Wednesday, May 25, 2016


From the New York Times:
Beth Howland, who made high anxiety an art form as the ditsy, accident-prone waitress Vera Louise Gorman on the 1970s and ’80s sitcom “Alice,” died on Dec. 31, 2015, in Santa Monica, Calif., her husband said on Tuesday. He had refrained from announcing her death earlier in keeping with her wishes. She was 74.

The cause was lung cancer, her husband, the actor Charles Kimbrough, [who played the anchorman Jim Dial on the television series “Murphy Brown,”] said, adding that she had not wanted a funeral or a memorial service.

- William Grimes

A few O'Bservations on characters played by Beth Howland in Toobworld....

1] Vera Louise Gorman is one of the Essentials of the Tele-Folks Directory, one of my go-to characters to use as an example of a fictional character being related to a person from the Real World.  In Vera's case, she was a cousin to Art Carney and tried to get him to be the celebrity endorser for Mel's chili which they would have called Chili Con Carney.

2] Ms. Howland played two roles on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', separated by three seasons.  

She played a friend of Mary Richards: Linda Foster, the wife of Jack Foster.  But when the Fosters split up, Mary was torn about the idea of dating Jack since she had also been friends with Linda.

Mary had been dating a guy named Joe Warner and went over to his apartment to talk to him about their relationship.  She picked the wrong time, as he had just spent the afternoon making love to a woman named Joan, played by Ms. Howland.

I'm not going to conflate them into the same person.  However I do believe that Linda and Joan were sisters.  And they don't even have to be twin sisters, just that they looked very much alike.  "Foster" was Linda's married name and we never learned Joan's last name, so that doesn't hinder this theory of relateeveety.

Whether they were related to Vera or to any of her other characters, that would depend on the episodes in which she appeared....

3] I'd like to think that Vera Louise Gorman grew up in the same town as 'FYI' anchorman Jim Dial and that they even dated in high school.  With a bit o' the old nudge nudge wink wink, of course.  But Jim was married to Doris and Vera eventually married a cop named Novak,, so I'd rather not sully their future relationships to think they eventually hooked up again.  (As did Kimbrough and Gorman, who worked together in that original company of 'Company'.)

Good night and may God bless Beth Howland......

Saturday, May 14, 2016


I think we have a serious contender for the Best Commercial Crossover in this year's Toobits Awards.....

And here are some classic blipverts featuring Kool-Aid Man.  

I may have already included him in a cameo in one of my Toobworld adventures.... I can't remember anymore.  But he would be a natural "Deus ex Machina"!


Sunday, May 8, 2016


Mother, I'm a happily married man. Julia doesn't interest me. She wouldn't interest me if you hung her naked from the ceiling above my bed.

She might even do that if I asked her!

Aren't you forgetting something? She's still married to Marcellus, and Marcellus is not dead yet.

When I start to forget things, you may light my funeral pyre and put me on it, dead or alive.
('I, Claudius' - "A Touch Of Murder")

From Wikipedia:
In the popular fictional work "I, Claudius" by Robert Graves - based on Tacitus' "Innuendo" - Livia is portrayed as a thoroughly Machiavellian, scheming political mastermind. Determined never to allow republican governance to flower again, as she felt they led to corruption and civil war, and devoted to bringing Tiberius to power and then maintaining him there, she is involved in nearly every death or disgrace in the Julio-Claudian family up to the time of her death. In her deathbed she only fears divine punishment for all she had done, and secures the promise of future deification by her grandson Claudius, an act which, she believes, will guarantee her a blissful afterlife. However, this portrait of her is balanced by her intense devotion to the well-being of the Empire as a whole, and her machinations are justified as a necessarily-cruel means to what she firmly considers a noble aspiration: the common good of the Romans, achievable only under strict imperial rule. In the 1976 BBC television series based on the book, Livia was played by Siân Phillips. Phillips won a BAFTA for her portrayal of the role.

Siân Phillips also played Lady Annabel Butler in "Vixen's Run", an episode of 'Midsomer Murders'.... 

DCI Tom Barnaby: 
What about Sandra?

Lady Annabel Butler: 
What do you think? Ghastly creature!  Quite beyond the pale.  If I was going to make it right for Richard, I thought I might as well go the whole hog and put her down before she had a chance to breed.  Then we could have found him a decent girl from a decent family and then things would have been as they should be.
('Midsomer Murders' - "Vixen's Run")

I think a very strong case can be made for Lady Annabel to be the reincarnation of Livia Drusilla.  Not only do they look alike (Lady Annabel is still alive - hence the present tense.), but they had the same fierce, murderous devotion to their sons.  They were both looking out for the well-being and the advancement of their "little boys".

