The Incredible Inman: Mark Harmon was among attractive cast of '80s 'Flamingo Road'
Question: My husband and I were watching TV and saw a commercial for a program with Mark Harmon. About 20 years ago (give or take a few), we watched a program called “Flamingo Road.” It was sort of strange, but fascinating because of the actors (who we did not think were very talented). I know Harmon was a regular on this show. Who else was in this program?
Answer: Well, as we all recall — at least those of us who remember any U.S. president before Ronald Reagan — “Flamingo Road” ran on NBC from 1981 to '82. It was what we used to call a “prime-time soap,” meaning that it ran in prime time and it was a soap.
“Flamingo Road” took place in a small Florida town where there was a road named after a flamingo called Flamingo Road. The very attractive people who lived in this town included the much-married Constance (Morgan Fairchild), the not-married-as-much-but-still-attratcive Lane (Cristina Raines) and handsome guys played by David Selby, John Beck and Harmon. Everyone's favorite nemesis was crooked Sheriff Titus Semple, played by Howard Duff. Other regulars included Barbara Rush, Stella Stevens, Kevin McCarthy and the New Christy Minstrels. (Just kidding — they were only semi-regulars.)
Q: I am hoping you will help me with the title to a movie and if it is available. It takes place in New York City and more specifically in the borough of Brooklyn, I believe. It is about Jewish and/or Catholic mothers trying to fix up their grown children with each other. The man's career is that of a maker and seller of pickles. I hope you can help.
A: Sounds like “Crossing Delancey,” a 1988 film with Amy Irving and Peter Riegert as the pickle maker. It's on DVD.
Q: Can you please tell us what has happened to all of the cast members of “The Young Riders”? This was one of my favorite shows and thought all of the characters were excellent actors.
A: Well, for those of you who missed it, “The Young Riders” was about these young, um, riders who rode for the Pony Express back before UPS was invented. Several of these young riders would go on fame or infamy, and in this sense the show was a lot like “The Muppet Babies.”
The main riders were Ty Miller as the Kid (as in “Billy the”), Stephen Baldwin as William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and Josh Brolin as James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok.
Miller has appeared in guest roles on episodes of “Without a Trace” and “Nip/Tuck,” among others. Baldwin has been busy on such reality shows as “The Mole,” “I'm a Celebrity — Get Me Out of Here” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” Brolin has appeared in such films as “No Country for Old Men,” “True Grit” and “Men in Black 3.”
Q: I'm trying to prove to my grandson that I'm not crazy or senile yet. I was raised in Schenectady, New York. It was not considered a wealthy town; however I do remember bars having television sets in them as early as 1939. I even remember Yul Brynner having a sitcom on in the early 1940s. The kids are saying that I have finally flipped. Please come to my aid, Mr. Inman!
A: It is my pleasure to validate you. Given the city's close ties to General Electric, it makes perfect sense that Schenectady would have one of the earliest TV stations; indeed, station WGY was broadcasting as early as 1926.
The station you remember, however, is W2XB, an early NBC station which was on the air by 1939.
As for Yul Brynner, who's best known as the King in movie, stage and TV versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein's “The King and I,” he was a producer and actor in early TV, and a regular on the 1949 series “Life with Snarky Parker.”
Q: I'm wondering if you knew the name of a movie starring Peter Falk and D.B. Sweeney. Sweeney's parents die when he is very young, and Peter Falk (Sweeney's grandfather) takes him in and raises him. Falk's character, whose nickname is Rocky, makes his living as a baker. Sweeney goes on to medical school. He receives call about Rocky's building being torn down and he won't vacate. Sweeney takes Rocky back to school to live with him. Sweeney meets and marries a social worker, and eventually Sweeney talks him in to living with his wife and two children. Wife dies in car accident, leaving Sweeney depressed. Mother-in-law sues for custody and is about to take children when Rocky convinces Sweeney he can handle situations that seem beyond his control. Can you tell me the title of this movie and if it's on DVD?
A: That's “Roommates,” a 1995 film that also stars Julianne Moore and Ellen Burstyn. It's on DVD.
Q: Would you please settle a disagreement between my wife and me? Recently we were watching the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” I stated that the movie was made into a TV show, but my wife disagrees with me. If I am correct, what happened to the show?
A: “My Big Fat Greek Life,” as the show was called, lasted just seven episodes on CBS in spring 2003 despite cushy timeslots and heavy promotion. Repeating their roles from the film, which made eighty zillion dollars, were Nia Vardalos as Nia, Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine as her parents and Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula. Nia's husband Thomas, played in the film by John Corbett, was played in the series by Steven Eckholdt.
Q: I remember watching a show in either the late 1950s or early '60s called “Two Faces West.” The show was a Western featuring twin brothers. I was a small child but I do recall this show. I can't find any information about this show and don't know anyone else who has ever even heard of it, much less remembers watching it. Any info about this show could save my sanity!!
A: “Two Faces West” was a syndicated series, which means it was not on a network, so it was shown in some cities but not in others, which may account for why no one you know remembers it.
It aired from 1960 to 1961, and dealt with the exploits of the January brothers — Dr. Rick and U.S. Marshal Ben, both played by Charles Bateman. One used instruments of life to fight death and disease, and another used instruments of death to keep the peace! One carried a black bag with a stethoscope and the other carried a rifle with a telescopic scope! One charged for bullet removal and the other one did bullet insertions for free! One wore a white lab coat and the other — oh, forget it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions of general interest will be answered; personal replies are not possible.