Friday, June 26, 2020

FRIDAY HALL OF FAMERS 06/26/2020 - "HOLLYWOOD SQUARES"


Good morning, Captain!

Last week got away from me totally; I was so fixated on getting my Wayside Pride story written for today, that I forgot all about the Friday Hall of Famers post for Inner Toob.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

As I’ve been doing for this Year of the Pandemic, the last Friday of every month has been the chance to induct the televersion of one of our TV shows into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  There are so many TV shows which mention other TV shows AS TV shows, when they should be sharing the same dimension.

Toobworld Central finally had to acknowledge this for fear of gutting the universe of Earth Prime-Time with so many Zonks disqualifying one show after another.

And so we hit on the idea that the lives of people in TV shows proved to be so interesting that eventually Hollywood made TV shows about them.

So there are the TV shows which we watch and those shows then exist in the main Toobworld, where they are watched by the characters in other shows.

Were you able to follow that?  I’m sorry if I only made it more confusier.  When I write about Toobworld, sometimes I’m like the Dad in the speedboat and you, dear Readers, are the kids in the tube I’m trying to shake off….

So!  As June was my birthday month, let’s end with something completely different – a game show!  And one which has seen plenty of League of Themselves members who are members of the TVXOHOF already.

On with the show; this is it!

THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES

From Wikipedia:
‘Hollywood Squares’ is an American game show  in which two contestants compete in a game of tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes.

The show piloted on NBC in 1965 and the regular series debuted in 1966 on the same network. The board for the game is a 3 × 3 vertical stack of open-faced cubes, each occupied by a celebrity seated at a desk and facing the contestants. The stars are asked questions by the host and the contestants judge the truth of their answers to gain squares in the right pattern to win the game.

Though ‘Hollywood Squares’ was a legitimate game show, the game largely acted as the background for the show's comedy in the form of joke answers (commonly called "zingers" by the production staff), often given by the stars prior to their real answer. The show's writers usually supplied the jokes. In addition, the stars were given the questions' subjects and bluff (plausible, but incorrect) answers prior to the show. The show was scripted in this sense, but the gameplay was not.

In any case, as original host Peter Marshall explained at the beginning of the Secret Square game, the celebrities were briefed prior to the show to help them with bluff answers, but they otherwise heard the actual questions for the first time as they were asked on air.

In 2013, TV Guide ranked it at No. 7 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.

Internationally, there have been multiple versions produced under a variety of names.


One thing which can guarantee that the televersion of the show will be inducted into the Hall goes beyond the title being mentioned, beyond characters watching it, beyond even scenes from the show being transmitted.  It’s a slam dunk if we get proof that the televersion is not just a copy of the original; we need to know that the televersion is truly fictional and could not have been seen in the real world.

For ‘Hollywood Squares’, here is that proof:

Sanford and Son:
The TV Addict
(1976)
Officer Hoppy stops by to catch Jack Webb's appearance on the program.

Cheers:
Where Nobody Knows Your Name
(1990) Jeanne-Marie appears as a celebrity square.

The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage:
Pilot
(1991)
Everyone recognizes Barry from his guest spot on the show.

Growing Pains:
Meet the Seavers
(1991)
Alan Thicke as "himself" calls about appearing on "the new Hollywood Squares."

The Nanny:
Making Whoopi
(1998)
Maxwell appears on the show as a celebrity "square".

The Big Bang Theory:
The Russian Rocket Reaction
(2011)
Sheldon mentions Wil Wheaton's appearance on the show.
  • Jack Webb
  • Jeanne-Marie
  • Barry Tarberry
  • Alan Thicke
  • Maxwell Sheffield
  • Wil Wheaton
None of them ever appeared on ‘Hollywood Squares’.

Three of those “contestants” were already fictional.  The three others are real people, but two of them are dead. So no chance of retconning there.

Here are the other qualifiers:

REFERENCES TO THE ORIGINAL SHOW
1965-1980


Banacek:
The Three Million Dollar Piracy
(1973)
Banacek asks Diana if she is going to miss this show when she's living in the Middle East.

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976)
Paul Lynde: "Sounds like 'Hollywood Squares.'"

Phyllis:
The Christmas Party
(1976)
Phyllis says she learned some esoteric fact from Paul Lynde on the Hollywood Squares.

The Rockford Files:
Hotel of Fear
(1977)
Angel quotes Vincent Price from this show.

That '70s Show:
Hyde Gets the Girl
(2001)
Eric, Hyde, and Fez watch this in the opening

Freaks and Geeks:
I'm with the Band
(1999)
Bill sarcastically says that Neal should be on the show.
O’Bservation: the series takes place 19 years earlier, in 1980.

