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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Y&R Report (August 20, 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.

Y&R has begun promoting its 11,000th episode with flashbacks.  I enjoyed watching those scenes of Victor and Nikki's wedding and of Jeanne Cooper as Katherine Chancellor.  The actual 11,000th episode will air on Thursday, September 1, 2016. on CBS and on Wednesday, August 31 on Global TV.  It will be fun to see Michael Graziadei return as Daniel Romalotti.  Daniel will return to surprise his sister, Summer, at her engagement party.

Travis Crawford (Michael Roark) has returned - but is he back for good or just for a few episodes? We'll soon find out.  I have to say, I liked the hat Victoria (Amelia Heinle) was wearing when she visited him on his boat in Mexico.  I couldn't help thinking how interesting it would be if Billy Miller were still playing the role of Billy Abbott.  Billly Miller had much better chemistry with Heinle than Jason Thompson, the current Billy Boy and he was much more likable in the role.  Imagine Victoria torn between Billy (as played by Miller) and Travis.  Wouldn't that be an intriguing scenario!  Unfortunately, it's not going to happen.

Billy can't have it both ways.  He wants Phyllis and yet he always seems to be upset about Victoria and Travis. Which way you goin' Billy?  Make up your mind.

Have we seen the last of Natalie Soderberg (Mara McCaffray)the Swiss computer hacker? Kevin dumped her because of his desire to reunite with Chloe.  Natalie didn't take it too well and walked off in a huff.  Will she be back?  I am not a fan of the character, so I wouldn't miss her at all.  I don't think she's caught on with Y&R fans at all.  At the moment, Natalie doesn't fit into the storyline, especially since she's broken up with Kevin.  Yet, who knows what the writers have in store for us.

Talk about delusions of grandeur!  Luca Santori (Miles Gaston Villanueva) envisions he and Summer as Genoa's City's next power couple.  Move over Victor and Nikki!  Make room for Snowflake and the Spaniard.  Speaking of the Great Santori, I was curious about Villanueva's ethnic background since he doesn't speak with a Spanish accent..  It turns out he was born in California to a Mexican father, hence the name "Villanueva."  His mother is European with French, German and Jewish heritage.

It was a nice touch having the Abbott clan remember the anniversary of patriarch John Abbott's death.  It's always good for a soap to go back to its roots.  It's too bad, Jerry Douglas, who played John, did not make an appearance in the form of his ghost or in flashbacks.  I would have liked to have seen a flashback of one of those famous Abbott family breakfasts with John and Mamie.

Adam (Justin Hartley) sure had a meltdown in prison, hallucinating that Victor was taunting him, and beating a prison guard. Wow!  "The Big Man" doesn't even have to be present to cause his son to go off the deep end.  Now Adam's been charged with assault and the prison guard is in a coma. If he dies, Adam could be charged with murder.  Yet how long can the writers keep him in prison?  He can't be locked up for years.  Oh yes, and Victor had some nerve when he tried to dismiss Michael Baldwin as Adam's lawyer and replace him with Leslie Michaelson.  What right does he have to interfere with Adam's choice as lawyer?  Of course, when has that ever stopped Victor Newman from trying to control everything?  

Justin Hartley's upcoming new prime time show, This is Us, is expected to be a huge success.  Hartley reported on Twitter that after a recent screening of the NBC show, there was not a dry eye in the theatre.  However, what does this mean for Justin's status on Y&R? Quite honestly, I think he'll be leaving.  It's a matter of time.


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 are some comments from Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario:

I am not thrilled with Chloe being back and think the whole storyline with pages from the journal is ridiculous.  Oh well!!!

I'm not a big fan of Chloe either, Carly.  However, I understand why they brought her back.  She's needed for storyline purposes.  She stirs things up and causes trouble.  She also complicates matters for Kevin and Mariah.  Most fans, I think, would like those two to get together.  I must say, their "friendship" or "romance" or whatever you want to call it, has been a rather awkward one. It's time for Mariah to have a little luck at love.  I have to admit I started cheering for her when she came up with the nickname "Snowflake" for Summer.

As for the storyline about Sage's journal pages and the framing of Adam for Contance's murder, I don't mind it.  It's convoluted but I'll take it any day over some ludicrous Marco Annicelli storyline.


