Saturday, October 26, 2013

Y&R Report (Oct. 26, 2013): 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.

1.  Some violin music please!  This has been quite a melancholy time on The Young and the Gloomy with everyone grieving the death of 7-year-old Delia Abbott.  Both Billy and Chloe are absolutely distraught while poor Esther has taken to her room in utter despair.  Billy Boy has engaged in an interminably long bout of self-loathing.  He is closing himself off from the rest of the world, just as Nicholas did when Cassie died.  He is hitting the bottle and blaming himself for leaving his daughter unattended in the car.  Chloe, meanwhile, has been focussing all her pain and anger on Billy, adding to his guilt.  It seems to me that the most cool-headed and mature person of the bunch has been Kevin Fisher.  Kevin is grieving too, but he has told Chloe to stop playing the blame game. He has wisely pointed out that pointing fingers will not bring Delia back.  I have to say that I am impressed with Kevin's good judgment, a rarity for him.  Fisher has never been known to be a paragon of wisdom.

As for all the grieving, I know the death of Delia was a tragedy but the show has been downright depressing lately.  Could we have some lighter moments soon?

2.  So Fenmore Baldwin has stepped up and confessed that he was the one who took the life of oily bartender Carmine Basco, who stalked Lauren and her family.  Is he telling the truth, though, or just trying to take the rap for his father, prominent Genoa City attorney Michael Baldwin?  Michael, who admitted to the murder in order to prevent Fen from going to prison, was sentenced to ten years in the slammer. I'm still scratching my head trying to figure this one out.  If neither Michael nor Fen actually committed the deed, then who did?  I can't think of anyone else with a motive for killing Carmine unless his connection with the mob (remember gangster Angelo and his daughter?) did him in.  I don't really think that's the answer but I also find it hard to fathom that Fen really killed someone in cold blood.  The teenager doesn't remember what happened because he was in a drug-induced haze at the time.  So why is he insisting that he killed Basco?

3.  I don't know about you, fans, but I find it difficult to accept Devon's new status as Genoa City's latest billionaire.  Yes, I know it's a soap and it was done for storyline purposes but I don't think it's plausible that Mrs. Chancellor would have left Devon all that loot.  Sure, he is her grandson and she would definitely have bequeathed him something substantial in her will, but the wealthy socialite was much closer to others than to Devon.  It would have been far more believable if she had left him her treasured vinyl record collection and a large sum of money - but not billions. That's so contrived and unrealistic.  Yet, as we all know, soaps are not known for their realism.

Didn't you just love that Abbott press conference and the way Devon stepped up to offer a one million dollar reward for information leading to thee capture of the driver who ran down Delia.  By the way, whatever happened to Devon's girlfriend, Roxanne?  Don't you think she would be aware that he is now a billionaire? Where are you, Roxy baby?

4.  How about Genoa City's dynamic law and order duo, Paul Williams and Christine (also known as Cricket or, as Phyllis likes to call her, The Bug)!  Law enforcement is certainly in good hands in G.C. with those two in charge.  Only in a soap would Paul Williams become chief of police.  He was a private investigator, never a police officer. He was also arrested for the murder of his own son, Ricky Williams.  In real life, it is highly unlikely that anyone with that background would become chief of police.

Speaking of Paul Williams, how many of you remember that there is a fourth Williams sibling besides Paul, Father Todd Williams and the mentally ill Patty Williams.  His name is Steve Williams and he has not been mentioned for years.  He is a journalist who moved to Washington, D.C. a long time ago.  Perhaps, in the future, if the writers are searching for a new storyline, they'll have him return to town.

5.  I have consulted a longtime Y&R viewer, Helen from Scarborough, Ontario for some comments on the latest happenings in Genoa City.  Helen had a few observations about the show that I'd like to pass along to you.  Here they are.

Why did Billy go to an ice cream parlour in such a remote place?  Why was the ice cream store located so far off the beaten track?  How could the shop attract customers in the middle of nowhere?

Now that Paul Williams and the Cricketmeister are married, isn't there a conflict of interest with him being police chief and her being the District Attorney?  They were both involved in the sentencing of Michael Baldwin.for Carmine's murder.

Carmine may have committed suicide because he was cornered and did not want to return to prison.

