Sunday, October 17, 2021

Keeping up with Brandon Cruz: From child star to punk rocker

"Brandon Cruz is not a fan of Hollywood, and it's not because after spending three years costarring on The Courtship of Eddie's Father he felt abandoned by the system, tossed aside and lost himself in drugs and alcohol."

- Ed Gross, Closer Weekly, 2019

Brandon Cruz is a former child star who has managed to survive life as an adult.  Despite his 25-year struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, he has succeeded in beating the odds.  He hasn't suffered a  hellish descent into a life of crime and suicide attempts.  At one time, he was active with the group A Minor Consideration, an organization started by Paul Petersen of The Donna Reed Show in order to help child actors maintain their careers.  In 2011, Brandon told American Profile magazine that surfing and punk rock "probably saved my life." 

The child actor was just five years of age when he originally auditioned for the role of Eddie Corbitt on the TV series The Courtship of Eddie's Father.  He was seven years old when the show debuted in September of 1969.  The sitcom ran on the ABC network for three seasons, until its final episode on March 1 1972.  It was based on the 1963 romantic comedy starring Glenn Ford as Tom Corbitt, a widowed father, and Ron Howard (then billed as "Ronny Howard) as his son.  Both the film and the television show were based on a 1961 novel of the same name by Mark Toby.

Brandon Edwin Cruz was born May 28, 1962 in Bakersfield, California.  When Brandon was two months old, his family moved to Ventura County, California.  The Courtship of Eddie's Father was Brandon's breakthrough role.  As the mischievous Eddie Corbitt, he was always scheming to find the right match for his widowed father..  Bill Bixby, who had starred in My Favorite Martian, played the role of Brandon's TV dad, Tom Corbitt..  The Corbitt housekeeper, Mrs. Livingston, was portrayed by Miyoshi Umeki, a Japanese-American singer and actress

Brandon had great respect for Bill Bixby, who died in 1993.  In his 2011 interview with American Profile, he stated that "Bill Bixby was like my second father."  In a 2019 interview with Closer Weekly, he said that Bixby deserved more recognition in Hollywood."  He revealed that he was attempting to raise funds to get the actor a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.  He's still at it.  On May 21, 2021, Brandon wrote the following update on the website he organized to raise funds for Bixby's star: "Five years and barely halfway there.  I'll never stop, ever.  Bill was a patient man, and so am I . . . "

Below is a 1969 publicity photo for The Courtship of Eddie's Father.  From left, Bill Bixby, Brandon Cruz and Miyoshi Umeki.


Brandon Cruz continued to act for several years after The Courtship of Eddie's Father.  He portrayed Joey Turner in the 1976 film The Bad News Bears and Sherman in the 1978 film The One and Only, starring Henry Winkler.  He also made a number of guest appearances in episodes of such television series as Gunsmoke (1972), Kung Fu (1972), Medical Center (1973), Love American Style (1973), Police Story (1974), Doc Elliot (1974) and The Oregon Trail (1978).  

Brandon starred as David Lev, a ten-year-old Israeli boy in the 1973 TV movie The Going Up of David Lev.  He also played the role of Clay Rankin in the 1976 television movie Jeremiah of Jacob's Neck.  In 1978, Brandon was reunited with his Courtship of Eddie's Father co-star Bill Bixby in an episode of Bixby's new series, The Incredible Hulk.  In the episode, entitled "747" (Season 1, Episode 7, Air Date: April 7, 1978), Brandon's character, Kevin, assists Hulk in rescuing a pilotless 747 jetliner.

In the late 1970s, Brandon began to focus on punk rock music.  By the early 1980s, he had given up acting,  He wore a blue mohawk haircut and had become the lead singer for the punk rock band Dr. Know.  The band was part of the early hardcore punk movement called "Nardcor" in Ventura County.  The movement began at Silver Strand Beach, also known as Hollywood by the Sea.  

Brandon Cruz performed with the group Flipper in 1995.  In 2001, Brandon became lead singer for the Dead Kennedys.  After disagreements and friction, he was replaced in the band by Jeff Penalty in 2003.

Brandon singing

In an interview with Ginger Coyote for Pink Globe (circa 2008), Brandon stated"  "I had been in a band before Dr. Know with a bunch of older surfers. but we did a lot of cover songs . . . I hadn't acted since Bad News Bears in '75.  I was too busy surfing and skating, and seeing bands play."  When asked if Hollywood or the Industry criticized him for being in a band, he replied, "No one knew I was in a band for a while.  I was trying to stay away from being Eddie.  I still had an agent and I got a few interviews, but I would show up high on coke and wearing a leather jacket with blue hair, so word got around that I was pretty much over it."

Brandon married Elizabeth "Liz" Finkelstein, a nurse, on June 26,, 1994.  They have two children, a son named Lincoln Bixby Cruz (born 1995 and named after Bill Bixby) and a daughter named Ruby Jean Cruz (born April, 2000).

Brandon and Liz

END NOTES

* In 1997, Brandon Cruz released a solo CD called Eddie is a Punk.  The album includes a punk version of "Best Friend," the theme song for The Courtship of Eddie's Father, with Harry Nilsson, who composed the song, playing piano.  In the introduction to The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Brandon and Bill are seen frolicking on the beach to strains of "Best Friend."

* Brandon has worked on the sound board as an assistant editor on the animated TV series South Park.  He has also worked behind the scenes and intermittently on various productions such as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's straight-to-video movies and the boxing reality show The Ultimate Fighter.

