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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

TV Confidential with Ed Robertson

To television fans and students of television history:

I was recently made aware of a radio show about TV that should interest you.  On April 21, I received an email from Christopher Korman, son of comedian Harvey Korman of The Carol Burnett Show.  In his email, Christopher mentioned that he would be on TV Confidential this week

TV Confidential dubs itself  "A radio talk show about television."  It is hosted by Ed Robertson, an award-winning author and journalist.  Podcasts of recent editions of TV Confidential are available for free in their entirety on the TV Confidential website.  You can also listen to excerpts from TV Confidential on YouTube.

Here is a blurb describing TV Confidential that appears on the show's website:

TV Confidential is a two-hour radio talk show about all aspects of television that directs itself to the Baby Boomer, Generation X and senior markets. Each edition features lively interviews with special guests on topics related to popular network TV shows and the state of the medium in general. Listeners can participate by emailing Our audience encompasses listeners from all parts of the world, including many who work in the film, radio and television industries. The common bond is their unbridled passion for the past, present and future of television programming. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Y&R Report (April 16, 2016): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

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

Well, Y&R fans, what can we say about Dr. Neville?  We can say that he's seldom called by his first name - Simon - even by Ashley Abbott.  We can also say that the man is obviously a genius, a 21st century miracle worker. After all, he cured Ashley of a brain tumour.  Why aren't doctors from all over the world converging on Genoa City.  This is an incredible medical breakthrough. Neville should definitely win the Nobel Prize for Medicine.  Oh yes, and he's really hung up on "Ma Abbott."  I like the combination, but it will probably be a while before they get together.  On soaps, the road to romance has many twists and turns  and detours.  By the way, only Dr. Neville would describe his beloved Ashley as having "incredible bone structure."

So Natalie has removed her glasses and revealed a more attractive hair style - not that her transformation was very surprising.  It was inevitable that she would move away from her computer geek image.  She's sure going to make an enemy of Mariah if she goes after Kevin, which she probably will.  Speaking of Mariah, she could be a real lose canon.  She's bitter about not getting a share of the Passkey profits as part of the deal with Victoria and Newman Enterprises.  Kevin and Natalie will be getting some money, so Mariah is really irked.  She'll really see red if she loses Kevin to the Swiss Miss.  Who knows what she'll do.  Mariah could be capable of anything if she feels disgruntled and scorned.

I must say, I enjoyed those flashbacks of Victor and Nikki's first wedding.  It was a beautiful.  

Isn't Max a little demon of a child.  I understand that he lost his mother and that he's had to adjust to Abby as a stepmother.  That still doesn't excuse him from being such a brat.  He is very manipulative too.  When it suits his purposes, he can appear sweet and angelic.  He can pour on the charm if he has to.  Yet we all know he's up to know good.  He's been thinking about Abby falling down the stairs and losing her baby.  However, I think something else will happen.  It's going to be more complicated than that.  By the way, In my opinion, young Jared Breeze, the actor who portrays Max, is doing a great job in the role.

It was pleased that Esther (Kate) Linder was actually shown working at the coffee house.  The next step is to get her involved in a storyline.  I'm sure Kate doesn't want Esther to be just seen just serving coffee and refreshments.

Victor and Ian Ward may form an unholy alliance.  If it serves their purpose, they'll do it.  We know that Victor won't stay in prison forever and that dastardly Ian Ward wants to escape.  Perhaps the prison doctor, Meredith, will help Victor escape.  She seems quite sympathetic to the prisoners and has taken quite an interest in "The Moustache."

"Snowflake" has really fallen for Luca Santori.  She's definitely forgotten about her absent boyfriend, Kyle.  However, it seems that Luca hasn't had much competition.  Does Kyle even phone Summer from New York?  We'll soon out about the real Luca.  Is he trustworthy or is he an opportunist?  What are his motives?  Does he want to marry into the wealth Newman family.  In the previews after Friday's show on Global TV, we heard Nick Newman saying that he doesn't want that "lowlife" near his daughter.  He sounded like Victor whose always saying that he doesn't want "that useless punk, Billly Boy Abbot" to be with his daughter Victoria.  Well, you know what they say.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree . . .

It seems that Victoria miscalculated big time.  She tried to have it all.  She wanted to end the feud with the Abbots, secure control of Newman Enterprises and get Billy back on her terms.  She set out quite an ambitious agenda for herself.  When she visited Victor in prison, she even told him to "watch me!"  However, it appears that Victoria's grand plan has backfired.  Billy isn't exactly thrilled about being fired from his family's business, even though Victoria intended to save him from ruination.

Billy will probably end up with Phyllis for a while.  That seems inevitable.  They are going to ruffle a lot of feathers, but it won't last either.


