Sunday, January 29, 2017

From That Girl to Mary Tyler Moore

L to R: Ted Knight, Ed Asner and Mary

I am saddened by the death of Mary Tyler Moore.  She was one of my all-time favourite television stars.  She faced a great deal of adversity in her life and she faced it gracefully and courageously.  At the age of 33, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and became a tireless advocate for the Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation. She fought alcoholism and underwent brain surgery to remove a benign tumour in 2011.  In 1980, she dealt with the accidental shooting death of her only child, her 24-year-old son, Richard "Richie" Meeker.

Through her character, Mary Richards, Moore has been credited with providing a voice and a face for single 30-something career women.  She inspired young women to enter the workplace.  Her WJM-TV newsroom was a second home.

It's interesting that The Mary Tyler Moor Show was set in cold, wintry Minneapolis and not New York or Los Angeles.  Foe working women of the 1970s, "Mare" was always there, feisty and gritty as ever. She was a true trail blazer and there was such a sense of joy and freedom when she tossed her hat into the air.

However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that Ann Marie, Marlo Thomas' character in That Girl, set the stage for Mary.  That Girl ran from 1966 until 1971 and Mary Tyler Moore aired from 1970 to 1977.  Despite the fact that both shows focused on single women living on their own, there were some significant differences between Ann and Mary.

Ann Marie was an aspiring actress from the town of Brewster, New York.  She moved to New York City to launch her career.  Her jobs were sporadic and unstable.  She accepted amost any TV commericial or theatrical role that came her way.  Unlike Mary, Ann had a loyal and supportive boyfriend, magazine writer Donald Hollinger (Ted Bessell) and an overprotective father, Brewster restaurateur Lew Marie (Lew Parker).

Mary Richards, on the other hand, had a more stable career, as an Associate Producer. for WJM-TV. and was later promoted to News Producer, when her boss, Lou Grant, became the station's news director. Mary's life revolved around the newsroom and her friends.  She was, in truth, more independent than Ann Marie.  Still, Ann Marie was quite liberated compared to other female characters of her era.  She had her own apartment and she controlled her own finances.  During the fifth and final season of That Girl, Ann and Don became engaged and the series ended.  Marlo Thomas chose to end it against the wishes of ABC and the show's fans and sponsors.

In a May 16, 2006 article by Louis R. Carlozo in the Chicago Tribune, Marlo Thomas is quoted as saying,"After five years, I was a woman and we had done all the stories that could be done about a girl and her boyfriend."  "That Girl is trying." declared Thomas, "but to have her move on from that is a different show."

Thomas rejected a traditional ending for the series in which Ann and Donald get married.  "They wanted us to get married in the last show, and I said, `No, we can't do that. She's been independent and on her own and struggling against the system, and if we do that, then we're saying that's the only way to have a happy ending.'"


* Ted Bessell, who played Ann Marie's boyfriend, also portrayed Mary Richards' love interest. Joe Warner, in two 1975 episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show: "Mary Richards Falls in Love" (Season 6, Episode 11, Air Date: November 22, 1975); "One Boyfriend Too Many" (Season 6, Episode 14, Air Date: December 13, 1975).  Bessell died in 1996.

Ted Bessell

* The final episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show is entitled "The Last Show." (Season 7, Episode 24).  It was the 168th episode of the series and it first aired on CBC-TV in Canada on March 18, 1977 and on March 19, 1977 on CBS.  In "The Last Show," WJM-TV's new station manager, Mr. Coleman (Vincent Gardenia) begins firing staff because he wants to to do something about the low ratings of the Six O'Clock News.  Lou, Mary, Murray and Sue Ann are fired, but  somehow pompous anchorman Ted Baxter retains his job.  To cheer Mary up, Lou arranges for her old friends Rhoda Morgenstern and Phyllis Lindstrom to visit Minneapolis.  The three friends are happily reunited.

Mary reunites with friends Rhoda and Phyllis

In the final scene, everyone hugs and says goodbye.  They exit the newsroom singing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."  Mary looks back poignantly, smiles, turns off the lights and closes the door.

- Joanne

Monday, January 23, 2017

TV Trivia For Yor #7 - Twins and Triplets on Television

Here is the seventh installment of  TV Trivia For You from TV Banter.  The first installment appeared on this blog  on June 14, 2012.  The second installment appeared on February 6, 2013, the third appeared on June 30, 2014, the fourth on November 14, 2014, the fifth on June 20, 2015.
and the sixth on March 1, 2016.