Family Ties:
Margin of Error
(1983)
Elyse uses the show's set as an analogy as she describes her 3-level chapel design to Jennifer

Freaks and Geeks:
Noshing and Moshing
(2000)
Neal asks to be excused from the dinner table because "Willie Tyler and Lester are on The Hollywood Squares this week."

Growing Pains:
Menage a Luke
(1992)
Luke: "Guest shots on 'Hollywood Squares'"

Nurses:
No, But I Played One on TV
(1993)
"This is a hospital, Hank, not the Hollywood Squares!"

REFERENCES TO 1ST REBOOT
1986


Christmas at Pee-wee's Playhouse (1988)
(TV Movie)

Out of This World:
Star Dog
(1989)
Star Dog is watching the show and says, "Hit Joan Rivers to block, ya dope!"

REFERENCES TO 2ND REBOOT
1998


Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
Silent Movie
(1999)
When the Brady Bunch squares are shown, Hilda says she will take Jan Brady to block, referencing the game play in this show.

Big Wolf on Campus:
Stage Fright
(1999)
While watching television, Dean says, "Whoopi, you were born to be Centre Square!"

Big Wolf on Campus:
Hello Nasty
(2000)
When Tommy asks him if he has seen anything funny recently, Dean replies, "Are we talking Centre Square funny, like Whoopi Goldberg?"

Big Wolf on Campus:
The Manchurian Werewolf
(2000)
The show that Dean is watching

Lizzie McGuire:
El Oro de Montezuma
(2002)
Liz talks about Whoopi Goldberg on this show

Watching Ellie:
Feud
(2003)
Susan prefers to go to "Hollywood Squares" instead of "Family Feud"

How I Met Your Mother:
The Playbook
(2009)
Barney uses the show's catchphrase "circle gets the square"

Community:
Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing
(2015)
Jeff says, "Thirty years ago, the most power the openly gay could achieve was the center square."

F Is for Family:
Paul Lynde to Block
(2018)
Title reference and Chet's wife Nguyen-Nguyen says the line.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:
Kimmy Is in a Love Square!
(2019)
Titus: "You know how I want my career to end: falling off the top row on 'Hollywood Squares.'"

Here are some other shows which mentioned ‘Hollywood Squares’ in some way, but I don’t know the reference specifics:

Sanford and Son:
Julio and Sister and Nephew
(1974)

Miami Vice:
Brother's Keeper
(1984)

Night Court:
Auntie Maim
(1989)

Frasier:
Selling Out
(1993)

Roseanne:
Roseanne in the Hood
(1995)

The Nanny:
That's Midlife
(1996)

The Nanny:
The Ex-Niles
(1997)

Scrubs:
My Chopped Liver
(2006)

The Middle:
Halloween VII: The Heckoning
(2016)

GLOW:
Rosalie
(2018)

Popular:
We Are Family
(2000)

ALTERNATE DIMENSIONS

The West Wing:
The Crackpots and These Women
(1999)
Toby sarcastically refers to the show during a conversation with Mandy.

Designated Survivor:
Summit
(2018)
Kendra says to Emily, "Circle gets the square."

It shows up at least twice in Skitlandia, with disaster movie overtones – once with the set collapsing and the other as “The Towering Squares”.  Since it doesn’t affect Earth Prime-Time, I’m leaving the topic there.


Welcome to the Television Crossover Hall of Fame to “Hollywood Squares”!

Friday, June 19, 2020

FRIDAY HALL OF FAMERS 06/19/2020 - EDD THE DUCK


Until an hour before I began writing this post, I was planning to induct another TV couple in keeping with the Gemini theme.  However, I realized that this couple was so iconic that they deserved to be the monthly showcase when they are inducted.

Good Lord willing, you’ll see them as the inductee for the month of June 2021.
Instead, we’re going with another puppet and again from overseas.

EDD THE DUCK


From Wikipedia:
Edd the Duck (originally Ed the Duck) is a puppet duck which appeared on the CBBC interstitial programme ‘The Broom Cupboard’ alongside presenters Andy Crane and Andi Peters. His movements were performed by Christina Mackay-Robinson, an assistant producer employed by the BBC. He also had a severe allergy to ham.


He made his debut in late 1988, originally with a bald head until Mackay-Robinson added a green woollen mohawk, salvaged from an old Blue Peter 'Punk Teddy'. His co-star and enemy was Wilson the Butler, a character who was off screen apart from his arm visible to the viewers.


