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TV Q&A

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - Updated: 7:07 AM

By RICH HELDENFELS

Akron Beacon Journal

Q: I read with dismay about "Revolution" being canceled. They sucked me in and I have a right to know the ending. All these shows need to be required to tape an ending just in case they are not picked up again. Why should I even bother to watch any network shows? That's why they're all failing. The networks don't give anyone a true chance. How many of the old loved shows in reruns would have failed by today's standards? Let the show finish the story and then cancel. Sometimes it takes a bit for the show to catch on just like the shows of old. Not all of us have the attention span of a gnat!

A: As I said before, the people making shows do not always know how they will end until they get near that end. And making a series finale early in the run is not only expensive, it can prove obsolete -- for example, if it runs a long time, key cast members may leave -- or put the makers of the show in a narrative box that they then want to escape. And yes, shows often get pulled off the air quickly if they do not perform in the ratings. But that is not always the case. Revolution was on for two seasons before NBC let it go.

Q: I recently watched a very old episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" where the names of the twins were Matthew and Christopher. All other programs give them the names Michael and Jeffrey. What's up with that?

A: This is a perennial question among "Raymond" rerun watchers, so let's revisit the answer. Matthew and Christopher are also the names of star Ray Romano's two sons (and he has a daughter, Ally, as does the television Raymond). In a DVD commentary on the show's pilot episode, Romano said he later felt weird about the names and so changed the boys'. (Ally remained.) In the commentary, Romano also says that the parallels between his TV life and his real life were sometimes uncomfortable -- that the portrayal of his TV brother, for one thing, did not sit well with his real brother. So the name change created some separation between the real Raymond and the TV one.

Q: My 90-year-old mom told me to mention to you Charles Lane. WOW! Tons of movies he was in!

A: Bespectacled, sharp-voiced Lane, who died in 2007 at the age of 102, was indeed in a lot of movies in a career that spanned more than 60 years. As the New York Times said when Lane died, he played "hotel clerks, cashiers, reporters, lawyers, judges, tax collectors, mean-spirited businessmen, the powerful as well as the nondescript. Sometimes he was little more than a face in the crowd, with only a line or two of dialogue, which made it easy for him to trot from one movie set to another and rack up two or three film credits in a single day. He appeared in hundreds of comedies, dramas, gangster flicks and musicals," In 1933 alone, he was in 23 movies, the Times said.

Lane was about 90 when he gave his last on-screen performance. And, when the TV Land awards marked his 100th birthday, Lane told the audience, "If you're interested, I'm still available."

     

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