Saturday, February 15, 2020

Y&R Report (February 15, 2020): 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 have to say that I am really looking forward to  Newman Enterprises' 50th anniversary gala.  Get ready for quite a tribute to Eric Btaeden's forty years on Y&R as Victor Newman.  There will be three special episodes next week celebrating Eric's four decades on the show, beginning on Tuesday, February 18th on CBS and Monday, February 17th on Global TV.  The festivities will kick off with Nikki hosting the elegant gala.  There will be many vintage flashbacks and some characters will be returning for the celebrations including Victor's grandson, Noah Newman (Robert Adamson), his first wife, Julia (Meg Bennett) and his brother, Matt Miller (Robert Parucha).  You can bet that Y&R is pulling out all the stops for this celebration and it's no accident that it is occurring during the February sweeps.

All of Victor Newman's  ex-wives could not be invited to the gala.  By my count, three of them are deceased; Hope died of cancer, Diane was shot by Nikki in self-defence and Sabrina died in a car crash.  Ashley and Julia. seem to be the only ones of Victor's former wives around.

It isn't a surprise that Kyle and Lola broke up so easily.  They were doomed from the start.  They had too much against them.  Still, I was a bit surprised at how quickly they decided to divorce without even making an effort to save their marriage.  Of course, Summer and Theo swooped in like vultures.  They are both devious but Theo is a total scumbag.  Does he really want Lola or is he just trying to get back at Kyle?  Is he after Kyle's job too.  He sat in Kyle's chair as if he were CEO of Jabot.  I suspect he will try and use the fact that he is Dina's grandson to get what he wants.

Right now, Summer is the winner of the Kyle Abbott sweepstakes, but Snowflake may discover that Kyle isn't such a great prize.  That's because he's a lot like her.  The two of them are spoiled and self-centred.  They feel enabled to do what they want because they are wealthy.

Billy is out of control and he is becoming more and more reckless.  In recent episodes, we have seen him taking delight from looking down from a hotel ledge and hitting a tree with a race car.  He is fortunate that he hasn't been seriously injured.  His brother Jack is very concerned about him, but Victor thinks Billy Boy should be allowed to reach absolute rock bottom.  He thinks that's the only way that he will right himself.  The problem is that someone else may be hurt due to Billy's recklessness.  According to one online spoiler, Victoria might end up in the hospital.  I wonder if she'll hurt herself trying to stop Amanda's ex, Ripley Turner, from harming Billy.

I have to agree with Billy on one point, though.  Princess Victoria has allowed Victor to control her and ruin her marriages and relationships with men.  Victoria has always put her father ahead of the men is  her life.  She has never put a stop to his meddling and she has paid the price with numerous broken relationships and marriages.

We now know about Amanda's past, but we still don't know why she is a dead ringer for Hilar.  Are we ever going to get an explanation for that?  Is there even an explanation or was it just a way to get Mishael Morgan back on the show as a new characcter?  It would have been too ridiculous to bring Hilary back from the dead.

How about that Phyllis?  Genoa City's resident nosey parker found a way to find what was happening in Las Vegas between Chance and Adam without even going there.  She sure is resourceful when she wants to know something.  She always seems to find a way.

Did you notice that Y&R ignored Valentine's Day this year?  I guess the writers decided to focus on the big Newman anniversary bash instead.


CAST NEWS
Jaime Lyn Bauer turns down request to return as Lorie Brooks for two episodes due to vacation


Longtime Y&R viewers are familiar with Jaime Lyn Bauer.  She played Lorie Brooks for years, beginning in 1973, when the show debuted.  She finished her run in 1982.  Her last appearance in Genoa City was in 2018 for Y&R's 45th anniversary.

Jaime Lyn was asked by Y&R to reprise her role as Lorie Brooks for two episodes.  It has not been made clear as to what storyline Y&R wanted her to participate in this time.  However, it was most likely the upcoming celebrations for Eric Braeden's forty years on Y&R.  In the early 1980s, Lorie Brooks was engaged to Victor Newman, but she stood him up at the altar.

Unfortunately, Jaime Lyn was unable to accommodate the show and she explained why on Facebook.  The powers-that-be on Y&R wanted her to tape the two episodes in the middle of a vacation with family and friends in Cancun, Mexico that she had already booked.  She spent a month in Cancun.  Maybe she'll visit Gennoa City again some other time.


Hunter King wins lead role on primetime series


The Snowflake herself has landed the lead role on a prospective new primetime series.  As first reported by Deadline, Hunter King has been cast as Abigail Landing in a new pilot for ABC.  It is a comedy called Prospect.  Her character, Abigail, is a young, idealistic woman from Boston who is excited about her teaching job at a school in the Western prairie town of Prospect. Upon arriving in Prospect, she discovers that her students are not children, but rowdy male ranch hands.

Prospect sounds interesting, but what will all this mean for Hunter King's status on Y&R?  It's too early to tell.  We don't even know if Prospect will be picked up because the fall lineups won't be announced until May.  When Hunter was on the primetime show Life in Pieces, she worked out a schedule by which she was also able to continue with her role on Y&R.  This is unlikely to happen with ProspectLife in Pieces and Y&R are both CBS shows, while Prospect would be on a rival network.   Also, she was part of an ensemble cast on Life in Pieces, but she has the lead role on Prospect.

Here are some questions to consider if Hunter King waves goodbye to The Young and the Restless: If she leaves, will her character be written out?  Will a new actor take over the role of Summer?  Will it mean that there is still hope for Kyle and Lola to salvage their broken marriage?


