Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Leonardo DiCaprio on Television

                             Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Leonardo DiCaprio, born November 11, 1974, celebrated his 39th birthday this month. A three-time Academy Award nominee, DiCaprio is now one of Hollywood's foremost film stars. Although Leo is primarily known for his movie roles (especially his portrayal of Jack Dawson in the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic), it is interesting to look back at his early career in television.  The actor's road to stardom really began when he joined the cast of the ABC sitcom Growing Pains.

Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born in Hollywood, California, the son of comic book artist George DiCaprio and his wife Imelin.  When Leo was a child, his parents signed him with a talent agent and he appeared on several television commercials and educational programs.  In 1989, he appeared in two episodes of the family/adventure series entitled The New Lassie as a character named Glen.  The episodes are entitled "New Generation" (Season 1, Episode 10) and "Snake Pit." (Season 1, Episode 22).

Leo then had a role as Kid Fighting Scout in 1990 pilot for the TV drama The Outsiders (Season 1, Episode 1, Air Date: March 25, 1990).  That same year, the teenager was cast as young Mason Capwell in five episodes of the daytime soap opera Santa Barbara.  In 1991, he had an uncredited part as Darrlene's classmate on Roseanne in an episode entitled "Home-Ec" (Season 3, Episode 16, Air Date: February 5, 1991).  In the episode, Rosanne Connor (Roseanne Barr) speaks to her daughter Darlene's (Sara Gilbert) class on career day about being a homemaker.

From 1990 to 1991, Leonardo DiCaprio played Garry Buckman in the short-lived NBC comedy/drama Parenthood.  The television series, starring Ed Begley Jr., had six executive producers, including Ron Howard.  It was loosely based on a 1989 Ron Howard film about raising children.  The film, also titled Parenthood, was well received by critics and it featured an ensemble cast which included Steve Martin, Dianne Wiest, Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, Keanu Reeves and Mary Steenburgen.

The 1990-1991 television version of Parenthood lasted for one season and only 21 episodes of the series were produced.  Leonardo DiCaprio, however, earned recognition for his portrayal of Garry Buckman.  He was nominated for the 1991 Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor Starring in a New Television Series. In 2010, a second version of Parenthood began airing on NBC.  The second adaptation, created by Ron Howard, has proven to be more successful than the first. On April 26, 2013, the NBC network renewed it for a fifth season.

From 1991 to 1992, Leo had a regular role in the popular comedy Growing Pains.  For the seventh and final season of the series, he was cast as a troubled teen named Luke Brower.  DiCaprio was just 16 years old when he won the part.  The headline in a November 11, 2011 article in The Hollywood Reporter by Bill Higgins describes it as his "breakout role."  Higgins writes that it was the actor's "23 episodes on Pains as Luke Brower, a homeless boy, taken in by the Seaver family, that really put him in the public eye."

In 2011, Joanna Kearns, who played Growing Pains matriarch Maggie Seaver, told Entertainment Weekly that she knew that young DiCaprio would become a superstar. According to Kearns, the actor was great fun and he could imitate anybody.  She described how impressed she was with Leo's talent.  "I never knew a kid that had that wit and intelligence and that ability to capture a room," she stated.  Kearns also remembered how Leo would often hang around the set of Growing Pains with Tobey Maguire, his future co-star in The Great Gatsby (2013).  She recalled that "they always looked like they were in trouble or had been in trouble and were talking about it."

DiCaprio on Growing Pains

DiCaprio, far right, in scene from Growing Pains

Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Luke on Growing Pains remains his last television role. During the next few years, he would begin to make his mark in big screen movies such as This Boy's Life (1993), What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993), for which he received an Oscar nomination, and Romeo and Juliet (1996).

- Joanne

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Y&R Report (Nov. 23, 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.  Well folks, I have some disappointing news to report for fans of Billy J. Miller, the actor who plays Billy Abbott on The Young and the Restless.  Billy has reached an impasse in his contract negotiations with the show and he is leaving his role.  He will be replaced in the New Year by David Tom, who played Billy from 1999 to 2002. David is the brother of Heather Tom who portrayed Victoria Newman from 1991 to 2003, before Amelia Heinle took over.  Heather is now on The Bold and the Beautiful where she plays Katie Logan. Meanwhile, Amelia Heinle has extended her Y&R contract and will continue in the role of Victoria Newman.  She, at least, will be sticking around for awhile.