Twins and Triplets on Television

DID YOU KNOW that twins are often cast as babies and very young children on television due to child labour laws?  The number of hours a child actor can work is carefully limited and regulated by law.  Having twins play one character means that the workload for each child is cut in half.  Casting twins on daytime soaps is a common practice.  Here are some examples of twins (and even triplets) who have played babies and young children on popular prime time television series.


On I Love Lucy, the first child to portray Ricky Ricardo, Jr. (known as Little Ricky) was not a twin. He was James John Ganzer, who played Little Ricky in just one episode, "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" (Season 2, Episode 16, Air Date: January 19, 1953).  In the episode, the newborn Little Ricky is brought to the maternity ward window so that Ricky, Sr. and friends Fred and Ethel Mertz can see him for the first time.

Little Ricky was next played by twins Richard and Ronald Lee Simmons (born June 26, 1952) in two episodes "No Children Allowed" (Season 2, Episode 22, Air Date: April 20, 1953) and "The Indian Show" (Season 2, Episode 24, Air Date: May 4, 1953).

Lucy with baby Ronald Lee Simmons
The Simmons twins with their mother

In 11 episodes, during seasons 3,4.and 5 (1953- 1956), Little Ricky was played by another set of twins, Joseph and Michael Mayer. When they were first given a contract, the Mayer twins were paid $150 a week for the 26- week season, with 12 weeks of work guaranteed.

Desi Arnaz and Joseph and Michael Mayer

Lucille Ball with Mayer Twins

In season 6, the role of Little Ricky was taken over by one child, Keith Thibodeaux, for the rest of the series.  Thibodeaux was chosen for his drumming ability and his portrayed Little Ricky at an older age.  He first appeared in an episode entitled "Little Ricky Learns to Play the Drums" (Season 6, Episode 2, Air Date: October 8, 1956).  Thibodeaux was born on December 1, 1950.  He was almost six years old in the fall of 1956, so twins were probably not necessary for the role by then.

Keith Thibodeaux as Little Ricky


Tabitha, the daughter of witch Samantha Stephens and her mortal husband, Darrin, was played by twins Erin and Diane Murphy.  At the beginning of third season of Bewitched, Erin Murphy and her fraternal twin sister, Diane, began sharing the role of Tabitha.  They first appeared in an episode entitled "Nobody's Perfect," which aired on September 15, 1966.  As time passed, the twins began to resemble each other less.  As a result, Erin eventually took over the role of the vivacious child witch.

Erin and Diane Murphy

From 1970 to 1972, twins David and Greg Lawrence portrayed Tabitha's younger brother, Adam Stephens.  Adam was born during the sixth season of Bewitched, in an episode that aired on October 16, 1969.  The episode was entitled "And Something Makes Four."  He was only shown as an infant that season, and the baby who portrayed him was uncredited.

During  the seventh season of the season, Adam was portrayed as an older dark-haired child.  Although only David Lawrence's name is shown in the credits, the role was actually shared by David and his twin brother, Greg.

David Lawrence now goes by the name "David Mandel-Bloch" and Greg Lawrence calls himself "Greg Mandel."

Greg and David Lawrence


During the ninth season of My Three Sons, Robbie Douglas' wife Katie (Tina Cole) gave birth to triplets in an episode entitled "My Three Grandsons."  The episode aired on October 19, 1968.  The Douglas triplets, Robbie, Jr., Steve and Charley were played by real life triplets Joseph, Michael and Daniel Todd.


Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen played Michelle Tanner, the youngest member of the Tanner family, on the long-running ABC sitcom Full House.  Michelle's last appearance on the show was in an episode entitled "Michelle Rides Again." in 1995, a two-part season finale.

The character of Michelle was the Olsen twins' first acting role.  Born June 13, 1986, the Olsens were only infants when they appeared in the show's pilot, "Our Very First Show," which was first aired on September 22, 1987.  Despite their similarity in appearance, Mary Kate and Ashley are not identical twins (from a single fertilized egg, which later divides).  They are "sororal" twins, the female version of fraternal twins (from two separate fertilized eggs).

Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen


Michael and Geoffrey Barone were the twin sons of Ray and Debra Barone on the hit comedy Everybody Loves Raymond, starring Ray Romano.  The series aired on CBS from 1996 until 2005. Sullivan Sweeten portrayed Micheal Barone.  His twin brother, Sawyer Sweeten, played Geoffrey Barone.  The twins were only 16 months old when they began working on the show.  Their real-life older sister, Madylin Sweeten, played their on-screen sister, Ally Barone.

Tragedy struck on April 23, 2015, when Sawyer Sweeten died in Austin, Texas of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Born May 12, 1995, Sweeten was just weeks away from his 20th birthday when he took his own life.

