Monday, January 27, 2020

Keeping Up With Cindy Williams


It's impossible to convey to anyone born, after, say 1968, just how big a pop culture phenomenon the "Laverne & Shirley" show was in the 1970s.  But more than four decades after the "Happy Days" spin-off - which showcased the shenanigans of Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as respectively, brewery workers and best friends Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney - the connection of the beloved stars to their millions of fans still resonates.

- The Palm Beach Post
 "Sure. she's forever 'Shirley" - but Cindy Williams is so much more," February, 21, 2019


Cindy Williams was born Cynthia Jane Williams in Van Nuys, California on August 22, 1947, to Francesca "Frances" (née Bellini), the daughter of Italian immigrants from Catania, Sicily, and Beachard Williams, an electronic technician.  Her father, Beachard, was an alcoholic,.and according to Cindy, there was humour in their household when he was sober.

When Cindy was one-year-old, her mother moved with her to Dallas,Texas, to be with Cindy's maternal grandmother., In Dallas, Frances, a professional waitress, waited on tables at a posh restaurant.  When Cindy was ten years old, however, the family returned to the San Fernando Valley.  Cindy has a sister, Carol Ann.  Her half-brother, Jim, is deceased.  Growing up, Cindy really enjoyed watching TV and her grandmother had the first television on the block.

In 1965, Cindy graduated from Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, where one of her classmates was actress Sally Field.  She went on to attend Los Angeles City College, majoring in theatre arts.  After college, Cindy worked as a waitress while auditioning for television ads, TV guest spots and feature films.  She appeared in television commercials pitching Foster Grant sunglasses and TWA.

Cindy had bit parts in episodes of TV shows such as My World and Welcome to It (1970) and Nanny and the Professor (1971).  Her first noteworthy television work was in the high school drama Room 222, with director James L. Brooks.  From 1969 to 1971, she played Rhonda/Rita Zagor in three episodes of the series.  In 1971, Cindy also portrayed a teenage wife in six episodes of the short-lived series, The Funny Side, which explored the humorous side of married life via comedy sketches and production numbers.  She remembers stepping on host Gene Kelly's foot while dancing with him.

Cindy had the good fortune to be cast in three critically acclaimed films early in her career.  Famed director George Cukor cast her as Tooley in his 1972 comedy Travels with My Aunt.  Cindy's next big break came when she portrayed Laurie Henderson, the girlfriend of Ron Howard's character, Steve Boland, in the 1973 George Lucas movie, American Graffiti.  She won a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in that hit film.  She also had a role as Ann in Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 mystery thriller, The Conversation   It is interesting to note that Cindy auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in George Lucas' next film, Star Wars, but lost out to Carrie Fisher.

Cindy and Ron on set of American Graffiti

In 1975, Cindy was cast as Shirley Feeney, a Milwaukee brewery worker, in an episode of Happy Days.  Penny Marshall, who was a writer on the show with Cindy, was cast as Laverne DeFazio, Shirley's best friend and roommate.  The two were employed as bottle cappers at the Shotz Brewery.  They were introduced as Fonzie's (Henry Winkler) gal pals. After appearing on a few episodes, they proved so popular that Gary Marshall, Happy Days' producer, and Penny's brother, commissioned a spin-off series for their characters.  Laverne & Shirley premiered in 1976 and ran for eight seasons (until 1983) on the ABC network.  The show was a huge hit and was American television's top-rated show in the 1977-78 season.

For years, viewers watched the blue collar workers dance happily down the street singing "Schlemiel! Schlimazel!  Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!" during the opening credits, followed by the show's theme song, "Makiing Our Dreams Come True."  Cindy and Penny complimented each other perfectly in their roles. Laverne DeFazio was outgoing, quick-tempered and cynical, while Shirley Feemey was sweeter and more naive.  In her 2013 Television Academy archive interview, Cindy described Shirley as "sort of an optimist, a kind-hearted, repressed, temperamental fun-loving person . . ."

1976 Laverne & Shirley cast photo


Penny and Cindy in Laverne & Shirley

Working in brewery

In 1981, Cindy met Bill Hudson of the musical trio The Hudson Brothers at a celebrity softball game.  The couple wed in 1982 and divorced in 2000.  They had two children, a daughter named Emily (born 1982) and a son named Zachary (born 1986).  Bill was previously married to Goldie Hawn from 1976 to 1982.  He had two children with Hawn, Oliver and Kate Hudson. who are both actors.

Cindy with Bill Hudson

Cindy left Laverne & Shirley after the second episode of of the show's eighth and final season when she was pregnant with her fist child, Emily.  Penny Marshall tried to go it alone, but ratings declined and the show was cancelled the following spring.  A rift had reportedly developed over the years between the two stars.  In 1977, Cindy complained to TV Guide that Penny's character was receiving all the attention.  In her book, Happier Days: Paramount Television's Classic Sitcoms 1974-1984, author Marley Brant wrote that Cindy felt her character was not getting the short end of the stick and once walked off the set,  In later years, however, Cindy and Penny reconciled and in a 2015 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Cindy downplayed reports of discord behind the scenes of the show.

