Note: This site is no longer being maintained, unfortunately. Most of the pages haven't been modified for years. See the homepage for the only part of this site that is being kept up to date.

Melissa Joan Hart

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By Donald Lancon, Jr.

29 Nov 97

Note: This used to be part of ``The Clarissa FAQ''. I just recently made it a separate FAQ, but didn't add much new information. Don't be fooled by the date above... this FAQ has been in desperate need of some major updating since around Apr 96!

MJH FAQ contents

1. What should I know before we get started?

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Purpose and scope of FAQ

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This is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions file) for the actress Melissa Joan Hart (MJH). It is intended to serve as a general repository of information about her, as well as a pointer to other sources of info.

Some things about Melissa are specifically not covered (in-depth) by this FAQ, because there are other FAQs devoted to them:
The Clarissa Explains It All FAQ -- information about the Nickelodeon series in which Melissa played the title character (1991-1994)
The Sabrina, the Teenage Witch FAQ -- information about the ABC series in which Melissa currently plays the title character (1996-)
The Clarissa Mailing List FAQ -- information about the mailing list that is devoted to discussion of Melissa and related topics

Latest version of FAQ

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The latest version of this FAQ is the hypertext version at:

A plain-text version of the old ``Clarissa FAQ'' may be found at:

Note: If you're not using a web-browser, the above URL is interpreted in the following way:

  1. use an FTP program of some sort and connect to
  2. if necessary, enter the word ``anonymous'' for your name (or login-ID)
  3. enter your complete e-mail address as your password
  4. change to the directory pub/clarissa/guides
  5. get the file clarifaq.txt.gz

(The .gz extension means that this is a GZIPped file. See the README file in the same directory for info about decoding GZIPped files.)

For more information about anonymous-FTP, see Zen and the Art of the Internet at:

If you are using a web-browser, just use the link provided (which actually uses HTTP to connect to the site -- don't worry if you don't understand what that means).

A note about the Internet Movie Database

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The Internet Movie Database is referred to many times in this FAQ, but the particular URL is almost never listed, because you can easily search the IMDB yourself. The basic URL is:

This page lets you choose to use either the U.S. or the U.K. site. I think when you use the links to the IMDB provided in this FAQ, the site closest to you will automatically be determined. Could be wrong, though...

Completeness and accuracy of FAQ

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The main source of information I used in compiling this FAQ was archived ``clarissa'' list mail (or current list mail for the more recent info). When I say something like ``Adam Lieberman said on 8 Mar 93...'' or ``(Adam Lieberman, 8 Mar 93)'' I am referring to a message that Adam sent to the ``clarissa'' list on that date.

I've only gone through list mail from Feb 92 - Sep 93 in any kind of systematic way. Also, I've been a list member since Jan 95, but I've been pretty lazy about updating the FAQ since around Apr 96. So stuff that happened before 1992, in 1994 and early 1995, or since around Apr 1996, won't get as good coverage as I'd like. (This is especially noticeable in the question about Melissa-related articles and interviews.) Future revisions will gradually fill in the gaps.

To find out more about the mailing list, including how to subscribe and where to find old list mail, see:

I have tried to make this FAQ as correct as possible, but there are bound to be a few mistakes. I've already found and corrected a few big ones. (Uh... Melissa only has one brother, thank you very much!)

Please let me know if you find a mistake. (My e-mail address should be at the top and bottom of this document.)

New in this version

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When I split up The Clarissa FAQ into this FAQ and the three others mentioned above, I rewrote and reorganized some of question 1 and added question 4.

Other recent modifications:

16 Oct 96
Added stuff to question 6
5 Nov 96
Changed the links to Eric Last's web-site. Old name: New name:
6 Nov 96
Corrected some stupid HTML errors and added a few more Descriptions of resume entries in question 3. I also corrected the info about the Connecticut Natural Gas commercial being her first TV appearance. I now believe that this was a mistake and that the Splashy bathtub doll commercial was in fact her first job. (Before I thought that Melissa had contradicted herself in interviews, but it turns out that she wasn't the one who said the CNG commercial was her first TV appearance.)
9 Nov 96
Corrected a few more HTML errors. Slight modification of an address in question 6 (changed ``Bldg. 506E'' to ``Bldg. 506, Suite E''). Added a link to Eric Last's Clarissa/Melissa articles and appearances page in the Descriptions of bibliography entries section in question 5.
28 Nov 96
Altered info in question 6; changed the stuff about the plain-text version of the FAQ in this question.
29 Nov 96
Fixed some problems in A Melissa Joan Hart resume and the corresponding descriptions. Rewrote and updated parts of question 2.
23 Dec 96
Added an address to question 9.
3 Apr 97
Updated the URLs for pictures at
22 Apr 97
Changed URL for Pediatric AIDS Foundation web-site in question 9. Updated A Melissa Joan Hart resume, removed resume descriptions that are now found on (or made obsolete by) various MJHTV pages, and changed links to the removed descriptions to point to said MJHTV pages. Rewrote parts of question 6. Fixed various HTML errors.
17 Aug 97
Added new address for Melissa in question 6.
18 Aug 97
Changed an URL.
22 Aug 97
Changed a few URLs.
6 Sep 97
Added ``care of'' line to last address in question 6.
29 Nov 97
Modified some snail-mail and e-mail info in question 6.

2. Who is Melissa Joan Hart? (biographical info)

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Melissa was born on 18 Apr 76, in either Sayville or Smithtown, Long Island, New York. (The book Young Stars by Randi Reisfeld says Sayville; a recent article in the the Long Island newspaper Newsday says Smithtown.) She grew up in Sayville.

Her acting career started at the age of four, when she did a commercial for a bathtub toy named ``Splashy''. She had appeared in 20 other commercials before she turned five.

