Today's News: Our Take


Question: Who portrays Terry ...

Question: Who portrays Terry Tate, office linebacker, in the new Reebok commercials? He looks like a player. Did he ever play football? If so, where? — Eddie C., Norcross, Ga.

Televisionary: Lester Speight, who goes by the name Rasta, was an all-American at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md., before playing for the USFL's Baltimore Stars and the NFL's New York Giants. And I'll give him this: It may have been the ad route, but he found his own way to the Super Bowl just the same.

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Question: Wasn't Spider-Man ...

Question: Wasn't Spider-Man on Sesame Street during the 1970s? I remember that this Spider-Man had no voice and only talked in words that were shown on the TV screen. — Kevin S.

Televisionary: It sounds like you're thinking of the most excellent Electric Company, Kevin — the Children's Television Workshop show intended to serve kids who'd outgrown Sesame Street. Produced for five seasons and aired during the '70s and early '80s, the show included a live-action segment called "The Adventures of Spidey," which utilized the webslinger's popularity to sneak some learning into kids' heads. (I know because, despite what my wife says, I was one of them.)

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Question: Checking out TV ...

Question: Checking out TV Guide's prime-time listings from the past, I came up with The Gene Autry Show in 1954 and then The Adventures Of Champion in 1955. I mentioned to my wife that it might be the first spinoff and she insists that the first was The Andy Griffith Show. Who's right? I'd sure like to show her up for a change. She thinks she's never wrong. — James P., Las Vegas, Nev.

Televisionary: Why, doesn't she know about the uncanny phenomenon of the person who bothers to write me always being correct? Survey says... she does not. This oughtta put her firmly in her place, then, James, because you're right by the margin of a few shows.

Going by the standard that prompted so many readers of my Jan. 28 column to write in and argue (and I'm sticking with it since, again, it's my column), we'll define a pur read more

Question: Is Sopranos and ...

Question: Is Sopranos and Kingpin director Allen Coulter any relation to conservative blowhard Anne Coulter? — Mary, Baltimore, Md.

Televisionary: Now, Mary, that's a political value judgment and since this isn't a political column — and people get very testy with me whenever I stray into that arena — I have to stress that's your term, not mine. However, just so no one gets confused with any other Anne Coulter, I'll adopt your terminology for convenience's sake and point out once again that we're discussing the "conservative blowhard" one.

Anyway, Allen Coulter, who, as you pointed out, has directed episodes of Kingpin and The Sopranos as well as Sex and the City, Michael Hayes, Millennium and read more

MORE JACKO

If you missed Michael Jackson's 90-minute career killer last Thursday on ABC, you're in luck. VH1 will rebroadcast Living With Michael Jackson Saturday at 9 pm/ET, Sunday at 8 pm/ET and Monday at 10 pm/ET. ABC, meanwhile, is in talks to secure another airing of the British documentary later this week. Speaking of Jacko, USA Network is developing an unauthorized TV movie based on his life. Can't wait to see who they cast in the title role. read more

Question: Whatever happened ...

Question: Whatever happened to the dinosaurs that ran on ABC back in the early '90s? It was my favorite show, and I especially loved the baby dinosaur. And who did his voice? — Mark S., Westmont, N.J.

Televisionary: After launching in April 1991, Dinosaurs went, well... the way of the dinosaurs in July 1994. And Baby Sinclair was voiced by Kevin Clash, whose r&#233sum&#233 includes, among other characters, Sesame Street's Elmo (including the ubiquitous "Tickle Me Elmo" doll of the mid-'90s), a gig that won him Emmy gold, and Splinter, the master of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Question: I loved Growing ...

Question: I loved Growing Pains when I was a kid. My question is, didn't Alan Thicke have a talk show before he played Jason Seaver? — Paul G., Milton, Ala.

Televisionary: That he did, Paul, though TV history has been kind enough to paper over the failure of the heavily touted, syndicated Thicke of the Night with even more notable talk-show crashes, such as efforts by Chevy Chase, Magic Johnson and, I predict, Jimmy Kimmel. Thicke's much-ballyhooed effort was promoted as a Carson killer, and when it debuted in 1983, some stations even read more

DADDY DEAREST

Michael Jackson's nose is still out of joint over that frightening (and highly rated) British documentary in which he told Martin Bashir that he sometimes lets children sleep in his bed — and he's not taking the matter lying down. Jacko plans to release a video of Bashir praising Jackson's skills as a parent, which would seemingly contradict statements the journalist made during the 90-minute piece. The extra footage was shot during the making of the documentary. According to a statement released by the singer's camp, "The film shows extraordinary scenes of Martin Bashir praising the way Michael treats children and commenting on how good a father he is." Here's my two cents: Any child that disses Razzie nominee Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones — as little Prince Michael did — can't be all that messed up. Speaking of which. read more

MADONNA CAN SLEEP IN

Academy Award nominations will be announced this morning at 8:30 am/ET live on ABC, and insiders are predicting that Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Pianist will be the five films nominated for best picture. Dark horse contenders include Adaptation, Far From Heaven and About Schmidt. read more

BY GEORGE, HE'S ANGRY

Wanna tick George Clooney off? Say something bad about Solaris, his recent sci-fi romance that flopped at the box office. At a press conference over the weekend at the Berlin Film Festival, a journalist called Solaris "boring" to Clooney's face. The actor's response? "I find you fascinating," he scowled. "You crack me up, man. You just wanted to get up and be a rat, you know that? You just wanted to get up and say something rotten. What a jerk! I mean honestly, you know, what a [expletive] thing to say!" I guess this would be a bad time to tell him that he made a lousy Batman. read more

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