Well, Helen, I doubt that Carmine killed himself.  He loved himself too much and was very egotistical.

6.  It was wonderful to see the return of Ashley Abbott (Eileen Davidson).  I hope Eileen's return is not just temporary.  It would be great to see back on Y&R on a permanent basis.  I also have to say that Ashley looked very lovely in her red dress.  If the late John Abbott had been there, he surely would have called her "my beauty" as he used to do.

This week, Ashley and the Abbotts (sounds like the name of a band) stood united in their determination to help Billy Boy.  It's always great when the show centres on its core families.  The Abbott clan even tried  to recreate its traditional Abbott breakfast. Alas, it was not the same without the strong presence of John Abbott and Mamie serving her delicious cinnamon buns? Why did the writers have to kill off John Abbott anyway?

7.  The walls are closing in on the Black Sheep, Adam Newman.  It's only a matter of time, especially now that Victor knows he burned something (Delia's scarf) in the fireplace.  Although Adam has certainly been no angel, I think he has also been misunderstood and maltreated by the other Newmans.  He never intended to run over Delia and he sincerely wants to be a good father to baby Connor.  When it is discovered that he was driving the vehicle that killed Delia, he is going to become the most hated person in Genoa City.

No matter what he does, Adam is never going to please Big Daddy Victor.  He's intelligent enough and has enough business acumen to run his own successful company.  Why doesn't he just do it.  He could even go into partnership with Jack Abbott.


What do you think of Billy Boy Abbott's short haircut?  I give it thumbs down.  I prefer it longer with a more wave.

Have you noticed that since Paul Williams became chief of police, he is dressing less casually.  He has started to wear suits and ties, as befits his lofty new position.


Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) will appear in Canada this weekend and also on the first weekend of November.  Here is her schedule.

Today, Saturday, October 26, Melody will take part in Calgary's Women's Show at the BMO Centre in Stampede Park.

On Sunday, October 27, she will visit the 13th Annual West Coast Women's Show in Vancouver. B.C. The event will take place at the TRADEX: Trade and Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford.

On Sunday, November 3rd, Melody will be attending the National Women's Show in Toronto.  She will appear on centre stage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at 1:30 p.m.

That's all for now.  Be sure to read my next Y&R Report on Saturday, November 9, 2013.

- Joanne

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mike Connors: TV's Mannix

Mannix was the last of a certain type of American manhood, circa early '70s. He wore a tie and a wistful smile. He did not know doubt but was a friend of irony. He didn't worry about giving women "their space," and he wasn't "in touch with his feelings." He was kind to small dogs, little old ladies, and femmes fatales in deep trouble and short skirts. 

- Neely Tucker
From "Mannix Was the Man," Washington Post, November 18, 2007

If you watched the television detective series Mannix during the late 1960s and into the mid-1970s, then you are familiar with Mike Connors.  Mike portrayed Los Angeles private eye Joseph R. "Joe" Mannix on the show - and yes, he is still alive!

Mike Connors was born Krekor Ohanian on August 15, 1925 in Fresno, California.  His mother was a first generation Armenian-American.  His father, a lawyer, had migrated to the U.S. from Armenia  as a teenager to escape the turbulence in the Ottoman Empire. Connors is extremely proud of his Armenian heritage and in an article in the Armenian Reporter (May 17, 2008) by Connie Llanos, he is quoted as saying, "I never forgot the stories my dad would tell me about the atrocities he witnessed in Armenia." Mike also told the Armenian Reporter that there was a great deal of prejudice against Armenians in the Fresno area.when he was growing up and that they were derisively referred to as "Fresno Indians."

Connors' father never had the opportunity to enjoy his son's success.  He died when the actor was only 17 years old.  In order to honour both his father and his heritage, Mike made it clear that he wanted his Joe Mannix character to be of Armenian descent.  That is why Mannix was shown visiting his father's grape farm and they would speak to each other in Armenian.

During World War II, Mike, served in the United States Air Force. Upon returning to civilian life, the young man attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on a basketball scholarship. Oscar-winning film director William Wellman, who was attending a game with his son, apparently noticed Connors' expressive face on the court and encouraged him to pursue an acting career.