Her mother, Paula Hart, has been her agent from the beginning. Melissa has five sisters, Trisha, Elizabeth, Emily, Alexandra and Samantha, and one brother named Brian. All of her siblings -- except the youngest, Samantha, who was just born in Nov 96 -- have been ``in the business'' at some point. Some have left showbiz to pursue other interests; Emily and Elizabeth have recently appeared on the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch series.

Melissa appeared in several TV movies in the mid-80's, including the 1985 ABC weekend special The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn, the 1985 NBC miniseries Kane and Abel, and the 1986 NBC movie of the week Christmas Snow.

At around the same time, she appeared in episodes of the NBC soap opera Another World and the CBS series The Equalizer.

In the late-80's, Melissa joined New York's Circle Repertory Lab Company as its youngest member. With the Rep (which performed off-Broadway stage productions), Melissa did two plays: Beside Herself, with Lois Smith and William Hurt, in 1989, and Imagining Brad (on-stage solo, in an introductory ``playlet'') in 1990. She also appeared in the National Actors Theatre production of The Crucible on Broadway with Martin Sheen.

In late 1990, she landed the title role in Nickelodeon's series, Clarissa Explains It All. She got the part by auditioning for it, along with hundreds of other girls. She worked on CEIA from Nov 90, when the pilot was shot, to Dec 93.

During this time, she appeared in countless Nickelodeon shows, specials, commercials and promos. The most notable of these being a guest-starring role in Are You Afraid of the Dark?, in Aug 93 (this is when it was first aired, not when it was shot).

Melissa attended Sayville Junior High School, and then stopped her public schooling at the age of 15 to concentrate on Clarissa Explains It All. (She also gave up ballet, which she was studying at the time.) Her education while working on CEIA consisted of private tutoring, three or four times a week. The CEIA taping schedule often left her only late nights or early mornings to attend tutoring sessions.

Melissa graduated from high school shortly before CEIA ceased production and started college classes at New York University in Fall 94. She has skipped some semesters, however, to work on various acting projects. Now that she's in Los Angeles, taping episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, she may be attending the University of Southern California.

Melissa cites Shirley Temple and Audrey Hepburn as early acting inspirations. She still collects Shirley Temple memorabilia.

The info above comes from many different articles, interviews, and posts to the ``clarissa'' mailing list.

See also my ``Some info about Melissa Joan Hart'' page:

3. What has Melissa done professionally?

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The list below includes most things I know of that Melissa has done as an actress or ``as herself''. (This listing is far from exhaustive, however.) For Melissa-related articles and interviews, see the question 5.

Many of the entries below are linked to my ``MJHTV'' pages (a.k.a., ``Melissa's TV appearances'' pages) at my web-site:

Some are linked to the brief descriptions which follow the list. (These are things for which I haven't yet created MJHTV pages.)

Note: You can see Melissa's official resume from Hartbreak Films on my homepage at:

It isn't nearly as extensive as this one strives to be, however. :-)

A Melissa Joan Hart resume

Descriptions of resume entries


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Splashy bathtub doll commercial

In a ``Celebrity Online'' segment on the Nickelodeon show U to U, Melissa gave this response to the question, ``What was your first acting job?'' (Jim Davis, 11 Feb 95):

When I was four I did a bathtub doll called ``Splashy'', and I had to be in the bathtub and I was really embarrassed. It was cool though.

This was shown during Melissa's 16 Apr 97 appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. More info to come.

Connecticut Natural Gas commercial

This was apparently one of Melissa's first commercials. You can see a picture from it at Bevis King's Clarissa Explains It All homepage in the Live and Kicking interview with Melissa:

By the way, in earlier versions of this FAQ, there was a resume entry called ``Energy-conservation spot''. I said:

In his description of the Nick News W5 feature on Melissa, Jim Davis mentioned shots of Melissa from ``some sort of energy-conservation spot (very young)''.

Turns out that this was the Connecticut Natural Gas spot.

20 other commercials before the age of five

An article called ``Meet Melissa!'' (possibly from the British magazine BIG), available on Eric Last's homepage at


Melissa was an early starter in showbusiness -- she'd starred in 22 commercials by the age of five!

Rice Krispies commercial

A 10 Jun 91 People magazine article called ``Voice of Experience'' (page 101) mentions that Melissa had ``also been seen in Rice Krispies commercials...''

many, many more commercials...

A ``cover story'' article in Section 12 of the New York Times (New York City edition) on 6 Oct 96 said (Adam Lieberman, 6 Oct 96):

Miss Hart, a Long Island native, got her start in show business at the age of 4 when she made the first of more than 150 commercials.

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Nickelodeon Studios Chief-For-A-Day contest

(17 May 92) Info to come.

``Famous People! True Stories!''

(13 Jul 92) Info to come.

Slime Time contest

(16 Jul 92) Info to come.

short unidentified promo (super-close-up)

(24 Jul 92) Info to come.

Promo for pre-Snick daily Clarissa showings (wind machine thing)

Philip Chang said on 7 Aug 92:

I caught a Clarissa promo for next weeks Clarissa marathon. Basically it is MJH on the orange couch with a wind machine blowing.

It starts with Clarissa saying something like, ``Clarissa here on top of a skyscraper and yes sitting on the big orange couch. Don't ask me to explain. All you need to know is that Clarissa Explains It All will be on Nick every night at 8 for five unforgettable Clarissa experiences and a week long countdown to Snick. Watch all next week at 8, then Snick every Saturday at 8. You're going to love 8. Here on Nickelodeon.''

It ends with the camera zooming up to the night sky with the Snick logo in neon and a rotating orange Nick ball.

When is CEIA on? (time zone thing)

Adam Lieberman said on 1 Nov 92:

Before SNICK, they had ``Clarissa Explains When _Clarissa Explains It All_ Is On,'' in which Clarissa informed us that the Eastern and Pacific times at which she would appear were the same, while it would be an hour earlier Central time, i.e. really at the same time as in the East. In the Mountain time zone, she said, ``it could be either one, so check your local listing.''

