Who is the real person behind those baby blues?

Watching McClintock with John Wayne the other Sunday got me thinking about the man, the person, behind the suave, charming persona of Jonathan Hart.

Now I am not a John Wayne fan per se, but I loved the character he played in that movie. George Washington McClintock was a man’s man- a big guy in many ways. A slugger, a drinker, a hard-liver, but at the same time smart, self-made, and business saavy. He was an up-from-nothing successful man and cunning, but humble, diplomatic, and fair in his dealings with others.

John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara

John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara

Beyond all that, though, he was a man in love with one helluva woman, his elegant and feisty Katie, played wonderfully by Maureen O’Hara. They had an onscreen chemistry, too.

With a very young Stefanie Powers playing the McClintocks’ daughter in this movie, it wasn’t a far strectch for me to make the comparison between them and the Harts, speifically GW McClintock to Jonathan Hart.

I had been entertaining this for jonathana few days afterward, rolling it around in my mind, trying to get my thoughts together for this post, and then the picture on the right was posted to Facebook.

This was not an expression I was used to seeing on this face or in these eyes. It made me wonder. Keep in mind, I’m thinking of the character, Jonathan Hart, as I write about the photo, not the actual man pictured here.

What was he seeing at the moment? Who was on his nerves, and what had they done or said? What was on his mind as he looked at them in that way? There is a lot to be read there.

Just who is the whole person behind the handsome, charming facade? What makes him tick- other than the lovely, auburn haired obvious.

I, of course, absolutely love the character, his warmth, sensitivity, and good nature, but I always sensed there had to be more to him than the sort of flatly perfect individual he played in the series. Given who he started out as and what he made himself into, I always felt there had to be a deeper, maybe even darker side to him.

Although Hart isn’t as physically rugged as McClintock, he gives the impression he can hold his own. He seems the type to relish a good fight and at times has shown us he’s not one to back off duking it out when he had to or when provoked.

jon and jenIn one of the episodes where Jennifer is kidnapped, he tells the person involved, “If something happens to my wife, I will kill you.” He does it again in one of the movies under the same circumstances, only in the movie he says, “You know I’ll kill you.” Both times, I completely believed him, and wanted to yell out to the perpetrator, “Don’t mess with him about her! He’ll do it!”

After the McClintock movie went off, I watched a couple of theH2H episodes on DVD as motivation for pushing on with this story I’m struggling to finish, but I came away pondering even more questions about the man.

What, I wondered, is Jonathan Hart really like in the business world at those times we aren’t allowed to be there with him? After all, he wields an awful lot of power at the helm of the sprawling international conglomerate carrying his name. What kind of CEO is he in the boardroom? Is he always so laid back and congenial? Are there those who fear him? And if so, why?

What is it like for the people who work closely with him day in and day out? Is he diplomatic or is he more of an autocrat? How do the secretaries who manage his schedule and his business life really feel about him? What inside tracks do they have on him that nobody else is privy to?

Like GW McClintock, Jonathan Hart is an alpha male. He’s able, virile, and confident in both. A natural leader professionally and the head of his household, he’s not outwardly agressive or cocky in those capacities. He’s unusually evolved when it comes to his interactions with and his appreciation of women, but what is he like in the company and comraderie of other men? How does he handle himself in the company of attractive female peers? Or alluring women who are not his wife? He’s wealthy and powerful, not to mention good-looking and sexy, so it’s for sure he gets hit on. Is he ever tempted to stray, even mentally?

Is he ever not the debonaire, charismatic, “so very nice” man we’ve come to know? With all he has to take care of and keep watch over, does he ever get tired of it and want out? Is he ever inexplicably brooding or menacing in his demeanor causing his wife and daughter to be apprehensive about him? Or even avoid him for a period of time. I don’t like thinking of Jonathan in the negative, but let’s face it, he’s only human. He can’t be all good all the time.

Coming from such humble beginnings, an orphan child from San Francisco, just how did he make it so far up the economic and social ladder? In the series, he’s always portrayed as an intelligent, ambitious guy who just got lucky. I have kept him that way in my fan fiction series, too, but was his rise to success simply a matter of good fortune, or was it more a case of being in the right place at the right time to leave footprints on some backs? What shadows haunt him from his childhood? The absence of his parents, growing up in poverty, being raised by nuns on Catholic charity- even though he’s told J.J. all of that made him who he currently is, surely some of it hardened a few secret places inside him.