Michael Muhney (ex-Adam Newman) seriously injured in bike accident

Fans were disappointed and dismayed when Michael Muhney was let go from his role as Adam Newman on The Young and the Restless.  Although Jason Hartley has done a fine job as Michael's replacement, Muhney has not been forgotten.  On Saturday. April 9, the actor suffered a concussion and some pretty nasty cuts and bruises while participating in a Southern California bike race.  He was involved in a high speed wipeout that left his head and body quite battered.

 "At least now I can donate my brain to NFL research, Michael jokingly tweeted.  He thanked fans for their support.  "I embrace the moments in life when I get knocked down," he wrote.  It makes [me] wiser, more careful and ultimately stronger."

Alicia Coppola joins the cast of Y&R as prison doctor

Alicia Coppola has joined the Y&R cast.  The 48-year-old mother of three portrays Dr. Meredith Gates who works at the prison infirmary looking after prisoners such as Victor Newman.  Alicia, a, a native of New York, is best known for her past role as Lorna Devon on Another World.  After leaving AW in the mid-90s, she went on to star in several films and television shows, including National Treasure: Book of SecretsNCIS: Los AngelesCommon LawJerichoCold Feet, and Trinity.


Max Rayburn (Jared Breeze) is an angry little boy.  Will he cause harm to his stepmother Abby's unborn baby.

Do you think Abby will lose her baby?

Yes, Max will cause her to fall down the stairs.
Yes, Max will be the cause, but it won't happen on the stairs.
Yes, but Max won't be the cause of it. However, he'll get blamed.
Yes, but it will have nothing to do with Max.
No, it won't happen.
I don't know.
Please Specify:

That's all for now.  The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, April 30, 2016.  I'm looking forward to seeing what spring brings to the residents of Genoa City.  Who will have spring fever?

Note; Stacy Haiduk, who portrays Patty Williams has been filming scenes.  Watch for the return of Patty Cakes, sister of clueless Genoa City police chief Paulie Williams.  Will she form a partnership with Ian Ward again?  Is there more behind the murder of Dr. Anderson that we don't know?  Stay tuned!

- Joanne

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Phil Donahue: His talk show and his marriage to Marlo Thomas

Before Oprah Winfrey, there was Phil Donahue.  For 29 years, from 1967 until 1996, Phil was an innovator on daytime TV.  After hosting a local show in Dayton, Ohio for three years, he began a remarkable 26-year run on national (U.S.) television as the creator and star of The Phil Donahue Show, also known as Donahue.  The bespectacled man with the thatch of white hair resided over the longest-running syndicated talk show in American television history.  He received 20 Emmy Awards - nine as host and 11 for the show.

Known for his liberal views, Phil was a trailblazer in American talk television.  He pioneered the concept of audience participation on his show.  He took his microphone into a gathering of people and allowed them to ask questions and to express their opinions.  In January of 1996, when Phil announced that he was ending his show, Oprah released the following statement: "Phil really opened the door to this genre, and for that, I am grateful. I have said from the very first day of my show, if there hadn't been a Phil, there wouldn't have been a me."

How did Donahue come up with the idea of allowing his audience to participate in his discussions?  In a 2001 interview for the Archive of American Television, he made the following comment: ". . . I realized during the commercials that these people in the audience were asking better questions than I was.  I went out in the audience and it saved us.  There would have been no Donahue show without that studio audience."

Phil with studio audience

Philip John "Phil" Donahue was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 21, 1935.  He came from an Irish Catholic background.  His father, Philip, was a furniture salesman and his mother, Catherine was employed as a shoe clerk.  Young Phil was an altar boy, loved baseball, drew cartoons for the school newspaper and played clarinet in the school band. In 1953, he graduated from St. Edward High School, an all-male Catholic college prep high school located in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio.  He then enrolled at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1957.

After graduating from Notre Dame, Phil aspired to a career in broadcasting.   In the summer of 1957, he worked as a replacement announcer at KYW-AM and KYW-TV in Cleveland.   Seeking a more stable job, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the hometown of his then-girlfriend, Margaret "Margie" Cooney.  Unable to find permanent employment as a broadcast journalist, he took a job as a cheque sorter at a bank in Albuquerque.

On February 1, 1958, Phil married Margie Cooney.  He then returned to Cleveland's KYW-TV as a substitute announcer for the summer.  In late 1958, he joined WABJ, a small radio station in Adrian, Michigan, where he served as the stations's program and news director.  Donahue was eventually hired as a newscaster by WHO TV in Dayton, Ohio.  At WHO, he hosted a phone-in talk show called Conversation Piece in which he interviewed civil rights leaders (including Martin Luther King, Jr.) and anti-war anti-war activists.  It was also at WHO that he interviewed Jimmy Hoffa, the powerful union leader who mysteriously disappeared in 1975.

