Saturday, June 25, 2016

SUPERHERO SATURDAY - BATMAN '60



Let's start this Superhero Saturday post off with "Conversation Pieces"......


Harry Crane:
Draper?

Who knows anything about that guy? 

No one's ever lifted that rock.
He could be Batman for all we know.
'Mad Men'
 


Commissioner Gordon:
I don't know who he is behind that mask of his, 
but I do know when we need him... 
and we need him now!
'Batman'

The date for this particular episode on the Toobworld timeline was April 11, 1960.  This was determined by a 'Mad Men' Timeline fan-site due to the debut of the VW "Lemon" ad in Life Magazine.


For anyone else watching 'Mad Men', Harry's reference to Batman would have to be to the superhero in the comic books, since the TV series would not debut for another six years.  

But as my loyal Team Toobworld must have realized by now, Toby's brain don't play dat.

When it comes to Earth Prime-Time, the Caped Crusader and his sidekick Robin the Boy Wonder were already established in Gotham City by the time that first episode, "Hi Diddle Riddle", premiered on ABC.  This can be inferred by the conversation Commissioner Gordon had with Batman:


Bruce Wayne: 
Yes, Commissioner?
Commissioner Gordon: 
You'll never guess who's on the loose. 
Your old archenemy, the Riddler.
Bruce Wayne: 
Good heavens!
Dick Grayson: 
Him again!

To have such a rapport with a costumed vigilante, of whom you have no clue as to their true identity (see the Commissioner's quote at the top), that you have no problem establishing a line of communication with a private phone line....  Well, it's O'Bvious to me that Batman has been working with the Gotham City Police Department for years, perhaps even for over a decade.  (And that would open the possibility that the Superman and Batman of the main Toobworld could have worked together as well back in the 1950s... but most likely without the Boy Wonder.)


So when Harry Crane mentions the possibility that Don Draper could be Batman - even though Draper lives in Manhattan and that other "DD", the Dynamic Duo are centered in Gotham City - that means Batman has been fighting crime long enough to have established his presence on a national level, thanks to news media coverage.  

After all, battling just the Riddler alone for over a dozen times must have taken some time, let alone all the other costumed criminals he collared.

Commissioner Gordon: 
The Riddler. 
That infernal prince of puzzlers who's outwitted us a dozen times.

BCnU, Toob Believers!


Friday, June 24, 2016

DE-ZONKING "THE GOLDBERGS" (NO, NOT THE NEW ONES.....)



While doing a little research for my Hat Squad tribute to Ann Morgan Guilbert, I found this dialogue exchange from her appearance on 'Newhart' in the episode "Georgie and Bess":

Aunt Bess:
Those days, you couldn't tear Georgie away from the radio.  
As I recall, your favorite was 'The Goldbergs'.
George Utley:
That's 'cause I had a crush on Gertrude Berg....
Until my Dad showed me a picture of her.

Luckily there aren't many Zonks in connection to 'The Goldbergs'.  If anything, any future references will probably be traced back to the current ABC sitcom which debuted in 2013.  But thanks to this piece of dialogue, we can claim any reference to the previous incarnation of 'The Goldbergs' is to the radio show.


According to Wikipedia, the radio show ran from 1929 to 1946.  And as is the case with many of the TV show Zonks we have to disable, 'The Goldbergs' was based on "real-life" people, in this instance, a family from the Bronx.

There are only two Zonks that I can find which make reference to 'The Goldbergs'.  The first one occurred during the 12th season premiere of 'The Ed Sullivan Show' - Joe E. Lewis joked that the food served on the show wasn't kosher.

There is no problem in considering this to be a call-back to the radio show which ended a dozen years earlier.  Lewis would have known that the majority of his audience would have remembered it.

That same argument can be made with the second Zonk.....

'MAD MEN'
"THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO"

Pete Campbell: 
What was that in there?
Harry Crane:

What?
Pete Campbell:
Don and Molly Goldberg, did you see that?
Harry Crane:
Yeah I caught it, what's your point?
Pete Campbell:
I don't know.