I am quite disappointed that Billy Miller is departing but if I had to choose anyone to replace him, it world be David Tom.  David did a great job when he had the part before. Note: In my last Y&R Report, I mentioned that there was a casting call for a character named "Josh Williams."  I thought that "Josh" was a new character related to Paul Willams.  Instead, "Josh Williams" was really a code name for the part of Billy Abbott.

In other contract news, you'll be seeing more of Dr. Ben Rayburn, also known as Stitch.  He's signed a contract with the show.  Of course, Dr. Stitch is hiding something too - the real reason that his wife and child aren't with him in Genoa City.

2.  Gee, it must be nice to be Neil Winters.  Neil's girlfriend, Leslie, burned some meatloaf that she had cooked up from one of her mother's recipes, No problem!  Neil just emailed the recipe to the chefs at the Athletic Club restaurant and, voila, they whipped up the meatloaf for the couple in no time.  Imagine if you or I contacted a restaurant and requested that they prepare a dish from one of our recipes.  What do you think would happen?

3.  Here's some good news if you are a fan of Tristan Rogers.  According to soap writer Dan J. Kroll, Tristan will be returning to his Y&R role as Australian mobster Colin Atkinson early in 2014.  The suave Aussie is best known for his portrayal of Robert Scorpio on General Hospital.  In 2010, he left General Hospital to play Colin on The Young and the Restless, only to return to General Hospital in 2012.  Now Y&R has him back and I am quite pleased.  His return will spice up the storyline of his TV son and fellow Australian Daniel Goddard, also known as Sugar Cane Ashby.  It will also mean that he will interact with Jill Abbott (Jess Walton).  I used to enjoy the chemistry between Colin and Jill and I'm sure that Tristan's second coming will also add some badly needed flavour to Jill's storyline.

I only wish that Genie Francis would reprise her role as Genevieve Atkinson, Colin's ex-wife and Sugar Cane's mother.  That would really be the icing on the cake.  One can't have everything, though.

4. Poor Devon!  What's a billionaire to do!  All that money is causing him nothing but misery. Why, he even broke up with his girlfriend, Roxanne (She finally showed up). They had an argument and she told him that all that moolah had changed him.   Fans, here's the real reason he broke up with Roxy.  He's going to get involved with the newly reformed Hilary.  He certainly doesn't like Hilary right now, nor does he trust her. That, I predict, will change.  Those two are headed for romance.

5.  Handyman Dylan McAvoy is at it again!  Now he wants to build a doll house for Faith.  Remember the cradle he made for Connor and the bookshelf he built for Billy and Victoria.  Hey, whatever happened to that bookshelf?

Nick Newman does have a point.  Dylan always seems to be in his face.  He shows up all the time.  It really bothered Nick when Fabulous Faith declared, "I want Dylan!" and gave him the cold shoulder.

6.  Who is the mysterious Womack, the guy in prison with Fen?  Some people online have suggested that he's Courtney's father.  That's possible.  After all, he did offer to get drugs for Fen, and Courtney is somehow mixed up with drugs too.  That girl is definitely hiding something and that might be the answer. Could it also be possible that Womack was the one who killed Carmine?  Once thing is certain.  Courtney is trouble with a capital T and Noah is playing with fire.  Boy, does he ever choose the wrong women!

7.  What do you think about Lily and Sugar Cane and their new property?  I think I know why they found a homeless person there.  Perhaps it will provide the impetus for them to turn the place into a homeless shelter with the help of Devon's largesse. That way, Devon can use his wealth for a good purpose.


Here's some feedback from readers and fans:

CC from Etobicoke, Ontario asks:

Do you think Billy will be hooking up with the blond (Kelly) from the support group?
Will Adam confess?
Will Nikki tell everyone about Dylan or will something prevent her from doing that right now?
Can Sharon become any more despicable? How would they ever be able to make her likeable again?

I guess the next few weeks will provide the answers for some of these questions!

Well, CC, let me address your questions.

Billy may hook up with Kelly for storyline purposes.  He and Victoria are one of my favourite couples on the show and I really like them together.  Until Delia's death, they were very happy. The writers have probably decided that they need some problems in order to create conflict.  I haven't really enjoyed Billy Boy's character very much lately. Yes, I know he's suffered the loss of his daughter. I understand his grief and anger and guilt.  I initially had a great deal of sympathy for him but now the writers have turned him into a vindictive jerk ready to take the law into his own hands.  Of course, as a gun-loving American, he keeps a revolver in his closet and he's ready to hand out vigilante justice.  The police take much too long to enforce the law in Geoa City.  (Hey, with Paul Williams as police chief, it'a no wonder Adam has not been caught yet!).

