In My Easter Basket…

Just before Thanksgiving last year, I told you about my favorite childhood TV specials that revolved around a girl named Addie Mills set in the 1940s.  These made-for-TV movies included Addie and the King of Hearts for Valentine’s Day, The Easter Promise for Easter, The Thanksgiving Treasure (sometimes called The Holiday Treasure) for Thanksgiving, and The House Without a Christmas Tree for Christmas.  They were TV movies based on books of the same titles by Gail Rock.

In these movies, a young girl named Addie Mills (played by Lisa Lucas) lived with her father (played by Jason Robards) and grandmother (played by Mildred Natwick) in Nebraska during the 1940s.  In each of them, there is usually some conflict between Addie and her father, and the grandma is caught in the middle.  I liked these stories because like Addie, I, too, lived with my grandma.  And I liked them because they were set just post the Great Depression era, and because I lived with my grandparents, I always heard their childhood stories about that time period.  And I also liked them because they were just good stories.

For years, I had The Easter PromiseThe Thanksgiving Treasure, and The House Without a Christmas Tree on store-bought VHS tapes.  And more recently, I’ve even had those three on DVD.  But I haven’t seen Addie and the King of Hearts since I was a kid.

Well, when I woke up Easter morning, I was so surprised to find that the Easter Bunny had left me a double DVD featuring Addie and the King of Hearts and The Easter Promise!

YAY!  I’m so excited to watch these!  I’m sorry I can’t stay and blog longer… I have some movies to go watch…

Let’s talk: Have you ever found a favorite childhood movie or TV show once you were an adult, and watched it for the first time after several years?  Was it as good as you remembered?

This is not Gotham City… Or is it?

So my sister Michelle and I were driving along down I-95 toward Miami a couple of months ago, just minding out own business, when out of nowhere we saw this:

Yes, folks, that is indeed the Batmobile just ahead of us and to the right.  We decided to get a little closer to inspect things.  Sure enough, Batman and Robin were driving.  There must have been an emergency at the next exit, because soon thereafter, they left the highway, probably to save the commissioner from unmistakable doom.

We kind of forgot all about our little road trip excitement until last weekend when I took a back road home from Tampa, and we saw this:

Holy doppelgangers!  Could Batman have a twin?  (Or is he following us?)  You decide.

Time to talk:  Who’s your favorite Batman: Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, or the forthcoming Ben Affleck?  Which Batman villain do you like best?

Happy Birthday, Paul Reiser!

You might remember the actor Paul Reiser from his days as a stand-up comic, or on the big screen in Beverly Hills Cop I and II, or on the television show My Two Dads.  But my favorite role of his was as Paul Buchman when he played opposite of Helen Hunt as his wife Jamie Buchman on Mad About You.  You might even remember him in all these things, but did you know that Paul Reiser is also an author?

That’s right!  Paul wrote Couplehood back in 1995 when he and his wife Paula had been married only seven years.  (It was New York Times best seller for 40 weeks!)  Couplehood is unique in that it actually starts on page 145 to allow the readers to have a sense of accomplishment.

He wrote Babyhood in 1998 about his experiences as a first-time father to their first child Ezra born three years earlier.

He wrote Familyhood in 2011, eleven years after their family expanded to include his second son, Leon. Familyhood is a collection of humorous essays about family life.

And in 2014, he penned How to Get to Carnegie Hall.  In this book, he recalls his encounters with numerous legendary Hollywood greats who gave him advice on his way up the ladder to success.

His books are hilarious and are reminiscent of his character in Mad About You, which he intended to be modeled after himself.  If you ever get an opportunity to watch it, check out my very favorite episode entitled “Two Tickets to Paradise.”  If you’ve never seen the show, I encourage you to watch… and be ready to laugh!  Hard!

Let’s Talk:  Have you ever seen the show Mad About You?  Have you ever read any of Paul Reiser’s books?  When your favorite actors and actresses write books, do you read them?

Happy Birthday Theodore Geisel & Desi Arnaz!

Today marks the birthday of two wonderful authors who I absolutely adore.  The first is Theodore Geisel.  Theodore Geisel, born on March 2, 1904, was better known to his fans as Dr. Seuss.  He published forty-six children’s books under this pen name.

It is a little known fact that we have apparently been pronouncing his name wrong all these years!  As a matter of fact, Seuss rhymes with voice not goose… because he didn’t want to be confused with Mother Goose.  One of his friends even wrote a poem to help people remember:

You’re wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn’t rejoice
If you’re calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice.

Mr. Geisel was unusual for a writer in that he preferred to be paid after his work was complete rather than in advance.  Furthermore, he was a perfectionist and often took as long as a year to complete a single book, frequently discarding up to ninety-five percent of it as he went along.