The Sweeten twins

555 phone number on Television

DID YOU KNOW that phone numbers on North American television shows and films always begin with 555? 

For years, the Bell System and its successors had reserved numbers with the 555 prefix for special uses.  That is why they were ideal for television and movies.  Their mention wouldn;t spark unwanted prank phone calls to real people.  However, the situation changed in 1994 when a contractor from
to the Federal Communications Commission, the North American Numbering Plan Administration, began approving applications for these numbers from the public. There were applications from tax companies who wanted 555-TAXI or tourism companies who wanted 555-TRIP for travel reservations.

NOTE: Back in the late 1950s and 1960s, television shows used alphabetical letters to represent numbers in phone prefixes.   For example, Perry Mason's phone number in the classic Raymond Birrr series was MAdison 5-1190 or 515-1190

- Joanne

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Y&R Report (January 21, 2017): 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.

The holiday season is over and Genoa City is getting back to normal, if you can call it "normal," especially with Gloria around.  It's a wonder she hasn't uncovered Chloe's dirty little secret about Adam yet.  Give her time, though.

Here's one thing I'll say for Mishael Morgan, the actress who portrays Hilary.  She isn't afraid to be seen onscreen with no make-up and messy hair.  As for Hilary's hubby, Devon, he certainly seems as if he's finished with her this time, although his capacity to forgive her seems boundless. Hilary's really desperate, so I wonder what she'll do to hold on to her marriage - or will she turn to Jack instead?

Steve Burton, the actor who portrays Dylan McAvoy, is leaving the show, so Dylan is not likely to survive his undercover assignment.  If he does survive, he will undoubtedly leave town.  It seems only a matter of time before Dylan's cover is blown and he is killed by the bad guys. If he dies, his death will send out shockwaves around Genoa City.  Many people in GC will grieve for him. Sharon, Nikki and Paul will be absolutely devastated.  Paul may even resign as police chief.  

Do you like Victoria as the mother of a teenage son?   I'm not sure I do.  It's going to take some time for me to adjust to it.  I'm going to reserve judgement until I see where the storyline is going. One thing for sure, young Reed is headed for TROUBLE.  By the way, I thought Billy gave Reed some headphones so that Victoria would not have to hear his guitar.  Yet the guitar-playing has been bothering  her again.

Gloria is so unwanted.  Michael and Lauren can't tolerate her living with them and Kevin doesn't want her either.  If her scheme to get an executive position at Fenmore's falls through, she may try other tactics.  Now that Jeffrey's out of the picture, she may attempt to latch on to a new man, especially a wealthy older man.  John Abbott's gone to the great beyond.  However, Gloria could go after Jill's con man husband, Colin. Colin is scheduled to make another appearance in Genoa City soon and the fact that the sly Aussie is married to Jill won't stop Gloria from flirting with him. Colin has a lot in common with Gloria.  They are a couple of gold diggers, but they may be too much alike. Eric Forrester (John McCook), the wealthy fashion mogul from The Bold and the Beautiful is about to pay a visit to Genoa City.  Gloria may also flirt with him.

Maybe I'm missing something, but has Noah broken up with Marisa.  He doesn't mention her and seems to be single.

The next big event in Genoa City will be Valentine's Day.  It will be fun to see how Genoa City romances play out on that day.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  
My email address:

Here are some comments from Y&R watcher, Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario:

I don't think I will miss Dylan.  There are a couple of other actors that I wouldn't miss either.  As for Gloria, her character is just too far-fetched.  Judith Chapman plays the role well.  Victoria is getting on my nerves, but that's not new. If Sharon and Nick end up back together, I stop watching the show.

I will miss Dylan, Carly, but not a great deal.  I don't think they have much of a storyline left for him.  He just can't live happily ever after with Sharon, not on a soap.

Gloria is a very polarizing character.  Those who like her, really like her.  They think she's fun and feisty and that she spices up the show.  You fall into the second category, Carly.  You think she's too far-fetched, too "off the wall." (Her sauna scene was something else).  Most fans, however, do agree that Judith Chapman plays the role well.

You say that Victoria is getting on your nerves and that that's nothing new.  You don't explain why, though.  I assume you don't like the character or the actress who plays her - Amelia Heinle - or both.

You definitely don't want Sharon and Nick back together.  You are quite adamant about that. However, I really think that Sharon with try to connect with Nick after Dylan's death.  The writers appear to be setting up a triangle between Nick and Sharon and Chelsea.  Nick and Sharon may get back together again for a time, but don't expect it to last.

Here are some predictions from Fifi in Collingwood, Ontario.

