Q: It was fun to see Nicollette Sheridan make her big entrance as Alexis on the new “Dynasty,” Didn’t Joan Collins come into the original version in a similar way? – Janet Harrell, via e-mail
A: She did, indeed, and Sheridan’s entry into the CW show was staged largely in homage to that first rendering. While her Alexis showed up late – and loud – to the funeral service for Blake’s (Grant Show) father, Collins-as-Alexis walked in during that Blake’s (John Forsythe) murder trial over the death of their son Steven’s former love interest.
The lineage between the arrivals even extended to daughter Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin then, Elizabeth Gillies now) gasping the same exact line upon first spotting Alexis: “Oh, my God, that’s my mother!” That’s the note on which the first season of the original “Dynasty” ended, though Collins’ face actually wasn’t seen until the premiere of Season 2 … which gave fans the summer to wonder just who Alexis was, in terms of the actress playing her.
Q: I enjoy Malin Akerman on “Billions,” but didn’t she have a comedy series for a while? – Tom Gray, Buffalo, N.Y.
A: She did. She starred in the 2013-14 ABC show “Trophy Wife,” playing said wife, newly married to a lawyer (Bradley Whitford) who had two ex-spouses (Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins). “Billions,” now in its third Showtime season, then started in 2016.
An interesting note about “Trophy Wife” is that it was co-created by Sarah Haskins, who is the wife of Geoffrey Edwards, the son of the late “Pink Panther” and “10” filmmaker Blake Edwards. That makes her stepmother Julie Andrews, who was married to Blake for more than 30 years before his death in 2010. If you see the credit “Geoffrey Productions” on a Blake Edwards film, his son is where the name came from.
Q: Why would ABC put a show about a firehouse directly up against NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” which already was established on the same night at the same time? – Robert Anderson, via e-mail
A: That only happened for last month’s premiere of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff “Station 19.” That network had a two-hour slot mapped out for the debut to begin with, and only the last half of that would have coincided with “Chicago Fire” – then, NBC made a move to blunt the impact of the new show by adding another “Fire” episode, so the two series were right against each other for the whole two hours.
To a degree, the ploy worked, since “Chicago Fire” ended up getting more viewers, but both shows were topped in the ratings that night by CBS’ “March Madness” coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament. Since then, “Station 19” has aired an hour earlier than “Chicago Fire,” still giving firefighter-drama fans their share on Thursdays without the shows going directly head-to-head.
Q: On “Hogan’s Heroes” repeats, I see the credit “Bing Crosby Productions.” Is that the entertainer Bing Crosby, of “White Christmas” fame? – Dee Barnes, Reading, Pa.
A: It certainly is. Crosby established his own production company in the late 1940s, but its most active decade easily was the 1960s. Not only did it turn out “Hogan’s Heroes” then, but also the classic hospital drama “Ben Casey” as well as the medical show “Breaking Point” and the political series “Slattery’s People.” Perhaps not surprisingly, it also yielded “The Bing Crosby Show,” a sitcom that lasted only one season.
The company also had some success in theatrical films, one example being “Willard,” the 1971 thriller about a young man (Bruce Davison) who trained rats to seek revenge on his behalf. The chief rodent was named Ben, and he got his own Crosby-produced sequel a year later, along with an Oscar-nominated title ballad performed by Michael Jackson.
Also a hit for Crosby’s company was the 1973 movie “Walking Tall,” a fictionalized version of the story of Buford Pusser, a Tennessee lawman who paid a personal price for his relentless fight against organized crime. Joe Don Baker played Pusser in that film, and Bo Svenson took over the role in two sequels and a short-lived NBC series. Crosby’s firm wasn’t connected to the television show, nor to the 2004 movie reboot with Dwayne Johnson that generally went in its own direction.
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