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Television Q&A

Question: The other night on TV I saw a movie that was a surreal tale of two people who were both compulsive gamblers. She gambled and ended up buying a glass store; he was a man of the cloth, totally diminished in his own eyes and in the church. Both sought redemption by building a church totally of glass. It was a very gripping movie and I'd love to know the name of it.

Answer: Sounds like the 1997 film "Oscar and Lucinda," with Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett in the title roles.

It's on DVD, if you're interested.

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Q.: Who was Betty White of "The Golden Girls" married to? I think he had a daytime TV show. - T.W.K., Shelbyville, KY

A.: That fellow was Allen Ludden, best known as the host of "Password," which ran off and on, mostly on, from 1961-80. Ludden also played himself on a great 1972 episode of "The Odd Couple" when Felix (Tony Randall) and Oscar (Jack Klugman) appear on "Password."

Ludden and Betty White were married from 1963 until his death in 1981 at age 62.

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Q.: I remember a movie, probably mid-1970s made for TV, about the two world powers on the verge of nuclear war. In order to settle the dispute, they took the two best soldiers and let them fight it out on a deserted island. What was the name of this movie?

A.: That's "The Challenge," a 1970 TV movie with Darren McGavin and Mako as the battlers.

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Q.: While driving with my high-school age son, he noticed a Saab in front of us at a stop light. For some reason he posed a challenge to me that I could not think of a movie that featured a Saab in a prominent role. Oddly I do recall a movie comedy that featured a Saab, I just don't have the title. The premise is a top advertising agent has a mental breakdown and is committed to an insane asylum where he meets a bunch of other crazies who begin writing ads, which he then produces. Please tell me I am not crazy and that this movie really does exist. We have a yard mowing bet on the challenge.

A.: Your son needs to hit the grass.

That's the 1990 film "Crazy People," with Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah.

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Q.: I saw a movie years ago about a young man riding across the Southwest on a motorcycle. The government was conducting some sort of time travel experiment in the same area. The man on the motorcycle rode through some sort of beam and was transported back about 150 years into the days of the Wild West. Can you tell me the name of this movie?

A.: That's the 1982 film "Timerider," also known as "Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann." The cast includes Fred Ward, Belinda Bauer and Peter Coyote, and the movie was co-written by Mike Nesmith, one-time member of The Monkees.

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Q.: Some years ago (maybe 20) I watched a detective series. The man was handsome and tall, and I think he was an ex-ball player. His sidekick was, or looked like, Suzanne Pleshette. Can you tell me the details?

A.: Ah, that was "Hunter," which ran on NBC from 1984-91, and there were TV movies in 1995 and again in 2003. Fred Dryer, a former pro football player, was Det. Sgt. Rick Hunter of the LAPD, and Stepfanie Kramer was his Pleshetteish partner, Det. Sgt. Dee Dee McCall. And for those golden years, the City of Angels was crime-free.

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Write David Inman in care of The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal, 525 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 740031, Louisville, Ky. 40201-7431; or e-mail him at incredibleinman(AT)yahoo.com. Questions of general interest will be answered; personal replies are not possible.

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