Having risen to such great heights so quickly in his life, did he ever have to use someone to get what or to where he wanted? Jonathan is undoubtedly an intelligent and clever man; he’s focused, driven, and despite his genteel demeanor, has a reputation for being enterprising, street-wise, and saavy. How many pockets got turned inside out going up against him as he gambled and worked his way to the top? Was his Greek heiress girlfriend, with whom he broke up right before meeting Jennifer- the one with the rich daddy who liked and helped him- a lovely, but opportune stepping stone along the way?

two hartsAnd in those first moments with the woman who would become his wife and partner in life, did he consider her just another potential tooth in his zipper before later realizing it was his soulmate that happened to have taken the seat next to him that afternoon at the Ritz? How much of the savage beast might fair Jennifer have unknowingly soothed?

Just some food for thought this writer has been marinating in her mind and wanted to share.

One thing I can say for sure about this interesting guy is, unlike GW, Jonathan certainly would not have invited some young buck to “tame” his pretty and headstrong daughter by spanking her into submission.  That most assuredly would be one of those times that he would have confirmed for us that darker, less refined side to his otherwise affable nature.

But then, too, J.J. being so much like her father in spirit- not to mention feisty and headstrong like her mother- would probably handle something like that herself before it could ever happen, much to her adoring daddy’s pride and delight. There’s nothing hidden in that when it comes to Mr. Hart.

Season Three: Tonic for Me

Oh, my goodness.

I have been in such a funk. The writing simply will not come. I’ve been trying so hard to push through, but there’s too much going on. Work, the holidays, general issues that I sometimes make more than they need to be, biting off more than I can chew-figuratively and literally.

I’m distracted, mentally constipated, and…. can’t even describe it except to say whatever it is, it’s in my writing way, and I’m having trouble staying in the chair.


Season Three arrived today, and I’ve been watching it ever since I sat down for good thisSeason 3 evening. In my opinion, this was probably the best season in terms of plot lines and character development. American Actress Stefanie PowersRight now, I’m watching the White Fury episode, “What Becomes a Murder Most”, and I’m realizing how much my Pat is like Laura Bancroft, the actress-friend that winds up dead in the Hart’s pool. Loved her brash fearlessness, even though it didn’t serve her too well in the end.

Jennifer was beyond lovely. Jonathan at the photoshoot was so touching and romantic.

And the lines in that episode.

Jonathan: “Are you up for something unethical?”

Jennifer: “Again?”

Leaving me wondering what kind of reindeer games those two really got up to. Love  them for it, just the same.

So far, I’ve watched, this one, “Hartland Express”, and “Harts and Flowers”, which was another favorite of mine. That one had some great lines in it, too, with Jonathan at his randy finest. I always love it when he goes for the double entendre, either in what he says or the look on his face. What a naughtily sexy guy.

I kinda like my men a bit filthy, but that’s just me.

These episodes and this Reisiling I’m drinking has me inspired- or maybe sort of drunk. I’m getting tickled thinking about how different the Harts’ lives were before they got J.J., and I’m imagining them in the flesh with her now. They had no idea back then what fate- and I- had in mind for them.

cropped-threeharts1.jpgJennifer has matured, Jonathan has mellowed, but they’re still on their game. The investigative juices are just flowing in another direction, and there’s a different kind of craziness going on with a teenager in their home who just happens to belong to them.

“And they said it wouldn’t last.”  All the Fan Fiction out here on the web has certainly proven Aunt Alice wrong, hasn’t it?

Think I’m little inspired now. Going to take advantage of this buzz while I can, and get this strange man with the two drinks in his hands away from Jennifer as he’s hitting on her down in the hotel bar.

Bear with me. Hope to post something significant in the room by Christmas.

Jonathan, the man who has everything….

Today is my husband’s birthday. Mine was last month. No big deal any more. We’re both so easy to gift that it can,  at times, be difficult. You see, we’ve reached that age and place in life where we have everything we need and most of the things, within financial reason, we want. So a small token of appreciation usually suffices when it comes to birthdays,  and Mother’s and Father’s Day, and all those other gifting days.