Cindy returned to television in 1990 in a short-lived CBS sitcom called Normal Life,  based on the unconventional home life of the Zappa family and their rocker dad, Frank.  Cindy portrayed Anne Harlow in the series.  From 1993 to 1994, Cindy starred as Cathy Hale in the family sitcom Getting By, about two families, one black and the other white, who live together in a large house.  In the 1990s, she guest-starred on several TV shows, including Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994), Touched by an Angel (1996) and Hope & Gloria (1996).  She also portrayed Sue Ellen Caldwell in a 1999 Patty Duke Show TV reunion movie entitled The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights.

In 2003, Cindy appeared as Mary Ellen Doyle in two episodes of 8 Simple Rules, starring John Ritter and Katey Sagal.  In 2013, she reunited with Penny Marshall for an episode of Sam & Cat, a series on Nickelodeon about roommates who start a babysitting service to earn extra money.  The episode is entitled "#Salmoncat" (Season 1, Episode 17, Air Date November 9, 2013).  In 2016, Cindy guest-starred in an episode of The Odd Couple, starring Matthew Perry.

Penny Marshall passed away on December 17, 2018, at the age of 75. of complications from diabetes.  The day after Penny's death, Cindy wrote the following message on Twitter: "I Love You, Partner."  Underneath the message was the familiar image of the cursive "L" that Penny had the show's wardrobe department sew on most of her character Laverne's blouses and sweaters.  In a statement issued to several media outlets, Cindy said, "What an extraordinary loss.  My good friend, Penny Marshall is gone - one in a million.  Utterly unique, a truly great talent.  Can't describe how I'll miss her."


END NOTES

* Cindy's mother, Francesca Marie "Frances" Bellini Williams, died on December 12, 1995 at the age of 85.  Her father, Beachard James D. Williams, died in 1969 at the age of 56.

*  Cindy believes that she was dyslectic and that she had "a little bit of attention deficit" a child.

* On August 12, 2004, Cindy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

* In 2015, Cindy's memoir, Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life, was published.  It was co-written with Dave Smitherman.  That same year, Cindy lent her support to Visiting Angels, a senior citizen service.





Cindy in more recent photo

SOURCES: The Palm Beach Post, "Sure. she's forever 'Shirley" - but Cindy Williams is so much more," February 21, 2019; The Mercury News, "Why Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams feuded over 'Laverne & Shirley' - Co-stars were rivals off-screen, but grew closer in their later years;" by Chuck Barley, December 19, 2018; Television Academy Archives of American Television interview, 2013, Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com)

- Joanne

Monday, January 20, 2020

Whatever happened to Jimmie (J..J.) Walker?


He symbolized the '70s American dream of success - the former kid from the ghetto who rose to wisecracking TV superstardom.  While in his element as the broadly strutting. gleamy-toothed J.J. Evans of the popular urban-styled sitcom Good Times (1974), Jimmie Walker lived the extremely good life.

Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net 
IMDb Mini- Biography

Jimme Walker was born James Carter Walker Jr. on June 25, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, but he was raised in The Bronx.  He attended Theodore Roosevelt High School in New York City and he has roots in radio,  Due to a federal program known as SEEK ("Search for Education, Evaluation and Knowledge"), he was able to continue his studies and enter the field of radio engineering with WRVR, the radio station of the Riverside Church in Morningside Heights, Manhattan.

Jimmie started his career doing stand-up comedy.  He performed at the African Room. a calypso/Caribbean themed New York City club, where he was mentored by comedian David Brenner.  Early in his career, he made TV appearances on talk shows hosted by Joe Franklin and Jack Paar.  His eventual goal was to appear on The Tonight Show. . .Starring Johnny Carson.  According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), he finally appeared on Carson's show in 1988. 

Jimmie still revers the late night talk show host.  In 2012, He told the Norfolk Daily News that the Carson influence is still there.  He said, "I still write material like I'm getting ready to do The Tonight Show.  I hope Johnny likes it."  Jimmie was the recipient of the 2012 Johnny Carson Comedy Legend Award at the Great American Comedy Festival at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Jimmie is best known for his portrayal of James Evans Jr. ("J.J") on the Norman Lear sitcom Good Times.  Good Times was a spin-off  of Maude, which in turn was a spin-off of All in the Family.  The series ran on CBS for six seasons, from 1974 to 1979, with a total of 133 episodes.  Good Times attracted attention because it tackled such hot potato topics as racism, venereal disease, urban poverty and busing.

Jimmie Walker was beanpole thin and 26 years old when he first played J.J. Evans in 1974.  J.J. was the eldest son of a close-knit African-American family struggling to succeed in a Chicago ghetto.  He was only eight years younger than his television father, James Evans, played by John Amos.  He didn't have much acting experience either..  According to Jimmie, "Every month during Good Times, Norman Lear would say, 'I beg of you, go get some acting lessons.  It would really help you,' and I would say, 'I like what I do."  Then, in the second year, I hate to say it, the laughs got so big, it was bigger than Norman Lear."

