Q: Was Molly Ringwald on the show “The Facts of Life”? – Nancy Herman, Port Orange, Fla.
A: Yes, as a character named – of all things – Molly. When the decision was made to reduce the number of regular characters starting with Season 2, Ringwald was among the cast members let go, though she returned as an occasional guest.
It‘s just as well that things worked out as they did for her “Facts”-wise, since otherwise, she wouldn’t have been available for the modern-classic movie comedies in which she starred for filmmaker John Hughes … including “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.”
Q: I enjoy watching the “I Love Lucy Christmas Special” every year, but why is there always a different episode along with the Christmas episode? – Donna Havens, via e-mail
A: It’s to freshen up the event, though the irony is that the companion episodes already are well-known to any “I Love Lucy” fan, since they’ve been repeated countless times over the years. Still, they’ve never been seen before in the colorized form that the CBS specials offer them in, so there is that new slant on them.
“Lucy” delivered again for the network where the show originated in the 1950s, since the most recent yuletide outing was the most-watched show that night (even beating the traditional Friday-night winner “Blue Bloods,” though that evening’s episode was a repeat). What does that mean looking ahead? Well, quite simply that Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel will keep returning for Christmases to come – and that the original series’ library will continue to be mined for other stories to colorize.
Q: Someone told me that Brad Pitt was on the show “Dallas.” Is that true? – Joanne Worth, Reading, Pa.
A: It is. During the 1987-88 season, the CBS serial that gave the world J.R. Ewing featured Pitt as the boyfriend of Jenna Wade’s daughter Charlie. Then just starting out in acting, he did quite a bit of television at the time, also appearing in episodes of “Growing Pains,” “3rd Rock From the Sun” and “thirtysomething” as well as such TV movies as “Too Young to Die?” (which still turns up on Lifetime on occasion) and “The Image.”
When Pitt won a memorable supporting role in 1991’s Oscar-winning “Thelma & Louise,” the course of his career changed, and he’s pretty much stayed focused on making feature films ever since. However, he did a notable guest turn in 2001 on “Friends” … which included his wife at the time, Jennifer Aniston, among its stars.
Q: Who sings the theme song on the new version of “Mad About You”? – Barry Cole, Columbus, Ohio
A: Lyle Lovett and Kecia Lewis performed “Final Frontier” for the revival that premiered six episodes each in November and December as a direct-to-Spectrum subscribers offering. Series star Paul Reiser composed the tune with Don Was for the original version of the show two decades ago, and he told us recently that for the newer edition, it was important to him to have the song done as a male-female duet.
Q: When “The Godfather” and “The Godfather, Part II” are shown on TV, “The Godfather, Part III” either isn’t shown at all or overnight. Why? – Joe Eastman, via e-mail
A: Whereas the first two films are Oscar-winning classics, the third and final chapter of director Francis Ford Coppola’s trilogy is considered widely not to be up to the same standard … earning decidedly mixed reviews upon its 1990 release, with the director’s daughter Sofia singled out for particularly harsh criticism as Michael Corleone’s (Al Pacino) daughter Mary. (She was a hasty replacement for the originally cast Winona Ryder, but she later won critics over by moving to the other side of the cameras and directing such films as “Lost in Translation.”)
Thus, when channels such as AMC and Sundance place attention on “The Godfather,” they tend to give the choice time slots to the first two pictures. For completists, it’s fortunate whenever “Part III” is televised, since there’s no obligation to show all of the movies in a series (though in a case like this one, it makes sense to do so).