In an interview with the website Party Favors, Mike stated that after the game, Bill Wellman told the coach, "Ask the kid if he'd be interested in being an actor."  When Connors replied, "Yeah, sure." Wellman promised to give him a call the next time he directed a picture."  Days later, Mike was asked by the head of the UCLA drama department if he'd be interested in trying out for plays.  Although a law student, Mike was soon bitten by the acting bug.  He began taking acting lessons at the university and eventually gave up basketball for a career as an actor.

Billed as Touch Connors, the aspiring actor's first film role was the 1952 Joan Crawford vehicle Sudden Fear.  He was subsequently cast in movies such as William Wellman's Island in the Sky (1953) starring John Wayne and Flesh and the Spur, a 1957 Western.  He also portrayed Amalekite Herder in the Biblical epic The Ten Commandments.

Beginning in 1954, Connors began appearing in television roles on such series as Mr. and Mrs North (1954), City Detective (1955), The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955), The Loretta Young Show (1956), The Millionaire (1956), Gunsmoke (1956) and Maverick (1957). From 1959 to 1960, he had the starring role in a crime series called Tightrope, playing a police undercover agent who infiltrated organized crime. His character, originally referred to as "Nick Stone" (and later just "Nick"), changed his name in every episode to secure his safety.  The series ran for 37 episodes on on the CBS network.

Although Tightrope was popular with viewers, it was cancelled due to complaints about the amount of violence on the show and a dispute between CBS and the show's sponsors.  The network and the program's sponsors disagreed over CBS's unilateral decision to move the series to a later time slot.  The show's advertisers adamantly refused to go along with CBS's plans.  Since neither side would compromise, Tightrope met its demise.

Below is a 1960 photo of Mike Connors with Tightrope guest stars Leigh Snowden (left) and Claire Kelly.  Snowden and Kelly appeared with Connors in an episode of the series entitled "Three to Make Ready" (Season 1, Episode 2, 1960, Air Date: February 2, 1960).

Mike Connors in Tightrope

After supporting roles in films such as Good Neighbour Sam (1963) and Where Love Has Gone (1964), Connors was cast in the starring role of a weekly television action series about a private eye named Joe Mannix. Mannix ran for eight seasons, from 1967 until 1975, on the CBS network and 194 episodes were produced. In The Complete Directory To Prime Trime Time Network TV Shows: 1946 - Present, the series is described as "one of the most violent detective shows of its time."  Joe Mannix was constantly shot, wounded or knocked unconscious.  Throughout the course of the series, he endured a tremendous amount of physical punishment. According to the website IMDb, Mannix was knocked unconscious 55 times and shot 17 times.

During the show's first season, Joe Mannix worked for a detective agency called Wickersham at Intertect. Intertect was a computerized agency and it's interesting to watch the first season in order to see how 1960s high tech was presented. Mannix, however, was averse to the scientific and computerized approach to crime fighting. This brought him into conflict with his Intertect superior Lew Wickersham, played by Joseph Campanella.

Mannix,was a loner who preferred to use his own wiles to solve crimes.  By the second season, wary of the rules and regulations of the agency, he stuck out on his own, hiring a personal assistant named Peggy Fair. Peggy, who sometimes went undercover for her boss, was the widow of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty.  She was portrayed by Gail Fisher, one of the first African-American actresses to have a regular role on a U.S. television series.

Gail Fisher and Mike Connors

Mannix was rife with car chases and private eye Joe Mannix was very partial to dark green Plymouth convertibles.  During the first season, however, he drove an Oldsmobile Tornado. Later on, his cars included a Plymouth Barracuda convertible and a Plymouth Challenger.  The art of the television car chase, a prominent feature on Mannix, was further cultivated on The Rockford Files starring James Garner.

In 1971, Mike played Joe Mannix for laughs in an episode of Here's Lucy starring Lucille Ball.  The episode is entitled "Lucy and Mannix are held hostage"  (Season 4, Episode 4, Air Date: October 4, 1971).  In 1997, he reprised his Joe Mannix role in an episode of the Dick Van Dyke series Diagnosis Murder entitled "Hard-Boiled Murder" (Season 4, Episode 17, Air Date: February 13, 1997).  The episode was a follow-up to a 1973 Mannix episode called "Little Girl Lost" (Season 7, Episode 4, Air Date: October 7, 1973).  Many of the same actors appeared in both episodes.

