|Johnny Depp bites into ‘Dark Shadows’|
|Wednesday, April 25, 2012|
Dear Ken: What’s the scoop on the upcoming “Dark Shadows” movie?The supernatural comedy, directed by Tim Burton, hits theaters May 11 and stars Johnny Depp as 200-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins. Michelle Pfeiffer plays his cousin Elizabeth. Set in Collinsport, Maine, in the 1970s, the film is based on the hit 1960s Gothic soap opera of the same title. Cast members from that original TV show set to have cameos include Jonathan Frid (the original Barnabas), Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathyrn Leigh Scott. Other stars in the movie include Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Bella Heathcote and horror legend Christopher Lee. Playing himself will be rock musician Alice Cooper.
Dear Ken: What happened to John Russell, star of “The Lawman” TV western?
Los Angeles native Russell, who played Marshal Dan Troup in “The Lawman” from 1958 to 1962, served as a Marine at Guadalcanal during WWII. The 6-foot-4 actor starred in two other TV series, “Soldiers of Fortune” and “Jason of Star Command.” Among his film credits were “Pale Rider,” “Honkytonk Man,” “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “Rio Bravo” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Russell died of emphysema in 1991 at age 70.
Dear Ken: How old is Ray Stevens and what was his first Top-10 hit?
Born Harold Ray Ragsdale in Clarkdale, Ga., Stevens is 73. He broke into the Top 10 in 1962 with “Ahab the Arab.” Other Top-10 tunes for the funny music man include “Gitarzan,” “Everything Is Beautiful,” “The Streak,” “Misty” and “Shriner’s Convention.” How “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” never made it, I’ll never know. He has just released “Ray Stevens’ Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music,” a box set of 108 comedy songs, performed by the master himself. It sells for $80. To purchase or learn more, go online to www.raystevens.com.
Dear Ken: In the opening credits of “The Waltons,” it reads Miss Michael Learned for the actress who plays the mom, Olivia Walton. No other TV credits have “Miss” in front of lead actresses’ names. Why did they do that for Learned?
The story goes that she was billed as such because she was pretty much an unknown actress when the show went on the air in 1972, and the producers didn’t want to baffle TV viewers seeing a man’s name (Michael) associated with her role as the mother. The actress, who just turned 73, has captured four best actress Emmy Awards.