Snick line-up promo (counting in Spanish)

(12 Nov 92) Info to come.

These wavy lines...

Adam Lieberman said on 12 Nov 92:

However, ``the sports car CEIA promo'' could refer to [...] the short one, where she says, ``I'm Clarissa, this is my car, and these wavy lines mean that I'm dreaming...'' and an announcer (I can't remember whether it was Sean O'Neil) says ``Clarissa dreams and schemes, and explains it all, every weekend on Nickelodeon.''

Favorite color... hot Italian sports car

Adam Lieberman said on 12 Nov 92:

However, ``the sports car CEIA promo'' could refer to either of two things: the long one where ``Clarissa explains her favorite color,'' etc., (she insists that it's chrome, although that seems to have changed by episode 2.5), or [...]

(See above entry for the rest of the quote.)

Much later, on 22 Feb 94, he said:

Today, in the middle of Doug (which began 3:30/2:30 Central) and Rocky & Bullwinkle (beginning 7:30/6:30 Central), they ran the old ad for CEIA in which Clarissa Explains her favorite food & color and how to communicate with friends, all in relation to a ``hot Italian sportscar.'' They kept the old statement that CEIA is shown ``every Sunday at 6:30/5:30 Central.'' I trust that that is strictly anachronistic-- i.e., that they're not really going to show it in that timeslot now.

Valentine's Day promos for ``Crush'' (#114)

Philip Chang said on 12 Nov 92:

A couple of Valentines Day promos for ``Clarissa in Love''. The best one is with MJH on a gigantic calendar, wearing geeky, plastic glasses and reading definitions out of a dictionary on love, sweetheart, etc. Then concluding with Oh no. I'm in love. Followed with her fainting and a loud thud as she hits the ground.

Clarissa Darling Basketball Association (also shown on NBC)

Philip Chang said on 12 Nov 92:

Clarissa Darling Basketball Assocation where she explains basketball and her suggestions for improving the game during the NBA stay in school jam that was shown on NBC and Nick.

Optimal enjoyment of CEIA (computer animation)

Philip Chang said on 12 Nov 92:

CEIA promo with computer animation about optimal enjoyment for watching CEIA. Avoid parental units weekend homework queries. Get rid of annoying brother. Make microwave pop corn. Clear pathway for best bud.

Ren & Stimpy voice-over

Philip Chang said on 12 Nov 92:

Various voiceovers for

Ren & Stimpy. She can't explain it.

Doug voice-over

Philip Chang said on 12 Nov 92:

Various voiceovers for [...]

Doug. She wouldn't want to be Doug's sister because of the name Clarissa Funnie.

Later that same day, Adam Lieberman said:

She says ``Let's face it: 'Darling' is a klunker of a last name. But...''

Dennis the Menace voice-over

Philip Chang said on 12 Nov 92:

Various voiceovers for [...]

Dennis the Menance. She sometimes feels like Mr Wilson. He has Dennis troubling his life. She's got Ferguson. At least Dennis doesn't try to get into trouble like Fergus.

Fifteen voice-over

Philip Chang said on 12 Nov 92:

Various voiceovers for [...]

Fifteen. She gives a series of teen problems. Next on Fifteen.

Later that day, Adam Lieberman followed up on this, saying:

And she uses the exclamation ``Oh, brother!,'' which must have special meaning for her...

``Ferguson Explains Everything'' promo

(25 Nov 92) Info to come.

Various other ``This Week On'' promos

(12 Nov 92, etc...) Info to come.

``General ad'' for CEIA

(25 Nov 92 / 20 Feb 94?) Info to come.

Snick promo (wig, beatnik beret and sunglasses)

(18 Dec 92) Info to come.

Hey Dude voice-over

(5 Feb 93) Info to come.

``Plan It for the Planet'' promo

(28 Feb 93) Info to come.

Nick Takes Over Your School (Spr 93)

(28 Apr 93 / 7 May 93 -- aired 1 May 93) Info to come.

``Nick is Kids'' promo

(20 Feb 94 / 19 Feb 96) Info to come.

--- STAGE WORK ---

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Circle Repertory Lab Company

An article in USA Today on 13 Aug 93 (page 3D) identified Melissa as the youngest member of New York's Circle Repertory Lab Company.

According to a certain AOL member in a private e-mail (I haven't been able to contact him to ask if I can identify him, but this is too good to leave out of the FAQ!):

Circle Rep was founded by director Marshall W. Mason and playwright Lanford Wilson along with Rob Theirkield and Tanya Berezin) in the mid-sixties and produced all of Lanford's plays as well as nurturing many new and exciting playwrights. Circle's early work was categorized as poetic naturalism. Circle's acting company included many who have gone on to become stars. When Berezin took over as Artistic Director in the 80's the emphasis changed from creating new works to bidding for the hot plays of the moment. The idea of ``Company'' pretty much disappeared. For the past few years, the Circle Rep Lab has done far more interesting work than has been produced on the main stage. Circle is at a real crossroads now trying to survive a period of artistic decline as well as an enormous debt it occurred in the 80s. All the founders have now left. Circle without Lanford's name is hard to imagine. Austin Pendelton is the new Artstic Director and trying hard to salvage what was once one of our great theatre companies.

``Beside Herself''

In an article in the San Jose Mercury News (9 Jul 91, page 4F), Catherine Hinman said (Philip Chang, 8 Jun 93):

Last season, she made her off-Broadway debut in ``Beside Herself'' as the flashback young love of actor William Hurt.

I don't think that description is quite correct, but you can judge for yourself after you read the review of this play at

on Eric Last's homepage.