I predict that the new nanny that Nick hired to take care of Christian will do things that will concern Faith.  Faith will keep a close eye on her.  Nick and Chelsea will become a couple until Nick finds out that Chelsea knows Adam is the father of Christian.  There is still a future for Sharon and Nick.

Well, Fifi, I have to admit that I haven't given the new nanny, Monica, much thought.  However, now that you mention her, we'll have to see if she's just a temporary character or if she plays any king of a significant role in the storyline.  We'll see if your prediction about her comes true.

I think you are right on the money about the Nick, Chelsea and Sharon triangle.  Carly in Barrhaven is not going to be pleased about a Nick and Sharon reunion, but it could be in the cards.

Here are some comments from CC in Etobicoke, Ontario:

The Devon/Hilary storyline is a real drag, as is the Sharon/Dylan thing.  I am okay with Dylan leaving town and the show.  I wonder if they will kill him off or just make him disappear while they decide if they want to replace him with another actor.  The Nick/ Chelsea relationship is falling flat. for me too.  They should bring Adam back, even if they have to recast.

I haven't heard about any plans to cast a new actor to replace Steve Burton as Dylan.  I could happen somewhere down the line.

I'm not too big on Nick and Chelsea either.  Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see that great a connection between them,  It could be that viewers would just rather see Chelsea with Adam.  Nick and Chelea's relationship seems so contrived, as if they were just thrown together.

Many Y&R fans miss Adam, but head writer Sally Sussman has said that there are no plans to bring the character back any time soon.  If Adam ever returns, don't expect him to be played by Justin Hartley. Hartley is a big prime time star on This Is Us.  He is unlikely to return to daytime. There is nothing Y&R can do about that.  By the way, This Is Us is such a smash hit that NBC has already renewed it for another two seasons.

Maria in Manhattan has weighed in with some remarks about the show.

I'm sorry that Steve Burton (Dylan is leaving.  I'll miss him.  The kids are the stars of the show.  I'm glad Gloria is back.  She adds class to the show.

Yes, many are disappointed that Steve Burton is exiting. The child actors on Y&R are certainly stealing the spotlight right now.  Most of the time, they are more sensible than the adults.  As for Gloria, I'm glad she's back too.  However, Maria, I wouldn't describe her as "classy."  She's a lot of things, but classy isn't one of them.  She's a shameless fortune hunter in search of a rich husband. The woman has admitted that she can't wait to put a big rock on her ring finger.  She's also selfish and deceitful.  As I've said before, the show needs characters like her to cause trouble and create conflict.


New photographer character on Y&R

Darnell Kirkwood
A new character is coming to Genoa City.  According to Soap Opera Digest, The Young and the Restless has cast Darnell Kirkwood in the role of Brass & Sassy photographer Jordan Wilde.  Kirkland will make his first appearance on Y&R on Friday, February 10, 2017 on CBS (Thursday, February 9 on Global TV in Canada).  Kirkwood has appeared in episodes of Scorpion, Magic City, Bosch and Burn Notice.  This will be his first stint on daytime television.

The arrival of Jordan could spell trouble for Cane and Lily.  Lily did some modelling recently at Brass & Sassy and Cane didn't seem too pleased about it.  She's bound to interact with Jordan if she continues modelling and he's a shutterbug at Brass & Sassy.  The casting call for the character called for "a sexy African American in his early 30s who's not only a gifted photographer but has serious swagger."

Sean Carrigan (Dr. Stitch) has been cast in Netflix series

Sean Carrigan will be starring in a new Netflix comedy.  Details are not available yet.  However, the should be a comfortable fit for Carrigan because he likes to employ his comedic skills.  I've met him twice (at the Y&R charity tea in Toronto) and I can attest that he continually cracks jokes  In fact, he is a stand-up comedian.  It's something he doesn't get a chance to do much in his role as Dr. Ben "Stitch" Rayburn..

This dioesn't mean that fans will see the last of Dr. Stith'em up.  It doesn't appear that Carrigan will be leaving his Y&R role  He tweeted: "Can't release any details yet, but in addition to playing a doctor in Genoa City, I'll be starring in a new Netflix Comedy Series!"


Victor Newman has been talking about taking on a lighter work load and spending more time with his family.  He's also considering who should be his successor and has expressed disappointment  that his children have not shown any great enthusiasm about following in his footsteps, especially Nicholas.

Victor may have had humble beginnings, growing up in an orphanage, but he and Nikki are quite snobbish. He looks down on Nick as the owner of a bar.  He encouraged Noah to run Newman's Top of the Tower, rather than assist his father at The Underground.  Snobby Nikki has always looked down on Sharon for being from the wrong side of the tracks.  Yet Nikki herself came from the wrong side of the tracks herself and she was a stripper.

