Wilson Post Blogs
Mickey Mantle proved to be no thespian
Dear Ken: Did Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle appear in any movies? I think I remember him and Roger Maris in one back in the early 1960s.
Mantle, who died in 1995, was no actor but he appeared as himself on numerous game shows, talk shows and TV series such as “Hee Haw,” “The White Shadow,” “Remington Steele” and “Mr. Belvedere.” But he did star in one film, probably the one you recollect, 1962’s “Safe at Home,” about a boy who runs away from home to try and talk the New York Yankees into appearing at his Little League baseball team’s banquet. Maris, Whitey Ford and Yankee skipper Ralph Houk also appear (they can’t act either), while real actors William Frawley and Don Collier hold down the fort.
Dear Ken: Sometimes in the late 1970s or early ’80s, I saw a TV movie that starred Linda Evans. She married a man from Australia that she met in California. Before they could return to Australia, he died. She went to Australia see his ranch and met his family. Can you tell me the name of the movie and if it is on DVD because I missed the ending?
That’s the 1986 miniseries “The Last Frontier,” as Evans plays an American divorcee who marries an Aussie cattleman (Tony Bonner). After her husband dies in an airplane crash, Evans and her two teenaged stepchildren find themselves stuck in the middle of a drought on a debt-ridden ranch as well as in a feud between a big land owner (Jason Robards) and his son (Jack Thompson). Filmed on location in Australia’s Northern Territory, this drama sounds topnotch but, sorry mate, alas, it has not been released on DVD.
Dear Ken: Whatever happened to Justin Wilson, who had a show on PBS called “Louisiana Cookin’”?
The Cajun-inspired humorist and Southern chef, who was born in Roseland, Tangipahoa Parish, La., died in 2001 at the age of 87. The former safety engineer learned how to cook from his Cajun mother. After being seriously injured in a car accident in the 1940s, he decided to try his hand at humor and succeeded. Wilson wrote eight cookbooks and recorded 27 comedy albums. His most famous saying? “I garontee!”
Dear Ken: What’s Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who played Randy Taylor, on “Home Improvement,” doing now?
Thomas, 31, has been doing a great job of staying out of the limelight, but mainly he has been traveling, reading and completing his college education. Born Jonathan Weiss in Bethlehem, Pa., the co-star of the 1991-1998 Tim Allen hit sitcom made several movies such as “Tom & Huck,” “Wild America,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Walking Across Egypt” and was a guest on the TV shows “Smallville,” “8 Simple Rules” and “Veronica Mars. In 2010 he earned a degree in general studies from Columbia University. He has stated that he would really like to work behind the camera, so perhaps directing is in his future.