``Imagining Brad''

Melissa appeared in Feb 90, at the age of 13, in a Circle Reperatory production of ``Imagining Brad''. A review of this play from the New Yorker magazine is available on Eric Last's homepage at

[Thanks to Jason Jones for telling me about this play and the New Yorker review of it!]

``The Crucible''

The USA Today article referred to in the Circle Repertory Lab Company entry above stated that Melissa had ``played Broadway in The Crucible.''


next question

Crocodile Dundee

From Adam Lieberman's transcript (see list, 8 Sep 94) of Melissa's appearance on the WNYC radio program New York Kids on 24 Apr 94:

Florence: O.K., so, you've acted on TV, you said you've acted on stage. Have you done any film?
Melissa: Not yet; I did Crocodile Dundee, but I was cut out, so...
Florence: Ohh... Which, the first one?
Melissa: Yup. Yeah, so, uh, the movie was, I guess long, or something, so... They cut it out, and, uh, I don't know, hopefully that's in my future.

You can see the full transcript of this interview at

on Eric Last's homepage.

``Soap Box'' TV display at Nick Studios

Philip Chang said on 9 Jun 93:

I was reading an article about interactive television today by Charles Haddad from the Cox Newspapers. One of the things it talks about is the Soap Box, in which a video image of Clarissa asks you for your opinion on a topic. This thing must be very new, as I've never heard of it before. Has anyone seen this thing? I've enclosed the Clarissa related excerpt.

At Universal Studios in Orlando, home to Nickelodeon's creative shop, the network has a working interactive TV display in a kiosk that hundreds of children from around the world play with every day.

Called the Soap Box, the kiosk program works like this: A child enters, and turns it on by touching a button on a TV screen. A video image of Clarissa, a Nickelodeon character, comes to life and asks the child to give his or her view on a topic such as the environment. Children are taped as they talk. Viewers can play back and see themselves or other children talking.

internship at Nickelodeon

(24 Feb 94) Info to come.

advice column in Teen Beat

Info to come.

work with charities and organizations

Please see 9. What charities/organizations is she involved with?

4. How can I get a videotape copy of...?

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I would suggest that you ask on the ``clarissa'' mailing list. Someone may be willing to send you a copy. For info about subscribing to the list, see:

Some things are available for purchase from ``official'' sources. See:

5. What Melissa-related articles/interviews/etc. are out there?

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This section is very much under construction. Please excuse the mess until I have time to clean this section up. It's also not as complete as it could be (just like everything else in this FAQ), since I still haven't gone through the list mail from Sep 93 to the present in any systematic way.

A Melissa Joan Hart bibliography

Articles specifically about Melissa and/or CEIA:

What                                         When       Where
-------------------------------------------  ---------  -----------------------
review of play "Beside Herself"               6 Nov 89  New Yorker, p. 130
review of play "Imagining Brad"              26 Feb 90  New Yorker, p. 99
"Voice of Experience" article                10 Jun 91  People, p. 101
"Nickelodeon's Got a New Darling for Teen-    9 Jul 91  San Jose Mercury News,
   Age Boys" article                                    p. 4F
blurb about CEIA                                Jul 91  Seventeen, p. 57
"The Melissa Inside Clarissa Explains It     25 Aug 91  New York Times, sect. 2
   All For Us" article                                  p. 21
"Melissa Explains It All" article/interview     May 92  Nintendo Power, p. ?
"Nick News" story on Melissa                 21 Feb 93  Nick News/W5
"This Week for Children" blurb                8 May 93  TV Guide, p. ?
"Soap Box" article                              Jun 93  Cox newspapers(?), p. ?
various items in first issue of Nickelodeon  c. Jul 93  Nickelodeon Magazine,
   magazine                                             p. 16 and elsewhere
question about Melissa in Dick Kleiner's      6 Aug 93  St. Louis newspaper(?),
   column                                               p. ?
"Star Melissa Joan Hart Explains All About   13 Aug 93  USA Today, p. 3D
   Clarissa" article
"Are YOU Jealous?" article/mini-interview       Jan 94  Seventeen, p. 44
   (Melissa & Eric Niess)
"New York Kids" radio program interview      24 Apr 94  WNYC, 7:35-8:00 pm EDT
article/blurb? about "Clarissa Explains         May 94  Teen Beat, p. ?
   Dating" video
"Melissa Joan Hart: Will Clarissa Head to       Jun 94  Teen Beat, p. 12
   CBS? She Tells All!" article/interview
"Clarissa" Problem Page (advice column)         Aug 94  ZAP!, p. ?
"Melissa Explains It All..." article            Sep 94  Satellite TV Europe,
                                                        p. 34
"Melissa Darling!" article/interview         c. Feb 95  Radio Times, p. ?
"Love Questionnaire" interview               18 Apr 95  BIG, p. ?
"Meet Melissa!" article                       early 95  BIG (maybe?), p. ? 
article/interview of Melissa                  3 Jun 95  Young Telegraph, p. ?
question about Melissa                       31 Mar 96  USA Weekend, p. 2
item about TV critics' preseason tour         9 Aug 96  Buffalo News, p. ?
Mini Page blurb about Melissa                14 Aug 96  Rocky Mountain News

Other articles about CEIA and/or Nickelodeon:

What                                   When       Where
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------------------------
segment about "teen-oriented            8 May 92  Headline News
blurb about Snick shows (incl. CEIA)   c. Jul 92  Video Choices, p.?
article about debut of Snick           15 Aug 92  San Jose Mercury News, p.?
"Nickelodeon Skews New for Fall"       17 Aug 92  Broadcasting & Cable, p.20
   article about Snick
blurb about kids TV shows              27 Feb 93  TV Guide, p.?
article about on-line Nick audience    29 Mar 93  Wall Street Journal, p.B2
"Second Season for SNICK" [...?]       12 Apr 93  Broadcasting & Cable, p.?
"Rest (and Best) of Kidvision" blurb   c. Jun 93  Parent's Guide to Children's
                                                  Entertainment, p.67
"Trouble Brewing?" blurb               c. Jul 93  Total TV, p.?
"Politics Aren't Adults-Only on Kids   11 Mar 96  Electronic Media