For my husband this year it was a small devil’s food with dark chocolate frosting cake with a chocolate covered strawberry on top- he’s a choco-holic- and a gift card. He was good to go. Said he’d use the gift card to get his golf club grips redone, then he made himself a cup of coffee to go with the hunk of cake he lopped off, and down the to man cave he went to settle in for the evening.

Mission accomplished. Another birthday successfully penciled into the books.

But it got me thinking. What did Jennifer get Jonathan for his birthdays? After all, the man was millionaire several times over, well-traveled, and seemed to have every man-toy on the books, not to mention the woman of his dreams for his wife.

vintage carWe know he had a tendency to get Jennifer things he sort of wanted for himself when her birthday rolled around- a pool table, season athletic tickets, a vintage car, but I don’t recall his birthday ever being mentioned or things she might have gotten him other than that watch he thought she’d stolen, but she hadn’t. death in slow lane1And that fur coat she pretended she bought for him in place of the vintage car he wound up almost getting them killed over.

Cutest lines ever when he takes her up on the coat and tries it on, saying it needs to be let out a little in the shoulders:Screenshot 2014-11-17 21.13.12

“Jonthan, you’re doing it to me again!”

Him, eyes squinched, nose krinkled, filthy leering grin, “You know something; that’s all I ever think about.”

That was back in the day, and I was so shocked at the writers getting that exchange past the censors. But I was delighted to my polished toes that they did. I so loved the Harts.

But back to what I was saying.

jonathanWhat might Jennifer have gotten her husband for his birthday? Funny how that never came up in the series. He bought or comissioned lots of things for various occasions for her, but it was rarely the other way around. I figure since they didn’t have children and there wasn’t much else besides their work that kept them from moving like they wanted to, maybe she whisked him away for a relaxing, isolated, lusty weekend at their cabin. Or perhaps a few peaceful, sunny days at their auberge in the Napa Valley. Or maybe she held a small dinner/ poker party for him at the house with a few of their closer friends. Jonathan didn’t seem like the kind of guy who wanted a lot of fanfare directed toward him, so whatever it was, it was probably something low key and personal.

But again, I ask, other than the obvious, what to give a man like Jonathan Hart for his birthday, a guy who has everything?

Any ideas?

Happy Birthday! You never know….

2014-10-23 20.52.09When I left my native Michigan to come to Georgia with my husband’s job transfer, the people at my job gave me a going-away party. One of my co-workers, who over the years became a good friend, toasted me. She told a story about how she couldn’t have made it without my help in those first months in our building. She was a veteran teacher, older and more experienced than I at the time, but she was coming from years of teaching elementary school in elementary settings to teaching seventh grade at our urban middle school. It wasn’t the easiest transition to make, for even the most capable teacher.

At the time, I had only been doing what I thought I was supposed to do to help someone new be more comfortable in an unfamiliar setting. However, it was revealed at that party that I had actually thrown a life raft to someone who felt she was drowning. In all our time working together, she never gave me the impression she had been so overwhelmed or that I had done anything extraordinary to help her.

That toast happened nearly fifteen years ago, but it was a definite “ah-hah” moment that remains with me. I was good and grown at that time, so I’d heard it said more than once that you never know who has their eye on you. What my friend said that night made it crystal clear to me not only do people watch, but they sometimes take their strength and their inspiration from you even you aren’t aware of how much, or even how, your smallest actions can affect others. That toast made me more aware of the need do my best by others when I can, but more importantly to do no harm when I can’t add to a situation or I don’t feel like being nice or helpful.

As today is Ms. Stefanie Powers birthday, I would like to first wish her a very happy oneTo Marie and to wish her many more to come. Next I would like to thank her for being such a positive influence on my personal and my writing life when I’m sure she has no idea she has had that impact on little old me. Meeting her in person has been scratched off my bucket list. I’ll never forget that hug that before that evening at the Fox in Detroit I never in life dreamed I’d get.

There is nothing I love more than a woman who knows who she is, who pursues her own interests, and who does something about those things that concern her in the world- not just throw money at or  use her celebrity to draw publicity to them. And who doesn’t need a man to define the course of her life. Like her I believe it’s nice and fulfilling to have that right life partner, but female or male, it’s best to know and be yourself first.

