Today's News: Our Take

Question: Last year in TV ...

Question: Last year in TV Guide, around Christmastime, you had Heat Miser and the other Miser from the movie The Year Without a Santa Claus. Their faces were on cups. Where can you get those? — Jocelyn, Windham, Maine

Televisionary: Well, if you're thinking of the Year Without a Santa Claus Thermos mugs, you can get them online at Island of Misfit Toys, along with other Year Without-related merchandise. Elsewhere, it looks like Time &#038 Space Toys doesn't have the mugs, but you can find many other items there.

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Question: I remember watching ...

Question: I remember watching an old Bonanza that had a midget as a guest star. It may be the one about Hoss and a leprechaun. Can you tell me his name? Was he in show business, or just in that one show? Thanks. — Phil, New York, N.Y.

Televisionary: It depends on which episode you're talking about, Phil. In the 1963 episode "Hoss and the Leprechauns," in which Hoss (Dan Blocker) meets up with people he thinks are leprechauns but are really rebellious performers from a carnival, two of the guest stars (Harry Monty and Nels Nelson) were actors who'd appeared in The Wizard of Oz nearly three decades before.

But I have a feeling you mean the 1970 episode "It's A Small World," in which a former circus performer (Michael Dunn) leaves his job to settle down in Virginia City and ends up on the wrong side of the law when he can't find work. Dunn, an acclaimed actor, garnered accolades for h read more

Question: I believe there was ...

Question: I believe there was a movie that aired in the '70s depicting the first African-American president. Is this true or was I imagining this? If so, is there a video of it? I would really like to see it. — Steven M., Chicago, Ill.

Televisionary: It sounds to me like you're thinking of The Man, which starred James Earl Jones as the title character. It was produced as a TV-movie, but received a theatrical release in 1972 instead.

Written by Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery) and based on an Irving Wallace novel, the movie's setup featured the convenient death of the sitting president and everyone else in line for the job. (They all bought it when a building collapsed.) I've never seen it myself, but from what I understand simply knowing it exists is more interesting and enjoyable than watching the film itself.

As far as I know, it's not out on VHS or DVD.

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Question: I remember you ...

Question: I remember you covering the ruckus Roseanne used to kick up on her show. What about Brett Butler and Grace Under Fire? Wasn't she bad, too? — Francis J., Provo, Utah

Televisionary: Indeed she was, Francis. Bad enough to get her hit show cancelled after producers couldn't tolerate her tantrums, abuse and assorted acting out any longer.

However, it's not like ABC execs, and producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, didn't know what they were getting into when they signed the tart-tongued southerner to star in Grace Under Fire, a comedy about a divorced mother of three trying to make ends meet by working at an oil refinery after leaving her marriage to an abusive husband (a setup that dr read more


Disney has pulled the plug on its in-the-works animated feature A Few Good Ghosts after deciding that the film was not "universally appealing." The pic, which was to feature a mix of traditional and computer-generated animation, revolved around a group of ghosts inhabiting folk-art dolls. read more

Bachelor Bob Kisses and Tells

Say what you will about The Bachelor's Bob Guiney, but the guy has clocked more lip-locks than Richard Dawson during a Family Feud marathon. And he's got the perfect excuse for all the puckering.

"Truthfully, I'm an affectionate person," insists the man of the hour. "And my thought is, if any of us have dated 10 people in the course of our lives, odds are that we've kissed them... I just had to do mine in six to eight weeks!"

Makes more sense than letting Meredith slip away, but hey. This is a guy who gave the kiss-off to a parade of hot properties over the course of ABC's dating game (Antoinette, hubba, hubba). And now that he's down to only two fair ladies — the knockout Estella and feisty hometown girl Kelly Jo — our unlikely Michigan heartthrob sees his ultimate choice as a win-win situation.

"I think, with a lot of [the women from the show], you couldn't go wrong," he admits diplomatic read more


Frellin' awesome!! As reported in next week's TV Guide magazine, the Jim Henson Company is producing a four-hour Farscape miniseries that will tie up the loose ends left dangling when the cult hit was prematurely axed last year by Sci Fi Channel. "It's an epic conclusion to the series," confides a source. The project — which will reunite leads Ben Browder and Claudia Black — will start shooting in December in Australia. Since the telefilm is unlikely to air on Sci Fi, word is it may be sold into syndication. So there! read more


Ailing soul singer Luther Vandross, who suffered a stroke in April, won two American Music Awards last night. The 52-year-old crooner was named favorite male R&B performer and his latest CD, Dance with My Father, was honored as favorite soul-R&B album. His mother, Mary Vandross, accepted both awards on his behalf. Other winners included 50 Cent (male rap artist and rap album), Missy Elliott (female rap artist), Justin Timberlake (pop album) and Faith Hill (female country performer). For a recap of the evening's highs and lows, read Danny Spiegel's Watercooler column. read more

She-Wolf Prowls Again!

In the 2000 thriller Ginger Snaps, leading lady Katharine Isabelle's transformation from teenage misanthrope to toothsome she-wolf took nearly as long as Michael Jackson's metamorphosis into... well, whatever scary creature he is. So, before she agreed to howl once more in the sequel (due in March '04), she put her paw down. "I made [the producers] promise not to torture me like they did the first time," she tells TV Guide Online. "They were like, 'Okay, we'll only have, you know, maybe one contact lens and one fingernail, but nothing crazy.'"

The insanity, it turned out, was all saved for the Ginger Snaps 2 plot, in which Isabelle's ill-fated lycanthrope character, the titular Ginger, haunts her institutionalized younger sibling, Brigitte — herself a sure bet to lead a dog's life. "But I'm still dea read more


Showtime isn't waiting until '04 to broadcast The Reagans, the controversial telepic that CBS chickened out of airing. The network announced today that the made-for-TV movie will run Nov. 30 at 8 pm/ET. "We have the utmost respect for the filmmakers of The Reagans and are pleased to be airing the movie the way they envisioned it," said Robert Greenblatt, Showtime's President of Entertainment. "They've worked diligently to craft the movie as honestly and balanced as possible." read more

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