Anyway, I miss the fun-loving, witty, humorous Billy Boy.

You ask whether Adam will confess.  Remember that he did make a video of himself admitting to being the one who ran over Delia with his black SUV.  Avery has the video in her possession so I think it is very likely that someone will see it.  One thing is for certain.  The truth about Adam will eventually come to the surface. Victor has so little confidence in the Genoa City Police that  he conducted his own investigation into the matter.  Not surprisingly, The Big Man has been more successful in uncovering information about the SUV's licence plate than the police.  He is zeroing in on Adam. 

Nikki blurted out the truth about Dylan at a special family dinner.  As you may have guessed, it didn't over very well. Nicholas was not pleased to discover that Dylan is his half brother and Victor certainly did not take the news either.

Yes, Sharon's character has not been very likeable for a long time.  The writers have chosen to make her behave that way in order to create conflict.  Yet, they have also tried to make her character more sympathetic by having her diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Actually, though, if you look at the past, Nick's conduct has been pretty despicable too.  I think that he was more responsible for the breakup of their marriage than Sharon. He completely shut her out when Cassie died and then he dumped her for Phyllis. The real reason for their breakup, however, was that they'd been married for 10 years and that's an eternity in soap opera land.  As I discussed in my last Y&R Report, couples are seldom happy for long on daytime dramas.  


Well fans, Kyle cut his hair - at Victor's suggestion, of course.  What do you think of his shorter style?  I think it's an improvement.  Helen from Scarborough, however, says, "Try another makeover, Kyle.  It's still not happening."


Jill to Victor:  "I've got some advice for you, Victor.  Don't count your empires before they're hatched."

That's all for now.  There is much more excitement ahead in Genoa City.  We're still in the November sweeps and things are really going to heat up with American Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner. Please remember that my next Y&R Report will appear on Saturday, December 7, 2013.

- Joanne

Sunday, November 10, 2013

All in the Family Quiz


All in the Family change the course of television comedy.  It brought a sense of harsh reality to a TV world which previously had been populated by homogenized, inoffensive characters and stories that seemed to have been laundered before they ever got on the air.

- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946-Present

All in the Family was a groundbreaking American television series that aired on CBS from 1971 until 1979 on CBS.  The show ran for nine seasons and It was based on the hit British comedy Till Death Us Do Part about a London working class bigot named Alf Ganett, played by Warren Mitchell.  His American counterpart, Archie Bunker (Caroll O'Connor) was a blue collar worker, a dock foreman for the Prendergast Tool and Dye Company.  He resided in Queens, New York with his wife, Edith (Jean Stapleton).  They shared their home at 704 Hauser Street with their daughter, Gloria (Sally Struthers) and her husband, liberal college student Mike Stivic (Rob Reiner).

The series dealt with issues that had been previously taboo on American network television - issues such as racism, breast cancer, homosexuality, miscarriage and menopause.  It was produced by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin and was originally created for ABC which developed the original pilot And Justice For All about a family named Justice. A second pilot was made entitled Those Were the Days.  When ABC rejected the second pilot, CBS, which had originally wanted to buy the rights to Till Death Us Do Part as a vehicle for comedian Jackie Gleason who was under contract to them, produced a third pilot entitled All in the Family.  The family's name was changed to Bunker and Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner, who did not appear in the first two pilots, took over the roles of Gloria and Mike.

Are you ready to test your knowledge of All in the Family with this 15-question quiz? Ready, set go!

All in the Family Quiz

1.  Archie and Edith's son-in-law, Michael Stivic, was of what ethnic background?

A.  Russian

B.  Irish

C.  German

D.  Ukrainian

E.  Polish

2.  Who raised Mike Stivic?

Rob Reiner as Mike Stivic

A.  Mike was raised by his paternal grandparents.

B.  He was raised by his older brother.

C.  Mike was raised by his uncle.

D.  He was raised in an orphanage.

E.  He was raised by his stepmother.

3.  Who was Stretch Cunningham?

A.  Stretch was Edith's cousin.

B.  He was Archie's army buddy.

C.  He was Archie's friend and co-worker from the loading dock.

D.  He was a taxi driver and a long-time friend of the Bunker family.

E.  Stretch was Mike's college friend.

4.  What was Edith Bunker's maiden name?

A.  Bell

B.  Blake

C.  Barton

D.  Baines

E.  Brown

5.  Who was All in the Family producer Norman Lear's first choice to play the role of Archie?

A.  Mickey Rooney

B.   Hal Holbrook

C.  Jack Klugman

D.  Ted Knight

E.  Walter Matthau

6.  Why did Archie Bunker call his son-in-law Mike "Meathead?"

A.  Mike's father was a butcher.

B.  The nickname was associated with Mike's Polish background (Polish sausage).

C.  It was Archie's way of saying that Mike ate too much while living under his roof, especially expensive food items such as meat.

