On The Jazz
On The Jazz Newsletter: Volume 2 Issue N°25

Date: September 10, 1996
Author: Nicole Pellegrini
Download: otjv02i25.zip

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*Home of the On the Jazz Newsletter Archives**
DATE:   September 10, 1996
ISSUE:  25
Greetings again everyone,

A lot of people are no doubt returning to school right now, so if you've been gone for a while, welcome back! Make sure to stop by the newsletter archives for all the information about the A-Team movie, Mr. T's health, and other items that you missed over the summer (it's been a busy one!)

So far I've heard from three people interested in attending, which is enough for me to actually go ahead and plan and go for it. I'm proposing September 28th as the date for the event - if that's good with those interested in attending, please let me know and RSVP. Otherwise let me know what data would be better for you and maybe we can reschedule (Sept. 21 isn't good for me.)

As always, we'll have plenty of food & drink (of various kinds), watch plenty of videos, and you can check out my collection of A-Team goodies and play some games. Friends, S.O.'s, and anyone you'd like to subject to a mass viewing of A-Team are welcome to attend! My new TV and general apartment refurbishings will make for more comfortable vegetating during the prodeedings. Directions to getting to my Center City apartment will be provided on request.

>From one of our "honorary" members, Chris Bunting, the following news clipping appeared in the Star on August 20:

"MR T WINNIG CANCER BATTLE: Cancer-striken American TV actor Mr. T. is getting better, according to his publicist, Joyce Brooks. The A-Team star was diagnosed with lymphoma in November but brooks says: 'He's in remission-please let his fans know that. He's a very religious man and his illness is between him and God. He's just taking it easy and chilling. This is a debilitating illness for someone who's as powerful as he is. But he is feeling much better.'"

Also, Chris had a letter published in a recent issue (# 81) of the magazine "TV Zone" - a letter he sent in over a year ago. They printed a nice picture of George and Dirk from the episode "Judgement Day" with their response:

Q: In the last series of The A-Team, the team worked as government Hunt Stockwell, who promised them a presidential pardon once they had completed an arranged number of missions for him. What was the episode title of the last episode made and did the A-Team get a pardon? Are there any more videos of the series planned, as there are only two available? (Christopher Bunting, Derbyshire)

A: In the fifth and final series, the team were framed and convicted for the 1972 murder of Col Morrison and found themselves (and new team member "Dishpan" Frankie) working for retired General Stockwell. It was while this fifth series was being filmed that the show was suddenly and unexpectedly cancelled, producing a messy end in which they never got their pardons. The penultimate episode, The Grey Team, has what looks like a tagged on ending where the team discusses what they will do when they receive their pardons. They conclude that they will probably continue to help people in need, like they always have done. This episode was first shown in the USA on December 30th 1986. Three months later, on March 8th 1987, the final episode appeared, Without Reservations. At the time of cancellation, this episode wasn't finished and so was completed with a chunk of material from the episode Holiday in the Hills. (Summary of the plot given here) The two videos you mentioned are still available, but no others seem to be forthcoming.

Chris also reports about the upcoming "Cult TV 96" convention in Great Yarmouth that its looking "increasingly likely" that Dirk has pulled out of the con. Any firther info and I'll pass it along.

There's also this information on a con this coming weekend in the Netherlands:

> Subject: Star Trek Convention in The Netherlands
> From: Geert Bonte
> Date: 1996/08/25
> Newsgroups: rec.arts.startrek.fandom
> September 14 and 15, at "De Doelen", Rotterdam, The Netherlands
> Guest Lineup:
> - James Doohan (Scotty)
> - George Takei (Sulu)
> - Robert O'Riley (Gowron)
> - DWIGHT SCHULTZ (Barclay)
> - Robin Curtis (Saavik)
> - Robert Picardo (Holographic Doctor)
> - Carel Struycken (Mr. Homn)
> Tickets:
> - for 1 day: Hfl. 100
> - for the weekend: Hfl. 180
> For more information or tickets contact:
> Tranquillity Base
> p/a de Plaastraat 4
> NL - 4365 AZ Meliskerke
> The Netherlands
> Telephone: +31 118 562009

If anyone attends or is planning on attending, please let us know!

