Ron Palillo, a.k.a. Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter, has died

Ron Palillo, who played Horshack on the 70s (1975-1979) hit sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter, (season 1 is on order), died unexpectedly today at his West Palm Beach, Florida home.

Palillo's goofy character, Arnold Horshack, whose snorty horse-laugh masked his academic incliniations, was one of The Sweathogs, four rambunctious, lovable students in a remedial Brooklyn High School class taught by the wry Mr. Kotter (himself a former Sweathog), played by Gabe Kaplan. The other three Sweathogs were:

Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino, the requisite heartthrob, played by John Travolta whose career took off with this role.

Freddie "Boom Boom" Percy Washington, brought to life by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, was musical and athletic and somewhat of a peacemaker.

Rounding out the quartet was Epstein (Juan Luis Pedro Felipo de Huevos Epstein, the short, tough guy Puerto Rican Jew, forever immortalized by Robert Hegyes.

Palillo, who was 63, died of a massive heart attack.

Ghostwriter: Mystery for Kids

Did you grow up in the early 90's? Chances are, if when you grew up you owned an array of scrunchies and jelly shoes or owned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles memorabilia, you remember the PBS broadcast series Ghostwriter. Back then, my mom was trying to find more appropriate mysteries for me and my sister to watch (we had already watched all of The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley), since we caught on to her love of Murder, She Wrote. Ghostwriter fit the criteria. Set in Brooklyn, New York, this three season series (AADL owns the first season) follows five friends on their quest to solve mysteries with the aid of a ghost, named Ghostwriter. This series is most appropriate for the fourth and fifth grade crowd. (Warning: may be disagreeable with adults.)

Unscramble the bold letters for a Summer Game Code!

Chad Everett, hunky 70s TV heartthrob with ties to Michigan, has died

Chad Everett, who played Dr. Joe Gannon in the 1970s medical drama, Medical Center, died July 24 at his Los Angeles home.

Born in South Bend, IN, he and his family relocated to Dearborn, MI for his father's work (he was an auto parts salesman). Everett was a student at Fordson High and later attended Wayne State University.

Medical Center aired on CBS from 1969 to 1976. In one episode, Everett's character, surgeon Joe Gannon, treated a mentally disturbed football star, played by O.J. Simpson.

In How's Your News?, a 2004 documentary that tracks five charismatic reporters and journalists with mental and physical challenges, one of the principles interviews Everett, his childhood idol.

Mr. Everett went on to other series and acting roles. The last one was in the Castle Season 4 (on order) episode, The Blue Butterfly which aired on February 6th of this year.

Mr. Everett, who suffered from lung cancer, was 75.

Don Grady, a.k.a. Robbie Douglas on "My Three Sons" sitcom, has died

Don Grady, one of the 'sons' in My Three Sons, the popular long-running 1960s sitcom, died yesterday at his home in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Grady was a musical prodigy whose facility with seven musical instruments landed him his first TV role as an original Mouseketeer when the Mickey Mouse Club debuted in 1955. Five years later, he landed the role of Robbie Douglas, one of three boys raised by widower, Steve Douglas, played by Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons which ended in 1972. He also picked up the occasional acting gig on two beloved western series, The Rifleman and WagonTrain.

Grady then devoted his life to his passion -- music.He had a couple of bands (The Greefs and The Yellow Ballon) and composed the songs for the 2008 Disney Princess Party as well as the theme music for The Phil Donahue Show.

Grady, who had just turned 68 on June 8th, had fought cancer for four years.

June's Books to Film

Snow White and the Huntsman. In this retelling of the most beloved fairy tales of all times, Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) must join forces with the fierce Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), who was recruited by the evil Queen (Charlize Theron) obsessed with being the fairest woman in the land. Meanwhile, a handsome prince (Sam Claflin) falls hopelessly under Snow White's spell.

Bel Ami Guy de Maupassant's classic tale of passion in late18th-century Paris is adapted in a scintillating erotic drama starring Twilight's Robert Pattinson as a destitute young soldier who plots to gain power by seducing the mistresses of the city's most influential men. Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Colm Meaney co-star.

In The Woman in the Fifth, adopted from the novel by Douglas Kennedy, American professor and novelist Tom Ricks traveled to Paris to see his young daughter, hoping also to reconnect with his estranged wife. After being robbed, he was forced to work in a seedy hotel as a night watchman, until he met a sophisticated woman named Margit at a literary event. Margit encouraged Tom to write again but he was unsettled by a series of murders taking place around him. Starring Ethan Hawke, and the very busy Kristin Scott Thomas (MPAA Rating: R)

The multifaceted Seth Grahame-Smith - novelist/producer/cinematographer has adopted his own novel for the big screen in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, who discovers vampires planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.

Longmire is the new A&E television series based on the popular mystery series by Craig Johnson. Robert Taylor plays Walt Longmire, the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Widowed only a year, Longmire is a man in psychic repair, trying to bury his pain behind a brave face and dry wit. Often turning to close friend and confidant Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) for support, he sets out to rebuild both his personal and professional life, one step at a time.