D.  Mike was a vegetarian and Archie thought giving him a nickname with the word "meat" would annoy him.

E.  It was a derogatory nickname meaning that Mike was stupid or as Archie put it "dead from the neck up."

7.  Archie always got the middle initial in the name of an American president wrong.  Which president was it?

A.  Dwight Eisenhower

B. Gerald Ford

C.  Richard Nixon

D.  Jimmy Carter

E.  Lyndon Johnson

8.  Why did Carroll O'Connor miss the taping of four episodes of All in the Family?

A,  He missed the episodes due to a contract hold out.

B.  He was ill with mononucleosis

C.  He missed the episodes due to the death of his brother in a car accident.

D.  His doctors ordered him to rest because he was run down.

E.  He missed the episodes because his contract provided him with some time off.

9.  Where did Archie and Edith's daughter, Gloria, work?

Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic

A.  Gloria worked as a receptionist at a dental office.

B.  She worked at the cosmetics counter at Kressler's department store.

C.  She served food at a Donnelly's Diner.

D.  Gloria was employed as a grocery store cashier.

E.  She worked at a daycare centre.

10.  Which of these actors was offered the role of Mike Stivic?

A.  Al Pacino

B.  Michael Douglas

C.  Harrison Ford

D.  Tim Allen

E.   Kevin Costner

11.  What was the name of the Bunkers' Irish-American neighbour whose husband enjoyed cooking?

A.  Molly O'Rourke

B.  Jane Connelly

C.  Margaret Russo

D.  Irene Lorenzo

E.   Milly Wilde

12.  The Bunkers' next-door-neighbours were an African-Americans couple named George and Louise Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford).  What was the name of George Jefferson's brother?  (This is your bonus question.  Give yourself a bonus point if you answer it correctly.)

A.  George Jefferson's brother was Henry Jefferson.

B.  His brother was Albert Jefferson.

C.  His brother's name was James Jefferson.

D,  The name of George Jefferson's brother was Tom Jefferson.

E.  His brother was Sam Jefferson.

13.  In a 1973 episode of All in the Family, Gloria does something that Mike really finds alluring.  What does she do?

A.  Gloria loses a great deal of weight.

B.  She wears an attractive red dress.

C.  She wears a dark wig.

D. She tries a new French perfume.

E.  She changes her hairstyle.

14.  In a classic 1972 episode of All in the Family, Archie Bunker meets Sammy Davis Jr. who pays a visit to  the Bunker home.  How did Archie meet Sammy?

A.  Sammy left his briefcase in Archie's taxicab.

B.  Archie and Edith attended a performance of the singer in Manhattan.

C.  Archie bumped into Sammy at LaGuardia Airport.

D.  Archie's car was hit by a limousine in which Sammy Davis was a passenger.

E.  Lionel Jefferson (son of George and Louise) asked Sammy to give a speech at his college and introduced the entertainer to Archie.

15.  After the departure of Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers, Archie and Edith took in a 9-year-old child named Stephanie Mills.  Who was Stephanie Mills?

Danielle Brisebois as Stephanie Mills

A.  Stephanie Mills was the daughter of Archie and Edith's neighbours, Jack and Fiona Mills.  Her parents had been tragically killed in a car crash.

B.  Stephanie was the daughter of Archie's cousin, Ralph Mills, who had been sent to prison for assault and robbery.  Her mother had died of a drug overdose.

C.  She was an orphan whose parents had died in a fire in the Bunkers' Queens neighbourhood.

D.  Stephanie was the daughter of Edith's step cousin Floyd Mills (from her aunt's second marriage). The child had been abandoned by her alcoholic father and her mother had died in an automobile accident.

E.  She was the granddaughter of a friend of Archie's who had died of cancer.  Her parents were both severely ill and could no longer take care of her.


1.  E

Mike was of Polish-American background and was born in Chicago.  Interestingly, in the original pilot, Gloria's husband was named Richard and was portrayed as an Irish American by Tim McIntire while Kelly Jean Peters played the role of Gloria.

2.  C

Mike was raised by his uncle because his parents died in a car accident when he was quite young.