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Could this clip featuring Muriel Landers as a ballerina have inspired Earl Hamner to create the character of Marge in 'The Twilight Zone' episode "A Piano In The House"?  It might have at least inspired the casting of Ms. Landers in the role of "Marge the Snowflake".

She was obviously chosen for the part in Ernie's sketch because hey - Fat ballerinas are supposed to be funny.  

Yeah, right.  The only time a fat ballerina should be used as a joke should be in the "Swine Lake" sketch of 'The Muppets Show'.  I mean... it's a giant pig!

Thank God we're hopefully evolving, although fat people (like yours truly) are probably the last refuge for the mean-spirited, like Fitzgerald Fortune, to use as targets in what they consider humor.

I do kinda give the Kovacs sketch a pass as it was an earlier time.  I've even seen that attitude dsplayed by Danny Williams in an episode of 'Make Room For Daddy' in which he called a woman played by Barbara Pepper "Fat Lady" to her face during his act.  And nobody can say Danny Thomas was an uncaring man.  It was just the times, man.....

Off my soapbox for the day......

Friday, May 6, 2016


From Wikiepedia:
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. (born May 6, 1931), nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid", is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder who spent almost all of his 22 season career playing for the New York and San Francisco Giants, before finishing with the New York Mets. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility.

Mays won two National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and shares the record of most All-Star Games played (24) with Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. Ted Williams said, "They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays." Mays ended his career with 660 home runs, third at the time of his retirement, and currently fifth all-time. He also won a record-tying 12 Gold Glove awards beginning in 1957 when the award was introduced.

Mays' career statistics and longevity in the pre-PED era, recent acknowledgements of Mays as perhaps the finest five-tool player ever, and the overwhelming consensus of many surveys and other expert analyses carefully examining Mays' relative performance have led to a growing opinion that Mays was possibly the greatest all-around baseball player of all time. In 1999, Mays placed second on The Sporting News's "List of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players", making him the highest-ranking living player. Later that year, he was also elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. 

Mays is one of five National League players to have had eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons, along with Mel Ott, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones and Albert Pujols. Mays hit over 50 home runs in 1955 and 1965, representing the longest time span between 50-plus home run seasons for any player in Major League Baseball history. His final Major League Baseball appearance came on October 16 during game 3 of the 1973 World Series.

Willie Mays turned 85 today, and as he made significant appearances as his fictional self in enough TV shows to qualify, I figured today was the perfect day on which to induct him into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, especially since we are celebrating the League of Themselves with our entire lineup this year.

Here are the TV show episodes which made the play for Willie Mays:

"My Son The Catcher" 
From the CTVA: Jeff wins laurels for his baseball playing – and is immediately pounced on by a number of college scouts.

"Play Ball"
From the IMDb: Alex helps to organize a charity baseball game to benefit the hospital. When Willie Mays, Don Drysdale, and Leo Durocher show up it's no longer a game involving amateurs.

From the CTVA: The hospital gets three new orderlies when Don Drysdale and Leo Durocher of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants join the staff to play in a local charity game.

"Calling Willie Mays"
From the CTVA: Baseball star Willie Mays portrays himself in this account of the Stones' trip to San Francisco.

"Twitch Or Treat"
From the IMDb: Endora throws a Halloween party at Darrin and Samantha's and Uncle Arthur causes havoc.

"The Field"
From the IMDb: It's George's birthday and Belvedere arranged for some great players like Hank Aaron, Willy Mays, Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench, and Ernie Banks to be there, along with George and Robert Goulet.

"You Love Me, Right?"
From the IMDb: Michael's uncle shows up and he's not exactly pleased to see him. It seems he has a habit of making promises that he doesn't keep. And he's making some to Nicole.

The great thing about the televersion of Willie Mays is that he is radically different from the one here in the Trueniverse, along the same lines as Dennis Rodman being an alien......

And the Say Hey Kid won't be the only baseball player to make it into the Hall this year.  You'll even see that other fellow in this post....