One final reminder, there's 3 weeks left to get in material for "The A-Files", so get those last minute submissions in quickly! The faster I get it, the sooner we'll be in print.

While "The A-Files" and "Plans Scams and Vans 3" are coming along, I'm announcing a call for submissions to Yet Another A-Team 'Zine, this one *especially* for the ladies in the audience, to be called,

"Where's Mary Sue When You Need Her?"

That's right, a Mary Sue A-Team zine. "Mary Sue" is generally used to describe fan-fic where the (female generally) author has written herself in as a main character in the proceedings, so I want you ladies to come up with your best fantasies - erm, I mean *stories*, involving yourself (either directly or under the guise of another character) and the Team. Stories can be comedic, serious, romantic - even adult if you want to write it (submissions under pseudonyms will be accepted >;-) Anything goes this time around. We'll also be accepting stories involving other shows our favorites have starred in, so, for example, Battlestar Galactica stories involving Starbuck, ST:TNG stories using Barclay, etc etc. Several people have already expressed interest in contributing to such a 'zine to me, and if you think you might be interested as well let me know and I can fgive you some more specific guidelines (no set deadline or expected publication date yet.)

As always, anyone with artistic talents are sorely desired to illustrate, and suckers are needed to proofread (I need more proofreaders to help with AF and PSV3 as well.)

Nothing, except for a repeat of "Hart to Hart: To Death Do Us Hart" this past Saturday on the Family Channel, a TV-movie which featured Dwight Schultz. If you missed it, Dwight had a fairly large role in the movie, which was extremely cheesy but enjoyable and worth watching if you are a Schultz fan. Yes, I have it on tape (thanx Irene), and can copy for anyone who missed it.

Two tasty tidbits this issue, starting with an old (pre-A-Team) article on Dirk Benedict entitled:

"The Way They Were"

(Caption: each month, "Rona Barrett's GOSSIP" delves into the stars' private scaprbooks for a look at their yesterdays, todays, and maybe even their tomorrows. This month the spotlight's on "Battlestar Galactica"'s Lieutenant Starbuc, DIRK BENEDICT!)

by Rochelle Williams (unsure exact publication date)

Lt. Starbuck of ABC's popular series "Battlestar Galactica" may be a figment of some screenwriter's imagination, but if he were a living being, he would be glad that handsome actor Dirk Benedict is cast as the playboy fighter pilot. In more ways than one, Dirk has a camaraderie with the TV hero that transcends the script.

"Starbuck" pioneers the universe; Dirk's frontier is the few acres of Montana land he owns and it is a bit more "down to earth" than the roving range of his spaced-out counterpart. Both the characters have a way with woman and paradoxically their independant nature somewhat inhibits them from maintaining any long term relationship.

Independance and a strong drive are the two traits in which they have the most in common. These characteristics have brought Dirk this far in his career, along with a determination of steel that a two-ton Mack truck couldn't budge. There is more to Dirk Benedict than meets the eye, for underneath that exterior of good looks and boyish charm is a sensible and intelligent 33-year old man who knows what he wants from life and grasps for it. His career mirros his beliefs about life and though he is not an over-night success, he had gained a fair amount of recognition in a relatively short period of time.

Quite by accident, it was Dirk Niewoehner's trust in himself which led him to an acting career. A local theater in Walla Walla, Wash., where he attended college, was holding auditions for the musical "Show Boat." Boasting that he could get the lead (without so much as ever entering a theatre or taking voice lessons) *and* "bolstering his ego" at the neighborhood bar, Dirk's buddies wagered he unequivocably could *not* land the starring role in the college production.

But he did.