In 1967, Phil began what was to become Donahue on WLWD in Dayton.  In 1974, Donahue relocated his show to Chicago.  Phil and Margie divorced in 1975.  The couple had five children: Michael, Kevin, Daniel, Mary Rose and James Patrick "Jim."  In August of 2014, Jim Donahue, a lawyer who lived and worked in Honolulu, Hawaii, died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm.  He was 51 years of age at the time of his passing.

On May 21, 1980, Phil married actress Marlo Thomas, the star of That Girl and daughter of legendary comedian Danny Thomas. They wed at Marlo's parents' home in Beverly Hills, California. Their romance began in 1977 when Marlo appeared on Donahue's show.  At the time, Marlo was 39 and single, while Phil was 41 and divorced.  As Marlo put it in a 2014 article in the Huffington Post, she was a poster girl for the single state until "I went on this talk show, and some chemical thing happened.  That's the only way I can explain it."

As the show drew to a close, Marlo clasped Donahue's hand and told him, "You are loving and generous and you like women.  And it's a pleasure.  And whoever is the woman in your life is very lucky."  Phil blushed boyishly and later asked her out.  The two are ardent feminists and strong supporters of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

Marlo's appearance on Phil's show in 1977

After a decade in Chicago, Phil decided to move his talk show to New York City.  On January 7, 1985, Donahue was broadcast from the Big Apple for the first time.  Here's how John Corry described the event in The New York Times.

Mr. Donahue's celebrated 9 A.M. interview-and-audience-participation program, Donahue, began promisingly enough. Mr. Donahue stood above the ice-skating rink in Rockefeller Plaza, said he was happy to be in New York, and pointed to the RCA Building across the street. ''NBC lives here,' he said, and then shook hands with the uniformed doorman. Mr. Donahue was downright beguiling. 

Phil Donahue has been quite outspoken and forthright about his political leanings.  In 2002, while being interviewed by Katie Couric on Today, he stated, "Don't be afraid of liberals.  Some of them are my best friends.  You can call us names, you can picket us, but you cannot take our flag.  We are as proud of America as anyone else."

On his show, Phil never shied away from discussing controversial subjects or highlighting controversial guests. He first experimented with audience participation in Dayton, Ohio on November 6, 1967.  It happened quite by accident.  A studio audience had arrived to watch a variety show, which, unknown to them, had been cancelled.  Donahue suggested allowing them to watch his interview instead.  Phil's guest that day was American atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair, then causing quite a stir due to her anti-religious views.  Phil soon permitted the audience to question O'Hair

Phil's show seems fairly tame in this age of reality TV,   His program often focused on wedge issues that divide liberals and conservatives.  It dealt with  matters such as abortion, consumer protection, civil rights and anti-war protests.  Donahue also had some controversial and unpopular guests over the years, including White Supremacist David Duke


*  Phil Donahue's 1980 autobiography is entitled Donahue: My Own Story.

*  Consumer advocate Ralph Nadar was a frequent guest on Donahue's show.  In 2000, Phil supported Nader's campaign for the presidency of the United States.

*  In 1992, Phil Donahue was inducted into the 9th Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.  This honour is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to television.

Phil Donahue

*  From 2002 until 2003, Phil Donahue hosted a prime time talk show on MSNBC, a liberal cable station run by the NBC network.  Phil's show was cancelled on February 25, 2003, the reason cited being low ratings.  However, Donahue believes his firing was due to his anti-war stance with regard to the then-impending U.S. invasion of Iraq (it began on March 20, 2003.  In 2013, Phil spoke to Democracy Now!, a non-profit news organization, about his dismissal from MSNBC.  He made the following statement: "Well, I think what happened to me, the biggest lesson, I think, is the - how corporate media shapes our opinions and our coverage.  This was a decision - my decision - the decision to release me came from far above.  This was not an assistant program director who decided to separate me from MSNBC.  They were terrified of the anti-war voice. And that is not an overstatement. Antiwar voices were not popular. And if you’re General Electric, you certainly don’t want an anti-war voice on a cable channel that you own; Donald Rumsfeld is your biggest customer."

* Phil co-directed a documentary, Body of War, which chronicles the story of Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran, who was paralyzed in combat.

*  In his 2001 interview for the Archive of American Television, Phil Donahue explained why he decided to end his talk show in 1996.  Here is what he said:

I felt that 29 years . . . I'm 60 years old.  We aren't doing the numbers we used to.  It's getting tougher and tougher.  They don't want to see politicians.  They want to see naked ladies.  You're being challenged on every front in terms of the visual, the fighting, the (Jerry) Springers, the guards

The audiences are being prepared on these other shows.  We never told an audience when or what to say.  I mean there are people being told to cry, being told when to cry, when to scream.  I mean it's all manufactured.  We were very proud of the fact that we got a few people from out of the audience - what do you know, maybe someone will say something interesting.

- Joanne

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Y&R Report (April 2, 2016): 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.

