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Monday, March 23, 2015

TV Flashbck: Ryan O'Neal on Perry Masson and other 1960s shows




This is a photograph of actor Ryan O'Neal as he appeared in a 1964 episode of the classic Perry Mason television series.  The episode is entitled "The Case of the Bountiful Beauty (Season 7, Episode 17, Air Date: February 6, 1964).  O'Neal, born April 20, 1941, was just 23 years old when it was originally shown on CBS.

In the episode, he played John Carew, who tells his girlfriend, author Deborah Dearborn,(Zeme North) some unflattering stories about his stepmother, Stephanie Carew (Sandra Warner).  Dearborn unwittingly uses the stories to write a highly successful book.  When a dismayed Stephanie attempts to launch a libel suit against Dearborn, the result is murder.

It should be remembered that Ryan O'Neal was not a big television star at the time of his appearance on Perry Mason.  The episode was broadcast before the debut of Peyton Place, the prime time soap that catapulted him to stardom along with co-star Mia Farrow (Allison Mackenzie). The first episode of Peyton Place was broadcast on September 15, 1964, some seven months and 9 days after the Perry Mason episode was aired.  O'Neal played the role of Rodney Harrington on the show until 1969.


O'Neal as Rodney Harrington in Peyton Place



O'Neal and Mia Farrow in Peyton Place

Although he is not regarded as a cowboy actor, Ryan O'Neal was cast in some Western dramas prior to his breakthrough on Peyton Place. He had guest roles on two popular Westerns during the early 1960s: Wagon Train (1964) and The Virginian (1963).  He also had a major role in a short-lived Western series called Empire.  He portrayed Tal Garrett on the show, which only lasted for one season (1962-63).


Ryan O'Neal as Tal Garrett on Empire

Back in 1962, O'Neal appeared in an episode of the long-running Fred MacMurray sitcom, My Three Sons.  In the My Three Sons episode, "Chug and Robbie" (Season 2, Episode 33, Air Date: May 17, 1962), he played Chug Williams, a star athlete at Robbie Douglas' (Don Grady) high school.  Robbie attempts to make friends with with Chug until he learns that the big man on campus is using him for homework assignments.

In 1961, Ryan O'Neal had guest spots on both Leave it to Beaver and Bachelor Father. In the Leave it to Beaver episode, "Wally Goes Steady" (Season 5, Episode 1, Air Date: September 30, 1061), O'Neal played Tom Henderson, the hrother-in-law of Wally Cleaver's steady girlfriend, Evelyn Boothby (Mary Mitchel). Wally's parents, June and Ward, become concerned that Wally and Evelyn are spending too much time with the older married couple.

In the Bachelor Father episode, "Bentley and the Great Debate" (Season 4, Episode 29, Air Date: April 13, 1961), O'Neal portrayed the high school basketball team's star player, Marty Braden, who engages in a public debate with  a shy, awkward fellow student to determine the fate of the team's unpopular coach.

One of Ryan O'Neal's earliest television roles was in a 1960 episode of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis in an episode called "The Hunger Strike" (Season 1, Episode 17, Air Date: January 26, 1960). O'Neal played a character named Herm inhe episode in which Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman) goes on a hunger strike to win the heart of Thalia (Tuesday Weld).  It is interesting to note that Marlo Thomas (then known as Margaret) had a role in the same episode.


- Joanne

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Good Wife Quiz





TV BANTER QUIZ #23

The Good Wife is a popular American legal drama that debuted on CBS on September 22, 2009.  The series, starring Julianna Margulies, premiered in 2009.  If you are a fan, why not test your knowledge in the 11-question quiz below.


The Good Wife Quiz

1.  In what U.S. city does The Good Wife take place?

A.  New York

B.  Los Angeles

C.  Chicago

D.  Boston

E.  Philadelphia



2.  What hit show did Julianna Margulies appear in regularly for many years prior to The Good Wife?

A,  Grey's Anatomy

B.  Diagnosis Murder

C.  Boston Legal

D.  E.R.

E.  The Practice



3.  What is Alicia Florrick's maiden name?


Julianna Margulies as Alicia


A.  Donnelly

B,  Mullen

C.  Fleming

D,  Clancy

E.   Cavanaugh



4.  Which of the following actors has appeared in a role on The Good Wife?

A.  Matthew Perry

B.  Neil Patrick Harris

C.  Jane Fonda

D.  Tina Fey

E.  Tom Sellick  



5.  Alicia and Peter Florrick have two children, a son and a daughter.  Their son, Zachary "Zach" Florrick, was 14 when the series premiered in 2009 and their daughter was 13.  What is the name of the actor who plays Zach Florrick?


Zach Florrick


A.  Mark Graham

B.  Graham Marks

C.  Graham Phillips

D.  Philip Graham

E.  Paul Phillips



6.  What is the name of Zach's younger sister?

A.  Donna Florrick

B.  Grace Florrick

C.  Amy Florrick

D.  Bonnie Florrick

E.  Lisa Florrick



7.  Who is Nisa del Mar?

A.  Peter's first wife

B.  Grace's best friend

C.  Alicia's best friend

D.  Zach's ex-girlfriend

E   Peter's sister




8.  Michael J. Fox plays a character named Louis Canning on The Good Wife?  Who is Louis Canning?

A.  Louis Canning is a judge.

B.  He is Alicia's ex-boyfriend

C.  He is an attorney from New York

D.  He is Alicia's cousin.

E.  He is a private detective.



9.  In Season 5 of The Good Wife, attorney Will Gardner (Josh Charles) was killed.  How did he die?


Josh Charles

A.  He was shot by a client.

B.  He died in a car accident.

C,  He was poisoned by a jealous ex-girlfriend.