David Faustino to make guest appearance on Y&R

David Fausine   Photo Attribution: Gage Skidmore 

Married . . .with Children star David Faustino will appear in Genoa City.  Faustino, who played Bud Bundi on the sitcom, will turn up on the Y&R on Tuesday, September 27th on CBS (September 26 on Global TV in Canada).  He will portray a character named Howard Green, the TV producer behind the gossipy tabloid GC. Buzz.  According to Soap Opera Digest, Faustino's character will taunt and tease a powerful Genoa City resident.  Could it be Victor Newman by any chance?  

Y&R is casting a new character

According to Soap in Depth, The Young and the Restless has sent out a casting call for a new character called "Dean"  "Dean" has been described as 30-something, attractive and honest.  It's a contract role that is expected to begin taping at the end of August and will likely be broadcast in the fall.


Do you remember the scene in which Summer spoke to her darling grandpa Victor about her decision to marry Luca Santoria?  Victor went on about how he feels that nobody is good enough for his children and grandchildren (That's for sure!).  Summer then responded with a question for Victor.  "What if I met someone exactly like you?" she queried.  "Run!" her grandfather responded.


Despite the best efforts of Victor, Phyllis and Nick to prevent Summer from marrying Luca Santori, the wedding is still on.  Snowflake is just captivated by Santori and she just melts when she's around him.


Will Summer and Luca's wedding really happen?

Yes, not even Phyllis, Victor and Nick can stop it. Summer has her made up.her mind.
No. Are you kidding? There's no way it's going to happen. There are too many things working against it.
No. Something or someone will disrupt the ceremony.
Maybe, but the odds are against it.
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Quiz Maker

That's all for now. I'm  looking forward to Y&R's 11,000th episode and the buildup to the celebration. Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, 
September 3rd.

- Joanne

Whatever happened to Johnny Whitaker (Jody on Family Affair)?

Remember that re-headed, curly-haired, freckle-faced child on Family Affair?  Wasn't he just as cute as a button?  That was Johnny Whitaker.  He's 56 years old now and has survived some very difficult times. Johnny was born John Orson.Whitiker, Jr. in Van Nuys, California, on December 13, 1959, the fifth of the eight children of Thelma and John O. Whitaker, Sr.  His father, John Sr., was a Mormon junior high school teacher.

Johnny first displayed his talents while singing in his church choir.  He began appearing in television commercials as a three-year-old.  In 1965, at the age of five, he initiated the role of Scotty Baldwin on the daytime drama General Hospital.  That same year, he appeared in Slattery's People, a political drama starring Richard Crenna.  Young Whitaker played a character named Douglas Styx in an episode of the series entitled "Question: Is Democracy Too Expensive This Year?" (Season 1, Episode 20, Air Date: February 26, 1965).

Johnny made his film debut as Jerry Maxwell in 1966's The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.  It's interesting to note that Brian Keith, Johnny's future co-star on Family Affair portrayed Police Chief Link Mattocks in that film.  According to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB), Johnny and Brian got along so well that Keith was influential in arranging an interview for Johnny with the producers of Family Affair.
It was Family Affair that made Whitaker a star.  When the show premiered on CBS on September 12, 1966, the youngster quickly catapulted to fame.  He was cast as Jody Davis, a 6-year-old orphan who lived in a luxurious high-rise apartment in New York City with his "Uncle Bill," his two siblings and Mr. Giles French, Bill's "gentleman's gentleman." Uncle Bill , played by Brian Keith, was a successful engineer and a bachelor. He and Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot) had suddenly became surrogate parents to the three children of Bill's relatives who had been killed in a car accident. The eldest sibling was a perky teenager named Cissy (Kathy Garver).  Jody, the only male child, had an adorable twin sister named Buffy, portrayed by Anissa Jones.

The cast of Family Affair in 1967

In June of 1969, Family Affair reached Number One in the U.S. ratings.  At the height of the show's popularity, there was no end to the merchandising.  Stores were filled with "Buffy" paper dolls, Family Affair colouring books and lunch boxes and a "Buffy" line of children's clothing. Buffy's doll, "Mrs. Beasley," was a best seller during the show's run.

In an interview with Rodger Mullen for the Fayetteville Observer (September 29, 2014), Johnny Whitaker provided his perspective on being a child star.  'Today, it's common that individuals are recognized for the money that they make and the status that they have in the world," he said.  "When you're making $150,000 a year at 11 and 12 years old and everybody knows your name and you're on the front of a couple of teen magazines at least twice a year if not more . . . you hit your peak at 13 or 14. It's difficult to live the rest of your life chasing that peak."