3.  C

James Cromwell as Stretch Cunningham

Jerome "Stretch" Cunningham was Archie's friend and co-worker from the loading dock.  Archie thought of Stretch as "the funniest man in the world" and described him as the Bob Hope of the loading platform. Stretch was Jewish. a fact that Archie did not know until Stretch died of a heart attack and he attended his friend's funeral. In one memorable scene, Archie delivers a eulogy for Stretch.  Note:  The episode about Stretch Cunningham's death is entitled "Stretch Cunningham, Goodbye (Season 7, Episode 19, Air Date: January 29, 1977).

Actor James Cromwell portrayed Stretch Cunningham.  Cromwell, now 73, was arrested last February for disturbing a meeting of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents while protesting the alleged mistreatment of animals on campus.

4.  D

Edith Bunker was born Edith Baines.

5.  A

Norman Lear's first choice to play Archie was Mickey Rooney.  Rooney was offered the part but turned it down when told he would be playing a bigot.  According to Lear, the actor told him, "They're going to kill you dead on the street.  Norm, they're gonna kill you.  They're gonna shoot you dead on the street."  Rooney wanted to do a show about a blind Vietnam veteran who was a private eye.

6.  E.

Archie constantly referred to his son-law Mike as "Meathead" in a derogatory fashion, meaning that Mike was "dead from the neck up."

7.  C

Archie Bunker often flubbed names.  For some reason, Archie never get Richard Milhous Nixon's middle initial right.  He always referred to him as Richard E. Nixon rather than Richard M. Nixon.  It's an interesting bit of trivia that at the 1960 Republican National Convention, Nelson Rockefeller mistakenly introduced Nixon as Richard A. Nixon.  Could there be connection there?

8.  A

In the summer of 1974, Carroll O'Connor missed the taping of four episodes of All in the Family due to a contract dispute with Tandem Productions, owner of the popular CBS sitcom.  His contract dispute disrupted the beginning of the shows's fifth season.  At the time, according to Associated Press, O'Connor's weekly salary was between $25,000 and $35,000.  The actor claimed that money was not the real issue, although he did want "certain back money due me."  He said that he was holding out for "different working conditions."  He desired a Monday-through-Friday work week rather than a Wednesday-through-Tuesday week and at least 12 weeks off during his 24-week-a-year schedule.

The dispute was resolved, of course, and  Caroll O'Connor returned to the show. During O'Connor's absence, three episodes were filmed about Archie's failure to return home from a convention.  A fourth episode, not shown in sequence, made no mention of Archie at all.   The producers warned O'Connor that the story could end with Edith discovering that Archie had been murdered if an agreement were not reached.

9.  B

Gloria worked at the cosmetics counter at Kressler's department store.  She was fired from her job, however, when she became pregnant.  In December 1975, Gloria gave birth to baby boy named Joseph Michael "Joey" Stivic.  Mike and Gloria, both agnostics, wanted their baby to choose decide his own religious beliefs.  In an episode entitled "Joey's Baptism" (Season 6, Episode 22, Air Date: February 23, 1976), Archie is determined to have his grandson baptized.  Without Mike and Gloria's approval or knowledge, he sneaks little Joey to the church, takes him to the baptistry and sprinkles him with water.

When Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers left the show, Mike and Gloria were written out. At the end of the 1977-78 season, Mike accepts a position as a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).  The Stivics move to Santa Barbara with son Joey but their marriage becomes troubled.  Mike eventually leaves Gloria and Joey and moved to a California commune with one of his students.

Sally Struthers reprised the role of Gloria Stivic in her own sitcom entitled Gloria.  In the short-lived series, Struthers portrayed Gloria as a single mother employed as a veterinarian's assistant in Fox Ridge, New York. Burgess Meredith co-starred as veterinarian, Dr. Willard Adams, Gloria's boss and her landlord. Christian Jacobs.played her young son Joey.  Gloria lasted for only one season from September of 1982 until April of 1983.  A pilot and 21 episodes of the show were produced .

10.   C

Harrison Ford was offered the role of Mike Stivic but turned it down because he felt that Archie's bigotry was too offensive.

11.  D

Betty Garrett as Irene Lorenzo

The Bunkers' feisty Irish-American neighbour was named Irene Lorenzo.  Irene and her Italian-American husband, Frank, did not fit the stereotypical male-female role models.  Frank enjoyed cooking and made all the meals while Irene was more comfortable doing household repairs and other traditional "male chores."
Frank, meanwhile, wore an apron and cleaned.  Not surprisingly, this really annoyed Archie.  In one classic exchange between Archie and Irene, Archie asks how she feels about her husband doing all the cooking.  He inquires if she is worried that people will think Frank is gay.  "Is that what you think?" asks Irene.  Archie replies, "Oh no, I don't think that 'cause he's Eye-talian and Eye-talians are always bothering women."  Irene retorts, "Then there must be a little Italian in you."

