If it’s Thursday, this must be the mailbag.
Q: If I remember correctly, you mentioned some time ago that “Dexter” was going to have one more season, the eighth, and that would be the last season. Is this so?
A: Would I lie to you readers? While it took some time to make it official, the Showtime series starring Michael C. Hall has said “the end begins” when the eighth season premieres on June 30. According to Showtime, “Season eight begins six months after LaGuerta’s murder — and Dexter is still managing life as a dad, brother, and serial killer. As Deb (series star Jennifer Carpenter) struggles to deal with the consequences of her actions, a mysterious woman comes to work with Miami Metro, offering first-hand information on Dexter’s past.” That woman, a neuropsychiatrist with special insights into serial killers, is played by Charlotte Rampling. You can find a trailer and a scene from the season premiere at www.sho.com, and it looks like a grim concluding ride.
Q: There seemed to be quite a bit of closure and finality to the season finale of “Shameless.” Is it coming back?
A: The Showtime series starring William H. Macy will be back for a fourth season in 2014.
Q: Clayton Moore was my favorite TV Lone Ranger. John Hart temporarily replaced him in the mid ’50s. Moore died in 1999 at the age of 85, but what ever happened to John Hart? Is he still alive?
A: Hart died in 2009 at the age of 91. According to his Los Angeles Times obituary, Hart played the Silver-riding ranger for 52 episodes beginning in 1952 after Moore, who had begun the TV role in 1949, left over a pay dispute. A Los Angeles native, Hart did some acting before World War II, when he was drafted into the Army, and went back to his craft after the war. That included starring in the movie serial Jack Armstrong, The All-American Boy, and guest roles on The Lone Ranger before putting on the title character’s mask. After Moore returned to the series in 1954, Hart did more acting as well as producing. He played a small role in the 1981 movie The Legend of the Lone Ranger. which starred the one-film-and-done Klinton Spilsbury; Hart played the Lone Ranger again in episodes of Happy Days and The Greatest American Hero.
As you undoubtedly know, a new Lone Ranger will be on the big screen in July, with Armie Hammer as the Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto.
Q: Many years ago in the early days of “live” TV there was a play called “Incident in a Temporary Town.” I don’t recall the main actors, but it seems to me that one later played in “Sea Hunt.” Does this ring any bells with you?
A: I think you are referring to the production Tragedy in a Temporary Town, which aired on the NBC anthology The Alcoa Hour in 1956. It was written by TV legend Reginald Rose (12 Angry Men) and directed by Sidney Lumet, later famous for Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and other films.
The play, which takes place in real time, concerns a group of aircraft workers living in a trailer camp. When a young man grabs and tries to kiss a 15-year-old girl in the camp, she runs away screaming and says, “Somebody jumped on me.” Some of the workers begin to search for the assailant; they incorrectly settle on a Puerto Rican lad and begin beating him — until another worker, played by Lloyd Bridges, says that his son is the guilty one. He also denounces the mob as “the dregs, the swill, the gutless wonders of the earth.”
The play became sensational when Bridges accidentally added a strong profanity to a line in the live broadcast.
The Associated Press said NBC received hundreds of phone calls over the slip, although the network said the slip was understandable; it came in that intense, mob-denouncing scene and Bridges reportedly had felt very emotional during rehearsals. But that may have resonated with some viewers, since Bridges received an Emmy nomination for the performance.
I do not know of a video of the production; I read the script in the old anthology Television Plays for Writers.
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Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.