Thursday, September 29, 2011

In search of Jimmy McNichol

There continues to be much interest in Kristy McNichol and her brother Jimmy.  One reader told me that Jimmy (who apparently prefers to be called James) divorced his wife Renee about five years ago.  Jimmy and Renee have two children - a son named Nash and a daughter, Ellis (born 1998).

I have not been able to verify that Jimmy and Renee are divorced and none of my readers has been able to provide me with any further information on the subject yet.  If anyone out there in cyberland knows something more, please email me and TV Banter will be pleased publish your info.

Two days ago, another reader referred me to a website showing a 1998 photo of Jimmy, Renee and their then-17 month old son Nash at home.  The photo is by Anna Summa//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.  The photo's caption describes Jimmy as a "former teen idol turned environmentalist."  To view this picture, click on the link below.

The reader also remembered reading that Jimmy now lives in Colorado.  I did a little online research and discovered that a James Vincent McNichol III, age 50, resides in Bayfield, Colorado.  Jimmy turned 50 on July 2, 2011.

At some point, McNichol moved from Southern California to Colorado.  I don't know if he is still recording music.  Back in 1996, he was recording under the name Jimmy James.  In 1999, he was still performing with a band called Wizard King and released a CD titled Echo Warrior.  He was also involved with a website focusing on eco-education called ECO TV.

Over to you, readers.  Let's have some serious banter.

- Joanne

Saturday, September 24, 2011

TV Doctors and Medical Shows Quiz


If you are a fan of medical shows, this ten-question quiz is for you.  From Dr. Kildare to Dr. Welby to Dr. House, TV Banter, has the questions for you.  Are you up to the challenge?  Take the test below and find out.

1. On Marcus Welby, M.D., what was the name of Welby's loyal Hispanic secretary-nurse? 

A. Maria Martinez

B. Consuelo Lopez

C.  Angelina Gomez

D.  Gloria Alvarez

E.  Donna Perez

2.  Which Hollywood heartthrob had a regular role on the long-running medical drama ER?

A.  Brad Pitt

B.  Ryan Reynolds

C.  Tom Cruise

D.  George Clooney

E.  Mark Wahlberg

3.  Canadian-born comic and television show host Howie Mandel played a role a the medical drama.  Name the series Howie Mandel appeared on.

A. St. Elsewhere

B.  ER

C.  Grey's Anatomy

D.  House

E.  Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

4. On Medical Center, what was the name of Chad Everett's character?

A.  Dr. Frank Peterson

B.  Dr. Jim Hannon

C.  Dr. Joe Gannon

D.  Dr. Lawrence Reilly

E.  Dr. Steven Ross

5.  In what city does Grey's Anatomy take place?

A.  New York City

B.  Los Angeles, California

C.  Boston, Massachusetts

D.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

E.  Seattle, Washington

6.  Which medical drama began with the opening words "Man, woman, birth, death, infinity!?" (This is your bonus question.  Give yourself an extra point if you answer it correctly.)

A.  Dr. Kildare

B.  Ben Casey

C.  Medical Center

D.  Marcus Welby, M.D.

E.  Doctors' Hospital 

7.  On House, Dr. Remy Hadley, played by Olivia Wilde, is better known as

A.  "Butterfingers"

B.  "Rems"

C.  "Thirteen"

D.  "Haddy"

E.  "Remmy"

8.  The opening theme song for Dr. Kildare was "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight."  Who recorded the theme song used on the show?

A.  Richard Chamberlain

B.  Andy Williams

C.  Dean Martin

D.  Frank Sinatra

E.  Nat King Cole

9.  On Grey's Anatomy, whom did Dr. Cristina Yang marry?

A.  Preston Burke

B.  Colin Marlowe

C.  Derek Shepherd

D.  Alex Karev

E.  Owen Hunt

10.  What vehicle did Dr. Steven Kiley, Welby's associate on Marcus Welby, M.D., drive?

A.  Red convertible

B.  Motorcycle

C.  Bicycle

D.  Black sedan

E.  Blue sports car


1.  B 

Consuelo Lopez was the name of Marcus Welby's loyal nurse.  Elena Verdugo portrayed Consuelo.  Born on April 20, 1926, the former 1940s "B" movie actress for Universal Studios, is now 85 years old.  The late actor/director Richard Marion, who died of a heart attack in 1999 at age 50, was her son.

2.  D

From 1994 until 1999, George Clooney played Dr. Douglas "Doug" Ross on ER. 

3.  A

Toronto-born Mandel played the role of Dr. Wayne Fiscus on St. Elsewhere.

4.  C. 

Chad Everett played the part of Dr. Joe Gannon on Medical Center.  The CBS medical drama ran from 1969 until 1976.

5.  E

Grey's Anatomy takes place in Seattle, Washington.  It chronicles the lives and loves of interns, residents and others at fictional Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital.

6.  B.

Vince Edwards (right) and Sam Jaffe

Ben Casey, starring Vince Edwards in the title role, ran on the ABC network from 1961 until 1965.  Every episode began with a hand drawing the symbols for man, woman, birth, death and infinity on a chalkboard while the voice of Sam Jaffe (who played Casey's mentor, Dr. David Zorba) pronounced the words for the symbols.  Then, after an opening scene, the show's dramatic theme song began.  To watch Part 1 of a Ben Casey episode, click on the link below.

7.  C

Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley is part of Dr. Gregory House's new diagnostic team at the Princeton-Plainsboro Training Hospital in New Jersey.  The secretive character received her nickname on the episode titled "The Right Stuff" in which she is assigned the number 13 during a competition for her position.

8.  A

Richard Chamberlain, who played Dr. James Kildare, recorded "Theme From Dr. Kildare (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight)."    Chamberlain wrote the song's lyrics and it was released as a single in 1962.  To listen to him sing the Kildare theme song, click on the link below.

