(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


    The material provided on this page is a service of Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press.  The material may be used freely by a person, if the person does not use the material for commercial purposes.  The material may be used by persons employed in the media, such as staffers of radio stations, but persons employed in the media must announce that the material has been taken from the Web site of The Hologlobe Press, the main Internet address to which is www.hologlobepress.com.  Of course, the material is provided for fun.

- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 41 - - -

    In T.H.A.T. #37, I asked a trivia question that I wanted you to answer before you saw T.H.A.T. #38, and in T.H.A.T. #38, I gave an answer to the question.  The question was worthwhile, but the answer was defective.  I erred in presenting my answer, which was "Tom and Jerry."  You should disregard the information that I presented about "Tom and Jerry" of T.H.A.T. 38; within that edition, I gave the impression that "Tom and Jerry" (the cartoon characters that have been associated with MGM studios) were seen on WWJ-TV in 1947), but they were not and could not have been.  It was Ed Golick (of Detroit, Michigan) who pointed out through a letter that I had made an error, and noted, for example, "MGM didn't make the cat and mouse cartoons available for television distribution until 1965."  Ed Golick also noted that the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons shown in Detroit in 1947 were those made by Van Buren Studios in the early 1930s.

    Note: To get an impression of the "Tom and Jerry" of the early 1930s, you should see the Web site known as http://www.cartoonresearch.com/tomjerry/index.htm (which is not presented as a link on this page).

    What surprises me is I did not deduce properly that the "Tom and Jerry" of MGM could not have been shown on WWJ-TV in Detroit in 1947, knowing how, for example, syndication in earnest did not take place till the 1950s, and, anyway, I had run across information about the 1930s "Tom and Jerry" product some time in the past.  (It does seem very likely to me, in the future, I would have reanalysed my thought about "Tom and Jerry" and discovered the problem.)

    That covers important business of my correcting my errors (I am not one of those writers who does not admit having made a mistake, and I am not one of those writers who will not correct the mistake).

    Let me make an aside: Gilbert Cranberg and Betty Lin noted in an article in Nieman Reports in 1994 that The Louisville Courier-Journal (of Lousville, Kentucky) was the first newspaper in the country to have a regular spot in editions devoted to making corrections, and that spot was added to editions in 1967 [Gilbert Cranberg and Betty Lin, "Errors Press Ignores," Nieman Reports, XLVIII, No. 1, Spring 1994, p. 84+].

    For fun, I will say that my erroring on the topic of "Tom and Jerry" was because my mind was clouded by my thinking about and hoping to see "bikini gals" on the beach (an honorable endeavor), and since I owe you a question, "bikini gals" will be the topic of a replacement question for the one about "Tom and Jerry," and the question will show up at the end of this edition of T.H.A.T.

    "Names"--this is the main topic of this edition of T.H.A.T. (I have already dealt with "Tom and Jerry" and "Tom and Jerry").  Over the last four decades or so, I have found that some names used for people seem to get used a lot, especially in association with television, and two examples of often-used names are "Amanda" and "Sarah" or "Sara."  When you watch television from now on, see if you notice a lot of "Amandas" and a lot of "Sarahs" or "Saras."   Maybe, for instance, you are already aware of such Amanda-type shows as The Amanda Show (a television series that debuted on the Nickelodeon cable channel on October 16, 1999), and Amanda and the Alien (a made-for-cable movie that was first shown by Showtime on August 20, 1995), and Amanda's (a television series that was first shown by ABC-TV on February 10, 1983), and Amanda Bynes was one of the featured performers in What I Like About You (a recent series on The WB network), and Amanda Bearse was a featured performer in the television series entitled Married...With Children (which orginally ran on the FOX network from the 1986-1987 season through the 1996-1997 season), and Kate Jackson played "Amanda" in the television series entitled Scarecow and Mrs. King (which was shown by CBS-TV from the 1983-1984 season through the 1986-1987 season).

    I have discovered one of the most-used names in the titles of made-for-TV movies is "Sarah," and through this section of T.H.A.T., I give you questions to answer related to made-for-TV movies that have "Sarah" in the titles.
     The first "Sarah" made-for-TV movie was shown on NBC-TV on February 11, 1975.  The theme of the movie was teeage alcoholism.  "Sarah" was the main character, and Verna Bloom and William Daniels played the character's parents.  What was the name of the movie and who played Sarah?
    Two times, television producers have made The Initiation of Sarah.  The first such movie was shown on ABC-TV in 1978, and the other movie was shown by ABC Family in 2006.  I have no questions about either movie to ask you, since I have already in the past talked about the two movies (in other editions of T.H.A.T.).
    The Seeding of Sarah Burns was shown by CBS-TV for the first time on April 7, 1979.  Some of the performers in this movie, which was about embro transplanting, were Cliff DeYoung, Martin Balsam, Cassie Yates, Charles Siebert, and Virginia Kiser.  In this movie, who played Sarah?
    Three movies dealt with a character named Sarah Witting, though only two of the movies had "Sarah" as part of the titles. Sarah, Plain and Tall was seen by viewers for the firist time as a presentation of the Hallmark Hall of Fame on CBS-TV on February 3, 1991, and one of the performers in the movie was Christopher Walken.  Christopher Walken appeared in the other movies, which were Skylark (which was shown on CBS-TV on February 7, 1993) and Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End (which was shown on CBS-TV on November 21, 1999).  All three movies had the same actress playing Sarah Witting.  Who played Sarah Witting?
    Richard Crenna and Patty Duke were two of the performers involved in a movie about a missing twenty-two-year-old gal, Sarah.  The movie was "Race Against Time: The Search for Sarah", which was aired by CBS-TV on March 19, 1996.  Who played Sarah is this fact-based movie?
    For a short while in the late 1990, CBS-TV used America's Night at the Movies as an umbrella title for the showing of movies.  On October 4, 1998, CBS-TV aired a movie under that umbrella title with "Sarah" in the title, and some of the performers in the movie were Mary Steenburgen, Kellie Martin, Marion Ross, Diane Baker, and Karen Rauch.  What was the name of this movie?
    Another movie with "Sarah" in the title dealt with twins and the loss of a child.  The movie was shown by Lifetime on October 3, 2005, and some of the performers who took part in the movie were Kim Raver, Audrey Dwyer, and Rick Roberts.  What was the name of this movie?
    One of the most-recent "Sarah" movies was shown on Lifetime.  What was the name of the movie and when was the movie first show on Lifetime?  Oh, the movie featured Jennifer Beals, and it also had Peter Outerbridge, Nolan Funk, and Sarah Edmonson (as Olivia).
    The most-recent movie with "Sarah" in the title was first shown by Lifetime on August 19, 2007, and the movie sets a record (of sorts).  The movie was Saving Sarah Cain, and some of the performers in the movie were Lisa Pepper, Elliott Gould, Soren Fulton,Tess Harper, and David Clennon.  If you look carefully you will notice three movies shown by Lifetime have had "Sarah" in the titles.
    And now you have seven questions to answer by the time you see the next edition of T.H.A.T.

