HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY, FACTS OF LIFE!!

On August 24, 1979, a new television show premiered on NBC, and the face of television would never be the same again. OK, it took a little time to hit its stride and grow into the show that EVENTUALLY would change the face of television. It is an honor and a joy to be exploring and overanalyzing these shows all these years later…

HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY, FACTS OF LIFE!!

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043 - S3E14 "The Marriage Brokers" with Michael Colavolpe

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Extras Available Exclusively at FaceTheFactsPod.com!


Posters For Both Straight AND Gay Teenaged Boys!

This hung proudly in my room for many years; It was my favorite.

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This is the Farrah Fawcett one I also had:

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This was the most popular one… because nipples.

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This is the one I believe Michael mentions he had on his wall:

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Scott Strader!

Sadly, we never find out what happened to Barnett Thornwood and whether he and Blair ever saw each other again. But examining the career of Scott Strader

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He appeared in one episode of “CHiPs” in the same year he did FOL. The episode takes place on the beach and features a LOT of shirtless Erik Estrada:

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Mr. Strader had a starring role in the 1986 feature film “Jocks,” in which he was cast opposite a very young Mariska Hargitay. However, skimming the movie, I can’t find ANYTHING with shirtless guys, or even a locker room scene. Who needs this garbage?

According to her imdb page, this was Mariska’s third film.

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I found a blog called Poseidon’s Underworld which, in 2014, made an entry honoring many impressive Hollywood bulges. Mr. Strader’s sweatpant-silhouette in “Jocks” is given mention.

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Oh! Calcutta!

Just because we mention it in passing… I found the original 1972 cast (including a pre-”Maude” Bill Macy) on YouTube. (!!!) Better watch it while you can; not sure why it hasn’t been removed.


Electra Woman And Dyna Girl!

The originals from 1976 (yes, that’s future soap star Diedre Hall):

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With Norman Alden as ‘Frank:’

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Here was the first reboot attempt by the WB Network in 2001 with Markie Post: (not picked up by the network)

Click here for the 2016 Grace Helbig reboot that did get made.

Photo Contest

This picture was posted on one of The Facts Of Life Fan Page on Facebook, and everybody seemed equally puzzled over the location where this picture was taken. Clearly it is from Season 2… We have Jo (with no bangs), and Tootie without her braces. But this set is not from any scene in Season 2 that I can recall. Anybody have any knowledge/thoughts/ideas?

(See theories & corresponding debunking thereof below.)

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David Davis, who runs the fan page, is no slouch when it comes to knowing his trivia about the show. He recently posted the pic assuming it was taken on the set of S3E16, “Brian and Sylvia.” I had to be the Debbie Downer who pointed out that the sets don’t match:

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I ended up visually skimming most of Season 2 (because this stuff is IMPORTANT!! And apparently my time is not. LOL) to see if I could find costume matches, and the most identifying item, Natalie's sweater, is worn in S2E4 "Who Am I" ... but nothing worn by the others matches up. THE PLOT THICKENS!!

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David D also said that he had wondered if it was taken in Cynthia’s room in S2E10 “Breaking Point” (a/k/a the suicide episode). But research once again proved that the locations were not a match (because wallpaper).

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WHERE AND WHEN WAS THIS PICTURE TAKEN!?

If you can figure it out, you will win a valuable prize: A shout-out on my show. :-D

042 - S3E13 "The Americanization Of Miko" with Tim Williams

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Extras Available Exclusively at FaceTheFactsPod.com!

Our alter-egos Holden Hollywood and Stone Granite having fun on the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

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A short profile of actor Mako, focusing on his voice-over/animation work.

Mako in the original 1976 Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s “Pacific Overtures:”


Moxie!

As we discovered, the term, “You’ve got moxie!” was derived from the New-England-based Moxie cola. It was recently purchased by the Coca-Cola company, according to this article at Today.com:

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…not to be confused with matzos or matzo ball soup. Or mahtzee, which does not exist outside the imagination of Tim Williams.

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The Members Only Jacket

Everybody who was anybody in the 1980s had this jacket, or some other similar style of another brand:

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I Love New York!

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This New York tourism marketing campaign, always played up Broadway shows, including “A Chorus Line,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” and “Cats…”

…and in this version, “Evita,” “Sweeney Todd,” “They’re Playing Our Song,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” and “Peter Pan.” (what is with the weird choreography that Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou are doing?)


The Stray Cats!

Here are two of their hits, and they are decidedly NOT New Wave. (New Wave = Eurhythmics, A-ha, Blondie)


Please Don’t Squeeze The Charmin!

This wildly popular campaign from the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s (with a return in 1999!) is written about in-depth in this article at GroovyHistory.com. Mr. Whipple was played by character actor Dick Wilson.

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Mr. Wilson frequently played a drunk guy on “Bewitched.”

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Here is one of his first commercials in the 1960s. WHO IS THIS ACTRESS?! I think she looks like Estelle Parsons, but I don’t think it sounds like her. Any ideas? Please email me!

Here was Mr. Whipple’s return in 1999… clearly playing up the retirement and ‘old folks’ angle. Do you recognize Marvin Kaplan in the red shirt and yellow bowtie? He was a regular on “Alice” in the role of Henry.