Neither Nick, nor Noah, want anything to do with Newman Enterprises.  Victoria is a competent enough businesswoman.  The writers were a bit sexist to have her neglect her job because of Travis.  If she were a man, they never would have done that.  Abby has matured since her "Naked Heiress"days, but she still needs more seasoning and experience. Summer also needs more experience.  Faith and Connor and Christian (aka Sully) will be the future.  I can picture Faith in business when she gets old enough.  Just look at the way she's mastering chess.  She's a chip off Victor's block.

So, fans, what do you think?  Who should take over the helm of Newman Enterprises when Victor retires?

Who should succeed Victor Newman as the next CEO of Newman Enterprises?

Nicholas Newman
Victoria Newman
Abby Newman
Noah Newman
Summer Newman
I don't know.
Please Specify:

That's all for now.  The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, February 4, 2017.  

- Joanne

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Y&R Report (January 7, 2017): 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.

Happy New Year, Y&R fans. I hope 2017 is shaping up to be a good year for you.  It isn't starting out so well for some Genoa City residents.  Dylan McAvoy is going to be killed off and Sharon is about to become a widow.  However, Steve Burton, who plays Dylan, says the we viewers are in for a few surprises. Dylan's time in Genoa City has not completely come to an end.  There will be some more scenes ahead for his fans to savour.  

Devon is fortunate to have survived his car crash, even though he was left with a concussion and internal injuries.  He can't remember what happened on New Years Eve at the Newman Winters Foundation fundraising gala.  However, even if he doesn't regain his memory of that night, Devon will eventually learn the truth.  Hilary is deluding herself if she thinks she can prevent him from finding out that she caused Mariah to fall on live television.  Too many people know what happened.  Lily can't wait to fill her Devon in.  She is only holding back because her brother has not yet fully recovered from his accident and she can't upset him.  The question is this:  To what lengths will Hilary go in order to hang on to Devon?

One of Hilary's problems is that she has made too many enemies, especially among other women. She is certainly not the most popular person in town, to say the least.  Her only ally seems to be Jack Abbott.  He has sympathy for her and seems to understand her motivations.  

Poor Dr. Stitch seems lost these days.  He hasn't had much of a storyline since he broke up with Abby.  He seems to do nothing but work.  It seems as if he's the only doctor in Genoa City.  His dedication to the medical profession is admirable, but there are limits.  What Stith'em Up needs is sine rest and a distraction other than work.  This is not a very happy time for him.  He's lost his marriage and he's also about to lose his best friend, Dylan.  I have to wonder how much his character fits into the future plans for Y&R and if there will be a storyline for him.

Gloria Fisher Bardwell is a shameless troublemaker, a chronic liar and a relentless opportunist. Having said all that, I'm glad she's back because she really stirs things up.   She's quite nosy too.  It didn't take her very long to discover that Lauren's company, Fenmore's, was in dire financial straits and that Michael didn't know about the situation. (She's a much better detective than Clueless Paul Williams).  It also didn't take her very long to use Lauren's woes to her own advantage by blackmailing her daughter-in-law into giving her a job with Fenmore's.  She didn't stop there, though.  That wasn't enough for our Gloria.  She's decided to backstab Lauren by secretly helping Jack to obtain control of Fenmore's.

What do you think about Ravi and his crush on Ashley?  I hope he's just a nervous computer geek and not some demented stalker.  He danced with Mariah on New Year's Eve, but they didn't have much of a connection.  His mind was on Ashley and she thought he was too much of a tech nerd.  She said that he "spoke a foreign language - math."  If Mariah doesn't eventually click with Ravi, I hope she finds someone else.  It's about time she moved on and showed Kevin he's not the only fish in the sea.
Since Sally Sussman took over the head writing duties, there's been a noticeable change in some of the Y&R. characters.  Victor has softened and he's at home more often.  In fact, he hasn't been seen in his office for a long time.  Jack is more ruthless.  We don't see much of the happy-go-lucky 'Smilin' Jack" anymore. Billy is more likable now that he is not so consumed with getting revenge on Victor.  Lauren is is the spotlight at the moment and Gloria is front and centre.  I was almost certain that Judith Chapman, who plays Gloria, would never be back.

I wonder where this Reed storyline is heading.  I still haven't gotten used to the idea of Victoria having a teenage son.  Victoria hasn't gotten used to it either.  After all, it wasn't too long ago that Reed was about five or six years older than Johnny.  Now Reed has aged about eight years and Johnny has remained the same. 

