Director Eric Laneuville turns 70

L.A. Law, Lost, NYPD Blue, Dream On

One of my favorite television programs was the MTM program St. Elsewhere (NBC, 1982-1988). And one of my favorite characters was Luther Hawkins, played by Eric Laneuville, who appeared in 128 of 137 episodes. Initially, Luther was a hospital orderly, but he became a certified paramedic and eventually a student physician assistant.

Eric was born in New Orleans, LA. His first prominent acting roles were in the science-fiction film The Omega Man (1971) with Charlton Heston and on the TV program Room 222 (1970-1974). But he has had but two acting credits since 1996, and none since 2014.

That’s because he’s in demand as a director. He started this path by directing 20 episodes of St. Elsewhere, starting in 1984. He has also helmed multiple episodes of Midnight Caller; Doogie Howser, M.D.; Everybody Hates Chris; Girlfriends; Ghost Whisper; CSI: NY; The Mentalist; Grimm; NCIS: Los Angeles; Blue Bloods; Chicago Fire; and the current iteration of The Equalizer.

(St. Elsewhere was up against the earlier version of The Equalizer on CBS on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. for three seasons. I’d watch St. Elsewhere but catch The Equalizer in reruns.)

Eric was nominated for Emmys (Dream On, I’ll Fly Away, the Directors Guild of America awards (Lost, NYPD Blue), and both (L.A. Law).

I’ll Fly Away

In 1992, Eric won both an Emmy and a Director’s Guild Award for the All God’s Children episode of I’ll Fly Away. I LOVED that program, which ran from 1991 to 1993 on NBC, plus a TV movie on PBS.

“Forrest Bedford [a pre-Law and Order Sam Waterston] is a Southern lawyer in the late 1950s, generally content with his privileged life. But the winds of change are blowing, and he becomes increasingly involved with civil rights cases. Meanwhile, Lilly Harper [Regina Taylor], who cares for his children, is on her own journey of political and personal awareness.” The kids were played by Jeremy London as Nathan, Ashlee Levitch as Francie, and John Aaron Bennett as John Morgan

Here’s the All God’s Children episode of I’ll Fly Away.


I haven’t been watching LOST, but I have it on good authority that the island is really…

As usual, I was watching JEOPARDY! recently, and the show had a whole category devoted to spoilers! In an unJEOPARDYlike fashion, I’ll give you the questions, but NOT the answers, until the end. Planet of the Apes (2001), The Sixth Sense, Chinatown, The Usual Suspects, The Crying Game.

So when is the RIGHT amount of time to give away the “spoiler” ending of a TV show or movie? In early 2005, noted critic Roger Ebert wrote about this regarding Million Dollar Baby when critic Michael Medved and faux critic Rush Limbaugh revealed the crucial plot point because they didn’t LIKE the crucial plot point. (I STILL haven’t seen the movie but learned that plot point at the time. Now I’m feeling the need to rent it.)

With LOST coming to a close, how long can someone recording the program to watch later expect NOT to hear the details? Will it be in the newspaper the next morning? Will it have a spoiler warning, and will that matter? (I haven’t been watching LOST, but I have it on good authority that the island is really little Tommy from St. Elsewhere.)

On a NORMAL show – one that isn’t getting near Super Bowl money for its ads – I think a week is about all one can reasonably expect before its common knowledge. (How long did it take before the greatest ending in history, Newhart, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, become revealed?) Although I recall a critic being taken to task because the viewer was waiting to see the program when it was released on DVD. How does THAT work in the equation?

For movies it’s different. Films have two lives: in the theater, and then on DVD, et al. (There’s a third, on broadcast TV, but that may be years out.) It seems that 13 weeks after the release date of home release might be a standard. Of course, if home release becomes simultaneous with theatrical release, as may be coming to pass, that creates an awfully small window.

But what do YOU think about TV shows and movies? What should be the spoiler expectation, Rosebud?
Those JEOPARDY answers.

Show #5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $200: There’s a Washington, D.C. memorial to an ape general when Mark Wahlberg returns to Earth in this 2001 film
#5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $400: Bruce Willis is dead & doesn’t know it in this 1999 thriller
#5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $600: Faye Dunaway’s daughter is also her sister in this Jack Nicholson classic from 1974
#5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $800: The disabled Kevin Spacey seems to be the killer Keyser Soze in this 1995 film
#5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $1000: In this 1992 IRA thriller starring Stephen Rea, the “girl” is really a guy

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