As for the popularity of Family Affair, Whitaker told Mullen that one of the  reasons it was so well received was the appeal of "these two cute little kids."  "You didn't watch the television show to find out what happened to Uncle Bill and Mr. French," he declared. "You watched the show to see what happened with Buffy and Jody.'

During the run of Family Affair, Johnny Whitaker had guest spots in such series as Bonanza (1968), Bewitched 1969, The Virginian (1969) and Green Acres (1970).  In the Bewitched episode, entitled "Sam and the Beanstalk" (Season 6, Episode 1, Air Date: September 18, 1969). he portrayed Jack in a story in which Samantha must bring back Tabitha who has run away into the book Jack and the Beanstalk.

Johnny as Jack and Erin Murphy as Tabitha in Bewitched episode

In 1969, Johnny starred in a television movie entitled The Littlest Angel.  He played Michael, a little shepherd boy who falls off a cliff, dies and goes to heaven.  A Christmas story, The Littlest Angel aired on December 6, 1969.  It featured Fred Gwynne, Cab Calloway, E.G. Marshall amd Tony Randall.

After five seasons and 138 episodes, CBS aired its last original episode of Family Affair on September 4, 1971.  When the show ended, Johnny went on to make five Walt Disney films and to star in the 1973 musical Tom Sawyer.  Below is a publicity photo of Johnny Whitaker promoting the 1975 CBS television broadcast of the United Artists feature film in which Jodie Foster played Becky Thatcher to Johnny's Tom Sawyer.

Johnny appeared in a 1971 episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. entitled "Cross-Match" (Season 3, Episode 15, Air Date: December 14, 1971).  In 1973, he had a guest role on the TV police series Adam-12  appearing as Eddie Roberts in an episode entitled "Northeast Division" (Season 6, Episode 11, Air Date: December 5, 1973).  That same year, he also starred as Johnny Stuart in a Saturday morning children's show called Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.  Below is a photo of him with Scott Kolden in an episode of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters from 1973.

On August 28, 1976, Anissa Jones, 18, was found dead of a massive drug overdose at the home of a friend in Oceanside, California.  Her death was later ruled accidental. Johnny Whitaker, of course, was devastated by the loss of his Family Affair co-star.  In November of 1994, he told People magazine that during the run of the show "we were like brother and sister.  When I heard that she was dead, my heart fell to my toes."  The tragedy caused Johnny to turn inward and examine his life. "I'd been working for the past 15 years," he explained to the magazine. "I needed to stop and think about what I wanted and what was going on in my life."

Whitaker's other TV sister, Kathy Garver, was also deeply saddened by Anissa's passing.  "That was a real tragedy," she told Susan King in a Los Angeles Times interview (September 2, 2015).  "She got into the wrong crowd."

Johnny with Anissa Jones in 1967

After Anissa's death, Johnny spent two years in Portugal as a volunteer Mormon missionary.  When he returned to the United States, he had difficulty finding acting roles. He eventually enrolled at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.

In 1984, Johnny Whitaker married Symbria Wright of Reseda, California, a former talent agent.. The couple divorced in 1988 and Symbria later wed Johnny's best friend.  After the collapse of his marriage, the actor went through a very dark period in his life.  He told Roger Mullen of th Fayettevillle Observer that his divorce was "the precipitous event which caused me to lose faith in God and faith in myself and whatever else and kind of went to the dark side, Luke Skywalker.  I started hanging out in bars and smoking and smoking marijuana and then going from marijuana to cocaine and methamphetamine and smoking heroin and losing three cars, four apartments, five jobs and a company that I'd started and ran into the ground."

In an interview with Nicki Gostin for Fox News (June 2, 2016), Johnny discussed those troubled years further:: "I started a business in Utah for my wife and then she turns around and says, 'I don't love you anymore and I want to marry the man who gave you your bachelor party.' So with that I lost my faith in God and man and the world. I didn't ever have a thought of suicide but I did the second best thing which was to drop into sex, drugs and rock and roll. That lasted about seven, eight years and then my family said you have a choice between getting clean and sober or getting excommunicated from the family."

That family intervention was the wake up call Johnny needed.  He told Fox News that it provided the impetus for him to stay clean and sober for over 18 and a half years. Whitaker also discovered a passion for helping people recover from substance abuse. He became a certified drug counsellor and he currently runs the Paso Por Paso alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre.  Paso Por Paso (Spanish for "step by step"is a non-profit organization for recovering addicts.  It was founded by Johnny himself and provides support and treatment services in Spanish, Portuguese and English.