And look what I found while I was researching this! A 1970s Charmin commercial featuring Charlotte Rae! (And her boss is played by Sorrell Booke, best known as Boss Hogg on “The Dukes Of Hazzard.”)


Yellow Face!

Show business has a long, rich, and inappropriate history of non-Asian actors playing Asians.

Such as, Marlon Brando (Caucasian) playing Japanese in “Teahouse Of The August Moon”…

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Mickey Rooney (Caucasian) playing Japanese in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”…

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Juanita Hall (African-American) playing Polynesian in “South Pacific” (and won a Tony Award for it)…

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And Ms. Hall also played Chinese in “Flower Drum Song”…

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Alec Guinness (Caucasian) playing Japanese in “A Majority Of One”…

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Linda Hunt (Caucasian, female) playing a Chinese-Australian male in “The Year Of Living Dangerously” (for which she won an Academy Award)…

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And… well, me. *awkward pause* Yup. (discussed in the extras) This is Me (obviously Caucasian), playing Japanese (and 80 years old no less) in “Teahouse Of The August Moon” my senior year in high school. Hey, as Oprah says, “When You Know Better, You Do Better.”

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041 - S3E12 "Green Eyed Monster" with Laura Hodos

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Audio Extras Available Exclusively at FaceTheFactsPod.com!


Laura and I happen to have done 2 different productions of “Sweeney Todd” together.

First, at Mad Cow Theatre in 2006 (she as Mrs. Lovett, me as Pirelli)

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Then in 2009, Mad Cow Theatre joined forces with the Orlando Philharmonic to do a concert version of the show… Laura was the Beggar Woman this time, and I got to do Pirelli AGAIN! (The stars of the show: Davis Gaines as Sweeney and Faith Prince as Mrs. Lovett! OMG!)

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Laura Loves My House!

Laura covets my double-oven and backsplash. :-D

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Diversity At Eastland!

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Mrs. Garrett’s Hair!

(Discussed in the extras) These stills are from “The Facts Of Life Goes To Paris” which happens later in 1982, just before the premiere of Season 4. Charlotte Rae’s hair, I don’t believe, is ever in a bun for the entire movie.

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Laura’s Favorite Commercials!


Evita and Song Keys

(discussed in the Extras) Here is a comparison of all the Evitas and how they sing their “money notes” … note how Madonna’s E5s are keyed down to B4s … that’s a fourth lower.


Some Wicked Key Changes!

(Discussed in the extras) Here you can compare Norbert Leo Butz’s performance as Fiyero in the original cast of “Wicked” with Taye Diggs’ (Idina Menzel’s “Rent” co-star… and husband at the time). In both cases, the song changes key for the male part of the duet, but notice that Taye’s key change brings us a step-and-a-half lower than Norbert’s.


Edumacate Yourself! (Down Syndrome Edition)

Here is the link to the National Down Syndrome Society where you can find resources and information, including verification that “Down’s Syndrome” is out there, but the preferred terminology is “Down Syndrome.”

Miniature TV Sets!

Thanks to listener Michelle P who made me aware of the Flickr photostream called “On The Set” which features miniature versions of well-known TV show sets… including the “Over Our Heads” version of the Facts Of Life Set! The artist is Charles Brogdon. Here is an article about him on meTV.com. Click the photo below for stills and a video of the Facts Of Life set.

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039 - S3E10 "Cousin Geri Returns" with Joy Andersen


At our friend Marc’s 1980s Head-Banging-Hair-Band Birthday Party in 2014:

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Me & Joy IRL

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Marc is a professional photographer and had a professional photo shoot set up for the party guests. It’s hard to believe Joy and I barely knew each other!

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Extras Available Exclusively At FaceTheFactsPod.com!


The Bechdel Test

Click on the pic below to see the full “Dykes To Watch Out For” comic from 1985 that lays out “The Rule:”

  1. The movie has to have at least two women in it,

  2. who talk to each other,

  3. about something besides a man.



Joy’s Favorite Kool-Aid Commercials!

In the 1970s before his mouth could move:

In the 1980s when he figured it out:


Joy’s appearance in the 2012 Orlando Fringe Festival hit “Theme Park Diva:” (written by John deHaas)


Joy’s 2014 Fringe Show “Tappin’ and Yappin’” (written by John deHaas)


Hi! I Think You’re Nice!

Click the pic below to listen to Joy on our mutual friend Sarah Hanchar’s podcast “Hi! I Think You’re Nice!”

038 - S3E9 "Dear Me" with Lisa Wolfe-Penkal

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One of our Holiday Baking Parties (enjoying the “fire” with friends, including Jodi Chase and Heather Delmotte)

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Audio Extras Available Exclusively at FaceTheFactsPod.com!


Commercials We Discussed!


Todd Hollowell

Sometimes credited as Todd Hallowell, his IMDb page shows he has no credits after his FOL appearances. (And apparently there are two spellings of his name out there.) And basic Google searches are coming up with nothing. Many fan sites also have “Does anybody know what happened to him?” (The fact that they mention Jeff passed away in the 2001 Reunion Movie makes me worry that something may have happened to Todd… I certainly hope not!)

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