Edd the Duck starred in a number of pantomimes and short films alongside actors including Bill Oddie and Gorden Kaye.
Edd made a guest appearance on the CBBC Channel on Easter Monday 2009 alongside Ed Petrie. In 2014 Edd made an appearance on ‘Celebrity Juice: The Big Reunion’ special which also included Andi Peters in the Broom Cupboard.


Edd the Duck released a single, "Awesome Dood!", in 1990.

Edd was the official UK Olympic team mascot at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

In 2015, Edd along with Andi Peters appeared on Hacker's Birthday Bash to mark 30 years of CBBC.


From the CBBC Wiki:
Edd the Duck is a puppet who appeared in the interstitial programmed ‘The Broom Cupboard’, alongside presenters Andy Crane and Andi Peters, between 1988 and 1992. His movements were performed by assistant producer Christina Mackay-Robinson.

Edd is a tiny duck with a bright green mohawk, which was salvaged from an old teddy bear. His co-star and rival was Wilson the Butler, who apart from his arms is never seen on screen.

Along with Gordon the Gopher, Edd was an extremely popular figure in the late 80s and early 90s, with lots of merchandise released during that period. He also makes reappearances to anniversary events and in 1992 was the UK mascot for the Barcelona Olympics.


Edd the Duck is a multiversal.  Beside his Toobworld appearances, he made live appearances, was featured in two video games (both poorly received), on records, and in children's books.


If I’m not mistaken, this induction marks the most puppets entered in the TVXOHOF in any given year.  (Fozzie Bear was the April showcase and Roland Rat was inducted two weeks ago as the June 2020 showcase.  We have another inductee scheduled for October who might be considered a puppet.)


Welcome to the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, Edd, you awesome dood!  You should find it slightly more roomy than the Broom Cupboard.  (And best of all, Wilson the Butler is nowhere to be found here.)


Friday, June 12, 2020

FRIDAY HALL OF FAMERS 06/11/2020 - NORM & CLIFF


Because my birthday falls in June, my preference for Hall of Fame inductees are the TV puppets.  But as it is also the month for the Zodiac sign of Gemini (for the most part), I also showcase the dynamic duos in television – like British detectives Charlie Barlow and John Watt from the ‘Softly, Softly’ series.

Well, we kicked off the month with a puppet, so it’s time for a new odd couple to join the ranks….

NORM PETERSON
&
CLIFF CLAVIN

From Wikipedia:
CLIFF CLAVIN
Clifford C. Clavin, Jr. (born 1947 or 1949), is a fictional character on the American television show Cheers co-created (and played) by John Ratzenberger. A postal worker, he is the bar's know-it-all and was a contestant on the game show ‘Jeopardy!’ Cliff was not originally scripted in the series' pilot episode, "Give Me a Ring Sometime", but the producers decided to add a know-it-all character and Ratzenberger helped flesh it out. The actor made guest appearances as Cliff on ‘The Tortellis’, ‘St. Elsewhere’, ‘Wings’ and ‘Frasier’.


In the 1993 series finale, Cliff finally receives a promotion. In "The Show Where Sam Shows Up" (1995), an episode of the Cheers spinoff ‘Frasier’, Sam (Ted Danson) tells Frasier that Cliff has not left home since he read an article about flesh-eating bacteria; however, Sam then discovers that Cliff is one of the other men with whom Sam's fiance Sheila (Téa Leoni) had had sex. In another ‘Frasier’ episode, "The Show Where Woody Shows Up", Woody tells Frasier that Cliff almost married a mail-order bride, but she decided to go back to Bosnia after spending a few days with him. In another ‘Frasier’ episode, "Cheerful Goodbyes", Cliff has his retirement party at the airport bar; he had planned to move to Florida, but decides to stay in Boston (to Carla's dismay).


Cliff appeared in 273 episodes of ‘Cheers’ between 1982 and 1993. He also made guest appearances as an animated character (voiced by Ratzenberger) in ‘The Simpsons’ episode "Fear of Flying", in ‘The Tortellis’ episode "Frankie Comes to Dinner, in the ‘Wings’ episode "The Story of Joe" and the ‘Frasier’ episode "Cheerful Goodbyes".


In 2014, Ratzenberger reprised his role as Cliff in the RadioShack Super Bowl XLVIII commercial "The '80s Called".  



(O’Bservation: All of the characters who show up in the blipvert could be taking part in the sitcom relocation program, a premise set up in ‘Hi Honey, I’m Home.’  This would include those members of the League of Themselves like Mary Lou Retton and Hulk Hogan.)