Mr. Geisel died of oral cancer on September 24, 1991, at his home in La Jolla, California, at the age of 87.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Another author’s birthday we celebrate today is that of Desi Arnaz.  Yes, I’m talking about the actor, musician, and producer who was married to Lucille Ball.  Oh, you didn’t know he was an author?  Yes, he penned his autobiography, simply entitled A Book, which was published in 1976.  It was an immediate success.

In 1974, when he agreed to write his memoirs, his family and friends were shocked, as he never even enjoyed writing a letter.  When the outline for A Book was planned, Desi found that he had enough material to fill two books.  The first went through 1960, when he and Lucille Ball divorced.  However when it became time for the second book to be written, which was to be entitled Another Book, Desi decided that he enjoyed living life more than writing about it.

Mr. Arnaz was born on March 2, 1917 in Cuba, and died of lung cancer at the age of 69, on December 2, 1986, in Del Mar, California.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Arnaz!

Time to talk:  What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?  What is your favorite Desi Arnaz role?  Do you have a favorite I Love Lucy episode?

Happy Birthday, Allison DuBois!

Did you ever watch (or at least hear of) the television show Medium, starring Patricia Arquette?  If so, then the name Allison DuBois rings familiar.  The show was based loosely on real-life medium Allison DuBois who was born on January 24, 1972.

Mrs. DuBois claims that she became aware of her ability to communicate with the dead when she was six years old, and she has used her psychic abilities to assist law enforcement in solving crimes.

Besides being a world renowned medium and lecturer, she’s authored four books, including: Don’t Kiss Them Good-Bye, We Are Their Heaven: Why the Dead Never Leave Us, Secrets of the Monarch: How the Dead Can Teach Us About Living a Better Life, and Talk To Me—What the Dead Whisper in Your Ear.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. DuBois!

Time to talk:  Did you watch the TV show Medium when it was on?  Do you believe certain people can really communicate with the dead?  If you personally needed a crime solved and a medium offered help, would you listen to what they had to say?

Happy Birthday, Betty White!

You already know what a huge fan of classic television I am, so it should come as no surprise that I adore Betty White!  (But then again, who doesn’t?)

(6)Ms. White was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois.  You probably already know that she’s been a television (and movie) actress since 1949 (and is still going strong), and she’s been a lifelong animal rights activist.  But what you may not have known is that she’s also an author!  To date, she’s written seven novels, and hopefully she’ll continue to write as well as act and care for her animal friends for many years to come.

Betty White’s Pet-Love: How Pets Take Care of Us (Written with Tom Watson)

In 1987, Ms. White wrote this book about how pets help people.

Betty White in Person

Written in 1987, Betty discusses aspects of her career and personal life in this interesting book.

The Leading Lady: Dinah’s Story (Written with Tom Sullivan)

Tom Sullivan is an actor who was blind since birth, and Dinah was his guide dog.  This book is the story of Dinah’s life and how Betty took in Dinah when the dog became too old to care for Tom anymore.  It was written in 1991 by Betty and Tom in alternating chapters.

Here We Go Again: My Life in Television

Written in 1995, this is an overview of TV’s golden era and includes Betty’s anecdotes about many actors and actresses with whom she has worked.

Together: A Story of Shared Vision (Written with Tom Sullivan)

Written in 2008, this is the story of a man who feels like he loses everything when a tragic accident causes him to lose his sight, and a dog who’s given one last shot at being a service dog.

Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo

Ms. White has been a life-long animal welfare advocate and spokesperson, and this book, written in 2011, is a tribute to the animals she loves so much.

If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)

Written in 2011, Ms. White discusses everything from unglamorous reality behind red-carpet affairs to her beauty regimen in true Betty White Style.

Happy 93rd Birthday, Betty White!

Time to talk:  What’s your favorite Betty White role?  Have you read any of her books?

Happy Birthday, Ami Dolenz!

If you’re old enough to remember The Monkees, you might also know that drummer Micky Dolenz’s daughter, Ami Dolenz, was a popular movie and television actress since the late 1980s.  But you may not know that she also authored a children’s book entitled Harold & Agatha: The Mysterious Jewel.

Ami, Dad Micky, Mom Samantha

Ami was born on January 8, 1969, in Burbank, California.  Though both her parents were actors, they insisted that if she wanted to be in show business, she’d have to make it on her own, and at fifteen years old, she secured her own agent.  Besides acting and writing, she is also into art, especially charcoal and ink drawing, as well as jewelry making.  Last year, she published her first children’s book which she also illustrated.