9.  E

Cristina Yang, played by Sandra Oh, married Owen Hunt, a former military surgeon.

10.  B

Dr. Steven Kiley, Welby's younger associate, was portrayed by James Brolin.  Kiley drove a motorcycle while Marcus Welby (Robert Young) drove a long sedan.  By the way, Dr. Welby hired Kiley to assist him with his workload after suffering a mild coronary.

- Joanne

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Erin Moran and Scott Baio: Keeping up with Joanie and Chachi

It's hard to believe that Richie Cunningham's kid sister is almost 51 years old, but it's true.  Erin Moran, who was cast as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days in 1974, was born in Burbank, California on October 18, 1960.  Erin, the second youngest of six siblings, was just 14 when Happy Days catapulted her to stardom.

Scott Vincent James Baio was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 22, 1961, the son of Italian immigrants Rose and Mario Baio.  Scott joined the cast of Happy Days in 1977 as Fonzie's young cousin Charles "Chachi" Arcola.  Right from the beginning, Chachi had a crush on Richie's little sister although she was not initially attracted to him.

With his mop of dark hair, his heavy Brooklyn accent and his coppery skin, Scott Baio soon became a fan favourite.  In his heyday as a teen heartthrob, he received thousands of letters a week.  His popularity was such that in 1982, he and Erin left Happy Days to star in their very own sitcom, Joanie Loves Chachi

In the Happy Days spin-off, Chachi moves from Milwaukee to Chicago with his mother, Louisa, and stepfather, Al.  Al opens a restaurant where Chachi entertained with girlfriend Joanie who shared the vocals with him.  Their backup band consisted of a weird drummer known as Bingo and Chachi's cousins Annette and Mario.

The series followed Joanie and Chachi's attempts to advance their music careers.  Chachi's uncle, Rico Mastorelli (Art Metrano) was the band's manager.  Bandmate Annette (Winifred Freedman) was Rico's daughter.

Ellen Travolta, eldest sibling of actor John Travolta, portrayed Chachi's mother Louisa while Al Molinaro played the role of restaurant owner Al Delvecchio.  By the way, Molinaro is now 92 years old.

Joanie Loves Chachi aired for only two seasons.  Despite Baio's status as a teen idol and high ratings , the show never really caught on with viewers.  After the cancellation of Joanie Loves Chachi, Scott and Erin returned to Happy Days for its final season in 1984.  In the last episode of the series, Joanie and Chachi were married.

To watch a video of Scott Baio and Erin Moran singing "You Look at Me," the opening theme from Joanie Loves Chachi, click on the link below.

After the demise of Happy Days, Scott Baio played the title character in another sitcom, Charles in Charge.  Charles in Charge was the story of a college student (Baio) who found employment as a male domestic for a busy working couple.  The show ran on the CBS network from 1984 until 1985.  After being revamped, it returned as a syndicated series from 1987 until 1990.

When Charles in Charge finished airing, Scott starred in a short-lived 1991series titled Baby Talk about a baby whose thoughts could be heard.  Baby Talk was based the 1989 film Look Who's Talking with John Travolta and Kirstie Alley.  In Baby Talk, Scott played a Manhattan apartment superintendent named James Halbrook.

In 1993, Baio revitalized his career with a dramatic role in Diagnosis Murder (CBS, 1993-2001).  Between 1993 and 1995, he played the part of Dr. Jack Stewart, chief resident at Community General Hospital in Los Angeles. 

Scott returned to the spotlight in 2007 with a realty series on VH1 titled Scott Baio is 45 ... and Single.  Under the supervision of a life coach, Dr. Alison Arnold, Scott tried to come to terms with his relationship and commitment issues. 

During an eight-week period in which Dr. Alison advised him not to see his current girlfriend Renee Sloan, Baio visited some of his former girlfriends in an attempt to find answers.  Erin Moran, whom Baio once dated briefly, appeared as a guest on the first episode of the series.

In the series finale, Scott Baio proposed to Renee who then revealed her pregnancy.  Scott later admitted that the couple had already married prior to the taping of the realty show.  Their wedding took place on December 8, 2007 in a small rooftop ceremony at a luxury high rise in Los Angeles.  They have a daughter, Bailey DeLuca Baio, born five weeks premature on November 2, 2007. 

Erin Moran has been married twice.  She married singer Rocky Ferguson in 1987 and the two were divorced in 1993.  On November 23, 1993, Erin wed Steven Fleischmann.  She does not have any children.

In April of this year, five plaintiffs, including Erin Moran and other members of the Happy Days cast, filed a multi-million breach of contract suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the CBS network.  The other plaintiffs were Anson Williams (Potsie Weber), Don Most (Ralph Malph), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham) and the estate of Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham) who passed away in October 2010.  They claimed that CBS had failed to pay them for merchandising revenues under their contract.


TV Banter readers have chosen June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) of Leave it to Beaver as their all time favourite television mother.  June Cleaver received 35% of the vote.  Harriet Nelson of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet finished second with 25% of the vote and Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) of The Brady Bunch Bunch finished third with 16% of the vote.  Donna Stone (Donna Reed) of The Donna Reed Show received 4%.  Margaret Anderson (Jane Wyatt) of Father Knows Best followed with 2% of the vote and Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) of The Partridge Family had 1%.

There is a new poll about television comedies.  Check it out.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE: (May 4, 2017):  In July 2012, the Happy Days actors settled their lawsuit with CBS and received a payment of $65,000 each and a promise from the network to continue honouring the terms of their contract. 
On April 22, 2017, Erin Moran died in Indiana at the age of 56. The cause of her death was squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) of the throat.