Today's News: Our Take

Question: On The Man from ...

Question: On The Man from U.N.C.L.E., what did the acronym T.H.R.U.S.H. stand for? Thank you. — Carol S.

Televisionary: The meaning of the evil international group's name was never revealed on the series, Carol. In fact, it was never made clear that it was an acronym at all. However, in one of the U.N.C.L.E. novels, it was revealed that the syndicate's name stood for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. (Try fitting that on a business card.)

T.H.R.U.S.H. was called W.A.S.P. in the pilot, by the way, but was changed for legal reasons. If you'd like to know what U.N.C.L.E. stood for (and learn all sorts of other fascinating details while you're at it), read my Oct. 23, 2001, column.

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Question: I recently was ...

Question: I recently was playing Trival Pursuit and got a question that said Kelsey Grammer is one of the few actors to have played the same role on three different shows (in his case, Dr. Frasier Crane). I was wondering what the third show was, besides Cheers and Frasier. Thanks for your help! — R.S., Boston, Mass.

Televisionary: Actually, that's old info. The third show the game's researchers were thinking of was Wings, a 1992 episode of which ("Planes, Trains and Visiting Cranes") featured Dr. Crane. (That particular guest work earned the actor an Emmy nomination.) But the character also appeared in a 1995 episode of The John Larroquette Show, bringing the grand total to four.

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Question: My wife and I have ...

Question: My wife and I have a bet, with the loser making dinner for two Friday nights in a row. What was Danny Thomas's real name? Thank you for your help. — Jason W.

Televisionary: There are technically two correct answers to that one, Jason. Here's hoping yours is one of them (I always try to root for whichever warring party takes the time to write).

Thomas was born Amos Jacobs, which was the anglicization of his Arabic name, Muzyad Yahkoob (his parents were Lebanese immigrants), in 1914. And that wasn't the only interesting detail of his birth: A veterinarian delivered him in a barn on the family's Deerfield, Mich., farm during a violent snowstorm. (It seems his mother went into labor while watering the horses and couldn't be moved back to the house because of the weather.)

Sound like a tough life? It got tougher. When Thomas was only four months old, his dad bet the read more


Kevin Kline is playing gay again. The actor — who fell for Tom Selleck in 1997's In & Out — will portray composer and songwriter Cole Porter in De-Lovely, a big-screen biopic to be directed by Irwin Winkler. According to Variety, the film will focus on how a gay man found his musical inspiration from the woman he married. (Insert proverbial Liza Minnelli-David Gest joke here.) read more


The WB has finally put Dawson's Creek out of its misery. On Sunday, the network announced that the dried-up teen drama would end its five-year run in May. (Teenage girls everywhere are asking themselves: Ohmigod! Was that still on the air?) A two-hour finale airs May 14, after which James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson will begin weighing offers from Celebrity Mole and Surreal Life. read more

Scott Foley's Felicity Heartache

Still suffering from Felicity withdrawal? You're not alone. Scott Foley, who spent the better part of the last four years crushing on Keri Russell's angst-ridden alter ego, admits he grieved long and hard following the WB drama's swan song last May.

"I'm embarrassed to tell you this, but I'll let the cat out of the bag: I watched that final scene — the montage with the Sarah McLachlan song 'I Will Remember You' — probably 30 times over the course of two weeks," he confesses to TV Guide Online. "It just makes me so sad. I finally had to erase it from my Tivo and I haven't watched an episode since. I had to cut the cord.

"Shooting that final scene was one of the hardest days of my life," he adds. "We were all bawling our eyes out. I' read more


MTV issued an apology to the people of India on Friday for offending them with its new comedy Clone High, USA, which features a "horny" character named "Gandhi." The series is set at a fictional high school populated by clones of historic figures. MTV said it has the "the utmost respect for Gandhi," adding that Clone High was intended only for an American audience "where this form of comedy is common." In a related aside, I'm still bitter that Gandhi won the Oscar for best film over E.T. in 1982. read more


Veteran record producer Phil Spector was arrested today on suspicion of homicide after a woman's corpse was found in a suburban Los Angeles home. The 62-year-old Spector is best known for producing such hit musical acts as Tina Turner and the Ramones. He also produced the last Beatles album, Let It Be, in 1970. read more


Buoyed by a special supersized Friends, NBC handily won the first night of February sweeps on Thursday. The Emmy-winning sitcom attracted 25.6 million viewers, making it the evening's second most-watched show behind CBS's CSI, which drew 27.5 million crime-scene addicts. read more


Following Saturday's tragic space shuttle disaster, Paramount Pictures quickly pulled trailers for its upcoming movie The Core from theaters. The promo for the sci-fi thriller, which stars Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhart, showed a space shuttle in jeopardy. The studio, however, still plans to release the film on March 28. read more

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