Friday, February 27, 2015

THE HAT SQUAD: REMEMBERING TERRY BECKER


At the end of December we lost actor/director Terry Becker.  Here is his entry from Wikipedia:

Terry Becker (August 5, 1921 – December 30, 2014) was an American film and television actor, Emmy-winning director and producer. He is best known for his role as Chief Francis Ethelbert Sharkey in seasons 2 through 4 of the television series 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea'. Becker took the role after the death of actor Henry Kulky, who had played the submarine's Chief (Curly Jones) during the first season of the series. Terry Becker also made two guest appearances on 'Perry Mason'. In 1958 he played murder victim Philip Larkin in "The Case of the Prodigal Parent", and in 1960 he played Prosecuting Attorney Everett Ransome in "The Case of the Violent Village."

Becker's work behind the camera began with the TV series 'Room 222,' on which he was associate producer. He also directed eight episodes of the series. Becker went on to directing assignments on many other TV series, including 'Mission: Impossible', 'M*A*S*H', 'Love, American Style', 'The Brady Bunch' and others, plus a motion picture, "The Thirsty Dead", which he also produced. In 1973, he partnered with actor Carroll O'Connor to form O'Connor-Becker Productions. In 1983, the partnership split up and Becker continued producing as a solo producer under his own Becker Productions and Becker Enterprises banners.

'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' was set about ten years into the future from its time of broadcast, which would mean many of the episodes occurred around the mid-1970s.  This means that Chief Sharkey is ten years younger than Terry Becker.  I'd like to think this guarantees the Chief to be still alive in Toobworld until 2025.

Francis Ethelbert Sharkey is also the brother to career Navy man Otto Sharkey who was a Chief Petty Officer stationed in San Diego.  So O'Bviously both Sharkey brothers pursued maritime careers; Chief Sharkey probably started out in the Navy and then retired to take the job with the Nelson Institute.

Good night and may God bless, Terry Becker.....


Thursday, February 26, 2015

ANOTHER IMDb INACCURACY


Once again, good ol' IMDb has faulty information when it comes to actor identification.....

'THE NAME OF THE GAME'
"LOVE-IN AT GROUND ZERO"

When you look through the cast list for this episode, you'll see Al Molinari - legendary for playinng Murray the Cop ('The Odd Couple') and Al on 'Happy Days' - listed as being uncredited for the episode.

He's uncredited because he's not even in it!

The IMDb does list Fabian Dean among the supporting players and he's the actor whose character must have been confused with Molinari by a contributor.  Here's Dean from the episode in which he played a head shop owner on the Las Vegas strip who was questioned by Howard Publications editor Andy Hill and private eye Ed Wallaby:


At best he could have played Al Molinari's brother.  

The Aveleyman site has a page dedicated to pictures of Fabian Dean, but they don't have this episode even listed among his credits.  Dean was born in the same year as my Dad, 1929, but he died relatively young in 1971.

Hopefully somebody at IMDb will see this and set the record straight....

BCnU!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TIDDLYWINKYDINKS - THE QUAGGA


'ELEMENTARY'
"THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES"
As we all (should) know, Toobworld is different from the Real World - they have aliens and androids, talking animals, talking food, extra nations on the map.

But the off-shoot TV dimension of "Lit-Less Toobworld" (in which literary characters exist in a world that doesn't contain their original inspirations, like Sherlock Holmes and Ichabod Crane, maybe even Dracula!) has something that the main Toobworld of Earth Prime-Time doesn't even have:

Quagga!





From Wikipedia:
The quagga (Equus quagga quagga) is an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra that lived in South Africa until the nineteenth century. It was long thought to be a distinct species, but genetic studies have shown it to be the southernmost subspecies of the plains zebra. It is considered particularly close to Burchell's zebra. Its name is derived from its call, which sounds like "kwa-ha-ha".

