-life son, Tim Rooney, portrayed their eldest son, 16-year-old Timmy Grady, while Brian Nash was cast in the role of the younger son, eight-year old Buddy Grady.  The part of hotel manager Sammy Ling, was played by character actor Sammee Tong.

Tim Rooney (real name: Timothy Hayes Yule), died on September 23, 2006 (his father's 86th birthday) at the age of 59.  Sadly, Tim suffered from a muscle disease known as dermatomyositis.  He was born on January 4, 1947 in Birmingham Alabama and his mother was singer Betty Jane Baker (known as B.J. Baker).  Baker, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 74, was married to Mickey Rooney from 1944 to 1949.  She and Rooney had another son, Mickey Rooney, Jr., born on January 3, 1945.  Rooney, Jr., a former actor and musician, is now a Christian evangelist with a ministry in Hemet, California.

Emmaline Henry, who died in 1979, went on to play Amanda Bellows, wife of Dr. Bellows, on the hit 1960s comedy series, I Dream of Jeannie, starring Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman.  Sammee Tong, who died of an overdose of barbiturates, is best remembered for his portrayal of Peter Tong on Bachelor Father (1957-1962). He played Bentley Gregg's (John Forsythe) house servant on the series.  At the time of his passing on October 27, 1964, Sammee Tong was appearing in Mickey.  He was 63 years old.

In 1964, Mickey Rooney made guest appearances on Rawhide and Burke's Law.  In 1966, he had roles in episodes of The Fugitive ("This'll Kill You," Season 3, Episode 18, Air Date: January 18, 1966) and the very first episode of the Jean Arthur Show, entitled "Lament of a Horseplayer" (Season 1, Episode 1, Air Date: September 12, 1966).  In "Lament of a Horseplayer," Rooney played Eddie Julian, an elevator operator with a gambling problem.  Eddie is accused of murder and retains attorney Patricia Marshall (Jean Arthur) as his lawyer.  He takes the Jean Arthur character to the horse races in search of a defence witness.

In 1966, Rooney appeared on television with another show business legend - Lucille Ball.  He was a guest star on The Lucy Show in an episode entitled "Lucy Meets Mickey Rooney" (Season 4, Episode 18, Air Date: January 24, 1966).  In the episode, Mickey wishes to obtain a bank loan in order to purchase an acting school.  He ends up getting Lucy and her boss, banker Theodore J. Mooney (Gale Gordon), as his students and they do a take-off on silent movie comedies.  Lucy imitates Charlie Chaplin while Rooney plays "a kid."

Mickey with Lucy on The Lucy Show

Mickey with Gale Gordon and Lucy on The Lucy Show

During the 1970s, Mickey's TV appearances were less frequent and his career seemed to be stagnating.  In 1971, he had a guest role in the Burt Reynolds detective series, Dan August.  He played a character named Kenny O'Malley in an episode entitled "The Manufactured Man" (Season 1, Episode 22, Air Date: March 11, 1971).  The cast list for that episode is quite impressive.  Besides Rooney, it includes Harrison Ford, David Soul, Billy Dee Williams, Gary Busey (as a hippie) and Norman Fell of Three's Company and The Ropers.

In 1972, almost a decade after his memorable performance on The Twilight Zone, Mickey made an appearance in another Rod Serling series, Rod Serling's Night Gallery. He played a mobster named August Kolodney in an episode entitled "Rare Objects" (Season 3, Episode 4, Air Date: October 22, 1972). Kolodney, a target for other criminals, visits a man, Dr. Glendon (Raymond Massey), who offers him peace and a security - at a price.

Rooney in Night Gallery episode (1972)

Mickey's career rebounded in the 1980s when he won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a mentally disabled man in the 1981 TV movie Bill.  Bill was based on the real life story of William "Bill" Sackter of Minnesota who spent 44 years in of life in in the Faribault State School for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic (That odious name was changed to the Faribault State School and Hospital in 1955 and The Fairbault Regional Center n 1985.  The institution closed in 1998).

Sackter, who was born in 1913, was placed in the hospital at the age of seven and didn't venture out into the world until he was in his fifties.  In 1964, he was placed in a halfway house and found employment as a handyman at a country club.  He was befriended by filmmaker Barry Morrow.  Morrow, who was played by actor Dennis Quaid in the TV movie, helped Bill adjust and became his guardian.  When Morrow took a post at the University of Iowa, Bill followed him there and became the owner of Wild Bill's Coffee Shop on campus.

Bill Sackter died on June 16, 1983 at the age of 70.  Mickey Rooney portrayed him a second time in a sequel to the original TV movie.  The sequel, Bill: On His Own, aired on November 9, 1983.  It dealt with Bill's struggles after Barry Morrow (again played by Dennis Quaid) and his wife move away.

In 1982, Rooney starred in yet another short-lived television series called One of the Boys.  In the series, Mickey played Oliver Nugent, an energetic senior who leaves his retirement home and moves in with his grandson, Adam Shields (Dana Carvey), a student at Sheffield College in New Jersey.  Nathan Lane played Adam's roommate, Jonathan Burns, and Meg Ryan portrayed Adam's girlfriend, Jane.

One of the Boys was shunned by television audiences.  In 2002, TV Guide ranked the series Number 24 on its list of "The 50 Worst Shows of All Time."  That same year, Dana Carvey appeared on David Letterman's talk show and told Letterman that he did "some of the worst TV you've ever seen."  When he mentioned One of the Boys and the TV Guide list, Letterman asked, "Could it really have been that bad?"  Carvey replied, "It sucked!"  He then went on to describe Mickey Rooney as "eccentric" and carefully added, "I don't want to meet his lawyers."  Letterman offered the description "high strung" as an alternative and Carvey went on to parody Rooney saying, "I was the Number One star in the world."

Left to Right: Dana Carvey, Nathan Lane and Mickey

In 1988, Mickey Rooney had guest role on The Golden Girls in an episode entitled "Larceny and Old Lace." (Season 3, Episode 21, Air Date: February 27, 1988).  He played Sophia's (Estelle Getty) boyfriend, Rocco, who tries to impress her by claiming to be a retired Gangster.   From 1990 to 1993, Mickey Rooney starred in another horse-themed show called The Adventures of the Black Stallion and it ran on The Family Channel. Black Stallion was a Canada/France/New Zealand co-production  and was filmed on location in those three countries and in the United States.  The Canadian portions were shot in British Columbia.

The series was loosely based on the stories of Walter Farley, who wrote a series of horse novels, primarily for children. The Adventures of the Black Stallion chronicled the lives of an Arabian stallion named "Black" and his teenage rider, Alec Ramsay (Richard Ian Cox) as they became teammates in the horse racing circuit. Mickey Rooney played the role of Black's trainer, a retired jockey named Henry Dailey. Rooney had previously portrayed Dailey in the 1979 motion picture The Black Stallion.