* Bill Bixby passed away on November 21, 1993.  He died in Los Angeles of complications from prostate cancer.  He was 59 years old at the time of his passing.  

* Miyoshi Umeki died of cancer on August 28, 2007.  She was 78 years old at the time of her passing.  During her career, Umbeki was nominated for a Tony Award and a Golden Globe.  In 1958, she became the first Asian woman to win an Academy Award for acting.  She received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film Sayonara.

* In 1991, Brandon Cruz received the Child Star Life Time Achievement" Award from by the Young Artist Foundation for his role on The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

* According to Your News Cafe, Brandon has become a rehab specialist.  After conquering his own demons, he has helped others stay clean and sober.  His clientele is confidential and includes celebrities.

Brandon Cruz

SOURCES: Closer Weekly, "'Courtship of Eddie's Father' Star Branden Cruz Fights to Keep Bill Bixby's Memory Alive," by Ed Gross, June 26, 2019; NNDB profile of Brandon Cruz;  Punk Globe website interview, by Ginger Coyote, circa 2008; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)


- Joanne

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Y&R Report (October 16, 2021): 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

Hi fans,

I hope that you've enjoyed watching the wedding in Tuscany.  I've certainly had fun watching it..  Although here were some disruptions and tense moments, Billy Boy and Jesse Gaines failed to stop the ceremony.  Ashland and Victoria are legally married, whether Billy Abbott likes it or not, and he doesn't like it.  Lily noticed the painful look on Billy's face while his former wife and Locke recited their vows.  Billy is still pining away for Victoria, no matter how much he denies it.  Jealousy and his lingering feelings for Victoria were his real motivations for trying to stop the wedding.  His argument that he had to protect Victoria and the children from Ashland was just an excuse.  Meanwhile, Jesse's motives were much different than Billy's.  Once he received money, Jesse's only concern was getting revenge on Ashland.  His fondest desire was to humiliate Ashland for any real or perceived wrongs against him.

It was certainly a treat for longtime viewers of the show to see concert pianist Leslie Brooks (Janice Lynde) at the nuptials.  I also have to say that the wedding dress that Sally Spectra designed was stunning.  Sally's methods are very dubious, but she certainly deserves an "A" for effort. and an "A" for determination.  Unfortunately, she also deserves an "F" for conduct.  Lauren Fenmore has every right to be furious with her former employee.  Sally' is certainly going to have so do some explaining when when she gets home to Genoa City.

Sally many also find herself dealing with romantic complications.  She has set her sights on Adam Newman.  At the moment, Adam seems rather receptive to her.  In the previews, they shared a kiss.  Remember, though, that the two are in Italy, far away from the two other women in Adam's life.  Sharon and Chelsea are still very much in the picture.  Adam's connection to them is still very powerful.  Sally is one determined lady.  She doesn't give up easily and she will continue in her pursuit of Victor Newman's younger son.  Nevertheless, there may be another romantic entanglement for the fiery redhead in the form of Noah Newman.

Rory Gibson, has taken over the role of Noah from Robert Adamson.  By the way, did you notice that there was no announcement saying, "The role of Noah Newman is now being played by . . . Rory Gibson?"  

It's not in the least surprising that Noah has been talking about returning to Genoa City.  Y&R didn't cast someone to play Noah for a couple of episodes at his Aunt Victoria's wedding.  Not only is Noah going to come home to GC, but he'll likely join Newman Media.  That means that he'll be working side by side with Sally Spectra.  There may be a  romance is the offing for those two, even though Noah has only heard people bad-mouth Sally.  The Newmans and Sharon strongly dislike Sally, so a coupling between Noah and Sally would create a great deal of friction and a lot of conflict.  

Another possibility is that Tessa will turn to Noah if her relationship with Mariah goes on the rocks.  They were in a lot of scenes together and Tessa has been confiding in him.

It also appears that Nick and Phyllis's relationship is on the rocks.  There's a lot of tension between them and they don't seem happy at all.  Nick is hard-headed and Phyllis is bold and sassy.  They are not on the same page right now.  Phyllis is far more comfortable with Jack.  She can confide in him in a way that she can't with Nick.

Nick has always had poor judgement when it comes to relationships.  He should have shown up at the ceremony with Phyllis on his arm.  As for Phyllis, she didn't do herself any favours by denigrating Nick's family.  Nick often criticizes his father and Adam, but he doesn't like to hear such criticism about them from Phyllis.

Phyllis did get Nick to admit that he had to let Victoria lead her own life.  To his credit he admitted that he was wrong about that.  Still, I wonder if deep down, Nick really wants to be the white knight to rescue his sister.  At least he showed some disciple by listening to Adam and not trying to stop the wedding.

Lily and Billy were faced with a moral dilemma.  Jesse sent Billy a video with all the evidence he needs to nail Ashland Locke.  He and Lilly could  published the information and made a big splash before someone else got hold of it.  Instead, Billy took the high road and apparently deleted it   But did he really delete it?  Could he not retrieve the video if decides to do so?  Could he not have made another copy in case he changes his mind?  If that's the case, then Ashland's not out of the woods yet.

According to online spoilers, Abby is about to receive some devastating news from Christine "The Cricketmeister" Williams.  It's obviously news about Chance.  He's either missing in action, his mission has been extended or he has been injured or killed.  Take your pick, but please give us some definite information about Chance.  Is he ever coming back?  

Here are some final comments on the soap wedding of the year.  I wonder where Victoria and Ashland go from here.  Is he going to die and leave Victoria a widow?  Richard Burgi, who plays Ashland, is very popular.  Many fans will be disappointed if they kill him off.  Since we're talking about a soap here, the newlyweds are bound to face adversity because there has to be conflict.