D.  He had a massive stroke.

E.  He drowned in a boating accident.



10.  In 2014, David Hyde Pierce, best known for his portrayal of Niles Crane on Frasier, landed a major recurring role on The Good Wife.  He plays Frank Prady, a prominent cable news commentator who is so disturbed by crime and corruption in Chicago that he decides to run for public office.  What office does he seek?

A.  Mayor of Chicago

B.  State's Attorney

C.  District Attorney

D.  Judge

E.  Illinois Congressman



11.  Who plays the role of Guy Redmayne, a wealthy supporter of Democratic political candidates?

A.  George Kennedy

B.  Eric Roberts

C.  William Shatner

D.  Corbin Bernsen

E.  Ed Asner




ANSWERS


1.  C

The Good Wife is set in Cook County, Chicago, although it is actually filmed in New York, usually in Brooklyn.  The show's main character, Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies) is the wife of Peter Florrick (played by Chris Noth, a scandal-ridden Cook County State's Attorney.  After he goes to prison, Alicia leaves her Highland Park estate and moves into the city to work at a law firm.



2.  D



From 1994 until 2009, Julianna Margulies played the role of nurse Carol Hathaway on the hit medical drama E.R.  Like The Good Wife, E.R. was set in Chicago.



3. E

Alicia's maiden name is Cavanaugh


4. A



Matthew Perry has played Mike Kresteva, Peter Florrick's rival in the electoral race for governor. Kresteva, a Republican campaigned on "family values,"

Perry's character has appeared in four episodes of the show. He was first seen in a 2012 episode entitled "Blue Ribblon Panel" (Season 3, Episode 19, Air Date: March 25, 2012) and was last seen in an episode entitled "Death of a Client." (Season 4, Episode 18, Air Date: March 24, 2013).


5.  C


Graham Phillips plays the role of Zach Florrick.  Phillips was born on April 14, 1993 in Laguna Beach, California.  The talented actor is also a singer and stage star who has performed on Broadway as Ben Tennyson in the musical 13.  He portrayed Jordan Baxter in the 2007 feature film Evan Almighty and his television credits include Crossing Jordan (2004), Judging Amy 2004), The King of Queens (2002).  He also appeared in the 2005 TV film A Hallmark Movie - Love's Long Journey.


6.  B

Makenzie Vega as Grace Florrick

Zach's sister, Grace Florrick, is portrayed by Makenzie Vega.  Vega was born on February 10, 1994 in Los Angeles, California.  She is the younger sister of actress Alexa Vega who is best known for her role as Carmen Cortez on Spy Kids.


7.  D

Rachel Hilson as Nisa

Nisa, played by Rachel Hilson. is Zach's former girlfriend.  Her Muslim background caused problems for Peter Florrick' political career.

Hilson appeared in a 2015 episode of the detective series "Elementary."  She portrayed a character named Lexi in an episode entitled "Seed Money" (Season 3, Episode 10, Air Date: January 15, 2015).


8.  C

Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning with Julianna Margulies


Michael J. Fox plays the role of Louis Canning, an attorney from New York.  Canning is Alicia's legal nemesis.  Fox originally appeared as a recurring character on The Good Wife, but left to star in his own sitcom, The Michael J. Fox Show.  After the cancellation of The Michael J. Fox Show,, he returned to The Good Wife on a more regular basis.


9.  A

Attorney Will Gardner was Alicia's friend and former colleague. He was shot to death in a courtroom by his deranged client, Jeffrey Grant (Hunter Parrish), in an episode that aired March 23, 2014.  Josh Charles, who portrayed Gardner, told talk show host David Letterman that appearing on The Good Wife was "one of the greatest gigs for me in my entire career."  He added that his contract was up and that he was "just ready to move on."


10.  B.

David Hyde Pierce as Frank Prady


Frank Prady decides to run for Cook County State's Attorney and his opponent is Alicia Florrick.


11.  E

Ed Asner as Guy Redmayne


Ed Asner (Lou Grant himself) plays the role of Guy Redmayne, the crass, sexist donor to political campaigns.


- Joanne

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Y&R Report: (Saturday, March 14, 2015): 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.


Is their a serial killer or a hit man on the loose in Genoa City?  It's certainly appears that way.  The culprit seems to be someone who hates both the Newman and Abbott families.  Could Ian Ward be behind the murder of Austin and the attack on Abby? Perhaps he has sent a hit man to do his dirty work. Somehow, though, I don't think that's the answer.  Although Ian despises the Abbotts and Newmans. I doubt he's the sole mastermind behind the current murder and mayhem.  There has to be more to it!  I have been racking my brain trying to come up with the answer.

I don't think it will be long, though, before Ian shows his face in Genoa City again.  That Snake in the Grass will be slithering into town soon.  Poor Nikki.  She's battling alcoholism.  She's facing a jail sentence and covering up for Neil after running down the Cricketmeister.  Now her greatest tormentor, the despicable Ian Ward, may soon be returning to add more misery to her life.

With the ineffectual Genoa City police force, led by Clueless Paul Williams himself, I'd be very afraid for my safety if I were a GC resident.  The dynamic duo of Clueless and Cricket, are anything but objective in their work.  They constantly allow their personal lives and their raw emotions to interfere with their jobs.  Paul is consumed by guilt and Christine is hungry for revenge against both Phyllis and Nikki. They can't see clearly because they are blinded by their feelings.

Nikki and Neil won't be able to cover up the truth much longer.  It's time for them both to take responsibility for their actions.  Nikki, at least, is trying to pick herself up but Neil is drowning in bitterness and self-pity.  Sure, he was dealt a devastating blow, but at least he has regained his sight.