Publication/etc.              What is it?
---------------------------   --------------------------------------------
BIG                           U.K. magazine
Broadcasting & Cable          U.S. magazine
Cox newspapers                U.S. newspapers (unknown)
Electronic Media              U.S. magazine
Headline News                 U.S. cable channel
New York Times                U.S. newspaper
New Yorker                    U.S. magazine
Nick News/W5                  Nickelodeon (U.S. cable channel) series
Nickelodeon Magazine          U.S. magazine
Nintendo Power                U.S. magazine
Parent's Guide to Children's  U.S. publication (special issue of TV Guide)
People                        U.S. magazine
Radio Times                   U.K. magazine
San Jose Mercury News         U.S. newspaper
Satellite TV Europe           U.K. magazine
Seventeen                     U.S. magazine
St. Louis newspaper           U.S. newspaper (unknown)
Teen Beat                     U.S. magazine
Total TV                      U.S. magazine
TV Guide                      U.S. magazine
USA Today                     U.S. newspaper
USA Weekend                   U.S. newspaper supplement
Video Choices                 U.S. magazine
Wall Street Journal           U.S. newspaper
WNYC                          U.S. radio station
Young Telegraph               U.K. magazine (?)
ZAP!                          U.K. magazine

Descriptions of bibliography entries

I'm still in the process of arranging (and adding to) this section. Please excuse the mess in the meantime.

The full text of many of these articles and interviews are found on Eric Last's ``Clarissa/Melissa articles and appearances'' page:
Headline News segment

Jim Lick said on 8 May 92:

Headline News is running a segment today about `teen-oriented' programming. Featured prominently were 90210, and Clarissa Explains It All. Apparently advertizers are very happy with the shows because they have a viewer audience not well served by other programming. Look for it if you get Headline News.
Video Choices blurb

Larry W. Virden said on 25 Jul 92:

SNICK is mentioned in a publication called Video Choices, which is a magazine our cable company distributes to tell about their pay per view schedules, etc. There is a quarter page spot about it, with 4 pictures and a paragraph about each of the 4 shows.
SJMN Snick article (CEIA ratings)

According to Philip Chang (16 Aug 92), there was an article about the debut of Snick in the San Jose Mercury News on Sat, 15 Aug 92.

Philip said:

In part of the article it talks about ratings for CEIA. It says, `The A.C Nielsen ratings research firm reports that nearly one-third of the audience for ``Clarissa Explains It All'' is 18 or older. The show, which is built around a teen-age girl, appeals to more boys, proportionately, than TV's hottest teen show, Fox's ``Beverly Hills 90210.'' '
``The Melissa Inside Clarissa Explains It All for Us''

On 25 Aug 91, the New York Times contained (on page 21 of Section 2) the article, ``The Melissa Inside Clarissa Explains It All for Us'' (Adam Lieberman, 28 Oct 92).

The full text of this article may be found on Eric Last's hompage at

Adam had this to say about the article on 8 Feb 93:

In the interview described, when she was asked about whether she has experiences of embarrassment that match those of Clarissa, she mentions that Elizabeth Hess, who plays her mother, presented her with underwear as a present at her birthday party. Surely, if this occurred *after* they did the ``Career Night Nightmare'' episode, this could not have been an innocent mistake! And if it happened before, I want to know if this inspired the incident shown in the episode. It's fishy either way.

Note that the official title of the episode referred to is ``Cool Dad'' (#112).

Broadcasting magazine article

Someone on the newsgroup posted the following message in Dec 92 (reported to the ``clarissa'' list by Jim Davis, 14 Dec 92):

``Broadcasting'' magazine (anyone have it?; 08/17/92 issue on page 20) says that in Spring 1993 that Clarissa and R&S will be off the schedule and be replaced by ``Tomorrow People'' (mini-series) and ``The Muppet Show.''
People magazine article

During a discussion of where Melissa lived, Philip Chang said (8 Feb 93):

Well, according to the People magazine article from either June or July 1991, she lives in an 11 room house in Sayville, NY.

The full text of this article is available at Eric Last's homepage at
Nick News W5 feature

The show Nick News W5, hosted by Linda Ellerbee, had a story about Melissa Joan Hart on Sun, 21 Feb 93. Adam Lieberman had this to say about it (21 Feb 93; ``[...]'' indicates an edit):

Who: Melissa Joan Katherine Hart
What: Feature Story
Where: Nick News W5
When: Tonight at 8/7 central
Why: Because it's what you want to know.

[Warning: This is not a comprehensive report. It does not mention that Ms. Hart said that she prefers mass transit to driving or that she isn't very much into computers. I leave that for others to say.]

They actually claim that Clarissa is fourteen years old. However, I still believe that this has been conclusively contradicted. [...]

In a previous message I warned:
] [...] Remember, in ``What Mom Doesn't Know''
](my title) after her mom realizes that her computerized test was rigged,
]Clarissa tells her, ``I don't even know half the things I like. All I
]know is that I like to change my mind-- all the time.'' [...]

They actually repeated this scene-fragment on W5, and Melissa confirmed my suspicion. She says her tastes are constantly changing; [...]

As for the name, while Linda Ellerbee introduced her as simply ``Melissa Hart,'' Melissa herself used a longer form.

Two things to note:

  1. We found out later (Richard Fernandes, 26 Oct 94) Melissa's third name is spelled ``Catherine''.
  2. The official title for ``What Mom Doesn't Know'' is ``ME 101'' (#120).