Due to his past behaviour, Johnny was excommunicated from the Mormon Church.  In his interview with Nicki Gostin, he said that he now sings in his congregation's choir and is "working towards getting reintegrated."


* Johnny's sister, Dora Whitaker, is a prominent talent agent in North Hollywood.


* Sebastian Cabot, the English actor who played Giles French, Uncle Bill's valet on Family Affair, passed away on August 22, 1977 at the age of 59.  He died of a stroke in a Victoria, British Columbia hospital.  He lived his final years in Canada where he resided in Deep Cove, in the Victoria suburb of North Saanich, B.C.

Sebastian Cabot

* Brian Keith, the actor who played Uncle Bill Davis on Family Affair was found dead on June 24, 1997.  According to authorities, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Malibu, California.  He was 75 years old and was reported to have had serious health problems.

Brian Keith

* Kathy Garver, who played older sister Cissy Davis, was born on December 13, 1945 in Long Beach, California, USA.   Now 70 years old, she is the author of The Family Affair Cook Book (2009) and is a television host on Backstage with Barry and Kathy.  Her 2015 autobiography is entitled Surviving Cissy: My Family Affair of Life in Hollywood.  She has been married to David Travis since 1981.

Kathy Garver 

More recent photo of Kathy Garver

* Johnny has directed and written and directed a documentary about Portugal's drug policy and its treatment of addicts.

Johnny in recent times

- Joanne

Friday, August 19, 2016

David Brent - A Life in a CV

Here is an infographiic about David Brent from the British hit comedy The Office.  It is a tongue-in-cheek CV.  By the way, David is back with a new film is being released today  It is a "mockumentary" in which he considers himself a rock star.

I hope you enjoy this infographic, especially readers from the U.K.

- Joanne

David Brent – a Life in a CV by Euroffice.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Y&R Report (August 6, 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.

Once again, fans, Paul Williams has proven himself to be the most clueless police chief anywhere. He has foolishly closed the investigation into the murder of Constance Bingham and won't allow son Dylan to pursue the matter any further.  Fortunately, however, Dylan is sharper than his father, although that's not saying much.  Is it any wonder why the citizens of Genoa City have such little faith in their police?

Clueless & Son are nowhere as sharp as Adam.  Adam was able to put the pieces together and figure out that Chloe is the one who helped Victor frame him for murder.  He was also too smart to fall for Chloe's little act when when visited him in prison.  He didn't buy into her false declarations of forgiveness.  I was surprised that Chelsea bought into it, though.  She and her mother, Anita, are former con artists.  Isn't she too street-wise to be fooled by Chloe's lies and deception? 

Chloe has also managed to deceive Kevin Fisher.  Kevin is satisfied that she has reformed and wants to get back together with her.  He is really eager to be a father to Chloe's little daughter, Bella. Actually, I think Kevin is more in love the the idea of being a father than he is in love with Chloe. I find it difficult to believe that Kevin wouldn't be more suspicious of his former wife.  Why is he so easily convinced that she has changed?  Why is he pressuring Mariah to help him get back with Chloe?  Also, why isn't Mariah more skeptical about Chloe's supposed change of heart?  Mariah is usually much more cynical.  I wouldn't think she'd be so easily deceived.  By the way, I think she's much more suited to Kevin than Natalie or Chloe.

Kevin has learned that he isn't Bella's biological father, unless someone has tampered with the DNA test (I hope not because we've down that road too many times before).  Billy Abbott, it seems, is Bella's father.  If so, it's going to cause more huge complications in Billy's muddled life, especially if he reconciles with Victoria.

So, Summer, our little Snowflake, is not going to hear the pitter-patter of little feet anytime soon.  I'm glad about that because I don't want Nick and Phyllis to be grandparents yet.  However, they may end up being the  parents of a bride - if Summer's marriage to Luca Santori ever takes place. The wedding will never happen if Nick, Phyllis and Victor have their way.  That trio will provide some formidable opposition for the newly engaged couple to overcome.  Victor's resistance will be particularly fierce.  Did you notice that he added Luca to his list of "punks?"  The list includes Billy Boy Abbott and Ryan McNeil (longtime viewers will remember Ryan's romance with Victoria years ago).  

Victor Newman may be out of prison, but he's very busy dealing with the two major thorns in his side: Luca and Chloe.  Anyone who stands in the way of what Victor wants becomes Victor's mortal enemy. I guess he didn't expect Chloe to go rogue.  It's always great to see someone defy Victor and stand up to him.  I just wish that Chloe wasn't the one doing it.  Anyway, Chloe's in a no-win situation because, as we've seen time and again, "The Moustache " never loses.  