So Victor Newman is behind bars - but not for long!  He may have been convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison, but he probably won't even spend ten days there.  Too bad!  I think he looks good in his orange jumpsuit.  The truth is that no matter how matter how much time Victor spends in jail, he will never admit he was wrong.  He will never accept responsibility for his misdeeds. The man is incorrigible.

He's back.  That's right, folks.  That snake-in-the-grass, Ian Ward, is in prison with Victor. I must say, he really knows how to get Victor's goat because Victor doesn't know how to deal with him.  "The Moustache" only knows brute force.  However, the sneaky cult leader uses words and psychological tricks to annoy The Big Man.  For example, he'll make some comment about his fondness for Nikki and Victor won't know how to deal with it.

Phyllis' has certainly gone off the rails.  The woman is unstable.  One minute she wants to completely destroy Victor and Newman Enterprises.  The next minute she tells Jack that she regrets her vindictiveness.  One minute she is kissing Billy and the next minute she doesn't want to lose Jack's love.  She and Victoria are really going to be enemies. Actually, I have more sympathy for Victoria, especially after the way Phyllis treated her friend, Michael Baldwin, and the position she put him in.  I just wish he had been stronger and resisted the arguments of Phyllis and Lauren.  However, there was a reason for Michael's disbarment.  It appears that he is going to be working for Victoria.


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:

I received a very thoughtful and insightful email from regular contributor CC in Etobicoke, Ontario. Here it is:

Hi Joanne,

Unfortunate that it may be, it is probably for the best that characters Jill and Esther are being phased out because their storylines were very much dependent on their relationship with Katharine Chancellor.  

Some time ago I read that the actress who plays Jill was wanting to retire to spend more time with family (grand kids) in Northern California.  She agreed to return for the major storyline after Katharine's death.  I suspect that her diminished role is in part her decision.

The whole storyline about Victor's evil doings etc. is so convoluted and 'way out there' that the writers will have to come up with some ridiculous explanation for his ever-worsening behaviour and evil character...something like a brain tumor, the onset of dementia, some kind of secret addiction, or deep rooted psychological problems (which we know he has) that have become heightened as he ages.  That is certainly how it would be explained in real life.  Soap opera life as we know is a real stretch from reality.

As far as Eric is concerned, his age and demons are very evident on screen. Close-ups reveal that make up cannot disguise skin pigmentations caused by things like excessive long term unhealthy habits; we rarely see full length shots of him doing anything physical like walking across a room; he is usually sitting behind a desk or table.  I am especially dismayed to see his shoddy, unkempt appearance.  It certainly leaves me wondering about how much he is willing to give to his craft after all these years.

As far as the Summer and Luca S. possible storyline looming on the horizon, it is already a dud for me.  The character of Summer has little substance and Hunter King is just wrong for the part.  Her acting skills are limited, she looks far older than her character should be, she is not attractive enough to be the daughter, granddaughter, and niece in the Newman family.

I don't know why the producers were willing to extend the perk of allowing her the leeway to take on other roles, but wouldn't do the same for the huge talented and popular Billy Miller.  They need to cut her loose and recast the role with someone who is more talented and better fits the part. Given the plot turn for Marisa/ Noah/Luca it stands to reason that she may be leaving.  The great love affair is already waning.

I expect you are wondering what keeps me watching.  I'm wondering that myself? Time will tell.

Thanks for your intriguing insights to the lives of the folks of Genoa City.

Thank you for your letter, CC.  I agree with you that the death of Katherine Chancellor has affected the storylines of Jill and Esther.  I can understand your point, especially in Jill's case.  However, where Esther is concerned, I am baffled by what the writers did.  They started a new storyline for her character.  The disenchanted maid left the Chancellor mansion and was about to start a new life.  She was hired to work at Crimson Lights, Dylan's coffee shop.  Why didn't the writers follow through? Did they suddenly decide that the storyline wouldn't work out.  If so, why did they begin it in the first place?  Don't they consider everything carefully before they begin a new plotline?  Kate Linder, who plays Esther, had her hopes up that she would be given an exciting new storyline.  She must be so disappointed.  It's also not fair to viewers to just leave a storyline hanging.  It's shoddy writing.  How long can they keep saying that Esther is in the backroom of the coffeehouse?

In the case of Eric Braeden, keep in mind that the man is 74 years old.  He's been a good athlete all his life. playing tennis and boxing.  Not everyone on a soap has to be young and unblemished.  Why should he be expected to have cosmetic surgery?  There are so many actors who have distorted their faces with Botox and plastic surgery.  I applaud Eric for being his own man.  It's a refreshing change.

Oh yes, you were right about Victor having an illness, and you may also be right about the illness affecting his behaviour).