Jimmie's catchphrase on Good Times was "Dy-no-mite!"  He credits the shows director/producer John Rich with insisting that J.J. use the expression on every episode.  It really caught on with audiences.  J.J. was often seen wearing his trademark hat, a blue demim bucket hat.  Below is a photo of him wearing his signature hat.



Below is a photo of the Good Times cast in 1974: L to R: Ralph Carter, BernNadette Stanis, Jimmie Walker, Esther Rolle and John Amos.




In 2018, Jimmie Walker sat down for a revealing three-hour interview with the Television Academy Foundation.  He stated that the cast of Good Times was never close in real life.  According to Jimmie, he never spoke to his TV mother and father (Esther Rolle and John Amos)  when they left the set.  "I can honestly say, I don't remember ever speaking a word to Esther the whole time she was there."  As for John Amos, he said, "We talk more now, bit very, very little.  We were never friends, never talked."

In 1976, John Amos was fired from Good Times and his character was killed off.  In an interview with Sway in the Morning, John claimed that he was let go because he tried to make the show more authentic, which didn't please its producers.  After leaving Good Times, John had memorable roles on the original Roots miniseries and in Coming to America, the 1988 film starring Eddie Murphy.

Jimmie and John Amos

After Good Times went off the air in 1979, Jimmie returned to stand-up comedy.  He found himself typecast, but he resigned himself to the situation.  In his Television Academy interview, he said, "The reality of my life is that I'm always gonna be J.J.  You better get over it.  That's just the way it goes."

From 1978 to 1985, Jimmie had roles in episodes of The Love Boat.  During the 1980s, he appeared in episodes of such television series as The White Shadow (1980), Today's FBI (1982), Fantasy Island (1982), Cagney & Lacey (1983) and The Fall Guy (1984).  In 1983, Jimmie had a co-starring role as Sgt. Val Valentine in At Ease, a comedy about a backwater U.S. Army outpost.  Only 14 episodes of the series were produced.  From 1987 to 1988, Jimmie starred as Sonny Barnes in the short-lived sitcom Busin' Loose.  He played a foster father to a group of children.

Jimmie Walker and Bustin' Loose cast
In the 1990s, Jimmie guest-starred in episodes of such series as The Larry Sanders Show (1994), Deadly Games (1995), In the House (1995) and The John Larroquette Show (1996).  Jimmie appeared in a 2001 episode of The Drew Carey Show.  From 2006 to 2008, he portrayed Gene in three episodes of Everybody Hates Chris, the comedy starring Chris Rock.

On June 27, 2012, Jimmie appeared on The Wendy Williams Show.  He revealed that he'd never been married and he'd never fathered any children.  He said, however, that he's had many girlfriends.  In 2018, Jimmie was linked to controversial right-wing media pundit Ann Coulter.  There has been speculation about a romance between the two ever since Norman Lear said the following about Jimmie in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: "I love him.  But I'll tell you something about him that'll astound you.  He dates Ann Coulter."  Coulter, for her part, has denied the rumour.  On Twitter, she wrote: "Best of friends, love him, no romance."

Jimmie with Ann Coulter

END NOTES

* Jimmie Walker was named Time Magazine's "Comedian of the Decade" for the 1970s.

* Jimmie appeared several times on The Tonight Show...With Jay Leno and with David Letterman.

* Esther Rolle, who portrayed Florida Evans on Good Times, passed away on November 17, 1998 from complications from diabetes.  She was 78 years old at the time of her death.  Esther left the show after the fourth season because she did not believe that J.J. was a good role model for young blacks.  She returned for the sixth and final season after producers assured her that they would make J.J. more respectable.

Below is a 1974 photo of Esther on the set of Good Times.



* Jimmie's used his "Dy-no-mite!" catchphrase in a 1975 TV commercial for a new Panasonic line of portable cassette and 8-track tape players.



* Jimmie appeared on TV game shows such as

In 2012, Jimmie 's autobiography, Dyn-omite! Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times - A Memoir, was published.


 * Jimmie's politics are decidedly conservative.  He did not vote former U.S. President Barack Obama and was highly critical of him in interviews with Jay Leno and Bill O'Reilly.  In a Fox News interview with O'Reilly, Jimmy stated, "Barack Obama is more like a Tony Roberts type of guy.  You feel real good and happy and everything and then you go home and there's a foreclosure sign on your door."

In August of 2017, Jimmie publicly pronounced his support for President Donald Trump, declaring that he was "for probably 90 per cent of things he does."

* In a 2015 CNN interview with Carol Costello, Jimmie said that the black community was not too fond of Good Times, fearing that the show helped buttress negative stereotypes of African-Americans.  Because of that, Jimmie argued, "you'll never see a poor black family again on TV."  "Every black family now has to be upper middle-class," he sad, citing The Cosby Show and black-ish as examples.