There are many online rumours and much speculation about Austin Traver's true identity.  What is his connection to the reprehensible Ian Ward?  After all, Ward was the person behind Avery's cooking show and Travers was the video man for the show.  We know that Austin was grieving the murder of his mother, but who is his father?  Some fans believe that he is related to Joe Clark, Avery's ex-husband. They think that Joe is the brother of Matt Clark, a twisted rapist who appeared on the show in the 1990s. Could Austin be Matt's son and Joe's nephew?

Others theorize that Austin is the son of Ian Ward, the offspring of the devil himself, Remember, though, that Ian supposedly can't father a child.  That's why it was determined that he is not Dylan's daddy.  Nevertheless, the writers can find a way around that if they really want to.  That's usually no problem for a soap opera.

In recent episodes, Dr. Stitch has become involved in the mystery surrounding Austin's murder and the attack on Abby.  However, I don't think he is responsible for the crimes. It seems as if Stitch'em Up has been thrown into the storyline in order to add another suspect and to throw viewers off the trail of the real killer.  It's a red herring.

Who is Victor Newman conspiring with in the confessional box?  It's pretty obvious that he's got something on Jack Abbott and that he is confident he will bring his rival down. I've been trying to guess the identity if Victor's co-conspirator, but to no avail.  It can't be Ian Ward - right?  Victor loathes the cult leader.  What a slap in the face that would be to Nikki if her husband ever joined forces with that loathsome man.

Jack has been acting strangely, especially that strange, passionate encounter with Kelly. Maybe Kelly was wearing some of Ashley's love potion perfume.  Did Victor provide her with the perfume in order to keep Jack and Phyllis apart?  I certainly wouldn't put it past him to do something like that.

There have also been rumours that Jack has an evil twin.  Oh please, spare us!  Haven't we had enough identical twins or storylines about look-alikes!  We don't need another one!  We don't need a Jack Abbott doppelganger.

Chelsea could become an unwitting bigamist, if she actually marries Billy Boy Abbott.  I doubt the marriage will go through, though.  If it does take place, it will not be valid anyway because Adam is still alive and Chelsea is married to him.  I'm sure that Chelsea will find out the truth soon, probably from Adam himself.  It will be fascinating to see how she reacts.

Sharon has definitely set her sights on Dylan.  Will she be able to lure him away from wishy-washy Avery?  Yes, I think so, at least temporarily.  Nick will always be Number One with Sharon, but as the song goes, if Sharon can't be with the one she loves, she'll love the one she's with.  That's how she operates.

I doubt that Dylan and Avery will ever get to the altar.  I don't think Jack and Phyllis will get married either.  Both of those relationships are headed for the rocks.


SOAP NOTES

Ratings for Y&R were very strong during the February sweeps.  In the U.S., the show averaged 5.58 million viewers, up 7% from last year, and its largest audience since the week ending January 31, 2014.   It was up 5% in women 25-54 (2.2/12 from 2.1/12), up 15% in women 18-49 (1.5/09 from 1.3/09), and up 17% in women 18-34 (0.7/05 from 0.6/05), all the highest since the week ending January 31, 2014.

On Sunday, April 26, 2015, the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmys will be televised exclusively on the Pop Network, a U.S. basic cable and satellite TV network.  This is good news because last year the awards were only shown on the Internet. Unfortunately, however, it likely means that the awards won't be televised in Canada. That is a shame because there are legions of daytime fans up here in The Great White North.  What about us?

Kate Linder's (Esther Valentine) 3rd Annual Opportuniteas for Independence High Tea in Toronto, which I had the pleasure of attending, raised $75,000 for March of Dimes Canada.  Kate was joined by three other Y&R cast members: Sean Corrigan (Dr. Stitch), Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) and Mishael  Morgan (Hilary Curtis).


A reminder to fans in Calgary, Alberta: Kate Linder's 2nd Annual Calgary Tea is coming up in April.  


FAN FORUM

Carly from Barrhaven, Ontario dropped me a few lines about The Young and the Restless:

So Y&R disasters have been up close & dangerous..lol.  I don't know whether to say I am enjoying the show or not.  Some days I get very turned off.  The latest rumour that Austin is still alive & could be Ian Ward's son is ridiculous.  Abby having an affair with him was also a bit ridiculous.

It is possible that Austin could be faking his death.  Time will tell.  Yes, Carly, I've also heard and read the rumour that Austin is Ian Ward's son.  That would be far-fetched, but I wouldn't completely rule it out.  It is far-fetched because Ian was ruled out as Dylan's daddy when it was revealed that he couldn't father a child.  However, soaps have ways of getting around things like that.


CAST NEWS

If you are a fan of Hunter King (Summer Newman), then you will pleased to know that she will be appearing in her first feature film.  The film is titled A Girl Like Her and it's about bullying.  In the movie, King plays the bully.of a 16-year-old girl.

A Girl Like Her will be appearing in theatres later this month.


BEST LINES

Mariah can be very acerbic.  Her sarcasm is evident in the names she has for others, especially Summer, whom she refers to as "Snowflake."  Recently she referred to Abby "Adulterous Abby" and Courtney as "Detective Blondie."


Y&R REPORT READER'S POLL


Matthew Atkinson (Austin Travers)



Who is responsible for the death of Austin?

Victor Newman's hit man
Ian Ward's hit man
Kyle Abbott
Joe Clark
An unknown serial killer
Nobody. Austin is still alive.
Other
Don't know
Poll Maker


That's all for now.  The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, March 28, 2015.


- Joanne



Monday, March 2, 2015

You Wanted to Know . . . about William Katt and Connie Selleca of The Greatest American Hero




A reader requested that I write about William Katt and Connie Sellecca of The Greatest American Hero.  TV Banter is pleased to honour the request.


Look at what's happened to me,
I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world,
It should've been somebody else.