As for Summer, I'm not a big fan of the character, especially right now.  I can't stand the way she's been defending Grandpa Victor so strongly.  I'm not a huge fan of Hunter King's acting ability either.  However, I don't think she's as wrong for the part as you do.  She's a good foil for Mariah.  I really enjoy when Mariah calls her "Snowflake."  (By the way, aren't you thrilled that she's been nominated for another Daytime Emmy?).  Yes, the producers definitely erred in allowing her the freedom to take an extended role, but not Billy Miller. Although I'm getting used to Jason Thompson in the role of Billy Abbott, I still miss Billy Miller and I don't think anyone will ever play the part as well.

Here's why I think we keep watching The Young and the Restless, CC, even when we're not particularly captivated by the storylines:  Most of us need a diversion.  In most cases, it's a form of harmless escapism.  We can watch characters who have more problems than we do.  Our choices in life don't seem so bad in comparison to the poor judgement displayed by soap characters.

Another Y&R viewer, Helen in Scarborough, Ontario, is not impressed with Billy Abbott's makeover of the Chancellor home.  Helen says that Billy Boy has transformed the Chancellor estate into the Munster mansion.  Well, Helen, you will be pleased to know that Judith Chapman, who hasn't been seen in her role as Gloria Bardwell for ages, agrees with you.  She doesn't like Billy's taste in decor either.  Here's what she tweeted:

Dear God in Heaven! I always knew Jill would destroy my home. Turns out, I was worried about the wrong Jill… (Editor's Note: The other Jill is Y&R's executive producer Jill Farren Phelps).

Just need to say… To ALL OF YOU, Who liked, and commented on my post (shared with me) about the demise of KATHERINE CHANCELLOR’S MANSION… from a timeless version of elegance, taste, love, and knock down, drag out fun and drama to a gray, lifeless, colorless institution… Not unlike another colorful “SEE AND BE SEEN PALACE”… GLOWORM, designed by the brilliant Joe Bavaqua (no across the hall at BandB) burned to the ground, and replaced with a hotel, airport land bar…


New Character in Genoa City

Beginning on April 29th on Friday, April 29th on CBC (April 28th on Global TV in Canada), Michael Roark will appear in the role of Travis.  Travis is described as "a mysterious stranger who sets his eyes on someone in Genoa City.  There has been speculation that he is the father of Shawn's child, David, but you never know what characters he will interact with.

Robert Adamson (Noah Newman) taken off contract

Sorry, Robert Adamson fans!  Expect to see less of him on screen.  Daytime Confidential reported that Y&R has bumped the actor to recurring status.  Actually, I'm not surprised.  The writing was on the wall when Sofia Pernas was recently taken off contract too.  Apparently, the reason cited was "lack of storyline," which just doesn't ring true.  Noah has been front and centre.  My guess is that it's a cost cutting measure.  

Downgrading actors seems to be a frequent occurrence for Y&R lately.  It doesn't bode well for the future of the actors involved.  They seem to just fade away after being reduced to recurring status. Looked what happened to Judith Chapman (Gloria).  She hasn't appeared on screen for ages. Lachlan Buchanan (Kyle Abbott) was taken off contract and then left the show.  His character is now in exile in New York.


Do you approve of the way Billy Abbott has renovated the Chancellor estate?

Yes, he has good taste. It looks good.
Yes, it's about time the place had a makeover.
I'm not sure yet. Maybe it will grow on me.
No, it looks hideous. Mrs. C. must be turning in her grave.
Please Specify:
create quizzes

That's all for now. Here are a  couple of reminders:

The Daytime Emmys are coming up.  The ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 1st. The Young and the Restless leads the pack with a total of 27 nominations.  General Hospital is second with 24.  Unfortunately, the event will not be televised due to the cost and to low ratings.  Discussions are underway to have the ceremony aired as a live webcast.  What a sad reflection on the current state of daytime television!

 The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, April 16, 2016,

- Joanne

Friday, April 1, 2016

Remembering Patty Duke and The Patty Duke Show

Sadly, Patty Duke passed away on March 29, 2016 at the age of 69.  She was an accomplished actress who received an Academy Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller in the 1962 movie The Miracle Worker.  A true thespian in every sense of the word.  Patty performed in films, theatre and on television.  She won Emmy Awards for her work in the television movie My Sweet Charlie (1970), the TV min- series Captain and the Kings (1976) and the television version of The Miracle Worker (1979) in which she played Helen Keller's teacher, Annie Sullivan, rather than Helen.  However, I will always remember her in the role of identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane on The Patty Duke Show., the popular sitcom that ran on the ABC network from 1963 until 1966.
Patty died peacefully, surrounded by the friends and relatives who had travelled to her hospital bedside in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.  Her representative made the following statement regarding the cause of her death:

Her cause of death was sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a mental health advocate and a cultural icon. She will be greatly missed.