SOURCES: The Norfolk Daily News, "Walker: Carson Influence Still There," by Ken Warneke, June 12, 2012; The Wrap (thewrap.com), "'Good Times' Jimmie Walker: New Memoir, 'Dyn-o-mite' and Why Trump Should be President," by Brent Lang, July 3, 2012;  Ebony, "John Amos Details Being Fired From 'Good Times,'" by Jessica Bennett, October 18, 2017; The Daily Beast. "'Good Times' Star Jimmie Walker's Journey from Dy-No-Mite to Alt-Right," by Matt Wilstein, August 3, 2017; I Love Old School Music.com (iloveoldschoolmusic.com, "(Video) THIS Is OLD School! Remember When J.J. Did This Commercial?," December 8, 2014; Lee Beiley's Eurweb (eurweb.com), "Jimmie 'J.J.' Walker Disses 'Good Times' Cast: We wee never friends,'" by Ny Magee, July 2, 2018; Decider.com (decider.com, "Ann Coulter Breaks Her Silence On Jimmie Walker Romance Rumors," by Jade Budowski, April 5, 2017; Television Academy Foundation interview, with John Dalton, February 7, 2017; Wikipedia, Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb.com)


- Joanne

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Y&R Report (January 18, 2020): 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. 

Was everyone in Genoa City born in late December and early January?  Four birthdays have been celebrated in recent weeks.  First, Phyllis helped daughter Summer (aka Snowflake) celebrate her birthday.  Then Nick Newman had a birthday celebration with daughters Snowflake and Faith.  Phyllis, of course, showed up and crashed that little party.  (The redhead in everywhere).  She gifted him with two tickets to a baseball game.  After that, Kyle celebrated his birthday at Jabot with dad Jack and wife Lola.  His nemesis, Theo, was not invited.  Finally, Mariah celebrated her birthday with Sharon and Faith.

I've said it before.  Kyle and Lola are doomed.  They don't have a chance.  By the way, if Lola is so in love with Kyle, why was she watching Theo Vanderway and a dark-haired woman so intently.  She actually looked jealous.  As for Kyle, he's still quite chummy with Summer.  It's clear that Summer wants Kyle back.  The Snowflake is just waiting for the right time to strike.  She and Kyle are going on a business trip together, so opportunity awaits for her.

The cracks in Kyle and Lola's relationship are deepening.  Kyle cannot seem to control his raw impulses regarding Theo.  The more he punches Theo out, the more sympathetic Theo becomes in the eyes of Lola.  Kyle will never win by attacking his "cousin" physically.  The fact is that Kyle doesn't have enough discipline or maturity to deal with the upstart Mr. Vanderway.  Lola sees Theo as a kindred spirit because they have both had to struggle, while Kyle is a son of Abbott wealth and privilege.  This is not to say that Theo isn't a problem for Kyle.  Jill spoke to Theo and realized immediately that he is trouble.  It's just that Kyle doesn't know how to handle him.

Billy and Victoria are another couple whose relationship is also on thin ice.  Victoria has given him plenty of chances.  This will be the last one.  It won't take Chance long to come up with some photos of Billy and Amanda together.


VIEWER FORUM

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:  jmadden16@yahoo.ca

Longtime Y&R viewer, CC in Etobicoke, Ontario, sent me the following email:

Hi Joanne, 

I am not liking much about any storylines these days, particularly not looking forward to watching Sharon battle cancer, especially with three men vying for the title of her go-to comforter.  So unrealistic for a tragic event suffered every day around the world.  I appreciate the attempt they are making to remind us to be vigilant about monitoring our health and educating us about cutting-edge treatments available for recovery and survival, but I am looking for lighter storylines for relief from our real life challenges.  

At some point, Phyllis will likely have her way with both Nick and Chance so she can play one against the other.

It appears that Kyle and Summer will get together while away on business.  Lola is making bad relationship decisions due to her young age and lack of experience.  Pre-Kyle, she was morally high and mighty.  How quickly she has been knocked off that pedestal.  

Chelsea will live to regret her decision about choosing Adam.  True to his history, now that he has what he wanted so badly, he will take it for granted while he supports Sharon through her illness.  Eventually, if Connor grows up, Chelsea will be dealing with the real Adam and his manipulative offspring, Connor.  

Save me from yet another session of the Billy and Victoria saga.  It appears to me like Billy is due to leave the country to find himself.  I prefer that to his having a full-fledged affair with Amanda.  Amelia Heinle (Victoria) is not doing a good job in portraying the role of wonder CEO, wonder woman, wonder wife, daughter and sister.  Her real self is showing glaring signs of anorexia, even on screen.  

The writers need to figure out Amanda's back story and her role going forward.  They keep circling it but have yet to zero in.  

Don't think much of Tessa's rock star ex.  However, as long as he takes her away, I will tolerate a short stint for him.

