Question: Who played Bailey on WKRP in Cincinnati? Tina Sparks
Televisionary: Oh, so it's "let's humiliate The Televisionary by asking him about someone else he had a crush on" time again, is it?
Then again, I suppose there's no way you'd know that unless I told you, which I just did. Ah, me.
I must say that as a wee Televisionary, I was not alone in mooning over the beauteous Jan Smithers. In fact, I was in darned good company Smithers had her fans during the show's initial run and James Brolin was married to her in the days before, apparently, malevolent pixies made off with his good taste and he decided waking up next to Barbra Streisand seemed an attractive proposition. (Save the hate mail I'm dead on with that and you know it.)
However, even I was surprised to find that while my fickle affections moved on, there are smitten Smithers fans with disturbingly thorough web pages out there. In the words of Penn Jillette: There's many a bandwagon I've jumped off of because of the other boarders.
Be that as it may, I still believe my adolescent crush was understandable. As assistant (and later news reporter) Bailey Quarters, Smithers was supposed to be the specs-clad shrinking violet washed out in the sexual spotlight cast by glam gal Loni Anderson, who played bombshell Jennifer Marlowe. But as the show, which ran on CBS from 1978 to '82 in its first incarnation, progressed, Smithers developed her own following. Mary Ann to Anderson's Ginger, Smithers was prettier and more real in her appeal.
All of that must've come as a surprise to the photographer who snapped Smithers for the cover of a 1966 Newsweek. The lead story about rebellious teens was her first exposure to the public eye.
There, now I've embarrassed myself. Like that's something new.