Hugh Beaumont

Question: I am a fan of "Leave It to Beaver." I watched it growing up, and I now watch it every Saturday and Sunday morning on TV Land.

On March 22, I saw an episode that shocked me. Hugh Beaumont was NOT the father and Tony Dow was NOT Wally. Can you tell me what this was about? Did they do one episode with these different people and realize they weren't the ones for these roles?

Answer: There, there. You just stumbled across a precursor to "Leave It to Beaver" that was produced in early 1957. It was titled "It's a Small World" and went unseen for decades before it was uncovered in the early 1990s.

As you say, there were different actors as Ward and Wally Cleaver. Max Showalter (wearing a silk dressing gown, for Pete's sake) was a high-strung, chain-smoking Ward, and a nondescript young fellow named Paul Sullivan played Wally. Also in the episode was a young Harry Shearer, now of "The Simpsons," as a neighborhood kid.

Anyway, the decision was made to dump Showalter, who was altogether too intense, and the story goes that Sullivan was dropped when his voice changed. So Beaumont and Dow were brought on board, the title was changed to "Leave It to Beaver," the show had its premiere in the fall of 1957 and we all lived happily ever after.

Question: I have been a fan of "Diff'rent Strokes" all my life. It seems like during its run there were three or four housekeepers. Who were they?

Answer: I think I speak for the housekeepers when I say, "Why do you care?"

But ours is not to question why, so here goes:

The first, of course, was Charlotte Rae as Edna Garrett, who was with the show from its debut in 1978 until she was spun off into "The Facts of Life" the next year.

Then in 1980 came Nedra Volz as Pearl Brubaker, whose sassy manner had everyone in stitches! Kind of. Until 1982.

And finally there was Pearl Gallagher (Mary Jo Catlett), who hung around until the series ended in 1986.

Question: The other day my uncle was watching a documentary about Donald Trump, and it reminded him about a movie he saw many years ago. The problem is he can't remember anything except the plot.

It was about an immigrant who comes to America and buys a hotel. The hotel needs renovation so he goes to the bank to get a loan. The banker takes all his info and then denies his loan. The man is very upset at the banker because he thinks his loan has been rejected because he is an immigrant.

Still, the immigrant is successful in getting the hotel up and going and he becomes a very successful businessman. But he is still upset at the banker and tries to ruin his life. Do you have any idea what he is talking about? Is it on DVD?

Answer: Sounds like the 1985 miniseries "Kane & Abel," based on the book by Jeffrey Archer. Peter Strauss played Abel the immigrant, and Sam Neill played Kane the banker. Also in the cast were Ron Silver, Fred Gwynne and Alberta Watson.

"Kane & Abel" is on video but not DVD.

Question: As a kid in the late 1960s, I remember a sitcom about two disc jockeys in Los Angeles. I remember it was in color, and I remember the guys wore cardigan sweaters a lot. (Weird.)

The one thing I can't remember is the title. Any help? Is it on DVD?

Answer: Yep. That was "Good Morning, World," which ran on CBS in 1967-68. It was created by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, fresh off their stint from "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Two of the stars, Joby Baker and Billy DeWolfe, had guest-starred on that sitcom.

Baker played disc jockey Dave Lewis, a stable married guy (Julie Parrish played his wife), and Ronnie Schell played his partner, swinging bachelor Larry Clarke. DeWolfe, a great comic character actor, played Roland Hutton, the fussy owner of the radio station. Goldie Hawn, in her pre-"Laugh-In" days, played a goofy neighbor.

The show was expected to be a hit, and its writing almost reached the level of "The Dick Van Dyke Show," but it lasted just one season. The good news is, it's on DVD.