Pop Culture Q&A: Earlier on, Mark Harmon played a P.I.
Question: What was the name of a one-hour show starring Mark Harmon as a private investigator? It would have aired in the '80s or '90s. I'm a car guy, and I remember he drove a '60s sky-blue Buick Riviera. Also I remember a blonde, Harmon's right hand-girl Friday. Maybe Markie Post?
Answer: While the details don't match perfectly, the closest I can get to your description on the “NCIS” star's extensive resume is the drama series “Charlie Grace,” which aired on ABC in 1995. As “The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows” explains, Harmon played the title character, a private eye operating from a pool hall and working for an attorney (Cindy Katz) who was also his ex-girlfriend. I cannot find exactly what he drove, although one fan of the show said online that it was a “cool car.” Unfortunately, the show was scheduled against “Friends” and “Murder, She Wrote,” and it did not last long.
Q: Over 15 years ago, my husband purchased a VHS of a movie called “29th Street.” It starred Anthony LaPaglia and Danny Aiello. The VHS tape is missing and we wanted to replace it. I cannot find the movie for sale anywhere for less than $75. Why so much? Has it ever been on TV? I want to buy it on DVD but not for $75.
A: Apparently the film was released on DVD about 10 years ago but, for some reason, is not being distributed in an authorized version. The whys of movies disappearing from home viewing can vary, from a rights issue to mere lack of extensive demand. (There may be bootlegs, but I don't recommend them.) It would appear, then, that the remaining available copies are somewhat rare, so the people selling them for $75 and up on Amazon.com expect that people who really, really want the movie will pay that price. If you still have an operating VHS player, you can find versions of 29th Street for much less on Amazon; just search “29th Street VHS.”
Q: Do you know if the show “Rules of Engagement” will be coming back on TV?
A: These days, it seems possible for any show to come back from oblivion. But for now, “Rules” is available only in repeats such as those airing in syndication and on TBS. The comedy ended its run of original episodes for CBS in 2013, and the cast members have gone on to other projects. Oliver Hudson, for one, is now playing Jeff Fordham on “Nashville.”
Q: Is the actress who plays the cook's girlfriend in “Galavant” the same one that plays Daisy in “Downton Abbey”? When will “Galavant” return?
A: Yes, that was Sophie McShera on both shows. You may also have noticed a familiar face playing a Galavant pirate: Hugh Bonneville, known to “Downton” fans as Robert, Earl of Grantham. No word at this writing about a second season of “Galavant,” although I'd be happy to see more of the giddy, witty program — especially with all the cliffhangers at the end of its first season.
Rich Heldenfels is a staff writer for the Akron Beacon Journal. Write him at Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.