Saturday, February 28, 2015

Y&R Report (February 28, 2015): 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.

My motto in daytime has always been make every day a Friday, so that our audience has to watch each and every day. That means more twists, cliffhangers and that prime time feel of 'What the heck are they going to do next?'  If you stay within character, and keep the stories coming from character, and throw everything but the kitchen sink at them, an audience will start to identify with them and relate to them both as friends, and as people they want to see succeed or find love or survive unthinkable tragedies.

- Charles "Chuck" Pratt
Co-Executive Producer and Head Writer of The Young and the Restless

Wow!!!!  What a wild roller coaster ride Y&R has been on lately and it's more than just the February sweeps.  It's undoubtedly the influence of new head writer Charles Pratt. No one can accuse him of dishing up dull plots with nothing happening.  In fact (I never thought I'd say this), there are times when too much seems to be  happening at once.  On Valentine's Day, it appeared as if the Apocalypse had hit Genoa City.  There was one catastrophe after another.  It was almost surreal.  I wanted to say, WHOA!  SLOW DOWN!  WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?   Some viewers told me they suspected it was all some kind of dream.  It wasn't a dream, though, and it wasn't an alternate universe. Genoa City's Valentine's Day 0f Disaster was so bizarre that it captured the attention of fans and it got people talking, which is undoubtedly what Mr. Pratt intended to do - but at what cost?

Charles Pratt

Here's my concern about the direction Chuck Pratt is taking the show.  I believe that he is willing to make characters behave in a way that is too far out of character in order to create cliffhangers and plot twists.  Soap star Susan Lucci, who is renowned for her portrayal of Erica Kane on All My Children, was highly critical of Pratt in her 2011 memoir.  She wrote: "It was during one of our first meetings together that Chuck told the entire cast that he didn't believe in character-driven story lines, and he didn't care about characters. He said he was there to shake things up."

Cliffhangers and plot twists are definitely exciting for viewers, but the storylines have to ring true. They have to have some sense of authenticity.  Shock value for the sake of shock value doesn't work in the long run.  At some point, viewers become immune to shocks if the plot is too convoluted and unbelievable. Unfortunately, some of the Valentine Day disasters didn't pass the test, especially the Austin storyline.

It just seems that the Austin story thrown together haphazardly, especially his cheating with Abby. There was no indication of any connection or relationship between Abby and Austin in the past. Also, Austin began to displaying a dark side without reason or explanation.  He didn't tell Nick about the building inspector's phone call and he became mean and impatient toward Supergirl Summer.

What do you think of the new Kyle?  I'm going to reserve judgment.  I need to see more of him.  He sure looks young with that baby face of his.  I wonder, though, how he could be considered a suspect in Austin's murder.  He may be in love with Supergirl, but he's not a murderous maniac.  Just because Summer married someone else, a man Kyle never even knew, does not mean that he would suddenly go off the deep end and kill his romantic rival.

It was really quite hilarious to see Jack Abbott and Victor Newman share the same hospital room. The two bitter rivals have reached an understanding.  They are not going bury the hatchet.  Oh no! They are going to be "friendly enemies."  I smiled when Victor declared, "Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated - again."  As usual, Jack will end up being duped by The Black Knight again.

Christine's rantings against Phyllis have become terribly tiresome.  The Bug has a one-track mind. All she seems to think about is punishing her redheaded nemesis.  It's become a total obsession and I don't know if her husband, the clueless police chief, can stand it much longer.  Put a lid on it, Cricket, before you become such a pest (pun intended) that you drive poor Paul to drink along with Nikki and Neil.  I wonder if anyone has some Raid.


Here are some comments from regular commentator CC from Etobicoke, Ontario:

If you saw today's Y&R, you are probably still wondering if Hilary were seeking revenge or not.  At the beginning she was so nasty that I felt she was playing with them to wreak her vengeance.  Then I got caught up in the whole romanticism of the moment.  And now we are back to square one.  Is it revenge or just her way of sparing them from heartache and offsetting possible estrangement?  

I was totally bored by the Victor/Jack roommate nonsense.  Nurse said they were swamped by the storm patients and didn't have any private rooms available.  Now Jack and Victor will be on the same side working to get Phyllis off.
Should be interesting.
I wonder who spiked Jack's drink? . . . Kelly, Victor, both of them, Phyllis or someone unknown?

I suspected Austin had ulterior motives for marrying Summer from the beginning.  Is it a whodunnit or a deliberate disappearance?

Stay tuned.

Well, CC, from the expression on Hilary's face in that last scene, it certainly appears that she's faking after all.  Her claim that she was determined to get revenge on the Winters family is most likely an act to, as you put it, spare both Neil and Devon heartache and to offset possible estrangement.  She looked sad and wistful as she recalled the moment Devon gave her a ring to keep until they could be together.

It had better be an act or Y&R will lose credibility.  Hilary's insistence that she was after revenge did not ring true.  It seemed contrived for shock value.  This supposed wrinkle in the Hilary storyline did not seem authentic because it was far too late for her to suddenly deny her feelings for Devon.  I don't think viewers would have bought into it. Although Hilary came to Genoa City as a vengeful "bad girl," she truly reformed when Jack and Neil took a chance on her and forgave her transgressions. There was no indication to believe otherwise.  Y&R viewer Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario pointed out to me how jealous Hilary was of Devon and Gwen.  Why would she be hurt and jealous if she didn't have feelings for Devon?  Just before Christmas, I attended a Young and Restless fundraiser in aid of the March of Dimes.  The actress who plays Hilary, Mishael Morgan, was there.  She looked at castmate Bryton James (Devon) and stated that Devon was Hilary's true love.