It’s important to give the world the best you have in whatever form you wish to give it and to be genuine in the effort, even if the genuine effort is to take nothing away from a situation in which you choose not to contribute. You never know who, next to you, or miles or time periods or lifestyles away is watching, taking their example and inspiration from you.

Well, done, Ms. Powers. I am grateful for your example. Enjoy your day.


I’m working on tightening up an exchange I wrote between Jennifer and J.J. as J.J. is getting dressed for her prom date. As you may have already read, J.J. is experiencing some reservations and hesitations about what to expect of the upcoming overnight date with Teddy. There are set plans in place, but the two of them have some plans of their own ….

In an effort to  help herself make some personal decisions, J.J. finally works up the courage to ask Jennifer a tough question about her own life as a seventeen year old girl on the threshold of womanhood.

Can I say right here that, as Marnie would put it,  I love me some Jennifer? J.J., Marnie,Jen cropped flipped Pat, and some of the others are mine, but Jennifer is my favorite to write.

She was always the more interesting of the TV pair for me because, in my humble opinion, she was given the wider range of emotions. At least that was the case in the series; things flattened out some in the movies, but I’ve said that already. In the series, she was allowed to get mad, get scared, cry, be sassy, be sexy, be smart, be a ditz, lean on Daddy,
and just be a person. On the other hand, Jonathan, while I loved him, too, ran the emotional gamut from A-B. He was either happy or angry and on a mission- cute and sexy as all get out while being either one, but that was pretty much it with him.

Back in the day, even when I wasn’t writing, I was always thinking about characters that caught my attention, either in books or on the screen. I’d be wondering what the person’s life was like before the story started. Or what happened to him after the story ended. Did something occur at another point in her life to make her the way she is or do things the way she does them in the current plot? What secrets do we, the reader or the viewer, not know about this individual?

Bullied at some point in school? Smoked weed or dropped acid a couple of times as a teen? A flirt? A heartbreaker? Cheated on tests? Worked at a rescue mission? Stole out of Mom’s purse or petty cash? The class clown? Village idiot? Slept around a lot? The one everyone else looked to for answers or protection?

daddy and daughterJennifer Hart was the kind of character that left me thinking long after the episode was over. I wondered what her relationship had been with her late mother. Or with her father? After all, he was always asking her forgiveness for neglecting her. Did he feel guilty for sending her to boarding school or had he been an aloof parent in general? Did she really forgive him or was she just saying that to make him feel better?hart belongs to daddy

Off topic, but Ray Milland was an excellent choice for that role. Arrogant, aristocratic, with just the right amount of crustiness.

Did she have other significant relationships in her past? Who was Andy Seagren? Were there other significant relationships before she met Jonathan? She was pretty. Did other woman like her? Or was she the kind of girl who had mostly male friends? Ever notice how in the series she largely avoided being touched by other male characters? Jonathan kissed another character, but when she had the chance with the tennis coach, it didn’t happen. The only other guy Jennifer kissed was Jonathan’s double or Jonathan with amnesia. In the movie, Elliot Manning alluded to having slept with her and that he liked how sheScreenshot 2014-10-26 07.22.37 scratched his back in the act. I wanted to know more about her and how she arrived at the elegant, charismatic person who snared Jonathan Hart’s heart.

It’s interesting the things that come out about her as a result of J.J. coming into her life. Sometimes even I’m surprised at what I find out about her through her interactions with this other character, this girl she’s raising to womanhood in this series of stories. Those details that reveal the layers of her personality, the deeper levels of bond with her husband and with her own father as her relationship with J.J. evolves.

And funny enough, the things I’m learning about myself through all of it.

Lots to come. It’s a more thought-provoking, intriguiging struggle as J.J. comes of age, but it’s one I’m thoroughly enjoying.

Original First Post: reposted from misconfigured blog

theamarie eye(Forgive me, I know it’s out of sequence and thus, quite tacky, but I had to put this post back in. I really liked it. Happy Friday!)

10/5/2014    Getting Started….

jj hart age 16Like J.J. in her Journal:Part One, I don’t really know what I’ll be putting here, but we’ll play it by ear. I’m for anything that keeps me writing when I feel like doing anything except write, which happens a lot lately. Distractions are everywhere; procrastination at an all time high. Mind going in a million directions, hand accomplishing little.

For today, though, I’ll talk about my love for Hart to Hart and how J.J. Hart came into existence.