Vincent Gardenia as Frank Lorenzo

Irene Lorenzo was played by Betty Garrett who passed away on February 12, 2011 at the age of 91.  She died in Los Angeles of an aortic aneurysm.  After All on the Family, Betty had a role in another popular shows.  She portrayed landlady Edna Babish on Laverne & Shirley.  She later made TV appearances on Grey's Anatomy, Boston Public and Becker.  Vincent Gardenia portrayed Frank Lorenzo.  Gardenia died in Philadelphia of a heart attack on December 9, 1992.  He was 72.

12.  A

Mel Stewart as Henry Jefferson

George Jefferson's brother was named Henry Jefferson.  The Jefferson family was introduced on All in the Family in 1971.  Henry's character actually appeared on the show before his brother George.  George was not seen by viewers until 1973 because Sherman Hemsley, Norman Lear's first choice for the part, was performing in a Broadway musical and refused to break his commitment to the show.  Lear kept the part open for him until he had finished with the musical.  George Jefferson's on screen absence was explained by the fact that he would not set foot in the home of a white person.  He was, in effect, a black version of the bigoted Archie.

Mel Stewart, who played the role of Henry Jefferson, left the show when Hemsley joined the cast as George.  Thus, the Jefferson brothers only appear together once, in an episode in which the Bunkers host a party for Henry who is  moving away to start his own business.  The episode is entitled "Henry's Farewell" (Season 4, Episode 6, Air Date: October 20, 1973).

From 1983 to 1987, Mel Stewart had a recurring role as Billy Melrose in the Kate Jackson/Bruce Boxleitner series Scarecrow and Mrs. King.  Stewart died on February 24, 2002 in Pacifica, California. He was 72 years old and had suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

13.   C.

In an episode entitled "Black is the Color of My True Love's Wig" (Season 4, Episode 11, Air Date: November 24, 1973), Gloria purchases a brunette wig and models it for husband Mike.  He really likes her new look but they end up having a fight about it.

14.  A.

In a memorable 1972 episode of All in the Family, Sammy Davis Jr. leaves his briefcase in Archie's cab (Archie was moonlighting as taxi driver).  The episode, "Sammy's Visit," (Season 2, Episode 21, Air Date: February 19, 1972), ends in a famous scene in which Sammy plants a kiss on Archie, much to Archie's horror.

Sammy Davis Jr. kisses Archie Bunker

15.  D

Although Stephanie Mills referred to Archie and Edith as her aunt and uncle, she was actually the daughter of Edith's step cousin Floyd Mills (from her aunt's second marriage).  Floyd, an alcoholic, had abandoned her, His wife, Marilyn, had been killed in a car accident.

Stephanie was portrayed by Danielle Brisbois.  Brisebois is now 44 years old.  In the 1990s she began to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter and became a member of the New Radicals, an alternative rock band. The New Radicals, who had a hit single called "You Get What You Give," were active between 1997 and 1999.  In 2012, Danielle achieved success with a song she co-wrote for the female-fronted band Halestrom. The song, "Here's to Us," was highlighted on the television series Glee.


* The Jefferson family proved so popular that Norman Lear decided to spin the characters into their own television series. When George Jefferson's dry cleaning business flourished, the family left Queens and moved on up to a luxury apartment on Manhattan's East Side.  In 1975, The Jeffersons premiered on CBS and was so successful that it remained on the air for 11 seasons, until 1985.

Sherman Hemsley died of lung cancer on July 24, 2012 in El Paso Tesas.  He was 74. His television wife, Isabel Sanford, passed away on July 9, 2004 in Los Angeles at the age of 86.  Below is a photo of Hemley and Sanford as the Jeffersons with their television son Lionel Jefferson, played by Mike Evans.

* On September 12, 2012, Sally Struthers was arrested in Ogunquit, Maine where she was appearing in a local production of 9 to 5: The Musical.  She was charge with driving under the influence and jury selection for her trial was scheduled for September 23, 2013.  According to the Portland Press Harold, the drunk driving charge was dropped when Struthers, now 66, pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of driving to endanger.  She was fined $1,218, which she has paid, and her driver's licence was suspended for 30 days.