After Mannix ended its run in 1975, Mike Connors secured roles in several television shows and movies.and he also played a part in a major TV miniseries.  He appeared in two 1976 TV movies as Karl Ohanian (his real last name) in The Killer Who Wouldn't Die and as Travis Green in Revenge for Rape.  In 1977, Mike had a guest role in an episode of Police Story entitled "Stigma" (Season 5, Episode 2, Air Date: November 9, 1977).  He played Curtis "Manny" Mandell.

Mike took on the leading role of Nick, the debonair owner of a floating hotel/casino, in the 1980 TV movie Casino.  From 1981 to 1982, he starred as Ben Slater in the short-lived crime drama Today's FBI.  Only 18 episodes of this post-J.Edgar Hoover FBI series were made.

Connors portrayed Air Force Colonel Harrison "Hack" Peters in ABC's epic 1988-1989 miniseries War and Remembrance.  In 1993, he appeared in the TV movie Hart to Hart Returns along with stars Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers.  He also guest-starred in three episodes of Murder, She Wrote. He played a character called Walter Murray in a 1989 episode of the series entitled "Truck Stop" and he portrayed Boyce Brown in two 1995 episodes entitled "Flim Flam" and "Shooting in Rome."  Mike also played movie mogul Jack L. Warner in James Dean: Race with Destiny, the 1997 television movie about the ill-fated 1950s actor James Dean who died in a car crash.

From 1998 to 1999, Mike Connors provided his voice in eight episodes of the animated television series Hercules.  He played his Mannix character again in the 2003 large screen comedy Nobody Knows Anything! Connors last appeared in a television role in 2007 when he was a guest star in an episode of Two and Half Men entitled "Prostitutes and Gelato" (Season 4, Episode 24, Air Date: May 14, 2007).

In 2011, he sued Paramount and CBS Television Studios in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that he had never been paid royalties for Mannix despite being owed millions of dollars.  He sued for unspecified damages, stating that he had entered an agreement with Paramount in 1971 which guaranteed him 10 percent of gross and net proceeds from the show.

Mike Connors married Marylou Riley in 1949.  The couple met at UCLA and they had two children - a son, Matthew Gunner Ohanion (born November 1958) and a daughter, Dana Lee Connors (born July 1960). Sadly, Matthew died unexpectedly of heart failure in 2007.  Of the death of his son, Connors told the Armenian Reporter, "I guess everyone has a cross to bear, everyone has a tragedy in their life . . . We are just trying to get on with ours."

Mike is now 88 years old and he and his wife reside in Encino, California.


* Mike Connors' nickname is "Touch."  It comes from his college days as an athlete at UCLA where he was teased by his teammates about having a soft touch.  Mike was billed as Touch Connors until 1957 whereupon he changed his professional name to Michael Connors.

* In 1970, Gail Fisher won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of  Mannix's secretary, Peggy Fair.  She was the first black actress to win the coveted award, besting Susan Saint. James of McMillan and Wife. After Mannix was cancelled, however, Gail had a difficult finding acting roles.and she battled drug addiction. Gail Fisher passed away in Culver City, Los Angeles, County, California on December 2, 2000, reportedly from kidney failure. She was 65 years at the time of her death.

Gail Fisher

* The late Robert Reed of Brady Bunch fame had a recurring role on Mannix as Lieutenant Adam Tobias in 22 episodes of the show from 1969 until 1974.  Tobias, of the Los Angeles Police Department, was Joe Mannix's friend and also served as the private investigator's contact on the force.

* Veteran actor Joseph Campanella appeared as Lew Wickersham in 25 episodes from 1967 to 1972. Campanella will celebrate his 86th birthday on November 21, 2013.

* For its first four seasons, Mannix was produced by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's production company, Desilu, before being picked up by Paramount.  It was the the final series produced by Desilu Productions.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE (January 27, 2017): Mike Connors died on January 26, 2017 at the age of 91.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Y&R Report: The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday, beginning today, TV Banter will discuss the latest happenings and provide 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 discover some things in advance.

I cordially invite Y&R viewers to email me with questions and comments.