Y&R REPORT READERS' POLL

Who is the biggest jerk in Genoa City?  My vote goes to Kyle Abbott.  Everything that Rae said about him is true.  Kyle himself couldn't even disagree that he's been very selfish and that he's hurt both Lola and Summer.  So fans, do you agree with me?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Who is currently the biggest jerk on Y&R?

Billy Abbott
Kyle Abbott
Theo Vanderway
Adam Newman
Other
Please Specify:
Created with poll maker


Readers, I would appreciate your feedback

If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 

My email address:  jmadden16@yahoo.ca

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on February 29, 2020, Leap Year Day.


- Joanne

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Tribute to Orson Bean: Struck dead by a car at 91


People shouldn't get into show business because they want to become stars or become rich; they should get into it because they can't help but put on a show

- Orson Bean
Los Angeles Times interview

I was saddened by the news of Orson Bean's death at the age of 91 after being hit by two cars in L.A.  On February 7, 2020, Orson was walking near the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Shell Avenue in Venice, Los Angeles when he was fatally struck in a traffic collision.  A family representative said he was crossing the street near the Pacific Resident Theater, where his wife, actress Alley Mills, was preparing for an upcoming production..  The couple had recently starred in a play at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica, California.

According to Captain Brian Wendling of the L.A. Police Department, "The car coming westbound did not see him and clipped him and he went down.  A second vehicle was coming up, was distracted by people trying to slow him down and then looked up and then a second traffic collision occurred and that one was fatal."  He was pronounced dead at the scene.  An L.A. Police spokesperson stated that it was not a "hit and run."

Orson Bean was an veteran actor of the stage and screen and a well known television personality.  He made frequent appearances on TV game shows from the 1960s to the 1980s.  He became a familiar face on Password, The Match Game and Tattletales.  Most notably, he was a longtime panelist on To Tell the Truth.  

Below is a photo of Oron as a panelist on To Tell the Truth.  He is sitting third from the left between fellow panelists Peggy Cass (left) and Kitty Carlisle (right).  Tom Poston sits on the far left.  Standing is host Brad Collier.




Orson Bean was born Dallas Frederick Burrows in Burlington, Vermont on July 22, 1928.  He was raised near Harvard University, where his father, George Burrows, was a campus police officer.  George was also a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union.  Orson's mother, the former Marian Ainsworth (née Pollard) committed suicide when Orson was 16 years old.  He left home after her death

In 1946, Orson Bean graduated from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (known as CRLS or Rindge), a public high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He then enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed in Japan for a year.  After his service in the military, Orson worked as a magician before turning to stand-up comedy in the early 1950s.  He performed in small clubs near Boston and Philadelphia before heading to New York, where Broadway and The Ed Sullivan Show awaited.  From 1950 to 1960, Orson was the house comic at the Blue Angel night club in the Big Apple.

Orson began appearing on the Tonight Show in the 1950s.  According to the Associated Press, he appeared on the program over 200 times, often filling in for Jack Parr and Johnny Carson.  Orson was a great storyteller and a favourite of Johnny Carson.  In a 1974 appearance with Carson on The Tonight Show. he described his stage name as a combination of the pompous and the amusing.  He related how Orson Welles called him over to a table at the Blue Angel one night and declared, "You stole my name" and then waved him away.

Orson Bean made a memorable appearance in a 1960 episode of one of my all-time favourite shows, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone.  In the episode, entitled "Mr. Bevis" (Season 1, Episode 33, Air Date: June 3, 1960), Orson played James B.W. Bevis, a bumbling man who loses his job, his car and his apartment on the same day.  A guardian angel helps him start a new life, but there is a price to be paid.

Below is a photo of Orson Bean (right) with William Schallert in the "Mr Bevis" Twilight Zone episode.

In the early 1970s, Orson "dropped out" and lived a bohemian lifestyle.  In a 1989 interview, he told the Los Angeles Times uprooted his family and moved to Australia after the March 6, 1970 Weather Underground Explosion occurred (Three members of a leftist paramilitary group called the Weather Undergound Association were killed when a bomb they had built exploded in the basement of a townhouse near Orson's Greenwich Village home).  "I turned 40 and ran away from home," Bean said. "I had a lot of money in the bank and I just spent it."

Orson and his family returned to the United States a year and a half later.  "I came back, pierced my ear, grew a beard, bought an old van, tossed the kids in the back, and we lived like hippies for three years," he recalled.

In 1977, Orson appeared as Reverend Brim in Forever Fernwood, the sequel to cult favourite Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.  From 1986 to 1989, Orson played Oliver Thompson in the family sitcom The Facts of Life.  From 1993 to 1998, Orson portrayed Loren Bray, a grumpy storekeeper, on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  From 1996 to 1997, he played the role of Oliver Thompson in three episodes of the sitcom The Facts of Life.  In the 1990s, he guest-starred on such series as Diagnosis Murder (1998) and Ellen (1998).  Orson portrayed 105-year-old "Dr. Lester" in the 1999 feature film Being John Malkovich,

As the 21st century began, Orson Bean found himself  busier than ever.  In 2000, he played the role of Willam "Bill" Gamble on the short-lived comedy Normal, Ohio, starring John Goodman.  In 2000, he also had guest spots in episodes of such series as Ally McBeal, The King of Queens, Family Law and Will & Grace.  In addition, he appeared in episodes of Becker (2002), 7th Heaven (2003), Two and Half Men (2005) and How I Met Your Mother (2007)

From 2099 to 2012, Orson played Roy Bender on the comedy/drama Desperate Housewives.  In 2011, he guest-starred as Dan in an episode of Hot in Cleveland.  He also appeared as Marty in an episode of Modern Family entitled "Playdates" (Season 7, Episode 10, Air Date: January 6, 2016).