* In the fall of 1979, All in the Family was retooled and retitled Archie Bunker's Place. It centred around the bar that Archie now owned.  When Jean Stapleton decided to leave the show, her character, Edith, died of a stroke in 1980.  Archie Bunker's Place ran for four years, until 1983.

* Archie often referred to Edith as a "dingbat" and told her to "stifle herself."  The father of Norman Lear, the creator of All in Family, treated Lear's mother in the same manner.

* In 1976 the Ideal Toy Company produced a "Joey Stivic doll" (called "Archie Bunker's Grandson"), which was advertised as the "first anatomically correct male doll."  Although slightly controversial then, the doll is a collector's item now.  It is available on ebay for $69.99 U.S.

*  Caroll O'Connor died in Culver City, California on June 21, 2001.  He was 76.  Jean Stapleton passed away at the age of 90 in New York City on May 31, 2013.

- Joanne

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Y&R Report (Nov. 9, 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.  Brrrrrr!  Brrrrr!  Are you still shivering?  This week, Sharon and Nick Newman were locked in  freezer at The Underground, Nick's restaurant.  It's a good thing that Nick was able to warm up his ex-wife with both his shirt and with his body heat.  After all, she was starting to develop hypothermia and they couldn't call for help.  Wow!  What a coincidence that Sharon left her cell phone inside the restaurant and that Nick's phone wasn't working!  Gee, what a surprise! Of course Sharon was quick to remind her ex of the time they were locked in a bank vault and how hot it was in that vault.

It's all part of the soap opera technique of having characters get stuck stuck in elevators and cabins et cetera. This time it was a freezer.  Fearing that they would not survive, Sharon told Nick that she had to tell him about a terrible thing she had done.  However, just as Sharon was about to confess to Nick about tampering with the results of the DNA test regarding Summer's paternity, Noah came to the rescue and released them from the freezer.  Gee, what a surprise!

Nick later called Sharon over to his restaurant to ask her what she was about to tell him while they were locked in the freezer.  Rather than tell him the truth, she quickly thought up some story about how she regretted using Faith to get him to spend more time with her.  Gee what a surprise!

It's quite obvious, fans, that Nick and Sharon will reunite, at least for awhile.  It's a just matter of time.  Faith will be ecstatic and everything will go well until Sharon's secret is revealed.  The secret can not come out until then.  When it does, Nick will never forgive her.  Despite his own past behaviour, he is judgmental and he will not accept Sharon's bipolar disorder as an excuse for her behaviour.  Speaking of Nicholas Newman, I have a bone to pick with the writers.  Nick has declared that he will always love Sharon as the mother of his children.  Aren't they Sharon's children too?  Why can't he say that she's the mother of our children?  Good grief, Y&R!  This is 2013.

2.  This week, we learned that Summer Newman's best friend Courtney is not so sweet and innocent.  She is one of the best customers of Fen's drug dealer, Raven.  How could Summer not know this?  After all, Courtney is supposedly her closest friend and confidante.  Is the Teen Queen that clueless?  Is she that naive that she doesn't have any idea what her best friend has been doing or is Courtney so devious that she has been able to conceal her illegal activities from Summer?  It seems that Summer doesn't know the real Courtney at all.  She's never been invited to her best friend's home and has no knowledge of her family.  This could spell big trouble for Noah since he is beginning to fall for Courtney.

We don't know yet if Courtney is buying the drugs for herself or for Zach, the guy who was texting her.. Whether she's a user, remains to be seen.  Either way, Noah and Summer are going to be caught up in the situation and it isn't going to be pretty.

3.  Hilary Curtis is a good girl now and it was the fastest conversion since Paul on the road to Damascus! Are we to believe that this vindictive, scheming women  has reformed so suddenly and so easily?  Poof! Just like that!  Viewers are being asked to believe that she was just  hurt by her mother's death.  She was grieving. Now she sees the light and she has a brand new job working for Jack Abbott at Jabot.

It seems to me that Hilary's quick-as-a-flash  reformation has been contrived by the writers for storyline purposes.  They no longer want her to be wicked and deceitful so that viewers will have some sympathy for her.  Having her work at Jabot will bring her in closer contact with billionaire Devon.  If he sees her in a more positive light, he may fall for her, especially since his girlfriend, Roxanne, is nowhere to be seen.  Speaking of Roxy, Devon mentioned this week that he has used his newly acquired wealth to buy some things for her. Well, at least we know that Roxy has been informed that her boyfriend's a billionaire.

