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Gentle Ben (CBS 1967-1969, Dennis Weaver, Clint Howard)

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This half-hour adventure show was another nature-themed effort from Ivan Tors, producer of Daktari and Flipper. Young Clint Howard (brother of The Andy Griffith Show’s Opie, Ron Howard) starred as Mark Wedloe, a little boy who lived in the Florida Everglades with his mother Ellen and his wildlife officer father, Tom. There weren’t too many kids in the nearby swamp area for Mark to play with, but he did have one notable non-family friend: Ben. This friend happened to be a tame, 650-lb. black bear.

A trained bear named Bruno played the role of Ben and was handled by trainer Monty Cox. Other characters included Willie, a young friend of Mark’s, and Spencer, an adult character who was friends with Tom. Rance Howard, the real-life father of Clint, played Henry Boomhauer, a backwoodsman who was friendly with the Wedloe family.

Gentle Ben was a television adaptation of the film Gentle Giant, which also starred Weaver and Howard. The show was shot on location in Florida and followed Mark’s adventures with Ben, which often involved other forms of wildlife. For instance, there was one episode in which a vicious tiger escaped into the wild when a plane (co-piloted by a young Burt Reynolds) crashed.

Gentle Ben

Along with escaped maneaters and such, Mark and his adult friends also had to deal with all those nasty hunters who tried to capture or kill Ben. The show was not without humor, however, especially when depicting Tom’s work as a wildlife officer. An amusing episode in this vein had Tom trying to keep an angry farmer (played by guest star Slim Pickens) from going after a popular local alligator after the farmer became convinced the alligator was eating his chickens.

The show played Sunday nights on CBS for two seasons until it ended its run in August of 1969. The show continues to be a family favorite today through syndication. It remains memorable not only for the thrilling nature adventures it depicted, but for also for Clint Howard’s excellent performance as Mark. Howard made the transition from child star to adult actor and continues to work in television and film today, including appearances in every film directed by his brother Ron.

One final piece of advice: Ben was a gentle sort, but that doesn’t mean you should run out in the woods to try to make friends with enormous black bears. Start with hamsters or fish.

production details
USA / CBS – Ivan Tors / 56×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 10 September 1967 – 31 August 1969

Producers: Ivan Tors, Andy White, George Sherman

cast
DENNIS WEAVER as Tom Wedloe
CLINT HOWARD as Mark Wedloe
VERA MILES as Elen Wedloe
BETH BRICKELL as Elen Wedloe

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TV

Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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TV

Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)

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A Christmas Reunion Lifetime

In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.

Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.

cast
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen

crew details
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015

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TV

Final Vision (ID 2017, Scott Foley, Dave Annable)

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Final Vision ID

Final Vision is a twisted psychological thriller and a true-crime drama based on the longest running criminal case in U.S. history. It’s the story of Jeffrey MacDonald (Foley), a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night.

Told through the eyes of best-selling author Joe McGinniss (Annable), who was approached by MacDonald to write a book about his personal nightmare as he was about to go to trial.

cast
Scott Foley as Jeffrey MacDonald
Dave Annable as Joe McGinniss
John Doman as Bernie Segal
Lochlyn Munro as Wade Smith
Jessica Harmon as Colette MacDonald
Caroline Aaron as Leslie Sterling
Primo Allon as MP Sergeant
Julia Maren Baker as Kimberly MacDonald
Julia Benson as Nancy McGinniss
Baylee Breen-Wood as Kristen MacDonald
April Cameron as Nurse at St. Mary’s
Aaron Craven as James Blackburn
Bruce Dawson as Doctor
Parveen Dosanjh as Woman at Party
Lane Edwards as Brian Murtagh

crew details
Writer: Denis O’Neill
Director:  Nicholas McCarthy
Executive Producers: Angela Bromstad, Christine Connor, Linda Berman S

production details
Country:  USA
Network and Production Companies: ID – Lincoln Square Productions
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From:  Sunday 10 December 2017

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