Monday, April 6, 2009

How the Internet Works

For those who, like my dad, wonder just how this Internet thingy works, as far as finding any useful information at all - here's what happened during the space of about half an hour, last Friday:

I was reading this thread at the MobileRead forum about a new book by Joss Whedon. I didn't really know who he is, so I Googled him and got his Wikipedia entry.

Among other things, it said he was an atheist. For whatever reason, that made me think of Antony Flew, the atheist philosopher who became a deist. So I navigated to Antony Flew's Wiki page.

At the bottom, there was a link to a section called "Former atheists and agnostics". I was surprised to see Ted Turner listed there, as I hadn't heard anything about his converting. But sure 'nuff, his Wiki page says that he's "made peace with organized religion, prayed to God daily, and had joined with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and the United Methodist Church to fight malaria.[11] ", so there!

And of course, I remembered that his wife, Jane Fonda, had had a much more well-known conversion to Christianity. So I clicked on Jane's link.

And since "Nine to Five" is the movie I know her best from, I clicked on that link and, among other things, read about the short-lived TV series, in which an actress named Valerie Curtin had played Jane's role of "Judy Bernly".

Valerie Curtin's link gave a little more info about the TV series - specifically, that during the third season, James Komack took over as executive producer.

Well, gee, I remember James Komack very well! See, when I was 12 years old, I had a HUGE crush on the late, great Bill Bixby, but came close to getting a crush on Jimmy Komack as well, when I saw him as "Norman" in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father".

So naturally, I clicked on James Komack's link, and was a bit surprised to read the following:

Komack was widely believed to be the illegitimate son of Milton Berle. In his autobiography, Berle describes an encounter with the producer of a hit 1970's show, (probably Welcome Back Kotter) and got pitched for a role in another series (probably "The Man" in Chico in the Man). Berle said he didn't know the guy already had a hit show and was probably trying to hustle him to get a leg up as a producer. He wrote that it wasn't until later that he learned that this was the illegitimate son whom he had pined for ever since he'd had an affair with a would-be movie starlet back in the 1920s. By the time he came around, the role was cast with someone else - probably Jack Albertson.


See, I actually read Milton Berle's tell-all-but-don't-use-any-real-names autobiography, which was published in 1975. Though I was just a slip of a goil (nyuk nyuk!), I remember quite very well Uncle Miltie's story about his fling with a beautiful starlet who got pregnant, dumped him, and married someone else, allowing Milton's son to be passed off as his.

Miltie (and his ghost writer, Haskel Frankel) went to great pains to disguise the identities of everyone involved, but apparently whoever wrote the Wiki entry did some excellent detective work, or at least is one hell of a good guesser.

Now ever since I read Berle's book, I wondered if I'd ever find out who his mystery son was. When he died, in 2002, there was a little talk about it, but it didn't go anywhere. His adoptive son, Billy Berle, wrote a really disgusting and almost unreadable bio of his dad which shed no light on the subject at all. And after that, no one really seemed interested anymore.

I found a couple of photos of the gentlemen in question:

I can see a resemblance - can you? It seems plausible to me!

And that, Dad, is how you find information on the Internet!

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