Joan Rivers co-wrote '73 TV movie about vengeful woman

| Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Question: I remember seeing a movie as a child about an ugly, overweight woman who couldn't get a date with any man she tried to pursue. After a horrible accident, plastic surgery, and weight loss, the same guys she wanted to date then wanted to date her because they didn't recognize her. The woman then dated each man and killed him for rejecting her when she was ugly and overweight. What is the name of this movie? When was it released or aired on television? Is it available to purchase?

Answer: That's the 1973 TV movie “The Girl Most Likely to ...,” which stars Stockard Channing, Ed Asner and Suzanne Zenor; it was co-written by Joan Rivers. It's on DVD.

Q: I remember seeing a movie with Jon Voight. He had to go to an island somewhere, to teach kids. Am I correct to say that it was on an island off the coast of South Carolina? I was wondering if it is available on DVD or video.

A: The movie is “Conrack,” released in 1974. It co-stars Paul Winfield, Madge Sinclair and Hume Cronyn. The setting is an island off the coast of South Carolina, although the film was shot off the coast of Georgia. “Conrack” is on video, but is out of print.

Q: My husband swears that as a child (in the early to mid 1960s) he watched a movie on TV that was a version of “Gulliver's Travels,” but all I can find are animated versions from that era. Can you help?

A: How about “The Three Worlds of Gulliver,” from 1960, with Kerwin Matthews as the big man and special effects by master Ray Harryhausen? It's on DVD.

Q: I've been trying to think of the name of this movie. It's pretty old and I think there was a remake of it at one time or another. It's about this woman who recently lost her job. She is walking down the street and sees that a baby, who was left on a doorstep of an orphanage, is about to go tumbling down the stairs. She rushes to catch the baby and the door of the orphanage opens. The people inside assume the baby is hers and try to convince her to keep it — they even get her old job back for her. The boss's son takes an interest in the girl and eventually the boss comes to think that the baby is his grandson. Can you tell me what the name of this movie is and who played in it?

A: That's the 1939 film “Bachelor Mother,” with Ginger Rogers and David Niven. It was remade in 1956 as “Bundle of Joy,” with then-married Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.

Q: In the 1950s, my friends and I met a woman named Dagmar who told us she was on TV. Could you please tell us who she was? I only know she was nice to us but nothing else.

A: Dagmar was a celebrity in the very early days of television for about a year or so. She was a blonde, statuesque actress born Virginia Ruth Egnor in Huntington, W.Va. She came to New York City as a model in the late 1940s.

In 1950 she was hired to appear on the NBC late-night show “Broadway Open House” and given the name “Dagmar.” She was told to sit still and wear a low-cut gown. But her verbal jousting with host Jerry Lester led to regular appearances on the show where she would read bad poems (she called them “treatises”) with a straight face.

Dagmar appeared on the cover of Life magazine in July 1951, but “Broadway Open House” went off the air in August. She appeared in a short-lived show called “Dagmar's Canteen” in 1952, but by then her star had faded. She made a few guest appearances on shows into the 1950s, but then disappeared from show business altogether. She moved back to West Virginia and died there in 2001, at age 79.

Q: What is the real name of singer Marilyn Manson?

A: Manson's real name is Brian Hugh Warner. Apparently the Marilyn in his name refers to Marilyn Monroe and the Manson refers to Charles Manson!

Q: I remember two TV shows from the late 1980s that no one else seems to remember. The first starred a young Jerry O'Connell, I believe, and he had special powers. The second was about a girl whose dad was from space and she could talk to him through a special box. My sisters watched these shows with me and even they don't remember them! Please tell me (and everyone else) that I am not crazy and that these shows really were on television!

A: Those shows existed, all right, but they were both syndicated, so they appeared in some cities but not others, which may be why no one else in your social circle remembers them. Of course, they were also lousy shows, which may be another reason.

The first is “My Secret Identity,” which ran from 1988 to '91. O'Connell played Andrew Clements, a teen who developed superpowers when he was hit by a laser developed by his neighbor, Dr. Benjamin Jeffcoate.

The second is “Out of This World,” which ran from 1987 to '91. Maureen Flannigan was Evie, a girl whose mom was Earthling Donna (Donna Pescow) and whose dad was alien Troy (the voice of Burt Reynolds).

Q: I'm trying to get the title of a movie I saw on cable in the early to mid-1980s. It was a romance movie about a young couple whose parents didn't want them to be together. There was one older man who knew about the romance. I want to say it took place in Vienna or a European city. The only concrete thing I remember is that the parents or some authority figure is interrogating the old man asking where the kids are or what they are doing. He says: “Kissing.” And then cut to a scene of the young couple on a boat kissing. I've tried Google, but just don't have the keywords such as actor's names. I just remember watching it when I was too young to really understand what romance was. Can you help?

A: Sounds like the 1979 film “A Little Romance,” with Diane Lane, age 13 at the time, as the girl. The older man was played by Laurence Olivier, and the boy was played by Thelonius Bernard.

Write David Inman in care of The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal, 525 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 740031, Louisville, Ky. 40201-7431; or email him at Questions of general interest will be answered; personal replies are not possible.

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