The quagga is believed to have been around 257 cm (8 ft 5 in) long and 125–135 cm (4 ft 1 in–4 ft 5 in) tall at the shoulder. It was distinguished from other zebras by its limited pattern of primarily brown and white stripes, mainly on the front part of the body. The rear was brown and without stripes, and therefore more horse-like. The distribution of stripes varied considerably between individuals. Little is known about the quagga's behaviour, but it may have gathered into herds of 30–50 individuals. Quaggas were said to be wild and lively, yet were also considered more docile than Burchell's zebra. They were once found in great numbers in the Karoo of Cape Province and the southern part of theOrange Free State in South Africa.

Since Dutch settlement of South Africa began, the quagga was heavily hunted as it competed with domesticated animals for forage. While some individuals were taken to zoos in Europe, breeding programs were not successful. The last wild population lived in the Orange Free State, and the quagga was extinct in the wild by 1878. The last captive specimen died in Amsterdam on 12 August 1883. Only one quagga was ever photographed alive and only 23 skins are preserved today. In 1984, the quagga was the first extinct animal to have its DNA analysed, and the Quagga Project is trying to recreate the phenotype of hair coat pattern and related characteristics by selectively breeding Burchell's zebras.

For even more on this lamented beastie, click here.

The 'Elementary' episode didn't elaborate on what was the fate of the two baby quagga, and I'm hoping that they were a boy and a girl so that they could be bred to revive the species on that world.

If only the same eventually can happen in the Real World as well......

BCnU!

I would start a Wiki Wednesday, but I'd get bored......

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TUESDAY NEWS DAY - SEA MONSTERS ARE COMING BACK



Back in the 1970s, Sid and Marty Krofft were the kings of Saturday morning live action programming for kids. 'H.R. Pufnstuf', 'Liddsville', 'Land Of The Lost', and 'Sigmund And The Sea Monsters' were their biggest shows during that time.

And now the Kroffts are hoping to bring back 'Sigmund', thanks to a development deal which they've signed with Amazon Studios. Sid and Marty have agreed to produce a pilot that updates and reimagines the character of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.

I'm hoping, probably against hope, that this will be a continuation and not a complete reboot. If they want to bring back Sigmund, that's fine. Hopefully looking as he did back in the 1970s, but shouid he be digitized or his look revamped, I'm sure that can be splained away. After all, it's a living puppet type of character, and being a "sea monster" some techno-babble could be employed.

I'm just hoping that they come up with new characters for the humans who interact with Sigmund. They shouldn't be updated recastaways of the kid, the housekeeper, and the old lady who were played by Johnny Whitaker, Mary Wickes and Margaret Hamilton respectively.

If that happens, then off the new series would go to the Land O' Remakes. If it gets as far as a series, that is.....



BCnU!

Monday, February 23, 2015

THEORIES OF RELATEEVEETY - 'CHICAGO P.D.' & 'DOWNTON ABBEY'


'CHICAGO P.D.'
"A LITTLE DEVIL COMPLEX"


Lady Cora Crawley, of 'Downton Abbey', had a brother named Harold Levenson who was heir to their father's dry goods empire in the United States (even though their mother Martha was the real power in the family dynasty.)  He came over to England to visit his sister at Downton in 1923 and lamented the fact that he had yet to settle down.

But at some point after 1924, Harold showed signs of maturity and must have finally found a woman he could love with whom he could start a family.  (It may even turn out that he found himself returning to Madeleine Allsopp with whom he was admittedly attracted to.)

I believe that he had several children, one of them at least being a girl whom I think married a man named Stegg who moved his family to Chicago.

Among their children, probably their youngest, was a son named Barry.  Barry Stegg was questioned by the Chicago P.D. about one of his co-workers, Adrian Gish, whom they suspected to be a thrill-seeking serial arsonist.