The fact that Cliff appeared as a contestant on the televersion of ‘Jeordy!’ is balanced out by Norm’s appearance on the ‘Tonight’ show with Cliff’s Mom.  (But Cliff did get to be onstage after the show was finished taping.)




So it only makes sense that they should enter the TVXOHOF together.

From Wikipedia:
NORM PETERSON
Norman "Norm" Peterson is a regular fictional character on the American television show ‘Cheers’. The character was portrayed by George Wendt and is named Hilary after his grandfather.

Norm appeared in all 275 episodes of ‘Cheers’ between 1982–1993 and was initially the only customer featured in the main cast, later joined by best friend Cliff Clavin, Frasier Crane, and Lilith Sternin. Along with Sam Malone and Carla Tortelli, Norm is one of only three characters to appear in every episode of ‘Cheers’.


He also made one guest appearance each in the three other sitcoms set in the Cheers universe: the ‘Frasier’ episode "Cheerful Goodbyes," the ‘Wings’’ episode "The Story of Joe" and the spin-off ‘The Tortellis’.


Norm's entrance into the bar is a running gag on ‘Cheers’, typically beginning with a greeting by Norm. This is followed by the bar crowd yelling his name (except Diane Chambers, who would follow with a more refined "Norman", and Woody Boyd who would refer to him as "Mr. Peterson").


Norm is also greeted with the customary "Norm!" shout at other locations, including a bowling alley ("From Beer to Eternity", season 4, episode 9), The Hungrey Heifer ("Cheers: The Motion Picture", season 5, episode 24), and Gary's Olde Towne Tavern, Cheers' rival bar ("Bar Wars VI", season 10, episode 23). When Sam asks why the people at Gary's know him by name, Norm replies that he goes there on Christmas when Cheers is closed.

A recurring gag in the series is, following a commercial, for the bartender to ask Norm if he wants another beer; Norm replies "one quick one," after which he inevitably stays a lot longer. "Norm" is actually the first word of Frederick Crane, son of Frasier Crane and Lilith Sternin. (However, Lilith joyously believes that he said "Mommy!")

Prior to the show, Norm was born in Chicago, and moved to Boston to become an accountant, and is a lifelong Boston Celtics fan who went to Boston Garden as a child. Norm previously served in the United States Army.

He loses his job in an accounting firm by defending Diane from his boss, and after struggling for a few years as an independent accountant, eventually becomes a housepainter. Norm was also revealed to be an accomplished interior decorator and beer taster, capable of spotting a bad vat in a factory by drinking a single bottle.



George Wendt guest starred as Norm Peterson on ‘St. Elsewhere’, ‘Cheers’ first spinoff ‘The Tortellis’, ‘Wings’, and ‘The Simpsons’ episode "Fear of Flying", which also guest starred Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, Woody Harrelson, and John Ratzenberger as their respective characters.

Years after ‘Cheers’ ended, Wendt played Norm in a 2002 episode of its spinoff ‘Frasier’, where he got along famously with Martin Crane. (Martin: "Wow, that's some mug callus you've got there." Norm: "Judging from your grip, I'd say you were a can man.")  


Also, in the first part of a two-part episode on ‘Frasier’ entitled "Three Dates and a Breakup," Frasier calls Norm to brag that he has three dates for the weekend. Frasier specifically says "Norm Peterson," though Norm is not actually seen or heard. Norm was most recently seen in animated form, voiced by Wendt, on ‘Family Guy’ in the episodes "Road to Rupert" and "Three Kings".

comb.io - Road to Rupert

Domino's Pizza released a commercial in February 2020 parodying Cheers (including the opening theme song and a Domino's version of the Cheers sign) with Norm entering a Domino's, surprised to find that no one knows his name. Norm's face was actually digitally taken from a Cheers episode to replace a body double's face.









Welcome to the Hall, Norm and Cliff.  Here’s looking at ya!


Cheers!


Monday, June 8, 2020

MONDAY MEMORIAL TVXOHOF TRIBUTE - EDDIE HASKELL


Two Monday Memorial TVXOHOF Tributes in a row….  (Last week we saluted the memory of talk show sidekick Jerry Hubbard after the death of Fred Willard.)

To be honest, I thought there would be more due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, we’re paying tribute to a sneak….



EDDIE HASKELL 

From the L.A. Times:
Ken Osmond, who played the two-faced teenage scoundrel Eddie Haskell on TV’s “Leave It to Beaver,” has died at his home in Los Angeles.



Osmond, who died Monday, was 76. No cause was given.