Pete's description of client Rachel Menken as 'Molly Goldberg' had nothing to do with the way Miss Menken looked.  (For alls I know, Pete - like George Utley before him - might not have even known what Gertrude Berg looked like.  No, that nickname was all about her being Jewish.)

Again, there's no reason for this reference to be anything but calling back to the radio show, even though it ended fourteen years earlier.  ("The Marriage Of Figaro" took place in April of 1960.)  Pete Campbell was born in 1932 (based on the age of the actor Vincent Kartheiser at the time of filming.) and so would have been old enough to remember listening to the show with his family.

Someday, Molly Goldberg and the entire Goldberg Family will make it into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  Soon enough I will have run out of Christmas-themed inductees into the Hall for the month of December, and so I think I would then dedicate the month to the theme of Multiversals & Multidimensionals. 

Molly Goldberg's family began as a radio show, was adapted into a TV series, from which a movie was made.  Just before the debut of the TV show, a stage play was developed from the material and in 1973 there was a musical called "Molly" which was based on the family.

As for their televersions, 'The Goldbergs' don't just exist in Earth Prime-Time.  They could also be found in the sketch comedy dimension of Skitlandia:

'Texaco Star Theatre'
Episode #5.4 (1952)
Berg and McQuade portray their characters from the series.
Episode #5.15 (1953) 
Characters from the show appear in this episode

Episode #6.20 (1954) 
Berg and McQuade portray their characters from the series.

According to Wikipedia:
In 1957, Gertrude Berg made her last two appearances as Molly Goldberg: first on an episode of the NBC-TV variety series 'Washington Square' with Ray Bolger, and then on a Kate Smith special that aired on ABC-TV.


It can't be claimed that she appeared on the 1954 Mother's Day edition of the game show 'What's My Line?' as the "Mystery Challenger", even though her placard identified her as such.  She signed in as Gertrude Berg and they talked about the TV show as just that, not as contemporaries in the main Toobworld.

BCnU!

Monday, June 20, 2016

THE HAT SQUAD: REMEMBERING ANN MORGAN GUILBERT


Just another Millie Monday.....


YETTA ROSENBERG:
[To Maxwell Sheffield}

She told me that you were going to come home from work, and kiss a perky brunette at the door, and take a terrible fall over the ottoman.

SYLVIA FINE:
Ma, that's the opening for 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'!

YETTA ROSENBERG:
I'm telling you, it was in this very house! 

[Yetta grabs Brighton Sheffield.]  

Here's Richie! 

[Yetta looks in the mirror.]  

And there's Millie!

('The Nanny' - "The Rosie Show")

I don't consider this a Zonk.  'The Dick Van Dyke Show' existed in the main Toobworld as a TV sitcom, even though Rob Petrie and his family & friends also existed in Earth Prime-Time.  That's because the show was based on the book by Rob Petrie.  It was then bought by Alan Brady to be a vehicle for himself when his variety show ended.  And that's what we see with the pilot "Head Of The Family".  However, just as it was in real life with Carl Reiner, it was agreed that Brady was not right for the role of Rob Petrie.  So the life story of Rob Petrie was recast with all of the same people we know from the real world who appeared in the actual 'Dick Van Dyke Show'.


And therefore, Yetta Rosenberg had seen the sitcom and incorporated it into her delusions.  As it happens, she did bear an incredible resemblance to not only to Millie Helper, but also to Ann Morgan Guilbert, who played Millie.

There is a Chicago psychologist named Dr. Bob Hartley who once had a very long dream which had been fueled by Japanese food.  In his nightmare scenario, Dr. Hartley was known as a Vermont innkeeper and author named "Dick Loudon".  It's most likely that Bob incorporated Ann Morgan Guilbert as Millie from the sitcom into the scenario as "Aunt Bess", the former mistress of George Utley's father back during WWII.  ("That's short for World War II." - George Utley)  I don't think that Dr. Hartley knew Millie Helper or Yetta Rosenberg, as they both lived in or near New York City while he was in Chicago.  