Mickey worked steadily throughout the 1990s.  In 1993, had a role on Murder, She Wrote in an episode called "Bloodlines" (Season 10, Episode 6, Air Date: November 9, 1993).  He played a retired horse trainer Matt Cleveland, whom Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) visits at a stud ranch in Virginia.  In 1998, he made guest appearances on such series as E.R., as Dr. George Bikel in an episode entitled "Exodus" (Season 4, Episode 15, Air Date: February 26, 1998) and on Mike Hammer, Private Eye, in "Lucky in Love" (Season 2, Episode 11, May 3, 1998).

Mickey Rooney led a tumultuous personal life and he was married eight times.  His last days were quite difficult as he was a victim of alleged elder abuse and a family feud between his estranged wife and his stepsons. At the time of his death, Mickey was separated from Jan Chamberlin Rooney, his wife of 35 years. Jan, 74. a former nightclub singer, learned of his passing from the media.  She was quoted by Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter as saying that she hadn't seen her husband since April of 2013.  "Someone from TMZ called me," she stated.

November 30, 2000 photo of Mickey Rooney and Jan

When he died, Rooney left an estate of only $18,000 to Mark Rooney, his stepson and caretaker.  He apparently disinherited his wife, Jan, and his eight surviving children.  Much of his fortune was dwindled away due to alleged elder abuse and financial mismanagement by another one of his stepsons, Christopher "Chris" Aber. Chris Aber and Mark Rooney are brothers, although Mark goes by the name "Rooney" rather than "Aber."  They are Jan's sons by a previous marriage to Lynn Aber.

Despite his personal problems, Mickey Rooney was a consummate entertainer and he always carried on. In March 2008, he told The Associated Press, "I always say, 'Don't retire - inspire." and he declared, "There's a lot to be done."  That was his philosophy and he lived it until the end.  He continued to work into his 90s and appeared alongside another veteran performer, Dick Van Dyke, in Night at the Museum (2006), staring Ben Stiller.  In fact, when Mickey passed away, Night at the Museum 3  was in production.  This past February, the 93-year-old was was pushed through Vancouver International Airport in a wheelchair to prepare shooting the movie.  He was cheerful and enthusiastic about reprising his role as Gus, one of the night security guards at the museum.

The feisty nonagenarian was as busy as ever.  He loved entertaining.  It was in his bones and in his blood.  At the time of his death, he was also working on another film entitled Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  This retelling of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale is due for release in the United States in October of 2014.  Mickey Rooney never stopped working.  He left a legacy of quality films and distinguished television performances for generations to come.

- Joanne

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Y&R Report (April 12, 2014): The Latest on the Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama.  Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT:  Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Well fans, I've just got to try some of attorney Avery's key lime pie.  It must be so mmm mmm delicious! What a great cook she is!  First, she made the famous cupcakes that Nicholas Newman couldn't resist. Then she whipped up her mouth-watering pie.  Boyfriend Dylan was so enraptured that he entered her recipe in a contest.  She also made a video and now she' been asked to audition for her own cooking show, just like that.  The woman is amazing! She makes everything look so easy.  She even has time to keep an eye on Ian Ward and on top of all of that, she helps the wrongly convicted get out of prison - on a pro bono basis.  (For those who need to brush up on their Latin, it means she doesn't accept any money for that work).  I hereby declare Avery to be Superwoman!

So the not-so-good Dr.Stitch has an enormous skeleton in his closet.  According to Kelly, he is a murderer. He killed a man.  We do not know the circumstances and we probably won't for awhile.  Why do the writers have to take such an excruciatingly long time to reveal some dirty secrets from the past.  Yes, I know that everything can't be revealed right away.  However, in some instances, they take so long that by the time the truth comes out, viewers don't care anymore.

Is Princess Victoria Newman in danger if she continues to cozy up to "Ben."  She doesn't have to worry because Daddy Victor will always protect her.  Stitch's supposed best friend, Dylan, doesn't seem to know much about his good buddy's past.  Kelly knows more about the cookie-eating doctor than anyone else.

Whom did Dr. Stitch kill anyway?  We know he killed a male. Was it Kelly's husband?   Did Kel's husband find out about her affair with the doctor?  Did he confront Stitch?   Did they have a fight and did Stitch unintentionally kill him? Did Kelly help her lover cover up what happened?  What do you think, fans?

What a surprise for Lauren and Michael!  At a rather advanced child- bearing age, department store fashion queen Lauren is gong to have another baby - her third child after Scotty Grainger (born in 1991 from her marriage to Dr. Scott Grainger) and Fenmore Baldwin (born October 13, 2006).  It's a good thing creepy Carmine Basco is not the father.

Although Lauren has been taken to hospital emergency with some kind of complication, I doubt she will have a miscarriage.  The storyline would end right there and we all know that doesn't happen on soaps.  By the way, it's interesting to note that Michael Baldwin and Lauren Fenmore wed in 2005, nine years ago.  That's quite a long marriage for a soap opera couple.

There has been some speculation online that the Cassie look-alike will turn out to be the dead Cassies's identical twin.  Some Y&R viewers think that the bogus Cassie is Sharon's real daughter who was taken away somehow when Sharon gave birth.  Until now, the fake Cassie has deftly managed never to be seen by anyone except Sharon.  That has changed.  Although she recently avoided being seen by Nick and Noah, she injured herself running away from them.  Somebody saw her, though - the not-so-good Dr. Stitch 'em up.  He noticed her cut and persuaded her to go to the hospital for a tetanus shot.  Of course, she gave her name as "Jane Doe," which is bound to arouse Stitch's suspicions.  By the way, is he the only doctor in Genoa City?

I don't know about you but I don't like the pairing of Neil and Hilary.  He's much better suited to Leslie, although neither of them can hold a candle to Drucilla.  It seems that the writers are pairing Neil with Hilary to create a conflict between him and Devon.  It is obvious that wimpy Devon is attracted to Hilary but is having difficulty extricating himself from the clutches of that gold digging hussy, Esmeralda.

Do the writers really expect us to believe that Leslie, who was so adamantly against marrying Neil, would suddenly wed a doctor she had only known for weeks?  She informed Neil that she and the doc had had a quickie ceremony in Las Vegas and she displayed her shiny new wedding ring.  Are you buying that or do you think lawyer Leslie is just pretending she's married for some reason?  Perhaps she actually got married because she's hiding a pregnancy and doesn't want Neil to know he's the father.  Leslie doesn't seem the reckless, impulsive type.  I suspect that there's a method to her madness.