Believe it or not,
I'm walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free-.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it's just me. 


- Lyrics to "Believe it Not," the theme song from The Greatest American Hero, Composed by Mike Post (music) and Stephen Geyer (lyrics)


Do you remember that catchy tune?  If so, then you probably recall a TV series about a young man with curly blond hair, a cherubic face and a red superhero suit? The man was William Katt and the series was The Greatest American Hero.  It ran on the ABC Network from 1981 until 1983 and featured Katt as Los Angeles high school teacher Ralph Hinkley and Connie Sellecca as his girlfriend, attorney Pam Davidson.  Veteran actor Robert Culp played FBI agent Bill Maxwell.

While on a field trip, Ralph Hinkley and his special education students became stranded on a desert road when their bus broke down.  As Ralph walked along the road to get help, he was almost run over by a car driven by FBI agent Bill Maxwell. A spaceship suddenly appeared and Ralph was accosted by aliens. The extraterrestrials presented him with a red suit which endowed him with superhuman powers. Ralph, of course, didn't relish wearing the silly suit (with cape) and he was a most reluctant superhero.  He soon lost the instruction manual for the suit and myriad comic situations arose when he was forced to experiment with his newly found powers.  However, FBI agent Maxwell persuaded him to use his powers to combat crime.

Meanwhile, Ralph had to learn how to use the suit by trial and error.  In his attempts to fly, he flailed about, crashed into walls and fell into bushes.  He also discovered new powers, such as the ability to become invisible, at inappropriate or inconvenient times, .  Pam, whom he eventually married, and Maxwell, were the only adults who knew of Ralph's powers.


L to R: Connie Selleca, William Katt and Robert Culp

The Greatest American Hero premiered on March 18, 1981 and the show was forced to deal with some immediate problems.  It was threatened with a lawsuit by the owners of the Superman copyright. Then, on March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. The name of Reagan's attempted assassin was John Hinckley, Jr., too close for comfort to "Hinkley," the last name William Katt's character.  As a results, Ralph was called "Mr. H." (sometimes "Mr. Hanley") for a time.


WILLIAM KATT 





When I play a good guy, I try to explore them and figure out what shapes them and makes them interesting. When I'm playing a bad guy, I try to explore everything that makes them good. No one ever really thinks that they're a bad guy.

- William Katt

William Theodore Katt was born on February 16, 1951 in Los Angeles, California, the son of prominent actors.  His father, the late Bill Williams, played the lead role in the classic 1950s Western series, The Adventures of Kit Carson.  His mother, Barbara Hale, is best known for her portrayal of secretary Della Street on Perry Mason.  Known as "Billy" or "Bill," Katt was raised in the San Fernando Valley and began his acting career as a teenager.  Prior to his role on The Greatest American Hero, he was best known for his portrayal of Tommy Ross, the doomed prom date of Carrie White in the film version of Stephen King's Carrie.

In the 1970s, Katt made appearances on TV series as Emergency (1972), M*A*S*H (1972), Kung Fu (1973), Police Woman (1974), Gunsmoke (1974), The Rookies (1974), Kojak (1975), He also had guest roles on Ironside in 1972 and 1975.  In addition, he portrayed Jack Barlow in a 1978 coming-of-age movie about surfers titled Big Wednesday.  Big Wednesday featured a young Jan Michael Vincent and a a young Gary Busey. Katt's mother, Barbara, had a role in the film too.

Katt later played Paul Drake Jr. in a series of Perry Mason TV movies from 1985 until 1988 (Paul Drake Sr.was Perry Mason's private investigator in the classic 1960s series.  William Hopper, who portrayed the elder Drake, died in 1970.  He was the son of Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper).  Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale reprised their roles as Perry Mason and Della Street.in the television movies, the first of which was Perry Mason Returns (1985).

In 1991, Willaim Katt had a recurring role in the short-lived comedy, Good Sports, starring Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal as sports anchors.  He played the part of Nick Calder in five episodes. In 1991 and 1992, he guest-starred as Jeffrey Teller in two episodes of the one-hour drama Sisters.  The fist episode is entitled "Portrait of the Artists" (Season 3, Episode 11, Air Date: December 12, 1992). The second episode is "Moving Pictures" (Season 3, Episode 17, Air Date: February 13, 1993).

In 1993, Katt appeared in Murder, She Wrote, with Angela Lansbury, in an episode called "Love's Deadly Desire" (Season 9, Episode 22, Air Date: May 16, 1993).  He portrayed Derek Hartman, husband of a romance novelist.  In 1994, Katt had roles in Burke's Law ("Who Killed the Fashion King?," Season 1, Episode 2, Air Date: January 14, 1994) and Diagnosis Murder ("Flashdance with Death," Season 1, Episode 11 (Air date: January 28, 1994).

In 1994, Katt was also cast as Paul Carson in eight episodes of Model Inc., a spin-off of the prme time soap Melrose Place.  In the late 1990s, he appeared in episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger (1998), and The Net (1998).  His 21st century credits include TV series such as The Hunger (2000), Dark Realm (2001) and JAG (2001) (2004) and House of Payne (2010).  He continues to remain active as an actor and director.




William Katt has been married twice.  He wed Deborah Kahane in 1979 and the marriage produced two sons, Clayton and Emerson.  However, the couple divorced in 1986.  Katt remarried in 1993, this time to Danielle Hirsch.  They have a daughter named Dakota together and Katt also has a stepson, Andrew.

In a July 12, 2012 interview with Branscombe Richmond at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort, William Katt was asked about about his reaction to wearing red tights as part of his costume on The Greatest American Hero.  He told Richmond that he originally feared it would be the ruination of his career. He now regards his time on the show as a "seminal moment" in his life and in his career. Katt also said that he had remained friends with the Robert Culp until Culp's death and that he has maintained a friendship with Connie Sellecca.