Happy birthday, Willie Mays.  And welcome to the Television Crossover Hall of Fame!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


In an address made by Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo in 2013, reprinted in L’Osservatore Romano, he cited statistics which showed that since 2008, roughly 3,000 religious have left their respective orders.  Among the reasons he mentioned were:
  • "Absence of spiritual life"
  • "Loss of a sense of community"
  • "Loss of sense of belonging to the Church"
  • "Affective problems" (which usually is a reference to relationships) 
I have two dear friends who left their orders as a priest and a nun decades ago and they have raised two of my bestest of friends, one of whom is the father of two wonderful children - including my second god-daughter.  So I guess they fell into that last category... although I don't see how it can be classified as a problem when so much that is wonderful sprang from their relationship.

Anyhoo, I bring that all up to make a televisiological point, as you probably expected from this Caretaker of Toobworld.....

I can only guess as to the reasons why, but I believe the Reverend Mother Superior of the San Tanco convent in San Juan, Puerto Rico, may have left her calling, even after so many years, by the end of the 1960s.  As to why, perhaps it stemmed from the effects on her religious views instigated by a young nun in her charge whose name was Sister Bertrille (born Elsie Ethrington).  Here was a woman who challenged physics itself because of her aerodynamic ability to fly, thanks to the wingspan of her cornet in ratio to her body weight.  And thanks to that ability, Sister Bertille was able to do so much good for the community.

Could it be considered a miracle?  Perhaps.  And so one would think that despite her misgivings about Sister Bertille's methods and attitude, the Reverend Mother might have been pleased to see her faith confirmed in such an unconventional manner.

So what could have happened that might have caused the Reverend Mother Superior to question her faith and even leave her religious order?

It had to be very traumatic......

I think that at some point after April of 1970*, Sister Bertrille must have died.  And considering the dangerous nature of her specialty as a "flying nun", I think she may have tragically perished when the wind suddenly died and she was dashed against the cliff rocks below.

I think that as she plummeted and smashed against the rocks, the impact caused her head to become separated from her body.  When the wind picked up again, the grisly body part, still in the cornet, was picked up by the wind and carried over San Juan, dripping blood over the populace below.

I'm sorry.  I have an overactive imagination.

At any rate, consider what a shock that would have been to a woman of stoic, unwavering faith up until that point in her life.  How could a God who had gone to the trouble of arranging such a miraculous confluence of events through Sister Bertrille in order to help the people of San Juan just take that all away and in such a cruel manner?  Didn't Sister Bertrille deserve better for being His servant?

So I think the Reverend Mother Superior lost her commitment to her religious orders, although perhaps not in her faith totally.

And afterwards?

Once she was back in the continental United States, I believe she reverted back to her baptismal name, the surname of which was Brady.  (It's a theory of relateeveety that she was the older sister of Mike Brady the architect and neice of Peter Brady, the Invisible Man.)  She moved back to the Los Angeles area and found herself a job as the office manager for the Haynes Military Academy.  It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that she pursued that occupation because she wanted to help in the development of upstanding young men for the future of America.  (I would not be surprised if she was part of the conservative Republican movement in California under the aegis of Governor Ronald Reagan.)

Miss Brady not only took great pride in this new phase of her life, but she was somewhat enamored of Colonel Lyle C. Rumford.  So it must have been a renewed blow to her faith system when he turned out to be nothing like the hero whom she thought she was working for.

For the time being I do not know what Miss Brady's Christian name was as I have only seen Ms. Sherwood (or Ms. Thornton-Sherwood as she was known at this point in her career) in three productions - these two shows plus the movie version of "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof".  But there are some promising guest appearances in other TV shows in which only her first name is given.  (I don't think Miss Brady ever married after leaving the convent.  She may have still believed in herself as the Bride of Christ, but at the same time she might have been just too set in her ways.)

This "Game Of The Name" theory to conflate Miss Brady and the Reverend Mother Superior into one character is in memory of the actress Madeleine Sherwood, who played both roles.  Good night and may God bless....


* I chose April of 1970 because that was when the last episode of 'The Flying Nun' aired.  Unlike Barbara Eden as Jeannie, for example, or Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as Oliver and Lisa Douglas, Sally Field never returned to the role of Sister Bertrille in Earth Prime-Time.  The closest she came was snogging the 2013 host of the Academy Awards, Seth MacFarlane, while he was dressed as the Flying Nun.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Kermit the Frog: 

For tonight, we are honored to present the one and only Miss Raquel Welch.
Miss Piggy: 
Pity we can't book an *important* guest star once in a while.
Kermit the Frog: 
W-What are you saying, Piggy? 
Tonight, we have an internationally acclaimed actress, singer, dancer, 
And one of the sexiest ladies alive!
Miss Piggy: 
You get that every night, Frog!
'The Muppet Show'
 Ah, May!  Spring is in the air!  I'm no longer sure as to what a young man's fancy turns, but traditionally the Television Crossover Hall of Fame should be able to supply it.  More or less....