How do you like that Aussie cad, Colin Atkinson?  He's going to break poor Jill's heart for sure.  I knew he was a scoundrel but I thought he actually had some genuine feelings for Jill.

What's going to happen to the character of Chloe now that Elizabeth Hendrickson, the actress who portrays her, has announced that she has decided to leave the show?  I'm not a fan of Chloe so I won't miss her when she departs.  I don't think EH will be replaced.  My guess is that Chloe will leave town and her marriage to Kevin will be annulled.


Regular commentator, CC from Etobicoke, Ontario, has a tease for Y&R viewers.  She wonders how far the writers will go with the relationship between Victor and Chelsea. They are getting awfully chummy, although Victor is using her for his own purposes. Now that she believes Adam is dead (which of course, he isn't), Chelsea is very vulnerable.

Another viewer, Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario, picked up on a comment by Victoria Newman.  When Stitch asked Vicki if he was interfering with anything, she replied that "it's just Johnny's birthday."  Huh? What kind of a mother says that about her toddler son's birthday?  Victoria has her faults but she loves Johnny and would never just brush off his birthday as something insignificant.  The writers put words in her mouth that don't ring true.  Either that, or she's been mesmerized by the dubious charms of Dr. Stich'em Up - oops - I mean Dr. Ben Rayburn.


Matthew Atkinson

A newcomer to daytime, Matthew Atkinson, has been cast in the recurring role of Austin, a cameraman working with Avery, presumably on her cooking show.  He will make his first appearance on April 17th on CBS and April 16th on Global.  The actor has had guest roles on such television series as Drop Dead Diva, CSI and One Tree Hill.  He also had a part in the Academy Award-nominated movie The Blind Side.

Will this new Austin character create problems for happy couple Dylan and Avery? After all, once he tastes Avery's yummy cooking, how can he resist the awesome blonde - especially when she removes her spectacles?  Will Handyman Dylan rue the day he urged her to do a television cooking show?  Will there be trouble in paradise?

Perhaps The Young and the Restless realizes it need more staff at Memorial Hospital than Dr. Stitch.  The show has sent out a casting call for the recurring role of Dr. Barton,  "an African-American doctor in his late 30s to early 40s, handsome, intelligent, and a highly capable surgeon."  Could he be possibly be Leslie's new husband?

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, April 27. 2014.

- Joanne

Friday, April 4, 2014

Television Game Shows Quiz


This is a quiz about quiz shows.  Yes, game shows have been a staple of daytime television and to a much lesser extent, prime time.  TV viewers enjoy matching wits with contestants or just making the right guess.  TV Banter presents a challenge for game show fans and trivia buffs alike.   Test your knowledge of game shows, game show hosts and game show history.  So, as they say on The Price is Right, come on down and try this 15-question quiz.  Good luck!


1.  The late Allen Ludden, who hosted various versions of daytime and prime time Password beginning in 1961, was married to a well known actress.  Who is Allen Ludden's widow?

A.  Shirley Jones

B.  Florence Henderson

C.  Betty White

D.  Marjorie Lord

E.  June Lockhart

2.  Bob Barker hosted The Price is Right for 35 years, from 1972  until 2007.  What game show did Bob host prior to The Price is Right?

A.  Beat the Clock

B.  Concentration

C.  Treasure Hunt

D.  Truth or Consequences

E.  The $64,000 Question

3.  Before he rose to fame on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson hosted a game show.  What was the name of the game show that Johnny Carson hosted?

A.  Who Do You Trust?

B.  Double Dare

C.  Win, Lose or Draw

D.  You Don't Say!

E.  Whose Line Is It Anyway?

4.  Dick Clark hosted the original Pyramid game show from 1973 to 1988..  It was called the $10,000 Pyramid when it debuted on March 26, 1973 on CBS.  Which of the following did not host a version of Pyramid?

A.  Bill Cullen

B.  John Davidson

C.  Richard Dawson

D.  Donny Osmond

E.  John Davidson

5.  For most of the original run of The Hollywood Squares (from 1966 until 1981), who was the regular "centre square?"

A.  Roddy McDowell

B.  Jonathan Winters

C.  Joan Rivers

D.  Vincent Price

E.  Paul Lynde

6.  What is the real name of Peter Marshall, the host of The Hollywood Squares from 1966 to 1981?

Peter Marshall in 1965 photo

A.  Peter MacKenzie

B.  Robert Vine

C.  Stuart Corrigan

D.  Ralph Pierre LaCock

E.  Ambrose Jones

7.  Alex Trebek began hosting Jeopardy! in 1984.  Who was the original host of Jeopardy! when it premiered on NBC on March 30, 1964?

A.  Bill Cullen

B.   Art Fleming

C.  Bert Convy

D.  Gene Rayburn

E,  Garry Moore

8.  Who composed the Jeopardy theme song?

A.  Merv Griffin

B.  Paul Anka

C.  Marvin Hamlisch

D.  Henry Mancini

E.  Burt Bacharach

9.  What U.S. game show did Pete Best, the original drummer of The Beatles appear on?

A.  What's My Line?

B.  I've Got a Secret

C.  Name That Tune

D.  The Dating Game

E..  Pete Best has never appeared on a U.S. game show.

10.  Which of the following game show hosts was not born in Canada?

A.  Alex Trebek

B.  Monty Hall

C.  Richard Dawson

D   Art Linkletter

E.  Howie Mandel

11. When What's My Line? premiered on February 2, 1950, the first mystery guest was a well-known baseball player.  Who was he?

A.  Joe DiMaggio

B.  Yogi Berra

C.  Ted Williams

D.  Willie Mays

E,  Phil Rizzuto

12.  Another major league baseball player, Joe Garagiola, became a broadcaster and television host.  Which of the following game shows was not hosted by Garagiola?

A.  Blockbusters

B.  Sale of the Century

C.  To Tell the Truth

D.  He Said, She Said

E.  Joe Garagiola's Memory Game


1.  C

Allen Ludden and Betty White in June 1968

Allen Ludden married Betty White on June 19, 1963.  She was his second wife.  His first wife, Margaret McGloin, died of cancer on October 30, 1961.  He met Betty on Password and they remained together until Allen's death of stomach cancer at the age of 63 on June 9, 1981.  Prior to Password, Allen hosted the G.E. College Bowl, a quiz show competition featuring teams of students from colleges and university students and primarily sponsored by General Electric.

2.  D

Bob Barker's first day hosting Truth or Consequences in Decenber 1956

Prior to The Price is Right, Bob Barker hosted Truth or Consequences. from  1956 until 1975.  He began hosting The Price is Right on September 4, 1975, while still hosting Truth or Consequences.