Along with all these sad plotlines, I think they will likely throw in a secret pregnancy/paternity, more crime for Chance and Rey to see who survives in the chief investigator role (I'm betting on Chance), more heartache, secrecy and even a possible character demise.  

Hope all this negative fodder provides you with lots on which to comment!

Ciao!

CC


Thanks for your input, CC.  You have given me much to think about.

I too am not looking forward to watching Sharon battle with cancer.  I feel bad saying that because Y&R's intentions are so good.  The show is working with the American Cancer Society to draw attention and educate about breast cancer.  That is a fine and worthwhile goal.  However, most fans watch soaps to be entertained and as a form of harmless escapism.  They want to get away from their problems and lower their stress levels.  Perhaps, instead of a lengthy storyline about Sharon's cancer, they could have limited it to one or two episodes.  They could have had her biopsy come back negative, then reminded viewers to get checked regularly in a public service announcement at the end of the show?

Phyllis shows no signs of giving up her relentless pursuit of Chance.  The impetuous redhead is actually stalking him.  She is everywhere, watching everything and listening to everything, ready to prey on the private investigator.  She's hiding behind every nook and cranny, flirting with Chance and spying on him and Abby.  The romance between Abby and Chance cannot go smoothly.  Therefore, I also think Phyllis will succeed to a certain extent.  She'll do what she does best.  She'll cause plenty of trouble.

Summer actually asked Mariah to warn Kyle not to get into hostilities with Theo.  Snowflake is trying to restrain herself, but she still wants Kyle.  According to an online spoiler, "Kyle and Summer kiss while on a road trip," after completing a successful business deal.  It's obvious where this is leading.  As you've pointed out, Lola does not have good judgement, so I would not be surprised if she made a colossal blunder, further alienating Kyle and sending him straight into Summer's arms. Of course, Theo will be there to pick up the pieces for a broken-hearted Lola.

Most fans expect Adam to revert to his old self.  I expect that to happen too.  He's managed to alienate and insult Phyllis, one of the few friends he had,  by suggesting she seduce Nick so that he could get Chelsea back.  That's pretty underhanded and it proves that he hasn't stopped scheming to get what he wants.  Also, he has always had a soft spot for Sharon and will compete with Rey and Nick to support her through her illness.  Chelsea will not be too thrilled about that.  Everyone warned her about Adam, but she didn't wan't to believe it.   I wonder if he would have been better off had she stayed with Nick.  Yet, Nck does not exactly great record with relationships either.

The problem with the Billy/Victoria saga is that it is unravelling too slowly.  The story is far too repetitive.  Billy has been having one secret meeting after another.  He keeps complaining that he feels judged by everyone and that he can't be himself.  I agree that Amelia Heinle is showing signs of anorexia and she doesn't seem to be putting as much energy as usual into her role as Victoria.

You are right about Amanda.  They keep skirting around her past.  It seems she was abused or stalked by an es-boyfriend or husband.  It's about time, the writers clarified that and it's about time they provided some explanation for why she looks like Hilary.

I am not really impressed by Tessa's ex, Tanner.  I think he was just brought in to create conflict between Tessa and Mariah.  I don't think he'll be sticking around long.

Your last paragraph is intriguing.  You mention a pregnancy/paternity.  If that happens, it will probably be Lola or Summer.  The father will either be Theo or Kyle.  You expect more crime for Chance and Rey to see who survives in the investigator role and you are betting on Chance.  The difference is that Rey works for the Genoa City Police Department, while Chance is a private investigator with his own business.  If the citizens of GC do not have confidence in their police, they will increasingly turn to Chance.  Paul Williams has not inspired much confidence.  Speaking of Paul, where is he these days?  I thought Doug Davidson had returned to the show full time.  There will definitely be more heartache and secrecy on Y&R.  That's the essence of a soap.  As for a character demise, I think it may be Dina.



CAST NEWS

Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) has written a memoir


Fans of Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) will be delighted to learn that she is writing a memoir entitled Always Young and Restlss.  The book is about Melody's life and career struggles from her days as a child actor in Alfred Hitchcock's 1964 film Marnie to her forty years on The Young and The Restless.  Melody admits that she is nothing like her character, Nikki, although she has had her own trials and tribulations.

Melody's memoir is being written with Dana. L. Davis for Mark Weinstein at Division Books, and is being published by Stender.  Her autobiography follows I'll Be Damned, a 2017 memoir by her longtime onscreen partner, Eric Braeden (Victor Newman).  According to Amazon, the official release date for Melody's book is Thursday, September 3, 2020, but you can pre-order it.


Robert Adamson (Noah Newman) returns to Y&R


All of Sharon's children will be rallying around her during her time of crisis, including son Noah.  Noah, played by Robert Adamson, has been working in London for Newman Enterprises.  Adamson was seen in an Instagram photo outside the Y&R studio.  He'll be around to support his TV mother during her cancer storyline.