“He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father,” son Eric Osmond said in a statement. “He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed.”


Ken Osmond’s Eddie Haskell stood out among many memorable characters on the classic family sitcom “Leave It to Beaver,” which ran from 1957 to 1963 on CBS and ABC, but had a decades-long life of reruns and revivals.


From Wikipedia:

Edward Clark Haskell (also referred to as Edward W. Haskell) is a fictional character on the 'Leave It to Beaver' television situation comedy, which ran on CBS from October 4, 1957 to 1958 and on ABC from 1958 to 1963.

The character was also featured in the later series 'Still the Beaver', and in the film remake of the original series.


The son of George (however, in Season 1, episode 20, Eddie gives his name as "Edward Clark Haskell, Jr.") and Agnes, Eddie Haskell was the smart-mouthed best-friend of Wally Cleaver. The character, played in the original series by Ken Osmond, has become a cultural reference, recognized as an archetype for insincere sycophants. Ward Cleaver once remarked that "[Eddie] is so polite, it's almost un-American".


Eddie was known for his neat grooming —hiding his shallow and sneaky character. Typically, Eddie would greet his friends' parents with overdone good manners and often a compliment such as, "That's a lovely dress you're wearing, Mrs. Cleaver."


However, when no parents were around, Eddie was always up to no good—either conniving with his friends or picking on Wally's younger brother Beaver. Eddie's duplicity was also exemplified in his efforts to curry favor by trying to talk to adults at the level he thought they would respect, such as referring to their children as Theodore (Beaver's much-disliked given name) and Wallace, even though the parents called them Beaver and Wally.


S4-E38 "Beaver's Doll Buggy" may explain how Eddie's scheming character came to be. He related a story from kindergarten, when a caregiver sent him to school with a home permanent (hair style). When he told his father about it, his father made a big joke about it. Eddie claims that was the last time he told his dad anything. Then he adds "If you can make the other guy feel like a goon first, then you don't feel so much like a goon."


In the 1980s revival series, titled ‘The New Leave It to Beaver’, Eddie is now married to Gert, and they have two sons, Freddie and Edward Jr. (played by Osmond's real-life sons, Eric and Christian, respectively).

Eddie operates an eponymously named contracting company. He remains an avid Woody Woodpecker cartoon fan.


In 1999, TV Guide ranked Eddie Haskell number 20 on its "50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time" list.


That was 21 years ago.  Many great TV characters have come along since who have probably strong-armed their way into the top 20.  Off the top of my noggin, I can think of a few – Tony Soprano, Walter White, Tyrion Lanister.  But how many of them will be so iconic that they appear in more than one TV series?  That’s why Eddie Haskell is going into the TVXOHOF while they're left outside with their faces pressed against the windows.

I just hope Eddie will still be able to stay in that top 50….


Eddie Haskell was a multiversal (existing within more than one fictional universe) and a multidimensional (existing within more than one TV dimension.)


We’re going to take a look first at his life during Prime-Time in the main Toobworld.  It is these credits which are getting him into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.

EDDIE HASKELL
EARTH PRIME-TIME



1957-63
Leave It to Beaver
96 episodes
O'Bservation: Where it all began....


1983
Still the Beaver
From the IMDb:
This movie reunites most of the members of the Cleaver clan, Wally, June, and of course, the Beaver. Their father Ward has passed away. Wally's married to Mary Ellen and a successful lawyer and has everything to make his life complete except for a child. The Beaver is married but unfortunately is still the same which is why his wife threw him out. With nowhere else to go, he goes home. And he also decides that he wants to raise his children, in his hometown of Mayfield. His wife, who decides that she hasn't done anything in her life, decides to become a veterinarian, but she can only go to school out of the country, so she let's Beaver have the children. So he brings his sons there and they are not exactly impressed with Mayfield and feel that they were dumped there, and bond more with Wally than with their own father. They also have to deal with Eddie Haskell, who has gone from nasty to crooked. It's a good thing they still have their mom.


1983-89
The New Leave It to Beaver
101 episodes

Parker Lewis Can't Lose
- Father Knows Less
(1991)
From the IMDb:
What starts off innocently enough (A parent/student project) unravels many of the students at Santo Domingo's relationships with their parents. Parker deals with his over-thinking father, Jerry and his father could probably create cold fusion with their brain power, and Mikey's rocky home life comes out. A potentially disastrous episode begs the question of how Parker can fix this one... (Ken Osmond reprises his role as Eddie Haskell in a cameo appearance.)

