(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 9 - - -

    If you have read the previous edition of T.H.A.T., you might have the set of words "Curious, most curious" in mind right now, since I left off the previous edition of T.H.A.T. with a small puzzle about More Wild, Wild West.  I mentioned that More Wild, Wild West was not originally shown as a made-for-TV movie and that you may have seen it later in made-for-TV form.  You should be wondering what the show originally was.  The Wild, Wild West was a weekly television series that was shown on CBS-TV from September 17, 1965, to September 19, 1969, and The Wild, Wild West was a one-hour western that focused on Secret Service agents James West (played by Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (played by Ross Martin).  On May 9, 1979, a sequel to the series was shown on CBS-TV, and it was entitled The Wild, Wild West Revisited, and this production was indeed a TV-movie.  On October 7, 1980, CBS-TV began to show the production More Wild, Wild West, and CBS-TV did not show the entire production, stopping after one hour had passed.  The next night (October 8, 1980), CBS-TV aired the remainder of the production, which was one-hour long.  So, what CBS-TV did was air what could be called a two-episode series, each episode of which was one-hour long.  I define a TV-movie as a production that runs at least 90 minutes on the same night and is in the form of a movie.  Since More Wild, Wild West was shown as two one-hour episodes, it does not fit the definition of a true made-for-TV movie, at least as it was originally shown.
    It is possible you could come across a channel that is playing More Wild, Wild West some day, and it will probably look like a TV-movie.  If you do, you will see that Jonathan Winters is playing Albert Paradine II, the bad guy in the show.  The gal who is James West's steady girlfriend is called Juanita, and Juanita is played by Liz Torres.  And, finally, I can report that Emma Samms is the gal who is playing Mirabelle.

    You might have seen Emma Samms in other television productions.  In the 1984-1985 season, she was a member of the cast of Dynasty, and from the fall of 1985 to the fall of 1987, she was a member of Dynasty II: The Colbys or The Colbys (the series had two names), and from the fall of 1987 to May 1989, she was a member of the cast of Dynasty, and she was in the short-lived series entitled Models Inc. (only during the 1994-1995 season).  And she appeared in about a dozen made-for-TV movies between 1980 and 2004, some of which were A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (which was shown on NBC on December 18, 1989), Bejewelled (which was shown on The Disney Channel on January 20, 1991), Humanoids from the Deep (which was shown on Showtime on September 14, 1996), Mary Higgins Clark's Pretend You Don't See Her (which was shown on the PAX TV network on January 12, 2002), and Treacherous Beauties (which was shown on CBS-TV on September 25, 1994).
    I must digress a moment.  On September 17, 1994, Ms. Samms was one of the judges for The Miss America Pageant, which was shown on NBC.  Ms. Samms was born and raised in England during the 1960s and 1970s.  How did a gal from England end up as a judge for a Miss America Pageant?  "Curious, most curious."--that is what I have in mind.  I should ask her.

    I have learned many people in California who profess to be actors or actresses do not get much work in a year or they do not make much money, and I have learned a few people make a lot of money working as actors or actresses--in some cases making many millions of dollars for one job.   Because many actors and actresses do not get much work, I can indeed say that it is a rare occurrence when an actor happens to do work for two made-for-TV movies that get shown on prime-time television during the same week.  Recently, an actress did end up being seen in two movies in the same week.  The actress was Annabella Sciorra (and not "Mirabelle").  The movies were The Madam's Family: The Truth about Canal Street Brothel, which was shown on CBS-TV on October 31, 2004, and Identity Theft: The Michelle Brown Story, which was shown on Lifetime on November 1, 2004.  Information in my television files shows that the occurrence of a person being seen in two TV-movies in the same week (or within a week) has happened only about 62 times.  I use "about 62 times," since it is possible that I have missed something, and I use "about 62 times," since I am not taking into account the number of times that actors have appeared in two new made-for-TV movies on the same night.

    I pose a question here.  Who was the first actor to appear in two new made-for-TV movies on the same night?  The TV-movies were shown in prime-time.  And here is one more question: What were the movies?

    I only know of one time in which three actors were seen in two new made-for-TV movies within the same week.  Here is a very hard question to answer: Who were the three actors to be seen in two new made-for-TV movies during the same week and what werer the movies?  Both movies were shown on the same network, CBS-TV.  (The actors were not considered "extras," and they did speak.)