TV Spotlight: Treme on DVD

Treme [truh-MAY] is an HBO television drama created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer. (The two previously worked together on Homicide and The Wire.) The show begins 3 months after Hurricane Katrina in the neighborhood of Treme in New Orleans. It focuses on various characters, including musicians, chefs, a DJ, a lawyer, and a series of locals, who are trying to put their lives and homes back together after their neighborhood was nearly destroyed.

The show is deeply moving as the viewer gets a close look at the damage and the long term effect it has on some of the characters. It has a wonderful cast, many who have worked with Simon before, including New Orleans native Wendell Pierce, who portrays a musician in Treme. The show also features many other locals to create the local flavor the creators desire in their productions. Between the acting, writing, and the subject matter, it’s a great human interest story as we look at the lives of those who lost. Being set in New Orleans, the show is also rich with music of all sorts. It flows through the streets and in every scene, and is one of the biggest characters in this television drama.

AADL currently owns season 1 and 2, season 3 will premier this fall on HBO, and a 4th season is planned. If you're attracted to the Hurricane Katrina aspect of Treme, check out some documentaries on the subject matter.

The IT Crowd, on DVD

The hilarious British sitcom The IT Crowd is set at the fictional Reynholm Industries. The show revolves around three IT department staff members who dwell in the dank basement of the office. The department consists of a geeky genius named Moss, the lazy, girl-chasing Roy, and their boss Jen, who knows absolutely nothing about computers. Together they get the job done while not getting the job done, as they get themselves into and out of one wacky situation after the other. This is the kind of team who emails the fire department when a fire breaks out, then makes the small fire look like a screen saver in order to disguise the outbreak from the big boss.

You might like The IT Crowd if you’re into offbeat British comedies like The Office or Absolutely Fabulous. The show spanned four seasons, and seasons one and two are currently available at AADL.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #329

I have done nothing in the last 2 days except immersing myself in Beatriz Williams's Overseas, a rather puzzling title (the connection will be revealed in due course) for this most appealing romantic fantasy (or is it a paranormal romance?).

Independent, ambitious, smart Kate Wilson, an analyst at Sterling Bates (Bear Stearns, you think?) catches the eyes of British billionaire hedge fund mogel (and a 5-star client) Julian Laurence. The chemistry is undeniable and the flirty emails promise a whole lot more. Then Julian begs off. Kate is crushed. Months later, they finally connect, after a timely rescue at Central Park. (You get the picture, no violins but some nice Chopin, courtesy of Mr. there-is-nothing-he-can't do).

Of course disaster strikes, fast, furious, but not entirely out of the blue, though Julian did! Kate finds out that Julian is actually Julian Laurence Ashford, aristocratic WWI hero/poet, supposedly killed in 1916 in France. Now a mysterious and malevolent force is out to destroy them. It seems like Kate, with her 21st century sensibility and toughness is the only one who could travel back in time, reverse the course of history to save them.

This debut novel which won two Romance Writers of America awards already, is poised to become the sizzling read this summer. Comparison is being made to Diana Gabaldon and Anne Fortier. Fans of the movie Pretty Woman will delight in the frame of the novel - the Cinderella storyline, the Manhattan glitterati (a ruby necklace made an appearance here as well), and sometime, if we are lucky, love could rescue us.

Readers interested in the scenes set in World War I Amiens might check out historical notes at the author's website. The character Julian Laurence Ashford is actually based on biographical details from a number of historical figures. Amiens is also the setting for Sebastian Faulks' "intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic" Birdsong, recently adapted into a PBS Television Masterpiece Classic.

* = starred review

TV Spotlight: Luther

BBC’s Luther is a psychological crime drama starring Idris Elba (The Wire) as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. Elba does a smashing job of portraying Luther, a brilliant yet troubled detective with a dark side. While battling crime in London he’s dealing with a prior case that haunts his existence, as well as coping with the fact that his wife has left him. Luther is an impulsive, emotionally-charged man, on the brink of violence, and often unable to control his emotions at times when he should.

The show focuses on Luther and the detectives he works with. As a twist, former murder suspect Alice decides to make Luther a new pet project and the two are locked in a battle of wits. That keeps things interesting, as they realize they have more in common than Luther would like. It’s a definite must-see for fans of British crime dramas or police procedurals. Thus far, Season 1 and Season 2 have been released on DVD, and a third season is in the works. After such cliff hanger endings, I can't wait!

Blasts From The Past, on DVD

The library not only features new, hot TV shows, it also has plenty of chestnuts in the collection for you to borrow. How about some 80s and 90s comedy to get you started?

In Square Pegs, teenage friends Patty and Lauren are trying to get by in an American high school and become less awkward and fit in among their peers. The television sitcom aired for just one season from 1982-1983. At the time, the series was acclaimed for its realistic portrayal of high school life. It also features Sarah Jessica Parker in all her big hair, pre-Sex and the City glory.

The sketch comedy show In Living Color aired on Fox from 1990-1994 and blurred the lines of race and political correctness with its obtuse humor. Created and written by the Wayans Brothers, the show launched careers of Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and David Alan Grier. In addition to its regular skits and recurring characters, the popular weekly show also featured acclaimed live music performances and the dance troupe The Fly Girls. To be introduced or reacquainted, check out seasons 1-3 at AADL.

Syndicate content