1.  This has been quite a tragic week on the Y&R.  Little Cordelia Katherine Valentine Abbott, better known as Delia or Dee Dee, was run over by a car driven by none other than the Black Sheep himself, Adam Newman.  It's hard to believe that Adam would not have realized that he had hit someone. He just looked out and observed that Delia's dog Dash hadn't been hit.  Then he drove away.  Why didn't he search the area a bit more?  Nevertheless, having Adam drive the vehicle that struck Delia was a great plot twist by the writers.

It's not often that a child dies on a soap.  Delia's demise follows the death of another child on Y&R - Sharon's daughter Cassie who now appears to Sharon in the form of a ghost.  It is likely that Delia will provide a cornea transplant for baby Connor, son of the Black Sheep and his ex-wife Chelsea.  There's a really difficult time ahead for Adam and his tortured soul.

2.  I'm not surprised that Nikki's long-lost son has turned out to be Handyman Dylan himself, although the writers wanted viewers to think Nikki's offspring might be Dr.Stitch.  The storyline will be more interesting and there will be more conflict once it becomes known that NIck and Dylan are brothers - especially because of their feelings for Avery.  The Big Man, Victor Newman, is not going to be very happy at all when he discovers that his beautiful Nikki is Dylan's mother and that she gave him up for adoption.

If Dylan and Sharon ever get together, Nikki will be really rankled.  She has never liked Sharon, believing her to be a gold digger.  I'll never forget Nikki's expression at Nick and Sharon's wedding.  She was one of the most unhappy mothers-of-the-groom, I have ever seen on TV.  Nikki would really be annoyed if Sharon were involved with her other son.

3.  Although Nicholas Newman continues to rebuff Sharon's attempts at rekindling their lost love, I think that the former lovebirds will get together again, at least on a temporary basis.  I can't see Nick forgiving Sharon for hiding the truth about Teen Queen Summer's paternity.

4.  I wish Michelle Stafford would return to her role as Phyllis.  It seems as if Phyllis is going to come out of her coma soon.  If Michelle doesn't return, a new red-headed actress will be cast in the part.  At present, Michelle seems quite involved with her new web comedy series, The Stafford Project, so it's doubtful she'll be back on Y&R anytime soon . . . but maybe someday, a year or two from now.

5.  Okay, fans, who do you think shot Carmine Basco, the demented bartender?  Was it really Fen?  That seems too easy and obvious.  If not Fen, then who did the deed? I can't seem to think of another suspect. Does anyone have any ideas?

Hair and Fashion

Why has Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle) had that long strand of hair in front of her face lately?  It's distracting and she has to keep pushing it back.  I feel like getting a pair of scissors and clipping it.  By the way, I also think that both Amelia and her TV mother Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) should tone down their eye make-up (especially MTS).  It's too heavy.  Are they trying to achieve the raccoon look?

Y&R Actor of the Week

This week's award goes to Billy Miller as Billy Boy Abbott.  He gave a gut-wrenching performance as Delia's heartbroken and grief-ridden father.

Runner-up goes to Michael Muhney, a fine actor, for his portrayal of the most complex character on the show - Adam Newman.

Your Favourite Y&R Couples

Who is your favourite Y&R couple?  Lily and Cane?  Billy and Victoria?  Victor and Nikki?  Lauren and Michael?  Others?

I vote for Billy and Victoria.  Lauren and Michael are my second choice.

Do you think Dylan should be paired with Avery or Chelsea or Sharon?  As for Nick, does he belong with Avery, Sharon or Phyllis?  I don't have any strong feelings about those pairings.

Do you think Adam should be with Chelsea or Sharon?  I prefer Adam with Chelsea.

Just once . . .

Control freak Victor Newman often phones people and summons them to meet with him.  He expects them to drop everything and run to his side.  He usually says, "This is Victor Newman.  Would you kindly come to my office.  I need to speak with you." When residents of Genoa City are summoned by the Great Victor Newman, they are required to see him immediately - and they always do.  Just once, I'd like to hear a Y&R character inform Victor that he or she is busy with something of greater importance and that their meeting will have to be delayed until a more convenient time.

That's all for now.  I'll have more Y&R commentary on Saturday, October 26th.

- Joanne