CONNIE SELLECCA





Connie Sellecca was born on May 25, 1955 in the Bronx, New York to Italian immigrant parents. Her birth name was Concetta Sellecchia.  When she was 12, her family moved to the town of Pomona, in upstate New York.  She attended nearby Ramapo High School where she became involved in student theatre productions. She then enrolled at Boston College, but left to signed with an New York agent and pursue an acting career.

In order to support her drama studies, Connie became a lingerie and fashion model. It wasn't longer before the aspiring actress began winning fashion and commercial assignments.   She finally made her acting debut in a 1978 fantasy film called Bermuda Depths a Japanese/American co-production that originally aired as a television movie. It starred Leigh McCloskey, Carl Weathers and Burl Ives.

From 1978 to 1979, Connie Sellecca had her first regular role in a TV series.  She played Lisa Benton, a flight attendant in the short-lived series Flying High.  She also appeared in Captain America II: Death Too Soon, a 1979 TV film based on the Marvel Comics superhero Captain America.  Her big break came when she was cast in the role of Pam Davidson, in the superhero parody The Greatest American Hero.

After The Greatest American Hero was cancelled, Connie appeared in another successful series. From 1983 until 1988, she portrayed Christine Francis in the TV drama Hotel opposite co-stars James Brolin and Shari Belafonte.  The show centred around the happenings at the lavish St. Gregory Hotel in San Francisco.


Connie and James Brolin in their Hotel days

In the 1990s, Connie appeared in slew of television movies: A House of Secrets and Lies (1992), Passport to Murder (1993), She Led Two Lives (1994), A Dangerous Affair (1995)The Surrogate (1995), A Holiday to Remember (1995), While My Pretty One Sleeps (1997), Something Borrowed, Something Blue 997)Doomsday Rock (1997) and Dangerous Waters (1999).  She also starred in two short-live-lived series: P.S. I Luv U (1991-1992) and Second Chances (1993-1994).

In P.S.I. Luv U, she portrayed a con woman turned informant opposite Greg Evigan. In Second Chances, she played Dianne Benedict, an aspiring judge in a small California town.  Her co-stars were Jennifer Lopez. Megan Follows and Michelle Phillips.  On January 17. 1994, the Northridge earthquake in California;s San Fernando Valley damaged the show's sets and CBS cancelled the series.




In the 2000s. Connie has continued to appear in television movies: Annie's Dream (2002), All About Christmas Eve (2012).

Connie has been married twice.  Her first husband was American actor Gil Gerard, whom she wed on October 28, 1979.  They had a son, Gilbert Vincent "Gib" Gerard, and divorced in 1987.  According to an April 20, 1992 People magazine article, "Oh, What a Night!." by Jeannie Park, the  breakup was acrimonious and there was a custody battle over young Gib.

On April 4, 1992, she married for second time, to pianist and composer John Tesh, a popular radio and television personality.  The wedding took place at a Beverly Hills mansion that Connie had rented.  Connie's sister, Rosann Mack was her maid of honour and her mother, Ann, accompanied her to the altar.  The ceremony was conducted by Pastor Louis Lapides.

John Tesh, a native of Garden City, New York, is the former co-host of Entertainment Tonight (ET) and he he currently hosts a syndicated radio program, The John Tesh, Radio Show: Intelligence for Your Life. John and Connie are born-again Christians and John has written and performed sacred music.

According to an April 20, 1992 People magazine article, "Oh, What a Night!." by Jeannie Park, Connie first became acquainted with Tesh in Palm Springs, California. She was there to film the pilot for P.S.I. Luv U and he was hosting an IBM awards programs.  After their meeting, he gifted her with a tape of his first album, Tour de France.  When they returned to  Los Angeles, a smitten Tesh perused Connie's ET library file, then interviewed her by phone from her Beverly Hills home for a radio show.  After the show, she accepted his invitation for dinner and the romance took flight.


John Tesh

Connie Sellecca and John Tesh are the parents of a daughter, Prima (born June 2, 1994), who was named after Connie's father, Primo Sellecchia, a building contractor who died in 1987.


2008 photo of John and Connie with daughter Prima


Photo attribution: Luke Ford  http://www.lukeford.net/Images/photos4/photos/080204.htm



END NOTES

* Robert Culp, is best known for his portrayal of Kelly Robinson on the 1960s espionage series I Spy, co-starring Bill Cosby.  Culp collapsed and died of a heart attack on March 24, 2010.  He was 79 years old at the time of his passing.

* During the summer of 1981, the song "The Greatest American Hero (Believe it or Not)," was a major hit for American singer Joey Scarbury.

* William Katt's mother, Barbara Hale, was born in 1922 and will celebrate her 93rd birthday on April 18, 2015.


William Katt with his mother, Barbara Hale


- Joanne

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Y&R Report (February 28, 2015): 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.


My motto in daytime has always been make every day a Friday, so that our audience has to watch each and every day. That means more twists, cliffhangers and that prime time feel of 'What the heck are they going to do next?'  If you stay within character, and keep the stories coming from character, and throw everything but the kitchen sink at them, an audience will start to identify with them and relate to them both as friends, and as people they want to see succeed or find love or survive unthinkable tragedies.

