Today's News: Our Take


Question: I read a recent ...

Question: I read a recent question about The Electric Company [second short answer in the Feb. 11 column] and got to wondering. I know Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno did stints on the show, but were there any other famous faces? — Alex S., Somerset, N.J.

Televisionary: Why, sure. Bill Cosby played Ken Kane and the Ice Cream Man, among other characters. Gene Wilder was the voice of Letterman, and Joan Rivers narrated those segments.

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Question: Near the end of the ...

Question: Near the end of the Feb. 9 episode of American Dreams, Roxanne's date sings her a song. What was it? Thank you. Terry O., Bettendorf, Iowa

Televisionary: According to NBC, the song is called "An American Folk Song" and is not credited to any one person. (Oh, and for Kathy in Evansville, Ill., that was Vanessa Carlton playing Dusty Springfield in the same episode.)

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Question: Can you please tell ...

Question: Can you please tell me what that great song is that plays in the Saturn Ion commercial with the kids on slides and the guy driving down the street with the sign that says "now leaving childhood"? Thanks. — Laura, Paramus, N.J.

Televisionary: That I can, Laura. That's the Walkmen's "We've Been Had," which you can find on their album Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone. (Worth noting: three of the band's members used to be part of Jonathan Fire Eater, a big-buzz N.Y. group who went to nothing before meeting with any of their much-predicted success.)

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Question: I won't be the ...

Question: I won't be the first and I won't be the last, but regardless, I have to tell you I love your column. Please ignore the writer who didn't even have enough courage to sign his/her name. Please keep up the great work! — Tommy M., High Point, N.C.

Televisionary: Thank you very much, Tommy — and thanks, too, to everyone who wrote in with their words of support. (And for those of you scratching your heads right now, this is in reference to the last question in the Feb. 18 column.)

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LIVING WITH LITIGATION

Michael Jackson's lawyers are seeking a court order to block the release of unused footage from Martin Bashir's now-legendary Living with Michael Jackson documentary. Jackson claims Bashir and production company Granada "breached the terms on which he was permitted to film Jackson." Yoo-hoo... Yoo-hoo... The damage is done, dude. read more

Question: I was wondering ...

Question: I was wondering about a series called Rags to Riches. I think Tisha Campbell from My Wife and Kids was in it. When did it run and who were the other actors involved? Please, I need to know! This has been bothering me for a long time! — Pam H., Lincoln, Neb.

Televisionary: Rags to Riches ran from March 1987 to September 1988. Set in the early '60s, it centered around five orphans who were adopted by unmarried millionaire Nick Foley (Joseph Bologna), who for some reason thought having them around would be good for business. (Hey, it's TV — and did I mention it was a musical?)

As you say, Ms. Campbell played young Marva, one of the adopted orphans. The others were played by read more

SPEAKING OF JOE MILLIONAIRE...

Buoyed by an above-average Joe as well as the return of American Idol, Fox claimed its first ever sweeps-month victory among adults 18-49. CBS, meanwhile, was tops in total viewers. February sweeps concludes Wednesday, at which point we can all resume normal living. And for me, that means watching TV and eating. read more

Question: When was the ...

Question: When was the mini-series Centennial first broadcast? — Anthony J., Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

Televisionary: NBC first broadcast the 24-hour epic from October 1978 to February 1979, Anthony. Then it reran it the following year because an actors' strike turned the programming faucet off for a while.

As you and other fans may well know, the sweeping tale, which followed the doings in a piece of territory near the Rockies from the late 1700s through the 1970s, helped employ a large chunk of the Screen Actors Guild membership. (Well, not really, but you get my drift.) Stars included the aforementioned Richard Chamberlain (who apparently was requird by law to appear in every network mini-series of the time), Robert Conrad, Raymond Burr, read more

Question: This may qualify as ...

Question: This may qualify as one of the most boring questions you've ever gotten, but I hope you'll humor me. Talking about today's hour-long dramas, my husband and I got into some of the oldies, like Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare. He insisted Dr. Kildare was a half-hour soap, but I say it was an hour. Who's correct? Thanks. — Rose R., Newark, N.J.

Televisionary: You both are, Rose, though the show was an hour long for the majority of its September 1961 to August 1966 run on NBC (and was a drama rather than a soap).

The character of Dr. James Kildare, which first appeared in a Cosmopolitan short story written by Max Brand, anchored a radio read more

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS

The Grammy ratings are in, and Nielsen estimates that 24.9 million viewers watched Alicia Keys make a fool of herself — and completely diss co-presenter Cyndi Lauper — during CBS's telecast Sunday night. That's up 31 percent from last year's kudocast. For a rundown of the major winners, click here. read more

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