I have to admit, given head writer Pratt's penchant for shocks and plot twists (even at the expense of a character's integrity), I believed that Hilary was really out for revenge.  If, as I strongly suspect, that is not the cast, I will be most pleased.

I was not bored by Jack and Victor sharing a hospital room.  I thought it was quite funny.  As for the deal between Jack and Victor to help Phyllis, Jackie Boy is going to regret it.  Victor is untrustworthy.  He is already double dealing with Kelly to make sure that Jack and Phyllis are kept apart.  If were Kelly, I wouldn't make any deals with someone as devious as Victor.  He is far too ruthless to give away favours without demanding something in return.  You can be certain that he is going to ask for his pound of flesh from Kelly.  Kelly is not naive.  She know this but she is so lovestruck that she is willing to pay almost any price to win Jack over.

As for who spiked Kelly's drink, I suspect it was Kelly herself.  I still think she's the unbalanced one. Although she claims that no man  is worth poisoning herself for, she is morbidly desperate for Jack's love.  Speaking of Jack, his behaviour has been quite weird too.  What was that little escapade with with Kelly all about if he is as loyal to Phyllis as he professes to be?  Kelly did not make that up. Jack admitted it himself.  I keep scratching my head over that one.

I think that the Austin storyline is intended to be a whodunnit.  For all we know, he may not even be dead.  His body hasn't been identified yet.  However, he most likely did die. I once predicted that Summer would be divorced by the time she was 20.  Ironically, it now appears that she is a 20-year-old widow.  Will there now be a triangle between Summer, Kyle and Fen?

Another regular contributor, Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario, wrote:

Not sure what this new writer is doing.  I guess he is operating on "shock value" and in doing so, making things up as they go along.

The "great" Victor Newman has the power and money over the years to bring in the best "doctors" from around the world whenever someone needs medical attention but he doesn't have the power or money to get a private room at the hospital.  Albeit, the scenes with Jack were humorous, this made no sense at all!
This whole Austin thing is so unrealistic!  Not that Soaps are meant to be real, but the dialogue is so unnatural.

There is no absolutely no reason why the great and powerful Victor Newman couldn't secure a private room. The nurses may have said there were no private rooms available due to the storm, but I'm sure Mr. Moneybags could have pulled some strings.  Even if Victor couldn't get a private room, what are the odds that he'd end up being Jack's roommate?  However, as we both pointed out, Fifi, the scenes with Victor and Jack in the hospital room were quite amusing.  It seems that the writers opted for humour over realism.


Did you enjoy all the Y&R disasters on Valentine's Day?

Yes, I loved watching the Valentine's Day diasters. It was fun and I liked the fact that everything was so fast-paced.
No, I think Y&R went overboard. Have the writers not heard of moderation?
Yes, I enjoyed watching, but the writers should have toned it down.
No, the storylines were confusing. unbelievable and ridiculous.
Don't know
Poll Maker

That's all for now.  Don't forget to check out the next edition of Y&R Report on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

- Joanne

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Keeping up with Linda Evans

We’ve got a long life to live and don’t count us out. There are 77 million war baby boomers. We’ve got lives ahead of us, things to do. I want us not to think of ending, I want us to think of beginning. I think we should be called the wise ones because that’s what happens as you get older, you get wiser. I wouldn’t give up being wiser for a young face and a tight body for anything. 

- Linda Evans
October 2011 interview with Fox411

From 1981 to 1989, Linda Evans was one of the hottest stars on television in her role as Krystle Jennings Carrington on Aaron Spelling's prime time soap Dynasty. Television audiences were intrigued by the saga of the oil-rich Carrington family of Denver, Colorado.  Never mind that many of the show's plotlines were ridiculous, overdone and convoluted.   Reagan era audiences couldn't get enough of the series. They feasted on its grandeur and its opulence, and they adored Linda.
Linda Evans was born Linda Evenstad on November 18, 1942 in Hartford, Connecticut.  Her parents were professional dancers and her father was of Norwegian lineage. She was the second of three daughters and her family moved to North Hollywood, California when she was just six months old.

Linda attended Hollywood High School with Stefanie Powers.  They were both member of the class of 1960.  Linda was a shy student and very reticent.  At 14, she was urged to study drama in order to overcome her timidity.  According to her New York Times biography, she accompanied a classmate to an audition for a Canada Dry ginger ale commercial.  The director of the ad agency was so impressed by Linda's fresh-faced appearance that he invited her to audition too. She got the part and this led to spots on other television commercials.
In 1960, Linda was cast in her first speaking role on a television series, appearing in an episode of Bachelor Father,  a comedy starring John Forsythe as Bentley Gregg, an unmarried attorney raising his orphaned niece.  In that episode, entitled "A Crush on Bentley" (Season 4, Episode 5, Air Date: October 13, 1960), Linda portrayed Liz McGavin, the teenage daughter of one of Bentley's clients. When Liz develops a crush on Bentley, he finds himself in a delicate situation.

In a 2012 interview with Halli Casser Jayne, Linda said that after her appearance on the Bachelor Father episode, Forsythe signed the script and wrote "Linda, you're going to be somebody someday." Twenty years later, their paths would cross again and Forsythe would play her husband, oil tycoon Blake Carrington, on Dynasty. Linda found the script, brought it to the set and said, "See John, you were psychic. You knew this was going to happen."

Linda Evans with John Forsythe on Bachelor Father

Linda on Bachelor Father

From 1960 until 1962, Linda appeared in five episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett.  She also guest-starred on The Untouchables (1962) and The 11th Hour (1963) and My Favorite Martian (1965). After dropping the "stad" from her last name and dying her hair blond, she made her first notable film appearance in the 1965 comedy Beach Blanket Bingo with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. She portrayed a pop singer named Sugar Kane whose manager, played by comedian Paul Lynde, gets her involved in publicity stunts.