- Charles "Chuck" Pratt
Co-Executive Producer and Head Writer of The Young and the Restless


Wow!!!!  What a wild roller coaster ride Y&R has been on lately and it's more than just the February sweeps.  It's undoubtedly the influence of new head writer Charles Pratt. No one can accuse him of dishing up dull plots with nothing happening.  In fact (I never thought I'd say this), there are times when too much seems to be  happening at once.  On Valentine's Day, it appeared as if the Apocalypse had hit Genoa City.  There was one catastrophe after another.  It was almost surreal.  I wanted to say, WHOA!  SLOW DOWN!  WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?   Some viewers told me they suspected it was all some kind of dream.  It wasn't a dream, though, and it wasn't an alternate universe. Genoa City's Valentine's Day 0f Disaster was so bizarre that it captured the attention of fans and it got people talking, which is undoubtedly what Mr. Pratt intended to do - but at what cost?


Charles Pratt

Here's my concern about the direction Chuck Pratt is taking the show.  I believe that he is willing to make characters behave in a way that is too far out of character in order to create cliffhangers and plot twists.  Soap star Susan Lucci, who is renowned for her portrayal of Erica Kane on All My Children, was highly critical of Pratt in her 2011 memoir.  She wrote: "It was during one of our first meetings together that Chuck told the entire cast that he didn't believe in character-driven story lines, and he didn't care about characters. He said he was there to shake things up."

Cliffhangers and plot twists are definitely exciting for viewers, but the storylines have to ring true. They have to have some sense of authenticity.  Shock value for the sake of shock value doesn't work in the long run.  At some point, viewers become immune to shocks if the plot is too convoluted and unbelievable. Unfortunately, some of the Valentine Day disasters didn't pass the test, especially the Austin storyline.

It just seems that the Austin story thrown together haphazardly, especially his cheating with Abby. There was no indication of any connection or relationship between Abby and Austin in the past. Also, Austin began to displaying a dark side without reason or explanation.  He didn't tell Nick about the building inspector's phone call and he became mean and impatient toward Supergirl Summer.

What do you think of the new Kyle?  I'm going to reserve judgment.  I need to see more of him.  He sure looks young with that baby face of his.  I wonder, though, how he could be considered a suspect in Austin's murder.  He may be in love with Supergirl, but he's not a murderous maniac.  Just because Summer married someone else, a man Kyle never even knew, does not mean that he would suddenly go off the deep end and kill his romantic rival.

It was really quite hilarious to see Jack Abbott and Victor Newman share the same hospital room. The two bitter rivals have reached an understanding.  They are not going bury the hatchet.  Oh no! They are going to be "friendly enemies."  I smiled when Victor declared, "Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated - again."  As usual, Jack will end up being duped by The Black Knight again.

Christine's rantings against Phyllis have become terribly tiresome.  The Bug has a one-track mind. All she seems to think about is punishing her redheaded nemesis.  It's become a total obsession and I don't know if her husband, the clueless police chief, can stand it much longer.  Put a lid on it, Cricket, before you become such a pest (pun intended) that you drive poor Paul to drink along with Nikki and Neil.  I wonder if anyone has some Raid.


VIEWER FORUM 

Here are some comments from regular commentator CC from Etobicoke, Ontario:

If you saw today's Y&R, you are probably still wondering if Hilary were seeking revenge or not.  At the beginning she was so nasty that I felt she was playing with them to wreak her vengeance.  Then I got caught up in the whole romanticism of the moment.  And now we are back to square one.  Is it revenge or just her way of sparing them from heartache and offsetting possible estrangement?  

I was totally bored by the Victor/Jack roommate nonsense.  Nurse said they were swamped by the storm patients and didn't have any private rooms available.  Now Jack and Victor will be on the same side working to get Phyllis off.
Should be interesting.
I wonder who spiked Jack's drink? . . . Kelly, Victor, both of them, Phyllis or someone unknown?

I suspected Austin had ulterior motives for marrying Summer from the beginning.  Is it a whodunnit or a deliberate disappearance?

Stay tuned.

Well, CC, from the expression on Hilary's face in that last scene, it certainly appears that she's faking after all.  Her claim that she was determined to get revenge on the Winters family is most likely an act to, as you put it, spare both Neil and Devon heartache and to offset possible estrangement.  She looked sad and wistful as she recalled the moment Devon gave her a ring to keep until they could be together.

It had better be an act or Y&R will lose credibility.  Hilary's insistence that she was after revenge did not ring true.  It seemed contrived for shock value.  This supposed wrinkle in the Hilary storyline did not seem authentic because it was far too late for her to suddenly deny her feelings for Devon.  I don't think viewers would have bought into it. Although Hilary came to Genoa City as a vengeful "bad girl," she truly reformed when Jack and Neil took a chance on her and forgave her transgressions. There was no indication to believe otherwise.  Y&R viewer Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario pointed out to me how jealous Hilary was of Devon and Gwen.  Why would she be hurt and jealous if she didn't have feelings for Devon?  Just before Christmas, I attended a Young and Restless fundraiser in aid of the March of Dimes.  The actress who plays Hilary, Mishael Morgan, was there.  She looked at castmate Bryton James (Devon) and stated that Devon was Hilary's true love.

I have to admit, given head writer Pratt's penchant for shocks and plot twists (even at the expense of a character's integrity), I believed that Hilary was really out for revenge.  If, as I strongly suspect, that is not the cast, I will be most pleased.

I was not bored by Jack and Victor sharing a hospital room.  I thought it was quite funny.  As for the deal between Jack and Victor to help Phyllis, Jackie Boy is going to regret it.  Victor is untrustworthy.  He is already double dealing with Kelly to make sure that Jack and Phyllis are kept apart.  If were Kelly, I wouldn't make any deals with someone as devious as Victor.  He is far too ruthless to give away favours without demanding something in return.  You can be certain that he is going to ask for his pound of flesh from Kelly.  Kelly is not naive.  She know this but she is so lovestruck that she is willing to pay almost any price to win Jack over.