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

I received some comments from viewers who wondered what had happened to Johnny and Katie.  They were supposed to have come to Tuscany with Lily.  Well, on Friday's show on Global, it was mentioned that the children were there and that they were playing with Harrison.  Harrison was part of the ceremony as the ring bearer.  However, Johnny and Katie did not witness their mother's wedding.  Your guess is as good as mine as to the reason for this.  Maybe they can't have too many children on the set because of COVID regulations.  

Here are some other email comments I received about the wedding.

From Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario:

Weighing in on the big wedding episode:  I loved Nikki's elegance.  She looked beautiful.  Phyllis looked dishevelled.  I did not care for her dress, nor did I like her hairdo.  Sally and Summer looked nice.  I did not like Elena's dress.  In fact, I hate the way she dresses and cannot stand her hairstyle.  

I sure hope that Phyllis and Jack don't get together again and I don't like the way they have made Jack's character so pathetic.  I do hope Sally and Adam hook up.  And I love my Victor too.

Well Carly I have to agree with you about the dresses and hairstyle.  However, I have to disagree with you about Jack and Phyllis.  I think they are more suited to each other than Phyllis and Nick.  


From Fifi in Collingwood, Ontario

I have been loving all the Y&R fashions in the past while.  Everyone had a beautiful outfit and I particularly liked Phyllis's, Sally's and Summer's.  In my opinion, Melody Thomas Scott always steals the show with her grace and elegance.  Billy looked like the maitre d' at the palazzo with his tuxedo, but Ashland's grey look matched his hair and he looked great.  Eric Braeden seems to be in fine form again at 80.  For a while, he was sitting down in a lot of scenes but seemed pretty spry in his scenes at the wedding.  He was very Victor when he walked in on Adam and Nick with Ashland's enemy, Jesse.  It looks like Sally and Adam are hooking up, which will cause great distress for Sharon.  Noah and Tessa are going to get together as well as Phyllis and Jack.  Since we all seem to like Ashhand, I hope he stays on the show.

I also think Melody Thomas Scott looked elegant.  I didn't like Billy's tuxedo either.  With that red trim, he certainly did look like a maitre d'.  I would like to see Ashland (Richard Burgi) remain on the show, but he's going to need a miracle cure (which should be no problem on a soap).  Yes, Eric Braeden did look stronger and healthier.  His speech at the wedding was really good.


Y&R REPORT READERS' POLL

Courtney Hope (Sally Spectra)

Mark Grossman (Adam Newman)

Sally Spectra is in pursuit of Adam Newman and she is making no bones about it.  As Y&R viewers know, Sally is impulsive and she always seems to get herself in trouble.  She is definitely not the most ethical person,  Adam, on the other hand, is trying to become a new man.  He is making an effort to repair his relationship with his family.  Fans, do you thing a relationship with Sally turn him back into the old Adam or will they find happiness together?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you think Adam and Sally would make a good couple?
 
pollcode.com free polls


That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, October 30, 2021.  


Take care,

Joanne

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Y&R Report (October 2, 2021): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

 Hi fans,

It promises to be an exciting autumn in Genoa City.  I can't wait to watch the two weddings in Italy - Kyle and Summer's in Milan and Victoria and Ashland's in Tuscany.  It should be so much fun.

So, Ashland Locke still hasn't come clean.  He has only divulged some of the story.  He has revealed that his real name is Bobby DeFranco.and that he has assumed the identity of  his friend, Ashland Locke.  The original Ashland Locke died in a car crash 40 years ago.  After hearing that part of the story, Victoria felt sympathetic toward Ashland because he had tried to escape from the clutches of an abusive father.  The Princess became angry with her brother Nick for forcing Ashton to recall painful memories from his past.

By his own admission, Ashland Locke has not revealed everything yet.  When  Victoria complained that he was behaving like Billy and lying to her, he finally confessed that he hadn't told her the entire story.  She agreed to leave early for Italy with him and he promised to tell her more.  What Ashland has already revealed to Victoria and Nick puts him in a favourable, but somewhat opportunistic, light.  It does not paint him as a hardened criminal or an evil man.  In fact, he comes across as someone who suffered greatly and was a victim of circumstances.  If that's the case, though, why was Ashland willing to pay three million dollars to cover up his past?  Why was he so hesitant about telling the whole truth?  Why didn't he at least tell Victoria sooner?  Why did he wait until he was boxed into a corner?

There are even more questions.  How did Ashland obtain the money to purchase the television stations that launched his business career?  What happened to Camilla Rhodes, the older woman who was his mentor?  Did Ashland have something to do with her death.  Billy Abbott is already trying to find information about Camilla's will.  He would love to pin a murder on Ashland. Locke.  It's doubtful, however, that Ashland will turn out to be a murderer.  Richard Burgi, who plays Ashland, is very popular among female viewers.  So, I don't think the writers want him to be a real villain.  It's possible that before Burgi turned out to be a fan favourite, they planned to make Ashland the Locke-ness Monster.  Now he's a puppy dog.  He doesn't seem very scary.  

Fashion your seatbelts as the Ashland Locke saga unravels this fall.  There's much more to come.  We haven't heard the whole story yet - not by any means.  In the previews for this coming week, Victoria is shown questioning Ashland about "criminal activities."  Perhaps Bobby/Ashland's abusive father was involved in criminal activities.  

