Monday, February 16, 2015

Checking in with More Comfort TV Facebook Friends

In 2013 I wrote about how I enjoyed connecting via Facebook with television stars that, when I was young, seemed to live in a very different world. It’s another reminder of how much we take for granted that was unimaginable 20 years ago.

As you may know, Facebook has two statuses in the case of celebrities – “Friends,” which is the same status as you have for your family members and coworkers and all the people you knew in high school, and “Follow” which means their messages appear on your wall, but yours do not appear on theirs.

I don’t do follows. I get why they’re necessary – Taylor Swift probably wouldn’t enjoy logging on and being told that another 230,000 of her 74 million followers are having a birthday – but to me “follower” status is no different than the mail order fan clubs of yesteryear. It’s a way for the star’s team to keep you informed about new projects, but there’s no real interaction. You’re just another potential customer. 

Let me introduce you to a few more of my famous Facebook friends.

Maureen McCormick
Yes, this was a big deal to me, as it would be for anyone who grew up on The Brady Bunch. She is a fairly recent convert to Facebook, and her posts thus far have been unfailingly cheerful, optimistic and supportive. Given the trials she’s faced in her life, it feels good to know that someone who brought so much joy to others through her career is now in an equally happy place herself. Meanwhile, Susan Olsen continues to ignore my “Friend” request. Maybe she got lost in the Grand Canyon again. 

Barry Livingston
He was the bespectacled Ernie on My Three Sons, but you’ll also see him pre-Ernie in reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Ozzie & Harriet and The Lucy Show, and on Room 222 and Ironside and many more in the years that followed. What is so admirable about Barry is that he is just as busy now. Many of his frequent FB posts are new job announcements, which have included parts in such films as Argo and Jersey Boys, and on shows like Glee and Rizzoli & Isles. He remains the very definition of a working actor. 

Donna Loren
Singer-actress Donna Loren was one of the quintessential all-American teenage dream girls of the 1960s. She appeared in some of the “Beach” movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, starred in the music series Shindig! and was the Dr. Pepper girl in a series of impossibly cute commercials. Loren was also Suzy the felonious cheerleader in a memorable Joker episode of Batman (finally on blu-ray!). This is where Facebook can be a wonderful thing – it gives Donna a chance to stay connected to fans new and old, and provides a way for long-time admirers like me to acquire an autographed CD. 

Kathryn Leigh Scott
I first met Kathryn pre-Facebook when I interviewed her for an article on Dark Shadows (she played Maggie Evans and Josette du Pres’ among other characters). Subsequent meetings at Dark Shadows conventions eventually led to her publishing my Charlie’s Angels book. She’s out of publishing now but not out of writing – her new mystery novel, Jinxed, is getting great notices. 

Dean Butler
He’s closing in on 2,000 Facebook friends now, a testament to the enduring popularity of Little House on the Prairie. Dean Butler played Half Pint’s husband, the unfortunately named Almanzo (or “Zaldano” if you’re Harriet Oleson). He’s not online as much these days but he still makes all the cast reunions and conventions.

Amy Yasbeck
My affection for the perennially underrated Wings is already well established, so it was a treat to have one of its cast members accept my “Friend” request. I don’t think Amy has mentioned the series once since we’ve been connected online, but she does like to share funny photos and memes just like us regular folk. She also regularly promotes the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health. At the moment that means selling t-shirts to support Team Ritter in the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon. I ordered mine – here’s where you can order one too.

Susan Buckner
When we connected on Facebook I knew Susan Buckner almost solely as the school spirit-obsessed Patty Simcox in Grease. I have since learned that she sang and danced behind Dean Martin as a member of the bodacious Golddiggers, and was one of the swimming Kroftettes on The Brady Bunch Hour. Working in a variety series from that era put her in contact with an amazing array of talent, from Farrah Fawcett to Tina Turner to Milton Berle. Susan is one of the most active and engaging posters on my wall, and is always passionate about the causes she believes in, whether its calling out bullies on social media or getting the band War into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

And here’s a rare combination segue/teaser: Susan also appeared in a few episodes of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, which will be the topic of the next Comfort TV blog. That piece will be written for the Classic TV Detectives Blogathon, hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. See you there!

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Hofstede, have you seen "Forever," a 1978 TV movie that Dean Butler did with Stephanie Zimbalist? I can't say that I have. To my knowledge, Marcy Walker has not been active on social media for over two years.