Patty displayed remarkable courage in her struggle with bipolar disorder and she was truly a mental health pioneer.  Her eldest son, 45 year-old actor Sean Astin, described his mother as "a warrior." "You watch this 4-foot-10, tiny imp of a lady who's more powerful than the greatest military leaders in history," said Sean.  After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, Patty became a passionate advocate for mental health awareness.  Sean stated that the diagnosis was a "watershed" in his mother's life  and that it gave her "a whole new sense of purpose, and that was to share what she had gone through with other people."

Patty Duke is survived by her husband, Michael Pierce, and her three sons: Sean Astin, Mackenzie Astin and Kevin Pierce.  She was also a grandmother to Sean's three daughters: actress Alexandra "Ali" Astin, Elizabeth and Isabella.  Farewell, Patty.  Rest in peace.  As Patty Lane would say, "Bye-eeee!"


I recall The Patty Duke Show with great fondness.  I watched it regularly as a child and enjoyed Patty's zany antics. The teenage Patty Lane had a penchant for using silly slang expressions.  Her hair was styled in a 1960s flip and she frequently wore hairbands.  I was too young to understand that Patty Lane and her more conservative, European-educated cousin, Cathy, were both played by Patty Duke. After all, the two girls appeared in the same scenes together.

I was really surprised and a bit disappointed when it was explained to me that it was done through the use of a split screen effect.  Here's how it worked..  A young woman named Rita McLaughlin served at Patty /Cathy's double and she was seen from the back as one of the girls.  Meanwhile, Patty Duke faced the camera as the other.

The Patty Duke Show was set in Brooklyn Heights, New York.  Patty Lane was an all-American teenager, while her look-alike cousin, Cathy Lane, was much more refined and she spoke with a Scottish accent.  The girls sometimes switched identities, causing confusion and hilarity.


L to R - Jean Byron, Patty, Wiliam Schallert, Paul O'Keefe

Patty Duke was born Anna Marie Duke on December 1946 in Elmhurst, Queens,New York.  She was the youngest of the three children of Frances and John Brock Duke.  John Duke worked as a handyman and a taxi driver.  Patty and her siblings, a brother named Raymond and a sister, Carol, had a difficult childhood. Their father was an alcoholic and their mother suffered from depression.  When Patty was eight years old, she was placed under the care of her brother Ray's talent managers, John and Ethel Ross.  The Rosses took control of the youngster's acting career.  They also abused and exploited her.

Patty began her acting career in the late 1950s.  One of her earliest roles was as Ellen Williams Dennis on the soap opera The Brighter Day.  In 1959, at 12 years old, she was a contestant on the quiz show The $64,000 Question. She also appeared in  television commercials.  In October of that year, Patty began her first major starring role as Helen Keller in a Broadway production of The Miracle Worker.

At the age of 16, Patty Duke won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film adaptation of The Miracle Worker alongside Anne Bancroft,who played Annie Sullivan.  Following Patty's success in The Miracle Worker, writer and producer Sidney Sheldon created a comedy series, The Patty Duke Show, just for her.

Patty Duke

William "Bill" Schallert, who played Patty's father, Martin Lane, is 93 years old.  The veteran character actor was born in Los Angeles, California on July 6, 1922.  His father, Edwin Francis Schallert was a drama critic for the Los Angeles Times.

Bill has made appearances in numerous television series from Family Theatre in 1951 to Desperate Housewives in 2009.  He played Max Devore in the 2011 TV miniseries Bag of Bones and he had an uncredited cameo role as an elevator operator on 2 Broke Girls.

William Schallert

Jean Byron, who played Patty's mother, Natalie Lane, passed away on February 3, 2006 at the age of 80.  She died of complications after undergoing hip replacement surgery.

Born Imogene Buckhart on December 10, 1925 in Paducah, Kentucky, Jean was a film, television and stage actress.  In the 1950s, she had roles in such B-movies as Serpent of the Nile.  In 1959, she was cast in the recurring role of Dr. Imogene Buckhart (her real name) on The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis.

Jean was married to Syrian-born American actor Michael Ansara. The couple divorced in 1956. They had no children and Jean never remarried.  In 1958, Ansara wed actress Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie fame.  That marriage ended in divorce in 1974.

Jean Byron and William Schallert in a scente from The Patty Duke Sow

Paul O'Keefe, who played Patty's younger brother, Ross Lane, is now 64 years old.  He was born in Everett, Massachusetts on April 27, 1951.  At seven years of age, Paul portrayed Winthrop in the 1959 Broadway production of the musical The Music Man.  By the time he won the role of Ross in 1963, he was staring on Broadway in the title role of Oliver.

Prior to The Patty Duke Show, Paul appeared in minor roles in Car 54,Where are You? and Naked City.  He also had part in the daytime soap opera As The World Turns as Danny Stewart (aka Jimmy Lowell).  After The Patty Duke Show, he made a guest appearance in a 1967 episode of My Three Sons.  He never really had an acting career as an adult, though.