3.  A.

From 1957 until 1962, Johnny Carson hosted the grammatically incorrect Who Do You Trust? (It should be Whom Do You Trust?).  In 1958, Ed McMahon, (Carson's future Tonight Show sidekick), joined the show as the announcer.  The premise of Who Do You Trust was that three couples competed on each show.  The couples were introduced one at a time and Carson interviewed them.  In the quiz portion, Carson informed the male contestant of the category of the question.  The man would then have to choose whether to answer the question himself or "trust" the woman to do it for him.

When Jack Parr left The Tonight Show in 1962, Johnny Carson stepped down as host of Who Do You Trust in order to replace Parr on light night television.  Johnny hosted The Tonight Show for thirty seasons, from the autumn of 1962 until the spring of 1992.  By the way, comedian Woody Woodbury replaced Carson as host of Who Do You Trust? and the show ended its run in 1963.

4.  C

Richard Dawson never hosted a version of Pyramid.

From 1974 to 1979, Bill Cullen hosted a syndicated version called the $25,000 Pyramid.  In 1991, John David hosted the $100,000 Pyramid.  Donny Osmond hosted Pyramid from 2002 until 2004.  In 2012, a version of Pyramid showed up on The Game Show Network  (GSN).  It was hosted by Mike Richards and cancelled after only one season due to low ratings.

5.  E

For most of the original run of The Hollywood Squares, comedian Paul Lynde was the "centre square." Lynde, who died of a heart attack on January 10, 1982 at the age of 55, was the subject of a 2005 biography titled Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story, by Steve Wilson and Joe Florenski.  Since The Hollywood Squares is a tic-tac-toe game, the centre square is the most important square for tactical reasons.  By the way, the very first "cenre square" was Ernest Borgnine.

6.  D

Peter Marshall was born Ralph Pierre LaCock on March 30, 1926 in Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.A.

7.  B

Art Fleming hosting Jeopardy!

Actor and television personality Art Fleming was the original host of Jeopardy!.  Fleming passed away on April 25, 1995 at the age of 70.  (Note the prize money amounts in the photo above).

8.  A

Merv Griffin, the creator of Jeopardy!, also composed its theme song, "Think."  Griffin originally composed the song as a lullaby for his son, Tony.

9.  B

Drummer Pete Best left The Beatles in 1962 and was replaced by Ringo Starr.  Best appeared on I've Got A Secret in 1964.  When host Garry Moore asked him why he left the band, he replied, "I thought I'd like to start of group of my own and I thought at that time they weren't going to go as big as they are now."

10.  C

Richard Dawson, the original host of Family Feud,  was born in Gosport, England, U.K..  Dawson passed away on June 2, 2012 at the age of 79 from esophageal cancer.

The others were all born in Canada.  Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek was born in Subury, Ontario.   Monty Hall, who hosted Let's Make A Deal, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Art Linkletter, who died on May 26, 2010, was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (Art lived until the ripe old age of 97).  Howie Mandel, the host of Deal or No Deal, was born in Toronto, Ontario.

11.  E

Phil Rizzuto in 1950 picture

The first mystery guest on What's My Line? was renowned New York Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto. Nicknamed "The Scooter," Rizzzuto was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown in 1994.  He died on August 13, 2007 at the age of 89.  (Above is a photo of Phil (left) with host John Daly on What's My Line? in 1950).

12.  A

Joe Garagiola in 1951

Joe Garagiola

Joe Garagiola did not host Blockbusters.  Bill Cullen hosted the 1980-1982 version of Blockbusters and comedian Bill Rafferty hosted the 1987 version.  Both versions were aired on NBC.

Garagiola, a native of St. Louis Missouri, was a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals (1946-1951), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1951-1953), the Chicago Cubs (1953-1954) and the New York Giants (1954).  He hosted He Said, She Said from 1969 to 1970, Joe Garagiola's Memory Game from February to July of 1971, Sale of the Century from 1971 to 1974 and To Tell the Truth from 1977 to 1978.

- Joanne

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Y&R Report (March 29, 2014): The Latest on the Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama.  Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT:  Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

It won't be long, I think, until Phyllis finally awakens from her coma.  On the latest cover of CBS Soaps, there is a headline about Y&R getting set to recast the role.  It seems almost certain that Michelle Stafford will not be returning, although I will not completely rule out the possibility.  Now that Nick and Sharon have gotten together again, Phyllis has to come between them by revealing Sharon's secret.

So Reed Hellstrom, son of Victoria Newman and ex-husband J.T. Hellstrom, came for a visit to Genoa City. Reed was born on December 3, 2007, which makes him six years old.  A regular viewer, Helen from Scarborough, Ontario, thinks he always looks about the same age.  Perhaps that because soaps age children so quickly to give them a storyline.  To put this in perspective, Summer Newman was born on December 19, 2006.  However, Summer is now a 19-year-old on the show while Reed is still a child.  I guess they haven't given Reed the Soap Rapid Aging Formula (SRAF) yet.

I've read Jeanne Cooper's (Katherine Chancellor) 2012 memoir, Not Young, Still Restless.  In the book, Jeanne refers to some wise words from Y&R creator Bill Bell about keeping a soap successful .  She quotes Bell as having said, "You do not kill off your core characters, and you do not let your core families disintegrate."  I wish the current powers that be at The Young and the Restless would heed Bell's sage advice.

In my opinion, the show has gone downhill ever since they killed office the patriarch of the Abbott family, John Abbott, portrayed by Jerry Douglas.  Jeanne denounced the 2006 decision to have John die of a stroke (Bell, who died on April 29, 2005, was gone when the mistake was made).

Jerry still appears sporadically as John Abbott's ghost, dispensing advice to son Jack. In effect, he serves as Jack's conscience.  Yet, it's not the same.  Here's what Jeanne Cooper wrote in her autobiography.

And believe me, if a vote were taken on the set today among the actors who've been on Y&R for any length of time at all, the Abbott family would be sitting down to breakfast at their long-lost dining room table again right this very minute.

Avery seems to be quite a cook, doesn't she.  I guess she's Genoa City's own Martha Stewart.  Of course, the busy lawyer still finds time to do some home cooking despite the trials and tribulations of her personal life.  Boy, some women can do it all, can't they!  Proud boyfriend Dylan entered one of her recipes in a contest and it won, naturally.

How did you like energetic Hilary on The Price is Right?  Do you think CBS was trying to promote another of it's shows.  Nah.  It couldn't be.


Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario writes:

Where does one find a "too good to be true Dylan" and who will be the first to find Adam - Clueless Paul Wiiliams or Vindictive Victor?  

I'm putting my money on Vindictive Victor.

So am I, Fifi!.  So am I!

