Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Whatever happened to Denis Mandel (Eugene Belvin on Happy Days)?

Denis Mandel was born on July 28, 1954.  Information about his personal life is scarce.  His references do not even list his place of birth, only that he was born in the United States.  He obviously wants to keep his private life private.

Denis is best known as the character actor who played Eugene Belvin in ten episodes of Happy Days from 1980 to 1982.  Eugene appeared in Seasons 8 and 9 of the show.  He and his twin brother, Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein), were nerdy classmates of Joanie (Eerin Moran) and Chachi (Scott Baio) at Jefferson High.  Eugene and Melvin frequently tagged along with Joanie and Chachi's circle of friends.  Eugene had a crush on Jenny Piccolo (Cathy Silvers)., Joanie's boy-crazy best friend.  He also attended Fonzie's auto shop class 

Below is a photo of Denis as Eugene Belvin on Happy Days, wearing turtle shell glasses and an argyle sweater.

After his stint on Happy Days, Denis appeared in a 1982 episode of the popular crime drama, CHiPs, starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox as motorcycle police.  Denis portrayed Morgan in an episode of the series entitled "Overload" (Season 5, Episode 25, Air Date (May 2, 1982).  He also played Josh in Mortuary. a 1983 feature horror film.

Denis had a minor role in the 1984 television movie, The Seduction of Gina.  He played a "resident" in this TV film about gambling, starring Valerie Bertinelli.  Bertinelli had the title role of Gina Breslin, a bored newlywed who discovers blackjack on a visit to Lake Tahoe, and becomes obsessed with gambling.

Denis appeared as Eddie in the 1990 feature film, Brush with Death, an action thriller.  He also portrayed Nick in a 1990 episode of the prime time soap Knot's Landing called "If I Die Before I Wake."  (Season 11, Episode 27, Air Date: May 3, 1990).

Denis Mandel's last television acting role was a 1992 guest-starring role in Home Front, a historical drama.  He played Striker Ted  in an episode called "If You Want it Done Right" Season 1, Episode 22, Air Date (April 1, 1992) in this series about the aftermath of World War II.

So, what happened to Denis after he stopped acting circa 1992?  It seems that he has done some writing.  According to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb), he was nominated for the James Kirkwood Writing Prize (1997) for Highway 56.  He also finished second in the Arizona Authors Association National Literary Contest (2000).  

 According to a 2018 post called "Happy Days, Where Did They Go?" on the Cleverst. website, Denis "retired from acting and is currently living in L.A."  Denis, if you so desire, I invite you to send me an email keeping fans up to date about yourself.  I would be very pleased if you would do so, and I would like to publish it for the readers of TV Banter.

- Joanne 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Y&R Report (September 18, 2021): 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

Hi fans,

I'm back from my summer hiatus and raring to go.  I may have taken a break from writing this column, but I haven't taken a break from watching the show.  A lot has happened on Y&R this summer and I'm eager to discuss it. with you.  So, let's get started.

I'm beginning to think that Chance is never coming home.  An online spoiler reveals that "Abby's life will implode after she receives shocking news."  Could that be news of Chance's death or that he has gone missing.  I wouldn't rule out either scenario..  Would Mariah and Tessa then seek custody of baby Dominic, or "Bowie," as Mariah calls him?  That's a distinct possibility.  

There has been speculation that the role of Chance has been recast.  If so, then Y&R is certainly taking it's sweet timing in returning him home to Genoa City.  I know they want viewers to keep watching, but Chance has been gone too long.  I hope his fate is soon revealed.  We should know something soon because Victor Newman is becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated by his son-in-law's absence. and he is upset about how it has been affecting Abby and the baby.  That's why he suggested to Ashley that they put their heads together and figure out what to do about it.

Y&R viewers can't help but notice that little Dominic is being played by a blanket.  We haven't seen the face of a real baby yet.  The reason is probably related to COVID-19.protocol..  I must say that I'm glad that the child wasn't christened Philip Chancellor V.  He's going to be confused enough as it is, without having to bear such an aristocratic name.