BCnU!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

VIDEO SUNDAY - BAD LIP READING THEATER


GAME OF THRONES







THE WALKING DEAD



Saturday, February 21, 2015

SATURDAY MORNING SUPERHEROES - SIRENS STYLE



With the second season premiere of 'Sirens' ("Superdick"), there was a lot of talk about comic book superheroes.  Among the mentions:
  • Lex Luthor
  • Kryptonite
  • Superman
  • Clark Kent
  • The Flash
  • Batman
  • Aquaman
  • The phone booth trope
Some of those mentioned exist(ed) in Earth Prime-Time as well, but at least one has yet to truly break free from the pages of that four-color world.....

On an emergency call, Johnny, Hank, and Brian found a woman tied to her bed with her boyfriend unconscious on the floor... dressed in a superhero costume. The EMTs wanted to know if she had been tied up by Lex Luthor and if her boyfriend had been struck by Kryptonite.

One of the failings of Toobworld's official version of the legend of Superman, "The Adventures Of Superman", was the lack of super villains from the comic books. Watching those old shows now, it's hard to believe it kept kids enthralled for so long when all he had as enemies were weaselly little gangsters and Joe Besser wannabes. Where was Brainiac? Mr. Mxzyptlyk? But most of all, where was Lex Luthor?

I've written about Superman of Toobworld's unseen super villains in the past, and character actor RG Armstrong has always been my first choice for playing Lex Luthor.  He would have been a real "get" for the role back in the fifties and may have opened the doors to other better known actors requesting the chance to appear on the series in much the same way would happen a decade later with 'Batman'.


So I'm citing the Khan-Chekov Principle in that although we never got to see Lex Luthor in action in Earth Prime-Time (as opposed to the TV dimensions of Land O' Remakes, Comic Book Toobworld, and the West Wing Dimension), we can accept that he was out there in the Vast Wasteland and that the joke/question reference to him in this episode is an acknowledgement of his existence.

Kryptonite did show up in the original series; at least six episodes focused on the deadly meteorite remnants of Superman's homeworld.  And although Superman is considered dead in Earth Prime-Time, actually killed by Kryptonite, the green glowing mineral is still out there, although basically harmless to Earthlings.  (No fear for the Kandorians, who were transported by Superman - perhaps with help from the Doctor? - to their own new planet as seen in "The Little People", an episode of 'The Twilight Zone'.  As for Supergirl, I get this feeling the new CBS series about Supergirl will have to be in its own TV dimension or that of Comic Book Toobworld.  And Power Girl?  I think she could be in Earth Prime-Time - I think she SHOULD  be in Toobworld! - but my thoughts on her are best not telecast.....)

As I said, Superman/Clark Kent is dead in Toobworld, but at one point the characters wonder where Superman changes "now" since there are really no telephone booths anymore with the advent of smart phones.  (One suggestion was "Port-O-Potties".)  But I think this would be a reference to the Superman depicted in the movies and whoever asked the question just hasn't seen any of them.....

Brian pointed out that the costume worn by "Super Jim" suggested Superman because of the red cape, but that there was a subtle nod to the Flash as well.

Barry Allen can be currently seen on the CW in a remake of 'The Flash' TV series, which means it belongs in the Land O' Remakes (but also in Comic Book Toobworld.)  The original Flash was active in 1990 for a few years, but he has not been seen on our TV screens for over two decades.  Oddly enough, the father of "Remake Barry", Henry Allen, looks EXACTLY like Barry Allen of Earth Prime-Time. 

I was intrigued by a theory put forth by master "crossovarchivist" Thom Holbrook in which Henry Allen actually was the Barry Allen of the main Toobworld.  As in the comic books, the TV Flash must have been able to manifest the power to vibrate himself (That sounds dirty - let's say "Phase himself") into another dimension.  Why?  Probably he was in pursuit of James Jesse, AKA The Trickster, who had found a way to go dimension-hopping himself and took a couple of hostages with him - Dr. Tina McGee from S.T.A.R. Labs and police officer Tony Nelson.

