Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Remembrance of Davy Jones

There were certain indelible images we had of The Monkees, and that was Mike's cap, Mickey's goofy looks and Davy's cuteness.  Of all of them, Davy's character was the softest.  He was the nice guy, the crowd pleaser.

- Phil Gallo, senior correspondent of Billboard magazine.

Well, I've just learned that Davy Jones of The Monkees died in Indiantown, Florida at the age of 66.  The former teen idol apparently suffered a massive heart attack and passed away unexpectedly at his Florida ranch. 

I feel a great sense of sadness and nostalgia.  It's as if a part of my childhood has vanished.  The truth is that I had a big crush on Davy when I was a 10-year-old in Grade 5.  I would listen dreamily as he sang "I Wanna Be Free."  I hung up magazine posters of Davy and the other Monkees all over the walls of our playroom and I never missed an episode of their television series.

My brother was not impressed with my fondness for The Monkees and he chided me for it.  He insisted that The Beatles were far more talented and that I was wasting my time.  Of course my brother was right about the superiority of Beatles' music.  Of course there is no comparison between the two groups.  It's just that he had absolutely no understanding of how cute I thought Davy was and how captivated I was by his English charm. 

A native of Manchester, England, David Thomas Jones was born on December 30, 1945.  Young Davy appeared in the popular British soap opera Coronation Street in 1961.  At the age of 15, he portrayed Colin Lomax, the grandson of Ena Sharples, on the soap.

The diminutive Jones later became an apprentice jockey in Newcastle, but abandoned his plans to be a rider in order to perform in the theatre.  He eventually made a name for himself by portraying The Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver!.

Davy Jones achieved stardom when The Monkees debuted on NBC on September 12, 1966  Inspired by The Beatles film A Hard Day's Night, it was a fast-paced, youth-oriented progam.  Jones, along with his co-stars Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, portrayed a rock quartet who became involved in all kinds of madcap adventures and pranks.  The show's original popularity did not last long and the series left the air in 1968 after two seasons.

Davy Jones was married three times and divorced twice. He is survived by his third wife, Jessica Pacheco, a presenter on the American Spanish-language network Telemundo, and his four daughters.  He leaves two daughters from his first marriage to Linda Haines: Talia Elizabeth (born October 2, 1968) and Sarah Lee (born July 3, 1971) and two daughters from his second marriage to Anita Pollinger: Jessica Lillian (born September 4, 1981) and Annabel Charlotte (born June 26, 1988). 

- Joanne

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Portrait of Pam Dawber and Mark Harmon


Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber were married on March 21, 1987 and this year they will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.  That's pretty impressive by Hollywood standards, isn't it?

Mark and Pam are the parents of two sons, Sean Thomas and Ty Christian.  Sean was born on April 25, 1988 and Ty was born on June 25, 1992.  The couple met in March of 1986 at a party given by a mutual friend and were introduced to each other by actress Gina Hecht.  They have always been a tad reclusive and they have guarded their privacy fiercely. 

Pam Dawber was born in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, Michigan on October 18, 1951.  She is the daughter of Eugene E. Dawber, a commercial artist and his wife Thelma (nee Fisher), a photo agency operator.  Pam was raised in Farmington Hills where she attended North Farmington High School.  Gifted with a beautiful soprano voice, she later prepared for a singing career at Oakland Community College in Oakland County, Michigan.  While at the college, she did some modelling in Detroit.

At the age of 19, Pam Dawber moved to New York City and began a career as a fashion model, eventually signing a contract with the Wilhelmina Model Agency.  She went on to study acting and was cast in her breakout role as Mindy McConnell.

From 1978 to 1982, Pam played Mindy in the hit television series Mork and Mindy.  She and co-star Robin Williams shot to fame in this comedy about a wisecracking extraterrestrial, Mork from the planet "Ork," played by Williams. 

In December of 1976, Pam suffered the devastating loss of her only sibling.  Born with a heart condition, Leslie Dawber, Pam's younger sister, was just 22 years old when she died during open-heart surgery. 

After Leslie's death, Pam underwent therapy.  "When a tragedy happens that big," she told People magazine in 1987, "you have to reassess your life."  She said, "I believe my sister is out there somewhere, and that is a calming idea."

After the demise of Mork and Mindy, Pam Dawber, won the lead role in another situation comedy.  From 1986 to 1988, she played freelance photographer Samantha Russell on My Sister Sam.  Sam Russell shared a San Francisco apartment with her younger sister Patti, played by Rebecca Schaeffer. 

Sadly, on July 18, 1989, an obsessed fan killed Rebecca in the doorway of her Los Angeles apartment building.  The crazed gunman, John Bardo, had been stalking the 21-year-old actress for three years.  Her tragic murder left Pam heartbroken at the death of her television sister.