It looks as if there's a new love triangle between Jack, and Phyllis and Nick.  Jack has never gotten over Phyllis.  As Jack himself admitted, he became attracted to Sally Spectra because she is feisty and red-haired like Phyllis. It didn't work because she's a younger imitation of Phyllis.  She's not Phyllis, though.  She's not the real thing deep down in Jack's heart.        

Billy Boy, Billy Boyt!  You can't have it both ways.  You seem to be content with Lily, but you are unwilling to to let go of Victoria.  It's understandable that you would be curious about Ashland's mysterious past, but your interest in the media tycoon goes beyond normal curiosity. It's an obsession.  Ashland and Lily are right to think you still have feelings for Victoria.  

Still, Billy is right that Ashland Locke is hiding something big.  In the previews, we saw that a man is trying to blackmail him.  He is demanding millions from Locke in return for not revealing his secret.  According to Soap Opera Digest, the man is a lawyer with information on Ashland's past.

Adam just had to call on Dr. Sharon, M.A. to talk to Connor about his separation from Chelsea.  The boy was very perceptive about Sharon.  He didn't really believe what he was told about the "professional therapist."  Of all people, Adam chose to bring Sharon into the volatile situation.  Even if Sharon were a qualified therapist, which she is not, she is too emotionally involved with Adam to be objective.  Of course, Adam had to choose her over many true professionals.  Adam can't stay away from her and she can't stay away from him.

Sharon does not like Sally Spectra and you can read the jealousy on her face whenever Sally shows up.  However, it won't be easy for Sally to capture Adam's heart, since he's so enraptured by Sharon.  Sally keep trying, though.  Connor really likes her.  In fact, he finds her quite amusing.  Sally may use that to her advantage in her quest to win over Adam.

Have you noticed how often Y&R character have been listening in to private conversations and spying?  They've always done than, but it seems they are doing it more often lately  The biggest culprits are Phyllis, Billy Abbott and Sally Spectra.



New actor to play Noah Newman

Rory Gibson

The role of Noah Newman has been recast.  Rory Gibson will take over the role from Robert Adamson.  Adamson last appeared as Noah in September of 2020.  Rory, a relative newcomer, has had roles in the films A Night to Regret (2018), Severed Road and Grace (2019).

Y&R wouldn't have recast Noah unless there is a big storyline waiting for him.  I wonder about whom he would become involved with when he returns to Genoa City.  The only ones who comes to mind are Sally Spectra or Lola Rosales. whenever she returns from Miami.  Truth be told, Lola didn't have much of a  storyline when she left.  We don't know who's doing the cooking at Society during her absence.  I'd love to try some of her famous chicken soup.  It seems to be a great cure for whatever ails you.  As for the opportunistic Sally Spectra, she would certainly be attracted to another Newman, if her attempts to become involved with Adam don't work out.  Victor, Nikki and Nick certainly wouldn't be happy if she attracted Noah.  It's entirely possible, especially if Noah takes a job with Neman Media, where Sally works.

No date has been revealed for Gibson's debut, but he is expected to make his soap debut "later this fall."

Kate Linder (Esther Valentine) injured

Kate Linder

Kate Linder, who has portrayed Esther Valentine on the Y&R since 1982, has sustained injuries while attending to her elderly mother.  Kate's publicist said that the actress is undergoing physical therapy in the hospital.  The good news is that she is expected to return to work soon.  In a recent statement, Kate thanked "my mon, my friends, and my Y&R family for their outgoing of good wishes and support."  


Janice Lynde

* Longtime Y&R viewers will be pleased to know that original cast member Janice Lynde will be returning to the show for multiple episodes this fall.  Janice played concert pianist Leslie Brooks.  Janice appeared in the very first episode of Y&R back in 1973.  She was a regular cast member until 1977.  She last appeared on the show in 2018 as part of Y&R's 45th anniversary celebration.

Since Nikki keeps mentioning Leslie Brooks concerts in Italy, that tells me that Victoria's family and friends will gather in Italy for her wedding to Ashland Locke despite any skeletons in Locke;s closet.  Who knows if the actual wedding will happen or if it will be disrupted.