Bill Bixby and Linda Evans in an episode of My Favorite Martian

From 1965 to 1969. Linda co-starred on the popular Western series. The Big Valley. She portrayed California cowgirl Audra Barkley opposite Hollywood great Barbara Stanwyck, who played her mother, Victoria Barkley.   Lee Majors played her half-brother, Heath Barkley. Stanwyck was a mother figure to Linda, whom she always referred to as "Audra." The two were reunited years later when Stanwyck appeared on Dynasty to introduce its spin-off, The Colbys, on which Barbara had a starring role for one season.

In 1983, Linda and Lee Majors filmed an episode of The Love Boat in China. Although John Forsythe appeared in the same episode, he and Linda were given separate storylines.  It was Lee who was Linda's love interest in the episode, while John was paired with Ursula Andress.

Linda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Big Valley

Linda and Lee Majors in The Big Valley in the 1960s

Linda and Lee Majors in 1983 Love Boat episode

During the 1970s, Linda appeared in numerous guest-starring roles in such series as McCloud (1973), Mannix (1974), Harry O (1974), The Rockford Files (1975), McCoy (1975) and McMillan & Wife (1975).  In 1977, she starred opposite the late James Franciscus as Marty Shaw and James Hunter respectively, in the short-lived spy drama Hunter. Linda and James played United States Government agents, but the series only lasted for 13 episodes.

Linda's career fortunes changed dramatically In 1980, when she was cast in a major role in a new prime time soap opera called Dynasty (originally titled Oil). Dynasty was the ABC Network's answer to CBS's monster hit Dallas.  It was filled with glamour, champagne and caviar, designer clothes and shoulder pads, There were cat fights between Blake Carrington's devious first wife, Alexis, played by British actress Joan Collins and his blue-eyed angelic second wife, Linda's character.

Joan Collins, John Forsythe and Linda on Dynasty

In a 1984, Rock Hudson joined the cast of  Dynasty as a wealth horse trainer named Daniel Reese. Reese tried to win Krystle away from husband Blake and, in one well-known, scene, the two shared a kiss. When it was later disclosed that Hudson had been infected with AIDS at the time, there was a media frenzy and much speculation about whether Linda was at risk of contracting the disease.

Linda and Rock Hudson on Dynasty

By the late 1980s, however, Dynasty's popularity was plummeting and Ronald Reagan's presidency was coming to a close.  Linda left the show in 1989, only months before the series ended (her character went into a coma).  She then relocated to the state of Washington in order to escape the pressures of Hollywood.

In the 1990s, Linda did not make many screen appearances, except for a few television movies.such as The Stepsister, a thriller in which a young woman, played by Reena Sofer, suspects that her new stepmother (Linda Evans) and her new stepsister (Bridgette Wilson) murdered her wealthy father (Alan Rachins).  It premiered on the USA cable network in 1997.

Linda Evans wtih Bridgette Wilson in The Stepsister

In 1991, Linda reprised the role of Krystle Carrington for the miniseries Dynasty:The Reunion, which was meant to resolve all the cliffhangers of the final season. In 2006, she joined the Dynasty cast for a non-fiction reunion special titled Dynasty: Catfights and Caviar

Linda Evans has been married twice and has no children.  Her first husband was actor and film producer John Derek, whom she married in 1968.  They divorced in 1974.  Derek, who died of cardiovascular disease in 1998 at age 71, left Linda for a teenage Los Angeles high school student named Mary Cathleen Collins (better known as actress Bo Derek).  Of their marriage breakup, Linda had this to say in a May 10, 2013 article by Lina Das on the Britain's Daily Mail online: "When he left me for Bo, I was devastated.but he actually did me the favour of my life because I'd have never done Dynasty otherwise."  She also said that she became friends with Bo and with Derek's other ex-wife, Ursula Andress.

In her interview with Fox411, Linda described John Derek in this way:  "He was a fascinating character, a beautiful man.  When you were married to him he made you everything.  Few men say you are the moon and the stars and live 24/7 as if you were.  He was a man worth keeping in your life."

Linda and John Derek

Linda's second husband was Los Angeles real estate tycoon Stan Herman.  The two wed on July 4, 1975 and divorced in 1981.  During their marriage, Herman was always buying and renovating homes.   He rented them to celebrities such as Linda's Dynasty co-star Joan Collins, singer Kenny Rogers and actor Burt Reynolds. He frequently lived in these homes while they were being renovated, which meant that he constantly moved moved from place to place.  According to a March 7, 1988 article in People magazine by Eric Levin, Linda said that when she and Herman were married, "they changed dwellings so often that one night they came home from a party and went to the wrong house"

Linda and Stan Herman

From about 1989 until 1998, Linda had a relationship with a new age musician named Yanni.  Of her attraction to the Greek-born pianist and composer, she told interviewer Larry King ; "I just fell in love with his music.  I didn't have any idea what a Yanni was.  I just thought I was in love with a Japanese man who wrote beautiful music."  For his part, Yanni told King that "Linda was a great woman when I met her, she's terrific, she remained a great woman for the whole nine-year relationship and she was great the day we said we were going to separate.  We will remain friends. I'm certain of that.  We're very close and very connected."

Linda and Yanni

Linda loves to cook.  She told Fox411 that her culinary inspiration is Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  She said, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking was the first cookbook I ever got.  When I could make a hollandaise sauce and could put it on things I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

In 2009 Linda won the UK celebrity edition of Hell's Kitchen.  The cooking competition was held on the British television network ITV and Linda trained for 16 days under Michelin star chef Marco Pierre White.

