OFFBEAT: Hammond free royal affair Saturday and Alaska vet's TV series debut

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2014-04-11T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Hammond free royal affair Saturday and Alaska vet's TV series debutBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

One of my favorite scenes from the 1996 silly comedy film "The Cable Guy," starring Matthew Broderick and his unlikely and annoying pal played by Jim Carrey, is when the duo attend the Medieval Times dinner theater.

I can promise a far better experience, and free of charge, from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Towle Theater, 5205 Hohman Ave. in Hammond to enjoy food, entertainment and festivities at "A Renaissance Faire." The event features the hard work of the students from Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, partnered with the folks at Towle Theatre and the Building Community Through the Arts program. The afternoon includes highlights from Towle Theater's current production "Romeo & Juliet," which concludes performances this weekend. Becky Stankowski of Purdue Calumet tells me students have been in full costume and "in character" throughout this week to promote Saturday's fun. For more information, call (219) 937-8780 and visit for times and details about remaining performances of "Romeo & Juliet."

Animal stories

Veterinarian Michelle Oakley has been busy in New York this week making the TV rounds talking about her work at Kluane National Park and Reserve in Canada's Yukon Territory.

Michelle, 44, the daughter of Steve and Georgia Plantinga, who live in Schererville, is promoting her new one-hour reality show premiering at 8 p.m. Saturday on cable's Nat Geo Wild, a subsidiary of National Geographic Channel. If you miss Saturday's broadcast, the debut episode will be shown again at 11 a.m. Sunday and Tuesday (April 15) at 9 p.m. and midnight.

The 1987 graduate of Munster High School is the star of "Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet." (Previously, her show was to be called "The Amazing Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet," but down-to-earth Michelle thought the title too pretentious and got network execs to shorten it.) The show follows Michelle as she raises her family and makes rounds in the Yukon Territory, treating animals. She has lived in Haines Junction, Yukon since 1992 with her husband Shane Oakley and their three daughters.

While in New York this week, she was on NBC's "Today" show Thursday for a live segment with Al Roker and her very lively bear cub friend joined by a "quick to bite" river otter. This morning, she has her menagerie joining her on "Fox & Friends" with Elisabeth Hasselbeck and then spends the afternoon taping an online podcast of "HuffPost Live."

Makes no cents

I'm sorry to report Mickey Rooney, who died Sunday at age 93, was not only separated and estranged from his last wife (No. 8) Jan Chamberlain, but also left behind an estate valued at only $18,000 after 90 years of hard work in a tough business. According to attorney Michael Augustine, who he named conservator for his will, Rooney disinherited his children, his wife and all but one of her children in the will he signed just weeks before his death. His wife will still benefit from Rooney's Social Security and other pensions totaling $8,400 a month, Augustine said.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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