Today's News: Our Take

Question: There was a cartoon ...

Question: There was a cartoon on in the '70s that featured a dog that could turn invisible. I thought it was called The Ghostchasers, but I could be mistaken. Any idea of the name and if there is somewhere that I could obtain copies? — Staci S., Nottingham, Md.

Televisionary: Continuing with this animated discussion (sorry), you're thinking of ABC's Goober and the Ghost Chasers, which aired Saturday mornings on ABC for two seasons beginning in September 1973. (Only the first year included new episodes, however, — season two was all repeats.)

Essentially a Scooby-Doo retread, the show featured a team of kids sniffing out supernatural doings for a magazine called Ghost Chasers. Their dog Goober turned invisible (except for his hat) when frightened — which was most of the time — and all his legs bent like a human being's for some reason, which bothered me a lot when I was a kid. What bothers me as an adult is that the carto read more

Question: Tom Selleck was ...

Question: Tom Selleck was known for a cologne before he got big on Magnum, P.I.. What was the cologne? — Robert C., Vermillion, S.D.

Televisionary: That'd be Chaz, Robert, though Selleck's poster-boy looks weren't what landed him a starring role on a hit detective show. No, it was a guest-starring role in a hit detective show that did that.

Selleck — who was already making a living doing commercials, guest work on TV shows, a few movies and a year-and-a-half stint on The Young and the Restless — played impossibly perfect private eye Lance White in a 1978 Rockford Files episode. The character, and the actor playing him, proved popular enough with fans that CBS and Universal, which produced Rockford, decided to give Selleck his own vehicle. So they dug up Magnum, an old script about a private detective in Hawaii, and figured the timi read more

Question: Why are sitcoms ...

Question: Why are sitcoms always a half-hour long and dramas an hour long? — Andrew, Woodbridge, Va.

Televisionary: Well, I can give you a very general opinion because that's not always the rule. (Ally McBeal, for example, was called a dramedy and ran an hour per episode, but competed in the Emmys comedy category.) Overall, though, it has to do with story format. Sitcoms are joke- and dialogue-based, and are primarily concerned with packing each episode with as many funny lines and gags as possible (their scripts also require a higher per-minute page count than dramas because of the faster pacing). That's tough enough to pull off for 30 minutes on a weekly basis, never mind an hour. Dramas, on the other hand, are more story- and character-based and, thus, usually require more time to tell the tale. Again, that's just generally speaking.

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Question: I seem to remember ...

Question: I seem to remember there being a cartoon version of the movie Fantastic Voyage, only none of the characters from the film were in it. I can't find any references to it. Can you tell me the name of the show and the dates it was on? — Susan W., Sante Fe, N.M.

Televisionary: Indeed I can, Susan. The show was called, of all things, Fantastic Voyage, and it ran on ABC's Saturday-morning schedule for two years beginning in September 1968.

Taking the concept behind the 1966 film and running with it, the show centered on the exploits of the Combined Miniature Defense Force (CMDF), a group of hero scientists and explorers who would shrink to microscopic size to go on missions impossible for life-size folks.

Ted Knight (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) provided voices for several of the characters on the Filmation production, including eyepatch-wearing command read more

Question: Is actress Rachael ...

Question: Is actress Rachael Stirling related to Patrick Macnee (The Avengers)? My friend thinks they look alike. — Alex, New York, N.Y.

Televisionary: Close — and it's an interesting guess, considering Ms. Stirling, a featured player on the BBC's Tipping the Velvet, is the daughter of Macnee's Avengers co-star, Diana Rigg. Her dad is Rigg's ex-husband, Scottish landowner Archibald Hugh Stirling.

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Question: Did the show Skin ...

Question: Did the show Skin get cancelled? It hasn't been aired for a couple of weeks. Thanks. — Don C., Chandler, Ariz.

Televisionary: Skin got skinned, Don. Sorry. And sorry, too, to the fans of Boomtown, Luis, L.A. Dragnet, The Lyon's Den, Coupling, Tarzan, The Mullets and The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire who keep writing in. Those are gone, too. (For more on the demise of Skin, see our Nov. 24 Robins Report.)

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Tori Spelling Goes Bad

Tori Spelling jokes are so yesterday. Sure, she was given her big break by her father — uberproducer Aaron Spelling — on Beverly Hills, 90210, but that was, like, 14 years ago. Since then, the actress, 30, has paid her dues in independent films and on stage, and has made enough TV movies to earn her a Lifetime (Television for Women) Achievement Award — all on her own. Next up, the notorious good girl goes bad as a female Scrooge in the Hallmark Channel's holiday entry, A Carol Christmas (airing Sunday at 8 pm/ET). And you can bet that Pops had nothing to do with getting Tori this interview.

TV Guide Online: What's a good Jewish girl like you doing starring in a Christmas movie?
Tori Spelling: (Laughs) I know. My friends were like, "Do they know you're Jewish?" read more

Punch Drunk Paul Walker

Childhood friends of Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious) enjoy some nifty fringe benefits. On the Montreal set of Timeline, several lucky pals had the chance to work alongside him.

"[My friends] are in between jobs and that kind of thing, and everyone wants to see what it is like to be on a movie set," Walker tells TV Guide Online. "So I just kind of have this neverending circle of people coming in. They work as an assistant for a couple of months, and then they go off and do their own thing."

Walker admits that employing his buddies isn't a completely selfless act. "I have a hard time being away," the 30-year-old hottie sighs. "I was born and raised in Southern California, and my family is there. Everyone I care about is pretty much there. When I am away on location, I have a tendency to get real homesick. So at least I've got m read more

Making Sense of 21 Grams

If you thought Kill Bill, Vol. 1 was tough to follow, just wait until you see 21 Grams, the new movie from Mexican filmmaker Alejandro GonzálezIñárritu. Like his previous work, the critically acclaimed Amores Perros, 21 Grams is an ensemble drama featuring three separate storylines that frequently overlap. This time around, however, the movie unfolds entirely out of sequence; scenes from the end of the flick appear at the beginning, and vice versa. It's disorienting at first, but once you get used to the film's odd rhythm, it all starts to make a strange kind of sense.

So whose bright idea was it to make a movie this way? "I wrote the script with this kind of structure," says the film's screenwriter, Guillermo Arriaga, who also penned Amores Perros read more


Here's a "TV News" scoop from the new issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale now): President Palmer's duplicitous former wife is clocking back in on 24. Although a show spokesman had no comment, a source close to the Fox drama confirms that Penny Johnson Jerald will return as Sherry for "multiple episodes" beginning soon after the new year. read more

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