The Flash would have given chase, but the exertion through the dimensional veil proved to be too much.  It sapped him of his powers forever and left all four of them stranded in that new Toobworld, forced to make new lives for themselves.  (Barry didn't so much change his name to Henry, but more than likely "Barry" was a nickname and he reverted back to his true name.) 

Dr. Tina McGee has shown up in the new series so far, with James Jesse and Tony Bellows soon to follow.  And all of them are played by the original actors:
  • Barry/Henry Allen - John Wesley Shipp
  • Dr. Tina McGee - Amanda Pays
  • James Jesse/The Trickster - Mark Hamill
  • Tony Bellows - Vito D'Ambrosio
I don't know why the Trickster would have agreed, but I think they all swore to keep their secret from others in this new world.  Tony Bellows will have gone on to become the mayor of Central City.  And Dr. Tina McGee has become more cynical as the years passed - perhaps because Barry Allen fell in love with somebody else with whom he had a son, also known as Barry.

It's an intriguing theory and I may adopt it, giving credit to Thom, of course.  But I think the other reason why we haven't seen the Flash in the main Toobworld for all of these years is that his powers burned out in his metabolism through constant use.  As for the other characters, those are just their counterparts in the alternate dimension.  It's a much simpler splainin and for Toobworld, citing Occam's Razor is the way to go.

During a conversation about dating superheroes, Hank said he would rather date Batman - rich and mysterious.  (He gave a third reason, but my DVR recording kept cutting out during key lines for that one episode.)

Batman is an interesting superhero for Toobworld, in that theoretically there has been more than one since the early 1960s.  The first one was millionaire Bruce Wayne of Gotham City who established a good working relationship with the Gotham City Police Department and was well regarded by the general public.

But an unforeseen problem arose at the height of his crime-fighting career when his true identity as Bruce Wayne was revealed to the world.  The shadowy organization UNREEL stepped in, hoping to stem the damage by creating a TV show about Batman and Robin and even naming Wayne and his youthful ward Dick Grayson as the heroes.  This way, anybody who tried to perpetuate the allegation that Bruce Wayne was Batman could be laughed off as confusing the TV show for real life.  (For the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, an actor named Adam West was hired because of his uncanny resemblance to the millionaire superhero.)

But the ruse could only work for so long and eventually Bruce Wayne retired as Batman.  However, the Dark Knight would not go quietly into that good night.  Over the decades there may have been a succession of men who donned the cowl to become the Batman, perhaps even starting with Dick Grayson.  And behind the scenes, Bruce Wayne continued to fund the campaign against evil with his fortune.  Further assistance from UNREEL began again in 1989 with the first of a string of theatrically released movies about Batman.....

If the public wanted to continue to believe these Batmen were Bruce Wayne, perhaps it was for the best to protect the Batman's real identity.  But here's the general rule of thumb for Toobworld Central - if Batman is referenced as Bruce Wayne, it is a call-back to the 1960s iteration of the hero.  If only Batman is mentioned and epecially in the present tense, than it is a reference to the current hero, whomever he may be under that mask.  And if Batman and Bruce Wayne are mentioned as being one and the same and still active, then that person is O'Bviously confused and blurring the line between fiction and "reality".

The girlfriend offered her suggestion for a superhero she would like to date - Aquaman.  When it was pointed out that he is one of the lamest superheroes ever, she reminded them that he would never have to come up for air.  Nudge nudge wink wink!

Of all the references so far in this episode, Aquaman is the only one who doesn't actually exist in the main Toobworld... yet.  So far he's only a comic book character who was transformed into a feature film role played by Vincent Chase ('Entourage').  Over in the TV dimension of 'Smallville' & 'The West Wing', Aquaman did show up, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he has a doppelganger in Earth Prime-Time.

One day this may change.  We'll see....

Excelsior!

Friday, February 20, 2015

TV-GPS: URKESH THEN AND NOW



'Forever'
"The King Of Columbus Circle"


This week's case investigated by Dr. Henry Morgan, one of the medical examiners for the NYPD, was the murder of the deposed king of Urkesh.