Y&R REPORT READERS' POLL

There are several single, unattached men in Genoa City.  Whom do you consider Genoa City's most eligible bachelor?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Who is Genoa City's most eligible bachelor?

Nicholas Newman
Jack Abbott
Chance Chancellor
Theo Vanderway
Dr. Nate Hastings
Other
Please Specify:
Created with PollMaker


That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, February 1, 2020.


- Joanne

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

You wanted to know . . . about Mayf Nutter (Bobby Bigelow) and Doney Oatman (Betsy Morgan) and their "Waltons" episodes

A reader wanted to know about two actprs who played secondary characters on The Waltons - Mayf Nutter (Bobby Bigelow) and Doney Oatman (Betsy Morgan).

MAYF NUTTER 


Mayf Nutter was born Mayfred Nutter (Adamson) on October 19, 1941 in Jane Lew, West Virginia.  According to IMDb.com, his name was shortened to "Mayf" in 1957, when he was playing on the All-star Babe Ruth baseball team.  A sportswriter, who had difficulty spelling his name correctly, wrote "MAYF" and the name stuck.  In most sources, "Adamson" is shown to be Mayf's original surname and Nutter" his middle name.  However, according to his biography on  IMDb, the name "Adamson" was suggested by singer Pat Boone because"Mayf Nutter" sounded like a "comedic singer."

Mayf comes from a musical family. He was first heard on radio at the age of 12 and later hosted his own music show on a local television station.  Mayf cut his debut recordings in Atlanta, Georgia and then moved to California in the late 1960s.  In September of 1967, he joined The New Christy Minstrels.,an American ensemble folk group founded by Randy Sparks in 1961.  He also had a stint as lead guitarist for Del Shannon.  After leaving The New Christy Minstrals, Mayf  had his first solo hit in 1970 with a tribute to Johnny Cash entitled "Hey, There, Johnny." 

Mayf Nutter began his television career with appearances on episodes of a string of Westerns such as Gunsmoke (1967), Bonanza (1970) and The High Chaparral (1970).  From 1974 to 1975, Mayf portrayed  Bobby Bigelow in three episodes of The Waltons - "The Book" (Season 3, Episode 10, Air Date: November 14, 1974), "The Song" (Season 3, Episode 22, Air Date: February 20, 1975 and "The Breakdown" (Season 4, Episode 6, Air Date: October 16, 1975).  In 1976, he provided the voice of a jukebox vocalist in an episode of the series entitled "The Fledgling" (Season 4, Episode 23, Air Date: February 26, 1976).

Maif's character. Bobby Bigelow, was lead singer and founder of a band called Bobby Bigelow and the Haystack Gang.  The band played the Jefferson County, Virginia area, the fictional mountain-area community which provided the setting for The Waltons.  Bigelow hired Jason Walton for the salary of $3.50 a night to play guitar and sing in his band.


Mayf as Bobby Bigelow on The Waltpms


Mayf as Bpbbu Bigelow with Jon Walmsley as Joason Walton

In 1976, Mayf  appeared in an episode of yet another Western, How the West Was Won.  In the 1970s, he also had guest roles on Charlie's Angels (1976) and the Dukes of Hazzard (1979). In the 1980s, Mayf made appearances on such such series as The Fall Guy (1982), Murder, She Wrote (1984), Airwolf (1985) and Houston Knights (1987)/  From 1984 to 1985, Mayf had a recurring role on the prime time soap Knot's Landing.  He portrayed Parker Winslow, Valene Ewing's boyfriend.

* Mayf has been married to Omaha, Nebraska native Lindsay Bloom since 1980.  Lindsay (born August 28, 1950) is an actress and former beauty pageant contestant (Miss Arizona, Miss USA 1972). In the 1970s, she appeared in episodes of such television series as Barnaby Jones (1973), Emergency (1974), Wonder Woman (1976),  Rhoda (1976),  Police Story (1977) and Starsky and Hutch (1976, 1978).  From 1979 to 1981 she played Myrtle and Mabel Tillingham on The Dukes of Hazzard.  In 1982, she had a recurring role as Bonnie Robertson on Dallas.  She also portrayed loyal secretary Velda on The New Mike Hammer from 1984 to 1987.

Lindsay Bloom
Mayf and Lindsay have three children - daughters Sage and Haylee, and son, Chase.  Below is a 2005 photo that shows Mayf with "son, Jerry."  I haven't been able to determine if Jerry is Mayf's son from a previous marriage or relationship or if the photo caption is incorrect.


Lindsay with daughter, Sage

END NOTES

* Back in 1970, Mayf Nutter recorded an anti-pollution number called "Simpson Creek (Won't Ever Run Clear Again)"


* During the early 1970s, Mayf guested on Buck Owens' Ranch Show; a weekly country TV series, over 50 times.

* On September 29, 2012 Mayf Nutter and Lindsay Bloom  attended The Waltons 40th anniversary reunion at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  Mayf also attended the October 19, 2018 Bobby Bigelow and the Haystack Gang Walton's reunion. at the Nelson County High School in Lovingston, Virginia.