According to an episode of ‘Quantum Leap’, on my sixth birthday Eddie Haskell could be seen in the Toobworld televersion of ‘Leave It To Beaver’.  So the lives of the Cleaver family, like so many others, had been dramatized for television within the TV Universe.  And obviously the televersion of Ken Osmond was hired to play the role of Eddie Haskell’s televersion.  Thus within the “reality” of Toobworld, Ken and Eddie co-exist.

I’ve tried to avoid the topic in the past, but now is as good a time as any to address it:

The TV shows from our world serve as the basis for Toobworld.  And when those same TV shows then become TV shows again within Toobworld, something magical happens – they become the basis for yet another incarnation of Toobworld.  Only this time, those living TV characters can cross back over into the world in which they were created which was a created world in itself.

And that’s what happened with the Eddie Haskell of another world.  (And I ain’t talking about the soap opera!)

THE MAIN TOOBWORLD
&
TOOBWORLD-TOOBWORLD

(The alternate TV dimension of TV characters based on TV characters.)


Hi Honey, I'm Home
- Take My Son Please
(1992)
From the IMDb:
In an effort to fit in, Chucky helps Skunk pull off a robbery. Meanwhile, Babs skips out on a school project, leaving Mike to care for their egg baby alone; plus Eddie Haskell stops by.

The tricky thing about those exiled TV characters living in the sitcom protection program, they have to be careful that they don’t meet the “real” people they are based on.  That’s the difficulty TV’s Eddie Haskell from Toobworld-Toobworld risked when he visited the Nielsens in Toobworld.

TV's Eddie Haskell would be the Eddie Haskell we saw in that McDonald's commercial with all of those other relocated TV characters now living in Toobworld rather than in their home world of Toobworld-Toobworld.


Makes your head hurt, don't it?  This is why I've curtailed my tele-spelunking - it takes its toll on one's sanity!

And then there’s the Eddie Haskell of the Cineverse….

THE CINEVERSE

1997
Leave It to Beaver
as
Eddie Sr.
From the IMDb:
The several misadventures and life-lessons learned by 8-year-old Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver in an entertaining and hilarious tale of a small-town Ohio family and the daily trials and tribunes of life.
O'Bservation: I'm sure that writer meant "tribulations" instead of "tribunes".

Because of the genetic changes for Ward and June Cleaver, Wally and Beaver were altered in their appearance.  But the Cineverse is never going to be an exact copy of Toobworld so Eddie Haskell’s father looks more like the Eddie Haskell of Toobworld, but from later in his life.

Here’s to you, ya goon.  Thanks for cutting through the vanilla blandness of the 1950s to show us a more realistic TV American.

You’ll find the Squirt is already a member of the Hall….


Saturday, June 6, 2020

THE BALLAD OF RAY BALLARD



Ray Ballard was one of those journeyman actors who appeared in so many different TV productions and usually in small "blink and you miss him" roles. He was one of those "Hey, it's that guy!" type of actors who might go unnoticed... except by others like yours truly.

Looking through his list of credits, many of them nameless, there were three categories that jumped out at me:
  • Newsman/Reporter
  • Photographer
  • Poker Player
I'm going to claim that the reporter and the photographer were twin brothers, each traveling the country to pursue their careers. The newsman was probably based in Los Angeles, although he did follow a story in New York City.

He may have been there to visit his twin brother who was working in the Big Apple at the time. And the photographer was not only a "Crime Photographer", but also working as a fashion photographer. As a news photographer, his assignments took him to Clayton City and to San Francisco (where he dabbled in more lurid pictures.)

Ballard also played a Poker Player in two different series. I think I'll just split those between the twins, with the one game definitely set in California going to the reporter.



That gives both brothers four roles each (and Ballard himself eight) which gives them both the right to enter the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.

Since it can't be unequivocally stated that all of these roles are connected, I'm inducting the newshound and the shutterbug as a Birthday Honors List choice. "What I say, goes."


It's also appropriate that it falls under the sign of Gemini.

'Quincy M.E.'

1st Newsman

- "A Star Is Dead" (1976)


'McCloud'
2nd Reporter
- "Who Says You Can't Make Friends in New York City?" (1970)

'Run for Your Life'

Stuffy Reporter

- "I Am the Late Diana Hays" (1966)

'The Feather and Father Gang'

Poker Player

- "Never Con a Killer" (1977)


'The Invisible Man'
Poker Player
- "Pin Money" (1975)


'Ironside'
Creepy photographer #1
- "Eat, Drink and Be Buried" (1967)

'The Name of the Game'

Photographer

- "The Showdown" (1971)

'Family Affair'

Photographer / Make-up Man

- "Star Dust" (1967)




BCnU!