So far, I like the boy who plays Reed.  His name is Tristan Lake Leabu and he seems to be a very promising young actor.  We will see what happens as his storyline develops.  Will he be up to the challenge?


John McCook (Eric Forrester) to cross over to Y&R

Eric Forrester is going to pay a visit to Genoa City.  The Bold and the Beautiful patriarch will cross over to B&B's sister soap, The Young and the Restless.  The episode will be aired on Friday, January 27th on CBS and Thursday, January 26th on Global TV in Canada.

The Los Angeles fashion mogul will meet with Lauren during his stay in Genoa City.  That's not surprising since Lauren's company is seeking investors and she and Eric are both in the fashion business.  They are also old flames.  They had a brief romance back in the 1990s when Lauren crossed over to The Bold and Beautiful for a while.

Longtime Y&R watchers will remember that McCook once played wealthy jet setter Lance Prentiss.  Lance was involved with sisters Lorie and Leslie Brooks.


Jack pays a visit to the home of Michael and Lauren, only to discover that Gloria is back in town.  

GLORIA:  It's been a long time.

JACK:  Not long enough.


Gloria is stirring up trouble again and make life miserable for sons Michael and Kevin and daugher-in -law Lauren.  Are you glad that she has returned to Genoa City?

Are you pleased that Gloria (Judith Chapman) is back?

Yes. She is feisty and fun. She creates conflicts for storylines. Characters such as Gloria are needed on a soap.
No. She is manipulative and selfish. I don't like her character and I'm tired of her antics.
I'm not sure. I haven't made up my mind yet.
I don't know.
Please Specify:

If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  
My email address:

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

- Joanne

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Barbara Eden: A Look at Her Career

Barbara Eden is a consummate entertainer.  Her career spans six decades and, according to her official website, she "has starred in 25 feature films, five network TV series, 19 top-rated network made-for-television movies and headlined at many of the major hotel resorts and casinos including Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City and Las Vegas. She also was the star attraction at the MGM Grand, Caesar’s Palace and Harrah’s, as well as on concert stages and in legitimate theaters across the country."

Barbara was born Barbara Jean Morehead in Tucson, Arizona.  The year of her birth was thought to be 1934, but an Arizona birth certificate states that she was born on August 23, 1931. Barbara is the daughter of Alice Mary (née Franklin) and Hubert Henry Morehead, a butcher.  When Barbara's parents divorced, she and her mother moved to San Francisco, California.  Her mother then married Harrison Connor Huffman and Barbara took her stepfather's name. Huffman, a hard-working telephone lineman, struggled to make ends meet during The Depression.

In 1949, Barbara graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco. As a teenager, she sang in the church choir and with bands at nightclubs. She studied vocals at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and went on to study theatre for a year at City College of San Francisco.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Barbara appeared in numerous films and television shows.  Her film debut was in the 1956 drama, Back From Eternity, starring Robert Ryan, Anita Ekberg and Rod Steiger. She played a college girl journalist and her role was uncredited. Barbara eventually signed a contract with 20th Century Fox and had minor roles in Bailout at 43,000 (1957), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) and The Wayward Girl (1957). She starred opposite Sal Mineo, Gary Crosby and Barry Coe in A Private's Affair (1959). She also appeared in Flaming Star (1960) with Elvis Presley and in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962) and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)

One of Barbara Eden's earliest television appearances was on The Johnny Carson Show in 1955, with Rudy Vallee as Johnny's guest star. She was billed as Barbara Huffman then.  According to her memoir, Jeannie Out of the Bottle, Barbara's first agent, Wilt Melnick, requested that she change her name before he represented her.  He said that "Barbara Huffman" sounded like a doctor.  Barbara replied that he could give her any last name he liked, provided she could keep her first name.  Melnick chose "Eden" because he thought she seemed "kind of innocent" like the garden.

As her career began to flourish, Barbara was featured in episodes of such TV series as I Love Lucy (1957), Perry Mason (1957), Bachelor Father (1957), Gunsmoke (1957), December Bride (1957), Father Knows Best (1958), The Andy Griffith Show (1962), Dr. Kildare (1963) and Route 66 (1964).

The I Love Lucy episode is called "Country Club Dance" (Season 6, Episode 25, Air Date: April 22, 1957).  It aired during the final season of the series when Lucy and Ricky Ricardo had moved from New York City to a country home in bucolic Westport, Connecticut.  In the episode, the Ricardos and the Mertzes go to country club dance with their neighbours, Ralph and Betty Ramsey.  At the event, an attractive visitor named Diana Jordan (Barbara) catches the eye of many of the men, including Ricky and Fred. They are all eager to dance with her, much to the annoyance of Lucy and her friend Ethel, who become terribly upset and jealous.