Paul O'Keefe

Eddie Applegate, who played Patty Lane's boyfriend, Richard Harrison, is now 80 years old.  He appeared in 70 of the 104 episodes of The Patty Duke Show. Eddie was born in Wyncote, Pennsylvania on October 4, 1935.  Prior to The Patty Duke Show, he had guest roles ins such series as The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1963), The Lucy Show (1963) and Mr. Novak (1963).

After the Patty Duke Show ended, Eddie appeared in 1968 episode of The Carol Channing Show, a 1968 episode of  the adventure series Daltari and a two-part 1970 episode of Gunsmoke.  During the 1970 to 1971 television season, Eddie had a role as reporter on the short-lived series Nancy, starring Renne Jarrett as Nancy Smith, the daughter of the President of the United States.   After his television career waned, he became more involved with painting, a hobby he took up to relax himself.

In 2009, Applegate revived his acting career with movie role as Henry in the indie thriller Rain From Stars (The film was not released in the United States until 2013).  Eddie and his wife, Betty Jenkins, currently reside in Chatsworth, California.

Eddie Applegate in a scene from The Patty Duke Show

Eddie Applegate


* High-profile celebrities such as Bobby Vinton, Chad and Jeremy and Frankie Avalon appeared on The Patty Duke Show.  Sammy Davis, Jr.  Peter Lawford Paul Lynde Sal Mineo check

* Do you remember The Patty Duke Show's theme song  It was a very catchy tune and so were, shall we say, unforgettable.

Meet Cathy, who's lived most everywhere,
From Zanzibar to Berkeley Square.
But Patty's only seen the sight.
A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights --
What a crazy pair!

But they're cousins,
Identical cousins all the way.
One pair of matching bookends,
Different as night and day.

Where Cathy adores a minuet,
The Ballet Russes, and Crêpe Suzette,
Our Patty loves to rock and roll,
A hot dog makes her lose control --
What a wild duet!

Still, they're cousins,
Identical cousins and you'll find,
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike --

You can lose your mind,
When cousins are two of a kind.             

The song was written by Sid Ramin and Bob Wells (lyrics).  Hey, how can you forget a line like "A hot dog makes her lose control?"

* There was a 1999 Patty Duke Show reunion TV movie.  It was called The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights.  Patty Duke and all of the original cast members reprised their roles, with the exception of Kitty Sullivan who played Patty Lane's nemesis Sue Ellen.


* Patty Duke had a singing career in the mid-1960s.  She enjoyed two Top 40 hits in 1965 with "Don't Just Stand There" and "Say Something Funny."

* After The Patty Duke Show ended its run in 1966, Patty was seen in the role of Neely O'Hara in the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls.  It was her first real adult role.

* Patty was the author of two books, a 1987 autobiography entitled Call Me Anna and a 1992 book entitled Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness.

* It was John and Ethel Ross who changed Anna Marie Duke's first name to Patty, after Patty McCormack, a successful child star of the 1950s.

* Patty served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988.

* Sean Astin has invited the public to contribute to a mental health foundation that he has established in his mothers memory - the Patty Duke Mental Health Initiative.  I strongly encourage you to do so. For information, just click on the following link:

- Joanne

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Y&R Report (March 19, 2016): 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.

Note: Y&R was preempted twice this week.  The March Madness in Genoa City was replaced by the March Maddness of college basketball.

Victor Newman may be in prison right now.  He may be down, but he is far from out.  The writers have put Victor in a precarious situation for a while, but I guarantee that he will not stay down for long.  Yes,  I know!  I know!  Everybody wants Victor to have his comeuppance.  They want him to own up to his despicable behaviour.  Unfortunately, it's just not in Victor's DNA.  He is actually proud of what he's done and doesn't regret anything.  He thinks he's in the right.  Anyone who opposes him is an enemy.  Anyone who does not support him is disloyal.  Right now, his only friend seems to be Summer. Despite Victor's criminal behaviour, her grandfather is still a hero to her.

With the exception of Summer, "The Black Knight" regards his family as ungrateful traitors who have betrayed him.  Nikki tried to make amends with with him, but he would have none of it.  He was as cold as ice to her.  As for Princess Victoria, she's really in daddy's doghouse.

I have to give Eric Braeden credit.  His performance as Victor Newman has been magnificent.  He was born to play that role and he seems to be enjoying himself immensely.  He just relishes portraying Victor under attack, the lone wolf, fighting the whole world.  In my opinion, Eric should be nominated for an daytime Emmy this year.

Has Michael Baldwin sold his soul?  Say it ain't so!  Michael seemed like the only character in Genoa City with some integrity.  Now he's going along with Phyllis' Machiavellian scheme to throw Victor's defence.  It may not happen, though.  He could have change of heart.  Perhaps his conscience won't allow him to do it and he will get "The Moustache"off the hook - not that I want "The Moustache" to get away scot-free.