Here's the latest from our friend CC from Etobicoke.  Note: CC's comments are in italics, followed by my responses.

Along with having had enough of this weather I am also on the verge of having had enough of some of the scenarios on Y & R.

Y&R's ratings are down and a website ran an exclusive that executive producer Jill Farren Phelps is trying to get Susan Lucci to join the cast.  If you can believe the sleazy tabloid Globe Magazine, Phelps has apparently made an offer to Lucci to come on board.

Dylan is definitely a semi-keeper but he seems to be holding back somehow especially with Avery.  His heart is not in it.

Well, CC, it seems to me that Dylan and Avery are quite happy right now. That means the writers will find something to come between them.

Nikki and Victor are living in another rocky marriage phase.  Isn't this at least the 2nd if not third anniversary trip she is not going to go on?  

Victor does dangle a lot of gifts, especially jewellery and trips, in front of her.  In fact, it's gotten to the point where she's so nonchalant about Victor's expensive presents that she looks rather bored by them.

Why would Neil choose sour Lesley over the perky, mysterious but evil Hilary?  Anyway, when did he become such a 'til death do us part' fan?
He threw Sofia out the door at the first opportunity.

Yes, CC, I think Neil can be quite hypocritical at times.  Not only did he dump Sophia unceremoniously, he also dumped his second wife, Karen, very abruptly.  He used Sophia and treated Karen terribly.  The man's matrimonial track record has not been good.  He seemed truly happy with Drucilla, though.

Was shocked but grateful to hear that actress playing Chloe is leaving the show.  I hope she takes Kevin with her and they settle somewhere far away from Genoa City so they cannot come back for a visit.

I'm not a fan of the Chloe character and frankly I'm not disappointed that Elizabeth Hendrickson is leaving the show.  I'm waiting to find out if the character will be recast.  As for Kevin, I like him better since he sold the coffee shop to Dylan.

Right now it looks like the writers are tossing all the main male and female characters up in the air and when they land we will see who is with whom!

I agree.  The reason the writers made Sharon undergo shock treatment was that she would forget the secret she is hiding from Nick.  Once Nick learns the truth (and he will, of course), they are doomed as a couple. Chelsea is in limbo until the situation with Adam becomes clearer and some fans think she may eventually get
together with Handyman Dylan again.  As for Billy and Victoria, they were too happy so the writers had to break them up, at least temporarily.  Unfortunately, Y&R made a huge mistake in allowing Billy Miller to go.
It's not clear yet whether a new actress will be taking over the role of Chloe or whether the character will just be written out.  If Elizabeth Hendrickson is not replaced, then Kevin will be matched up with someone else. I'm trying to figure out who it might be.  As for Noah and Courtney, they just seem to be drifting.  Nothing much is happening in that storyline.  What will happen between Jack and Phyllis once Phyllis comes out of her coma?  Will she go after Nick again when she discovers he is no longer with Avery.  If she remembers what Sharon did, she will undoubtedly use the information to break up Nick and Sharon.


Y&R has sent out a casting call for the roll of Aaron Newton, who's described as mid to late 30s and a charming businessman.  Hmmm  . . . That sounds quite a bit like Adam, doesn't it?

Gloria's dreamboat, Alex Chavez (played by Ignacio Serricchio), will return to Genoa City, after being on assignment.


VICTOR:  Jack's always been a poor judge of character.

JACK:  How can you say that, Victor?  I've always been right about you!


Would you like to see Kelly and Jack together? free polls 

That's all for now.  Coming up on the show will be the debut of the new Kelly, Cady McClain, and the Jabot fashion show.  The next Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, April 12.

- Joanne

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Y&R Report (March 15, 2014): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama.  Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT:  Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Adam is alive and he will return, although it seems as though his appearance will be altered to accommodate the actor who will be taking over the role.  I'm sure it's the old plastic surgery routine.  His face was obviously damaged when the car exploded. I wonder, though, how the change in his voice will be explained. Hmm . . .

Chelsea wants Victor to track Adam down.  It's not surprising that she has more confidence in Victor than in Genoa City police chief Paul Williams.

There has been some buzz on the Internet that perhaps Adam was not driving the car that struck Delia. Some Y&R fans have pointed out that if Adam's SUV had hit Delia, there would have been more damage to the front of his vehicle than a broken side-light.  They suggest that Kelly was the actual hit-and-run driver.
Some have speculated that Dr. Stitch may have been involved in the hit-and-run too.

For a long time, Kelly has been referring to something terrible and "unforgivable" that the surgeon had done. Now she has called the good doctor a "murderer."  Stitch and Kelly's past is slowly unravelling.

It looks as if Neil Winters is starting to fall for Hillary.  Once Devon realizes that Jabot model Esmerelda is a gold digger who is just after his billions, he may pursue Hillary himself.  However, Esmerelda is very manipulative and she will try every trick in the book to trick him into marrying him so that she can get her manicured hands on this money.  Devon may not know what hit him.


Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario has a prediction and I tend to agree with her.  Fifi thinks that Dylan's father is not Ian Ward.  Her theory is that Paul Williams will turn out to be Dylan's biological father.  Yes, the Clueless Police Chief himself!  It makes sense to me.  That's the information slippery Ian Ward warned Dylan he would never be able to reveal if he were killed.  Christine the Cricketmeister (also known as The Bug), is obviously jealous of the warm relationship between Nikki and Paul.  Then there's Victor, The Big Man.   Victor is an extremely jealous man.  He would blow a gasket if he learned that Nikki had a child by Paul, even all those years ago.  With soaps, you always have to ask what will create the most conflict.  If Dylan is indeed revealed to be Paul's son (as I think will happen), there will be a great deal of conflict.

By the way, some of you may point out that Dylan had a DNA test done.  The DNA test, however, only confirmed that Nikki is his mother.  It did not determine that Ian Ward is his father.

Our frequent commentator, CC from Etobicoke, Ontario has weighed in with some remarks and insights. Regular readers know that the last edition of Y&R Report contained a reader's poll asking Y&R fans to rate the performance of David Tom as Billy Abbott.  Here's CC's assessment of David Tom's performance as Billy and her remarks on other matters regarding the show.  Note: CC's comments are in italics followed by my responses.

My vote for the new Billy Abbott is a big fat FAIR! 
He did not have it when he first played Billy and things have not improved.
Death of the character of Billy Abbott would be a relief that I for one, and some others, may welcome in the near future.

Yes, CC, David Tom is not anywhere close to being as good as Billy Miller in the role of Billy Abbott. To be fair, however, he has had some pretty big shoes to fill.  It isn't easy to replace a good actor who is popular with the fans.  He is constantly being compared to his predecessor.  Many fans, myself, included, are disappointed that Billy Miller has departed.  That is not David Tom's fault.  I think he should be given a chance to get more comfortable with the storyline and some time to distance himself from Billy Miller's shadow.