* Mayf and Lindsay both appeared in Lone Star Bar & Grill, a 1983 television series - the first Showtime produced series. Based on a true story, it was about a group of housewives prostituting themselves out of a bar in Dallas, Texas.  However, due to a management changed at Showtime, the R-rated show was not picked up, despite high ratings.

* In 1982. Mayf became the first American country performer to appear on Chinese television.

* Mayf is a 2020 inductee of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame  He is also a member of Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame's Walkway of Stars..  He has returned to West Virginia regularly for the Wheeling Jamboree's "Jamboree in the Hills."




* Mayf and Lindsay currently reside in Southern California.



DONEY OATMAN 


Doney Oatman (born 1958) made her name as a child actor in the 1970s.  She played Felix Unger's (Tony Randall) daughter, Edna, in three episodes of The Odd Couple, from 1972 to 1975.  Doney was the second actor to play the role of Edna,  The first Edna was Pamelyn Ferdin,

In a 1974 episode of The Odd Couple, Doney, as Edna Unger, runs away because her father keeps her from attending a Paul Williams concert.  The episode is entitled "The Paul Williams Story" (Season 5, Episode 9, Air Date: November 7, 1974).

Below is a photo of Doney with Paul Williams in the Odd Couple episode.



Doney appeared as Betsy Morgan in two 1975 episodes of The Waltons - "The Song" (Season 3, Episode 22, Air Date: February 20, 1975 and "The Breakdown" (Season 4, Episode 6, Air Date: October 16, 1975).  Mayf Nutter played Bobby Bigelow in both of those episodes.

Doney Oatman as Edna Unger on The Odd Couple

Betsy Morgan, Doney Oatman's character was a schoolgirl who ran errands Bobby Bigelow and his band.  Below is a photo of Doney as Betsy Morgan and Jon Walmsley as Jason Walton in an episode entitled "The Breakdown."  In the episode, Jason spends too much time playing with his band.  As a result his school work, music lessons, and health begin to suffer.  At a barn dance, Betsy Morgan's date, Ralph, becomes rowdy and jealous after drinking too much.  Jason protects her by taking her home and insists that she sleep on the porch.


Daney Oatman with Jon Walmsley in Waltons episode

After The Waltons, Doney appeared as Jackie in a 1977 TV movie entitled The Spell, a horror/drama film starring Lee Grant and Helen Hunt.  That same year, she portrayed McCain in another television movie, Delta County, U.S.A,, about life in a small community in the American South.  She also had a role in a television mini-series called Little Vic. about the life of Gillie Walker, a 14-year-old orphan from Harlem who becomes a jockey.  Doney played Julie Sayer in the February 23, 1977 episode of the 6-part series.

In 1977, Doney Oatman had guest roles in episodes of Eight is Enough, Charlie's Angels and James at 16.  In 1978, she appeared in episodes of Maude and The Rockford Files.  Her appearance on The Rockford Files is her last television acting credit, after which she walked away from the limelight.  Her exit seems sudden and abrupt.

Doney acting career was short-lived and there is very little information on her online. That leads me to believe that she wishes to lead a private life.  A blogger posted this photo and identified the woman in it as Doney Oatman.  I cannot verify that this is indeed Doney.



END NOTE

* From 1974 to 1977, Doney Oatman appeared in three ABC Afterschool Specials.


SOURCESAll Music website (www.allmusic.com), biography of Mayf Nutter by Sandra Brennan; West Virginia Music Hall of Fame website (www,wvmusichalloffame.com); The Parkersburg News and Sentinal, West Virginaia's Music Hall of Fame announces inductees, March 31, 2019; Wikipedia, Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb.com)

- Joanne

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Y&R Report (January 4, 2020): 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. 

As the New Year begins in Genoa City, many characters face 2020 with uncertainty and trepidation.  Many storylines are hanging in limbo and should be resolved as soon as possible, especially the one about Mrs. Chancellor's will. That has been dragging along much too slowly and it has been poorly written.  Since Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby) is leaving the show, the writers should wrap up his storyline.  It's also about time we learned what happened in Las Vegas with Chance and Adam.  The mystery surrounding Amanda has gone on far too long as well.   Is there an explanation as to why she looks the spitting image of Hilary?   Come on writers, tie up all the loose ends.

Nick and Chelsea called it quits on New Year's Eve..  That's not surprising.  Their breakup had been coming for a long time.  Chelsea is trying to resist Adam, but they will soon be back together.  As for Nick, he's a free agent again.  Will he turn to Phyllis again or his other ex, Sharon.  It won't be Sharon if Nikki has any say in the matter.  She told her son in no uncertain terms that she hope he doesn't go back to Sharon.  Some things never change.  Nikki has never liked Sharon.  She has never thought she was good enough for Nick.  Nikki has alwayz considered Sharon a gold digger, even though she was a gold digger herself when she first married Victor.  She went from a stripper to a lady of the manor.

