By Rich Heldenfels Akron Beacon Journal
Q: Could you tell me what year the movie “Empire of the Sun” was made? Also, the name of the marvelous young actor who played the lead role.
A: The drama directed by Steven Spielberg premiered in 1987. The lead actor was a teen named Christian Bale.
Bale has gone on to a range of roles in films like Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies (as Batman / Bruce Wayne), “American Psycho,” “Rescue Dawn” and “The Fighter.”
He won the best supporting actor Oscar for playing the exceedingly messed up Dicky Eklund in that last film. He will be in theaters again this month with “American Hustle,” directed by David O. Russell (“The Fighter,” “Silver Linings Playbook”), and “Out of the Furnace.”
Q: I am addicted to “Monk” and I constantly watch his shows even though I have seen them before. I find his shows so delightful with a wonderful cast, calm settings and always, always happy endings. My questions are: Have there been any new shows filmed? When was the last show filmed?
A: The last episode of the mystery-comedy starring Tony Shalhoub aired in December 2009. Even though the series tied up the major plot threads at the end, I wouldn’t mind seeing a TV-movie reunion.
And maybe Shalhoub should think about it. His latest foray into television, the CBS comedy “We Are Men,” proved very short-lived.
Q: My husband and I really enjoyed last season’s two shows “Vegas” and “Golden Boy,” both of which were canceled after only one season. Now we are wondering about the show “Deception.” It first aired last season, was taken off and we haven’t heard a word about it since. Is it coming back? We also enjoyed this show.
A: “Deception,” a drama for NBC, is also done. The mystery-soap starring Meagan Good aired for 11 episodes beginning in January but never caught on with many viewers.
Indeed, Hitfix.com noted that “Deception’s” season finale finished seventh in its time slot, “behind not only CBS and ABC, but MTV, ESPN, A&E and USA.”
If Fox had programmed the 10 p.m. hour, “Deception” might well have finished eighth.
Q: Many, many years ago I watched a TV program called “Rat Patrol” about a small band of soldiers in World War II who were harassing the German troops in the desert. Are there any DVDs or any recorded versions available of this series to purchase or rent of these episodes?
A: “The Rat Patrol,” a half-hour action show on ABC, aired for two seasons in 1966-68. Chris George, Gary Raymond, Lawrence Casey and Justin Tarr played the commandos; Eric Braeden — then working as Hans Gudegast — was their main German rival.
The series is in a complete-series DVD box as well as packages of the two separate seasons. If your local retailer cannot get it, try online vendors like Amazon.com.
Q: I used to watch a TV Western series called “Colt .45.” Can you give me any information on the show and the actors in it? And do you know if it has been released in DVD or any other medium?
A: Wayde Preston (1929-1992) starred as Christopher Colt in this 1957-60 show. According to “The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows,” Colt was an undercover agent posing as a gun salesman while chasing dangerous outlaws.
Preston later became one of the “Warner Bros. walkouts” — series players who left the shows in contract disputes, like James Garner (“Maverick”) and Clint Walker (“Cheyenne”).
The actor Donald May was brought in as a new character, Sam Colt Jr., to fill the gap. Unfortunately, I have not found authorized replays or DVD releases of the series.