For my Throwback Thursday, today, I’ll share with you the first time I met Ms. Dolenz.  It was 1997, and my sister Michelle, best friend Lora, and I had attended nearly twenty Monkees concerts up and down the Eastern seaboard that year.  We’d seen both Micky’s and Davy’s daughters before, but had never talked to any of them at that point.  We were at a resort in Beverly, Massachusetts when all four of Micky’s daughters, Ami, Charlotte, Emily, and Georgia, came downstairs and sat with us and the rest of the band in the courtyard.  Not having met them before, we were a little tentative to approach them, but it wasn’t long before someone else introduced us.  Ami and her sisters were all very sweet and genuinely kindhearted, and they were more than accommodating to pose for pictures with us.

Michelle in purple, Charlotte Dolenz, Emily Dolenz, Me in black & white, Ami Dolenz, Georgia Dolenz, Lora on end

Happy Birthday, Ami Dolenz!

Ami Dolenz in the middle; Me with white hair tie

Time to talk:  What Ami Dolenz acting role do you remember best?  Which of her father’s songs do you remember best? 

My New Year’s Day

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’m sharing what has got to be one of the worst things I’ve ever written.  In my defense, however, I was only six at the time.  The whole thing is hilarious, and it’s a little scary how my six-year old brain worked.

First of all, I don’t know why all those people only had a one-bedroom house!  (Actually, I do.  I grew up as an only child.  It was just me and my grandparents.  We lived next door to an orange grove, so there weren’t any neighbors to play with.  And my grandma never wanted to “impose” on other people by allowing me to go play somewhere else.  So for me, being an only child was being a “lonely child.”  More than anything, I wanted a house full of kids to play with.)

Second of all, you’d think that everyone over eighteen would’ve been anxious to move out!  You can definitely see why Dad worked in Hawaii to get away from all that commotion.

Furthermore, when I told you yesterday that My Three Sons was one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid, you can see here just how true that was (with the brother Ernie and cousins Chip and Robbie).

If you remember much about being little, you might remember that it was a HUGE DEAL to stay up past midnight!  So when Linda here stayed up until 4:30 AM, I can totally see why she thought it was the best New Year’s she ever had.  Of course, the fact that she’d only ever lived through four other New Year’s celebrations doesn’t give her much of a measuring stick.

I think the other hysterical part (besides the really bad spelling) is that I gave all this detail in the build-up, and then you blink and the story’s over.  There’s no conflict.  No resolution.  Just an expansive cast of characters in a single tiny room.

Below is the spelling-corrected version in case you can’t decipher my handwriting.  (By the way, do you notice how I made the star extra dark?  That was the year I finally learned how to draw a star all by myself, and it was a huge deal!

My New Year’s Day – January 1

Once upon a time, there was a little, brown shack on the side of a big, tall hill.  It had three rooms – a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen.  At the house lived a girl named Linda.  Linda was only five years old.  She had four big brothers, and they were named John, Jimmy, Ernie, and Matthew.  She only had two big sisters named Sandy and Lisa.  Her cousins’ names were Chip and Robbie.  They lived with her, too.  She had a mom, and her dad was in Hawaii because he had to work there.  Sandy was fourteen, and Lisa was twenty-one.  John was twelve; Jimmy was sixteen; Ernie was seventeen; and Matthew was ten.  Chip and Robbie were nineteen.  “It’s finally December 31,” Linda said.  They stayed up until 4:30 in the morning.  Linda said it was the best New Year’s Day she ever had.  The End

Time to talk:  Did my story make you laugh?  What was the latest you ever stayed up when you were little?  If you were one of the older kids in this house, would you move?  Would you ever allow your spouse to work in Hawaii while you stayed home in a one-bedroom house with nine kids?

Happy Birthday, Barry Livingston!

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite former child stars.  Barry Livingston played lovable Ernie Douglas on the long-time sitcom, My Three Sons (which was one of my favorite shows when I was little – in reruns, of course!).  (His real life older brother, Stanley Livingston, played his older brother Chip on the show.)  He’s guest-starred in a ton of television shows (as recently as this year!) and appeared in nearly two dozen movies.  And he’s also been in numerous on- and off-Broadway plays.  He is the only cast member of My Three Sons to still have an active Screen Actors Guild Card.

What you may not know, though, is that Mr. Livingston is also an author.  In 2011, he penned his autobiography, The Importance of Being Ernie.  (This clever title is a play on words from the Oscar Wilde play from 1895, “The Importance of Being Earnest.”)  And in case you’re wondering, yes, he writes as well as he acts!

Happy 61st Birthday, Mr. Livingston!

Time to talk:  Did you ever watch My Three Sons?  If so, who was your favorite son?  What was your favorite TV show when you were little?