I'm still puzzled by Luca.  I find it hard to fathom that he would put all his ambitions aside for the sake of Summer.  His character changed awfully fast.  Do the writers expect us to believe that he has been transformed into a good guy so quickly?  According to Internet spoilers, Phyllis will form an alliance with Victor in order to bring down Santori.  The two archenemies are so determined to get Luca out of Summer's life, they are willing to to put aside their mutual feelings of animosity. 

The farewell scene between Ashley Abbott and Dr. Simon Neville was touching and bittersweet.  It reminded viewers of what could have been if Michael E. Knight (Neville) had remained on the show.  Ashley and Neville's relationship had a great deal of  potential.  What a shame that it was allowed to slip away.

I must say, I really enjoyed watching Dylan's camping trip with Sharon, Mariah and Faith.  It's summertime and Y&R badly needed some lighter fare, some comic relief.  It was hilarious to see Sharon try to rough it.


Justin Hartley (Adam Newman) is engaged


Justin Hartley is engaged to longtime girlfriend Chrishell Stause (Bethany on The Young and Restless).  Hartley announced the betrothal on Instagram by posting a photo of Stause lying in the sun and wearing her engagement ring.  The caption read: "You guys think I need sunscreen?"

In a chat with the press during the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour, Hartley said that a wedding date has not been set.  With regard to his status on Y&R now that NBC has picked up his prime time pilot, This Is Us, he admitted that he isn't sure whether he can do both shows.  

Lee Phillip Bell, co-creator of Y&R, to appear on the show

TV Insider reports that Lee Phillip Bell, co-creator of The Young and the Restless with her late husband, Bill Bell, will appear on the shows 11,000th episode on September 1st (CBS) and August 31st on Global TV in Canada.  Lee Phillip Bell is the real-life mother of Lauralee Bell, who plays Christne (aka Cricket) on the show.  She will appear in a scene at the Genoa City Athletic Club with Lauralee and her television husband Doug Davidson (Paul Williams).


"Billy Boy Abbott couldn't run a lemonade stand."


I am pleased that Jill (Jess Walton) is back in the swing of things in Genoa City.  However, I wonder if you readers think she is meddling too much in Billy's life.

Do you think Jill is meddling too much in son Billy's life?

Yes, she should mind her own business. He's an adult. She should let him run his own life.
No. She's just setting things right. If she didn't step in, Billy's life would be in even more of a mess.
Perhaps Billy needs a nudge in the right direction, but Jill has gone too far.
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, August 20, 2016.

- Joanne

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Rusty Hamer: The Sad Death of a Child Star

My life as a child bore no resemblance to what I believed was normal - i.e. the way people lived on television, a medium I mistook for my window on reality.  Even on TV, though, peer models were scarce, which is why I ended up identifying with a kid I didn't even like.

- Rusty Hamer
as quoted by the Internet Movie Data Base (

From 1953 to 1964, Rusty Hamer played Rusty Williams, the freckle-faced, curly-haired son on the Danny Thomas sitcom Make Room for Daddy (renamed The Danny Thomas Show).  Sadly, Rusty found very little happiness as an adult,  When he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 42, he became a poster boy for the problems faced by child actors.

Rusty was born Russell Craig Hamer in Tenafly New Jersey on February 15, 1947.  He was the youngest of the three sons of Arthur Walter John Hamer, Jr. and his wife Dorothy (née Chretin), a former silent film star.  Rusty and his older brothers, John and Walter, grew up in a theatre environment because their parents were active in amateur theatre productions.

In 1951, the Hamer family moved to Los Angeles where Arthur Hamer found employment as a sales representative for a men's sports shirt company.  Sons John and Rusty were noticed by an agent while performing in a local theatrical production.  Both brothers were signed to a film contract.  In 1952, Rusty was cast in his first acting role in Fort Ti, a 3D Western film starring George Montgomery and Joan Vohs.  Rusty played the George Montgomery character's nephew.  He was uncredited.

Rusty also appeared in several Abbott and Costello films.  However, his big break came when actor/comedian Danny Thomas' secretary saw him perform in a theatre production. She was impressed by talent on stage and suggested that he audition for a role in Thomas' upcoming television series, Make Room for Daddy.