It’s probably evident from my stories that I loved the show, Hart to Hart, especially the lead characters. In fact, I have been a fan since the promos first aired for the original episodes. When it was announced that Wagner and Powers would be playing as husband and wife, somehow I knew it would be a winning combination. It might have beenjonathan_jennifer that single episode of “It Takes a Thief,” where Powers played the guest role of Mona that had me so sure of the pairing. The chemistry between those two actors, even that far back was absolutely convincing.

Powers has always fascinated me as an actor, although many of her pre-H2H roles failed to showcase her real range and abilities. I always felt because she had brains and purposely avoided ‘going Hollywood”, choosing instead to pursue her personal interests and maintain her privacy, she wasn’t given the opportunities afforded to others who were more willing fit the bill 24-7 or play along to gain favor.

Wagner I never really followed as an actor, per se. Rather, I more enjoyed the characters he played, particularly in both Thief and Switch. It didn’t hurt that he was terribly handsome, the epitome of suave and debonair, and could fill out a tux better than most. In addition, I was impressed at so often reading what a nice guy he was considered to be by his peers despite his celebrity status and being twice married to a long-time movie star.

For five years, I tuned in faithfully to the show, loving the Harts and their mature, mutually respectful, and childless relationship. I envied how they could pack a bag and travel at the drop of a hat without the worry of arranging for babysitters, or strapping inhart house car seats or what bill they wouldn’t be able to pay when they got back from the most recent lavish cruise, New York shopping spree, or South American adventure.

To say the least about it, I was devastated when the show was so abruptly canceled and replaced with “Jessie”, which I REFUSED to watch out of bitter spite brought on by my loyalty to the Harts. When Jessie failed to thrive, nobody could have been more delighted than I was; no offense to Ms. Lindsay Wagner, I had nothing against her personally, I actually enjoyed her work in general, but Jessie was not Hart to Hart.

But then came the movies, and I was excited to see what the Harts had been up to while they were gone from my TV screen.

hart_returns4t-fullThe first one, Hart to Hart Returns, was pretty good. A couple others were okay, but for the most part I found the movies disappointing. Despite the passage of time, in which so much could have happened or developed with them, the Harts hadn’t really evolved. They were in the same place emotionally, which was fine, but not much else was different, not even the kinds of things they were involved in. Most of story lines in the movies were extended, slightly adjusted rehashes of story lines from the episodes. Secrets of the HartCrimes of the Hart, and the one with Elliot Manning, Harts in High Season, had potential, but by time their end credits rolled, the story lines in each had flattened and then petered out in a less than satisfying manner. There were two that didn’t ring true at all, Old Friends and the one shot in Germany, To Death Us Do Hart, which I believe was the last one. By that time, it was painfully obvious the thrill was gone. I found myself wishing so badly that the writers had “asked somebody” before they put those tired, and sometimes silly, ideas into play.

Somehow the powers- that-be never seemed to get it, either in the TV series or the movies, that most of us tuned in for the relationship and interaction between the principal characters more than we did the so-called mystery aspect.

Around the time the series was cancelled, one of the last ideas being floated was for the Harts to have a late-in-life pregnancy. I wasn’t crazy about the idea at the time; I couldn’t see them with a baby since part of their magic was how unencumbered they were. I was especially against the idea since the plot called for Jennifer being hit by a car and losing the baby. That would have been too much reality for a one hour episode and for the escapism the show itself offered. I was; however, intrigued by thoughts of what their kid would have been like.

Once the movies did air, and we were presented with the plots as written, I thought how nice it would have been for the Harts to have had a child during their hiatus, and through the magic of television, said child had grown into a teenager by the time the movies rolled out. Intelligent, curious, and adventuresome like the parents, a child would have given the Harts another focus, a different spin without them losing their own investigative tendencies or their loving relationship. It also would have afforded the writers some fresh material to develop, and the viewers another dynamic to their favorite couple.

Those thoughts stayed in my mind until one day, on a random H2H Google search, I ran up on Nolene’s Hart to Hart Fan Site, where I found Susan’s Fan Fiction Archive. That was my introduction to fan fiction, and needless to say, I was hooked! I had no idea people wrote stories that extended the lives of their favorite fictional characters, and I can’t describe how delighted I was to find a treasure trove of stories about the Harts.

