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re: Rainbow Harvest

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Every so often, I attempt to scour the internet in search of things I had in my youth. Sometimes it will be an action figure or game, but normally it will be an album or something I’d read. A few months back, I went in search of the October 1987 issue of Dynamite Magazine, issue 142, with Alyssa Milano on the cover. I know it existed as I owned it back then, but have checked periodically over the years and never found another copy. At this point, it has assumed white whale status with me. Sadly, it hasn’t seemed to have survived, whether in physical form or some sort of scans. But every few months, I’ll give it another shot.

During one of these fruitless quests, a link went to a link that went to a link and I found myself on YouTube, because somehow the search parameters decided I wanted to watch Old Enough, a 1984 movie that also happens to be Alyssa Milano’s first movie role. Not exactly what I was looking for, but I had some free time and watched the movie. I really liked the girl who played Karen, and upon viewing the credits, saw that this was a person named Rainbow Harvest (RH). Cool name, and so I checked her IMDb page to see if I had caught her in anything else over the years. I hadn’t, and upon seeing that the list of credits stops in 1991, I became curious: who is this person? Why did she stop performing? Had she passed away?

A brief google search brought up this article about Rainbow Harvest on grownasslady.com, and while the author there is also curious as to what happened, she also tipped me off to Mirror, Mirror. So I watched that as well, thought it was a decent horror movie of its era, and that she was good as the main character. This sent me down a new path with a goal in mind: see everything that RH acted in. If we assume the IMDb list is complete, it is a total of eleven credits, with one being a television series that has multiple appearances. Easy enough, right? We can knock this out in a day or two, right? Well, not entirely. I’ve managed ten of the eleven at this point, so I figured I’d comment on them in chronological order (except for one, read on). For some of these, I took screengrabs, for others I didn’t. Sometimes the quality made the idea questionable; see: the ones pulled from FM episodes.

~ Old Enough: RH plays Karen here, a girl from a religious family who likes to do things like skip class and shoplift makeup. If you ever met and hung around with a kid you liked despite having little in common, this one will remind you of that. It’s a nice slice of life film.

~ Miami Vice, (episode: Milk Run): she appears on the popular show for one episode and plays Angela, who Crockett pumps for information about some drug smugglers. Later on, they get to her boyfriend Zeke, who is involved in the operation and is clearly not good enough for her. Most screen grabs from this one are from a daytime encounter, so I grabbed this one that happens later on. Look at Zeke, that inattentive dope. She only gets a handful of lines here, but I assume the role didn’t call for much more than that?

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~ Streets of Gold: a film about a Soviet boxer who was exiled from the national team for being Jewish, training two young boxers to compete on the US team against his old coach and team. A young Wesley Snipes also appears and shows the star power that would later land him larger roles. As for RH, she is Brenda, the girlfriend of Timmy (the not-Wesley Snipes boxer also being trained); her role is, sadly, quite small but she’s got some a couple of cool suit jackets and a bit of sass in her expressions. Again, not much to work with as far as the role goes.

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~ 21 Jump Street (episode: Cory and Dean Got Married): in this one, the role is Cory, a young lady who has eloped with her boyfriend Dean. Only trouble is, Cory’s dad is dead and Dean is the main suspect. Cory is apprehended and is being escorted back home by Penhall and Hoffs, but Dean is in pursuit the entire time. The newlyweds are briefly reunited (Penhall lets them have a night to get busy in a cabin rather than arrest Dean, what a romantic!), and at some point we learn that Cory actually murdered her father, but is going to get a self-defense case or something. It’s about as happy an ending as you could make given the circumstances, but the bright spot here is that the role actually gave RH some screen time for once, and she wasn’t just a side character with a line or two. An interesting side note: Dean was played by Kevin Wixted, who had a recurring role on the show Growing Pains as Carol’s boyfriend Bobby. In real life, RH and Wixted would go on to marry, so if this is where they met, that means they went from an episode about marriage to actually getting married. That’s kinda sweet.

~ Father Dowling Mysteries (episode: The Solid Gold Headache Mystery): this episode is about an attempt at ransom in order to get at an inheritance left to a church lady. I will admit to scrubbing through most of this one because I go to David the Gnome when I want my Tom Bosley fix, and found the episodes of this show extremely long when my grandparents would watch it. But I think I caught all of the RH this episode had to offer, which was not much. She played Trudy, girlfriend of the bad kidnapper guy. At one point she attempts to free the hostage lady but gets caught. This is the fifth role and she’s been “kind girlfriend of dumb lunkhead bad guy” three times. Four if you count the boxer, though he wasn’t an antagonist. I’m not sure why this happened, because she’s definitely proven capable of far more than three lines and standing there, by this point.

~ FM (tv series): this show’s story is somewhat puzzling: it was originally given a five-week run in 1989, then returned for eight more episodes in 1990 before not being renewed by NBC. The cast was quite good, though the writing was fairly silly sitcom fare, so perhaps that was its downfall? Perhaps it competed in a time slot against some super popular show. At any rate, RH showed up during the 1990 episodes and she plays Daryl Tarses, a tough computer tech that seems oblivious to her own sexuality and charm. IMDb lists her as appearing in all eight episodes, but I could only find six of the the eight; of those, she’s in three. So is she in those other two episodes? I suppose only the cast and crew know for sure, until episodes 10 and 13 turn up someplace. The episodes I did find were on YouTube in fairly low quality, but I grabbed a couple of screens anyway:

~ Mirror, Mirror: perhaps the best known RH role, she plays Megan, a high school girl who moves to a new town and is far too super awesome goth for her classmates, who then all shun her aside from one girl. A mirror in Megan’s bedroom has some sort of powers, soon all of the people in her life begin to befall various tragedies, and it’s all wonderful late 80s/early 90s horror fun. The article on grownasslady has some good screenshots showing her cool style in this one. Apparently there is a part 2, and it might be a good movie, but no RH no sale.