In 2011 she published a book entitled Recipes for Life: My Memories.  The book is part memoir and part cookbook. At a book signing at the Santa Monica Library, she declared, "Over time, I found, the things I cared about most in life were the moments I shared with friends over food,


* Linda Evans and John Forsythe became good friends and they kept in contact with each other until Forsythe's death in 2010 at the age of 92.

* In her book, Recipes for Life, Linda remembers her famous kiss with Rock Hudson.on Dynasty.  "Instead of passionately kissing me," she writes, "Rock just barely brushed his lips over mine and then backed away."

*  During the 1990s, Linda launched a chain of women-only gyms in California called Linda Evans Fitness Centers.

* Linda, along with fellow actress Shirley MacLaine, has been a devotee of controversial New Age mystic and author JZ Knight.of Yelm, Washington.

* On her official website, in her 2015 New Year's bog, Linda recently revealed that she is recovering from back surgery

 - Joanne

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bobby Buntrock: The tragic death of Hazel's Harold


Were he still alive, Bobby Buntrock would be be 62 year old.  He died tragically, however, over 40 years ago, at the age of 21,  The child actor, who played Harold Baxter on the popular 1960s Hazel comedy series, lost his life in an automobile accident on a bridge in Keystone, South Dakota on April 7, 1974.  According to the World Heritage Encyclopedia, the bridge had been severely damaged two years previously in the South Dakota Flood of 1972.  There was a large hole in the middle of the bridge with at least 3.1 to 4.6 metres (10 to 15 feet) of water in the hole from the creek. Unfortunately, there were no warning signs or barricades to call attention to the danger.  Bobby was en route to visit a friend when his car slid of the side of the road and flipped over into the water.

The accident was reported and divers arrived at the scene.  They eventually reached the car and discovered Bobby's body.  The young man had tried to escape, but he had been unable to pry the door open far enough due to the mud and the sheer force of the water. His death was horribly heartbreaking and could have been prevented.

Robert Willard "Bobby" Buntrock was born in Denver, Colorado on August 4, 1952, the son of Robert Edward Buntrock, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, and his wife Maxine. Bobby had a younger sister named Stella. When he was three years old, the family moved to Whittier, California where neighbours urged Bobby's parents to get their son into acting. and encouraged them to send photographs of the child to the studios.  The neighbours were so persistent, according to an October 14, 1961 item in the Lewiston Evening Journal, that they sent a photographer to have Bobby's picture taken specifically for that purpose.

When the photos were received, the Buntrocks agreed, under pressure, to submit them to an agent, Marcella Bell, who auditioned young Bobby and signed him on as client..  He made made his acting debut n 1959, appearing with Hollywood great Bette Davis on NBC's Wagon Train.  In the episode, "The Ella Lindstrom Story" (Season 2, Episode 18, Air Date (February 4, 1959). he played Bo Lindstom, one of Ella's (Davis) children.

In 1960 Bobby appeared as Buddy on an episode of Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse called "Dr. Kate."  In 1961, he had cameo roles on two of the biggest hit comedies on American television, Mr. Ed and The Donna Reed Show.  In an early episode of Mr. Ed, "Kiddy Park," he played a small boy in the park where Ed, the talking horse, was giving pony rides.  (Season 1, Episode 4, Air Date: January 26, 1961).  On The Donna Reed Show, Bobby played a crying child in an episode entitled "Mary's Little Lamb" (Season 3, Episode 38, Air Date: June 8, 1961).  In the episode, Mary Stone (Shelly Faberes) is permitted to open the house to a baby-sitting service while her mother is out of town.

In  1961, Bobby was cast as eight-year-old Harold Baxter on the sitcom Hazel, starring Oscar-winner Shirley Booth (In 1953, she won an Academy award for her role in Come Back, Little Sheba).  The series, based on Ted Key's cartoon in the Saturday Evening Post about a busybody maid, became a huge hit with viewers.  Don Defore and Whitney Blake played Hazel's employers, George and Dorothy Baxter, and Bobby played their blond-haired son.

The first five seasons of the show (1961-1965) were broadcast on NBC.  After the fourth season, both DeFore and Blake left the series.  When the show moved to CBS for its fifth and final season, it was completely revamped.  George and Dorothy were transferred to Saudi Arabia on business for a lengthy period and Hazel and Harold moved in with George's bother, real estate agent Steve Baxter (Ray Fulmer) and his wife, Barbara (Lynn Borden).  Their daughter Susie, Harold's younger cousin, was played by child actress Julia Benjamin.

Below is a photo (circa 1965) of Bobby with Shirley Booth and Julia Benjamin.

While starring in Hazel, Bobby Buntrock made appearances on other television series.  In 1963 he took on the role of Andrew in an episode of the popular TV Western The Virginian ("Brother Thaddeus," Season 2, Episode 7, Air Date: (October 30, 1963).  That same year, he played a character named Scout Hendricks in an episode of the crime series Burke's Law entitled "Who Killed Eleanora Davis?" (Season 1, Episode 13, Air Date: December 20,1963).  In 1965 he portrayed Peter, a Cub Scout, on the Inger Stevens comedy, The Farmer's Daughter in an episode entitled "Ja, Ja, a Thousand Times Ja" (Season 2, Episode 32, Air Date (May 7, 1965).

After Hazel went off the air in 1966, the teenage Bobby, made two more guest appearances on The Virginian and then retired from acting.  The Virginian episodes, which aired in 1967, are "Doctor Pat" (Season 5, Episode 23, Air Date: March 1, 1967) and "The Masquerade" (Season 6, Episode 6, Air Date: October 18, 1967).


Shirley Booth (Hazel),retired from acting in 1974.  The New York City-born actress died on October 16, 1992 at her home in North Chatham, Massachusetts after suffering from health problems such as blindness and a broken hip.  Shirley was 94 years old at the time of her passing.

