Tribune News Service
You have questions. I have some answers.
Q: I like the Bridget Jones films. One thing I notice, though, is the spelling. I was taught that for possessive, if the word ends in an “s,” just add an apostrophe, and otherwise add an apostrophe-“s.” So shouldn’t the correct spelling be “Bridget Jones’ Baby” (instead of “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” which is the title of the movie)?
A: When it comes to questions like this (rare though they are), I reach for Theodore M. Bernstein’s classic The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage. Although it notes that some publications have a style that would omit that extra “s” in a possessive after a proper name (such as the Beacon Journal, which follows AP style), it still sides with the filmmakers. “When a proper noun ends in ‘s’ the normal (but not universal) practice is to add ‘s’: James’s, Thomas’s, Jones’s,” Bernstein said. His book talks about other punctuation situations — for instance, what to do about triple sibilants — but you can discuss that among yourselves.
Q: I watched the show called “First Take” and I was wondering what happened to the guy that was on. I think his name was Skip. Now there is someone else with Stephen.
A: Skip Bayless, who used to talk sports with Stephen A. Smith on First Take, left ESPN for Fox Sports and the FS1 show Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe. And that’s Max Kellerman now on First Take.
Q: I’m a recent watcher and fan of “Rizzoli and Isles” and have been enjoying the reruns of the show. Why was Detective Barry Frost killed off the show? Did something happen to the actor playing that role?
A: The TNT series, which recently ended its run, had a tragic loss in 2013. Lee Thompson Young, the actor who played Frost, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound; he had reportedly been dealing with depression and bipolar disorder. On Rizzoli, Frost was then killed off in an automobile accident; the memorial to Frost on the show served as a touching tribute to Young as well.
And, as loyal viewers know, Frost remained a presence on the show to the end. Jane had kept a robot belonging to Frost on her desk. In the series finale, as she was getting ready to leave Boston, she passed the robot on to Frankie.
Q: I’m looking for information about a made-for-TV movie with Bette Davis. It’s about a girl who is in a wheelchair but wants to learn how to fly. Davis is an old, crusty pilot who goes about teaching the girl how to fly. What is the name of the movie? Is it on DVD?
A: The movie is called Skyward, from 1980. Ron Howard directed, from a script by Nancy Sackett and story by Howard’s Happy Days co-star Anson Williams. The girl was played by Suzy Gilstrap, and there was a sequel, Skyward Christmas, with Gilstrap but without Davis and Howard. Unfortunately, I do not know of an authorized DVD release.
Q: Several months ago, someone asked who the voice in Arby’s commercials was and you told them Ving Rhames. But you were wrong. James Earl Jones does the Arby’s commercials. In the beginning they had him in person, then they changed to just using his voice. If you can go back and watch the earliest ads, you’ll see James Earl Jones is the one doing the Arby’s commercials, and still is.
A: I hate to disappoint readers, but you’re wrong on this one. I contacted Arby’s directly, and a spokesman confirmed that Ving Rhames is the voice in the ads (but has not appeared on camera for the company so far). James Earl Jones has done extensive voice work, including in commercials, and I enjoyed his funny on-camera appearances with Malcolm McDowell for Sprint. But the Arby’s spokesman said Jones has not been affiliated with the brand.
Rich Heldenfels has retired from the Beacon Journal but continues to answer your questions about entertainment past, present and future. Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters may be edited. Individual replies are not guaranteed.