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'Bakersfield P.D.' was ahead of its time, and it's not on DVD

By David Inman

The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal

Published: Saturday, May 29 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

Brian Doyle-Murray, left, Jack Hallett, Tony Plana, Giancarlo Esposito, Chris Mulkey and Ron Eldard starred in the short-lived comedy series "Bakersfield P.D."

FOX

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Question: What can you tell me about a show called "Bakersfield P.D." that ran in the 1990s? I've love to get it on DVD — is it available?

Answer: "Bakersfield P.D." ran on Fox from 1993-94. It was about the culture clash that occurred when big-city detective Paul Gigante (Giancarlo Esposito) was transferred to rural Bakersfield, Calif. Ron Eldard played his partner, Det. Wade Preston. Brian Doyle-Murray, who now plays car dealer Don Ehlert on ABC's "The Middle," was their boss, Sgt. Bill Hampton.

"Bakersfield P.D." was ahead of its time in that it was filmed with a single camera and without a laugh track — these days that's a common way to do a sitcom, but back then most sitcoms were filmed before live audiences. It was well-written and very low-key, which may be why it didn't catch on.

There are bootlegs out there, but "Bakersfield P.D." hasn't officially been released on DVD.

Question: Several years ago, when Jen was murdered on "One Life to Live," Marcie sang a song at the service. All I can remember is something about "borrowed angels." Can you help with a title?

Answer: You're gonna laugh — the song is called "Borrowed Angels."

Question: My daughter and I watch movies on the Lifetime Movie Network and there have been a lot of movies on there with Tracy Nelson. Is she the wife of the late Ricky Nelson or his daughter?

Answer: You mean movies like "The Perfect Nanny," "The Perfect Husband," "The Perfect Tenant," "A Killer Upstairs," "The Rival" and "A Grandpa for Christmas"? For all of these, my friends, have starred Tracy Nelson.

She is the daughter of Rick Nelson and Kris Harmon. This also makes her the granddaughter of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, the niece of Mark Harmon and the sister of Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, who were known as the pop group Nelson.

Question: I'm trying to find something I heard on an episode of "NCIS" called "Endgame." At the end of the episode, Special Agent McGee recites something about death. Not sure if it's a poem or not. I have a class reunion coming up and I'm in charge of the memorial to students who've passed away. I think this might be something good to recite but I can't remember the whole thing. Can you find it?

Answer: Here you go:

"Anyone can achieve their fullest potential. Who we are might be predetermined, but the path we follow is always of our own choosing. We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny. Your destiny can't be changed, but it can be challenged. Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one."

The last line was written by German philosopher Martin Heidegger. The rest is from the "NCIS" scriptwriter.

Question: Some time ago I saw an excellent movie about a man who was hired by the tenants of an apartment building to provide security. He ended up taking over the building and was soon totally in charge. Then when he shot and killed an intruder one of the tenants suspected him of murder. What was the name of this picture?

Answer: Sounds like "The Guardian," a 1984 cable movie with Lou Gossett Jr. as the security man and Martin Sheen as the suspicious tenant.

The movie also stars Arthur Hill, Tandy Cronyn and Wendy Crewson, and it was written by Richard Levinson and William Link, who also gave us "Columbo."

Question: Just watched the great 1944 film "Laura." Somewhere in the deep dark recesses of my mind I remember a later version, maybe on television? Can you confirm?

Answer: Methinks you recall a version that aired on ABC in 1968. Jacqueline Kennedy's sister, Lee Bouvier, played Laura, receiving less-than-overwhelming praise. Robert Stack was the romantic lead and George Sanders played Waldo Lydecker, the acidic newspaper columnist (aren't we all) who befriends Laura.

Question: When I read recently about Dorothy Provine passing away I recalled a TV series she was in. Her character was named Pinky and this aired in the late 1950s. Can you tell me the name of the show?

Answer: The show was "The Roaring Twenties," and it aired on ABC from 1960-62. It was set in — wait for it — the 1920s, and it was about a pair of crusading newspaper reporters in New York City.

During the show's first season, the reporters were played by Rex Reason and Donald May, but in the fall of 1961 Reason was replaced by John Dehner. Provine played "Pinky" Pinkham, their adorable sidekick, who also happened to be a singer in a speakeasy.

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