Orson never retired and continued to act into his 90s.  He recently appeared in a 2020 episode of the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.  In the episode, entitled "The Scent," he portrayed a character named Bruno.

Orson Bean was married three times.  His first wife was actress Jacqueline de Sibour, the daughter of a French nobleman (Her stage name was Rain Winslow).  The couple wed in 1956 and had one child, Michele.  They divorced in 1962.

In 1965, Orson married Carolyn Maxwell, an actress and fashion designer.  They had three children: Max, Susannah and Ezekiel, but divorced in 1981.  Their daughter, Susannah, married controversial right-wing journalist Andrew Breitbart in 1997.  Breitbart died in 2012.

After his second wife left him in 1981, Orson Bean descended into a life of alcohol, drugs and loneliness.  He eventually moved from New York to Los Angeles to be nearer to his children.  He later wrote Mail for Mikey, detailing his addiction and recovery.

Orson's third wife was actress Allison "Alley" Mills (born May 9, 1951), who played Kevin Arnold's mother, Norma, on The Wonder Years.  Alley also had a recurring role in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and portrayed Pamela Douglas on the daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful.  She and Orson resided in Los Angeles and remained together until his death

Alley Mills
Orson Bean's lengthy career spanned decades, from Hollywood's Golden Age to the Age of Netflix.  He referred to himself as a neo-celebrity. someone who is "famous for being famous."  However, he was so much more than that.  His contribution to film, televison and theatre will long be remembered.  R.I.P. Orson.

Orson in more recent years

END NOTES

* Orson Bean was an ardent fan of Laurel and Hardy,  He co-founded a Laurel and Hardy appreciation society named Sons of the Desert, after one of the comedy duo's film.

* Orson was a distant cousin of Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929.

* Orson studied theatre at the HB (Herbert Berghof) Studio in Greenwich Village, New York City.

* Orson portrayed a psychiatrist in the film Anatomy of a Murder, a classic 1959 courtroom drama.directed by Otto Preminger.

* During the Cold War, Orson Bean was blacklisted from television for about a year because he had a communist girlfriend whom he claimed had dragged him to a couple of meetings.  Ed Sullivan cancelled Orson's appearance on his show, even though Orson had already appeared on the Sullivan show seven times (Sullivan eventually booked him on the show again, blaming the blacklisting on his sponsor, Campbell's Soup).  Nevertheless, Orson went from being a popular CBS comic to not working.  Fortunately, he was able secure a role in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, an off-Broadway play

In 1964, Orson opened The Fifteenth Street School, a progressive school in Manhattan modelled after educator A.S. Neill's Summerhill School in England.  The school was partly based on the theories of Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, which Orson described in his 1971 book Me and the Orgone, written after he had moved his family to Australia.

* Orson appeared on two daytime soap operas.  In 1982, he portrayed Harrison Logan in an episode of One Life to Live.  In 2016, he played Howard on The Bold and the Beautiful.

* Orson was an accomplished stage actor.  In 1961, he received a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance for his performance in Subways are for Sleeping.

SOURCES:  Los Angeles Times; "Actor Orson Bean, local theator mainstay who rose to fame as a 1950s TV personality, dies," by Nardine Sadd, February 8, 2020; People, "Actor and Comedian Orson Bean Dies at 91 After Being Fatally Struck by Vehicle in Los Angeles," by Maria Pasquini, February 8, 2020; The Washington Post, "Orson Bean, droll actor, comedian and raconterur, dies at 91," by Harrison Smith, February 9 2020; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb.om)


- Joanne

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Y&R Report (February 1, 2020): 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, it's been difficult to keep up with Y&R due to all the interruptions from the Donald Trump impeachment trial.  However, Global TV has not interrupted Y&R half way through an episode.  I have also watched videos of some episodes on Global online.  So, I have been able to keep up.

Under former head writer Mal Young, the pace of the storylines on Y&R became faster, and sometimes much too fast.  Now, under current head writer Josh Griffith, the pace of the storylines has slowed down considerably.  At times, they move at a snail's pace, especially the Billy/Victoria/Amanda storyline. 

By revealing her cancer diagnosis to only Rae, Nick and her children, Sharon is making life awkward for them.  They are forced to keep her secret.  However, busybody Phyllis, the nosiest person in Genoa City was able to figure it out.  Phyllis was actually quite upset about Sharon's illness, although the two have never liked each other.  The two women have never gotten along, especially because Phyllis had an affair with Nick while he was married to Sharon.

Some people can never figure out what they want in life.  Billy Abbott is one of them.  According to an online spoiler, he is going to spiral out of control.  He just can't find his groove.  Maybe people are too quick to judge Billy, but he seems to think he always knows best and that he can handle everything.

Have you noticed that the images of the actors in the opening theme correspond to whether they will appear in the episode?  If you want to know who will appear in an episode, all you have to do is look at the images.  I like that.  It gives me a good idea about what the episode will be about.  It lets me know if my favourite actors will be shown.

Here is some good news for Y&R fans.  The Young and the Restless has been renewed for four more years, until 2024.  Days of Our Lives has also been officially renewed for a record 56th season,.until the summer of 2021.


VIEWER FORUM

If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 
My email address:  jmadden16@yahoo.ca

Here is an e-mail I received from Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario.

Phyllis is way over the top and I don't like what they're doing with her character.  I don't like Chance.  I'm not happy with Sharon's storyline and I'm sick and tired of the Billy storyline.  So why do I watch it? 

I think Adam and Chelsea will last for a while but you never know what he is up to.  What will be interesting is what went on between him and Chance in Vegas.  I look forward to the big gala for Newman Enterprises.  Oh yes, I am sick of the Summer, Kyle, Lola and Theo characters too.