Don DeFore, who played Hazel's employer, attorney George Baxter, died of a cardiac arrest on December 22, 1993 in Santa Monica, California.  He was 80 years old.  Prior to his role as George Baxer, Don played Erskin "Thorny" Thornberry, the Nelson family's neighbour on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Whitney Blake, who portrayed Dorothy Baxter, died of cancer of the esophagus on September 28, 2002.  She passed away in Edgartown, Massachusetts at the age of 76. Whitney was the mother of actress Meredith Baxter of Family Ties fame (Coincidentally, Blake's first husband was named Tom Baxter).

Hazel (Booth) with Mr. and Mrs. Baxter (DeFore and Blake)

Julia Benjamin (Susie Baxter) will turn 58 years old on February 21, 2015 and is retired from acting.  After Hazel was cancelled by CBS in 1966, Julia was only able to land a few guest-starring roles on television.

Ray Fulmer (Steve Baxter) celebrates his 82nd birthday today.  After Hazel left the air, Ray played the role of Lee Gantry on the CBS daytime soap The Guiding Light.  He later portrayed Martin Nell Dillard on another soap, Somerset, a spin-off of Another World.

Lynn Borden (Barbara Baxter) is now 77 years old   She has made guest appearances on such television series as My Three Sons (1967), The F.B.I.(1968), Family Affair (1967) (1968 - twice), Get Smart (1967) (1969),  The Mod Squad (1969), McMiillan & Wife (1975), Petrocelli (1976). Starsky and Hutch (1977), Fantasy Island (1978), The Fall Guy (1982) and CSI: NY (2006). In most recent years, Lynn has worked in television commercials and on stage.

Lynn Borden (right) with Shirley Booth and Ray Fulmer


* Bobby Buntock's sister Stella appeared in some television commercials as a child.

* When Bobby starred in Hazel, he was required by law to have a tutor on the set. When the show was on hiatus, he attended Lake Marie Public School in Whittier, California.

* A false story has been circulating that Bobby Buntrock's mother died a year before her son in a car accident at the same bridge in South Dakota where he perished.  However, Maxine Buntrock died on June 20, 1972 of cardiac arrest at the family home.

* Bobby's father, Robert Edward Buntrock, remarried in 1979.  He wed a widow named Margaret R. (Champion) McClure.who became stepmother to Bobby's sister Stella (Buntrock) Watson.  Robert, who was born on September 3, 1915, passed away on March 21, 1996.  Margaret, originally from Keystone, South Dakota, died on March 14, 2011 at the age of 92 in Rapid City, South Dakota.

* According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Bobby was a member of the National Guard in Rapid City, South Dakota.

* Below is a photo of Bobby Buntrock's grave.  He is buried at Keystone Cemetery, Keystone, Pennington Country, South Dakota, U.S.A.

EDITOR'S NOTE (March 2, 2016):  This photo has been identified as Bobby Buntrock on the "Find a Grave" website and on Pininterest.  It is the only photo I have seen of him as an adult.

EDITOR'S NOTE (March 10, 2016):  The above photo has been misidentified as Bobby Buntrock on the "Find a Grave" website and on "Pininterest."  It is, in fact, Bobby Driscoll, an American child actor who became drug-addicted and died a sad death in 1968 at the age of 31.  Here is a picture of Bobby Driscoll as a child.

Bobby Drisccoll

It is easy to understand the confusion as both actors had the same first name and both died young. Driscoll had darker hair.  Note: I have yet to see an adult photo of Bobby Buntrock.

EDITOR'S NOTE (March 17, 2017):  I have recently written another piece with more information about Bobby Buntrock.  To read it, click on the link below.

EDITOR'S NOTE  (April 19, 2019)I received the following e-mail regarding Bobby Buntrock's tragic death.  It is very informative.

I was reading about Bobby Buntrock's death in your column and I would like to offer the opinion that the business of not being able to open car doors under water is not uncommon.  

Even at a depth of 5 feet, the water pressure is 2.17 pounds per square inch.  Figuring a fully immersed door at 24 x 48 inches in size (pretty conservative, a total of 1152 square inches) at that depth, the force of water holding the door shut is about 1152 square inches times 2.17 pounds per square inch = about 2500 pounds or over a ton.

At ten feet, the water's force on the door is about 5000 pounds or 2 1/2 tons.  

As you can see, it would be very difficult to get out under water, even at very modest depths, because of the forces involved.  

Your report mentioned that Mr. Buntrock had struggled to get out, but that mud and water pressure would not allow that.  There was no mention of the depth of water at that site, but as you can see, mud or no mud, the car doors might be very difficult to open.

The "trick" is to roll the window down (or break it) to allow water to equalize the pressure, but this takes real fortitude to do, and is unlikely to be thought of in a panic situation.

One hopes that none of your readers will ever find themselves in that situation, but if they do, remembering this might save their life.

It has been surmised that the reason Senator Ted Kennedy could not rescue Mary Jo Kopechne when he dove down to get her out of the car, was because of the water pressure on the door, and that was the same reason she could not get herself out.

A friend of mine died in his pickup truck for this very reason.

You may verify the physics involved with any physics involved with any physics professor or SCUBA diver.  

Note these numbers are for fresh water.  They are slightly higher for salt water.

Water pressure versus depth calculator:

 - Dick Loesch 

I thank Dick Loesch for his letter.

EDITOR'S NOTE (December 16,2019): A reader was kind enough to send me these 1968 yearbook photos of Bobby Buntrock at Eagle Rock High School.  He was on the track team and he was 16 years old.  

Bobby is in the centre.

- Joanne

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Y&R Report (February 14, 2015): 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.

