Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
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Family Ties -- The Keaton Curse
I remember watching Family Ties in the 80s. The show started early in the decade, and ended its run before 1990.
Having a dad that hated Reagan, I especially enjoyed the debates between the conservative son and his liberal father. And who didn’t love that big lug Nick?
When a former child star got arrested the other day, I forgot all about his character on Family Ties. Actor Brian Bonsall joined the show in the mid-80s, during its “jump the shark” phase, which states that you bring in a new baby or cute kid to spruce things up.
Bonsall is 28, and was arrested in Colorado for allegedly attacking a man with a broken stool. He was also wanted for probation violations stemming from a 2007 assault conviction.
I immediately thought – there goes any possibility of a reunion show. Although, with Meredith Baxter having three failed marriages and announcing she’s a lesbian…I’m guessing the network suits wouldn’t see her as the same mom they initially invisioned.
I thought about Family Ties and the king of the family shows with child arrests – Different Strokes. I wondered if this show had a curse. So I thought about each cast member.
Tina Yothers -- the cute younger sister. She went thru her teens not being so cute, and getting a few arrests and joining an alternative band with her brother. She went from doing such interesting TV movies as Laker Girls, The Tonya Harding Story and Lovelace the Musical (yep, about Linda Lovelack, the porn star)…to gaining 100 pounds and doing the reality show Celebrity Fit Club.
Her brother Michael J. Fox -- Parkinson’s.
Her older sister Justine Bateman…well, one word can describe her curse. Satisfaction. Anyone see that horrible movie (with a young Julia Roberts and Liam Neeson)?
Scott Valentine – her boyfriend Nick on the show. He got his Keaton curse the year before the show aired. He was hit by a truck and spent three years recovering.
Meredith Baxter – cursed with breast cancer.
Her TV husband Michael Gross (who, strangely enough, was born on the exact same day as her – June 21, 1947), came away relatively unscathed. He didn’t seem to have much of a career (the only thing I’ve seen him in is Tremors with Kevin Bacon). Oh. He and Meredith did bring the curse to a presidential race. They campaigned for John Kerry.
Marc Price, who played Skippy, went from a huge sitcom to doing stand-up (and he wasn’t half bad). The last thing I saw him on was a reality show – Last Comic Standing.
Courtney Cox made it onstage with Springsteen before landing on Family Ties. She’s now cursed with a bad show (Cougar Town), and David Arquette as a husband.