Rusty won the part and was cast as the wise-cracking, somewhat bratty son of Danny Williams, the night club entertainer played by Danny Thomas on the show,  When the family comedy premiered on the ABC network on September 29, 1953, Rusty was just six years old. After three seasons, the show moved to CBS and was retitled The Danny Thomas Show.  When the series ended in 1964, he was an awkward 17-year-old.  Child stars were not paid lucrative salaries back then, so he was not extremely well-off.

Below is a photo of the cast of The Danny Thomas Show (clockwise Angela Cartwright who played daughter Linda Williams, Marjorie Lord who played wife Kathy Williams and Danny Thomas.

After The Danny Thomas Show ceased production, Rusty enrolled at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles.  He had difficulty adjusting from a film lot school to a public school  Danny Thomas told the Los Angeles Times that Rusty "had been one of only two students in a studio classroom.  "He was still a happy kid," explained Thomas, "but seemed like a fish out of water."

In April of 1964, just before his graduation from Palisades High School, Rusty was interviewed by reporter Bob Thomas for American Press (AP).  He was asked how he felt about the The Danny Thomas Show going off the air. "How do I feel?  Not sad, really," he responded.  "You can't go on doing the same thing all your life."  The teenager, however, was not under any immediate financial pressure to return to work.  Under California state law, 20 percent of his savings were invested in U.S. savings bonds until he reached the age of 21.  He also had a portfolio of stocks, bonds and some properties in Palm Springs and Fresno.

At the time, however, Rusty was optimistic about the future of his acting career.  "I want to work right away and the prospects are good," he enthused.  "They're interested in me for several of the Mr. Novak shows at MGM.  Walt Disney is interested in me.  And there are chances I might do shows like Dr. KildareBen Casey and Arrest and Trial.  I'd like that.  I want to do some dramatic shows."   Still, the young owner told Bob Thomas that he would work in  a gas station if necessary because he didn't want to use up his savings.

Alas, Rusty's optimism about his future was unwarranted.  Few job offers came his way except for guest spots and reprising his Rusty Williams role.  Worst of all, he was ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the world outside the entertainment industry.

In 1969, Rusty Hamer appeared as Alfred Newton in an episode of Green Acres entitled "Oliver's Schoolgirl Crush" (Season 5. Episode 10, Air Date: November 29, 1969).  By the end of the 1960s, however, Rusty had become quite distraught over his flagging acting career.  To earn a living, he worked for a messenger service in Los Angeles.and later as a carpenter's apprentice.

He eventually returned to his role as Rusty Williams in the 1970-1971 series Danny Thomas in Make Room for Granddaddy.  In that series, a grown-up Rusty portrayed a married 23-year-old medical student. Unfortunately, Make Room for Granddaddy was short-lived. It only lasted a single season despite guest appearances by such popular stars as Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra and Milton Berle. When it was cancelled, Hamer once again found himself out of work and without direction.

Below is a photo of the cast Make Room for Granddaddy:  Front row Left to Right, Michael Hughes, who played Danny's grandson Michael,, and Marjorie Lord.  Top Row Left to Right: Rusty Hamer, Angela Cartwright and Danny Thomas.

In 1976, Rusty Hamer moved to southwestern Louisiana to be closer to his ailing mother, Dorothy, who suffered from Alzheimer's Disease.  At the time, Dorothy was living with Rusty's older brother, John, in the town of DeRidder (about 40 miles north of Lake Charles).  While in Louisiana, Rusty was employed by Exxon to worked on their offshore oil rigs. According to information provided by DeRidder historian Velma Lenora Smith, he was not suited to the job and resigned in 1982. Unable to find steady employment, Rusty worked intermittently as a short order cook at Richlighter, John's small cafe near Bundick Lake on Highway 394, southeast of DeRidder.

Sadly, Rusty Hamer's mental and physical health deteriorated sharply and he fell into a deep depression.  He became delusional and reclusive.  On January 18, 1990, Rusty committed suicide by putting a .357 pistol to his head and pulling the trigger.  It was his brother John who discovered his body in the trailer where he lived near DeRidder.

In announcing Rusty's death, John Hamer declared that the child star "hasn't been really happy since his early 20s,"  "I've heard of a lot of child actors who have become unhappy with their lives after they've left the industry," stated John, "But he didn't show any signs of this happening.  It was just all of a sudden."  Rusty's older sibling also revealed that his brother had been experiencing extreme back pain but refused to go to a doctor.

Rusty's tragic suicide raised awareness of the problems faced by child entertainers.  It inspired Paul Peter Petersen, a child actor on The Donna Reed Show, to create a support group, "A Minor Consideration", to assist child actors in their transition from childhood to adulthood.


