You have questions. I try to have answers.
Q: How come no one’s ever made a movie about Sonny Liston? I know it would probably be a movie without someone to root for, but so was “Raging Bull” and that was successful.
A: As a matter of fact, there is a screen drama about Liston, 2008’s Phantom Punch, with Ving Rhames as Liston and Robert Townsend directing. The title, of course, refers to the punch with which Muhammad Ali knocked Liston out in their second fight, one that made many observers believe Liston took a dive. The movie is available on DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video and iTunes. There’s also a documentary, Sonny Liston: The Mysterious Life and Death of a Champion, which aired on HBO in the ’90s. It was released on VHS but I have not found it in current formats.
Q: Will we ever get to see “Northern Exposure” again?
A: As with so many shows, it depends on where you look. While I have not yet found a channel currently replaying the show, all six seasons of the 1990-95 comedy-drama have been released on DVD in a complete-series package and in individual season sets. That said, there have been complaints about the DVDs substituting music for what was heard on the original telecasts. If you don’t want to own the show, check your local library’s collection; I saw DVDs of Northern Exposure in the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s online catalog.
Q: I was watching “Rizzoli & Isles” and at the end it said it was in memory of Lee Thompson Young (1984-2013) and then showed pictures of the young black man on the show. Has he died and what from? He was so young. He will be missed.
A: Lee Thompson Young, who played Detective Barry Frost on the TNT drama, died Aug. 19; he reportedly committed suicide. Young was 29 years old and had been acting for almost 20 years, notably as star of The Famous Jett Jackson for the Disney Channel.
A statement from TNT, the Warner Bros. studio (which makes Rizzoli) and executive producer Janet Tamaro said in part, “Everyone at Rizzoli & Isles is devastated by the news. … We are beyond heartbroken at the loss of this sweet, gentle, good-hearted, intelligent man.” Writer-director and Cleveland native Wes Craven, who knew Young from 2007’s The Hills Have Eyes 2, said on Twitter that “he was a pro, gifted and warm. The tragedy of this kind of loss is particularly bewildering and painful.”
Q: I am writing to inquire about the television series “Cedar Cove.” I understand it was a book series first written by Debbie Macomber. I love it and would like to read the books. But in what order do I start?
A: The Hallmark Channel drama is indeed based on books by Macomber, the author of more than 100 novels, including those about Cedar Cove. (You can see more about Macomber, including lists of her books, at www.debbiemacomber.com.) Sorting out the books can be tricky, especially since many have been reissued in new editions with Andie MacDowell from the Hallmark series on the cover, and there is a second set of books with a Cedar Cove connection.
But here goes: The Cedar Cove series starts with 2001’s 16 Lighthouse Road and proceeds, in order of publication, to 204 Rosewood Lane, 311 Pelican Court, 44 Cranberry Point, 50 Harbor Street, 5B Poppy Lane (a short piece included in the collections Hearts Divided and Christmas in Cedar Cove), 6 Rainier Drive, 74 Seaside Avenue, A Cedar Cove Christmas, 8 Sandpiper Way, 92 Pacific Boulevard, 1022 Evergreen Place, 1105 Yakima Street and 2011’s 1225 Christmas Tree Lane.
Then, beginning in 2012, comes what Macomber’s site identifies as the Rose Harbor series, focusing on the Rose Harbor Inn in Cedar Cove. That series so far has included When First They Met, The Inn at Rose Harbor, Lost and Found in Cedar Cove and the newest book, Rose Harbor in Bloom.
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Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.