Rebecca Schaeffer

Pam Dawber has not been active on screen for quite awhile.  In a 2008 interview, she said she may return to acting at some point.  She also revealed that she had not seen Robin Williams for about eight years.  To watch the 2008 interview, click on the link below.

Mark Harmon is the son of American football hero Tom Harmon.  Tom won the Heisman Trophy in 1940 and is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the Michigan Wolverines.  After his retirement from football, he became a sports broadcaster.  On March 15, 1990, Tom Harmon passed away in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack.  He was 70 years old.

Mark's mother, Elyse Knox, died last week at her home in Los Angeles.  She was 94 years old at the time of her death.  Elyse was a model and fashion designer in Manhattan until Hollywood beckoned in the late 1930s.  A contract player, she appeared in almost 40 films for major studios.  When she married Tom Harmon in 1944, Elyse's wedding dress was made from the parachute that saved his life when his plane was shot down over China during World War II.

Tom and Elyse settled in Los Angeles and raised three children: Sharon Kristen (born June 25, 1945); Kelly Jean (born November 9, 1948) and Thomas Mark (born September 2, 1951).  Mark and his older sisters all became actors.  In 1963, Kristen married singer/actor Ricky Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet fame.  She and Rick had four children and divorced acrimoniously.

In 1987, two years after Rick's death in a plane accident, Mark and Pam petitioned for custody of their nephew, Sam Hilliard Nelson (born August 29, 1974), Kristen and Rick's youngest child.  They contended that Kristen was incapable of being a good parent due to drug use and mood swings. 

Sam was 13 at the time and the custody battle was highly publicized.  It tore the Harmon family apart.  In the end, however, Mark and Pam dropped the petition and Kristen was given custody of Sam.  Mark and his wife were granted visitation rights.

Following in his father's footsteps, Mark Harmon was a college football star during his days at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).  In 1972, he appeared with his parents in a television commercial for Kellogg's Product 19.

Click on the link below to watch the Kellogg's Product 19 ad.

Mark Harmon launched his long and highly successful television career with an appearance on Ozzie's Girls, a 1973-74 syndicated series starring his sister Kristen's in-laws, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. Since 1973, Mark has been involved in series after series including St. Elsewhere, Moonlighting, Chicago Hope and The West Wing. He often plays the role of a doctor or a law enforcement officer.

On the medical drama St. Elsewhere, Mark portrayed Dr. Robert "Bobby" Caldwell, a philandering plastic surgeon.  He played the role from 1983 until the final episode of the series in 1986.  In that last episode, it was revealed that Dr. Caldwell was HIV postive. 

Harmon, now 60 years old, currently plays the lead role in the No 1 series on American television.  The series is called NCIS, which stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  It's in its ninth season and recently celebrated its 200th episode.

NCIS is viewed in more than 200 countries around the world and is translated into more than 20 different languages.  This forensic police show, originally a spinoff of the CBS drama JAG, made its debut in 2003.  Mark Harmon plays the part of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a former sniper, who leads a fictional team of special agents headquartered in Washington, D.C.  Their mission is to investigate crimes within the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

Mark and Pam's eldest son, 23-year-old Sean Harmon, is also an actor and has portrayed the young Gibbs on NCIS.  Sean attended the Los Angeles Film School (LAFS) and has had small roles in independent productions.  He has also taken classes in stunt coordination.

Sean T. Harmon

Mark Harmon is a master at evading unwanted questions.  In matters regarding his family, he remains steadfastly and unfailingly discreet.  For example, when asked about the possibility of his actress wife, Pam, appearing as a guest star on NCIS, Harmon replied, "You'll have to ask her." 

Pam and Mark have worked together in the past.  In the late 1990s, they performed in the play Love Letters.  They also played husband and wife John and Barbara Cooper in the 1999 film I'll Remember April.  The film tells the story of four young boys who discover a shipwrecked Japanese soldier during World War II and must decide whether to save him.

To watch a video about Mark, Pam and their children, click on the link below.

Editor's Note and Update (December 28, 2012)  

A reader pointed out that I neglected to mention that Mark Harmon appeared in the prime time soap Flamingo Road.  Mark played the role of Fielding Carlyle in all 38 episodes of the show from 1981 until 1982.  Flamingo Road chronicled the lives of the citizens of a sleepy little fictional town called Truro, Florida.

- Joanne

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Beverly Hillbillies Quiz


Well, howdy folks!  Do you think you know a lot about Jed Clampett and his kin?  Well then, test your knowledge by trying the 12-question quiz below.  Good luck!


