Today's News: Our Take

Question: Hi. I remember a TV ...

Question: Hi. I remember a TV show from my childhood with two women who lived in a trailer near Hollywood. They worked as extras in films and tried to break into movies. I think one was a war widow with a young daughter. I believe Virginia Gibson was in it and it was called So This is Hollywood. Can you tell me if I'm remembering correctly? And do you have any more info on this show? Thanks. — Carol from NJ

Televisionary: Why, you've done most of the work for me, Carol, but I'll add what I can. So This is Hollywood was a sitcom that ran on NBC from January 1955 to August of the same year.

One of the stars was indeed Ms. Gibson, whose extra/actress wannabe character Kim Tracy roomed with stunt woman Queenie Dugan (Mitzi Green). Queenie was already over the star game herself, but devoted a chunk of her time to figuring out ways to help Kim break in. Also on the series were Jimmy Lydon as Andy Boone, Kim's agent, and Gordon Jone read more

Question: I hope you can ...

Question: I hope you can answer this: Who played Nick on The Big Valley? It is killing me and my co-workers! We know that Barbara Stanwick was the mother and Linda Evans was Audra. Lee Majors was Heath and Richard Long was Jarrod. I can picture the Nick character always in black, wearing two guns, with wavy hair and striking good looks. But who is he? Thanks. — Judy

Televisionary: Now just you and your co-workers hang on a minute there, Judy. If everyone who wrote in was as well-informed as you, ticking off names of cast members and all, I'd be out of job. But praise be to whoever kept the face behind Nick Barkley out of your noggin, since you still need the ol' Televisionary to ease your troubled mind.

The man's name is Peter Breck and he is, to my mind, one of the more interesting fellas to sit down with a TV Guide reporter since, to hear his tales, there's not a whole lot of difference between him and his in-you read more

A.I.'s Hero Up for Sale

If you were one of the millions of moviegoers who experienced Steven Spielberg's mind-blowing morality tale A.I.: Artificial Intelligence over the weekend, then you no doubt have a whole new appreciation for stuffed plush — thanks to Teddy the bear, Haley Joel Osment's heroic, heartwarming supertoy. Luckily, audiences' love affair with the raspy-voiced plaything won't have to end when the credits roll: Tiger Electronics — the company behind Furby — is hoping to have Teddy dolls on store shelves by late July.

Four versions of Teddy will range in size (four to 15 inches) and price ($4.99 to $29.99), with the larger dolls uttering such phrases as, "I am robot, but I am also teddy," "You have a trusting hand, my friend" and "What's new, super friend?" (The bigger models wo read more

Jackie Collins Sounds Off!

Haven't gotten your fill of fame whores just by watching reality TV? Well then, why not tote the latest Jackie Collins novel, Hollywood Wives, The New Generation, down to the beach this summer? As always, the bestselling author says her fiction is based on real dreamers who've fallen prey to their own celebrity-fueled fantasies.

"I write about people who have nothing and want everything," Collins says. "You take a beautiful young girl: She wins the local beauty contest. She thinks, 'Why can't I be a star? I see Ren&#233e Zellweger — I'm prettier than her. Why can't I go to Hollywood and meet Jim Carrey? Why can't I meet George Clooney?' They come here and what happens is, an attractive older woman will come up to them and say, 'Do you want to sleep with movie stars? Because I can arrange that.' And that's how some of them become hookers. They're being paid to sleep with this guy that they worshipped."

Even if Collins wo read more

Sam Robards's A.I. Scare

As the son of screen legends Lauren Bacall and the late Jason Robards, Sam Robards (American Beauty, Bounce) has spent his entire life in the Hollywood spotlight. Still, the 39-year-old actor cops to being a bit starstruck on the set of Steven Spielberg's mindbending futuristic fantasy, (A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (opening today).

"I'm just a human being like everyone else — I mean, it's Steven Spielberg," he marvels. "He's running DreamWorks. He's making the movie that's [the dream] of Stanley read more

Kirsten Dunst Goes Demure

Has Kirsten Dunst revealed too much? At 18, her shapely form has clearly filled out in all the right places. But now, the actress confesses that she's had second thoughts about serving up the evidence with provocative photo spreads in mags like Details and Maxim — not to mention the daring duds she donned at the MTV Movie Awards.

"It's weird," she says, "because I'm at this place where I'm very comfortable with my own body, but I have this role model thing. I know that some kids do look up to me. Recently, I've been wondering, 'Have I been too sexy?' I think sometimes it's sexier not to show too much, and I think that's where I'm headed now.

"I'm not into showing everything in a magazine anymore," Dunst sums up. "It's like, 'What's the point?' It's not that interesting to reveal all of yourself."

While she's still willing to employ her sexuality when necessary for her art, Dunst reportedly nixed a prolonged nude scene in read more

A.I. Star Lifts Veil of Secrecy

British-born thesp Frances O'Connor may not be a household name, but that's all about to change with the Friday release of Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated futuristic drama A.I: Artificial Intelligence. In the pic, O'Connor — who starred in the 1999 Jane Austen drama Mansfield Park — adopts a robot boy (Haley Joel Osment) and finds her life turned upside down.

Personally, the thirtysomething actress doesn't believe real life will imitate A.I. art anytime soon. "I don't think we'll ever get to the point where we'll recreate people to that level," she says of Osment's eerily lifelike alter ego. "We might, but it won't be for a very long time. I read more

X-Files Heavy Lightens Up

Having played the sinister Cigarette-Smoking Man on The X-Files for seven years, William B. Davis seemed like a natural to guest star on The Outer Limits as a scientist with ethics so dubious that he doesn't think twice about experimenting on a survivor of a nuclear holocaust. Nonetheless, one teensy problem did arise from the veteran villain's casting in the "Worlds Within" episode (airing tomorrow night at 10 pm/ET on the Sci Fi Channel): The way that he approached the character, his ethics seemed — believe it or not — a little too dubious.

"I was seeing him as being committed to resolving the scientific possibilities," the actor explains to TV Guide Online, "and if lives have to collapse in the process, then lives have to collapse.

"But," he adds, "they kind of held me back a little on that. They wanted me to be upset that we were losing out [on the research opportunities in the end], but read more

Haley Joel Osment's A.I. Hurdle

The Sixth Sense wonderkid Haley Joel Osment has earned a rep as one of the most gifted child stars in Hollywood history. However, for his role as a robot boy in Steven Spielberg's haunting futuristic fairy tale A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (opening Friday), the Oscar nominee was presented with the acting challenge of a lifetime.

"It was hard not to blink, because robots always keep their eyes open," Osment tells TV Guide Online. "The trick is not to think about it a lot. After the first week, I didn't blink even after they yelled, 'Cut,' at the end of a scene."

A.I. is a collaboration between Spielberg and late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, whose untimely death did not read more

Hangin' with Jay Hernandez

Nominations for the 2002 MTV Movie Awards won't be unveiled until next April, but Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez have already emerged as the frontrunners to take home Best Kiss kudos for their steamy smooch in crazy/beautiful (opening Friday). "[My manager] told me, 'I bet you guys are going to be up for that next year,'" Hernandez tells TV Guide Online. "Who knows?"

However, the California native — who became a teen pinup as a regular on NBC's Saturday morning comedy Hang Time — admits that all the TLC put him on edge. "I was pretty nervous when we did it," he recalls. "[Kirsten had] never really done too many intimate scenes; this kind of was her first. But it was more my first of everything, so I was a lot more nervous than her."

Considering the success/failure ratio of the Peacock's Saturday morning alums, Hernandez is no read more

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