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Fox show 'Profit' featured boy who became ruthless executive

| Sunday, June 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Question: I remember a TV series from the 1980s that ran for only a few weeks. It was about a ruthless business executive, and the explanation for his behavior was that he had been abandoned as a child and grew up with no human contact except watching TV. Does this sound familiar? What was the title of the show?

Answer: That was an interesting show called “Profit,” which ran on Fox in 1996. Adrian Pasdar played the title character, Jim Profit, who had grown up in a cardboard box with TV for a baby sitter. The box came from a company called Gracen & Gracen, and when Profit grows up, after setting his abusive father on fire, he joins the company and tries to become part of its “family” by ruthlessly working his way up the ladder. Profit often addressed the camera, a la Kevin Spacey in “House of Cards,” and he creates his own identity, a la Don Draper of “Mad Men.” The show is on DVD.

Q.: I recently saw that the host of “Cash Cab” won an Emmy. I loved that show, but have not seen it recently. Is “Cash Cab” still on the air?

A.: If it is, it's a repeat episode. “Cash Cab” ended a seven-season run last year.

Q.: About 15 years ago, I heard about a movie where an elderly man uses a riding mower to go visit his dying brother. Nobody seems to remember the name of the movie. I don't know who was in it, but I would really like to see it if it is on DVD. Can you help?

A.: That's the 1999 film “The Straight Story,” with Sissy Spacek and Richard Farnsworth. The movie is based on a true story, and Farnsworth plays Alvin Straight, who drove a riding mower across Iowa and Wisconsin to visit his brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton), who has suffered a stroke. Spacek plays Farnsworth's daughter, and the film was directed by David Lynch. It's on DVD.

Q.: Will “Bates Motel” be back for another season?

A.: That heartwarming series has been renewed for a second season, and is scheduled to return in 2014.

Q.: Many years ago (the 1970s), there was a weekly sitcom starring Mickey Rooney. The plot was that Mickey's character ran into financial problems and was forced to go live with his grandson who was living in a dorm in a college. It was so funny. Is it, by chance, on DVD somewhere?

A.: That was a show called “One of the Boys,” and it ran on NBC for a few months in 1982. Rooney played Oliver Nugent, who moved in with grandson Adam (Dana Carvey) and his roommate Jonathan (Nathan Lane). Also around was Adam's girlfriend, Jane (Meg Ryan). Wonder whatever happened to those people? The show isn't on DVD.

Q.: As a child back in the late '50s, I remember seeing a vampire movie that gave me nightmares. It started with some villagers pounding a mask of some kind onto a woman who was tied to a stake. Needless to say, later on, she is brought back to life and all heck breaks loose. Is this a real memory? Can you tell me the title of the movie?

A.: First, just let me say: Ouch!

Sounds like the 1960 film “Black Sunday,” with Barbara Steele as be-yoo-tiful witch Asa Vajda, who is put to death in 1630 only to reappear two centuries later, and in a bad mood, to boot.

The cast also includes John Richardson and Ivo “Ivo” Garrani.

Q.: With the recent death of Jean Stapleton, we all have had to endure an overdose of the “All in the Family” theme song. Was it somebody else's song or just written for the show? Those were the days!

A.: “Those Were the Days” was written especially for the show by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse, the team behind “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Applause” and “Annie,” among other musicals. And it's a great encapsulation of Archie Bunker's worldview, as part of an iconic sitcom that today would find a home only on cable.

Q.: There's a TV movie or miniseries from the 1980s that I'd like to know the name of. It took place in a Southern town where hitchhikers kept disappearing. The story was about the town's police chiefs over a period of decades trying to solve the murders. Title, please?

A.: That was “Chiefs,” a 1983 CBS miniseries. The three different police chiefs were played by Wayne Rogers, Brad Davis and Billy Dee Williams, who were in office in, respectively, the 1920s, 1940s and 1960s. Charlton Heston played the town patriarch, and Keith Carradine played the killer.

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 incredibleinman(AT) Questions of general interest will be answered; personal replies are not possible.

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