Totally agree with you about being disgruntled about the direction the show is taking.
The themes are overdone and boring.
There are too many plots and subplots going on at the same time.  They seem to follow the same patterns -- get built up, dragged on and then fizzle out as another plot line emerges in another corner.

The majority of Y&R fans would agree that 2013 was not a banner year for the show. We are disappointed because we enjoy the show and we know the writing could be better.  We also disagree with some of the decisions that have been made such as the death of Delia storyline and the choice not to allow Billy Miller the flexibility to take on acting roles outside the show.  He's a good actor and Y&R could and should have kept him in the fold.

Many of the couplings are not working out. 
In particular, I never did and am not now feeling the love between Neil and Leslie/Valerie, or Neil and anyone since Drucilla for that matter; nor Tyler and Abby ( the sauna scenes don't even help); Sharon and Nick, no matter how hard or how long Sharon tries!
And the solid proof that one can never go back is the return of Colin and Jill. Bringing back Tristan Rogers has turned out to be a big flop so far.

I've got to agree with you about Neil, CC.  There was so much more chemistry between him and Drucilla.  I miss Drucilla.  She was a fun character and I wish they hadn't made her fall over a cliff.  Victoria Rowell, who played Drucilla, was really good in the role.  It would be wonderful to have her back on the show but I don't know if I could stand another character coming back from the dead.

As for Jill and Colin, I think they provide some much-needed comic relief and I am quite enjoying the cat and mouse game they are playing.  I don't think the return of Tristan Rogers as Colin has been a big flop.  Colin is also needed to give Sugar Cane Ashby more of a storyline,  Besides, what other U.S. soap can boast two Aussies in the cast?

I really do not understand why the producers and writers haven't learned that once you diminish a character through whatever means it is very difficult to revive them even by bringing back the same actor.      

Both Jess Walton (Jill) and Tristan (Colin) are perfect examples of this.

I agree with you about diminishing a character but I think that a better example is Sharon.  The writers completely ruined her character and made her unsympathetic to viewers.  She should have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder earlier so that fans would have sympathized with her struggle to overcome mental illness. There was a time when Nick and Sharon were a super couple.

Delia's death will go down in history as one of the biggest TV mistakes of all time. 
If and when the show is ever put on the shelf that is the event that will be looked upon as the beginning of the end.

Yes, CC, the death of young Delia upset and disappointed many Y&R fans.  After Cassie's passing, it was surprising that the show decided to present another child death.  Although it was definitely not my favourite storyline, I wouldn't go as far as to say that Delia's passing will go down in history as one the biggest TV mistakes of all time.

I am looking forward to the reuniting of Chelsea and Dylan just in time for the intrigue that Adam's alter ego will bring to that plot line.

In a previous edition of Y&R Report, I mentioned that Millie from Mississauga predicted that Chelsea and Dylan would get together.  I told Millie that it might happen eventually but not anytime soon.  Handyman Dylan and Avery the Attorney are blissfully happy.  Their happiness will last for a time.  However, on daytime soaps, contented couples don't remain contented for very long.


Although Eileen Davidson (Ashley) will be  returning to Days of Our Lives, she has found time to make a visit to Y&R.  Davidson and Beth Maitland (Traci Abbott) will turn up on the show in mid-April.

Elizabeth Hendrickson, who plays Chloe Mitchell, has conformed that she will be leaving the show. Hendrickson joined the cast of Y&R in 2008.  She told Soap Opera Digest that she was not fired or forced out and that her scenes will be airing well into May.  There is no word yet as to the fate of her Chloe character.


Victor Newman has been married numerous times, so many times that it's easy to lose count.  What was the name of Victor's first wife? (Answer at the bottom of the page).


So how do you like Amelia's Heinle's (Victoria Newman) with bangs.  CC from Etobicoke has commented on Amelia new hair style.  CC has dubbed it her "Little House on the Prairie" look.

Even though Amelia has recently signed a new contract, life events for Victoria Newman hopefully will ignite her and bring her out of her Little House on the Prairie persona.
In the case of Amelia's portrayal of Victoria, she doesn't do the present persona well, nor does she possess what it takes to ramp up to a new Victoria.
Even she is uncomfortable with her bangs!  Whose idea was that anyway?  That hairstylist should be made to hand over her comb, brush, and scissors!
One star for Amelia because she does possess the ability when acting to zone out of her real self, but still not appear to be acting.
Time to move on Amelia.  Time for producers to step up and reinvent Victoria.


Ian Ward:  Victor Newman, The Great Man himself!

Victor:  And you're Ian Ward, the soon-to-be worthless maggot on the bottom of my shoe!


Eric Braeden joined the cast of The Young and the Restless back in 1980.  At the time, his Victor Newman character was married to his first wife, Julia. Julia Newman was portrayed by Meg Bennett.

Meg Bennett

By my count, Newman has been married 14 times to nine different women, although some of the marriages were annulled or declared invalid.  After Julia, The Black Knight's other wives have included:

Nikki Reed Newman - four times, I believe.  His second marriage to Nikki occurred in a hospital when Nikki was thought to be dying - Diane Jenkins hired lawyer Michael Baldwin to declare the marriage technically invalid on the grounds that Victor's divorce from Diane Jenkins had not yet been  finalized).

Leanna "Love" Randolph (played by Barbara Crampton)the marriage was declared invalid because the minister who married them was fake)

Ashley Abbott (played by Eileen Davidson) - he married Ashley twice

Hope Adams (played by Signy Coleman)blind farm woman, mother of Adam

Diane Jenkins - he married Diane twice, although their second marriage was annulled

Sabrina Costelana (his daughter Victoria's friend whom she met in Italy while studying art) - Sabrina was killed in a car accident

Megggie McClain (played by Sean Young) - the marriage was faked

His former daughter-in-law (yuck!), Sharon Collins Newman (the marriage was annulled, thank goodness)

That's all for now.  Coming up on the show will be the Jabot fashion show and an appearance by Hilary on The Price is Right.  Remember that the next Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, March 29, 2014.

- Joanne

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Patty Petersen of The Donna Reed Show: What became of Paul's younger sister?

Patty Petersen with Donna Reed in 1963

Patty Petersen, now known as Patti Petersen Mirkovich, was born on December 2, 1954 in Glendale, California.  From 1963 until 1966, Patti played the role of Tricia Stone, the adopted daughter of Donna and Alex Stone, in 99 episodes of The Donna Reed Show.  She was only eight years old when she joined her big brother Paul as a member of the cast of the popular series.

