Today's News: Our Take


Question: Jeanette Nolan ...

Question: Jeanette Nolan played Sally Fergus on Gunsmoke. If I remember correctly she had a spinoff show of her own, playing Sally Fergus. If so, are there copies of her show available? — Gene A. Jr., Dunreith, Ind.

Televisionary: None that I was able to locate, Gene, and given the extremely short time the series was on the air, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to come out if I were you.

As you say, Dirty Sally, which debuted on CBS in January 1974, was a Gunsmoke spinoff. (Though again, if you technically define "spinoff" as a show's regular character getting their own series, Dirty Sally was more of a back-door pilot since Nolan's character appeared in only two Gunsmoke episodes.)

In the show, Nolan played a tough-as-rawhide, bottle-hoisting old lady who was headed for gold in California with her former-gunfighter pal Pike (Dallas's Dack Rambo read more

Question: Whatever happened ...

Question: Whatever happened to that funny show The Wackiest Ship In the Army? My cousin says there was never such a show. I say there was and there was a cute guy with a last name like Smoltz. Who's right in this family melee? — B.J., Carlsbad, N.M.

Televisionary: Why, you are, of course. The Wackiest Ship in the Army ran on NBC's schedule for a year beginning in September 1965.

Based on the true story of the Echo, a sailing ship of questionable seaworthiness given to the U.S. by New Zealand in 1942, the show focused on an old two-mast schooner commanded by the Navy's Gary Collins at sea and the Army's Jack Warden in its home port. (Whichever one wasn't in command reported to the other, and, of course, they didn't agree on much.)

Others in the cast included Rudy Solari, Don Penny, Mike Kellin, Charles Irving, William Zuckert and, as you say, Fred Smoot (though I can't back you up read more

Question: As long as Falcon ...

Question: As long as Falcon Crest was on, was Jane Wyman the only cast member who stuck it out from beginning to end? — Ken S., Loveland, Colo.

Televisionary: Nope, but she was just one of two major stars on the hit nighttime soap when it debuted in December 1981 who made it all the way to the final episode in May 1990. (The other was Lorenzo Lamas and, technically speaking, Wyman missed much of the final season but came back for the series' end.)

Why? Well, as has been the case with many a show sporting a large cast of strong-willed veterans and beautiful newcomers — and to list all of Falcon Crest's players would wear my keyboard out — the turmoil behind the scenes rivaled what ended up on screen.

For starters, Wyman, the Oscar-winning film (Miracle in the Rain, Magnificent Obsession, Johnny Belinda) read more

Question: A simple question: ...

Question: A simple question: How many total episodes of M*A*S*H aired in the 11 years it was on television? No bets, just curious. — Terri, Aurora Ill.

Televisionary: A simple answer: 251. See for yourself in our M*A*S*H ShowGuide.

read more

Question: Who was the guest ...

Question: Who was the guest actress on the Dec. 4 episode of Without a Trace? She played a con artist. — Julie, Syracuse, N.Y.

Televisionary: The woman playing missing confidence woman Whitney Ridder was Jessalyn Gilsig. If she seems familiar, you most likely recognized her from her recent stint as teacher Lauren Davis on Boston Public.

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FEBRUARY SWEEPS, PERHAPS?

Oprah Winfrey has extended an olive branch to David Letterman, just as the duo's very public tiff had started to get ugly. On Friday's Late Show, Letterman announced that Winfrey had finally invited him to appear on her program — an offer he has yet to formally accept. "It can't possibly happen because that would screw up the Super Bowl of Love," he said. "Because here's what would happen: I would go on the Oprah show and I would break down and sob like a little girl." read more

Tim McGraw's Peace Plans

Tim McGraw is quail hunting in Tennessee with his pal Clint Black when he calls. Yes, the man who headlines the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Concert says he's "all about the peace," except when it comes to quails. "It's either us or the coyotes." The concert — airing Dec. 21 on A&E — honors Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist. McGraw, 36, who's married to Faith Hill, says he's thrilled that he was invited to sing. "To think that country music has brought me far enough to do something like this is humbling."


TV Guide Online: Are you a peacenik?
McGraw:
I've got three daughters and a wife, so I've got to make the peace all the time at home. I'm always separating the girls.

TVGO: Will you join the Dixie Chicks and start speaking out against war?
McGraw:
I'm a country sin read more

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

Nearly a month after his arrest, Michael Jackson is expected to be formally charged with multiple counts of child molestation this week. Someone better sedate Jermaine. read more

ON THE MEND

Ozzy Osbourne is once again breathing on his own at a London hospital, where he continues to recover from last week's quad bike accident. read more

GIVE AND TAKE

Moviegoers made love, not war, their genre of choice at the box office this weekend, as the Jack Nicholson-Diane Keaton romance Something's Gotta Give debuted at No. 1 with $17 million. That pushed Tom Cruise's The Last Samurai to second with $14 million, followed by the new Matt Damon-Greg Kinnear conjoined comedy Stuck on You (No. 3 with $10 million) and Love Don't Cost a Thing (No. 4 with $6.5 million). read more

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