Q: I have been enjoying reruns of The Waltons recently. What year did it begin, and how long did it last? Also, I have seen Ralph Waite on NCIS occasionally, but what about Michael Learned? Is she still acting? — Mary Carruthers, Jensen Beach
A: The CBS show had its roots in the 1971 TV movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, in which Oscar winner Patricia Neal had the Olivia Walton role that Learned would play in the series, while Andrew Duggan was the original John Walton (preceding Waite). The weekly show began in the fall of 1972 and lasted until 1981, with a total of six sequel movies following. Learned actually has returned to television work lately, taking over temporarily for Jeanne Cooper — who is on a medical leave — as Katherine Chancellor on the CBS daytime drama staple The Young and the Restless. However, it’s not the first time Learned has done soap opera duty; she also had stints on what was until recently the ABC troika of All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital.
Q: What happened to The Playboy Club? — Judith Woodhall, East Aurora, N.Y.
A: It was “three weeks and out” for the Amber Heard-starring NBC drama about Bunnies and mobsters in the early 1960s. For all the promotion that was poured into the show, it didn’t start out with very promising ratings ... and things only got worse with its second and third airings.
Q: Glee is one of my favorite shows, but I haven’t been able to find it. What happened? — Helen Dinnerman, Port St. Lucie
A: As it does on Fox every fall, baseball happened. During the sport’s postseason encompassing the division playoffs and the World Series, the network gave the show a rest ... something it also did with the Zooey Deschanel hit New Girl after only a handful of airings, for which Fox took some heat from fans.
Unwittingly, the fans themselves created that situation by making the comedy such an immediate success, Fox felt confident the audience would come back when baseball ended. In any event, Glee and New Girl are back in their regular Tuesday slots now.