* Rusty Hamer's father, Arthur, died after his son had been on Make Room for Daddy for eight months.

* At the time of Rusty's death, his mother Dorothy was in a nursing home,  According to Rusty's AP obituary, John Hamer stated that Dorothy's ill health had contributed to Rusty's downward spiral.  Dortothy Chretin Hamer died on June 20, 1991 at the age 76,

* John Hamer was 47 years old when Rusty's died, about five years older than his brother.  John left Hollywood at the age of 17.  He had an uncredited role as a child spectator in the 1952 film The Greatest Show on Earth.  He appeared in a 1958 episode of The Danny Thomas Show in an episode entitled "Terry Goes Steady." (Season 6, Episode 4, Air Date: October 27, 1958).  He portrayed Walter, a boy who was dating Rusty Williams' older sister Terry.  John was also a guest on The Tonight Show starring Jack Parr in 1957.

* Rusty Hamer played his Rusty Williams character in three 1965 episodes of The Joey Bishop Show.  In the episodes, "Rusty Arrives." "Rusty's Education" and "Joey Entertains Rusty's Fraternity,"  Hamer portrayed Rusty Williams as a college student staying at the home of Joey Barnes (Joey Bishop).

* Rusty Hamer has a star on the Hollywood Walk of 6323 Hollywood Boulevard.  He was awarded the honour on February 8, 1960.

* In December of 1966, Rusty Hamer received an accidental gunshot wound after returning from an overnight hunting trip.  According to an AP report, he was shot in the abdomen "when a revolver slid from his shoulder holster, fell to the ground and discharged."  He had surgery at Santa Monica Emergency Hospital.

* Rusty Hamer and Danny Thomas were very close.  In his AP interview with Bob Thomas, Rusty said that he called Danny his "second father."  After learning of Rusty's death, Thomas described his TV son as "the best boy actor I ever saw in my life."  "He had a great memory . . . great timing and you could change a line on him at the last minute and he came right back with it."

Danny and Rusty

Sources: The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and other news files,, Wikipedia,

- Joanne

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Y&R Report (July 23, 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.

It appears that Mal Young, the new Executive Producer of The Young and the Restless has already made some changes.  Travis Crawford (Michael Roark) has bid adieu to Victoria and sailed off into the sunset. Although Travis invited Victoria to accompany him on his boat, along with her children, she refused his offer because she did not want to keep the kids away from Billy.  

It seems to me that the decision to end the Travis-Victoria storyline was made quite abruptly.  It was decided that the character of Travis no longer fit into plans for the show; thus his sudden departure. Now that the blond bartender is no longer in the picture, what does that mean for Victoria?  Will she try to reconcile with Billy and reunite their family?  Will she compete with Phyllis for Billy's love?  How will she react when she discovers finds out about Billy Boy and his sister-in-law?  

There's a lot of turmoil ahead for Billy.  He is going to have to face the wrath of Jack when the truth comes out about his secret romance with Phyllis.  Understandably, Jack is not going to take a betrayal from his own brother well.  Then there's his mother, Jill.  Not only has she made sure the horrid paint colour is being removed from the Chancellor mansion, but she has taken control of Brass & Sassy. Billy is also going to have to face mad Chole again.  As viewers know, the disturbed woman has returned to Genoa City where she will wreak havoc upon its citizens.  Adam is her prime target. However, Billy will be thrown for a loop if he turns out to be the father of Chloe's daughter, Bella.

It's hard to imagine Snowflake at the helm of a multinational corporation like Newman Enterprises. I realize it was just a ruse to entrap Luca Santori.  Still, Summer is sorely lacking the experience and the expertise for such a demanding position.  Why would the slippery Spaniard believe that she would even be considered for the position of CEO unless there was some kind of setup?  How many 21-year-olds run major corporations?  But wait!  It seems that Luca isn't so slippery anymore.  He's suddenly discovered that he has feelings for Summer.  He is willing to give up everything for her sake and wants nothing in return but her love.  Fans, are we to believe that Luca is so in love with Snowflake that he has sacrificed his lofty ambitions?  Has the leopard really changed its spots?  Have the writers decided to soften Santori's character and make him more likeable?

Luca Santori's ambitions don't really matter now that Victor Newman has won his appeal.  "The Moustache" will soon return to his desk at Newman.  Could there have been any other outcome?  Did you really expect Victor to spend a decade in prison?  He'll be in complete control again, as usual, and he won't be too happy about seeing his granddaughter and Santori together.  

