Renee won the Oscar, but as for the real Judy …

TV Pipeline

Judy Garland

Q: Renee Zellweger’s Oscar win for “Judy” has me wondering, what was the last movie made by Judy Garland herself? — Barbara Mays, via e-mail

A: The last one released was the London-set 1963 drama “I Could Go On Singing,” casting her as a music star reunited with the surgeon (Dirk Bogarde) whose son she gave birth to as the result of their earlier affair. Garland later was hired to co-star in 1967’s “Valley of the Dolls,” but she ultimately was dismissed from the film — some others who worked on that film have opined that Garland was made a publicity scapegoat — and her role was recast with Susan Hayward.

Sean Connery in “Goldfinger”

Q: What was the first James Bond movie shown on television? — Ken Reese, Providence, R.I.

A: That was “Goldfinger,” which first came to home screens in America via ABC in 1972, eight years after its theatrical release. It was quite a coup for that network to make a deal to air the 007 adventu made up to that time — and there actually were seven of them then, not counting the spoofy 1967 version of “Casino Royale” made by another producer — and as expected, the ratings confirmed that ABC had made a smart bet on paying the considerable price for the TV rights.

The Bond series has remained a hot ticket over the subsequent years, both in theaters (where the latest entry, “No Time to Die,” debuts soon) and on television. As the cable era settled in, TBS became the home of Bond for a while, but the pictures now make the rounds. Starz and EPIX have traded possession of the bulk of them in recent times, though the earlier four of Daniel Craig’s turns as Bond have landed elsewhere. His “Casino Royale” plus “Quantum of Solace” have been on HBO and Cinemax lately, “Skyfall” has turned up on Syfy and USA Network, and “Spectre” has gotten a workout on FX and FXM.

Q: Why was an able-bodied actor hired to play Lincoln Rhyme in “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector”? — Pat Marks, Belleville, Ill.

A: Questions such as this often arise when characters who have specific physical challenges are cast with actors who don’t share the same condition. In the case of the NBC series, the flashback sequences that depict Rhyme as a mobile police detective — prior to the run-in with a criminal (shown in the premiere episode) that left him paralyzed from the neck down — made it necessary to hire a performer who also could do those scenes. Thus, Russell Hornsby (“Grimm,” “The Affair”) got the role.

Q: Why are the Wallendas doing TV specials again? — Luke Colvin, via e-mail

A: It’s part of ABC’s current strategy to draw viewers and ratings by showcasing live events frequently. A daredevil trying to survive some dangerous challenge is one of the easiest (unless you’re the daredevil) ways to do that, so Nik and Lijana Wallenda were enlisted last year to do a high-wire walk over New York’s Times Square. The results of that telecast were such that another one was a no-brainer, so Nik was brought back last month to walk over an active volcano … and he’s likely not done yet in television terms.

Q: Someone told me there is going to be a series version of “The Silence of the Lambs.” Is there? — Cindy Fair, Canton, Ohio

A: Sort of. Likely to debut sometime next season, the CBS project “Clarice” actually takes place a year after that story, and it follows FBI agent Clarice Starling — who needed the help of Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter the first time — as she pursues other felons who lead her into some of the darkest corners of Washington, D.C.

Australian-born actress Rebecca Breeds (“The Originals,” “Pretty Little Liars”) has been cast in the title part, and she has some pretty big shoes to fill. Jodie Foster won an Oscar for her “Lambs” portrayal of Starling in 1991, and a decade later, Julianne Moore assumed the part in the sequel “Hannibal.” Starling might have shown up in the NBC show titled “Hannibal” if it had lasted longer, but Lifetime made its own run at a “Clarice” series in 2012; it didn’t go forward.

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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2289 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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