From Wikipedia:
Urkesh or Urkish (modern Tell Mozan‎) is a tell, or settlement mound, located in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains in Al-Hasakah Governorate, northeastern Syria. It was founded during the fourth millennium BC possibly by the Hurrians on a site which appears to have been inhabited previously for a few centuries.

Urkesh was an ally of the Akkadian Empire through what is believed to have been a dynastic marriage tradition. Tar'am-Agade the daughter of the Akkadian king, Naram-Sin, is believed to have been married to the king of Urkesh. During the early second millennium BC the city passed into the hands of the rulers of Mari, a city a few hundred miles to the south. The king of Urkesh became a vassal (and apparently an appointed puppet) of Mari. The people of Urkesh evidently resented this, as the royal archives at Mari provide evidence of their strong resistance; in one letter, the king of Mari tells his Urkesh counterpart that "I did not know that the sons of your city hate you on my account. But you are mine, even if the city of Urkesh is not." 


In the middle of the millennium, Tell Mozan was the location of a Mitanni religious site. The city appears to have been largely abandoned circa 1350 BC, although the reason for this is unknown to archaeologists at this time.

But that's the real world.


Although the King of Urkesh and his entourage were on the Orient Express in Romania back in 1955, and their style of dress suggested Europe, I think Urkesh should still be located in that northern area of Syria, but the kingdom should be a larger territory carved out of the existing country.  

As to why the Royal Family of Urkesh was on the train from Bucharest to Istanbul, along with Dr. Morgan and his wife, the King was on his way to depositing his son elsewhere to keep him safe from the revolution that was soon to come.

Urkesh still exists in Earth Prime-Time but it's no longer a monarchy.  It's more like an old-style Stalinist state with totalitarian tactics.

BCnU!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

TVXOHOF MEMBER UPDATE - THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD



When it comes to Hall of Famer Lassie, there are two categories in which to find "her" in Toobworld: there is the movie character and there are those dogs throughout the world (and at least one pig) who were named after the movie character.

When the Stone family visited Hollywood, there were only two celebrities that they met on their trip: movie director George Sidney and movie star Lassie.  There was no Zonk involved with the appearance of Lassie.  What was especially fortuitous was that there was no mention of the popular TV show that was on the air at that time.

 

BCnU!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

THEORY OF RELATEEVEETY WISH-CRAFT - REMEMBERING LOUIS JOURDAN


From the Hollywood Reporter:

Louis Jourdan, the debonair leading man who romanced Leslie Caron in "Gigi" and played a wealthy Afghan prince in the James Bond film "Octopussy," has died. He was 93.
The French actor, who brought his smooth, continental charm to such films as "Letters From an Unknown Woman" (1948), "The Happy Time" (1952) and "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954), died Saturday [February 14, 2015] in his Beverly Hills home, according to French publication Le Point.
For Toobworld, I would think his best-known role would be that of Paul Gerard, the debonnair restaurant critic who murdered a restaurant owner in "Murder Under Glass", an episode of 'Columbo'.  But that could be only because 'Columbo' is one of my five favorite TV shows.  
He also starred in a very good suspense film for TV with Mary Tyler Moore and Wilfred Hyde-White called "Run A Crooked Mile".  If you can track it down, I highly recommend it.
It's too late now, but I think he would have been perfect for a theory of relateeveety in which he could have played the father of a character played by Burn Gorman.  Certainly not the father of Welshman Owen Harper who worked for Torchwood.  And if they were able to get him to play a relative to "Adam", the immortal adversary to Dr. Henry Morgan on 'Forever', then I think it might have been interesting if Jourdan played the elderly grandchild of Gorman's.


As I said, it's too late now.  But take a look at the pictures of those two actors.  I've seen far worse cases of "relateeveety" over the years.  

Who knows?  Maytbe one day Burn Gorman might play Louis Jourdan in a biopic, or a behind the scenes docu-drama about the making of "Gigi" or "Octopussy"........
BCnU!