Shortly after having discovered the site I went to every free moment I had, my family flew to Vegas for a family reunion. I printed out a few of the stories to read or reread on the the flight as laptops and WiFi weren’t the available options then as they are today. On the way back from Vegas, in a tablet I had purchased for that purpose, I hand-scripted the first draft of Queen of Harts, featuring J.J. Hart, the late-in-life daughter of Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, and I began to do with the Harts the things I wished the writers had done for those movies.

As a teenager, I loved writing, and I wrote stories all the time. I entered college with the goal of becoming a journalist, but my experiences there revealed I needed to pursue something a little more solid and secure, and do the writing thing on the side. Beginning a career in teaching, then marriage and children moved writing to the back shelf of my life until I began writing about J.J. Hart. That’s when I rediscovered how much I enjoyed the act of moving what was going on in my mind to paper.

Publishing my first story on Susan’s site was the first piece of writing I ever offered for anonymous general public perusal. It was scary, but the feedback was pretty positive, and I was encouraged by it to continue. A couple of stories later, I realized I needed more control over posting and revision, so I took a class and learned to build a simple website where I could post my own stories how and when I wanted and be able to make changes I needed to make when I needed to make them, thus J.J.’s Room. I had no idea at that time how much this site would grow and how many stories I would wind up writing, but I’m happy and proud that it did.

J.J. has opened worlds to me that I might never have experienced, and I have met people I might never have come into contact with had I not written the stories. In fact, my first trip to Europe was a direct result of the writing. I met and got a hug from Ms. Powers as an direct result of my love for H2H and indirectly because of these stories. It has been a lot of fun, and a great source of mental exercise for me, although as the plots grow more complicated and J.J. is getting older and more complex a character, it’s not as easy to quickly crank out the stories as it used to be. I feel I do a better job now than I used to do, but the process is a lot more involved, and thus, a whole lot slower.

As I struggled to build this new website and reformat the stories to reload them, I noticed how much my writing has changed since the beginning, and to be truthful about it, I’m shamed by the mistakes I made when I didn’t know any better. I will certainly be getting a some writing exercise, doing the editing and rewriting that needs to be done, but I guess that’s a good thing. It can fill those dry moments I get as I work my with the current story. But I guess that’s what growth is all about making mistakes, learning from them, making the appropriate changes, and evolving.

And doing the best you can with what you have for the benefit of yourself and, hopefully, others.

I wonder if the writers of H2H realize the one thing they did do extraordinarily well was create a show that brought people together from all around the world. Over thirty years later, the original viewers and some born after the last episode aired are still in love with the characters and the relationship they created for them.

At least that’s how it is for me ….

Thinking out loud…

rjblueeyesI’m working on Principles: Part Three, and there is a scene where Jonathan is sitting by himself, waiting for Jennifer and J.J. to come out of J.J.’s room where the two of them are getting J.J. ready to go out. He’s by himself in the living room of their hotel suite, wondering where the time went with J.J.

With her turning seventeen and about to go to Teddy’s prom, an all night high school affair, he’s, of course anxious for her, but also a bit nostalgic. He mentally reviews some experiences that being a father brought into his life, such as attending Parent-Teacher Conferences over the years.

Of course, the teacher he was conferencing with floated into my mind.

What was her reaction to having such a handsome, charming, not to mention wealthy and powerful man take the seat across from her to discuss his child’s academic progress and/or behavior? How could she concentrate on the subject at hand? And then we know, J.J.’s caboose has the tendency to jump the track at times. Despite her smarts and excellent academic performance, the entire conference might not have been positive. What must it have been like for the female teacher, or guidance counselor, or administrator to have Jonathan Hart show up to a meeting to discuss some mischief his daughter had gotten herself into?

Tall, broad-shouldered, well dressed, smelling good, nice smile….

Was the woman able to maintain her focus or did she have to fight to keep from getting lost in those too blue eyes that somehow didn’t seem to be taking her completely seriously as she detailed something off-color that J.J. had involved herself in? Did he know what he was doing to those women at the school and use that to get his child’s fanny out of the hot seat before her mother got wind of her latest transgression?

God forbid the conference was called to discuss J.J. defending herself against some boy’s unwanted remarks or advances.How did they deal with his righteous indignation?

Just thinking … and chuckling a little bit to myself….