Today's News: Our Take


HE'S A FREE MAN

It was a good news/bad news situation for singer Bobby Brown on Monday. The good news: He was freed from an Atlanta jail three days ahead of schedule. The bad news: He was sprung in order to appear at a paternity suit hearing Wednesday in Boston... and his wife's in rehab, and his career is in the toilet, and... read more

Question: My wife and I were ...

Question: My wife and I were talking about how much weight Al Roker and other heavy celebrities have lost and I got to thinking about Raymond Burr, who starred in Perry Mason. Didn't he lose a tremendous amount of weight at one time? — Lawrence F., Taos, N.M.

Televisionary: That's part of what got him the role, Lawrence. And it was before the days of gastic-bypass surgery, too.

Having grown up being teased about his size, 340-pound Burr hit Hollywood after serving in the Navy in World War II and decided to do something about his weight. With the same single-mindedness he brought to his roles and nearly all other aspects of his life, he shut himself up in a fleabag motel and subsisted on 750 calories a day, eating mainly cottage cheese and other low-cal foods. Six months later, he emerged a trim 210 — not a bad number for a large-framed man who stood 6-foot-2½.

From there his fil read more

THE NEXT SONNY AND CHER?

ABC will air The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour, starring — you guessed it — Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, on April 11. The hour-long show will feature musical performances, special guests and comedy sketches. read more

BAD TASTE

Eighties rock band Great White, whose pyrotechnics display sparked a Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people, insists it has nothing to do with a recently released cover album titled Burning House of Love. Great White's manager says the record company, Horizon Italy, is trying to capitalize on the band's current notoriety. The group is reportedly mulling a lawsuit. read more

Question: I would like to ...

Question: I would like to know the title and availability of a TV-movie about some women who were abused by a man in Nazi Germany and kill him years later. Each admits that they killed him alone, so no one can be convicted. I believe Angie Dickinson and Loretta Swit were in it. Can you help me? — Tim P., Charleston, W.V.

Televisionary: I'll help as much as possible, Tim. You're thinking of The Execution, a 1985 TV-movie in which Dickinson, Swit, Barbara Barrie, Jessica Walter and Sandy Dennis realize a local restaurateur (Rip Torn) is the Nazi doctor who tormented them when they were young girls in a concentration camp. They then, as you say, set about plotting his murder.

I know the film has been released on both VHS and DVD, but I wasn't able to find it in current U.S. release. You might do some snooping on your own with a local or online retailer to see if you can track one down, however, or try an online auctio read more

Question: Can you tell me the ...

Question: Can you tell me the name of the song playing in the commercial for Wonderfalls? I believe the word "holiday" might be in there, but I can't tell. It seems familiar, and I'd love to know what it is. Thanks. — Julia, Chicago, Ill.

Televisionary: That I can, Julia. That's the Polyphonic Spree's "Section 1 (Overture, Holiday)" and you'll find it on their album The Beginning Stages Of... (Hollywood Records).

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Question: I was wondering: On ...

Question: I was wondering: On the series Murphy Brown, did they ever disclose the identity of the father of Murphy's baby? If so, who was it? — Alex S., Fresno, Calif.

Televisionary: They did indeed. It was Murphy's ex-husband, Jake (Robin Thomas). The baby was conceived when Murphy and Jake had a brief return to physical relations and Jake was willing to remarry her, but she turned him down.

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Bernie Mac I'm with "Mr. Mac."...

Bernie Mac
I'm with "Mr. Mac." I betta not walk into a kindergarten class and hear a bunch of 5-year-olds calling the teachers by their first names. And I'm all for "developmental programs." There are just some lines of respect you don't cross. And allowing Baby Girl to address grown-ups as if they were equals is one of them.

Still Standing
In an attempt to teach his son to chill, Bill ends up corrupting a brainy minor by showing Brian that you can just slip by in life without too much effort. Hmmm. I used to not get this show. (Jami Gertz as a mother of three? ) But I get it now. Still Standing is trying to be the new Roseanne — a funny tale of barely blue-collar parents trying to raise their kids right. Well, it's got the ring-around-the-collar crowd right. But when it comes to funny situations... it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. (Yeah, that's me using a little French.)

The UPS Commercial read more

Question: A few years ago on ...

Question: A few years ago on CBS they had a series my family really enjoyed, Now and Again. The lead-in voice who narrated the story line was that of a husky-sounding older man, but my mom and I could never figure out who was speaking. Can you tell us whose mysterious voice that was? Also, why did the series go away? Was it poor viewership? It was probably one of the more interesting series on during that time. — Robin B., Patterson, Calif.

Televisionary: First things first, Robin. The voice in question was that of actor Charles Durning, whose introduction filled viewers in on the setup at the beginning of several episodes.

As for why the show went away, it was a question of basic TV economics. Too few people watched the show for CBS to justify paying its reportedly stiff production expenses. In this case, quality cost quite a bit and the economics just didn't work out. Of course, airing on Friday nights, n read more

Question: I was wondering if ...

Question: I was wondering if you could tell me who plays the principal on Joan of Arcadia. — Catherine, Ypsilanti, Mich.

Televisionary: Sure thing. Morocco Omari plays Principal Stephen Chadwick on the hit CBS series. You may also have caught him in guest appearances on such shows as Dragnet, Angel, Judging Amy and The District. (And to answer your next question, Vice Principal Gavin Price is played by Patrick Fabian.)

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