Not surprisingly, Victor has won yet again.  Is he remorseful  Is he a chastened man?  Did he take to heart the reprimand he received from the judge?  Well, I don`t think he`ll do anything as bad as the Marco Annicelli fiasco again.  I also think that Mal Young wants to redeem Victor`s character somewhat.  He will probably return to way he was before he became really evil.  That means he will remain controlling and powerful.  

Victor's biggest problem right now is dealing with Chloe.  She has really gone rogue.  She's a loose cannon.  Internet spoilers say that she will conceal her wicked intentions.  According to the spoilers, Kevin will fall for Chloe again, much to the chagrin of Natalie.  Chelsea will even be fooled and renew her friendship with the woman who wants to utterly destroy her husband Adam, 

Now that Victor is no long in prison and he has reunited with Nikki, the character of Dr. Meredith Gates is not really required any longer.  Alicia Coppola, who portrays Dr. Gates, has finished her run. I'm glad because her "romantic" scenes with Victor left a decidedly sour taste in my mouth.

Isn't it about time for Jack Abbott to discover the truth about Phyllis and Billy?  Those two are really playing him for a fool.  Jack even asked Billy for advice when Phyllis left him and moved into a suite at the athletic club.  Billy, of course, advised his brother to give the redhead some space and stay away from her.  Meanwhile, Ashley wondered why Jack would take relationship advice from his wayward brother.

Jill is back on the scene again.   From the previews, it appears that she will be the one to discover Billy and Phyllis together.  Will she tell anyone else or will she keep the secret in order to protect Billy?  Maybe she'll use her discovery as a means of getting her son to do her bidding.  Will she force him to return to Victoria?  

Cane Ashby seems quite arrogant and full of himself these, especially now that Jill has made him co-CEO of Brass & Sassy, along with Billy.  I guess you could say the name of the company is a perfect description of his character of late.  He`s much more aggressive.   He didn`t hesitate to punch out Billy Abbott.  What's gotten into Sugar Cane, fans?  I think his new attitude is bound to get him in trouble.

I hope Mal Young is going back to the show`s roots again.  I think that`s why he`s brought back Jill and Colin.  That`s why the damage Billy to the Chancellor mansion is being undone.  The estate is returning to the way Katherine Chancellor would have wanted it.


It's official, fans.  Michael E. Knight (Dr. Neville) is leaving

I was disappointed when I read that Michael E. Knight (Dr. Simon Neville) was reportedly checking out of The Young and Restless. However, I held out hope that the unfortunate decision to let him go would be reversed.  After all, the decision was made before the firing of Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps. It was reasonable to believe that new Executive Producer, Mal Young, would find a way to keep the talented actor.  Alas, it was not to be.  Michael's last appearance on Y&R will be Wednesday, July 27, 2016 on CBS (Tuseday, July 26 on Global TV in Canada). He was originally supposed to be on the show for only eight episodes, but still . . .

Michael Knight's departure indicates that the whole storyline about Neville's miracle drug will be dropped and forgotten.  Hilary will recover and Ashley will be back at Jabot.

Tristan Rogers (Colin Atkinson) will be back in August

Jill's bad boy hubby, Colin Atkinson will be returning to Genoa City.  Tristan Rogers, the Australian actor who plays Colin, wrote on Twitter that "Colin is back to being Colin."  He said he has "some interesting scenes" coming up with Jess Walton (Jill Abbott), Jason Thompson (Billy Abbott) and Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby).  Tristan will return to the screen on August 24 (CBS) and August 23 (Global).


Amelia Heinle  Photo Attribution: Mingle MediaTV

Well fans, do you think Victoria (Amelia Heinle) should go back to Billy Abbott?  Should she forgive him yet again?  Let your opinion be know by participating in the poll below.

Now that Travis is out of the picture, should Victoria (Amelia Heinle) reunite with Billy?

Yes, they have a history together and they have children.
Maybe, if Billy smartens up.
No, Billy is a jerk. Victoria should find someone else.
No, Amelia Heinle had better chemistry with the previous Billy, Billy Martin. She doesn't have good chemistry with the curent Billy (Jason Thompson).
Billy should stay with Phyllis.
I don't care.
I don't know. I havven't made up my mind yet.
Please Specify:
My IQ Test

That's all for now.  The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in the space on Saturday, August 6, 2016.  Meanwhile, keep your eye on Chloe.  She's the character to watch.  She's really going to stir things up.