    By the way, the first gal to "win"  ("win" ?) on the series entitled The Bachelor (particularly the edition for the 2001-2002 season) was named "Amanda," and the "winner" ("winner" ?) of the recent  NBC-TV series entitled Age of Love was named "Amanda."

    The Four Freshmen--this name is well-known in recording history, and The Four Freshmen is a topic that I have promised to talk about in this edition of T.H.A.T.  In T.H.A.T. #39, I talked about an article (published in the summer 2007 edition of CAAC Art Focus of the Cheboygan Area Arts Council) in which Frank Egan was credited with having been an original member of The Four Freshmen (Frank Egan died in early 2007).  In early August (2007), I spent time at the library at the University of Michigan--Dearborn Campus, and I searched computer databases for articles, such as past articles of the Los Angeles Times and past articles of The New York Times, and I even did a search on the Internet for Web sites with information about The Four Freshmen, such as a Web page giving information about The Four Freshmen (www.the4freshmen.com/history/htm).  To date, I cannot find information that shows that Frank Egan was once a member of The Four Freshmen, and I cannot find information that Jack Wilson and Web Tilton were members of The Four Freshmen.  Frank Egan, Jack Wilson, and Web Tilton may have been or may not have been members of The Four Freshmen, or they may have or may not have been members of some type of musical group (my search of the Internet has found no information about the three men being in any musical group).  I will say--for now--that the three men may have been members of The Four Freshmen but their involvement in the group is being left unreported or being left disavowed, and I will say--for now--that, maybe, there was at one time another group called The Four Freshmen (which lasted only a very short time).  (You can see T.H.A.T. #39 now by hitting this link: T.H.A.T. #39.)

    In the previous edition of T.H.A.T., I gave you a regular trivia-question to answer.  The question was about the first gal to play the main character in a television series entitled The Big Comfy Couch, which was produced in Canada.  The answer to the question is Alyson Court.  By the way, I did not note in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.  what was the name of the character that Alyson Court played.  The name of the character was "Loonette."
    You may remember I said in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. that the version with the gal "was distributed between about 1994 and 2006, and it is still seen in the U.S."   I used the set of words "about 1994 and 2006" because I cannot give exact dates.  For instance, there is evidence on the Internet that the show with Alyson Court was first seen in 1993 in Canada, but my files show that the first episode had a copyright date of "1992."  In addition, The Big Comfy Couch did not show up on the PBS-affiliated station in Detroit, which was and is WTVS-TV Channel 56, till Monday, May 6, 1996.  For the first episode shown in Detroit, some of the credits were: Alyson Court as Loonette; Fred Stinson as Major Bedhead; Grindl Kuchirka as Granny Garbanzo; Bob Stutt as "Molly"; Tavora Johnson as Auntie Macassar; Fred Stinson, Jani Lauzon, and Jackie Harris as the Foley Family; and Bob Stutt and Robert Mills as the Dust Bunnies.  And "for the record," I note, for the first episode, that Annabel Slaight was the executive producer, and Wayne Moss was the director, and Cheryl Wagner and Robert Mills were the producers and writers.
    Oh, I mentioned in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. a show entitled The Friendly Giant.  When I wrote the edition, I did not have my television files with me, so I could not provide some notes that I wanted to present.  Robert Homme was the man who played the Friendly Giant, and The Friendly Giant as a television show was originally based on a radio show that Robert Homme had started in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1953,  and the oringal run of the television show was shown on the CBC network (in Canada) from about 1958 to 1985.  Robert Homme died on May 2, 2000.

    And now I turn my mind back to "mush" to end this edition of T.H.A.T., and I do that by returning to the beach, hoping to see "bikinis gals."  Over the last forty years of the history of television, viewers, such as me, have gotten to see shows on television that had "bikini gals" and dealt with the beach or beach-related things.  (Remember: There were a lot of "bikini gals" on Baywatch.)  Kim O'Brien, Rita Wilson, and Ava Lazar were three actresses that some viewers in the U.S. saw in a one-shot syndicated show that dealt with three gals who moved in to a beach house.  I have a hard question for you to answer--"What was the name of the show?"   The show, which was a pilot for a hoped-to-be-produced series, ran for thirty minutes.

Stay well!


P.S.: In the next edition of T.H.A.T., I will have more information about Detroit-TV history, and one reason for that is I was recently asked a trivia question about Detroit-TV history by a "good plumbing man."

copyright c. 2007
Date published: September 10, 2007

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