Q: Who is the handsome man playing Mayhem in the Allstate commercials?
A: That is Dean Winters, a fine actor known for his work in comedies and dramas. He had a recurring role on “Rescue Me” as Tommy Gavin’s brother Johnny. On “30 Rock,” he has been seen as Dennis Duffy, once a boyfriend of Liz Lemon. On the prison drama “Oz” he was inmate Ryan O’Reily (whose brother Cyril was played by Winters’ real-life brother Scott William Winters). Also on “Oz” was Christopher Meloni, later of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”; Winters was on that series for its first 13 episodes, as a detective teamed with Munch.
Q: Does Jane Lynch play the role of Spencer Reid’s schizophrenic mother on “Criminal Minds?” Was that her earliest break? She’s very good.
A: Lynch, according to the Internet Movie Database, played Diana Reid in five episodes of the CBS drama between 2006 and 2008. I would not call that the “Glee” star’s earliest break, since she has credits going back about a decade before that TV role. Those include splendid turns in movies like “Best in Show,” ‘‘A Mighty Wind” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” And she worked so much, in a 2004 interview on AfterEllen.com, she was asked if she had been on every TV show. Lynch laughed and said, “Yeah, I’ve been on a lot of them. I’ve hit all genres, I think.”
Q: I am looking for a made-for-TV movie starring Lee Remick about a tourist on vacation in Turkey who bought a stolen painting and was put in prison. I thought it was called “Passport to Terror” but cannot find it. Can you help?
A: The movie you are thinking of is sometimes called “Passport to Terror” but originally aired on NBC as “Dark Holiday” in 1989. In it, Remick plays a tourist who buys carved-stone heads from vendors only to be arrested and imprisoned for smuggling antiquities. The film was based on the book “Never Pass This Way Again” by Gene LePere, a real-life tourist who underwent the ordeal, and the Turner Classic Movies website indicates the film was also distributed under the book’s title. That said, I do not know of an authorized release of the film on home video and I do not recommend unauthorized ones.
Q: I am trying to find the name of a movie on TV with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. They were going on a hunting trip to Canada (?), the plane crashes and they survive. And is it available on DVD or VHS?
A: You are thinking of “The Edge,” from 1997, which starred Baldwin, Hopkins, Elle Macpherson and Harold Perrineau. It has been released on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. If your local retailer cannot get the DVD or Blu-ray, it is for sale in both those forms and VHS from online vendors like Amazon.com.
Q: When I was a child, I saw a movie where a little boy and girl lived in a house in a forest and the cat turned into a slinky tall woman dressed in a long black gown with white in it in the spots that were white on the cat, and the bulldog turned into a short chubby man. I thought it was a Shirley Temple movie. I think it was in black and white. I would love to share this cute movie with my daughter. I really hope you can tell me the name of the movie.
A: I suspect you remember “The Blue Bird,” a 1940 film starring Temple as her youthful stardom was in decline. (She was almost 12 when the movie was released.) It was based on a play by Maurice Maeterlinck, which was also the basis for a 1976 film. Temple and Johnny Russell played children who search for the Blue Bird of Happiness. On the search they are accompanied by their cat and dog turned into humans (Gale Sondergaard and Eddie Collins). Like “The Wizard of Oz” from the previous year, the movie was black and white in the beginning and then color. It has been released on DVD.