And this year, as we celebrate the League of Themselves, we're lucky that it is "more".  Because for May of 2016, our newest member in the TVXOHOF is Cinema's Sex Siren of the Sixties......


Well, my job is done for this induction ceremony.  What more needs to be said?  I mean, it's Raquel Welch!

Oh, all right......

Here are the reasons why she deserves membership:

- "Witch or Wife" (1964) 
Raquel Welch (as the Stewardess) is only seen from the rear and partially from the side; not full face.

'Bracken's World'
- "Fade In" (1969)
Opening episode. Tom Hudson tries to get into the acting school. Paulette Douglas refuses to take her clothes off for a photo shoot despite her mother Grace implying it's okay. Kevin Grant has an unhappy marriage with Marjorie. Kevin gives Rachel Holt the part in his movie instead of Diane Waring and explains why. 

'Saturday Night Live'
- "Raquel Welch Hosts"
Lorne Michaels tries to lure the Beatles onto the show. Baba Wawa makes her first appearance.
The host for the episode is Raquel Welch, and the musical guests are Phoebe Snow (her second appearance) and John Sebastian. The skits for this episode are as follows:
  • Chevy Chase presents an award for best performance by a political actor, but becomes angered when he gets handed a card telling him to stop talking and just do the fall already.
  • During Raquel Welch's monologue, she is joined by Joe Cocker in a duet performance of "Superstar".
  • An ad pitches a new Purina pet food for rats.
  • A spokesman from the U.S. Council of Standards and Measures presents a new streamlined metric alphabet.
  • Two sportscasters present the results from the Claudine Longet Ski Invitational, in which every competitor gets 'accidentally' shot by Claudine as they go down the slope.
  • During the weekend update, Laraine Newman looks at the results of the preliminary party elections and Baba Wawa complains about Tom Snyder's hair.
  • Producer Lorne Michaels makes an offer to pay the Beatles $3000 if the come on the show to give a reunion performance.
  • At a mental hospital, the Bees want to watch the Academy Awards, but the evil Nurse Ratched won't let them.
  • Raquel Welch performs "Ain't Necessarily So", Phoebe Snow performs "All Over" and "Two-Fisted Love", John Sebastian performs "Welcome Back".
Here's an interesting review of the episode she hosted.  Some of the show's sketches went on to become legends of infamy....

Here are two more reviews from the IMDb.....

'The Muppet Show'
- "Raquel Welch" (1978)

- "The Summer of George" (1997)
Kramer is also at the Tony Awards ceremony and gets dragged on stage with some of the winners. He basks in the glow of having 'won' a Tony and the producers decide to use him to get rid of their star, Raquel Welch.

"Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" 
Frank Drebin comes out of retirement to help Police Squad infiltrate a gang of terrorists planning to detonate a bomb at the Academy Awards.

People's lives can be different from how they play out on Television, especially with celebrities or historical figures. 
  • Mark Twain traveled through Time and Space.
  • Both Ellen DeGeneres and Roseanne had sex with Larry Sanders.
  • Art Carney was related to Vera, one of the waitresses from 'Alice'.
  • Dennis Rodman is an extraterrestrial.
And the same is true for Raquel Welch.....

While working her way through college and acting school, TV's Raquel got a job as an airline stewardess before she got her big break as an actress.  And that's what we saw her doing in that 'Bewitched' episode.

Because 'Saturday Night Live' has been acknowledged as a TV show on other shows, and because the Muppets are considered  living beings who interact with humans, I've included those two episodes which featured Raquel.  The interesting thing about her interactions with the Muppets on both shows is that the 'Muppet Show' Muppets are considered alive.  My buddy Skred and the other residents of the Land of Gortch are kind of treated as delusional puppets who think they're alive.  Then again, there were times when the usual gang of Muppets alluded to the fact that they were puppets.  (Toobworld splainin for "living" puppets - they are the Spirit Beings of the Isle of the Blessed encased in shells to make them visible.)
Certain movies can be absorbed into the TV Universe, but it is determined on a case by case basis. Because of the recasting of two main characters from the original TV show 'Police Squad', it's just easier to relegate the three "Naked Gun" movies to the Cineverse so that Frank Drebin is a multiversal character. And that would make Raquel one as well.