I also think Phyllis is way over the top, Carly.  She has become a caricature.  She may be amusing, but she is not believable.  She is much too cartoonish.  Sometimes I find her comical.  Other times she really annoys me. 

You say that are not happy with the storylines, but you still watch.  I am not thrilled about some of the storylines right now either, but like you, I still watch.  Why?  The show is always changing and evolving.  New storylines and characters are always being introduced.  There are times when the writing is bad and times when it is much better.

Since Y&R is a soap, Chelsea and Adam will eventually break up.  However, I don't trust Adam.  I don't think that he has fundamentally changed.  He's still hiding what happened in Vegas.  Yes, it will be interesting to find out what he and Chance cooked up there, but the writers are taking far too long to reveal what happened.  Also, it will be interesting to see Adam's reaction when he learns about Sharon's cancer.  Will it have a big impact on him?

I am also really looking forward to the Newman gala.  It should be fun.  Unlike you, I am not sick of the Kyle, Lola and Theo storyline.  but I often think it is too repetitious.  I realize the writers have to fill time but they can speed it up a little.  At any rate, it looks like the honeymoon is really over for Kyle and Lola.  There is a great deal of trouble in Paradise.  Snowflake and shifty Theo are waiting in the wings like vultures.


I had a conversation with longtime Y&R viewer, Fifi in Collingwood, Ontario   Fifi thinks that Nikki's nightmare is going to come true.  She thinks that Nick and Sharon are going to get together again.  I think that Fifi could be right.  Those two will always have a history.  They were married for ten years, which is a long time on a soap, and they had two children together.  They seem to be repeating the pattern of Nikki and Victor through the years, always breaking up and reuniting.


CAST NEWS
Christian Keyes to play a man from Amanda's past



We're finally going to learn more about Amanda's (Mishael Morgan) mysterious past.  Christian Keyes is set to play Ripley Turner, Amanda's ex-fiance.  According to Devon Harmilton's dossier on Amanda, she has a restraining order against her ex.  He probably abused her.

Christian Keyes was born in Michigan on July 24, 1975.  He was a regular on the TV series Saints and Sinners.  He also had recurring roles on Legends of Tomorrow and Supernatural.  Christian will arrive in Genoa City on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 (CBS) and Tuesday, February 4th on Global TV in Canada.


Kirby Bliss Blanton has new role on Y&R


Kirby Bliss Blanton, a 29-year-old from Texas, has joined the cast of Y&R as Lindsay, a new employee at Society, Abby's restaurant.  She may replace Tessa Porter, who has gone on tour with her ex-husband, singing star Tanner Watts (Chase Coleman).

Kirby had small roles in such TV series such as Zoey 101, Hannah Montana and Hawaii Five-0.  Her first feature film role was in the 2007 horror movie Scar.



Y&R REPORT READERS' POLL

Michael Mealor (Kyle)

Kyle Abbott (Michael Mealor) is torn between Lola and Summer, although he's starting to gravitate toward Summer.  Which one do you think Kyle is more suited to, fans, Summer or Lola?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.


Do you think Kyle is more suited to Lola or Summer?

I think Kyle and Lola make a great couple. He and Summer are both spoiled and too much alike.
I think Kyle is better off with Summer. They have more in common and they share a longer history than Kyle and Lola.
I don't know.
Other
Please Specify:


That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, February 15, 2020.  That's the day after Valentine's Day, which is always fun on the show.


- Joanne

Monday, January 27, 2020

Keeping Up With Cindy Williams


It's impossible to convey to anyone born, after, say 1968, just how big a pop culture phenomenon the "Laverne & Shirley" show was in the 1970s.  But more than four decades after the "Happy Days" spin-off - which showcased the shenanigans of Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as respectively, brewery workers and best friends Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney - the connection of the beloved stars to their millions of fans still resonates.

- The Palm Beach Post
 "Sure. she's forever 'Shirley" - but Cindy Williams is so much more," February, 21, 2019


Cindy Williams was born Cynthia Jane Williams in Van Nuys, California on August 22, 1947, to Francesca "Frances" (née Bellini), the daughter of Italian immigrants from Catania, Sicily, and Beachard Williams, an electronic technician.  Her father, Beachard, was an alcoholic,.and according to Cindy, there was humour in their household when he was sober.

When Cindy was one-year-old, her mother moved with her to Dallas,Texas, to be with Cindy's maternal grandmother., In Dallas, Frances, a professional waitress, waited on tables at a posh restaurant.  When Cindy was ten years old, however, the family returned to the San Fernando Valley.  Cindy has a sister, Carol Ann.  Her half-brother, Jim, is deceased.  Growing up, Cindy really enjoyed watching TV and her grandmother had the first television on the block.

In 1965, Cindy graduated from Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, where one of her classmates was actress Sally Field.  She went on to attend Los Angeles City College, majoring in theatre arts.  After college, Cindy worked as a waitress while auditioning for television ads, TV guest spots and feature films.  She appeared in television commercials pitching Foster Grant sunglasses and TWA.

Cindy had bit parts in episodes of TV shows such as My World and Welcome to It (1970) and Nanny and the Professor (1971).  Her first noteworthy television work was in the high school drama Room 222, with director James L. Brooks.  From 1969 to 1971, she played Rhonda/Rita Zagor in three episodes of the series.  In 1971, Cindy also portrayed a teenage wife in six episodes of the short-lived series, The Funny Side, which explored the humorous side of married life via comedy sketches and production numbers.  She remembers stepping on host Gene Kelly's foot while dancing with him.

