Sometimes "I wonder whatever happened to ..." thoughts roll around in my head for days, popping up in my cognition at the most inappropriate times: while participating in professional meetings, when in the shower, while pretending I'm listening to my wife, during sex...
The point is, the thoughts stick there until I can purge them.
The damn obsession manifested itself most recently after having lunch with my friend Hoyt a couple weeks ago. As we were exiting the restaurant, Hoyt made a casual mention of Willie Aames. My head tilted, my neck stiffened and I let out a barely audible--and very nasally--"hmmm?!?"
For me, "whatever happened to?" is like a drug. And I'm always chasin' the dragon.
Tommy Bradford was, to me at least, the coolest Bradford on the TV show Eight Is Enough. I couldn't identify with any of the girls, as each was either too pretty or too smart for me to invest the emotional effort. Brothers Nicholas and David were too young and too old, respectively, for me to think of as peers. But Tommy Bradford seemed my age, and was easy to identify with. At a time when TV characters were really just caricatures of real life--think The Fonz, for example--Tommy's character seemed more like real life.
More like my life.
Aames went on to star in some teen flicks, most notably Zapped, with Scott Baio. Aames also co-starred in Baio's 80's sitcom Charles In Charge. After he disbanded his rock band Willie Aames & Paradise, Aames divorced his first wife, found religion and married his second wife. He spent several years producing the Christian-themed TV superhero show Bibleman, from which he retired in 2005. Since then, he's survived Celebrity Fit Club, and has taken up hunting--yep, I said hunting--as a hobby.