4.  Well, fans, it was good to see Eileen Davidson in her role as Ashley Abbott again, although her visit was far too brief.   The good news is that she will be returning to Genoa City for an Abbott Thanksgiving.  It's disappointing, though, that Eileen has not returned on a regular basis - at least for now.

5.  I contacted Helen from Scarborough again.  She still thinks that Carmine Basco committed suicide.  I doubt it but I will say that if Helen is correct, she deserves credit for calling that one.

6.  Is there anyone better at rolling her eyes in disgust than Melody Thomas Scott as Nikki Newman?  She's especially good at expressing disdain whenever Sharon is mentioned.  I'll never forgot the look of revulsion on Nikki's face when Nick married Sharon all those years ago.

7.  Jack and Jill went up the hill to bring down Victor Newman.  Yes, folks, Jack Abbott has launched yet another scheme to topple the Big Man from his throne.  This time his ally is Jill and the two of them endeavoured to bring Cane Ashby into the conspiracy too.  Sugar Cane wisely declined the invitation.

When will Smiling Jack ever learn that it's folly to go to war with the Black Knight?  A case can be made that he's insane when it comes to bringing down Moneybags.  He performs the same action over and over again, only to achieve the same results.  Victor always wins in the end.   It's better just to stay clear of him and away from his controlling clutches.  Of course, Jack will never learn that lesson because the eternal feud between Abbott and Newman is a source of conflict and high drama.  The writers know this.

8.  Some new faces are coming to town.  Four new characters will be making their debut in Geoa City.  One is named Josh Williams and is assumed to be a relative of Paul.  Another is Andrew Abbott, an Abbott cousin who is described as "handsome and educated."

Also, according to daytime writer Dan J. Kroll, Emmy winner Cynthia Watros will appear in a recurring roll as Kelly, a recently divorced teacher by trade.  She will become involved in the lives of Billy, Victoria and Chloe.  Kelly is grieving the tragic loss of her son and she will meet Billy and Victoria in a support group.

The fourth new character is Esmerelda, a young model whose path crosses with Teen Queen Summer Newman.


Fenmore Baldwin looks so cute in his prison toque.  It's really becoming on him.  Perhaps it will catch on and become a prison fad.  Soon all the other inmates, including Fen's father, Michael, will be wearing toques in jail.  Fan can even star in his own music video called Jail House Toque.  Move over Elvis!

Sigh!  Billy Boy Abbott had his hair cut again.  It's too short.


Melody Thomsd Sott (right) on stage with Lilana Novakovich

On Sunday, November 3rd, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) appeared at the National Women's Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Melody looked beautiful in an orange print dress and she was slimmer than I though she'd be.  The turnout was large but the crowd, consisting mostly of women, didn't seem quite as excited about seeing her as they had about seeing Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) and Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott) in previous years.  At least, that was my impression.

Sunday was a gorgeous fall day, sunny and somewhat cool.  Although the temperature was fairly normal for a November day in Toronto (or New York or Boston), Melody remarked that as a resident of California., she felt really cold in this kind of weather.  The daytime diva informed the crowd that she had spent the week in T.O. at the home of her friend Lilana Novakovich, a long-time Canadian agent to the soap stars.  Lilana appeared on stage with Melody and hosted the event.

Unfortunately, Melody was unable to provide the audience with any really juicy scoops.  She had no idea if Michelle Stafford would be returning as Phyllis or if another actress would be taking over the role..  She explained that Y&R cast members no longer receive complete scripts.  They only receive the script for their own scenes. As a result, the actors are less aware of what's going on in other storylines.

Melody revealed that her pet peeve is people who text while driving.  When questioned about the kissing ability of Eric Braeden and Peter Bregman, she reminded the crowd that it's acting and that there is more concern about positioning before the camera.

Melody also mentioned that Y&R has filmed a special Veteran's Day (Remembrance Day) episode which she found very moving.  She also said that the Dylan storyline is really going to heat up.  When ashed about her favourite scene on the show, she replied that she didn't have a specific favourite but that she really enjoyed playing a drunk Nikki.  She also stated that "in the soap world, happiness equals boredom" because there is no conflict.  That, fans, is why soap couples don't stay together  We all want our favourite couples to get together, but when they do, it's difficult to find storylines for them.

After answering questions from fans, Melody auctioned off some items to raise money in support of ovarian cancer research.  The items included a Y&R script, a pair of Melody earrings and an album from Joshua Morrow's boy band days.

That's all for now.  Don't forget to read my next Y&R Report on November 23.

- Joanne