Patti is the youngest of three children of Wilma and Lawrence Peterson.   Lawrence Petersen, of Danish descent, was a mechanic and the family struggled financially.  Due to economic necessity, Paul (born September 23, 1945) and Pamela, the eldest Petersen sibling, spent their early childhood with their parents on their aunt and uncle's farm in Iowa.

When the family's financial situation improved, they returned to California and Patti was born.  Not long after her birth, Paul Petersen's career began to take off.  Wilma had enrolled him in tap dancing, music and drama lessons at  an early age.  In 1955, when he was nine years old, he was selected as a Mouseketeer for Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Club.  The following year, he appeared in an episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Disney called "Along the Oregon Trail" (Season 3, Episode 10, Air Date: November 14, 1956) His tenure with Disney, however, did not last long and he was dismissed for reasons of "conduct unbecoming."  He later wrote a book about the experience titled Walt, Mickey and Me.  

After leaving Disney, Paul portrayed Cary Grant's son, David Winters, in the 1958 film, Houseboat, a romantic comedy starring Grant and Sophia Loren.  He then landed a plum role on The Donna Reed Show, which premiered in the fall of  1958 and was a huge hit with audiences. Meanwhile, his kid sister was also working toward a show business career.

On November 13, 1955, when Patti was less than a year old, she appeared on The Colgate Comedy Hour, a live comedy/variety show on NBC featuring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.  By the early 1960s, Patti wanted to be on The Donna Reed Show with her brother.  In late 1962, producer Tony Owen (Donna Reed's then-husband) agreed to cast her in a role.  It was perfect timing because Shelley Fabares, who played Mary Stone, the eldest of the Stone children, was planning to leave.  She had had a hit song with "Johnny Angel" and wanted to pursue a movie career (She went on to make three films alongside Elvis Presley).  By 1963, Shelley was 19 years old and Mary Stone was a college student. With Fabares' departure on the horizon, a new child was sorely needed to spur interest in the series.  Enter Paul Petersen's real-life kid sister.

Patti appeared for the first time as Trishia during The Donna Reed Show's fifth season, in an episode entitled "A Way of Her Own" (Air Date: January 31, 1963).  The little girl  followed the Stone family home from the park one day and remained at their home, insisting that she was now a member of their family. The Stones discovered that young Trishia was an orphan and that her only living relative was a an uncle named Fred Hawley.  Fred didn't have room for his niece in his busy life and he permitted her to stay with the Stones.

Below is a photo of the cast of the Donna Reed Show - Top (Left to right): Paul Petersen (Jeff Stone) and Carl Betz (Dr. Alex Stone); Bottom (Left to right): Patty Patersen (Trishia Stone), Donna Reed (Donna Stone) and Shelley Fabares (Mary Stone).

Paul Petersen, who portrayed Jeff Stone, was a teen heartthrob and a recording artist. So how did he feel about having his kid sister on the show?  In a story (circa 1964) entitled "A Big Brother Speaks Up In Defense of Kid Sisters," posted on Paul's website, the actor talked about working with his younger sibling. He was 19 years old at the time the article was written and Patti was only ten.  He insisted that he was lucky to be working with her "because it gives us so much more time together."  He also discussed how he served as his sister's disciplinarian and mentor at the studio. He would listen to her problems and supervise her lunches on the set.  "I suppose, because of this," Petersen declared, "I take a greater pride in her development, both as a human being and a performer."

When The Donna Reed Show ended its run in 1966, Patti was not yet 12 years old. After making commercials and industrial films, she retired from acting.  During the ensuing years, she married and pursued other interests, including country singing and songwriting.

Now 59 years old, Patti is a writer and the founder of InterNovel, the first Internet company to work together with both new authors and professionals in the writing of novels.  According to the most recent information available, she teaches English and computer science at a Catholic school and is a volunteer volleyball coach.

Patti has two children, Tim and Melissa.


* Carl Betz, who played pediatrician Alex Stone, Donna Reed's television husband, died of lung cancer in Los Angeles on January 18, 1978.  He was 56 years old at the time of his death.  After the cancellation of The Donna Reed Show, Betz went on to play lawyer Clinton Judd in the legal drama Judd for the Defense. The series aired for two season, from 1967 to 1969, on the ABC network.  After it was cancelled, he won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for his portrayal of attorney Judd.

Carl Betz in Judd for the Defense, 1967

* Donna Reed died of pancreatic cancer on January 14, 1986.  She was 64 years old. In 1987, Donna's widower, retired United States Army Colonel Grover Asmus. her TV daughter Shelley Fabares and many others, created the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts.  The non-profit foundation provides scholarships for performing arts students and organizes a yearly festival of performing arts workshops. It also operates the Donna Reed Center for the Performing Arts in Donna's hometown of Denison, Iowa.  Patti and Paul Petersen are active members of the organization.

* In 1962, Wilma and Lawrence Petersen divorced.  Wilma remarried and Lawrence became a new development engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.

* On December 6, 2011, a Donna Reed Show Reunion was held at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles.  Patti and Paul Petersen attended along with Shelley Fabares.  They regard their television parents with the utmost respect.  At the reunion, according to a report for LA Weekly by Ali Trachta, they shred stories about Donna, whom they considered a second mother.

At the reunion Shelley mentioned how she, Donna Reed, Carl Betz and Paul Petersen would continue to get together, even after their show went off the air.  They would meet regularly at a Beverly Hills restaurant called The Bistro just to chat and catch up on each other's lives.  Paul stated that sometimes he and Carl would sometimes remain until closing time, after the two women had left.

The above photo was taken in 2011 at the Paley Center. (Credit Kevin Parry for the Paley Center)  From left to right: Shelley Fabares, Paul Petersen and Patti Petersen Mirkovich.

* The MPI DVD 5-disc set of Season 5 of The Donna Reed Show includes, as a special feature, a video interview of Patti and Paul Petersen reminiscing about the series.


MARCH 10, 2014

I contacted Patti Petersen Mirkovich and she very kindly provided me with this update of her activities for readers of TV Banter.

