Today's News: Our Take

Question: Hi there! There's ...

Question: Hi there! There's been a lot of question at my office place about whether Mr. Ed was truly a zebra or not. Can you shed some light on this to end our discussion once and for all? Thanks! — Laura P., Greendale, Wis.

Televisionary: That's an urban legend with remarkable legs (pun intended), Laura. Tell your co-workers Mr. Ed was definitely a California-born show horse named Bamboo Harvester. Apparently a zebra was used to do a few stunts the horse wasn't able to handle, but otherwise it was all Ed.

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Question: I used to love ...

Question: I used to love reading the other Televisionary questions and answers from the past, but with the new format I can't seem to find them. Are they still available on the site? — Amy, Emporia, Va.

Televisionary: The powers that be here at TVGO tell me they are working to bring the archived columns in the various sections back soon. In the meantime, you can look at old stuff dating back to our early-September relaunch if you're willing to work for it. Here's a clunky way to do it: The front page of your favorite section is actually a file with a name corresponding to the date it went up. For example, this page is a file named 031007.asp. So if you tack that onto the end of the URL for this section ( and make it this column comes up. And since this column is updated every Tuesday, changing it to the previous Tuesday (030930.asp) will read more

Question: My husband and I ...

Question: My husband and I agree on one thing about You Bet Your Life. When someone said the secret word, a toy duck came down with a prize for them. But even though he says I'm wrong, I remember other animals and people giving the prize away, too. Am I right? Thank you. — Ruth V., Anacortes, Wash.

Televisionary: That you are, Ruth, but the change came into play only in the last couple of seasons of the show's 1950-61 run on NBC.

For years, a moustache-wearing toy duck dropped from above to bless contestants on Groucho Marx's popular TV and radio quiz show who stumbled on the secret word of the night — an everyday word like "gas" or "fire" — with $100. (The audience, of course, had already been clued into what the word was. Today's young whippersnappers probably think Pee Wee Herman made that up.) But Groucho being Groucho, he had to mix it up — and get a pretty woman in on the act. Thus, the prize was sometimes delivered by ba read more


Jack Black's well-reviewed comedy School of Rock got high marks at the weekend box office, debuting at No. 1 with $20.2 million. Denzel Washington's new film noir Out of Time also opened strongly, ranking No. 2 with $17 million. Rounding out the top five: The Rundown (No. 3 with $9.8 million), Under the Tuscan Sun (No. 4 with $7.9 million) and Secondhand Lions (No. 5 with $5.4 million). Bill Murray's Oscar shoo-in Lost in Translation, meanwhile, continued to find huge audiences in limited release. Sofia Coppola's little indie that could expanded to more theaters and grossed a solid $4.3 million for seventh place. read more


CBS's Joan of Arcadia and ABC's Hope & Faith inched closer to official hit status in their second airings Friday night, while NBC's Miss Match looked more and more like an all-out misfire. Joan and Hope dipped slightly in Week Two, but nonetheless won their respective timeslots among adults 18-49. (BTW: My friend Jill called Friday's Hope & Faith "simply atrocious," and I'm inclined to take her word for it.) Miss Match, meanwhile, dropped 29 percent from its already disappointing premiere and finished third at 8 pm. (What did Alicia Silverstone do to deserve all this bad luck? It's not right people!) read more


William Steig, an illustrator for The New Yorker who also authored children's books including Shrek!, died of natural causes Friday night at his home in Boston. He was 95. read more

American Dreamboat's Darth Vader Connection

Jamie Elman is a professional actor. He's been in show business for years. He's even got a regular gig playing nerdy dreamboat Luke on American Dreams. We make special mention of these facts because, after reading the following confession, you might be tempted to think otherwise. Ready? Okay.

On the set of the feature Shattered Glass (opening Oct. 17), about the New Republic reporter whose fabricated articles predated the Jayson Blair scandal, the Star Wars fanatic had to use the Force to keep from going all ComiCon on co-star Hayden Christensen. "I wanted to tell him, 'Hey, it's another movie about Darth Vader and Luke,'" he admits to TV Guide Online. "Get it? Darth Vader [his big-screen counterpart] and Luke [my TV character]." Long pause. Dead silence. "Eh, I don't think even he would get that joke."

Elman also refrained from challenging the erstwhile Anakin Skywalker to a light-saber duel. "No, I did n read more


One of Fox's Bridezillas has gotten loose and is wreaking havoc again. New Yorker Julia Swinton-Williamson, whose nuptials were featured last season on the Fox reality special, is suing the show's producers for $136 million. She claims they lied to her about the concept of the show — but not, apparently, the title. (In her defense, Bridezilla is a rather misleading title. I thought it was a show about a giant killer bride who stomps people to death.) read more


Famed Las Vegas magician Roy Horn, one half of the iconic Siegfried and Roy duo, remains in critical but stable condition after getting mauled by a white tiger during a performance Friday night. "The doctors are encouraged that he will recover," says Horn's spokesman, "but it will be several days until the full extent of his injury is known." Horn, who turned 59 Friday, is on a ventilator and is responding to voice and touch. The prognosis for the Siegfried and Roy show, meanwhile, looks grim. Officially, the long-running spectacle has shut down until Christmas. Unofficially, there's talk the tragedy may force it to close for good. read more

Barbra Streisand: The Way She Is

Actress. Singer. Director. Writer. Recipient of Grammys, Emmys and Oscars galore. Barbra Streisand has had a remarkable 40-plus-year career that has been plagued by stage fright and, more recently, scathing movie reviews and a perception that she'd rather bash Bush than get out there and sing. But get ready — Babs is back. Her new CD, The Movie Album, hits stores Oct. 14 — the same day she bares her soul to Oprah (check listings). And she faces down James Lipton and his little blue index cards on Inside the Actors Studio, airing on Bravo in December. As these outtakes from her TV Guide interview show, it seems the 61-year-old megastar is finally mellowing — just a little.

TV Guide: This is your 60th album. Why did you decide to make it a CD of nothing but songs from movies?
Barbra Streisand: I've thought about it for a long time. My last two albums (The Esse read more

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