You have questions. I have some answers.
Q: My question is about the delightful Hershey Kisses Christmas commercial where the Kisses jingle while the melody “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is heard. When did it make its debut? I am thinking several years ago. It is one of the few ads that never gets old.
A: Would you believe it is more than 30 years old? The longest running ad for a Hershey brand, it premiered in 1989. After a production company had made some stop-motion ads with the Kisses for Hershey, a Hershey brand manager asked for a Christmas-themed item. As the Morning Call newspaper reported, he “did not have authorization to make it … but he felt confident he’d be able to convince his boss to run it.” So began the long TV run.
Until this year the ad remained the same “apart from an update to high-definition CGI animation in 2016 and, in 2018, a digital extension online where one could play the bells and create a new tune,” says another Morning Call report. A new version for 2020 reportedly includes a little girl taking the Kisses to add to peanut-butter blossoms.
Q: Is there going to be a fifth season of “Animal Kingdom”?
A: Yes. Delayed because of the pandemic, production of the TNT drama now has “resumed in consultation with local authorities, the unions and medical experts. Our first priority is health and safety,” said a network representative. But there is no announced date for the return yet.
Q: Will the series “Evil” be back this season?
A: CBS has ordered another run of the thriller series but has not yet announced a return date.
Q: What happened to “Sea Patrol” on Amazon? I was thoroughly engrossed in it when suddenly it disappeared. Is there anywhere I would be able to see the ending?
A: The Australian Navy action series, which originally aired from 2007 to 2011, is indeed not available on Amazon now. I do not know why but suspect a change in the telecast rights — an issue that has found all sorts of shows shifting from one service to another. As for finding it somewhere else, all five seasons of “Sea Patrol” are available on FilmRise, a free streaming service. There is also a Sea Patrol Channel on YouTube that has the episodes. But the series finale on that channel had non-English subtitles which may prove distracting.
Q: My girlfriend and I are both avid fans of “Dragnet” in the ’60s when it had Joe Friday and Bill Gannon. I am a car buff and enjoy seeing the car they drive. I know it’s a Ford; I say it’s a Falcon but my girlfriend says it’s a Galaxie. We have a dinner riding on this. Can you please clarify?
A: You should go Dutch for dinner. According to numerous car-conscious sites, the vehicle on the 1967-70 series was a Ford Fairlane. A story in the Los Angeles Times in 2012 even noted that the restored vehicle was owned by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department lieutenant who sometimes drove it to work. Indicating how time marches on, the owner said that “a lot of the younger deputies don’t know what the show was about.”
For the rest of you who may not know, “Dragnet” was a hugely influential show about L.A. police detectives, centrally one named Joe Friday and played by Jack Webb. It began on radio, then moved to TV in 1951, where it continued until 1959. Several revivals followed, including in 1967-70 (the version with Friday and Gannon), 1989-90 and 2003, as well as a big-screen comedy inspired by the show in 1987.
Q: What happened to the guy who played Chris LaSalle on “NCIS New Orleans”? Is that accent real and did he really attend the University of Alabama?
A: Lucas Black, who played LaSalle, left the show a season ago amid talk that he was heading to the big screen, probably with a return to the “Fast and the Furious” franchise. Black had starred in the film series’ “Tokyo Drift” and appeared briefly in “Furious 7.” Unlike the fictional LaSalle, Black did not attend the university you mentioned but his accent is legit; he was born and grew up in Alabama.
(Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters may be edited. Individual replies are not guaranteed.)
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