Today's News: Our Take


FAREWELL

Tough-guy actor Charles Bronson, best known for the popular Death Wish film franchise, died of pneumonia on Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 81. According to reports, Bronson had Alzheimer's disease and had been hospitalized since suffering organ failure in early August. A private memorial will be held this week. read more

Question: A few years ago ...

Question: A few years ago there was a police series with a main character who was a Chinese police officer on loan from Hong Kong. TV Guide described him as a man who "looks like Humpty Dumpty and moves like Spider-Man." What was the name of the series, who was the actor and what other parts has he played? I really enjoyed the series and was sorry it was not renewed. — Bernice, Port Allegany, Pa.

Televisionary: You're thinking of CBS's Martial Law, which starred the roly-poly but lethal Sammo Hung as a Chinese cop working with the L.A.P.D. His English wasn't so hot (no stretch there — neither is Hung's), but he kicked butt with ease. Along for the ride were Kelly Hu as fellow cop Chen Pei Pei (later known as Grace Chen), and read more

Question: I have been trying ...

Question: I have been trying to find a song I heard on a repeat episode of Beverly Hills 90210. It was played in the "Graduation" episode and it was one of the last songs played as they were driving down to look at the "Class of '93" sign they put up on the Hollywood hill. The main chorus went something like, "don't forget, blood is thicker than water." Who sings the song, and where can it be found? — Carrie Anne, Virginia Beach, Va.

Televisionary: The 1993 episode, "Commencement" (a two-parter, actually), included The Triplets' "Blood is Thicker Than Water." You'll find it on the band's album (surprise!) Thicker Than Water.

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BOBBY SPRUNG

After spending a week in an Atlanta jail on a parole violation, singer Bobby Brown was released Friday on good behavior. Judge Calvin Graves praised Brown as a good role model with a "wonderful wife." Seconds later, Ashton Kutcher allegedly appeared and declared the singer officially "Punk'd!" read more

Question: Was there ever an ...

Question: Was there ever an ending episode for The Guns of Will Sonnett, which ran from 1967 to 1969? And are there any episodes on video? — Stephen M., Bolingbrook, Ill.

Televisionary: Not officially. At the end of the second season, Will Sonnett (The Real McCoys's Walter Brennan) and his grandson (Dallas's Dack Rambo) finally tracked down the kid's gunfighter dad (Jason Evers) and convinced him to go straight and work with them on the right side of the law. But ABC cancelled the read more

Question: Help! I've been ...

Question: Help! I've been trying to figure out the lyrics to the theme from Here Come the Brides. While we're at it, what's the history of this theme song? I know Perry Como sang a version with similar lyrics. He never sang the theme, did he? Also, I'd appreciate any of your brilliant insight into this show. Thanks for any info! — Barry

Televisionary: Don't thank me yet — I can only get you part of the way there, to be perfectly honest. When the ABC series launched in September 1968, it boasted only an instrumental version of Hugo Montenegro, Ernie Sheldon and Jack Keller's "Seattle." In October, Como did indeed record a ve read more

Question: In your Aug. 19 ...

Question: In your Aug. 19 column you mentioned the Nathan Laneseries Encore, Encore; but what was that very (and perhaps mercifully) short-lived series about Nathan being a gay congressman? — Randall, Hollister, Cal.

Televisionary: Jeez, Randall. Forgotten already? CBS only pulled the show at the end of June. Then again, judging by Charlie Lawrence's low ratings, it didn't stick with too many other people, either.

Lane, the acclaimed Broadway and film talent, played gay TV star-turned-congressman Charlie on the show, which debuted in mid-June. He was a first-term representative from New Mexico, with Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne, Norm) read more

Question: Was there ever a TV ...

Question: Was there ever a TV version of The Thin Man? If so, who played Nick and Nora? Thank you. — Bill D., Hemet, Cal.

Televisionary: That there was, Bill. NBC ran a version for nearly two years beginning in September 1957. Peter Lawford played Nick, Phyllis Kirk was Nora and Jack Albertson (Chico and the Man) was Lt. Evans (second season only).

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Scoop Uncovered on VMA Red Carpet


Keeping track of who's who on the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards can be a tall order for the most diehard music fans — let alone a journalist whose primary beats are television and film. For every Pamela Anderson and Jason Biggs that whizzed by, there were 16 Simple Plans (Who?). So, what's a dazed reporter to do? Focus on the familiar, avoid the obscure, but never — ever — let them see you sweat.

The first act to make its way down the carpet was British female duo Floetry — not the most recognizable artists around. Luckily, their publicist brought along a stack of flyers chock-full of background information. Turns out, Floetry's Natalie Stewart and Marsha Ambrosius are "the breakthrough story of the year," having landed two VMA nominations for their debut album and single Floetic. Who knew?

What wasn't covered in the flyer, however, was the origin of the duo's unusual name. "A read more

Revealed: The MVPs of MTV's VMAs


At this point in MTV's illustrious history, we just don't get the point of the network's annual Video Music Awards. Seriously — when's the last time you channel-surfed past Martha Quinn's old stomping ground and saw a real, honest-to-God music video? Or a clip that plays out in its entirety? Or even one that isn't interrupted by cut-aways to caterwauling mall rats or obscured by a crawl of unintelligible e-mail? That's what we figured. Don't feel bad, though; we can't remember the last time we saw a real video, either. But, while the VMAs may have become a joke, we still wouldn't have missed their 20th presentation for the chance to turn back the clock all the way to the era in which Madonna was wearing Gautier, not Gap, and the most offensive statement uttered on VH1's twisted sister station was "Wubba, wubba, wubba." After all, we need a good laugh as much as the next guy. And if we had skipped the streetwise ceremony, which aired live last night, we wouldn' read more

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