Today's News: Our Take

Question: Please settle ...

Question: Please settle something that's bugged me since I was a kid. Was there one Lassie or several? Thanks you for your time and for your column, which I enjoy. — Barry W., Joliet, Ill.

Televisionary: Since the first Lassie movie, Lassie Come Home, came out in 1943 and the original series ceased being syndicated in 1974, Barry, I'll assume you know they weren't using a 30-something dog towards the end and are really asking if more than one collie was used at any one time. While I can't tell you the exact number of doggies used over the property's run, I can say for sure that when Lassie debuted on CBS in September 1954, trainer Rudd Weatherwax was using five dogs. And, incidentally, they were all males.

It all started in 1938 when En read more

Question: Who played the ...

Question: Who played the ghost in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir? — Sue H., Redmond, Wash.

Televisionary: That was Edward Mulhare playing the ghostly Capt. Daniel Gregg opposite Hope Lange's Mrs. Muir on the comedy, which ran on NBC for a year beginning in September 1968, then jumped to ABC for another year. (Those roles were originally filled by Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney in the movie version, which was released in 1947.)

If you're a regular small-screen fan, Sue (and I assume you are since you read the column), you may remember the late Mr. Mulhare as the dashing Devon Miles on Knight read more

Question: On the old Ozzie ...

Question: On the old Ozzie and Harriet TV show, Ozzie was always around the house. Did he have a job? What did he do?

Televisionary: His job was hanging around the house, apparently. The show never really revealed what Ozzie's job was, although there was a reference to his having been an orchestra leader (his former vocation in real life) in one episode. For more about the show, see my March 20, 2001 column.

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Question: I recently heard ...

Question: I recently heard that Glenn Quinn passed away at age 32. I have not been able to find out why he died so young. Do you have any information about his passing? I'd appreciate anything you could tell me. — Sandi

Televisionary: Quinn, a former Roseanne player and an original Angel cast member before his character, the half-demon Doyle, was written out of of the series, was found dead of a possible drug overdose in a friend's North Hollywood home, according to reports. At the time of this writing, toxicology tests haven't been completed. Sad news either way.

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Question: Who sang the theme ...

Question: Who sang the theme song for Cheers? — Lisa R.

Televisionary: The popular Cheers theme, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name," was sung by co-writer Gary Portnoy, who penned the tune with Judy Hart Angelo. If you're looking for it on CD you'll find it on TV Guide's 50 All-Time Favorite TV Themes, which is item TVG1236 in the TV Guide Store. (And no, I don't get a commission for that, smarty.)

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Question: I love Firefly, and ...

Question: I love Firefly, and am absolutely in love with Adam Baldwin. Can you tell me what else he's been in? Thanks. — R.D., Iowa City, Iowa

Televisionary: That I can. On TV, you've probably spotted him as X-Files soldier Knowle Rohrer or as astronaut Fred Haise in HBO's most excellent From the Earth to the Moon.

On the big screen, his more memorable roles (in my humble opinion) include hulking student hero Ricky Linderman in My Bodyguard and Animal Mother in Full Metal Jacket. You may also have caught him in Independence Day, The Chocolate War or Ordinary People.

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Sean Astin's Fond Fellowship

The Lord of the Rings cast has no complaints about behind-the-scenes tension and diva 'tudes. After spending a year and a half together filming in remote New Zealand, they've formed the kind of friendships we only thought possible in summer camp! In a true test of the fellowship, the hobbits' portrayers stay in touch, even in between the re-shoots and promotional events they've done since Rings's main production wrapped in 2001. In fact, Sean Astin (Sam) says he can hardly get away from these guys!

"Dom [Monaghan, Merry] lives with my brother [Mackenzie] — they're roommates in Los Angeles, and I sold him my car this year, so I see Dom all the time," Astin says. "Elijah [Wood] and I'll go to movies. I saw Ian McKellen when I was up in Toronto shooting [a TV pilot], and he was shooting X-Men II. We went to a play."

Monaghan and Billy Boyd (Pippin) — an inseparable hobbit pair on-screen read more

Mena Suvari: Hip to be Square

Mena Suvari — best known as Kevin Spacey's fantasy girl in American Beauty — went retro for her prostitute role in Sonny (opening Dec. 27). The film, which marks Nic Cage's directorial debut, is set waaay back in the early '80s. It's novel for the 23-year-old actress, who wasn't old enough to fully experience that time first hand.

"I loved that it was a period film," Suvari enthuses. "I loved the costumes and the hair and makeup design that I got to play with."

Only someone who didn't actually wear these "period" clothes the first time around could be that thrilled over Sonny's wardrobe. Like a little girl who's raided her mother's closet, she happily trills: "I loved the black skintight pants with the little collar and the hot pink [accents]. It was so rocker chic."

Suvari even traded her normally neat coif for feathered bangs, and she really liked it. "I got so into the hairstyle that I w read more


Thanks to guest host Al Gore, Saturday Night Live scored its highest ratings in nearly a year over the weekend. Among the show's highlights: Gore making out with wife Tipper for almost three minutes and a Bachelor parody in which the onetime V.P. shared a hot tub with Sen. Joe Lieberman (as played by Chris Parnell). Gore's real showstopper, however, came Sunday on 60 Minutes, when he announced that he wouldn't run for president in 2004. read more

Sandra Bullock Wants to Retire

Enough already! Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant are sick of fending off rumors of a real-life romance. Still, they clearly adored playing lovebirds in Two Weeks Notice (opening Friday). Their easy banter and offbeat chemistry is reminiscent of classic duos like Astaire and Rogers or Tracy and Hepburn. But unlike those famous twosomes, Bullock tells TV Guide Online, this pair doesn't plan to milk their chemistry by making a slew of films together.

"I've had the best with Hugh," says the actress, who also co-produced Two Weeks. "I would work with Hugh 24-7. So I feel kind of sad that, right now, I don't want to work for a long time. I have no desire to work. And I think it's because this experience has been so fulfilling on levels that I've never had before that I don't want to go on to something else and treat it poorly because the good relationship has already happened [between us]."

After building her read more

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