You have questions. I have some answers.
Q: "Murder, She Baked," a movie series on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel, is based on books by Joanne Fluke. The movies differ from the books. When a movie is made and very different from the book, where does the movie's idea come from? Does a book's author give up all say? Is the author asked to do a rewrite, or does the movie staff hire someone?
A: It depends. If an author has a lot of clout and wants some control, he or she may have the final say on an adapted screenplay. "Fifty Shades of Grey" author E.L. James reportedly had absolute control over the screenplays from her books, enough to overrule scriptwriters and directors. In other cases, when authors sell the rights to their books, they give up pretty much all control. They participate only as much as the filmmakers allow. Producers, directors, stars, writers and studio executives all get ideas for how to make a movie better, or how to turn pages of print into images on a screen.
Stephen King, whose books have been turned into movies and TV productions, once told Deadline.com's Mike Fleming Jr. that he expects approval of the screenwriter, director and principal cast when he makes a deal. But, he added, "you start from the belief that these people know their business. ... I've worked with an awful lot of movie people over the years that I think are very, very smart, very persistent and find ways to get things done. And I like that. ... If it doesn't work so well, I can say, well, they went out and they gave their best shot but I didn't have anything to do with it. I'm just a bystander in this car wreck."
Fluke, by the way, seems more than content about having her books turned into TV movies. She has promoted them on her website, and Hallmark plugs Fluke's books on its site.
Q: I was wondering if "Chicago Med" and "Code Black" will be back this fall. Both are good medical dramas.
A: NBC has ordered more "Chicago Med," and CBS wants more "Code Black." Neither show is in its network's fall lineup but they should return later this season.
Q: Back in radio I remember there was a show called "Hop Harrigan." I was wondering who was the voice that played Hop, and who played Tank Tinker on the show. I believe it was Mason Adams. Am I right?
A: Sorry, no. "The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio" says that "Hop Harrigan," about two adventurers, starred Chester Stratton as "America's ace of the airways." Two different actors, Ken Lynch and Jackson Beck, played Tank during the series, which originally aired from 1942 to 1948.
Q: I would like to know what years "The Match Game" with Gene Rayburn ran, and if he is still alive.
A: "The Match Game," seen lately with Alec Baldwin hosting, has been the home of wisecracking and often naughty celebrities for than 50 years, with Rayburn often hosting. "The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows" (continuing this week's use of media encyclopedias) says it premiered in December 1962 as a daytime show, with Rayburn hosting what became a seven-year run. The series returned to TV in 1973, again with Rayburn, for nine years including daytime and prime-time renditions. After that string ended, it became part of a prime-time "Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour" in 1983-84, with Rayburn hosting the "Match Game" portion as well as being a panelist on "Hollywood Squares" (which was hosted by Sha Na Na's Jon "Bowzer" Bauman). That was the end of Rayburn's "Match"-making. He died in 1999 at the age of 81.
(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.)