    At this point, you should still be hearing in your mind: "Curious, most curious."  The quoted text in the previous sentence is a type of line that Dr. Horatio Beaker spoke in the early 1960s television series entitled SupercarSupercar was one of the topics of the previous edition of T.H.A.T.  Dr. Horatio Beaker, who did not wear glasses, is the answer to a question that you were given in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.  There were other questions in the previous edition of T.H.A.T., and here come the answers to the other questions.  Jimmy Gibson was the name of the boy, and Mitch was the monkey.  The Supercar base was located near Black Rock, Nevada.  If you got the all the answers correct, then you can say to yourself: "Satisfactory, most satisfactory!"

    Oh, in mid-November (2004), I almost thought that I came across another one of those "monster" things, another case in which a made-for-TV movie had a title like that of a movie that had already aired.  I saw that TV Guide had a made-for-TV movie called Promise listed in a program grid, but then I learned, doing more reading, that the listing in the program grid was incorrect.  The movie was really entitled Love's Enduring Promise.  The movie featured January Jones as Missie Davis and was shown on The Hallmark Channel on November 20, 2004.  This movie was a sequel to a movie entitled Love Comes Softy, which featured Katherine Heigl and Dale Midkiff and was shown on The Hallmark Channel on Sunday, April 13, 2003.

    I have to pass on additional information.  James Garner and James Wood played in a movie entitled Promise, which was aired on CBS-TV on December 14, 1986.  The movie was shown under the umbrella title called Hallmark Hall of Fame, which is a title used to show productions sponsored by Hallmark Cards; since the 1970s, the title has mostly been used to show made-for-TV movies, but the history of Hallmark Hall of Fame as an umbrella title or series goes back to the 1950s.  And I add that Isabella Hoffman and Tracy Nelson were two of the performers in the movie called The Promise, which was shown on NBC on August 15, 1999.

    Now, it is time to pass along an unusual event.  On Sunday, November 28, 2004, Kelsey Grammer appeared in a TV-movie entitled A Christmas Carol on NBC-TV; it was a production from Hallmark Entertainment, and the executive producers were Robert Halmi, Sr., and Camille Grammer.  On Sunday, November 28, 2004, Susan Sarandon appeared in a made-for-TV movie entitled Noel on TNT; the production was a Neverland Films/Zvi Howard Rosenman Production, and the executive producers were Jonathan Dana, Jeff Arnold, and Dan Adler.  The two movies have something in common.  Alan Menken wrote the music for Noel, and Alan Menken wrote music for A Christmas Carol.  It is very rare when what I call a technical staffer--in this case, a composer--does work for two TV-movies that get shown on the same night.  By the way, on Sunday, November 21, 2004, Back When We Were Grownups was shown under the Hallmark Hall of Fame umbrella title on CBS-TV, and the production was from Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, and the music was composed by Jeff Beal (and not by Alan Menken).

    The show entitled A Christmas Carol that featured Kelsey Grammer may have been the first musical TV-movie version of A Christmas Carol, but it was not the first production related to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol story.  For instance, an animated musical version entitled A Christmas Carol  (and later known as Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol), which featured a character called Mr. Magoo, was shown around Christmas time in 1962.  One of the first versions of A Christmas Carol to be shown on network television was shown on NBC-TV, and it was shown on Tuesday, December 25, 1951.  The 1951 program had Sir Ralph Richardson as Scrooge and Arthur Treacher as the Ghost of Christmas Present and had such other performers as Alan Napier, Norman Barr, and Margaret Phillips.  For years, such as in the 1960s and 1970s, Arthur Treacher's name was associated with a fast-food chain in the country, Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips, and, in the 1960s, Alan Napier played the butler on Batman.  The music for the 1951 program was composed by Harry Sosnik.

    By the way, the production of A Christmas Carol that featured Kelsey Grammer is only listed in my files as A Christmas Carol, since that is the title that I saw on the television screen, but some entities list it as A Christmas Carol: The Musical.

    Since I have had "two" as a theme in much of this edition of T.H.A.T., I am going to finish this edition with the theme of "two."  In the early 1980s, two daughters of Boris Sagal, who was well known as a television director, appeared in a television series that had "two" as sort of a theme.  What was the series?  Think about "two."  Who were the two gals in the series?  They played Kate Foster and Allison Foster.  In the 1990s, two gals named "Ward" played in a made-for-television movie that had a title that was sort of related to "two."  What was the TV-movie?  Another made-for-TV movie had the same title, and the other movie had the same plot as the movie in which the gals named "Ward" appeared.

Stay well!


Date: December 10, 2004

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