Q: I was watching a show called "Life With Elizabeth" with Betty White when she had black hair. When was the show made?
A: The "Hot in Cleveland" star began work on the comedy with live, local telecasts in Los Angeles in 1952. White, already a TV veteran, co-starred with Del Moore; each episode had three different segments about a couple, because -- White says in her memoir "Here We Go Again" -- when you tell friends a funny anecdote, it only takes a few minutes and "if you try to stretch that anecdote into a half-hour, the joke wears thin." (She notes how wrong TV history has proved her.)
The show went into national syndication in 1953, sold to individual stations around the country, and was done on film instead of live. White thinks the live shows were better -- that the filmed episodes, made without an audience, were "a little like doing comedy in a mortuary, and it threw all our timing off." But it continued in production until 1955, with 65 filmed episodes or, as White notes, 195 incidents. And it had a healthy life in rerun, including in Australia, where White imagines her character "playing only to kangaroos."
The episodes you see are the filmed ones; the early live ones have not survived. Of course, White endures. She went to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Golden Girls," "Date With the Angels" and other programs. She even had three different series called "The Betty White Show," a daytime show in 1954, a comedy-variety show in 1958 and a sitcom in 1977-78.
Q: The last time "Terriers" was on, the main characters were literally at a crossroads: prison or Mexico. Will the show be back?
A: No. In spite of critical acclaim for the show, FX decided not to renew it for a second season. You can find the old episodes on streaming video at Netflix, Amazon.com and iTunes. (You will have to pay to see it.)
Q: Can we not do anything to save "Harry's Law"? It has been my favorite show, perhaps because I am a short, white, fat, little overeducated woman. I am pretty sure I am the possessor of more disposable income than most 19-year-olds. (19s are the desired audience on NBC?) Bring Harry back! Bring Harry back! Listen! Bring Harry back!
A: Well, there is a "Save Harry's Law" campaign that has more than 75,000 fans on Facebook. But every season brings some kind of campaign to save this or that show, and the successful efforts are rare. While NBC doesn't want only 19-year-old viewers -- that sounds more like the CW -- it does want more adults under 50, and "Harry's Law" reportedly did not deliver that demographic. As for how much money you have, it's only partly about that. What also matters is how you spend your money. Younger viewers, it is believed, are less loyal to a given brand -- unlike those of us who haven't changed our toothpaste brand in 40 years -- so advertising might change those viewers' minds more easily; younger adults might be more interested in new products, too. I don't buy that argument, being over 50, an occasional brand-jumper and someone who loves electronic gear. But I didn't like "Harry's Law."