Despite all the drama surrounding Ashland's past, it looks as if the nuptials in Tuscany will go ahead as planned.  Who knows, though, if Victoria and Ashland will actually complete their vows.  Since this is a soap, expect some disruptions.  No matter what happens, that wedding is going to be a fascinating event.  

Janice Lynde, who portrayed concert pianist Leslie Brooks on Y&R back in the 1970s, is scheduled to make some appearances on the show.  Nikki mentioned that Leslie will play the piano at Victoria's wedding.  By the way, I think that the bride will end up wearing the dress that Sally Spectra designed.  I have no idea how Sally will manage to pull that off, but she'll find a way.  Somehow Victoria will wear an exquisite dress that viewers haven't seen yet.

Speaking of Victoria, how do you like that portrait of her in her office?  I think it's really beautiful.  I never thought that Victor's portrait would ever be removed.  It's supposedly hanging in the boardroom of Newman Enterprises.  Of course, daddy Victor has outdone himself again by gifting his princess with the Newman villa in Tuscany.  

Y&R has done an exceptionally poor job in portraying baby Dominic.  I realize that they probably couldn't show a real baby due to COVID regulations.  Still, why can't they fill out that blanket some more.  It really looks fake, as if there's almost nothing inside, never mind an infant.


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 is Jmadden16@yahoo.ca

\I have received an email from longtime Y&R fan, CC in Etobicoke, Ontario.  Here are CC's comments:

Good to read your thoughts today, Joanne.  As far as I am concerned, the whole Chance thing is a joke.  Do producers and writers think fans are that gullible?  The MIA topic is being portrayed insensitively, not to mention the creation of a child being handled in such a cavalier manner.  Did anyone involved give this any deep thought?

I think the person blackmailing Ashland could be his brother.

Victoria has her own agenda for being involved with Ashland.  It is as sinister as Ashland's for being involved with her . . . she thinks she will scoop the company from him, make Billy jealous, and open the door for her and Billy to be media tycoons together, even taking Chancecom away from Lily.

With Summer gone, Nick and Phyllis have lost their main glue.  Phyllis and Jack will sizzle together.

Sharon and Adam are two of a kind.

Connor can already make his father, mother and grandmother squirm.

Enjoy these beautiful autumn days.

CC

Thanks for your comments, CC.  I don't like the Chance storyline either.  They didn't expect to fire Donny Boaz, the actor who played Chance so suddenly, right in the middle of a major storyline in which he was about to marry Abby.  We'll probably never know what really happened, but the powers that be must have been really upset with Donny to let him go at such a crucial time.  Yes, they were left in a bind, but the storyline could have been handled much better.  I really hope they reveal Chance's fate soon.  He's been gone far too long.

I question Victoria and Ashland' motives, but I'm not quite as cynical about the pair as you are.  

I also think that Phyllis and Jack "will sizzle together" again.  Although Jack doesn't want to interfere with Phyllis and Nick's relationship, that doesn't me he won't step in if their relationship falls apart on its own.  It seems to me that Jack and Phyllis are more compatible than Nick and Phyllis.  Nick and Phyllis are obviously physically attracted to each other, but the two don't have much in common outside of that.  

Yes, Sharon and Adam are indeed two of a kind.  Sharon just light up when Adam enters the room.  That's probably because Mark Gross, who plays Adam, is her real life boyfriend.  It also works for the storyline.  Poor Rey!  Sharon will never look at him that way.  Adam and Sharon will never stay away from each other.

Young Connor is no fool.  He can see right through the adults in his life.  He knows there's something between his father and Sharon.  He knows Sharon is the real reason Adam and his mother, Chelsea, broke up.

Rey and Nick are losers are losers at love.  That's probably the reason why they get along so well, even though Nick is the ex-husband of Rey's wife.


I also received an email from Fifi in Collingwood, Ontario, another longtime Y&R viewer.  Fifi wrote the following:

I must say that I could also see Ashland Locke with Phyllis.  They would make a good match.  Tired of seeing that ridiculous mini baby of Abby's who's suffocating with a blanket over its head.  They could do way better than that.  

I've never thought about Phyllis with Ashland.  Now that you mention it, I can picture them together.  They might make a good match.  

I agree with you wholeheartedly, Fifi, about the phony blanket baby.


Here are some comments from Y&R fan, Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario:

As for Ashland and Phyllis, they would make a great match.  Hopefully she does not go back to Jack.  His storyline is pathetic and the Abby/Devon/Mariah storyline is so boring that I am fast forwarding a lot.  I'm wondering if Abby and Devon will hook up.

Well Carly, I think this "poor Jack" storyline has gone on far too long.  Jack should not have to be pitied.  I'd like to see him with Phyllis again.  

There are signs that Mariah and Devon may hook up.  If Chance dies or is declared missing, 


I spoke to longtime Y&R viewer, Hellen in Scarborough.  Helen wants to know how Stitch forced Mariah into that room.  Did he hit her over the head and knock her out?  She never complained of a head sore.  So, how did he get her there.  I guess we're not supposed to ask.

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y$R Report will appear in this space on October 16, 2021.  October 11th is Thanksgiving Day in Canada,  I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers.



Take care,

Joanne

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Whatever happened to Denis Mandel (Eugene Belvin on Happy Days)?

Denis Mandel was born on July 28, 1954.  Information about his personal life is scarce.  His references do not even list his place of birth, only that he was born in the United States.  He obviously wants to keep his private life private.