As for who spiked Kelly's drink, I suspect it was Kelly herself.  I still think she's the unbalanced one. Although she claims that no man  is worth poisoning herself for, she is morbidly desperate for Jack's love.  Speaking of Jack, his behaviour has been quite weird too.  What was that little escapade with with Kelly all about if he is as loyal to Phyllis as he professes to be?  Kelly did not make that up. Jack admitted it himself.  I keep scratching my head over that one.

I think that the Austin storyline is intended to be a whodunnit.  For all we know, he may not even be dead.  His body hasn't been identified yet.  However, he most likely did die. I once predicted that Summer would be divorced by the time she was 20.  Ironically, it now appears that she is a 20-year-old widow.  Will there now be a triangle between Summer, Kyle and Fen?


Another regular contributor, Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario, wrote:

Not sure what this new writer is doing.  I guess he is operating on "shock value" and in doing so, making things up as they go along.

The "great" Victor Newman has the power and money over the years to bring in the best "doctors" from around the world whenever someone needs medical attention but he doesn't have the power or money to get a private room at the hospital.  Albeit, the scenes with Jack were humorous, this made no sense at all!
This whole Austin thing is so unrealistic!  Not that Soaps are meant to be real, but the dialogue is so unnatural.

There is no absolutely no reason why the great and powerful Victor Newman couldn't secure a private room. The nurses may have said there were no private rooms available due to the storm, but I'm sure Mr. Moneybags could have pulled some strings.  Even if Victor couldn't get a private room, what are the odds that he'd end up being Jack's roommate?  However, as we both pointed out, Fifi, the scenes with Victor and Jack in the hospital room were quite amusing.  It seems that the writers opted for humour over realism.


Y&R REPORT READER'S POLL


Did you enjoy all the Y&R disasters on Valentine's Day?

Yes, I loved watching the Valentine's Day diasters. It was fun and I liked the fact that everything was so fast-paced.
No, I think Y&R went overboard. Have the writers not heard of moderation?
Yes, I enjoyed watching, but the writers should have toned it down.
No, the storylines were confusing. unbelievable and ridiculous.
Don't know
Poll Maker


That's all for now.  Don't forget to check out the next edition of Y&R Report on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

- Joanne

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Keeping up with Linda Evans




We’ve got a long life to live and don’t count us out. There are 77 million war baby boomers. We’ve got lives ahead of us, things to do. I want us not to think of ending, I want us to think of beginning. I think we should be called the wise ones because that’s what happens as you get older, you get wiser. I wouldn’t give up being wiser for a young face and a tight body for anything. 

- Linda Evans
October 2011 interview with Fox411


From 1981 to 1989, Linda Evans was one of the hottest stars on television in her role as Krystle Jennings Carrington on Aaron Spelling's prime time soap Dynasty. Television audiences were intrigued by the saga of the oil-rich Carrington family of Denver, Colorado.  Never mind that many of the show's plotlines were ridiculous, overdone and convoluted.   Reagan era audiences couldn't get enough of the series. They feasted on its grandeur and its opulence, and they adored Linda.
   
Linda Evans was born Linda Evenstad on November 18, 1942 in Hartford, Connecticut.  Her parents were professional dancers and her father was of Norwegian lineage. She was the second of three daughters and her family moved to North Hollywood, California when she was just six months old.

Linda attended Hollywood High School with Stefanie Powers.  They were both member of the class of 1960.  Linda was a shy student and very reticent.  At 14, she was urged to study drama in order to overcome her timidity.  According to her New York Times biography, she accompanied a classmate to an audition for a Canada Dry ginger ale commercial.  The director of the ad agency was so impressed by Linda's fresh-faced appearance that he invited her to audition too. She got the part and this led to spots on other television commercials.
     
In 1960, Linda was cast in her first speaking role on a television series, appearing in an episode of Bachelor Father,  a comedy starring John Forsythe as Bentley Gregg, an unmarried attorney raising his orphaned niece.  In that episode, entitled "A Crush on Bentley" (Season 4, Episode 5, Air Date: October 13, 1960), Linda portrayed Liz McGavin, the teenage daughter of one of Bentley's clients. When Liz develops a crush on Bentley, he finds himself in a delicate situation.

In a 2012 interview with Halli Casser Jayne, Linda said that after her appearance on the Bachelor Father episode, Forsythe signed the script and wrote "Linda, you're going to be somebody someday." Twenty years later, their paths would cross again and Forsythe would play her husband, oil tycoon Blake Carrington, on Dynasty. Linda found the script, brought it to the set and said, "See John, you were psychic. You knew this was going to happen."


Linda Evans with John Forsythe on Bachelor Father

Linda on Bachelor Father

From 1960 until 1962, Linda appeared in five episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett.  She also guest-starred on The Untouchables (1962) and The 11th Hour (1963) and My Favorite Martian (1965). After dropping the "stad" from her last name and dying her hair blond, she made her first notable film appearance in the 1965 comedy Beach Blanket Bingo with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. She portrayed a pop singer named Sugar Kane whose manager, played by comedian Paul Lynde, gets her involved in publicity stunts.


Bill Bixby and Linda Evans in an episode of My Favorite Martian

From 1965 to 1969. Linda co-starred on the popular Western series. The Big Valley. She portrayed California cowgirl Audra Barkley opposite Hollywood great Barbara Stanwyck, who played her mother, Victoria Barkley.   Lee Majors played her half-brother, Heath Barkley. Stanwyck was a mother figure to Linda, whom she always referred to as "Audra." The two were reunited years later when Stanwyck appeared on Dynasty to introduce its spin-off, The Colbys, on which Barbara had a starring role for one season.

In 1983, Linda and Lee Majors filmed an episode of The Love Boat in China. Although John Forsythe appeared in the same episode, he and Linda were given separate storylines.  It was Lee who was Linda's love interest in the episode, while John was paired with Ursula Andress.