Cindy had the good fortune to be cast in three critically acclaimed films early in her career.  Famed director George Cukor cast her as Tooley in his 1972 comedy Travels with My Aunt.  Cindy's next big break came when she portrayed Laurie Henderson, the girlfriend of Ron Howard's character, Steve Boland, in the 1973 George Lucas movie, American Graffiti.  She won a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in that hit film.  She also had a role as Ann in Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 mystery thriller, The Conversation   It is interesting to note that Cindy auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in George Lucas' next film, Star Wars, but lost out to Carrie Fisher.

Cindy and Ron on set of American Graffiti

In 1975, Cindy was cast as Shirley Feeney, a Milwaukee brewery worker, in an episode of Happy Days.  Penny Marshall, who was a writer on the show with Cindy, was cast as Laverne DeFazio, Shirley's best friend and roommate.  The two were employed as bottle cappers at the Shotz Brewery.  They were introduced as Fonzie's (Henry Winkler) gal pals. After appearing on a few episodes, they proved so popular that Gary Marshall, Happy Days' producer, and Penny's brother, commissioned a spin-off series for their characters.  Laverne & Shirley premiered in 1976 and ran for eight seasons (until 1983) on the ABC network.  The show was a huge hit and was American television's top-rated show in the 1977-78 season.

For years, viewers watched the blue collar workers dance happily down the street singing "Schlemiel! Schlimazel!  Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!" during the opening credits, followed by the show's theme song, "Makiing Our Dreams Come True."  Cindy and Penny complimented each other perfectly in their roles. Laverne DeFazio was outgoing, quick-tempered and cynical, while Shirley Feemey was sweeter and more naive.  In her 2013 Television Academy archive interview, Cindy described Shirley as "sort of an optimist, a kind-hearted, repressed, temperamental fun-loving person . . ."

1976 Laverne & Shirley cast photo


Penny and Cindy in Laverne & Shirley

Working in brewery

In 1981, Cindy met Bill Hudson of the musical trio The Hudson Brothers at a celebrity softball game.  The couple wed in 1982 and divorced in 2000.  They had two children, a daughter named Emily (born 1982) and a son named Zachary (born 1986).  Bill was previously married to Goldie Hawn from 1976 to 1982.  He had two children with Hawn, Oliver and Kate Hudson. who are both actors.

Cindy with Bill Hudson

Cindy left Laverne & Shirley after the second episode of of the show's eighth and final season when she was pregnant with her fist child, Emily.  Penny Marshall tried to go it alone, but ratings declined and the show was cancelled the following spring.  A rift had reportedly developed over the years between the two stars.  In 1977, Cindy complained to TV Guide that Penny's character was receiving all the attention.  In her book, Happier Days: Paramount Television's Classic Sitcoms 1974-1984, author Marley Brant wrote that Cindy felt her character was not getting the short end of the stick and once walked off the set,  In later years, however, Cindy and Penny reconciled and in a 2015 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Cindy downplayed reports of discord behind the scenes of the show.

Cindy returned to television in 1990 in a short-lived CBS sitcom called Normal Life,  based on the unconventional home life of the Zappa family and their rocker dad, Frank.  Cindy portrayed Anne Harlow in the series.  From 1993 to 1994, Cindy starred as Cathy Hale in the family sitcom Getting By, about two families, one black and the other white, who live together in a large house.  In the 1990s, she guest-starred on several TV shows, including Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994), Touched by an Angel (1996) and Hope & Gloria (1996).  She also portrayed Sue Ellen Caldwell in a 1999 Patty Duke Show TV reunion movie entitled The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights.

In 2003, Cindy appeared as Mary Ellen Doyle in two episodes of 8 Simple Rules, starring John Ritter and Katey Sagal.  In 2013, she reunited with Penny Marshall for an episode of Sam & Cat, a series on Nickelodeon about roommates who start a babysitting service to earn extra money.  The episode is entitled "#Salmoncat" (Season 1, Episode 17, Air Date November 9, 2013).  In 2016, Cindy guest-starred in an episode of The Odd Couple, starring Matthew Perry.

Penny Marshall passed away on December 17, 2018, at the age of 75. of complications from diabetes.  The day after Penny's death, Cindy wrote the following message on Twitter: "I Love You, Partner."  Underneath the message was the familiar image of the cursive "L" that Penny had the show's wardrobe department sew on most of her character Laverne's blouses and sweaters.  In a statement issued to several media outlets, Cindy said, "What an extraordinary loss.  My good friend, Penny Marshall is gone - one in a million.  Utterly unique, a truly great talent.  Can't describe how I'll miss her."


END NOTES

* Cindy's mother, Francesca Marie "Frances" Bellini Williams, died on December 12, 1995 at the age of 85.  Her father, Beachard James D. Williams, died in 1969 at the age of 56.

*  Cindy believes that she was dyslectic and that she had "a little bit of attention deficit" a child.

* On August 12, 2004, Cindy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

* In 2015, Cindy's memoir, Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life, was published.  It was co-written with Dave Smitherman.  That same year, Cindy lent her support to Visiting Angels, a senior citizen service.





Cindy in more recent photo

SOURCES: The Palm Beach Post, "Sure. she's forever 'Shirley" - but Cindy Williams is so much more," February 21, 2019; The Mercury News, "Why Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams feuded over 'Laverne & Shirley' - Co-stars were rivals off-screen, but grew closer in their later years;" by Chuck Barley, December 19, 2018; Television Academy Archives of American Television interview, 2013, Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com)

- Joanne

Monday, January 20, 2020

Whatever happened to Jimmie (J..J.) Walker?


He symbolized the '70s American dream of success - the former kid from the ghetto who rose to wisecracking TV superstardom.  While in his element as the broadly strutting. gleamy-toothed J.J. Evans of the popular urban-styled sitcom Good Times (1974), Jimmie Walker lived the extremely good life.

Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net 
IMDb Mini- Biography

Jimme Walker was born James Carter Walker Jr. on June 25, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, but he was raised in The Bronx.  He attended Theodore Roosevelt High School in New York City and he has roots in radio,  Due to a federal program known as SEEK ("Search for Education, Evaluation and Knowledge"), he was able to continue his studies and enter the field of radio engineering with WRVR, the radio station of the Riverside Church in Morningside Heights, Manhattan.

Jimmie started his career doing stand-up comedy.  He performed at the African Room. a calypso/Caribbean themed New York City club, where he was mentored by comedian David Brenner.  Early in his career, he made TV appearances on talk shows hosted by Joe Franklin and Jack Paar.  His eventual goal was to appear on The Tonight Show. . .Starring Johnny Carson.  According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), he finally appeared on Carson's show in 1988. 

Jimmie still revers the late night talk show host.  In 2012, He told the Norfolk Daily News that the Carson influence is still there.  He said, "I still write material like I'm getting ready to do The Tonight Show.  I hope Johnny likes it."  Jimmie was the recipient of the 2012 Johnny Carson Comedy Legend Award at the Great American Comedy Festival at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Jimmie is best known for his portrayal of James Evans Jr. ("J.J") on the Norman Lear sitcom Good Times.  Good Times was a spin-off  of Maude, which in turn was a spin-off of All in the Family.  The series ran on CBS for six seasons, from 1974 to 1979, with a total of 133 episodes.  Good Times attracted attention because it tackled such hot potato topics as racism, venereal disease, urban poverty and busing.

Jimmie Walker was beanpole thin and 26 years old when he first played J.J. Evans in 1974.  J.J. was the eldest son of a close-knit African-American family struggling to succeed in a Chicago ghetto.  He was only eight years younger than his television father, James Evans, played by John Amos.  He didn't have much acting experience either..  According to Jimmie, "Every month during Good Times, Norman Lear would say, 'I beg of you, go get some acting lessons.  It would really help you,' and I would say, 'I like what I do."  Then, in the second year, I hate to say it, the laughs got so big, it was bigger than Norman Lear."

Jimmie's catchphrase on Good Times was "Dy-no-mite!"  He credits the shows director/producer John Rich with insisting that J.J. use the expression on every episode.  It really caught on with audiences.  J.J. was often seen wearing his trademark hat, a blue demim bucket hat.  Below is a photo of him wearing his signature hat.



Below is a photo of the Good Times cast in 1974: L to R: Ralph Carter, BernNadette Stanis, Jimmie Walker, Esther Rolle and John Amos.




In 2018, Jimmie Walker sat down for a revealing three-hour interview with the Television Academy Foundation.  He stated that the cast of Good Times was never close in real life.  According to Jimmie, he never spoke to his TV mother and father (Esther Rolle and John Amos)  when they left the set.  "I can honestly say, I don't remember ever speaking a word to Esther the whole time she was there."  As for John Amos, he said, "We talk more now, bit very, very little.  We were never friends, never talked."

In 1976, John Amos was fired from Good Times and his character was killed off.  In an interview with Sway in the Morning, John claimed that he was let go because he tried to make the show more authentic, which didn't please its producers.  After leaving Good Times, John had memorable roles on the original Roots miniseries and in Coming to America, the 1988 film starring Eddie Murphy.

Jimmie and John Amos

After Good Times went off the air in 1979, Jimmie returned to stand-up comedy.  He found himself typecast, but he resigned himself to the situation.  In his Television Academy interview, he said, "The reality of my life is that I'm always gonna be J.J.  You better get over it.  That's just the way it goes."

From 1978 to 1985, Jimmie had roles in episodes of The Love Boat.  During the 1980s, he appeared in episodes of such television series as The White Shadow (1980), Today's FBI (1982), Fantasy Island (1982), Cagney & Lacey (1983) and The Fall Guy (1984).  In 1983, Jimmie had a co-starring role as Sgt. Val Valentine in At Ease, a comedy about a backwater U.S. Army outpost.  Only 14 episodes of the series were produced.  From 1987 to 1988, Jimmie starred as Sonny Barnes in the short-lived sitcom Busin' Loose.  He played a foster father to a group of children.

Jimmie Walker and Bustin' Loose cast
In the 1990s, Jimmie guest-starred in episodes of such series as The Larry Sanders Show (1994), Deadly Games (1995), In the House (1995) and The John Larroquette Show (1996).  Jimmie appeared in a 2001 episode of The Drew Carey Show.  From 2006 to 2008, he portrayed Gene in three episodes of Everybody Hates Chris, the comedy starring Chris Rock.

On June 27, 2012, Jimmie appeared on The Wendy Williams Show.  He revealed that he'd never been married and he'd never fathered any children.  He said, however, that he's had many girlfriends.  In 2018, Jimmie was linked to controversial right-wing media pundit Ann Coulter.  There has been speculation about a romance between the two ever since Norman Lear said the following about Jimmie in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: "I love him.  But I'll tell you something about him that'll astound you.  He dates Ann Coulter."  Coulter, for her part, has denied the rumour.  On Twitter, she wrote: "Best of friends, love him, no romance."

Jimmie with Ann Coulter

END NOTES

* Jimmie Walker was named Time Magazine's "Comedian of the Decade" for the 1970s.

* Jimmie appeared several times on The Tonight Show...With Jay Leno and with David Letterman.

* Esther Rolle, who portrayed Florida Evans on Good Times, passed away on November 17, 1998 from complications from diabetes.  She was 78 years old at the time of her death.  Esther left the show after the fourth season because she did not believe that J.J. was a good role model for young blacks.  She returned for the sixth and final season after producers assured her that they would make J.J. more respectable.