Denis is best known as the character actor who played Eugene Belvin in ten episodes of Happy Days from 1980 to 1982.  Eugene appeared in Seasons 8 and 9 of the show.  He and his twin brother, Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein), were nerdy classmates of Joanie (Eerin Moran) and Chachi (Scott Baio) at Jefferson High.  Eugene and Melvin frequently tagged along with Joanie and Chachi's circle of friends.  Eugene had a crush on Jenny Piccolo (Cathy Silvers)., Joanie's boy-crazy best friend.  He also attended Fonzie's auto shop class 

Below is a photo of Denis as Eugene Belvin on Happy Days, wearing turtle shell glasses and an argyle sweater.


After his stint on Happy Days, Denis appeared in a 1982 episode of the popular crime drama, CHiPs, starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox as motorcycle police.  Denis portrayed Morgan in an episode of the series entitled "Overload" (Season 5, Episode 25, Air Date (May 2, 1982).  He also played Josh in Mortuary. a 1983 feature horror film.

Denis had a minor role in the 1984 television movie, The Seduction of Gina.  He played a "resident" in this TV film about gambling, starring Valerie Bertinelli.  Bertinelli had the title role of Gina Breslin, a bored newlywed who discovers blackjack on a visit to Lake Tahoe, and becomes obsessed with gambling.

Denis appeared as Eddie in the 1990 feature film, Brush with Death, an action thriller.  He also portrayed Nick in a 1990 episode of the prime time soap Knot's Landing called "If I Die Before I Wake."  (Season 11, Episode 27, Air Date: May 3, 1990).

Denis Mandel's last television acting role was a 1992 guest-starring role in Home Front, a historical drama.  He played Striker Ted  in an episode called "If You Want it Done Right" Season 1, Episode 22, Air Date (April 1, 1992) in this series about the aftermath of World War II.

So, what happened to Denis after he stopped acting circa 1992?  It seems that he has done some writing.  According to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb), he was nominated for the James Kirkwood Writing Prize (1997) for Highway 56.  He also finished second in the Arizona Authors Association National Literary Contest (2000).  

 According to a 2018 post called "Happy Days, Where Did They Go?" on the Cleverst. website, Denis "retired from acting and is currently living in L.A."  Denis, if you so desire, I invite you to send me an email keeping fans about to date about yourself.  I would be very pleased if you would do so, and I would like to publish it for the readers of TV Banter.


- Joanne 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Y&R Report (September 18, 2021): 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

Hi fans,

I'm back from my summer hiatus and raring to go.  I may have taken a break from writing this column, but I haven't taken a break from watching the show.  A lot has happened on Y&R this summer and I'm eager to discuss it. with you.  So, let's get started.

I'm beginning to think that Chance is never coming home.  An online spoiler reveals that "Abby's life will implode after she receives shocking news."  Could that be news of Chance's death or that he has gone missing.  I wouldn't rule out either scenario..  Would Mariah and Tessa then seek custody of baby Dominic, or "Bowie," as Mariah calls him?  That's a distinct possibility.  

There has been speculation that the role of Chance has been recast.  If so, then Y&R is certainly taking it's sweet timing in returning him home to Genoa City.  I know they want viewers to keep watching, but Chance has been gone too long.  I hope his fate is soon revealed.  We should know something soon because Victor Newman is becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated by his son-in-law's absence. and he is upset about how it has been affecting Abby and the baby.  That's why he suggested to Ashley that they put their heads together and figure out what to do about it.

Y&R viewers can't help but notice that little Dominic is being played by a blanket.  We haven't seen the face of a real baby yet.  The reason is probably related to COVID-19.protocol..  I must say that I'm glad that the child wasn't christened Philip Chancellor V.  He's going to be confused enough as it is, without having to bear such an aristocratic name.

It looks as if there's a new love triangle between Jack, and Phyllis and Nick.  Jack has never gotten over Phyllis.  As Jack himself admitted, he became attracted to Sally Spectra because she is feisty and red-haired like Phyllis. It didn't work because she's a younger imitation of Phyllis.  She's not Phyllis, though.  She's not the real thing deep down in Jack's heart.        

Billy Boy, Billy Boyt!  You can't have it both ways.  You seem to be content with Lily, but you are unwilling to to let go of Victoria.  It's understandable that you would be curious about Ashland's mysterious past, but your interest in the media tycoon goes beyond normal curiosity. It's an obsession.  Ashland and Lily are right to think you still have feelings for Victoria.  

Still, Billy is right that Ashland Locke is hiding something big.  In the previews, we saw that a man is trying to blackmail him.  He is demanding millions from Locke in return for not revealing his secret.  According to Soap Opera Digest, the man is a lawyer with information on Ashland's past.

Adam just had to call on Dr. Sharon, M.A. to talk to Connor about his separation from Chelsea.  The boy was very perceptive about Sharon.  He didn't really believe what he was told about the "professional therapist."  Of all people, Adam chose to bring Sharon into the volatile situation.  Even if Sharon were a qualified therapist, which she is not, she is too emotionally involved with Adam to be objective.  Of course, Adam had to choose her over many true professionals.  Adam can't stay away from her and she can't stay away from him.

Sharon does not like Sally Spectra and you can read the jealousy on her face whenever Sally shows up.  However, it won't be easy for Sally to capture Adam's heart, since he's so enraptured by Sharon.  Sally keep trying, though.  Connor really likes her.  In fact, he finds her quite amusing.  Sally may use that to her advantage in her quest to win over Adam.

Have you noticed how often Y&R character have been listening in to private conversations and spying?  They've always done than, but it seems they are doing it more often lately  The biggest culprits are Phyllis, Billy Abbott and Sally Spectra.