So welcome aboard the Crossover Hall of Fame, Raquel Welch! 

Saturday, April 30, 2016


Since 1995, I have belonged to an internet group known as The Idiot's Delight Digest, which started out as a celebration of all music, befitting the deejay Vin Scelsa who was a free-form radio dinosaur heard on stations like WNEW, WXRK, WFMU, and an "Idiot's Delight" show on Sirius satellite radio.  If not one of the first online discussion groups, the IDD must certainly rank as one of the longest-lasting - although it has branched out to appear mostly through splinter groups on Facebook and the like.

The IDD may have started as being about Scelsa, his radio show, and music in general, but it quickly grew beyond that (fueled in those early days by Bosnia and the OJ trial) to cover any topic imaginable.  And then we decided to take the plunge and finally meet each other face to face, which led to the annual tradition of IDD BBQs as well as going to concerts, plays, movies, and even baseball games.  Several marriages have resulted from this group of Iddiots, and I - who can proudly claim to have invented the term "Iddiot" to define us - am even prouder to be the godfather to a lovely young Iddiette of the next generation.

The reason I bring this up is that on Friday, the Iddiot clan lost one of its own - Lydia Doyle, an emergency room nurse in Long Island who finally lost her brave battle against "The C Word".  

In her memory, I want to share this rarity - the pilot for long-running soap opera 'General Hospital'.  You'll have to forgive the sound quality - nobody back then could have guessed there would be anyone interested in seeing old TV shows, let alone studying them!  O'Bviously it doesn't accurately reflect the world of the ER, let alone Lydia's experiences, but I saw it as a novel way to salute the memory of someone just as novel.  

Good night and may God bless, Lydia Doyle.  BCnU......

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Usually I save all of my 'Doctor Who' posts for the big celebration held every January 1st - the annual "Who's On First" blogAthon!  What better day than January 1st?  Hopefully we had a Christmas special only the week before, so we're still pumped up for anything Whovian.  And January 1st is perfect when discussing a Time Lord - what could be better than an artificial demarcation of Time and the one marking the first day of a new yarron?

But this post needed to go out now as it's a time-sensitive news story.

Yesterday, the BBC announced the actor who will be playing the Doctor's new companion.  It will be Pearl Mackie, playing Bill:

So here are my O'Bservations:

First off, check out this article from the Radio Times.

Like the article, I also think Bill is from the 1980s.  Before I read the piece, I had no clue that was a Prince T-shirt, but I could feel how the 1980s were emanating from her wardrobe as a whole.  And I like that a new companion is from the past; it means that there would be more of a reason to use her relationship with the Doctor to ease new viewers into the series as he'll have to "splain" everything to her (as he does with Bill re: the Daleks here.)  

She's going to be quite upset when she gets to 2017 and finds out that Prince died back in 2016!  So she'll be someone most of us can relate to right away.....

It's a shame she couldn't be the first Companion to be playing herself.  Because "Pearl Mackie" is a cool name.  But even just "Pearl" would have been fine. 

Someone online noted that her name as "Bill" could be a tip of the hat to Billie Piper, the first Companion once the series returned in 2005, and to William Hartnell, the first Doctor over fifty years ago.  I think it's a great tribute.

But the fact that she's not going by "Billie".....  That got me thinking....

What if she had a sexual reassignment?  

What if she was once .... a may-un!  ("Roger Rabbit" reference....)

I think Pearl Mackie looks hot.  I'm not basing this theory on her looks at all. (It would be a different story if we were talking about  Ann Coulter!)  But I think she could do a convincing acting job as a transgender, post reassignment.

In that case, Bill would have once been "William" instead of "Wilhelmina" which is the way most people must be thinking right about now.

And to have such a character would show that this science fiction show would be on the cutting edge of  television.

But it looks as though we'll have to wait until 2017 before we can see her truly in action to find out if that theory has legs...

Here's one last point to consider - is this teaser trailer to be considered canon?  Will this clip be blended into the flow of action in the actual show just after they first met?  Or is it going to end up some alternate timeline?

Time will tell.....