Jim Davis offered this report (21 Feb 93):

Interesting stuff -- though fairly short, about 4 minutes:

[The official title of ``Lovely Advice'' is ``Take My Advice...Please'' (#134).]

Brian Heess pointed out (21 Feb 93):

She looks a little different ``in person'' than on the show.

She is quite different from CD. She has a 6'2" tall boyfriend, ``Mike''. He is like a surfer, or so she says.

Philip Chang said (25 Feb 93):

MJH says the secret thing in the show is that Clarissa has locks on all her shoes. They were first on Melissa but then showed up on Clarissa. I've only seen the little locks on her various pairs of Doc Martens, but none of her other shoes.

Paul <> said (27 Feb 93):

I saw the Nick News thing on Melissa and Clarissa today. Did you know that Melissa has freckles and Clarissa doesn't? They just white them out. It certainly makes her look younger. Melissa looks much older than Clarissa does.

Jim Davis said on 9 May 93:

And to round out the weekend, Nick News W5 ran the `Melissa explains' interview again Sunday night.

You can see a (partially-completed) transcript of this at:
TV Guide, 27 Feb 93

Chris Cates said on 22 Feb 93:

This is taken from the Feb.27-Mar.5 issue of TV Guide that discusses TV shows for children. It put CEIA in the 12-17 age bracket with shows such as Life Goes On, The Wonder Years, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman (??), and Star Trek: TNG. Quite a list. Anyway...
4.  Clarissa Explains It All
    Worldly-wise and whimsical, Clarissa is the Annie Hall of 10- to
    WHY THEY'LL WATCH IT:  "This is where preteen girls set their fashion
        sense." -- David Bianculli, New York Post
    WHAT THEY'LL GET FROM IT:  "She's strong, resourceful, but never
        intimidating.  A great role model."  -- Diana Huss Green, Parents'
Not a bad review at all.
``Nickelodeon's Got a New Darling for Teen-age Boys''

According to Philip Chang (25 Feb 93), the Orlando Sentinel, San Jose Mercury News and Sacramento Bee (among others, probably) ran an article in Jul 91 under the headline ``Nickelodeon's Got a New Darling for Teen-age Boys''.

The full text of this article (from the 9 Jul 91 San Jose Mercury News, page 4F), which was posted to the list by Philip on 8 Jun 93, is available on Eric Last's homepage at:
Seventeen blurb

This is available on Eric Last's homepage at
Wall Street Journal article

According to Jim Davis (31 Mar 93), the Mon, 29 Mar 93 Wall Street Journal (page B2) contained an article about on-line Nickelodeon audience research:

``The children, who aren't paid, can go online and chat informally with each other or with Nickelodeon researchers three afternoons a week. Sometimes, they post jokes on a bulletin board or contribute a sentence to a fantasy story started by one child. When Nickelodeon wants reaction to a new show or the magazine, it sends videos or a prototype to 20 kids and asks them to sign on to a special conference at a set time for one to two hours.''

Incidently the magazine mentioned above is the ``Nickelodeon Magazine'', in beta test.

Broadcasting and Cable magazine blurb

Philip Chang reported on 16 Apr 93:

There's a little blurb in the April 12th issue of ``Broadcasting and Cable'' magazine. It says that Nickelodeon has renewed all four Snick shows for another season, so we'll be blessed with more Clarissa episodes.

The average ratings for the first quarter of 1993 for Snick are 1.6 million households. This is a ratings increase of 154% from what was being shown during the first quarter of 1992.

TV Guide blurb

Jim Davis reported that the 8 May 93 issue of TV Guide had the following blurb about CEIA in the ``This Week for Children'' section (Jim Davis, 6 May 93):

Clarissa Explains it All is an engaging prime-time episode Saturday on Nickelodeon. After years of taking the same old predictable vacation at the same old boring lakefront cabin, Clarissa and family decide a change of venue is in order. So this year they're Grand Canyon bound. That is, if they can get their acts together long enough to finalize their travel plans.
Parent's Guide to Children's Entertainment

Jim Davis said on Thu, 3 Jun 93:

TV Guide has another magazine at a checkout stand near you: ``Parent's Guide to Children's Entertainment''. In the ``Rest (and Best) of Kidvision'' section (p.67) we read

Clarissa Explains It All
Ages 8-up

Melissa Joan Hart stars as a precocious teen who is this generations's female Dobie Gillis: She talks to the camera, has fun, and tries to cope with the insecurities of adolescence. Kid Appeal: Absolute. This is where preteen girls get fashion tips. Learning value: social lessions, but little else. And if Clarissa's parents were any dumber, they'd be pets. B+

(Some other B+ shows: Manic Mansion and MST3k; Nick News got an A. [...] )

``Soap Box'' article

See the ``Soap Box'' entry under 3. What has MJH done professionally?

First issue of Nickelodeon Magazine

Jim Davis said on Mon, 12 Jul 93:

Here's a rundown of CEIA stuff from the first issue of Nickelodeon Magazine:

Scans of the ``car trips'' article are available on-line at:

The filenames are cartrp1.jpg and cartrp2.jpg.

Brief mention in Total TV magazine

Robert Earl said on 13 Jul 93:

Anyway, I have a free trial subscription to ``Total TV'' magazine...

Found in the ``Wired'' blurbs section of the aforementioned rag is a story entitled ``TROUBLE BREWING?'':

``Explain THIS, Clarissa. Recently, New York-area residents viewing SNICK (Nickelodeon's family-targeted Saturday-night programming) were subject to several showings of a colorful, hip beverage ad. Coke, maybe? Gatorade, perhaps? Try Rolling Rock BEER. A call to a Nickelodeon rep elicited the following response: `We never program alcohol ads. However, there are local ad spots available to cable companies. We ask that they be sensitive, but we have no control over them.' ''

The article goes on to describe similar incidents and mentioned that it was probably a ``computer error'' that put the beer ads in children's programming.