  

CAST NEWS

New actor to play Noah Newman

Rory Gibson

The role of Noah Newman has been recast.  Rory Gibson will take over the role from Robert Adamson.  Adamson last appeared as Noah in September of 2020.  Rory, a relative newcomer, has had roles in the films A Night to Regret (2018), Severed Road and Grace (2019).

Y&R wouldn't have recast Noah unless there is a big storyline waiting for him.  I wonder about whom he would become involved with when he returns to Genoa City.  The only ones who comes to mind are Sally Spectra or Lola Rosales. whenever she returns from Miami.  Truth be told, Lola didn't have much of a  storyline when she left.  We don't know who's doing the cooking at Society during her absence.  I'd love to try some of her famous chicken soup.  It seems to be a great cure for whatever ails you.  As for the opportunistic Sally Spectra, she would certainly be attracted to another Newman, if her attempts to become involved with Adam don't work out.  Victor, Nikki and Nick certainly wouldn't be happy if she attracted Noah.  It's entirely possible, especially if Noah takes a job with Neman Media, where Sally works.

No date has been revealed for Gibson's debut, but he is expected to make his soap debut "later this fall."

Kate Linder (Esther Valentine) injured

Kate Linder

Kate Linder, who has portrayed Esther Valentine on the Y&R since 1982, has sustained injuries while attending to her elderly mother.  Kate's publicist said that the actress is undergoing physical therapy in the hospital.  The good news is that she is expected to return to work soon.  In a recent statement, Kate thanked "my mon, my friends, and my Y&R family for their outgoing of good wishes and support."  


CAST NOTES

Janice Lynde

* Longtime Y&R viewers will be pleased to know that original cast member Janice Lynde will be returning to the show for multiple episodes this fall.  Janice played concert pianist Leslie Brooks.  Janice appeared in the very first episode of Y&R back in 1973.  She was a regular cast member until 1977.  She last appeared on the show in 2018 as part of Y&R's 45th anniversary celebration.

Since Nikki keeps mentioning Leslie Brooks concerts in Italy, that tells me that Victoria's family and friends will gather in Italy for her wedding to Ashland Locke despite any skeletons in Locke;s closet.  Who knows if the actual wedding will happen or if it will be disrupted.

* The recurring role of the lawyer with information on Ashland Locke's is being played by Jamison Jones, ex-Bill Brick, Days of Our Lives; ex-Dr. Warren Kirk/Brady Bevin, General Hospital.

* Congratulations to Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson) and her husband, Matt Katrosar,  on the birthday of their son, Cadem Robert Katrosar on August 21, 2021.

* Congratulations to Michael Graziadei, who played Phyillis'' son, Daniel Romalotti. Michael is the proud father of twin baby boys, Oliver Bear and Arlo Wilde, born on August 25, 2021.

* Condolences to Jess Walton (Jill Abbott) on the death of her husband of 40 years, John James, who passed away of terminal liver cancer in August.

* Fans of Summer (Hunter King) and Kyle (Michael Mealor) will be able to watch the couple on screen one more time before they get married and head off into the sunset, at least for now.


Y&R REPORT READERS' POLL

Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott)

Now that Tara and Harrison have gone, Jack Abbott is a lonely man in that cavernous Abbott mansion.  He's still pining over Phyllis.  Fans, do you think Jack is better suited to Phyllis than she is with Nick Newman?  I think Phyllis has a better rapport with Jack than with Nick.  Do you agree or disagree?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you prefer Phyllis with Nick or with Phyllis?
Phyllis and Nick sizzle together as a couple. I want them to be together.
Phyllis and Jack have good communication and they understand each other.  I prefer her with Jack.
I really don't care. I don't like Phyllis.
I don't know.
Other
Please Specify:
Create polls here


NOTE TO READERS

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.  I really need your input.  I really need to hear your opinion.  I want to know if you agree or disagree with me. 

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 Saturday, October 2, 2021.   


Take care,

.Joanne

Thursday, September 2, 2021

More Jeopardy! upheaval: Mike Richards is out as producer

Jeopardy!search for a host to replace the late Alex Trebek has been long, sloppy and unsavoury.  I doubt that Alex would be very pleased at how poorly it was handled. and how messy it has become.  The show's fans can only hope that Mike Richards' resignation as host, and his subsequent firing as executive producer, will finally end all the upheaval.   As regular TV Banter readers know, I am a huge fan of Jeopardy! and I am quite disappointed at how the choice of a new host has been handled.  You'd think they would have found a better way.

I originally thought that Mike Richards would make a fine successor to Alex.  I wasn't the only one.  He received a mostly favourable response for this two-week performance as guest host.  That's because he appears quite charming before a camera and he has a pleasing speaking voice.  

On August 11, 2021, Mike Richards was chosen host of the daily syndicated show, with Mayim Bialik presiding over prime time specials.  Then came the revelation that Richards was named in wrongful termination and pregnancy discrimination lawsuits regarding two models at The Price is Right, where he was executive producer. 

Mike Richards' gig as host of Jeopardy! only lasted for about a week.  He had already taped five episodes of the show when more damaging revelations came to light.  Reporter Claire McNear released a report about a 2013 podcast, hosted by Richards, in which he made offensive comments about women, Jews and Haitians.  Richards apologized, but it was not enough to save his new job.  The following week, under increasing pressure, he stepped down as host of Jeopardy!  Sony Pictures Television stated that he would remain as the show's executive producer, although he would be required to take sensitivity training.  