Below is a 1974 photo of Esther on the set of Good Times.



* Jimmie's used his "Dy-no-mite!" catchphrase in a 1975 TV commercial for a new Panasonic line of portable cassette and 8-track tape players.



* Jimmie appeared on TV game shows such as

In 2012, Jimmie 's autobiography, Dyn-omite! Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times - A Memoir, was published.


 * Jimmie's politics are decidedly conservative.  He did not vote former U.S. President Barack Obama and was highly critical of him in interviews with Jay Leno and Bill O'Reilly.  In a Fox News interview with O'Reilly, Jimmy stated, "Barack Obama is more like a Tony Roberts type of guy.  You feel real good and happy and everything and then you go home and there's a foreclosure sign on your door."

In August of 2017, Jimmie publicly pronounced his support for President Donald Trump, declaring that he was "for probably 90 per cent of things he does."

* In a 2015 CNN interview with Carol Costello, Jimmie said that the black community was not too fond of Good Times, fearing that the show helped buttress negative stereotypes of African-Americans.  Because of that, Jimmie argued, "you'll never see a poor black family again on TV."  "Every black family now has to be upper middle-class," he sad, citing The Cosby Show and black-ish as examples.

SOURCES: The Norfolk Daily News, "Walker: Carson Influence Still There," by Ken Warneke, June 12, 2012; The Wrap (thewrap.com), "'Good Times' Jimmie Walker: New Memoir, 'Dyn-o-mite' and Why Trump Should be President," by Brent Lang, July 3, 2012;  Ebony, "John Amos Details Being Fired From 'Good Times,'" by Jessica Bennett, October 18, 2017; The Daily Beast. "'Good Times' Star Jimmie Walker's Journey from Dy-No-Mite to Alt-Right," by Matt Wilstein, August 3, 2017; I Love Old School Music.com (iloveoldschoolmusic.com, "(Video) THIS Is OLD School! Remember When J.J. Did This Commercial?," December 8, 2014; Lee Beiley's Eurweb (eurweb.com), "Jimmie 'J.J.' Walker Disses 'Good Times' Cast: We wee never friends,'" by Ny Magee, July 2, 2018; Decider.com (decider.com, "Ann Coulter Breaks Her Silence On Jimmie Walker Romance Rumors," by Jade Budowski, April 5, 2017; Television Academy Foundation interview, with John Dalton, February 7, 2017; Wikipedia, Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb.com)


- Joanne

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Y&R Report (January 18, 2020): 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. 

Was everyone in Genoa City born in late December and early January?  Four birthdays have been celebrated in recent weeks.  First, Phyllis helped daughter Summer (aka Snowflake) celebrate her birthday.  Then Nick Newman had a birthday celebration with daughters Snowflake and Faith.  Phyllis, of course, showed up and crashed that little party.  (The redhead in everywhere).  She gifted him with two tickets to a baseball game.  After that, Kyle celebrated his birthday at Jabot with dad Jack and wife Lola.  His nemesis, Theo, was not invited.  Finally, Mariah celebrated her birthday with Sharon and Faith.

I've said it before.  Kyle and Lola are doomed.  They don't have a chance.  By the way, if Lola is so in love with Kyle, why was she watching Theo Vanderway and a dark-haired woman so intently.  She actually looked jealous.  As for Kyle, he's still quite chummy with Summer.  It's clear that Summer wants Kyle back.  The Snowflake is just waiting for the right time to strike.  She and Kyle are going on a business trip together, so opportunity awaits for her.

The cracks in Kyle and Lola's relationship are deepening.  Kyle cannot seem to control his raw impulses regarding Theo.  The more he punches Theo out, the more sympathetic Theo becomes in the eyes of Lola.  Kyle will never win by attacking his "cousin" physically.  The fact is that Kyle doesn't have enough discipline or maturity to deal with the upstart Mr. Vanderway.  Lola sees Theo as a kindred spirit because they have both had to struggle, while Kyle is a son of Abbott wealth and privilege.  This is not to say that Theo isn't a problem for Kyle.  Jill spoke to Theo and realized immediately that he is trouble.  It's just that Kyle doesn't know how to handle him.

Billy and Victoria are another couple whose relationship is also on thin ice.  Victoria has given him plenty of chances.  This will be the last one.  It won't take Chance long to come up with some photos of Billy and Amanda together.


VIEWER FORUM

If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 
My email address:  jmadden16@yahoo.ca

Longtime Y&R viewer, CC in Etobicoke, Ontario, sent me the following email:

Hi Joanne, 

I am not liking much about any storylines these days, particularly not looking forward to watching Sharon battle cancer, especially with three men vying for the title of her go-to comforter.  So unrealistic for a tragic event suffered every day around the world.  I appreciate the attempt they are making to remind us to be vigilant about monitoring our health and educating us about cutting-edge treatments available for recovery and survival, but I am looking for lighter storylines for relief from our real life challenges.  

At some point, Phyllis will likely have her way with both Nick and Chance so she can play one against the other.

It appears that Kyle and Summer will get together while away on business.  Lola is making bad relationship decisions due to her young age and lack of experience.  Pre-Kyle, she was morally high and mighty.  How quickly she has been knocked off that pedestal.  

Chelsea will live to regret her decision about choosing Adam.  True to his history, now that he has what he wanted so badly, he will take it for granted while he supports Sharon through her illness.  Eventually, if Connor grows up, Chelsea will be dealing with the real Adam and his manipulative offspring, Connor.  