Getting that role was of more importance than simply winning the bet. Up until that time, Dirk was fighting an internal battle. He was doubtful as to what to do with him life. "Show Boat" revealed to him an unconscious desire to be an actor and he suddenly became the victor over uncertainty!

That's quite a list of impressive accomplishments coming from someone who once spent his life in a very "Hemingway-like childhood" in a sparesely populated town of 900 called Sulphur SPrings. It was a typical Montana town whose claim to fame is the great outdoors. "The first time I went to a big city I felt clausterphobic!" Dirk remembers now.

The townspeople of White Sulphur Springs worked on the land as either farmers, ranchers, or loggers. Dirk himself was a hired hand on a ranch when he was 12 and by being with the older men in the bunk house, he learned at an early age what the inside of a bar looked like. By the time he was 14, he knew *very* well.

Possibly the fact that Sulphur Springs had the convenience of electricity, running water and indoor bath features but not the luxuries of television, movie houses and theater guided Dirk to drinking as a form of entertainment.

But what the town lacked in the arts it more than aptly recompensated by instilling in its now famous resident a sense of creativity and independence.

"Where I grew up," Benedict recalls, "you had to do things for yourself. You had to entertain and *think* for yourself. Nowadays everyone is desperate to be led, because nobody wants to say that they are responsible for themselves."

It was that kind of logic that inspired Dirk to take control of his life and embark on "the start of a new cycle" - college - once he graduated from high school with his class of 20. At Whitman College in Washington, Dirk received just as much of an education outside the halls of ivy as within.

"All I knew was how to survive in the woods and skin a deer," says Dirk in comparing his Mid-West upbringing with his citysophisticated class peers who were exposed to theater, literature, and the like.

In some respects, Dirk was more mature than many of the collegians who did not know how to control their newfound independence that Dirk had mastered during his adolescent years.

"They went a little out of control, wheras I could handle all that because drinking and staying away from home were already old news. In fact, drinking was then on its way out," he once told an interviewer.

Dirk's father and his own self-sufficient nature helped in directing his life during those years away at college. "He gave me a sense of self-uniqueness and destiny," he says of the now deceased father.

Dirk's college days ended in the late '60s when he received his Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts, but his eagerness to perfect his acting did anything but wane away. He satisifed that desire by enrolling in the Academy of Dramatic Arts, a newly established institution founded and directed by John Fernald, who once headed the London Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Dirk aquired a basic knowledge and technical background of acting fundamentals, and quickly learned the art of polishing his craft.

"We had classes in moving, speech, and even audition techniques. It was like learning how to build a house - the floor plans - and they sort of assumed each individual actor would discover for himself how to interior decorate," he now explains.

Two years at the London Royal Academy and the practical training he obtained while doing summer stock during the interim equipped Dirk with the assurance to give lady luck a try and branch out to greater heights. So, in 1970 he set his sights for the "Big Apple," as stage-struck and head-strong as any yong actor sure of getting a part in a Broadway show.
<to be continued...>
Next, thanks to Liz for getting this recent article on Stephen Cannell to me, which appeared in the Sept. 9, 1996 issue of "People" magazine...

His new novel proves Stephen Cannell is as tough as his TV creations
He has never packed a piece or busted a bad guy, but Stephen Cannell the man who created Rockford, Baretta and more than 30 other hard-boiled, softhearted TV heroes- is still one tough cookie.

"Stephen's been able to overcome a lot of things that would send many people spinning out of control," says Brandon Tartikoff, former chairman of New World Entertainment, a subsidiary of the corporation that last year purchased Cannell's production company for $30 million. Cannell is dyslexic, but that didn't stop him from releasing his second novel- *Final Victim*, about the search for a serial killer- in July and then collecting a cool $1 million for the movie rights.