Mike Richards

However, the controversy wasn't over yet.  McNear issued details indicating that there was low morale among some members of the Jeopardy! staff's during Mike Richards' time in office.  The New York Times reported that Richards had directed the search for a host in his own favour.  It was all too much. Richards was immediately fired and Mayim Bialik was asked to step in as temporary host.  It became painfully obvious that not enough due diligence had been before appointing Richards host.  He was not vetted thoroughly enough.  

It is clear to me now that the selection process was far from kosher.  Something was not right about an executive producer being chosen as host.  Even if untrue, it appeared that Mike Richards' status as executive director had influenced the show's choice of host and that the fix was in.  Something was very rotten in the state of Jeopardy! and it left quite a stench.  For the sake of the loyal viewers of the show, let's hope that the stench is removed and that an appropriate host is to replace Alex Trebek, a host that will be worthy of carrying on Alex's legacy.


- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE(September 17, 2021):  Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will share Jeopardy! hosting duties for the remainder of 2021.  After the Mike Richards fiasco, it's no surprise that the powers that be want to be very careful.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Whatever happened to Angie Dickinson?

"Actress Angie Dickinson proved strong woman have a place on the small screen and the American workplace when she stepped into the iconic role of Pepper Anderson, an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department, in the groundbreaking show, Police Woman . . . Her strong-willed, competent character helped demonstrate to America that men and women could work together without romantic entanglements."

PBS.org., Pioneers of Television

Believe it or not, Angie Dickinson is approaching her 90th birthday.  Angie was born Angeline Brown on September 30, 1931, in Kulm, North Dakota, a small American town with a population of about 740.  She is the daughter of Leo H. Brown, and his wife, Frederica.  Her parents published the town's weekly newspaper, The Kalm Messenger, and later The Edgeley Mail in Edgeley, North Dakota.

Angie grew up going to movies. "My daddy was the projectionist, so we got in for free.  And I loved movies," she told CBS Sunday Morning in a 2019 interview..  The town only had one movie theatre, and, according to Angie, they "cried for a week" when the theatre burned down.  In 1942, when Angie was ten years old, the Brown family moved to Southern California.  Angie attended Bellamine-Jefferson High School, a private Roman Catholic school in Burbank, where she graduated at the age of 15.  She later  continued her studies at Glendale Community College and then graduated in 1954 with a degree in business from Immaculate Heat College in Los Angeles.  

While a student, Angie found employment as a secretary at Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank (now Bob e Hope Airport) and at an airplane parts factory.  She also competed in beauty contests, which led to to an appearance as a commercial model on The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1954.  That show made quite an impression on her.  "Jimmy Durante was singing with Frank Sinatra," she explained to CBS News.  "That was it," I said.  "This is for me."  She decided to go into show business.

In 1954, Angie began her television acting career with bit parts as a party guest on Lucky Me and as a receptionist on The Mickey Rooney Show.  That same year, he had a bigger role as Comrade Margaret in an episode of the Emmy-nominated spy drama I Had Three Lives (Season 2, Episode 20).

During the 1950s, Angie appeared in episodes of  several popular TV Westerns such as Death Valley Days (1954), The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1956), Gunsmoke (1957),, Cheyenne (1957) and Have Gun-Will Travel (1957) and Wagon Train (1959).

Below is a 1957 photo of Angie in Cheyenne with Clint Walker.


Angie had her big screen breakthrough role as Janice in the Western movie Gun the Man Down (1956 with James Arness.  She enjoyed even greater success when she was cast in another Western,  Howard Hawks' 1959 film, Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne, her childhood idol, and Dean Martin.  Angie portrayed a flirtatious saloon girl named Feathers in Rio Bravo, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1960.

Angie also appeared in episodes of many TV series in the 1950s.that were not Westerns, including The Millionaire (1956), two episodes of The Bob Cummings Show (1957, 1958) and Perry Mason (1958),  as Marian Fargo in "The Case of the One-Eyed Witness" (Season 1, Episode 23, Air Date: February 22, 1958).

In 1960, Angie co-starred with the Rat Pack in Oceans 11, a crime caper film in which she played Frank Sinatra's wife.  Angie dated the famed crooner.  "We got very close to getting married in 1964," she said in her interview with CBS News correspondent Mo Rocca..  However, according to Angie, Sinatra's lifestyle was not what she wanted, and he told her that he was not going to marry an actress. (Frank married actress Mia Farrow in 1966).  In the interview, Angie also denied persistent rumours that she had an affair with President John F. Kennedy.  "There was no reason or grounds for thinking that I was seeing him, and I wasn't." she stated.

In the 1960s, Angie made guest appearance in episodes of such series as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962, 1965), The Fugitive (1965), Dr. Kildare (1965), The Jack Benny Program (1965) and The Virginian (1966).  In the early 1970s, she had roles in TV movies such as The Love War (1979), The Resurrection of Zachery Wheeler (1971), See the Man Run (1971) and The Norliss Tapes (1973).

Despite her six decades in show business. Angie Dickinson is best known for her portrayal of Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson on the NBC crime series Police Woman.  Angie played Pepper Anderson from 1974 to 1978 , a role for which she received three Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe in the category of  Best Actress in a Drama Series.  She actually hesitated about taking the role until producer David Gerber asked, "Don't you wanna be a household name?"

Angie's character, Sergeant Anderson, was an undercover agent for the criminal conspiracy department of the Los Angeles Police Department.  She worked on a vice-squad team with two other undercover cop and posed as everything from a prostitute to the girlfriend of a mobster.  Police Woman is notable because it was one of the earliest American weekly network TV dramas with a female lead.  Until Police Woman came along in 1974, women weren't seen as top cops.