Well fans, there is a great deal happening in Genoa City right now and I must say that the writing has improved under new head scribe Charles Pratt.  Let's see. Where do I start?  How about the custody case concerning the minor, Faith Newman?  As regular readers know, I am firmly on Sharon's side of the dispute. However, I do think she was way out of line to expect Mariah and Noah to commit perjury in order to help her gain custody of her daughter.  Mariah is to be commended for telling the truth on the witness stand.  As for Noah, he is the Son in the Middle.  It seems he's always trying to help his parents clean up their messy lives.  He's more mature than they are.

Does any character on the show have a thicker skull than Nicholas Newman.  Faith is obviously distraught over the custody battle and prefers to live with her mother. Meanwhile, Nick repeatedly states that his intention is not to punish Sharon.  I don't believe that any more than I believed his constant assertions that he would stand by Sharon no matter what.

By the way, have you noticed that Sharon and Dylan have been in quite a few scenes together lately? I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes romantically involved with her, a least for awhile, once he breaks up with Avery.  From the way Avery's been daydreaming about her past with Joe Clark, that's going to happen soon.  No, I don't believe Joe's statement to Avery that he's decided to leave town. He'll stick around to cause trouble.

Now that Maureen (Meridith Baxter) has left Genoa City, Nikki has a new drinking buddy - namely Neil Winters.  The two have good reason to feel wronged by their respective spouses and are both very bitter.  I can't blame Nikki for not wanting Phyllis to be a house guest for an unspecified amount of time, especially since Victor did not even have the decency to consult with her about the mercurial redhead taking up residence at the Newman ranch.

This Valentine's Day, there is plenty of intrigue in Genoa City.  Victor has made alliances with both Phyllis and Kelly.  He's playing his cards carefully and his ultimate goal is to bring down Jack Abbott and Jabot.  Phyllis doesn't trust the Black Knight.  She's well aware that he's using her for his own purposes,  However, she feels it's to her advantage to align herself with The Moustache right now.  

Abby sent mysterious Valentine invitations to many of the younger residents of GC, including Mariah, Supergirl Summer, Austin, Fen and Noah.  They all gathered at the Abbott cabin and played a game called "Never Have I Ever . . .and Austin reacted strangely to "never have I ever committed murder. "  He became upset and walked away.  When he returned he explained that the subject of murder reminded him of the murder of his mother.  In the next scene, a male hand was shown spiking the punch and everyone fell asleep for a time - except Austin.  He was later shown outside on the ground in the cold. Strange happenings . . .

The Winters family's Valentines Day vacation turned into a disaster.  An angry Neil revealed to everyone on board the plane that he had regained his eyesight and he exposed Devon and Hilary's treachery.  According to online spoilers, their plane will go down and they will be faced with a life or death situation.  Regular reader Fifi from Collingwood thinks that Neil will have to save his son Devon's life despite Devon's betrayal of him.

Another online scoop has revealed that someone in Genoa City will not survive Valentine's Day. Whom will it be?  It has to be a character who is expendable, someone Y&R can do without or someone who is leaving the show.  Could it be someone aboard the Winters' plane?  Hilary perhaps? Will she be needed much longer now that Neil knows her secret?

One of the few happy couples on Y&R seems destined for trouble.  I'm  referring to Lily and Cane. Candy Cane just couldn't bring himself to tell Lily about Devon and Hilary. He tried to tell her but kept getting interrupted.  That's a soap tactic to prevent a secret from coming out.  Now that Lily knows the truth, will the Aussie charmer find himself in the doghouse?   Will there be trouble in paradise. Why didn't  he just tell her anyway? The answer is that there wouldn't be any conflict if he had told her.

Valentine's Day is also poor Delia's birthday.  Although I'm not a huge fan of Burgess Jenkins, the actor currently portraying Billy Boy Abbott, I've got to give him credit for his touching performance in the scene at his late daughter's roadside memorial.  He really conveyed a father's grief in a most poignant manner.


CC from Etobicoke, Ontario wrote:

I like your analysis of Y & R situations.  But what makes you so sure Kelly is the one behind Delia's hit and run?  She does appear to be a plausible candidate after the fact of course which is how it is expected to be.
Since Phyllis is a longstanding key character it seems quite credible that she would not be the crazy one even though she seems to have the gift and smarts head over heels above Kelly.
From the beginning I thought Kelly had the makings of a future Sheila.
Now Kelly looks better and acts sweeter than Phyllis. 
If this all pans out to be true then Phyllis will never let Jack forget it.
No matter what though they will never be able to rise above the major bungle of killing Delia off. With the personality they gave her she was destined to become a major player character unlike Abby who turned out to be a dud, and Faith who has the potential to be a clone of Sharon.

The next week or so should reveal more to us.

Actually, CC, I am not so sure Kelly is the one behind Delia's hit and run.  I wrote that she "may" have been the one behind Delia's hit and run.  It's a definite possibility and I wouldn't rule it out.  I still think that Kelly will turn out to be the one who is mentally unbalanced.  It's certainly true that right now. as you put it, Kelly "looks better and acts sweeter than Phyllis."  However, I think it's all a ruse on Kelly's part to confuse Jack and to gain his sympathy.  She recently let her guard down when she pointed a table knife at Avery during a heated argument between the two women.  I also suspect that Kelly poisoned herself to set Phyllis up.  She only drank a tiny bit of the tea so that she would survive.

I think Delia was killed off in order to create friction between Billy and Victoria and break up their marriage.  However, I think they could have found another way rather than having Delia die.

Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario wrote:

Some Y and R comments for you.
I thought Victoria looked lovely in the pink dress at the baptism.
Jill is also looking mighty fine.
Does Victor really have a good side?
I thought that maybe Phyllis was one up on everyone and is setting her own plan into action, testing Jack to go back with Kelly and testing Kelly to slip up.  Or maybe Police Commissioner Paul will realize he has the wrong person in jail when it is discovered that Kelly killed Delia.
February sweeps this week.  Should be good!

Yes Fifi, Victoria radiant in the pink dress and I agree that Jill is also looking good.

Victor is a very complex man.  Yes, he is domineering, controlling, overbearing and ruthless.  He is certainly a villain, but not a cartoonish villain.  There are shades of grey in The Big Man's makeup. In his mind, he truly loves his family and he loves Nikki.  He can also be surprising and unpredictable. He is capable of terrible cruelty and has no qualms about breaking the law if it gets in his way.  It's all part of doing business for him.  At the same time, he has tender side to him which he displays occasionally.  For example, he sincerely respected and admired the late Katherine Chancellor.  He valued her friendship and misses her deeply.

Newman's personality has been shaped by his childhood years.  He was an orphan, felt rejected and clawed his way to success in business.


The Daytime Emmys will take place on April 26, 2015 and 22 Y&R cast members have earned pre-nominations, leading all the other soaps.  Remember that the final nominees will be announced on March 26, 2015. Unfortunately, no plans have been announced yet to televise the event.  I hope that will change, but if not, the show will likely be available online.  Below are the Y&R pre-nominations.


Tracy E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore)
Jessica Collins (Avery Bailey Clark)
Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson Newman)
Gina Tognoni (Phyllis Newman)


Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott)
Eric Braeden (Victor Newman)
Doug Davidson (Paul Williams)
Justin Hartley (Adam Newman)
Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin)
Billy Miller (ex-Billy Abbott)


Amelia Heinle (Victoria Newman)
Elizabeth Hendrickson (ex-Chloe Mitchell)
Cady McClain (Kelly Andrews)
Kelly Sullivan (Sage Warner)


Steve Burton (Dylan McAvoy)
Steve Carrigan (Dr Ben "Stitch" Russell)
Bryton James (Devon Hamilton)
Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters)


Camryn Grimes (Mariah Copeland)
Hunter King (Summer Newman)


Max Elrich (Fenmore Baldwin)
Max Page (Reed Hellstrom)

Some comments:
There must be a lack of younger actors on daytime soaps.  No offense against Max Page (Reed), but he is rarely ever appears on the show - three times a year at most.

I would consider Kristoff St. John  (Neil Winters) to be a lead actor.

If Billy Miller (ex-Billy Abbott) is regarded as a lead actor why isn't Amelia Heinle regarded as a lead actress rather than a supporting actress?  Also, if Jessica Collins (Avery) is in the lead actress category, why isn't Dylan in the lead actor category rather than supporting actor?


A best line goes to Mariah for her comment to Sharon as Supergirl Summer entered the courtroom at Faith's custody trial.

MARIAH (referring to Summer): Great!  Princess Whiny Pants.  Get ready for some waterworks when she takes the stand.

Add "Princess Whiny Pants" to "Snowflake," Mariah's other sobriquet for Summer.  If she keeps this up, she'll have as many nicknames for Summer as Jack has for Victor.

Another best line goes to Phyllis.  It comes from a scene where she and her lawyer sister, Avery, were discussing the charge that she attempted to poison Kelly.

PHYLLIS: Cricket hates me.  She shouldn't be anywhere near my case.  I mean, seriously, isn't that your job as my lawyer?  "Bug" removal?


Redhead versus Blonde

Gina Tognoni (Phyllis)

Cady McClain (Kelly)

Do you think Phyllis or Kelly is unbalanced?

I think Phyllis is mentally unbalanced due to her coma.
Kelly is definitely off kilter.
They are both unbalanced.
Don't know.
Poll Maker

That's all for now.  Happy Valentine's Day!  Don't forget to check the next edition of Y&R Report on Saturday, February 28, 2015.

- Joanne

Monday, February 9, 2015

Coronation Street's Deidre: A Tribute to Anne Kirkbride

For me working on Coronation Street can be soul destroying - It's punishing.  It can be long hours doing the same thing over and over again.  You think you’ve died and gone to hell.

- Anne Kirkbride
Daily Mirror, interview with Deirdre O'Brien, November 3, 2012

In spite of her words, Anne Kirkbride, devoted 42 years of her life to Coronation Street and appeared in 1,439 episodes of the long-running British serial.  She had no intention of quitting the show.  "I never dreamed I’d be a TV star, she remarked to the Daily Mirror in 2012.  “But despite what I feel about the daily grind of Corrie (Coronation Street), I am safe there. I am totally institutionalized and I’d actually be terrified to leave.  It is stable and that is one of the reasons I have stayed so long. I can come home every night, do my housework, do my washing up and lead a normal life."

The 60-year-old passed away in a Manchester hospital on January 19, 2015 after a short and secret battle with breast cancer.  On September 29, 2014, it was announced that she would take a three month break from the show.  Not long after, her co-star, Marc Baylis, who portrays Rob Donovan, told the Daily Mirror that his colleague was exhausted from the strain of months of intense filming for two important storylines. Sadly, the actress was never able to return to her role on the venerable ITV soap.  Her final scenes aired on October 8, 2014.

Anne was born in Oldham, Lancashire, England on June 21, 1954, the daughter of cartoonist Jack Kirkbride of the Oldham Evening Chronicle and his wife Enid (nee Kirkham).  She graduated from Counthill Grammar School, Oldham in 1970 and then became a member of the Oldham Repertory Theatre as an assistant stage manager, eventually moving on to acting roles.