Barbara on I Love Lucy

The Perry Mason episode is entitled "The Case of the Angry Mouner" (Season 1, Episode 7, Air Date: November 2, 1957).  Barbara played Carla Adrian, the daughter of a woman charged with murder.

Barbara on Perry Mason

From 1957 to 1959, Barbara starred as Loco Jones on the television show How to Marry a Marry a Millionaire.  The series was based on the 1953 film of the same name, starring Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable.  Barbara's co-stars in the TV version were Mary Anders and Lorie Nelson.  In the second season, Lorie Nelson's character was written out and she was replaced by a new character played by Lisa Gaye.

Below is a photo of Barbara (centre) with her How to Marry a Millionaire co-stars, Mary Anders and Lorie Nelson

In 1964, Bewitched, a series about a witch (Elizabeth Montgomery) married to a mortal. It was one of the mos popular sitcoms on American television. In 1965, producer Sidney Sheldon hoped to emulate the success of Bewitched with his own fantasy series about a genie. This time, the genie would be a woman, not the proverbial hefty male in a turban. Various actresses tried out for the role, but Sheldon signed Barbara, whom he had seen in The Brass Bottle, a 1964 film about a genie in a bottle.  The movie also starred Tony Randall and Burl Ives, with Ives as the genie and Randall as the master. Barbara, played the Tony Randall character's girlfriend.

I  Dream of Jeannie aired on the NBC network from 1965 until 1970.  It ran for five seasons and 139 episodes of the series were produced.  Barbara played a 2,000 year old genie and Larry Hagman portrayed her "master," NASA astronaut Major Anthony "Tony" Nelson.  The storyline was set in motion when Major Nelson discovered an ornate pink bottle on a desert island after splashing down into the ocean.  The bottle, of course, held a beautiful blonde genie and Nelson brought her to his home in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Bill Daily played Major Roger Healey, Tony Nelson's best friend. Daily, now 89 years old, went on to  play airline navigator Howard Borden, on The Bob Newhart Show.

Barbara as Jeannie

In 1971, a year after I Dream of Jeannie went off the air, Barbara and Larry teamed up again for a television movie called A Howling in the Woods.  The suspense thriller was based on a novel by Velda Johnston.  It aired as an NBC Premiere Movie on November 5, 1971 and the cast also included Vera Miles and John Rubenstein.  Barbara played Liza Crocker, a disillusioned New York housewife with intentions to divorce her husband Eddie (Larry Hagman).  She returns to her family home in Stainesville, Nevada to visit her stepmother (Miles) and learns that she has a new step-brother (Rubenstein).  The behaviour of the townspeople is mysterious and there is howling in the woods at night.

In November of 2012, when Larry Hagman died of complications from cancer, Barbara said of their time on I Dream of Jeannie, "I can still remember that first day on Zuma Beach with him, in the frigid cold.  From that day, for five more years, Larry was the centre of so many fun, wild, shocking . . . and in retrospect, memorable moments that will remain in my heart forever."

Barbara and Larry in their Jeannie days

From 1981 to 1982, Barbara starred as Stella Johnson in the NBC sitcom Harper Valley P.T.A.  The television series was based on a 1978 film of the same name.  The film also featured Barbara as a single mother raising her daughter, Dee (Jenn Thompson), in the fictional town of Harper Valley, Ohio.  It was inspired by a popular 1968 country song recorded by Jeannie C. Riley.

In 1985, Barbara starred in a two-hour television NBC update of I Dream of Jeannie called I Dream of Jeannie . . . 15 Years Later.  Bill Daily reprised his role as Roger Healey, but Wayne Rogers replaced Larry Hagman in the role of Major Tony Nelson. There were reports that Hagman, who had become a huge star as J.R. Ewing on Dallas, was only willing to return for a cameo.  Another big change from the original series was that Jeannie's navel could be shown, unlike in the more modest 1960s.

From 1989 to 1990, Barbara Eden had the lead female role in A Brand New Life, a comedy series about Roger Gibbons (Don Murray), a millionaire father of three who marries a waitress named Barbara McCray (Eden) with three children of her own.  The show was short-lived and only lasted one season.  In 2002 and 2003, she played Great Aunt Irma on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

Barbara has been married three times and divorced twice.  She wed her first husband, Michael Ansara, a Syrian-born American actor, on January 17, 1958.  They had a son, Matthew Michael Ansara, born in on August 29, 1965 in Los Angeles.  Matthew was an actor and bodybuilder.  On June 25, 2001, he was found dead of a heroin overdose.  His body was discovered in his pickup truck, outside of a gas station in suburban L.A.  He was 35 years old at the time of his death.  Barbara told ABC News that, "Apparently he had taken a hit of heroin and he hadn't had it in quite a while, I guess," "It killed him," she said.  "It stopped his heart."

