Monday, October 4, 2010

Get Ready to Forget the "Match Game" Star! #1: Trish Stewart

FOR you who re-member watching those celebrity-loaded TV game shows of the '70s-'80s, how the producers of these programs de-fined "celebrity" ran contrary to your definition. These shows could only get people of the "B" list, "also-ran", "washed up", "up and coming" or "flash in the pan" variety.

Add to that list the category of actors most alien to little kids: somebody from a soap opera! They were what only your mother watched (or taped to watch later when VCRs became common-place); they were what sent a kid outside to play until the cartoons came on later in the day, if school wasn't an issue.

Imagine what my response was when I decided to try out my DVR by recording some episodes of the kitsch classic Match Game '75, and I saw... her. My first reaction was, "Wow! Something even better than Charles Nelson Reilly's wisecracks!" This lady's lovely by today's standards; these pictures don't lie.

She is Trish Stewart, and at the time, she was one of the original cast members of the CBS soap The Young and the Restless (1973-present). I recall my mother watching this when it premiered (or not long after) due to the main title "Nadia's Theme", which later became a hit in '76 (#8 on Billboard).

I remember first hearing the music used as an underscore cue in Stanley Kramer's '71 movie Bless the Beasts and Children, which re-ran on TV quite a few times prior to the debut of TYatR. (The Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr. com-position was initially called "Cotton's Theme".)

This would later be retitled "Nadia's Theme" when ABC (the network airing the '76 summer Olympics in Montreal) lent the music to Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci for use in competition. She never used it for a routine, but she still won gold medals. The instrumental went on to win a Grammy in '77.

Back to Trish; if you click on her IMDb link, you'll see the other TV programs she appeared on during her time in the spotlight. I don't remember seeing her in some of these shows, but in light of her Match Game appearance (one of many she did), I sure wouldn't mind seeing more of her, she left such an impression.

Easily, she's the most natural and least pretentious of the six panelists on in the week's run of shows (five) I saw, more pleasant than regulars Brett Somers, Richard Dawson, Gary Burghoff or host Gene Rayburn, who tended to get on my nerves if I watched MG too much. (CNR was not on that week.)

She reminded me of the younger Candice Bergen who had appeared on the first season of Saturday Night Live ('75) by how she dressed sharply (by '70s standards), her shoulder-length hair (though Bergen's a brunette) and how the men on the show noticably treated her like a lady.

As I take the time to think of popular stars who started on soap operas and went on to bigger and better things, I then think about the vivacious woman I saw on MG and wonder what was wrong with her that she couldn't move beyond TYatR (which she left in '84). Was it because of her being on MG? Of course not.

There's a difference between good actors and big stars. Good actors are "a dime a dozen", and big stars are "one in a million". Sometimes, it's hard to believe some performer who appears to come off like a million bucks is actually worth ten cents to the entertainment industry. In that sense, Trish is, herself, "one in a million" amongst dozens of people. In the final analysis, as long as reruns of her shows play on TV (or DVD), she won't be truly be forgotten...compared to an Avery Schreiber.

I think I'll hold on to these DVR recordings for a while.

Keeping it trivial....

Fang Shih-yu, Shaolin Temple.

3 comments:

  1. When I saw these pics, I recognized her from childhood tv right away. She's cute!

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  2. This was a quick, fun piece to do, achillesgirl! Limiting my copy to the height of the pictures made me edit my writing considerably! Here, less is more, and (in addition) the pictures are worth a thousand words--EACH!

    So, you saw Trish in TYatR or some other programs, back in the day?

    What say I get you a blouse like hers for Christmas? You can wear it with your Wong Fei Hung t-shirt! ;o)

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  3. I don't remember what I saw her in; odd episodes of shows like "Streets of San Francisco" maybe? Haha, I think I'll have to pass on the blouse! :P

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