1.  After the Clampetts struck it rich with oil, how much money did they deposit in Mr. Drysdale's Beverly Hills bank?

A.  $50 million

B.  $20 million

C.  $30 million

D.  $25 million

E.  $35 million

2.  Who was Jethro's mother?

A.  Jed's cousin, Pearl Bodine

B.  Jed's sister, Dolly Bodine

C.  Granny's daughter, Loretta Bodine

D.  Jed's sister-in-law, Molly Bodine

E.  Granny's daughter-in-law, Rose Bodine

3.  What animal was Jed hunting when he struck oil?

A.  Deer

B.  Ducks

C.  Rabbits

D.  Pheasants

E.  Possums

4.  Granny used to cook grits.  What are grits?

A.  A kind of Southern pancake

B.  A thick porridge made from corn

C.  A type of fried chicken

D.  A Southern cornbread

E.  A special Southern waffle with a spicy sauce

5.  What did the Clampetts use as their dining room table?

A.  A pool table

B.  A ping pong table

C.  A large cardboard box

D.  A fancy wooden desk

E.  They put a coffee table on top of a big box.

6.  What was the first name of Mr. Drysdale's secretarial assistant, Miss Hathaway?

A.  Joan

B.  June

C.  Jean

D.  Janet

E.  Jane

7.  For how many seasons was The Beverly Hillbillies on the air?

A.  7

B.  6

C.  8

D.  9

E.  10

8.  During the first season of the Beverly Hillbillies, there was a storyline about a romance between Jethro Bodine's sister and a character named Jasper DePew.  What was the name of Jethro's sister?

A.  Justine Bodine

B.  Charlene Bodine

C.  Jethrine Bodine

D.  Jodine Bodine

E.  Jenine Bodine

9.  What was Jed Clampett's favourite expression?

A  Hot Dog!

B.  Well, doggie!

C.  Fix me some grits!

D.  I'm done tired, Granny!

E.  Those folks just don't understand!   

10.  What was Miss Hathaway's hobby?

A.  Stamp collecting

B.  Photography

C.  Bird watching

D.  Knitting

E.  Coin collecting

11.  Granny was Jed Clampett's mother-in-law.  What was Granny's real name?

A.  Dottie Ann Moses

B.  Jenny May Moses

C.  Myrna May Moses

D.  Daisy May Moses

E.  Mary Ellen Moses

12.  Which of the following Hollywood personalities appeared in an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies?

A.  Rock Hudson

B.  Louella Parsons

C.  Zsa Zsa Gabor

D.  Bing Crosby

E.  Hedda Hopper


1.  D

The Clampetts deposited $25 million in Milburn Drysdale's Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills.  John Brewster of the OK Oil Company gave the money to them in exchange for drilling rights to their land.

2.  E

Jethro Bodine was the son of Jed's widowed cousin, Pearl Bodine. Although Jethro referred to Jed Clampett as his "Uncle Jed," Jed was not really his uncle.  Note: The part of Pearl Bodine was played by Bea Benaderet who later portrayed matriarch Kate Bradley on Petticoat Junction.

3.  C

Jed was hunting rabbits when he struck oil on his land in the Ozark Mountains.

4.  B

Grits are a thick porridge common in the southern United States.  They are made of coarsely ground corn and mostly eaten at breakfast.

5.  A

The Clampetts used a pool table as their dining room table.

6.  E

Nancy Kulp

Mr. Drysdale's assistant at the bank was Jane Hathaway. The Clampetts addressed her as "Miss Jane."  The role of Jane Hathaway was played by Nancy Kulp.  Nancy Kulp passed away on February 3, 1991 at the age of 69.  She died of cancer in Palm Desert, California.

7.  D

The Beverly Hillbillies ran for nine seasons.  It was originally broadcast on CBS from 1962 until 1971.

8.  C

Jethrine Bodine was the name of Jethro's sister.  Max Baer, Jr., who portrayed Jethro, dressed as woman to play Jethrine.  Jethrine's speaking voice was provided by Linda Kaye Henning, the daughter of Paul Henning, the creator of The Beverly Hillbillies.  Linda later went on to play the role of Betty Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction.


9.  B

Jed was fond of the expression "Well, doggie!"  It was Jethro who liked to say, "Hot dog!"

10.  C

Miss Hathaway was an avid bird watcher and could often be seen with binoculars.

11.  D

Granny's real name was Daisy May Moses.  Irene Ryan, who played the part of Granny, died on April 26, 1973 in Santa Monica California after suffering a stroke.  In hospital, it was discovered that she had an undiagnosed brain tumour.  Irene was 70 years old at the time of her death.

12.  E

Hollywood Columnist Hedda Hopper appeared as herself in the final episode of a four-part Beverly Hillbillies series.  The episode was entitled "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood" and it aired on October 14, 1964.  The episode centres around greedy Mr. Drysdale's plans to tear down a studio backlot for a real estate development.  The development is opposed by Hedda Hopper.

- Joanne