Save me from yet another session of the Billy and Victoria saga.  It appears to me like Billy is due to leave the country to find himself.  I prefer that to his having a full-fledged affair with Amanda.  Amelia Heinle (Victoria) is not doing a good job in portraying the role of wonder CEO, wonder woman, wonder wife, daughter and sister.  Her real self is showing glaring signs of anorexia, even on screen.  

The writers need to figure out Amanda's back story and her role going forward.  They keep circling it but have yet to zero in.  

Don't think much of Tessa's rock star ex.  However, as long as he takes her away, I will tolerate a short stint for him.

Along with all these sad plotlines, I think they will likely throw in a secret pregnancy/paternity, more crime for Chance and Rey to see who survives in the chief investigator role (I'm betting on Chance), more heartache, secrecy and even a possible character demise.  

Hope all this negative fodder provides you with lots on which to comment!

Ciao!

CC


Thanks for your input, CC.  You have given me much to think about.

I too am not looking forward to watching Sharon battle with cancer.  I feel bad saying that because Y&R's intentions are so good.  The show is working with the American Cancer Society to draw attention and educate about breast cancer.  That is a fine and worthwhile goal.  However, most fans watch soaps to be entertained and as a form of harmless escapism.  They want to get away from their problems and lower their stress levels.  Perhaps, instead of a lengthy storyline about Sharon's cancer, they could have limited it to one or two episodes.  They could have had her biopsy come back negative, then reminded viewers to get checked regularly in a public service announcement at the end of the show?

Phyllis shows no signs of giving up her relentless pursuit of Chance.  The impetuous redhead is actually stalking him.  She is everywhere, watching everything and listening to everything, ready to prey on the private investigator.  She's hiding behind every nook and cranny, flirting with Chance and spying on him and Abby.  The romance between Abby and Chance cannot go smoothly.  Therefore, I also think Phyllis will succeed to a certain extent.  She'll do what she does best.  She'll cause plenty of trouble.

Summer actually asked Mariah to warn Kyle not to get into hostilities with Theo.  Snowflake is trying to restrain herself, but she still wants Kyle.  According to an online spoiler, "Kyle and Summer kiss while on a road trip," after completing a successful business deal.  It's obvious where this is leading.  As you've pointed out, Lola does not have good judgement, so I would not be surprised if she made a colossal blunder, further alienating Kyle and sending him straight into Summer's arms. Of course, Theo will be there to pick up the pieces for a broken-hearted Lola.

Most fans expect Adam to revert to his old self.  I expect that to happen too.  He's managed to alienate and insult Phyllis, one of the few friends he had,  by suggesting she seduce Nick so that he could get Chelsea back.  That's pretty underhanded and it proves that he hasn't stopped scheming to get what he wants.  Also, he has always had a soft spot for Sharon and will compete with Rey and Nick to support her through her illness.  Chelsea will not be too thrilled about that.  Everyone warned her about Adam, but she didn't wan't to believe it.   I wonder if he would have been better off had she stayed with Nick.  Yet, Nck does not exactly great record with relationships either.

The problem with the Billy/Victoria saga is that it is unravelling too slowly.  The story is far too repetitive.  Billy has been having one secret meeting after another.  He keeps complaining that he feels judged by everyone and that he can't be himself.  I agree that Amelia Heinle is showing signs of anorexia and she doesn't seem to be putting as much energy as usual into her role as Victoria.

You are right about Amanda.  They keep skirting around her past.  It seems she was abused or stalked by an es-boyfriend or husband.  It's about time, the writers clarified that and it's about time they provided some explanation for why she looks like Hilary.

I am not really impressed by Tessa's ex, Tanner.  I think he was just brought in to create conflict between Tessa and Mariah.  I don't think he'll be sticking around long.

Your last paragraph is intriguing.  You mention a pregnancy/paternity.  If that happens, it will probably be Lola or Summer.  The father will either be Theo or Kyle.  You expect more crime for Chance and Rey to see who survives in the investigator role and you are betting on Chance.  The difference is that Rey works for the Genoa City Police Department, while Chance is a private investigator with his own business.  If the citizens of GC do not have confidence in their police, they will increasingly turn to Chance.  Paul Williams has not inspired much confidence.  Speaking of Paul, where is he these days?  I thought Doug Davidson had returned to the show full time.  There will definitely be more heartache and secrecy on Y&R.  That's the essence of a soap.  As for a character demise, I think it may be Dina.



CAST NEWS

Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) has written a memoir


Fans of Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) will be delighted to learn that she is writing a memoir entitled Always Young and Restlss.  The book is about Melody's life and career struggles from her days as a child actor in Alfred Hitchcock's 1964 film Marnie to her forty years on The Young and The Restless.  Melody admits that she is nothing like her character, Nikki, although she has had her own trials and tribulations.

Melody's memoir is being written with Dana. L. Davis for Mark Weinstein at Division Books, and is being published by Stender.  Her autobiography follows I'll Be Damned, a 2017 memoir by her longtime onscreen partner, Eric Braeden (Victor Newman).  According to Amazon, the official release date for Melody's book is Thursday, September 3, 2020, but you can pre-order it.


Robert Adamson (Noah Newman) returns to Y&R


All of Sharon's children will be rallying around her during her time of crisis, including son Noah.  Noah, played by Robert Adamson, has been working in London for Newman Enterprises.  Adamson was seen in an Instagram photo outside the Y&R studio.  He'll be around to support his TV mother during her cancer storyline.


Y&R REPORT READERS' POLL

There are several single, unattached men in Genoa City.  Whom do you consider Genoa City's most eligible bachelor?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Who is Genoa City's most eligible bachelor?

Nicholas Newman
Jack Abbott
Chance Chancellor
Theo Vanderway
Dr. Nate Hastings
Other
Please Specify:
Created with PollMaker


That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, February 1, 2020.


- Joanne