The aspiring actress was only 17 when the producers of Coronation Street offered her the part of Deidre Hunter, a flirtatious teenager.  At the time, her only television appearance had been as the girlfriend of a footballer (soccer player) in the Jack Rosenthal play Sweet Sunday and Sweet FA. Nevertheless, on November 20, 1972, the fresh-faced 18-year-old  made her debut on the show the Brits affectionately refer to as "Corrie."

Anne's character, Deidre, soon caught the imagination of "Corrie" fans.  They enjoyed watching her on-screen exploits and she became known for her humongous spectacles, her husky voice and her dubious culinary skills.  Off screen, however, Anne wore contacts rather than glasses.  The husky voice was the result of her heavy smoking habit.

Deidre's trademark glasses

Viewers faithfully followed Deidre every torment and her every triumph.  In 1983, they were captivated by a love triangle involving Deidre, her husband, Ken Barlow (Bill Roache), and the opportunistic Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs). When Deidre finally chose Ken, the news was flashed on screens during a Manchester United game at venerable Old Trafford.  The crowd cheered heartily when they read the words "Ken and Deidre reunited.  Ken 1- Mike 0"

Viewers also became engrossed in Deirdre's romances.  Over the years, the character was wed four times, twice to Ken Barlow.  She first wed builder Ray Langton (Neville Buswell) in 1975 after being employed as his secretary. The couple had a daughter named Tracy, but Ray's roving eye destroyed the marriage.  They divorced and Deidre became a single mother while Ray immigrated to The Netherlands.  Ken Barlow was Deidre's second husband and the couple tied the knot in 1981, during the same week as Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.  Seven years later, they split after Ken became involved with his secretary Wendy Crozier. Deidre then married for a third time to a much younger Moroccan waiter, Samir Rachid (Al Nedjari),, whom she met while on holiday.  Rachid, however, was mugged and murdered by thugs.  After his death, Deidre reunited with Ken and they remarried  in 2005.

Anne as Deirre with Samir Rachid (Al Nedjari)

How popular was Deidre with Coronation Street viewers?  Well, consider this.  In 1998 there was a storyline in which the character was imprisoned after being tricked into a mortgage and credit card fraud by her unscrupulous fiance Jon Lindsay.  Fans were so taken by the wrongful accusation against Deidre that a mock campaign was launched in her support.  Newspapers doled out "Free Deidre" stickers and t-ships and the movement was even endorsed by then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair who jokingly pledged to review the case.

In 1992 Anne Kirkbride wed fellow actor David Beckett, whom she met on the set of Coronation Street.  Beckett portrayed Dave Barton, Deidre's handyman boyfriend, for a time on the show.  In 1993, a year after her marriage to Beckett, Anne was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (lymph cancer of the neck).  Due to chemotherapy, she lost most of her hair and returned to work wearing a wig. She managed to overcome her illness but there were more trials and tribulations ahead. Her beloved mother, Edith, had died of cancer at the same time that Anne discovered her non-Hodgkin's lymphona.  It was a very traumatic time and she fell into a severe depression.

Anne and real-life husband David

In Deidre and Me, a 2012 biographical documentary celebrating Anne's 40th year on Coronation Street, the actress revealed that during her 1998 appearance on This Is Your Life, she had been high on Valium.  She admitted that she had been taking a steady dose of anti-depressants since her cancer diagnosis and that she had had suicidal thoughts. Of her depression, she remarked: "'It was worse than the cancer in a way because that was going to be over. I knew it was bad but I knew at the end of it I was going to be better.  But this . . . this was just so frightening."  With psychiatric counselling and anti-depressants, however, she was able to find a new lease on life.

Despite the long hours and the gruelling work she put into the show, Anne was immensely grateful for her role on Coronation Street.  In Deidre and Me, she expressed her gratitude.  "It's given me my lovely David, my husband, and I'm incredibly grateful to the Street for that," she declared.  "I never had a desire to go off for this part of that, or do Shakespeare. I'm fortunate that Deidre can get into pretty well any situation and so I've had plenty of scope and some great stories."


* According to her obituary in The Guardian, Anne Kirkbride was an avid photographer and painter, especially of scenes around her holiday home in Spain.  Exhibitions of her works were held at galleries in Didsbury, Lancashire, where she resided.  That's not surprising since both her cartoonist father and her photographer great-grandfather had artistic talent.

* Bill Roache, Anne's TV spouse Ken Barlow, returned to Coronation Street last year after being cleared of rape and indecent assault charges.  During the investigation and month-long trial, the veteran actor was written out of the show.  He pleaded not guilty to all charges and was acquitted by a jury.  As a witness in support of Roache. Anne described her on-screen husband in glowing terms.  She said he was "lovely" and a "perfect gentleman."

Recently, at Britain's National Television Awards. Bill paid tribute to Anne.  He talked about how the British people had taken her into their hearts. In an emotional speech, he said, "As Deirdre and Ken, we were soulmates.  And despite what was thrown at us we found one another and always made our way back together.

Anne Kirkbride with Bill Roache

It is interesting to note that the 82-year-old Roache (born April 25, 1932) has appeared on Coronation Street since its very first episode on December 9, 1960. He is currently listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest serving living TV actor in a continuous role.  In 2010, he surpassed the record of Don Hastings who played Dr. Bob Hughes for 50 years (1960-2010) on the defunct American soap As the World Turns.

* Anne and her husband, David, never had any children.  She told the Daily Mirror that she'd never had "that overwhelming need that some women have" to be a mother.  "I don’t think I ever heard the biological clock ­ticking. I love babies and I adore kids. I’ve always had them in my life. When my nephews were babies I was very hands-on and I fed and bathed them.  She and David, however, were "very happy with their cat."

* In addition to her husband, Anne is survived by her brother John, his wife Jac and their children.

- Joanne