Dick Kleiner's column

Joey Richard said on Fri, 6 Aug 93:

There was a question about MJH in my local paper, in a syndicated column by Dick Kleiner.
    Q. Please tell me more about Melissa Joan Hart, who plays 
    Clarissa on Nickelodeon.  -  A.K., Orange, Calif.

    A. Melissa Joan Hart -- her friends call her Half Pint -- 
    is 17, still going to school.  She comes from New York and 
    began acting in commercials when she was 4.
There was a tiny picture of her, which I didn't even notice until I started typing this. She looks much older than Clarissa in the picture.
USA Today article

The 13 Aug 93 USA Today had, on page 3D, an article entitled ``Star Melissa Joan Hart Explains All About Clarissa''. Jim Davis posted the full text of the article to the list on 16 Aug 93. It is available on Eric Last's homepage at:
Buffalo News item about TV critics' preseason tour

Will Hepfer said on 14 Aug 96:

One of the items in last Friday's Buffalo News TV critic's column was based on something that happened at a recent television critics' preseason tour in Los Angeles. Alan Pergament's comment on the tour's ``Cruelest Moment:'' ``A San Diego critic badgered Melissa Joan Hart of ABC's 'Sabrina: The Teenage Witch' about her political knowledge because she is going to be a Nickelodeon correspondent for the Republican Convention. The star of 'Clarissa Explains It All' was pretty clueless, but she didn't deserve the treatment. After all, she's no different from many local TV reporters assigned to cover the convention.''
Mini Page blurb about Melissa

Don Ferry said on 14 Aug 96:

This appeared in the Mini Page today in the ``Rocky Mountain News'' The Mini Page is as they call it ``Especially for kids and their families.'' They are reporting on the Republican Convention in this particular issue. It has a picture of Melissa - not too good!!

Meet Melissa Joan Hart

Melissa Joan Hart got her start in show business at the age of 4. Her first part was in a commercial. Today, at 19, she is busier than ever. She has been in movies, on TV and in plays. She stars in the show ``Clarissa Explains It All'' and has been in other shows, including ``Are You Afraid of the Dark?'' She is also hosting ``Kids Pick the President,'' a series that explains the election process to kids. This election will be her first time to vote. Melissa grew up in New Yprk City, the oldest of five children. Her hobbies include snowboarding, snow skiing, dancing, and collecting things having to do with Shirley Temple.

That info comes from The Mini Page by Betty Debman - Universal Press Syndicate

6. How can I get in touch with Melissa?

previous / next question

Snail-mail addresses

For years, the standard snail-mail address was ``care of'' Nickelodeon:

Melissa Joan Hart
c/o Nickelodeon
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

Since she still does things for Nickelodeon, this address probably still works, but a more recent address you can try is:

Melissa Joan Hart
c/o Viacom Productions
10 Universal City Plaza, 32nd Floor
Universal City, CA 91608

Two others I've seen are specifically linked to her TV series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch:

Melissa Joan Hart
c/o Sabrina the Teenage Witch
100 Universal City Plaza
Bldg. 506, Suite E
Universal City, CA 91608

And one given by Melissa herself in an article in the Nov 96 issue of 16 magazine:

Melissa Joan Hart
c/o Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
2040 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch production has moved to Paramount Studios for the second season. The address there has appeared in several articles/interviews:

Melissa Joan Hart
c/o Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Paramount Studios
5555 Melrose Avenue
Trailer 35
Los Angeles, CA 90038

It is said (by Melissa and others) that letters sent to the Paramount Studios address (or to ABC) are read by her sister Elizabeth, who forwards some of them on to Melissa.

On-line / e-mail

Melissa's personal e-mail address is not public knowledge and I don't know of any official address that fans can use to send her e-mail. There was a folder at ABC's AOL site where fans could post messages, but I'm not sure if it's there anymore. There's a similar thing at ABC's web-site:

Anyway, it seems unlikely (to me) that she actually reads the stuff posted at either site. Could be wrong though...

She occasionally participates in on-line chats set up through AOL or TV network web-sites. See ``Melissa on-line'' at my web-site for more information:

7. What's the deal with her teeth?

previous / next question

Most Melissa fans have always thought that she was missing only one tooth -- the one just to the right (her right) of her two front teeth -- for the first three seasons of CEIA (and before).

But Tom Huston said on 9 Feb 96:

Melissa was born without the two top laterals ( a very common birth defect). Her brother Brian has the same two teeth missing. So she has had her teeth cosmetically taken care of to look better. As a matter of fact, Nickelodeon wouldn't let them fix her teeth any sooner because they thought her missing teeth made her look younger.

I said on 2 Apr 96:

The images I did from the ``Nick News'' story contain the best shots of her teeth yet. When you watch the story on video, it's very obvious that she was indeed missing the teeth to either side of her two front teeth (i.e., on _both_ sides). It's just that the canine tooth on _her_ left side is so close to the left front tooth that it doesn't look like there's a tooth missing on that side!

The images I am referring to may be found at:

See, in particular, nn069.jpg and nn144.jpg.

By the way, you can also check out some images from her 1986 TV movie Christmas Snow for shots of her teeth at age 9 or 10:

See chrs04.jpg, chrs12.jpg, and chrs50.jpg.

She got her teeth ``fixed'' sometime between the tapings of CEIA episodes ``A New Mom'' (#154), in Jun 93, and ``Editor-In-Chief'' (#155), in Sep 93.

However, there is evidence that the changes appeared gradually, and not all at once. For example, Adam Lieberman said on 11 Sep 95:

The first time we saw the new dental work wasn't on CEIA at all, but on MJH's appearance as a ``co-host'' on ABC's America's Funniest People. [...] it was very interesting to note that the gap in her teeth had been filled in. (There was some observation that she wasn't yet completely comfortable with this.) In the next episodes of CEIA to be released, we observed these changes appearing, apparently with the changes only partially completed in the first episode after that AFP show (I believe this is what Jim Davis observed).