The people of Genoa City don't have much faith in the legal system or the police.  The question is: Why do they feel that way?  Why are they so into vigilante justice?  Could it be because the Newman family specializes in blackmailing judges?  Could it be because the chief of police, Paul Williams, is incompetent and they don't have any confidence in him?  Just asking . . .

I have a bone to pick with Y&R's writers about what they have done to the character of Victoria. Victoria is an astute woman of business.  She is very experienced and more than capable of running Newman Enterprises.  She knows the company inside out, so why is she having so many problems now that she's the head honcho?  Why is she begging Nicholas to come to her aid?  Why did she visit her father in prison and ask for his help? Didn't she realize that she would be playing right into his hands and that he'd laugh in her face?  Are the writers portraying Victoria that way because she is a woman?  Would the same thing be happening to a male character?

Y&R has tied up some lose ends.  Billy is now the owner of the Chancellor mansion.  It's a gift from his mother, Jill.  The "mausoleum." as Jill always refers to it, has never been the same since the beloved Mrs. C. passed away.  It's about time the estate had a complete makeover.  As for Jill herself, the writers have finally explained her absence.  She is travelling around the world with Colin. Translation: They can't come up with a storyline for her. Unless I've missed something, no explanation has yet been given for Esther's absence.


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:

Here's a comment from Filomena in Woodbridge, Ontario.

I'd like to see Billy and Phyllis together.  They would be perfect together and it would drive Victoria crazy.

Well, Filomena, I think you will eventually get your wish.  Billy and Phyllis will probably hook up, at least for a time.  Yes, it would drive Victoria crazy, but I can certainly understand why she decided not to remarry Billy,  He keeps hiding things from her and lying to her.  How can she trust him?  Jack would be furious with his brother for becoming involved with Phyllis.  It would drive a real rift between the two siblings.

Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario, a longtime Y&R viewer, pointed out how ridiculous it was to have Judge Elise Moxley preside over the trial of Noah Newman.  It should never have been allowed because it was a blatant conflict-of-interest.  When Victor Newman tried to blackmail Moxley, she appeared on television and publicly revealed her long ago affair with him.  She then removed herself as the judge in Victor's trial.  At that time, she should have made herself ineligible to preside over any trial involving a member of the Newman family, including Victor's grandson, Noah.  Because of her past relationship with Victor, Judge Moxley is too emotionally involved with the Newmans to be fair and unbiased.


Is Sofia Pernas (Marisa) on the way out? 

We won't be seeing as much of Sofia Pernas (Marisa Sierras) on The Young and the Restless anymore. According to a report in Deadline, CBS let the actress go for "budgetary reasons." However, a spokesperson for the show told that "she's recurring and will continue to be seen on the show."

There is more to the story, though.  Sofia has landed a role in the pilot of the CW drama Transylvania., which takes place in 1880 and deals with "the births of the most famous monsters and villains in history."  The Moroccan-born Pernas is scheduled to play the part of an "exotic gypsy" named Coriander.  

If the pilot for Transylvania is picked up and the show becomes a big hit, it's hard to imagine that Sofia will remain on Y&R.  She hasn't been on the soap all that long.  She was cast in the recurring role of Marissa in July 2015 and was offered a long-term contract in September.  

Pernas is quite excited about the prospect of starring in Transylvania on prime time television.  On March 17th, she tweeted the following: "I am so thrilled to announce the 
news!!!  So happy to be on board with this monster of a show."

Lachlan Buchanan (Kyle Abbott) is leaving Y&R

Now we know for sure that Kyle and Summer will be breaking up soon.  Lachlan Buchanan, the Australian actor who portrays Kyle Abbott, is exiting Y&R.  Buchanan joined the show's cast in February of 2015.  He was downgraded to recurring status in November and hasn't been seen on screen much ever since.  I'm not surprised because his Kyle Abbott character has never caught on with fans.  However, to be fair to Buchanan, his storyline was very lacklustre.  By the way, the Aussie recently appeared on an episode of NCIS.

So, what is in store for Supergirl Summer now that Kyle is on the way out?  I guess her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend will decide to stay in New York and the field will be wide open for Romeo Santori.  It would be even more interesting if the writers brought back Fen Baldwin.  Wouldn't it be fun to see Santori and Fen competing for Supergirl's affection?


Who is the best person to replace Victor as head of Newman Enterprises?

Adam Newman
Victoria Newman
Nicholas Newman
Luca Santori
Please Specify:
Do Quizzes

That's all for now.  I'm looking forward to what spring has in store for the residents of Genoa City.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, April 2, 2016.  Happy Easter to all those who celebrate the season.

- Joanne