Q. During "NCIS" last season, Jamie Lee Curtis was almost a regular. What happened to her and her character? She has not appeared this season, and there has been no mention of her, either.
-- Jane, of Germantown
A. Fortunately for Special Agent Gibbs, Dr. Samantha Ryan is not playing hard to get. For her own safety, she's now simply trying not to be found.
As you know, Jamie Lee Curtis entered the "NCIS" universe last year as the head of the Department of Defense's Psychological Operations Division. In what was supposed to be a brief two-episode stint, the lovely Dr. Ryan was called on to investigate the alleged suicide of Navy reservist and psychiatrist Dr. Robert Banks.
But Curtis' appearance set ratings ablaze, so they wrote her into three more episodes and let the romantic sparks fly between her and the once-widowed and apparently thrice-divorced Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), who heads the NCIS' Major Case Response Team.
Curtis, who co-starred with Harmon in the 2003 flick "Freaky Friday," said she loved the role and added that she wouldn't mind being a series regular.
"If they can figure out the storytelling, which I'm sure (executive producer) Gary Glasberg can, I would obviously love to," she told "CBS This Morning" last year. "I've very much enjoyed establishing (Ryan's) life and her role on the show."
Especially trying to warm Gibbs' heart again.
"He's a fascinating character," she said. "He's a tough nut to crack. He's like a war photographer -- he's very much in his own world, trying to solve the world's problems. For this woman to be able to get in there a little bit has been really challenging and fun."
But no arrangements were made to write Ryan into season 10, so her and Gibbs' budding romance came to a tragic end -- at least, temporarily -- during that explosive final episode of season nine last spring.
At the time, Ryan was probing the mind of Harper Dearing, a wealthy venture capitalist-turned-terrorist who blamed the NCIS for the death of his son aboard a ship that proved to have a faulty hull.
Like most terrorists, Dearing didn't appreciate the attention, so he began playing dirty. First, he contacted Ryan and implied that he knew her son was living nearby and that he would abduct him if she didn't back off his case.
As an additional threat, Dearing managed to have a judge release her ex-husband, a well-known felon, on a technicality. Fearing for their safety, Ryan grabbed her son and ran and has not been seen since.
Currently, there are no immediate plans to bring Ryan back. Given everything that happened during those pivotal episodes involving Dearing, Gibbs is just happy she's still alive, Glasberg told TV Guide.
"I really didn't want to treat this relationship as if she was dead," he said. "The show has a history of doing that and that's not the case here. I'd like to believe that we approached it realistically, and that (she left because) there are priorities she has in her life."
And if things change? Well, never say never.
"We'll have to see where it takes us and how it unfolds," Glasberg said. "If they were able to reconnect down the road, I'd love to have Jamie Lee come back."
For now, though, you'll have to be satisfied following the show's ins and outs at the NCIS Database at ncis.wikia.com and www.cbs.com.
Q. I am looking for the "Dances With Wolves" soundtrack. It must be the vinyl LP. This has been on my nephew's wish list for a least a year and no one seems to be able to fulfill this wish. I am hoping you can pull the rabbit out of the hat.
-- C. Drake
A. Well, hop on over www.musicstack.com and search for "John Barry." It will cost you dearly, but you become a really great uncle by ordering a DWW LP from either of two sellers in Great Britain, one for $32.69, the other for $61.32 -- and that's not including another $7 or so for postage.
Here's your problem: According to www.soundtrackcollectors.com, it was already released only as a CD in the United States in 1990. Epic pressed it on vinyl in the Netherlands only so what copies still exist probably are mostly across the pond. Moreover, subsequent CD releases in 1995 and 2004 added increasingly more tracks.
Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell hit a home run during the 1965 All-Star Game in Bloomington, Minn. In what unusual place did it land?
Answer to Saturday's trivia: If you thought maybe Ford or Cadillac made the first air-conditioned car, you'd be on the wrong road. According to historians, the first really "cool" car was introduced in November 1939 at the 40th Automobile Show in Chicago when Packard offered air conditioning as an option on its 1939 product. The refrigeration compressor ran off the engine, and the system had no thermostat. The coils were located behind the rear seat and reportedly took up the entire trunk. Cool air was discharged from the back of the car. The price would have cooled your wallet, too: $274, which, according to one inflation calculator, would be more than $4,400 today.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or email@example.com