* The recurring role of the lawyer with information on Ashland Locke's is being played by Jamison Jones, ex-Bill Brick, Days of Our Lives; ex-Dr. Warren Kirk/Brady Bevin, General Hospital.

* Congratulations to Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson) and her husband, Matt Katrosar,  on the birthday of their son, Cadem Robert Katrosar on August 21, 2021.

* Congratulations to Michael Graziadei, who played Phyillis'' son, Daniel Romalotti. Michael is the proud father of twin baby boys, Oliver Bear and Arlo Wilde, born on August 25, 2021.

* Condolences to Jess Walton (Jill Abbott) on the death of her husband of 40 years, John James, who passed away of terminal liver cancer in August.

* Fans of Summer (Hunter King) and Kyle (Michael Mealor) will be able to watch the couple on screen one more time before they get married and head off into the sunset, at least for now.


Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott)

Now that Tara and Harrison have gone, Jack Abbott is a lonely man in that cavernous Abbott mansion.  He's still pining over Phyllis.  Fans, do you think Jack is better suited to Phyllis than she is with Nick Newman?  I think Phyllis has a better rapport with Jack than with Nick.  Do you agree or disagree?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you prefer Phyllis with Nick or with Phyllis?
Phyllis and Nick sizzle together as a couple. I want them to be together.
Phyllis and Jack have good communication and they understand each other.  I prefer her with Jack.
I really don't care. I don't like Phyllis.
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Create polls here


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.  I really need your input.  I really need to hear your opinion.  I want to know if you agree or disagree with me. 

My email address:

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, October 2, 2021.   

Take care,


Thursday, September 2, 2021

More Jeopardy! upheaval: Mike Richards is out as producer

Jeopardy!search for a host to replace the late Alex Trebek has been long, sloppy and unsavoury.  I doubt that Alex would be very pleased at how poorly it was handled. and how messy it has become.  The show's fans can only hope that Mike Richards' resignation as host, and his subsequent firing as executive producer, will finally end all the upheaval.   As regular TV Banter readers know, I am a huge fan of Jeopardy! and I am quite disappointed at how the choice of a new host has been handled.  You'd think they would have found a better way.

I originally thought that Mike Richards would make a fine successor to Alex.  I wasn't the only one.  He received a mostly favourable response for this two-week performance as guest host.  That's because he appears quite charming before a camera and he has a pleasing speaking voice.  

On August 11, 2021, Mike Richards was chosen host of the daily syndicated show, with Mayim Bialik presiding over prime time specials.  Then came the revelation that Richards was named in wrongful termination and pregnancy discrimination lawsuits regarding two models at The Price is Right, where he was executive producer. 

Mike Richards' gig as host of Jeopardy! only lasted for about a week.  He had already taped five episodes of the show when more damaging revelations came to light.  Reporter Claire McNear released a report about a 2013 podcast, hosted by Richards, in which he made offensive comments about women, Jews and Haitians.  Richards apologized, but it was not enough to save his new job.  The following week, under increasing pressure, he stepped down as host of Jeopardy!  Sony Pictures Television stated that he would remain as the show's executive producer, although he would be required to take sensitivity training.  

Mike Richards

However, the controversy wasn't over yet.  McNear issued details indicating that there was low morale among some members of the Jeopardy! staff's during Mike Richards' time in office.  The New York Times reported that Richards had directed the search for a host in his own favour.  It was all too much. Richards was immediately fired and Mayim Bialik was asked to step in as temporary host.  It became painfully obvious that not enough due diligence had been before appointing Richards host.  He was not vetted thoroughly enough.  

It is clear to me now that the selection process was far from kosher.  Something was not right about an executive producer being chosen as host.  Even if untrue, it appeared that Mike Richards' status as executive director had influenced the show's choice of host and that the fix was in.  Something was very rotten in the state of Jeopardy! and it left quite a stench.  For the sake of the loyal viewers of the show, let's hope that the stench is removed and that an appropriate host is to replace Alex Trebek, a host that will be worthy of carrying on Alex's legacy.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE(September 17, 2021):  Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will share Jeopardy! hosting duties for the remainder of 2021.  After the Mike Richards fiasco, it's no surprise that the powers that be want to be very careful.