I finally saw evidence of these ``rumored'' gradual changes on 19 Jul 96, when I told the list about something that list member HMurchison brought to my attention:

Now, HM pointed out that in the pic:

or, if you can handle a 782x1322 JPEG (106K):

there is no tooth missing on her left side. Amazing, but true! The pic shows a perfectly formed ``left top lateral'' (the tooth to the left [_her_ left] of her two front teeth). This is very different from the ``Nick News'' pics, which show (as I see it) her _canine_ tooth right next to her front teeth -- i.e., no left top lateral at all.

So what I'm trying to say here is that Melissa was missing her two top laterals until sometime in mid-to-late 1993, at which time the left side was ``fixed''. Then sometime before Sep 93 [when ``Editor-In-Chief'' (#155) was taped], she got the other side ``fixed''.

Now, I need to check ``A New Mom'' (#154) [taped in Jun 93] _really_ carefully to see whether or not the left side was fixed by then.

Note: I have changed the URLs above to reflect where the pics are now.

8. Where is she going to college and what is she majoring in?

previous / next question

Melissa is currently attending New York University.

CEIA editor ``urien'' said on 28 Feb 94:

I know Melissa is trying (or maybe has succeded by now) to get into NYU film school.

Adam Lieberman said on 24 Apr 94:

At about 7:35 this evening, Melissa Joan Hart answered kids' questions from WNYC 93.9 FM's studio on their show New York Kids.

She does want to continue acting in the future, but she wants to have other alternatives to fall back on. She's going to study acting in her first year at NYU.

Steve Tudent said on 19 Jul 94:

I might be one of her classmates, since I'm planning to take some courses there, unless she's going to NYU film school, as opposed to the undergrad NYU. Did she specify which?

Adam answered (20 Jul 94):

As far as I can remember she was going to the regular NYU [...]

Melissa was on Live with Regis & Kathy Lee on 5 Sep 94. Denis K. Sun reported (same day):

Melissa also mentioned that she has just completed freshman orientation at NYU.

Adam Lieberman said on 27 Oct 94:

She's said she's going to study acting the first year and then change to something else.

Beth Blenz-Clucas of Sony Wonder (they put out the Clarissa CDs) said on 1 Nov 94:

I just received word from Sony Wonder that MJH is no longer an NYU student [...]

But this was apparently a premature report because when Melissa was on the British TV show Live & Kicking in Mar 95, they said she was attending NYU and even showed her talking outside the front of the university.

For more information, including pictures and sound clips, see the Live & Kicking interview on Bevis King's homepage at:

The latest info we have comes from a 4 Apr 96 Houston Chronicle article about Melissa. (A similar article appeared in USA Today, and probably other newspapers, on the same day.) This was part of the promotion of the Showtime movie Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and the related ABC series.

The series will start taping this summer. In the meantime, Melissa is concentrating on her studies at New York University. Her busy work life has caused her to skip some semesters, so she's still a freshman at NYU and hasn't decided yet on a major.

9. What charities/organizations is she involved with?

previous / next question

I said on 2 Oct 95 (after seeing the Big Help-A-Thon):

After MJH first came out, host Mike O'Malley gave a list of organizations that she's involved with [...]
The relevant segment from the Big Help-A-Thon goes like this:
Mike: ...And Melissa, we know that you're very active in the community; you're involved with pediatric AIDS, Action on Smoking and Health, the Hepatitis-B Get-Your-Kids-Immunized Program, Starlight Foundation, Audrey Hepburn Hollywood for Children's Fund, and the Children's Museum of Manhattan. You do all these things, aside from being a television star...

So there you go. I think I see some charitable donations in my future. :-)

Here is some information on these charities and organizations:

By the way, a girl named Valerie Clark got to meet Melissa and attend tapings of CEIA through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is similar to the Starlight Foundation (her list messages on the subject may be found in old list mail from May-Aug 93). So...

Make-A-Wish Foundation of America
various addresses
(800) 722-9474

They have chapters in most U.S. states. See the web-site above or, I guess, your local phone book. Make-A-Wish Foundation International has branches in other countries.

Probably all of these organizations allow you to make donations ``in memory of'' and ``in honor of'' people (deceased and living, respectively). You can have a card (``A donation has been made in the [memory/honor] of...'') sent to the person of your choice. I have donated to some of these organizations ``in honor of'' Melissa. If you'd like to do the same, you can have the cards sent to Melissa, care of Nickelodeon or Viacom. For the addresses, see 6. How can I get in touch with Melissa? (Note: Some of these charities may be able to send a card to her directly, since she has worked with them.)

10. Where else can I get information about Melissa Joan Hart?

previous question

Other sources of information about (and pictures of) Melissa include:
My MJH homepage. Contains lots of info about her, including this FAQ.
Eric Last's homepage. Includes interviews with and articles about MJH.
Bevis King's CEIA homepage. Contains CEIA actor bios, an interview with Melissa, Clarissa CD and video info, etc...
The Clarissa Explains It All FAQ.
The Clarissa Mailing List FAQ.
Thousands of pictures (really!) of Melissa from TV appearances, magazines, etc., and some movies and sound files, too.
Includes most, but not all, of the pictures from,%20Melissa%20Joan
Melissa's entry at the Internet Movie Database
The ``Melissa Joan Hart sites around the net'' page at my web-site.

This FAQ is Copyright (c) 1996-1997 by Donald Lancon, Jr. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute the information contained herein provided that this copyright notice is included and provided that it is not redistributed for financial gain. This FAQ may not be included in commercial collections or compilations without express permission from the author.

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