The Incredible Inman: Michael Landon's character was great 'Runner' because of bedwetting
Question: At least 20 years ago, I saw a movie with Michael Landon playing the part of a grown up long-distance runner. When he was a child, he had a bedwetting problem, and to embarrass him into quitting, his mother would hang his sheets out of his window for all of his friends to see when they walked home from school. In order to get the sheets down before anyone saw them, he would run home each day, and in the interim, became a fantastic runner! Do you have any idea what the name of this movie might be?
Answer: That's “The Loneliest Runner,” a 1976 TV movie which the ever-humble Landon also directed and wrote. It also stars Brian Keith and Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls on Landon's “Little House on the Prairie.”
Q: I remember a show about 10 years ago called “Roundhouse.” It aired on Nickelodeon at 9 p.m. (I think), and it was a sketch-comedy show. I think I remember one of the women on the show that looked a lot like Megan Mullally of “Will & Grace.” Am I right?
A: “Roundhouse” ran on Nick in 1992. Mullally wasn't in the cast — it consisted of young unknowns such as Bryan Anthony, Mark David and Amy Ehrlich, who are now slightly older unknowns.
Q: In the mid 1990s, I saw a comedy about how Dr. Watson had to hire an actor to play Sherlock Holmes because Watson had created Holmes, who didn't really exist. Any clue (no pun intended) as to what the movie was called?
A: Oh, yeah? Well the joke's on you, sort of, because the movie is called “Without a Clue,” not to be confused with “Clueless,” which is about teenagers in southern California, most of whom would probably think that Sherlock Holmes was the name of a gated community.
Anyway, “Without a Clue” was released in 1988, and features Ben Kingsley as Watson and the wonderful Michael Caine as Holmes.
Q: There was a show on in the 1960s called “Davey and Goliath.” It was a Christian show on values using animation. Are there any DVDs available?
A: “Davey and Goliath,” filmed in stop-motion animation, was produced from 1960-65 by Art Clokey, who also gave us “Gumby.”
Clokey produced the series for the United Lutheran Church, which offered the segments free to any TV station that was interested in running them, which is why “Davey and Goliath” was on TV a lot in the 1960s and '70s.
Davey Hansen (voice by Dick Beals) was the young master of talking-dog Goliath, who was often the show's moral voice. His voice was provided by Hal Smith. Irony of ironies — this was at the same time Smith was playing Mayberry town drunk Otis Campbell on “The Andy Griffith Show”!
Anyway, the series explored spiritual themes in a subtle manner. I still remember one episode called “All Alone,” in which Davey gets trapped in a railroad freight car and the noise the train makes as it rolls along sounds like “All alone, all alone, all alone.”
“Davey and Goliath” is on DVD, and on youtube.com.
Q: We have a question for you. My husband would like to know who the old cowboy actor was who said “Scratch gravel, White Wind” to his horse. No one we ask knows the answer to this.
A: The fellow who uttered that phrase was Whip Wilson, who appeared in a handful of grade-Z westerns for Monogram Studios from 1949-52. They included “Silver Raiders” and “Canyon Raiders.” Wilson even had his own comic book for a time. His real name was Ronald Meyers, and he died in 1964 at age 53.
Q: I can't get Nancy McKeon out of my head! Specifically, I keep remembering a sitcom she was in after “The Facts of Life,” but every time I mention it to somebody they all think I'm referring to “The Facts of Life” and it's driving me crazy! She was older than she was on “The Facts of Life” and she was dating guys. Please tell me that this was a show!
A: It was a show! Specifically, it was a show called “Can't Hurry Love,” and it ran on CBS from 1995 to 1996. It was a ripoff of — excuse me, it was “inspired” by — “Friends,” and like that show it was about hip young people living in New York on low incomes but nevertheless with great apartments.
McKeon played Annie O'Donnell, who found out every week that, darn it all, no matter how much you might look at your watch and sigh heavily and honk your horn, you can't hurry love. Her friends were played by Mariska Hargitay (now of “Law & Order: SVU”), Louis Mandylor and Kevin Crowley.
Q: Back in the 1980s, I remember renting a movie about a bus carrying convicts that overturned, setting the convicts free. They unleashed havoc among the citizens of the town the bus overturned in. This was one of the most terrifying, graphic movies I've ever seen. Any idea what movie I'm talking about?
A: The movie is 1988's “Fear,” with Frank Stallone, Cliff DeYoung and Kay Lenz.
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.
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