You have questions. I have some answers.
Q: I have been a fan of “The X-Files” with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. I have seen Gillian Anderson in recent shows, but I have no idea what David Duchovny is doing. Anything you could inform me about him?
Answer: Even if he’s not on screen dealing with the paranormal every week, Duchovny has been active in an array of ways.
June saw the publication of “The Reservoir,” a short novel written by Duchovny, his fifth book. His musical pursuits include the album “Gestureland,” released last year.
In 2021 he additionally appeared as a version of himself in the Netflix series “The Chair,” starring Sandra Oh. He is also reportedly set to star in “Truly Like Lightning,” a miniseries based on his novel of the same name.
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Q: I saw something about “The Handmaid’s Tale” coming up. Is that new or a replay?
Answer: The fifth season of the drama inspired by Margaret Atwood’s novel arrives on Hulu on Sept. 14. From Hulu’s synopsis: “June faces consequences for killing Commander Waterford while struggling to redefine her identity and purpose. The widowed Serena attempts to raise her profile in Toronto as Gilead’s influence creeps into Canada. Commander Lawrence works with Nick and Aunt Lydia as he tries to reform Gilead and rise in power.”
Q: For years I have watched all these home improvement/restoration channels like HGTV, DYI and Magnolia. I notice in the last couple of years when they do staging in the homes, most of them will fill bookshelves and stands with books’ pages facing outward instead of the binders.
Do you know what gives on this type of display?
Answer: My first thought was that the shows do not want sharp-eyed viewers to draw conclusions about homeowners based on the book titles they could see. Instead, it is a design decision — albeit one I and other book lovers find baffling.
In 2017, Today.com reported that “the main argument for why designers like this look is that it shows the whites of the pages, creating a cohesive color palette on your bookshelf.”
A Today editor added, “I hated how we had so many books, but they were all different colors,” she said. “I’d tried to kind of color block them and make them look nice — as Pinterest has shown me — but it just didn’t work.
Now that I’ve turned them all around, it matches more with the look of our bedroom, and I don’t have to stare at my husband’s maroon copy of ‘The Intelligent Investor.’ Win, win.”
Q: I remember a show from my younger days called “Life Begins at 80,” and I think of it more now that I have reached that age. I don’t remember much except the entertaining conversations. I’d like to know more about it and the octogenarians it featured.
Answer: “Life Begins at 80” started as a radio show in 1948, with series creator Jack Barry hosting a panel of octogenarians and older on all sorts of topics. The series was a generation-flipping version of Barry’s “Juvenile Jury.”
With “Life,” John Dunning’s “Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio” says “the panelists were so frank that Barry had to tape it and censor the indelicate slips of tongue.” A television version ran from 1950 to 1956, again with Barry hosting.
Several panelists from the radio show moved to television, among them Joseph Rosenthal, Fred Stein and Georgiana Carhart. The flirtatious Mrs. Carhart was “the most delightful” of the panelists, according to one reference.
Q: I really enjoyed Richard Chamberlain in the TV miniseries “Shogun” in the 1980s. I would really like to see it again but can’t find it anywhere. Do you know where I could find a copy or if it’s streaming anywhere?
Answer: The miniseries based on James Clavell’s novel was a huge hit when it premiered over five nights in 1980. While I do not know of a streaming location, there have been DVD and Blu-ray releases; you can find the complete series DVD set for about $20 from some vendors.
Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or email@example.com.
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