Barbara with Michael Ansara

Matthew Ansara

Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara divorced in 1974.  Michael died on July 31, 2013 at his home in Calabasas, California of complications from Alzheimer's Disease.  He was 91 years old.

In 1977, four years after her divorce from Ansara, Barbara moved to Chicago and wed Charles Fegert, then an executive with the Chicago Sun-Times.  The marriage took place on September 3rd of that year.  Although Barbara had planned to bring her son with her to the Windy City.  Matthew, chose to remain in Los Angeles with his father, who, according to Barbara, threatened to sue for custody.

Barbara and Fegert divorced in 1982.  Of her relationship with him, Barbara told People magazine that they lived in different worlds that were "tough to reconcile."  She stated that she "should have known it would be difficult for a man in business to have a wife who's  in the limelight."

After her split with Fegert, Barbara returned to Los Angeles, only to find Matthew moody and withdrawn.  She didn't realize until later that her son had been using drugs and that he was fighting addiction.  When she learned the truth, she and his father sent him to rehab repeatedly.  They finally resorted to tough love and Barbara asked him to leave her home.  There was a long, dark period when he was on the streets.  By the time he was 31, however, he had cut down on his drug use.  He then became an ardent bodybuilder.  He shaved his head and was chosen for some movie roles.  "His life was on an even track," Barbara told ABC News.  "He had a lovely, lovely girl he was engaged to and they were going to get married in another month."

Unfortunately, the drugs associated with bodybuilding were too much for Matthew to resist and he started injecting himself with steroids.  On a June day in  2001, he was found slumped over the steering wheel of his truck. Small small amounts of heroin, marijuana, anabolic steroids and a syringe were found in the vehicle.

In the 1980s, after her breakup with Charles Fegert, Barbara dated Dr. Stanley Frileck, a Brentwood, California plastic surgeon and a director of the Michael Jackson Burn Center in Culver City, California.  Barbara's friend, Michele Lee of Knot's Landing fame, introduced them.  In a 1985 article by Richard Sanders for People magazine,  Frileck is quoted as saying of Barbara, "You look at her and your think, "This is a blonde with not much there.  But she's a very well-read, intelligent and genuinely optimistic person."

For over 25 years, Barbara has been married to Jon Eicholtz, an architect and real estate developer. They met on a blind date and Barbara was impressed by his heartland values. She told Kansas City, Kansas' 435 magazine that her friend "initially had dinner with him and vetted him for me,”  The couple wed in San Francisco, California on January 5, 1991 and today marks their 26th anniversary.  Barbara and Jon currently reside in Beverly Hills.

Barbara and Jon


* According to Barbara Eden's official website, she has appeared on more than 50 television variety shows, including 21 Bob Hope specials.

* Barbara biological father, Hubert Henry Moorhead, died in Hawthorne, Los Angeles, California on March 18, 1974.

* Barbara has a younger sister named Alison Scanlon.  Alison is the daughter of Barbara's mother, Alice, and Alice's second husband, Harrison Connor Huffman.

* Barbara's first husband, Michael Ansara, starred in numerous films and took on numerous television roles, including Cochise in the Broken Arrow series (1956-1958).  He is probably most known for his role as Kang, the Klingon leader, in a 1968 episode of the original Star Trek television series, "Day of the Dove" (Season 3, Episode 7, Air Date: November 1, 1968), and also in the later science-fiction series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1994-1996) and Star Trek: Voyager (1996).

Michael appeared with Barbara in three episodes of I Dream of Jeannie.  They are "Happy Anniversary" (Season 2, Episode 1, Air Date: September 12, 1966), "Battle of Waikiki" (Season 3, Episode 15, Air Date: January 2, 1968) and "My Sister, the Home Wrecker" (Season 5, Episode 12, Air Date: December 9, 1969).

Ansara wed Beverly Kushida in 1977 and they remained married until his death.

* From 1990 to 1991, Barbara Eden had a recurring role on Dallas, alongside her former I Dream of Jeannie co-star Larry Hagman.  She played the role of Lee Ann De La Vega.

* In October of 1986, Barbara released an autobiography entitled Barbara Eden: My Story.  In 2011, she published a memoir called Jeannie Out of the Bottle.  It was released by  by Crown Archetype, a division of Random House.

* Barbara received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 17, 1988.  It is located at 7003 Hollywood Boulevard.

- Joanne: