Today's News: Our Take

Question: What was the name ...

Question: What was the name of the song that Ed danced to at the prom? I thought it was "At Last," but I can't seem to find it. Thanks.

Televisionary: The titular Ed Stevens (Thomas Cavanagh) and dream-girl Carol Vessey (Julie Bowen) did indeed dance to the Etta James recording of "At Last" in the show's season finale. However, Ed is just the latest in a long line of shows and movies that have called on that tune to lend some emotional oomph to a moment.

Written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the 1942 film Orchestra Wives, the song was first recorded by singer Ray Eberle and the Glenn Miller Orchestra shortly before Miller was killed in a plane crash. But it's the James rendition, which first appeared as the title cut on her 1961 album, that's really caught fire, appearing in a Jaguar commercial and in such movies and TV shows as read more

Question: Do you have any ...

Question: Do you have any info about a show from the '60s called Land of the Giants? I think it ran on ABC, and I think one of the actors in it was Kurt Kasznar. Could you tell me who some of the other actors were and how long it ran? Thanks. — Pete

Televisionary: Do I have any information? Now Pete, would they pay me the big money if I didn't? (Of course not — they don't when I do.)

Nevertheless, Land of the Giants, a series from producer giant Irwin Allen (Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel), ran on ABC for two years beginning in September 1968. In it, a 1983 rocketship flight from the States to London (boy, remember those?) goes awry, stranding its crew (Gary Conway, Don Marshall, Heat read more

Question: Was there ever a ...

Question: Was there ever a short-lived TV comedy called No Soap Radio? It would have aired sometime during the 1980s. What was the premise? I was in elementary school at the time, so my memories are unclear. No one else I know remembers this show. — Jeff

Televisionary: No explanation needed for the less-than-total recall, Jeff. My memories from yesterday are unclear.

Still, I can tell you that the here-and-gone No Soap Radio ran on ABC's Thursday-night schedule from mid-April to mid-May of 1982. Starring Steve Guttenberg as the manager of a run-down Atlantic City hotel and featuring comedy names like Stuart Pankin and Edie McClurg, the show was a strange mix of visual humor and other-wordly non sequiturs. No surprise, since the title comes from the classic anti-joke about two animals in a bathtub — when I was a lad, it was two elephants, but I've heard variations with lions, apes, etc. — and one, after being ask read more

Hugh Jackman: The Naked Truth

Australian-born actor Hugh Jackman is a big fan of his X-Men co-star Halle Berry — and not just because she goes topless in their new action-thriller, Swordfish (opening Friday). "I never looked below the eye," he tells TV Guide Online of their revealing poolside scene. "To be honest, I was probably more scared than she was... more embarrassed than she was."

Making matters worse, the much-talked-about sequence took three days to shoot due to weather problems. "[Halle] decided to sit there on the chaise lounge the whole time while they were setting up, while they were lighting, just to feel comfortable," Jackman explains. "By the time we did it the third day, she was practically [coming to the set] naked."

However, Jackman — who will reunite with Berry in the upcoming read more

Death Becomes Sopranos Hunk

If there was one lesson to be gleaned from the untimely passing of Jackie Aprile Jr. on last month's season finale of The Sopranos, it was this: Never underestimate the advantages of getting whacked in front of 9.5 million viewers. Of course, you don't have to tell that to Jackie's hotter-than-ever portrayer, Jason Cerbone, whose on-screen death has made him a bit of a TV legend — not to mention one of the most sought-after commodities in Hollywood.

"The Sopranos has been the greatest," the 23-year-old New Yorker marvels to TV Guide Online. "Things have been really crazy. I've got a couple of movie offers on the table, but I haven't decided what I'll pass on or take." Incidentally, Cerbone admits he'd like to get another shot at the small screen. "I'd love to do a spot on Friends," he confesses.

In the meantime, Cerbone is keeping busy defending his Sopranos alter e read more

Al Roker: Daddy Dearest?

Al Roker, Today's perennially jolly meteorologist, reveals that there are moments when even he can lose his sense of humor. "I don't mind signing autographs," he tells TV Guide Online, "but when it gets in the way of being a dad, well, I wonder why people seem to forget I have a private life."

Case in point: Roker — who has two girls from two separate marriages — was recently at Miami International Airport when the unthinkable happened. "My two-and-a-half-year-old, Leila [with third wife, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts], had a load in her pants," he remembers. "There was no place to change her in the bathroom, so I was trying to do it on a chair in a very crowded terminal waiting room. This woman came up and asked to take a picture with me. I said, 'Ma'am, can you just give me a moment while I finish changing this diaper?' She kind of huffed, 'Well, you seem so much nicer on TV.' I'm like, 'I'm halfway through a poopy diaper here. read more

Sopranos Star Puts Out a Hit

While Sopranos fans were surprised when Uncle Junior lifted his voice in song on this season's final episode, it was hardly a challenge for the character's portrayer, Dominic Chianese. The 70-year-old actor may have found late-blooming fame playing the crusty patriarch on HBO's mob drama, but his real dream is to put a hit on the charts.

"I started my career as a singer," he tells TV Guide Online. "Growing up, all during my raging hormone phase, I saw all these women swooning over this skinny kid named Frank Sinatra, and I thought, 'Maybe they'll do that to me someday.'"

In fact, Chianese — who toured with a Gilbert and Sullivan troupe and worked at Folk City in New York City's Greenwich Village before he started acting — is capitalizing on his TV notoriety with the release of Hits, an eclectic CD collection featuring classics such as "Santa Lucia" and "Amazing Grace." "I'm ready to beco read more

De Niro vs. Palminteri in Analyze Deuce?

In one of his previous mobster roles, Chazz Palminteri went toe-to-toe with Robert De Niro (and Billy Crystal, for that matter) in the 1999 comedy Analyze This. And although justice was served to his hot-headed honcho at that movie's end, the actor says that won't keep him from resurrecting boss Primo Sidone for the in-the-works follow-up.

"[My Analyze This character] could be dead, but there are no definites about it," Palminteri tells TV Guide Online. "I've spoken to Bob and Billy about [the sequel], and told them that, as soon as the script comes together, I'd do it. It would be great."

Until then, Palminteri again can be seen leading the mob life — but this time, minus the laughs. In the TNT original film Boss of Bosses (premiering Sunday at 8 pm/ET), Palminteri portrays real-life mobster Paul Castellano, the Gambino crime family head whose ambitious plans were snuffed by his 1985 ass read more

Lord of the Rings: The Countdown Begins...

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel, The Lord of the Rings, director Peter Jackson's big-budget epic, The Fellowship of the Ring — which hits theaters in December — has a legion of impatient bookworms squirming to see their fave fantasy brought to life. Have their high expectations worried leading lad Elijah Wood, who plays mythic Hobbit Frodo Baggins?

"I definitely felt the pressure," Wood concedes. "I wanted to live up to all of the expectations. But when I got into costume and worked with the others, I just didn't think about it anymore." The blue-eyed actor nods in agreement with Sean Astin, who joined him on the film's 15-month location shoot in far-flung New Zealand. Deadpans Astin: "We just became Hobbits. We felt it."

And Jackson swears he dared cast none other than Liv Tyler to play the immortal Elf Arwen. "She read more

SNL Alum's Pet Project

In The Animal (opening tomorrow), Rob Schneider plays a one-man menagerie plagued with an array of animal instincts — which include sniffing crotches, eating raw meat and seducing barnyard critters. While co-writing the screenplay, the SNL alum was inspired by watching When Animals Attack. Little did he know how prophetic it would prove in working with his creature co-stars!

"You don't see orangutans in a lot of movies because they're very dangerous and unpredictable," says Schneider, who so displeased one grumpy primate during production that trainers had to haul the beast off the set. A hulking young orangutan named Louie then took over. "Louie and I got along famously," he recalls. "Although my neck still hurts a little from when he put me in a headlock."

Fortunately, Schneider found former Survivor castaway Colleen Haskell a much mo read more

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