Today's News: Our Take

Question: You recently ...

Question: You recently answered a question about the show Homefront and mentioned that Harry O'Reilly's character married an English woman and brought her home. I am almost certain she was not English; in fact, I believe she was Italian. I know she was not English because one of the problems they encountered back in the States was her inability to speak English. — Kathy, Skillman, N.J.

Televisionary: I've made mistakes in this column, Kathy, but this wasn't one of them. You're thinking of Gina (Giuliana Santini), the wife of slain soldier Mike Sloan. Gina came home pregnant (with Mike's daughter Emma, who was later born on the show) and, as if that wasn't enough of a complication for her, was tormented by his rich family to boot.

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Question: I was always a big ...

Question: I was always a big Rockford Files fan, but have been looking everywhere for the answer to this question. Was Jim Rockford's dad, Rocky, always played by Noah Beery, or did another actor have the role before him? And as a regular reader of your column, I want to keep the ball of disgruntled actors rolling. I know the show ended with star James Garner suing his studio over money, but were things happy at any time when the show was on? — Boyd F., Sarasota, Fla.

Televisionary: The first part's easy, Boyd. Joseph "Rocky" Rockford, father to ex-con and private eye Jim Rockford, was played by Robert Donley in the show's pilot, and Beery thereafter. (The series ran on NBC from September 1974 to July 1980.) In 1976, Rockford executive producer Meta Rosenberg told TV Guide that Beery was always the first choice for the role, and because I'm not at all cynical despite producers al read more

Question: With the final ...

Question: With the final season of Friends winding down, I have come to realize there are two things missing from the series and I don't believe their absence was ever explained. What happened to the duck and the chick? I don't believe that the writers ever got rid of them like they did the monkey, but instead just phased them out. — Kim, Sacramento, Calif.

Televisionary: As far as I know, the birds' fate has never been explained, Kim. There's a lot of wrapping up to do by the end of the series, but you never know: They just might squeeze that in.

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Question: Mr. Televisionary, ...

Question: Mr. Televisionary, please help me. I'm looking for the original title of an American serial shown in Italy in the late '70s. The Italian title sounded like The Wonderful World of Mr. Monroe and the show involved a comics painter living in a nice house with his wife, a dog and a daughter. Sometimes the human characters were presented as comics Mr. Monroe painted. I can't find anyone among my friends who remembers this. I know I wasn't drunk. Can you help me? I can offer you a fine bottle of Chianti if you bring me back this memory. — Luigi, Firenze, Italy

Televisionary: Ah, Luigi — if only I could accept bribes. Answering you gives me an excuse to do the next best thing, however, so at lunch I plan to run out to the corner liquor store, buy myself a nice bottle, drink the entire thing myself and then tell my boss it's your fault. Sound like a plan?

Anyway, your question brings up a common dilemma I face with this column. I'll write about a gi read more

Question: What was the name ...

Question: What was the name of the cockatoo on the TV show Baretta? — Michelle, Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Televisionary: Fred. But you really don't think I'll let you get away with reading that short an answer, do you?

In real life, Fred was a great-triton cockatoo named Lala which was given to trainer Ray Berwick by U.S. Customs officials who found him mixed in with a bunch of chickens from Hong Kong. (Berwick had to teach him English words since the bird knew only Chinese when he got him.)

As Baretta fans know, Lala could, among other things, say "freeze," answer the phone and say "hello," and drink from a bottle. But such talents didn't come cheap. Even though other birds were used for flying and shoulder-sitting scenes, Fred (well, Berwick) still received $1000 per episode for his troubles.

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Question: In the Nov. 28, ...

Question: In the Nov. 28, 2000, episode of Angel, "The Trial," newly human Darla sings a song at Caritas. Could you please tell me the name of this song? Thanks so much! — Aunjanue, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Televisionary: She sang "Ill Wind (You're Blowing Me No Good)," which has been covered by, among others, Billie Holliday, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. And to my mind, you can't go wrong with any of those versions (other than Darla's, I mean).

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Fox News braggart Bill O'Reilly charged Judging Amy producers a fair and balanced fee for his guest appearance on the May 18 season finale. "He worked for scale," says Amy executive producer Joe Stern in the current issue of TV Guide magazine. "He didn't try and stick us." In the episode, O'Reilly — playing himself — blasts Amy for setting free a would-be killer. Wait until he finds out she voted for Gore. read more

Hugh Jackman's Fear of Success

Aussie transplant Hugh Jackman enjoys big Stateside stardom thanks to his roles as Wolverine in the X-Men movies and Peter Allen in Broadway's The Boy from Oz. Still, the 35-year-old hunk hesitated about taking his latest high-profile part as a supernatural crime-fighter in Van Helsing (opening May 7). Hmm... A fat paycheck for doing a big-budget action flick — what's for a working actor not to like?

"After X-Men 2, I was going to do a smaller independent movie," Jackman says. "I was a bit reluctant to be in another big, franchise-type, summer popcorn movie. I feared to go down that road. They take a long time [to make]. It's a year of your life.

"Then, of course, there could be X-Men 3, then Van Helsing 2," he adds. "That could be my film life. [Van Helsing director] Stephen Sommers told me that I am probably the only actor to worry about being in two successful franchises!"

Jackm read more


Injured Siegfried and Roy illusionist Roy Horn will give his first sit-down interview since October's tiger attack to California first lady Maria Shriver. The exclusive chat will air as part of a 90-minute NBC special this fall. read more

Swan Lays a Fashion Plate

As The Swan's plastic surgeons sharpen their scalpels to transform yet another average Jane into a future Stuff covergirl in tonight's episode (airing at 9 ET on Fox), TV Guide Online catches up with the lipo-lovin' reality series' last overhaul recipient, Kathy R.. We couldn't believe the 27-year-old part-time vacuum-cleaner salesperson really wouldn't pursue her dream career in fashion because she didn't think she looked the part. (Seriously, had she seen Betsey Johnson?) Alas, the Illinois native wasn't kidding. Read on, and see for yourself.

TV Guide Online: Kathy, you do know that in order to be a designer, you don't have to be a model, right?
Kathy R.:
I know. But I always had this preconceived notion that only a certain type of person would be in that type of business. I never really felt like I fit in. I always kind of felt like I had to hold my personality back.

TVGO: But you had a cute boyfriend who a read more

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