Angie in Police Woman 1975
 
Angie Dickinson received much attention for her role in Brian De Palma's 1980 crime thriller, Dressed to Kill.  In the film, she portrayed the ill-fated Kate Miller., an unhappily married woman who decides to have an affair with a mysterious stranger.  She ends up being gruesomely murdered.

In 1982, Angie starred in a detective drama called Cassie & Co.  She played Cassie Holland, a feisty former police officer- turned private investigator.  The series was cancelled after only 13 episodes.  
In the 1980s, Angie appeared in a number of TV movies including One Shoe Makes It Murder (1982), Jealousy (1984), A Touch of Scandal (1984), Once Upon a Texas Train (1988), Fire and Rain (1989), Prime Target (1989) and Kojak: Fatal Flaw (1989)..  In Touch of Scandal, Angie played Katherine Gilvey, a California councilwoman whose campaign for attorney general is jeopardized by some scandalous photos that turn up.
             
In the 1990s, Angie made guest appearances on such television series as Empty Nest (1991), The Larry Sanders Show (1997), Diagnosis Murder (1997)  and Ellen (1997).  She also played Josie Ito in the 1993 TV mini series Wild Palms. Wild Palms was a drama about a multi-national corporation's attempt to take control of the United Stated amid small pockets of resistance to rampant technology.  The five-part series had an ensemble cast featuring Jim Belushi, Kim Catrall, Robert Loggia  and Robert Morse.  

Angie Dickinson guest-starred as Evelyn Worth in a 2004 episode of the family drama Judging Amy.  The episode is entitled "Catching It Early" (Season 6, Episode 6, Air Date: November 30, 2004).  She also co-starred with Laura Leighton in a 2009 Hallmark Channel television film called Mending Fences, her last television acting role.  She played the mother of Leighton's character.  

Angie has been married twice.  On June 2, 1952, she married Gene Dickinson, whom she met at Glendale College.  Gene was a star on Glendale's football team and he later became involved in the electronics business.  The couple divorced in 1959.  After their divorce, she retained his last name.

On May 15, 1965, Angie Dickinson wed American composer and songwriter Burt Bacharach.  She and Bacharach separated in 1976 and divorced in 1981.  Angie had some unflattering things to say about her former husband in her 2019 CBS interview.   When asked why she fell for Bacharach, Angie replied, "Well, that's very hard to summarize.  He was so different."  She said that their separation was an unhappy time and that he "should never have been married."  She claimed that Burt "never really loved me, I can tell you right now, the way one loves."  She added, "He loved in his own way, which is not too good.  And so, he had no respect for me."

Below is a photo of Angie and Burt two weeks after they married.


Angie and Burt had a daughter, Leah Nikki, known as Nikki.  Nikki was born three months prematurely on July 12, 1966. She battled Asperger's Disorder. a form of autism.  Angie and Burt eventually placed their daughter in a psychiatric treatment facility for adolescents in Minnesota, where she remained for about nine years.  Nikki later studied geology at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, a city in Ventura County, California.  However, her poor vision prevented her from pursuing a career as a geologist.

Angie and Burt with baby Nikki in 1966

Sadly, on January 4, 2007, Nikki Bacharach committed suicide in her apartment in Ventura County, California.  She was 40 years old.

Angie Dickinson lives by herself now in Beverly Hills.  In a 2011 interview with AARP, she said, "I'm not looking for work.  I've had my day in the sun, and I am very content."

END NOTES

* Angie had two sisters, Mary Lou Belmont and Janet Lee Brown.  Mary Lou (born 1929) suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died in 2005.  According to a 1990 article in Deseret News, Angie Dickinson and her sisters were never close while growing up in North Dakota with an alcoholic father.  The article stated, however, that Angie was overseeing the case of he sister, Mary Lou, who was no longer able to bathe, dress and feed herself.  

* Angie is a Democrat and she supported John F. Kennedy in his 1960 presidential campaign.  Angie's political views made her feel awkward around John Wayne, who was a staunch Republican.

* In 1973, Angie was a guest performer on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.

* In November of 1989, Angie refused  to take part in a NBC This is Your Life special, a surprise tribute to herself.  When announcer Ralph Edwards announced backstage , "This is your life, Angie Dickinson!!" Angie replied "No!.It's NOT.!!  She then fled the scene, leaving behind host Pat Sajak and the guests, including her family and a group of her celebrity and hometown friends.  When asked the reason why she would not allow herself to be honoured," she declared, "All these people are supposed to come around and rave about you.  I think they should have organized it the other way around, so I could have talked about their importance."

* Angie made a cameo appearance in the 2001 remake of Oceans 11, which starred Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

* Angie was a natural brunette.  She lightened her hair to a honey colour, and then became a blonde for Police Woman.

* Angie is an avid poker player.  She was taught how to play by stuntmen and is still playing.  She had a small part as a poker player in the 2000 film The Last Producer, a comedy directed by Burt Reynolds.

SOURCES: CBS News (cbxnews.com), "Frank Talk with Angie Dickinson," February 24, 2019; Vanity Fair, "A Legend With Legs," by Sam Kashner, January 2008); Notable Names Database (NNDB); Deseret News (deseret.com), "Dickinson Comes to Sister's Aid," November 6, 1990; AARP (aarp.org), "A Pioneering Police Woman," by Jack Curry, January 27, 2011; PBS.org., Pioneers of TelevisionWikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb).


- Joanne