Question: When I was a kid, my dad and I would watch Red Skelton on TV and he would tell me that Mr. Skelton ad-libbed much of his act and had no writers. Was that true? I remain a fan either way. Amy J., Appleton, Wis.
Televisionary: Boy, everyone's quick to write off the writers in the entertainment equation, huh? Truth is, Skelton employed a team of writers on his show; he just chose not to speak to them. "I've met them," he said of the writers he was paying $12,000 a week in 1963. "I don't want to be a victim of writers. I want to do what I want to do. I read lines backwards and get laughs. And I never look at the script in advance. If I do, I rip it apart. Why tear my heart out?"
Why indeed? Especially since Skelton, who'd worked as a performer since the age of 15, was so adept at improv and reading a crowd on the spot? After all, aside from the final year the show was on the air, when Skelton added a group
Question: I just wanted to say thank you very much for giving a rundown of Homefront. I loved that show and have created a website with a petition for fans to sign in hopes of raising awareness that the show is wanted on DVD by many people. I'm just thankful to you for voicing how great that show was. Please keep it up. Maybe if we keep the name of this great show in the public's mind, eventually it will be released on DVD. Thanks so very much!!!! Sarah K.
Televisionary: No problem, Sarah. But let me just say this is a very rare time that I'm willing to publicize someone's personal site. So please don't bombard me with URLs folks, since this column's really supposed to be about questions (it has "Ask" in the title, after all) and my boss will be very cross with me if I let this happen too often.
Question: A quickie: Where is the fountain from the opening of Friends? James W., Dulles, Va.
Televisionary: On the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Cal. It's a set known as Park Boulevard.
Question: What was the name of the show where the teenage girl had an alien father who was in a box, and she stuck her index fingers together to freeze time? Cristy F., St. Louis, Mo.
Televisionary: I touched on the show, Out of This World, a while back, Cristy. However, in the spirit of keeping my newer readers informed, I'll add some details to the taste I provided back in 2002.
The syndicated World, 96 episodes of which were produced from 1987-91, focused on 13-year-old Evie Garland (Maureen Flannigan), whose father was an alien and whose mom (Donna Pescow) ran a private school near Carmel, Cal. (Dad headed home to the planet Antareus after Evie was born, so, voiced by Burt Reynolds, his only involvement came via a futuristic space phone.) Being a human-alien hybrid had its benefits for Evie, who was able to, as you say, stop time by touching her index fingers together and to create things simply by thinking about them.
Question: I just watched the final Spymaster on Discovery's TLC. The runner-up for spymaster was named Leigh Ann. At the end of the show there was a statement that the show was dedicated to Leigh Ann Tarbill, 1980-2003. Did runner-up Leigh Ann pass away last year? And if so, how did she die? Michelle W., Olympia, Wash.
Televisionary: Sadly, Tarbill, a contestant on the show, was found dead in the garage of a home she was renting last year. According to reports, the 23-year-old was overcome by carbon-monoxide fumes from a faulty pool heater located in or near the garage.
Question: We are big fans of Joan of Arcadia and have noticed the actor who plays Adam in reruns of other shows (7th Heaven being one). Did he play a child called "the Anointed One" in Seasons 1 and 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Televisionary: Nope. The actor who plays Adam on Joan is Christopher Marquette, and you can read a little more about him near the bottom of this column.
"The Anointed One" was played by Andrew J. Ferchland in several 1997 episodes of Buffy (until he was torched by Spike, that is). You may also have spotted him doing guest work on such shows as Judging Amy, Promised Land, Chicago Hope an
Caught in the Act
I've said it once. I'll say it again. Lifetime movies get no respect. When my friend Linda found out I was watching this for work, she said, "I can save you some time. She sets fire to him and she keeps the baby. You let me know if I'm wrong."
Well Linda, you're wrong. She in this case it's a country-talking Lauren Holly kicks her cheating husband's butt in divorce court, solves the murder of her friend Alice and starts her own private-eye business. How's that for a woman scorned? Of course, along the way she also says some of the corniest lines this side of the Mississippi. But I embrace their campiness and pray nothing ever makes me want to "cock a couple a shells in my shotgun and draw a bead on his buttonfly."
(Random confession: To check the spelling of Mississippi I literally just said out loud "em, eye, crooked-letter, crooked-letter, eye, crooked-letter, crooked-letter, eye, hump-back, hump-back, eye. O
As The Swan's surgically enhanced beauty pageant draws ever nearer (with back-to-back episodes tonight, starting at 8 pm/ET), TV Guide Online rings up last week's could've-been contender, Andrea, at home in Colorado to find out whether her foul mood has improved since the docs diminished her acne scars.
TV Guide Online: If I'm not mistaken, you cried more than any other contestant. Was your surgery secretly underwritten by Kleenex?
Andrea: They sure made it look that way! Maybe Kleenex could call me, and I could do their commercials.
TVGO: Why not? Anyway, at the beginning of the show, you said your problem was insecurity. Why not consult a shrink instead of a plastic surgeon?
Andrea: When I heard about the show, it said that it was a "life makeover." That's one reason I chose to do it. And it really did change my life, with all the therapy. I'm still continuing therapy here in Denver...
TVGO: I'm sure that after questioning you
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's bid for world domination hit a snag over the weekend. Despite an avalanche of publicity, the wonder twins' much-hyped new comedy, New York Minute, debuted in fourth place with a dismal $6.2 million. Moviegoers instead flocked to Hugh Jackman's big-budget monster mash, Van Helsing, which opened the summer movie season at No. 1 with $54.2 million. Mean Girls, meanwhile, slipped to No. 2 in its second week with $14 million.
Legendary actor-comedian Alan King, who spent his career poking fun at the Jewish experience on stage, TV and as the longtime host of the Friars Club, died Sunday in New York of lung cancer. He was 76.