If it’s Thursday, this must be the mailbag …
Q: What date will “Dexter” return? How many more seasons would you guess he has left? I don’t see how he can get out of the way it ended last season.
A: The seventh season of the Showtime drama starring Michael C. Hall will begin on Sept. 30. It has already been renewed for an eighth season, and I would not be surprised if that proves to be the end of the show — although, as Entertainment Weekly recently noted, that could change. Joining the show for the seventh season are Jason Gedrick (Luck) and Ray Stevenson, star of the Cleveland-set Kill the Irishman.
Q: Where was the movie “Friendly Persuasion” with Gary Cooper made?
A: While the 1956 film about a Quaker family during the Civil War was set in Indiana, it was made at locations in California. But, while researching your question, I came across an interesting sidelight to the movie involving political madness in Hollywood.
The film received six Oscar nominations, one of them for the adapted screenplay, written by Michael Wilson, a previous Oscar winner for co-writing A Place in the Sun. But the Oscars website notes Wilson was denied a screen credit on Friendly Persuasion by the film’s studio because he was on the Hollywood blacklist, a banning of show-business individuals suspected of Communist sympathies; Wilson had refused to cooperate with a witch-hunting congressional committee.
The motion picture academy, not wanting to honor a blacklisted writer, revised its bylaws so the film could be nominated for “the achievement” of writing but the actual writer could not be. Indeed, according to the Oscars website, the final ballot sent to Oscar voters excluded the writing nomination entirely because of the ban on Wilson. But this all seems even crazier because that same year, in the same Oscar voting, the prize for best motion picture story went to The Brave One’s “Robert Rich” — a pseudonym for blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo.
The academy did finally reinstate Wilson’s nomination for Friendly Persuasion in 2002. But there’s more to his blacklisting saga.
Wilson was also at first denied a share of the Oscar given for co-writing The Bridge on the River Kwai, as was Carl Foreman, because they were both blacklisted. Both men were acknowledged as Oscar winners in 1984. Wilson was also denied a screen credit for Lawrence of Arabia; the Writers Guild of America chalks that up to the blacklist, but at least one other account blames it on problems between Wilson and director David Lean, who then did not want to give Wilson his due. The Writers Guild of America later ruled that Wilson deserved the credit, and the Oscars gave him a share of the Lawrence writing nomination in 1995.
Sadly, in all these cases, Wilson did not see any of these acknowledgments of his work. He died in 1978.
Q: What happened to “Minute to Win It”?
A: NBC no longer carries the game show and did not include it in plans for fall.
Q: Is Andrew McCarthy the son of the late actor Kevin Mc-Carthy?
A: No. As far as I can tell, they are not related. But Kevin McCarthy was the brother of the writer Mary McCarthy,
Q: I saw part of a movie with a young boy who liked wearing dresses. His dad was a cop who was ashamed of the boy. His grandmother was Shirley MacLaine. She was pretty tolerant, probably because she had been intolerant of her son, and she was trying to make up for things. Any clues as to the name?
A: You appear to have happened upon a movie known both as Bruno and The Dress Code, the latter title used on some DVD and VHS releases of the 2000 film. It was the first and, as far as I can tell, only film directed by ?MacLaine, and was originally shown on Starz. Alex D. Linz played the boy, Gary Sinise played his father.
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Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.