Friday, June 5, 2020

TVXOHOF, JUNE 2020 - ROLAND THE RAT


Traditionally, the month of June inductees into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame has either been a series of pairs (to reflect the Gemini motif) or puppets because -# well… because I like puppets.

Now with the added Friday Hall of Famers to bolster the membership, Toobworld Central doesn’t have to choose one over the other each year.

Because we ran a memorial induction on Monday the First, we’re using the first Friday Hall of Famer spot for the monthly showcase.  And we’re siding on the side of puppetry to kick things off….

ROLAND RAT

From Wikipedia:
Roland Rat is a British television puppet character. He was created, operated and voiced by David Claridge, who had previously designed and operated Mooncat, a puppet in the Children's ITV television programme ‘Get Up and Go!’ Claridge worked for Jim Henson, then the second series of ‘The Young Ones’. Claridge would later operate and voice Brian the Dinosaur for BBC's ‘Parallel 9’; create and direct ‘Happy Monsters’, a preschool series for Channel 5; and shoot a CGI series, ‘Mozart's Dog’, for Paramount Comedy.

Roland lives beneath King's Cross railway station in The Ratcave and also in Ratcave Two under the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles. He has an infant brother called Little Reggie and had a relationship with a guinea pig called Glenis. His colleagues include dour Welsh technical whizz Errol the Hamster and over-enthusiastic self-appointed "number one ratfan" Kevin the Gerbil, who is from Leeds and loves pink buckets. Claridge actually provides voices for all the main characters: Roland Rat, Errol the Hamster, Kevin The Gerbil, Little Reggie, Fergie the Ferret and Roland's father Freddie, as they often appear on screen together. Roland's car 'the Ratmobile' is a bright pink 1953 Ford Anglia.


Roland Rat first appeared on 1 April 1983 (Good Friday) on the ailing breakfast television network TV-am, and is generally regarded as its saviour, being described as "the only rat to join a sinking ship". After a couple of months on TV-am, Roland took the audience from 100,000 to 1.8 million. Roland was launched at TV-am by Children's editor Anne Wood to give kids entertainment during the Easter holidays.

Initially, Roland was featured as the host of ‘The Shedvision Show’, ostensibly broadcast from a wooden shack on the roof of TV-am's studios. On the strength of this, Roland was soon given a regular slot every morning introducing cartoons for younger viewers.


Arguably Roland Rat's golden age on TV-am was the period from summer 1983 until summer 1985. During this period, Roland and friends would feature in a half hour episode transmitted on school holiday weekdays on TV-am from 9.00 am. The school summer holidays of 1983 and 1984 saw ‘Rat on the Road’ in which Roland and Kevin would spend each week in a different town of the United Kingdom. One notable highlight during this period was the visit of Austrian racing driver Roland Ratzenberger who appeared on the show in a motor race against the Ratmobile ending with Ratzenberger's car being sabotaged by his near-namesake.

On 3 October 1985, he transferred to the BBC, for a three-year contract, which ended up being extended to six years. Roland said, "I saved TVam and now I'm here to save the BBC."


Roland made a number of series during his time at the BBC, most notably ‘Roland Rat the Series’, a chat show set in Roland's sewer home, now converted into a high-tech media centre called the ‘Ratcave the show’ would intersperse the chat show segments with a storyline involving some sort of situation "behind the scenes".

Roland also made two spoof drama series, ‘Tales of the Rodent Sherlock Holmes’, in which he played Holmes with Kevin as Dr Watson, and ‘Ratman’, a ‘Batman’ spoof with Kevin as his sidekick, "Pink Bucket Man". During Christmas 1985, British Telecom operated a free "ratphone" number on 0800 800 800 where fans could listen to Roland's prerecorded Christmas message.

Roland would also host the children's game show entitled ‘Roland's Rat Race’, where child contestants answered general knowledge questions in a race car setting.


In the late 1990s he made a series for Channel 5, called ‘L.A. RAT’, which featured Roland and friends living in Los Angeles. In 2003 Roland was a guest presenter for ITV children's ‘CiTV’.

Roland appeared on ‘Big Brother UK’ several times, his first being 2004 in a task that involved the housemates playing a version of 20 Questions in order to guess the identity of various celebrities.

In December 2007, Roland Rat appeared on a puppet special of the ‘Weakest Link’ hosted by Anne Robinson which was originally broadcast on Friday 28 December 2007 at 18:00GMT on BBC One. Roland reached the final round with Soo from ‘The Sooty Show’ which went to sudden death after initially drawing with four points each. Roland ultimately lost out to Soo's superior wisdom in the tense final standoff.


