Q. Where could I find a TV show with Aidan Quinn as a priest addicted to painkillers? I think the woman who played Nurse Ratched was also in it.
That would be The Book of Daniel, which originally aired on NBC for a few weeks in 2006. Quinn played Daniel Webster, an Episcopal priest whose problems included popping pills, but who had direct conversations with Jesus (played by Garret Dillahunt). The cast also included Dylan Baker, Alison Pill and Ellen Burstyn, the Oscar-winning actress you may have confused with Louise Fletcher, who played Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Coming from writer-producer Jack Kenny ( Warehouse 13), Book of Daniel was a very good show cut short by complaints from some groups, low ratings and NBC’s lack of faith. The eight episodes that were produced can be found on DVD.Q. I am looking for two movies with Dick Shawn. One starred John Astin as a bad guy and Shawn as a singing cowboy. It might be called “Evil Roy Slade.” The second starred Shawn and another guy as astronauts stranded on either the moon or Mars.
Dick Shawn, well remembered as Lorenzo St. DuBois in the original movie version of The Producers, had a varied stage and screen career until his death in 1987. The TV movie Evil Roy Slade indeed starred John Astin, with Shawn as singing Marshal Bing Bell. It remains a cult favorite, and has been released on DVD and Blu-ray.
As for the astronaut movie, you may be remembering Way … Way Out, a 1966 film with Jerry Lewis and Connie Stevens as well as Shawn. It involves Russian and American bases on the moon, with Lewis and Stevens as an American couple and Shawn as one of the Russians. While I did not find an authorized American DVD, Amazon.com does offer it as a video download.
Q. Can you tell me if the show The Firm is being renewed for next season?
The continuation of the lives of the characters in John Grisham’s novel (and a Tom Cruise movie) was not warmly received. NBC moved it from Thursdays, where it was expected to get a good-size audience, to Saturdays. Its 22nd and final episode aired last weekend.
Q. Why is it impossible to rent or buy The Turning Point with Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine?
It’s not impossible to find; it’s just very expensive. The Turning Point, which also featured Mikhail Baryshnikov, was an authorized American release on DVD in 2005. New copies have not been made in some time, so demand has driven up the price of the old ones. (An unused copy on Amazon.com can cost you more than $150, while used ones start at about $50.) The movie is also available on Netflix’s streaming-video service. And you may want to see if your local library has it in stock.