Linda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Big Valley


Linda and Lee Majors in The Big Valley in the 1960s


Linda and Lee Majors in 1983 Love Boat episode

During the 1970s, Linda appeared in numerous guest-starring roles in such series as McCloud (1973), Mannix (1974), Harry O (1974), The Rockford Files (1975), McCoy (1975) and McMillan & Wife (1975).  In 1977, she starred opposite the late James Franciscus as Marty Shaw and James Hunter respectively, in the short-lived spy drama Hunter. Linda and James played United States Government agents, but the series only lasted for 13 episodes.




Linda's career fortunes changed dramatically In 1980, when she was cast in a major role in a new prime time soap opera called Dynasty (originally titled Oil). Dynasty was the ABC Network's answer to CBS's monster hit Dallas.  It was filled with glamour, champagne and caviar, designer clothes and shoulder pads, There were cat fights between Blake Carrington's devious first wife, Alexis, played by British actress Joan Collins and his blue-eyed angelic second wife, Linda's character.


Joan Collins, John Forsythe and Linda on Dynasty
.

In a 1984, Rock Hudson joined the cast of  Dynasty as a wealth horse trainer named Daniel Reese. Reese tried to win Krystle away from husband Blake and, in one well-known, scene, the two shared a kiss. When it was later disclosed that Hudson had been infected with AIDS at the time, there was a media frenzy and much speculation about whether Linda was at risk of contracting the disease.


Linda and Rock Hudson on Dynasty

By the late 1980s, however, Dynasty's popularity was plummeting and Ronald Reagan's presidency was coming to a close.  Linda left the show in 1989, only months before the series ended (her character went into a coma).  She then relocated to the state of Washington in order to escape the pressures of Hollywood.

In the 1990s, Linda did not make many screen appearances, except for a few television movies.such as The Stepsister, a thriller in which a young woman, played by Reena Sofer, suspects that her new stepmother (Linda Evans) and her new stepsister (Bridgette Wilson) murdered her wealthy father (Alan Rachins).  It premiered on the USA cable network in 1997.


Linda Evans wtih Bridgette Wilson in The Stepsister

In 1991, Linda reprised the role of Krystle Carrington for the miniseries Dynasty:The Reunion, which was meant to resolve all the cliffhangers of the final season. In 2006, she joined the Dynasty cast for a non-fiction reunion special titled Dynasty: Catfights and Caviar

Linda Evans has been married twice and has no children.  Her first husband was actor and film producer John Derek, whom she married in 1968.  They divorced in 1974.  Derek, who died of cardiovascular disease in 1998 at age 71, left Linda for a teenage Los Angeles high school student named Mary Cathleen Collins (better known as actress Bo Derek).  Of their marriage breakup, Linda had this to say in a May 10, 2013 article by Lina Das on the Britain's Daily Mail online: "When he left me for Bo, I was devastated.but he actually did me the favour of my life because I'd have never done Dynasty otherwise."  She also said that she became friends with Bo and with Derek's other ex-wife, Ursula Andress.

In her interview with Fox411, Linda described John Derek in this way:  "He was a fascinating character, a beautiful man.  When you were married to him he made you everything.  Few men say you are the moon and the stars and live 24/7 as if you were.  He was a man worth keeping in your life."

Linda and John Derek

Linda's second husband was Los Angeles real estate tycoon Stan Herman.  The two wed on July 4, 1975 and divorced in 1981.  During their marriage, Herman was always buying and renovating homes.   He rented them to celebrities such as Linda's Dynasty co-star Joan Collins, singer Kenny Rogers and actor Burt Reynolds. He frequently lived in these homes while they were being renovated, which meant that he constantly moved moved from place to place.  According to a March 7, 1988 article in People magazine by Eric Levin, Linda said that when she and Herman were married, "they changed dwellings so often that one night they came home from a party and went to the wrong house"


Linda and Stan Herman

From about 1989 until 1998, Linda had a relationship with a new age musician named Yanni.  Of her attraction to the Greek-born pianist and composer, she told interviewer Larry King ; "I just fell in love with his music.  I didn't have any idea what a Yanni was.  I just thought I was in love with a Japanese man who wrote beautiful music."  For his part, Yanni told King that "Linda was a great woman when I met her, she's terrific, she remained a great woman for the whole nine-year relationship and she was great the day we said we were going to separate.  We will remain friends. I'm certain of that.  We're very close and very connected."


Linda and Yanni

Linda loves to cook.  She told Fox411 that her culinary inspiration is Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  She said, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking was the first cookbook I ever got.  When I could make a hollandaise sauce and could put it on things I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

In 2009 Linda won the UK celebrity edition of Hell's Kitchen.  The cooking competition was held on the British television network ITV and Linda trained for 16 days under Michelin star chef Marco Pierre White.

In 2011 she published a book entitled Recipes for Life: My Memories.  The book is part memoir and part cookbook. At a book signing at the Santa Monica Library, she declared, "Over time, I found, the things I cared about most in life were the moments I shared with friends over food,





END NOTES

* Linda Evans and John Forsythe became good friends and they kept in contact with each other until Forsythe's death in 2010 at the age of 92.

* In her book, Recipes for Life, Linda remembers her famous kiss with Rock Hudson.on Dynasty.  "Instead of passionately kissing me," she writes, "Rock just barely brushed his lips over mine and then backed away."

*  During the 1990s, Linda launched a chain of women-only gyms in California called Linda Evans Fitness Centers.

* Linda, along with fellow actress Shirley MacLaine, has been a devotee of controversial New Age mystic and author JZ Knight.of Yelm, Washington.

* On her official website, in her 2015 New Year's bog, Linda recently revealed that she is recovering from back surgery


 - Joanne