Roland appeared in the fourth episode of the second series of ‘Ashes to Ashes’. This appearance was anachronistic, as the show is set in 1982 whereas Roland did not debut until the following year.

On 11 February 2010, whilst making an appearance on BBC's ‘The One Show’ to answer a question about how children's programmes have changed over the years, Roland Rat spent so much time joking about the presenters (Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley) that Adrian ended the interview before he answered the question.

I could be wrong about what delineates a TV series the UK, but from the Wikipedia entry above, it looks as though Roland have at least thirteen entries to his qualifications.

So welcome aboard another sinking ship, Roland!  Enjoy your stay in the Hall and have fun hanging around with the other puppet members… no strings attached.


Sorry about that….

Monday, June 1, 2020

MONDAY MEMORIAL TVXOHOF TRIBUTE - JERRY HUBBARD


It has been some time since the Television Crossover Hall of Fame has conducted a Monday Memorial TVXOHOF Tribute.  To be honest, I’d rather not ever have one again.  But that’s not the way of the world.

And after such a hiatus, we have now two memorial tributes to cover.  (The other will be presented next week so that both TV characters get their proper due.)

This week we remember….

JERRY HUBBARD

From the Guardian:
The American comedy actor Fred Willard, who has died aged 86, never took top billing on screen, but he found his niche as a scene-stealer in the mockumentaries of Christopher Guest, among others, usually playing characters invested with authority who prove to be inept, clueless or simply unintentionally funny.


His breakthrough came with ‘Fernwood Tonight’ (1977), a satire on talk shows, when he played Jerry Hubbard, sidekick to Martin Mull’s smarmy host, Barth Gimble, giving a taste of what was to come.  

In 1968, Willard married Mary Lovell, a playwright, who died in 2018. He is survived by their daughter, Hope.

• Frederick Charles Willard, actor, born 18 September 1933; died 15 May 2020


From Wikipedia:
[Fred] Willard achieved wider fame in 1977 and '78 as Martin Mull's sidekick and announcer Jerry Hubbard on the ‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman’ spinoffs ‘Fernwood 2 Night’, ‘Forever Fernwood’, and ‘America 2-Night’, which parodied the nighttime talk shows of the day.  


‘Fernwood 2 Night’ (or ‘Fernwood Tonight’) is a comedic television program that was broadcast weeknights from July 1977 to September 1977. It was created by Norman Lear and produced by Alan Thicke as a spin-off/summer replacement from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. It was a parody talk show, hosted by Barth Gimble (Martin Mull) and sidekick/announcer Jerry Hubbard (Fred Willard), complete with a stage band, "Happy Kyne and the Mirthmakers" (featuring Frank De Vol as the dour "Happy" Kyne, and Tommy Tedesco as one of the guitarists). Barth was purportedly the twin brother of Garth Gimble from ‘Mary Hartman’.

Like ‘Mary Hartman’, ‘Fernwood 2 Night’ was set in the fictional small town of Fernwood, Ohio. The show satirized real talk shows as well as the sort of fare one might expect from locally produced, small-town, midwestern American television programming. Well-known actors usually appeared playing characters or a contrivance had to be written for the celebrity to appear as themselves. (In one episode, Tom Waits's tour bus happened to break down in Fernwood.)

After one season of ‘Fernwood’, the producers revamped the show for 1978 as ‘America 2-Night’. In this second version, Barth and Jerry's show moved from Fernwood to Southern California (specifically, the fictional city of "Alta Coma, the unfinished furniture capital of the world!") and was broadcast nationally on the fictional UBS network (presumably a reference to the film Network), whose slogan was "We put U before the BS". The change to a Southern California setting made it more plausible for real-life celebrities to appear on the program as themselves.

In 2001, Mull and Willard reprised their roles in a stage appearance and retrospective at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.

Reruns of ‘Fernwood/America 2-Night’ were broadcast on Nick at Nite from 1990 to 1993 and TV Land in 2002 as part of their "TV Land Kitschen" block, also hosted by Mull and Willard.

(O’Bservation: If I’m not mistaken, they appeared in character.)

Here are the TV series in which Jerry Hubbard provided some off-kilter whimsy to the World of the Toob:


JERRY HUBBARD
1977
Fernwood 2night
44 episodes


1977
Forever Fernwood


1978
America 2-Night
65 episodes

Welcome to the Hall, Jerry!  You’ll find other talk show sidekicks here to pal around with… like Regis Philbin and Ed McMaho
n


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