"There were people who didn't think I could do this," says Cannell, 55, who repeated second grade because of his learning disorder, which makes it hard to read. "I went to a class reunion a few years ago, and an English teacher who flunked me because I couldn't spell came up to me and said, 'It really baffles me that you make your living as a writer.' "

Yet if dyslexia has been bothersome baggage for Cannell to carry in his life, he has also shouldered more crushing burdens. In 1981 his 15-year-old son, Derek, was buried alive when an enormous sand fort he was building on a California beach suddenly collapsed on him. "I can't explain how horrible it was for us," Cannell says of himself and his wife, Marcis, 54. "The darkness of it, the sense of complete loss, was overwhelming." Cannell's friends didn't forget him. "The day after it happened, there were 100 people at our house," he says. "People I'd known in high school, people from the network, people from my shows. THey'd come to hold onto us."

"Stephen was very brave throughout the whole ordeal," says James Garner, star of Cannell's *The Rockford FIles* from 1974 to 1980 and a close friend. "He was stronger than the rest of us." THrough the support he received, Cannell says, "I learned how to be a better friend-how not to let my little TV pilot or whatever I'm working on be so important that I forget to be there for friends and family." After the loss, Cannell vowed to spend more time with his wife and daughter Tawnia, then 13. (Two more children, Chelsea and Cody, now 14 and 13, were born after Derek's death.) He hasn't backslid over the years; he tries to get to his Pasadena home by 6:30 every night. "And when he get home," says Marcia, "it's family time."

Ironically, concern for his family is what led Cannell to the discovery of his dyslexia in 1981. HE had noticed that his daughter Tawnia, then in the sixth grade, was having the same difficulties he had experienced. After she was tested and diagnosed as dyslexic, Cannell took the same test, and the results revealed his affliction. He still has trouble with numbers and directions, but he has learned how to get through busy workdays. "I put blinders on and focus myself," he says, "and let a little bit of information in until I've finally absorbed everything."

Perseverance has always been part of Cannell's character. Raised in a posh section of Pasadena, Calif., the second child of Joseph Cannell, a successful interior designer, and Carolyn, a homemaker, he struggled through grade school and high school and made it into the University of Oregon only on a football scholarship. "I was told from first grade on that I was the stupidest kin in the class," he says. "I was trying to do well, but the teachers thought I wasn't."

Still, Cannell gutted it out, avoiding classes that would penalize him for poor spelling. One such course, creative writing, changed his life when Cannell discovered he had a talent for crafting stories and dialogue.

"Writing is what got him through college," says Marcia, who met Cannell in the eighth grade and married him in 1964. "he learned he was really good at it." After graduationg, he worked as a gofer for a local TV game show and tried interior designing, but he put most of his energy into writing scripts with a friend. Cannell's first solo sale- a 1968 script for *Adam-12*, written in two days- so impressed producers that they made him the show's head writer.

After his first hit series, *The Rockford Files*, won an Emmy in 1978, he started his own company and produced dozens of shows- each, like *Hunter* and *Wiseguy*, featuring his signature mix of gumshoe action and wisecracking humor. Now at work on his third novel, Cannell is the executive producer of three TV shows currently on the air- *Renegade*, *Silk Stalking* and *Two*- and has several more in the works. So prolific is the man who flunked second grade that a graduate student recently sent him his thesis. The subject? Cannell's career. "He said everything I've done was rehashed elements of the same things presented in a different light," chuckles Cannell, not one to let criticism bring him down. "But the only thing I do over and over is the David and Goliath story. I always like writing about the underdog."
Alex Tresniowski
Craig Tomashoff in Pasadena

Finally in the trivia department, last issue I asked:

>In the episode "Skins," what disguise does Hannibal don in the opening scene
>where he is meeting their potential client?

First correct answer was from Phil Dahl, who knew "Hannibal was dressed as a robot, an, he meets their client in the basement of a building where a computer convention is being held."

This issue's question is:
>In 'West Coast Turnaround," what did Face tell Murdock not to look at?

That's all for this issue, until next time, everyone, stay on the jazz!

Quote of the week:
"B.A., if you stay like that they're gonna stand you in
front of a bank holding a clock!"
        (Murdock in "Beast from the Belly of the Boeing")

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