After 12 years of teaching computer studies, a brief move to Texas and a move back to welcome 2 beautiful grandchildren (both girls ages 7 and 5), I have moved on to a technology department that services an entire county!   Sadly I am no longer involved with internet writing - a tremendous idea that was well before it's time.  I am still very involved with the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts and will return to Denison, IA (Donna's hometown and Foundation offices) later this year for our board meeting and scholarship award presentations.
A fun note for your readers:  For several years before joining the cast of The Donna Reed Show, I pestered and hounded Tony Owen for a chance to be on the show.  His return comment was always "When you're older."  Well, just before my 8th birthday, I asked again - joyously telling him I was going to be 8 and I was old enough!  This time Mr. Owen's response was, "It will be your birthday present."  Certainly a wonderful present !!!  Who knew that present would last a lifetime 

- Joanne

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Y&R Report (March 1, 2014): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama.  Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT:  Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

The Y&R writers had better step up and get some of those storylines moving faster.I don't know about you but I'm frustrated by the slow pace of the show.  It seems to me that the writers focus on one particular storyline, such as Delia's death or the hostage incident at the Genoa City Athletic Club and leave everything else on the back burner. Some stories move at such a snail's pace that viewers forget about them or simply lose interest by the time they return to the spotlight.  The focus is now on the Ian Ward storyline.  It's moving quickly but many of the others are not. Ward has been arrested for extortion but we haven't seen the last of him by any means.

The Abby and Tyler storyline with stalker Mariah seems to be going nowhere slowly. It's been on for months and we still haven't seen Mariah's face.  All we know is that she has a tattoo on her wrist.  Move it along please!

Is Phyllis ever going to come out of that coma?  I realize that they are probably trying to persuade Michelle Stafford to return to the show, but sooner or later they have to make a decision and get the storyline going before we forget about Phyllis altogether.  It already seems as if she has died.

I'm also tired of the continual bickering between Neil and Leslie over Leslie's reluctance to get married. That's been going on too long.  They've broken up now so move it along!

As for Dr. Stitch, also known as Ben Rayburn, the bits and pieces of his past are finally being revealed. It seems he had an affair with Kelly that destroyed his marriage.  He also did something that "Kel" finds unforgivable.  For a social worker, that Kelly certainly is a home wrecker - not that it doesn't take two to tango.  Stitch and Billy are by no means innocent either.  Still, the troublemaking blonde has perfected her "poor me, I'm all alone in town and you're my only friend" routine and Billy Boy has much too weak a character to resist.  Sure, Kelly's son died but that doesn't give her a licence to do what she has been doing. She's so persistent that not even the wrath of the Princess Victoria has deterred her.

Sorry to be so negative but right now I am a disgruntled about the direction the show is taking.  I really miss Billy Miller as Billy Abbptt and Michael Muhney as Adam Newman.  I am, however, enjoying Ray Wise's performance as Ian Ward.  Ward is such a slippery weasel.. I can't wait for him to come face to face with the Big Man, Victor Newman.  How will the Black Knight handle such a sneaky, conniving villain? Using violence against Ward hasn't worked for Nick and Dylan.  He always seems to find a way to escape their grasp.  As for Clueless Paul, he doesn't have a chance against the shifty cult leader.

It's evident that Fen the Mouse will soon be drawn into Ian's terrible trap.  He's a perfect target for the master manipulator Ward.  Fenmore's devoted father, Michael Baldwin, will no doubt become involved in the imbroglio.

Here's a request to the writers from me:  At least for awhile, could we have a moratorium on the following:

1.  Storylines about stalking.

2.  Storylines involving look-alikes.

3.  Child deaths.  Many viewers were upset and turned off by Delia's death.  After all, Nick and Sharon are still grieving Cassie.

4.  Characters returning from the dead.


Here are some remarks from regular commentator CC from Etobicoke, Ontario.

CC wrote:

Between the Cassie look-alike storyline and the new twists about Courtney it confirms for me that the writers make plot lines up as they go along.
I think they determine plot importance based a good deal on character popularity.
Courtney seems to be surging ahead of Summer at the moment, hence a u-turn in her character profile.

Yes, CC, I couldn't agree with you more.  For a while, they were undecided as to whether Courtney was gong to be a bad character or not.  They finally decided to make her an upright undercover cop.  Perhaps it was because, as you put it, she seems to be surging ahead of Summer at the moment.  The other factor, I think, was to promote a romance between her and Noah Newman.  Remember too, that the writers suddenly reformed Hillary because they want her to be involved romantically with Devon.

Chloe has gone over the edge by kidnapping cute baby Connor but
no one ever gets punished for their crimes or misdeeds in Genoa City.

Yes, Chloe went over the edge by kidnapping cute baby Connor and it seems as if she had a brief spell of insanity.  As for getting punished for crimes and misdeeds, most of the residents of Genoa City have been behind bars at some time for various reasons.  Make a list of the GC characters who have been behind bars and you will see what I mean.  It's difficult for the writers to have them remain in prison long for storyline purposes.  It gets tiresome for an actor to be restricted to jail scenes and prison visits from other characters. It's tiresome for viewers too.

Paul Williams is inept as a police chief.

You get no argument from me on that one, CC.

Millie from Mississauga, Ontario predicts that Dylan and Chelsea will get back together.  Perhaps, Millie, but not anytime soon.  He's too smitten with Avery right now.  Since we're talking about a soap, however, Avery and The Handyman can't remain happy for too long.  Chelsea doesn't have Adam right now, although he is bound to reappear.  Therefore, she may be quite open to the affections of Dylan since he is so attached to little Connor.

Helen from Scarborough, Ontario is amazed at how quickly Kevin Fisher arrived in Paris.  Wow!  Maybe he can fly faster than a speeding bullet like Superman.  Maybe this is a soap and you can't expect reality or you'll be sorely disappointed.  There are just some questions the writers don't want you to ask.  I ask them anyway, just for amusement.  For example, Sugar Cane Ashby sure recovered quickly from his gunshot wound, didn't he?


Cady McClain - the new Kelly

Cynthia Watros' stay on The Young and the Restless was very brief.  She only joined the cast last November.  However, as I mentioned in my last Y&R Report, Watros, who plays the role of Kelly Andrews has recently landed a part on a primetime MTV series, Finding Carter.  According to soap writer Dan J. Kroll, she will be replaced by two-time Emmy winmer Cady McClain.  The new Kelly is known for her portrayals of Dixie on All My Children and Rosanna on As the World Turns.


Helen from Scarborough thinks that Nikki dressed quite strangely when she went to see Ian Ward.  She says Nikki's outfit resembled a housecoat and couldn't help but notice that it matched the money bag she brought to Ian.  Melody Thomas Scott has taken colour coordination to new lengths, hasn't she.  By the way, Nikki was sure able to put together a million dollars fast.  Ooops . . . that's another one of those questions the writers don't want us to ask.


Avery:  You doubt my effectiveness?  Why?  Because I am a woman?

Dylan:  Because you smell like a cupcake and that is not very threatening.

Nick:  It's not.

Avery:  I  haven't made cupcakes in weeks.


How would you rate David Tom's performance as Billy Miller's replacement as Billy Abbott? free polls 

Don't forget that the next edition of the Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

- Joanne