Speaking of Sharon, I hope we don't have to endure a long drawn out storyline about her battle with breast cancer.  I don't think most viewers want that.  It's too depressing, unless there's another angle to it.

We've learned more about Tessa Porter's past.  It turns out that she has an ex-husband, a musician named Tanner Watts.  She's never even discussed  her brief marriage with Mariah or anyone else in Genoa.City.  How many more secrets does Tessa have and now many more excuses will she come up with for hiding her past?  I know endured some hard times, but she's a difficult person to trust.

Jack and Victor were quite friendly with each other on New Year's Eve.  Have they really buried the hatchet or is this just a truce?


HIGHLIGHTS OF 2019 ON Y&R: A look at some of the highs and lows of the show this past year.

WORST STORYLINE:  The storyline about Mrs. Chancellor's will.was not credible.  If its purpose was to bring back Philip Chancellor IV (Chance), the writers could have just had him return to town.

Viewers could also have done without Billy once again being haunted by Delia's death.  We went through that already.

MOST INTRIGUING STORYLINE:  Victor Newman's faked death attracted a lot of viewers and received high ratings.  Most people new that Victor was not actually dead, but some were fooled.  For those of us who knew Y&R wouldn't kill off Victor, the storyline was still intriguing.  It's unfortunate that the writers were unclear about who was in on the ruse to expose Adam.

UNEXPECTED RETURN: Mishael Morgan's return as lawyer Amanda Sinclair. Hilary's look-alike was completely unexpected.  Why didn't the writers leave their options open with Mishael by having Hilary leave town for a while (or some other explanation for her absence).

UNEXPECTED DEATH:  The passing of Kristoff St. John, who played Neil Winters since 1991.  Kristoff was found dead at the age of 52 on February 3, 2019.  He had never gotten over the suicide of his son.

UNEXPECTED  FIRING:  Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby) was fired after 13 years on the show.

BIGGEST LOSER IN GENOA CITY: Nicholas Newman..  Nick can't seem to get his personal life or his career on track.  He started his own company, Dark House, and lost it due to Adam's trickery.  He then tried to run for city council and his political career was over before it started due to Chelsea.  He ended the year by breaking up with Chelsea on New Year's Eve.

ABORTED ROMANCE:  The "romance" between Traci Abbott and Cane just didn't get off the ground.  It was awkward and I don't think it was very popular among viewers.  Traci was crazy about Can, yet she told him she just wanted to be friends.  There was no explanation as to why she changed her mind.  I still think it's time for both Traci Abbott and her brother Jack to have some romance in their lives.

JERK OF THE YEAR: Billy Boy Abbott gets the nod.  I don't usually have much sympathy for Princess Victory Newman.  However, this time I think Billy is really being deceitful and unfair to her.  I know Victoria is a workaholic and she immerses herself in the business world.  However, I think she has tried to understand him.  He just won't open up to her.  He won't give her a chance.  Instead, he's more comfortable confiding in Amanda, a virtual stranger who hasn't shown she's trustworthy.  He snuck off on New Year's Eve to see the mysterious lawyer, leaving Victoria alone and worried at Abby's New Year's Party.  He showed up just before midnight.

Billy Abbott really doesn't know what he wants anyway.  He's not working for Jabot anymore.  He was given the time and space to figure out what he wants.  Actually. It seems as if he just wants to do what he wants, when he wants.  He doesn't want responsibilities, yet he also doesn't want to give up his family life and his children.  Billy doesn't realize he can't have it both ways.  That's why when he inevitably breaks Victoria's heart, he will face the wrath of Victor.


CAST NEWS

Christel Khalil (Lily) will return to Y&R for a brief stint this month


Fans of Chritel Khalil (Lily Winters) will be pleased to know that Lily will be back in Geona City the week of January 6th.  The exact nature of her return has not been revealed but it presumably has to do with the Devon/Eleana/Amanda storyline and could possibly involve Cane's (Daniel Godard} exit from the show.

Christel's last appearance was in tribute episodes to honour Kristoff St.John, her TV father, after his death.  She also played a character in the novel Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland) wrote.  The actress chose to drop down to recurring status in 2018.


Y&R REPORT READERS' POLL




Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) hasn't changed.  He's the jerk he's always been.  In a soap, there has to be conflict, so that's why he's misbehaving again.  He can't have a happy family life with Victoria.  So, fans, what do you think about the storyline of his secret relationship with Amanda?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.


Are you enjoying the stoyline about Billy's secret relationship with Amanda?

Yes, it's a good storyline. It's interesting to me.
No, I have no interest in it. It's starting to drag.
I don't know, I have to see where it leads.
Other
Please Specify:
Created with Poll Maker


Readers, I would appreciate your feedback.  Please let me know what you think about the show.

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:  jmadden16@yahoo.ca

That's all for now,  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, January 18, 2020.  


- Joanne