~ Earth Angel: a large role in a TV movie, RH is Cindy, a high school girl who is being given life advice by the ghost of a girl named Angela, who died years earlier in the car Cindy comes to own after it is restored. This one starts out with a flashback, but it’s an insane flashback because it’s Luke Skywalker, Ponch, and Shirley Feeney all playing high school students despite all being ~40 at the time of filming. It later makes sense when they cut to present day and they all have prominent roles in the story, but seeing Ponch with a letterman’s jacket and grey temples is just odd. In present day, Angela has to help bring Luke Skywalker and Shirley Feeney together in order to be granted passage into heaven. Or was it that she has to help Cindy be with the right boy? In the end, both happen and she does go to heaven, but it takes awhile getting there. Angela helps Cindy get stylish, get with a hunky bro guy, then Cindy changes her mind and winds up with Ioki from 21 Jump Street and it’s all very cute. For a TV movie, it felt like there were some big names in here, but RH’s performance was good and she wasn’t overshadowed by anyone.

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~ Fever (tv movie): this is about a tough guy who gets out of jail and he goes to see his old girlfriend. She has hooked up with a lawyer or psychologist or something, so there’s this all this weird dialogue between the two guys about who she’s going to be with and they tease fighting over her. Then she is kidnapped by some other criminals, who make the tough guy go commit crimes like burning buildings and stealing trucks full of guns, but the lawyer guy comes with him because that’s his woman they kidnapped, by gum! It’s quite silly and self-serious and ends with the tough guy driving himself to the hospital after being shot and surrendering ownership of the woman to the straight man, because it’s like 1991 and you could somehow still get funding for something like this. I’ve had more fun sitting at the urgent care with people’s horrid children coughing all over me. Oh, and Rainbow Harvest? She plays Michelle, a recovering drug addict, and is in it for maybe 90 seconds? Two lines, if I remember correctly. I had to admit, this one annoyed me. Even if she’d had a more prominent role, the entire weirdo love triangle thing was tedious. Why not just cut her out and make out with each other, fellas?

~~ It was at this point that the trail had gone cold, with only two entries remaining on the IMDb list. I set out to a-huntin’, and this is what I found:

~ Pink Lightning (tv movie): from what I can find, this is a story about young women and their friendships as they start to marry and grow apart? Somehow there’s a car involved as well, perhaps it is the titular Pink Lightning? I’m not too sure. I found a couple of posts on a forum specifically dedicated to identifying cars used in television and movies, and a few critic reviews from around the time this initially aired, but it doesn’t appear to be available anywhere. No release on DVD, no VHS rips to YT or Dailymotion, nothing. The only thing I can currently find is a used rental-only Japanese VHS copy for sale on Rakuten, and while I still own a VCR and presume Japanese tapes will play fine since they’re NTSC standard, I haven’t jumped on it yet. I might soon, as it has become the final unwatched piece, and it is also the final/newest role listed on the RH IMDb. But here’s what the cover looks like:

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~ And Another Honkytonk Girl Says She Will: if I had to guess, this is the most obscure entry of the eleven. It’s an American Film Institute-produced piece, and I want to say it’s a student project? The specifics aren’t entirely clear. But I tried looking this one up for a good long while, and again, no uploaded versions exist. So, I put some money into this little journey and just bought a copy from The Cinema Guild for like $75 after shipping, because I had to know. I’m not sure about this business, but apparently you order things that did not receive a regular release and they basically sell you a burned disc? I’m not complaining, mind you, but this is what I received in the mail:

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(note: the actual disc label had “honkytonk” misspelled, tee hee)

This is a roughly 30-minute story about Adelaide, a farmer’s daughter who wants to go to Nashville and become a singer. The father is stern and stoic, and Adelaide becomes a mother after a literal roll in the hay with a farmhand out in the barn. She isn’t cut out for motherhood, so she leaves the baby with her father and sets out to hitchhiking, and eventually finds an uncle that she thought was an agent for singers. He gets her set up with a gig singing at a bar, so she is at least getting some experience and closer to her dream, but it looks like she’s sleeping with the uncle? Or perhaps he’s an “uncle” but not by blood; it isn’t fully clear. At any rate, RH is good here yet again, and despite the short run time, it was nice to see her get a main lead. Screens:

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So that’s where I stop: I’m missing one movie in Pink Lightning, and potentially missing two episodes of FM. I’d like to eventually see those, and I may bite the bullet on that Japanese VHS just to get that much closer to complete. But really, now I just find myself curious of the entire situation: it looked like 1990 and 1991 were fairly busy years for RH, so why did she just up and vanish? There are no interviews, no “where are they now” kind of pieces, nothing. The same is true for her husband, who is last listed as acting in 1996. Did they meet each other and just decide to settle down, or were they both tired of the hectic lifestyle that acting must surely be? Maybe it really isn’t anyone else’s business, which is fair. But hopefully the story can be told one day.

And as for me, my story of looking for a magazine and falling down a movies-long rabbit hole of some entirely different person’s work? Both are incomplete. But I’ll keep looking every so often and maybe I’ll find the missing pieces one of these times.

Categories: Misc.
  1. June 26, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    Great little blog on Rainbow Harvest, watching Mirror Mirror right now. Wish we could find out what she’s upto =)

  2. August 16, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Wow, amazing job. I totally remember this actress from “Young enough” and always thought she looked like Winona Ryder and was curious about whatever had become of her. Uncannily enough that article on grownasslady does not seem to exist anymore… I’ve tried and tried searching for some cache content but alas, it all seems to be gone.

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