SHOWS CITED:
  • 'The Nanny' - "The Rosie Show"
  • 'Newhart' - "Georgie And Bess"
  • 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' - "The Last Chapter"
  • "Head Of The Family"
The missing links between those first three episodes are all thanks to Ann Morgan Guilbert, who played Yetta Rosenberg, Aunt Bess, and Millie Helper respectively.  

Sadly, Ms. Guilbert passed away this week.  This is my small tip of the hat to what she contributed to Toobworld as these characters and as herself.

Good night and may God bless.......


Sunday, June 19, 2016

VIDEO SUNDAY - MILLIE HELPER, DREAM GIRL?


In memory of Ann Morgan Guilbert, here is her full appearance as a character who never actually existed in the TV Universe, not in Earth Prime-Time, nor any of the many alternate Toobworlds.


"Aunt Bess" was a figment of Dr. Bob Hartley's imagination.  During a night in which he suffered through what must have felt like an endless nightmare, Dr. Bob dreamt that he was a Vermont innkeeper named Dick Loudon.  Several people from his waking life were incorporated into this dream.  Chief among them was Cliff Murdock, Bob's old college buddy best known as "The Peeper."  (He appeared in the dream as the inn's handyman, George Utley.)

Some of the people who populated Bob's dream were actually lifted from TV shows he had watched, perhaps even that night before he went to bed.  (In fact, the format of the dream may have been inspired by the TV show which was adapted from the life of lawyer turned farmer Oliver Wendell Douglas.)

Such a character could have been "Aunt" Bess.  We know 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' (officially known as 'Head Of The Family') was adapted from the autobiographical novel by Rob Petrie as a future sitcom vehicle for Alan Brady.  However, even he admitted that ultimately he wasn't right for the part.  So a young Broadway star named Dick Van Dyke (whose fictional televersion is acknowledged to exist in 'Supernatural', 'Community', 'Pushing Daisies', and 'Designing Women') was hired for the lead role instead.  


Among the other actors in that dream was Ann Morgan Guilbert, who played Millie Helper, the Petries' next-door neighbor.  I believe she was the inspiration for "Aunt" Bess - Not Millie, but Ms. Guilbert playing Millie.  Just because there was a TV show about the life of Rob Petrie, that doesn't mean there couldn't be a TV show about him.  You have to admit the premise of a family man who worked as the head writer for a TV show would have made for a great behind-the-scenes series on Toobworld TV.  (This may be what separates the 'Dick Van Dyke Show' of the real world from that of Toobworld: ours was a sitcom; the one watched by TV characters could have been a very funny real life documentary show.



I'll have more about Ann Morgan Guilbert and her place in Toobworld tomorrow.

Good night and may God bless.....

Saturday, June 18, 2016

MY FRIENDS IN TOOBWORLD: MARK THOMPSON 2016



In Earth Prime-Time, my friend Mark Thompson was once a rogue theoretical physicist whose work was stolen and used for evil.  This caused a breach in the Chronosynclastic Infundibulum separating the many worlds of the greater TV Universe.  Mark's televersion now wanders Toobworld hoping to correct what once went wrong, accompanied by his trusty sidekick Michael Finke.  (The Finkester is from an alternate TV dimension in which the demon Mr. Sweet holds sway and everyone is under the compulsion to reveal their true natures through the darker, more destructive components to be found in the gift of Music.  Michael was able to escape that Toobworld by way of the breach in the vortex and arrived on the main Toobworld where he and Mark soon found each other.)

In this year's latest episode.....


'THE TOOBWORLD CHRONICLES'
"WHO'S A FINKE?"


In their latest adventure, Mark and Michael are staying at the Heriot Silencio near Lake Silencio in Utah.  There they meet a time traveler known only as the Doctor (as well as his Companion Bill) and they hit it off immediately.  In fact, the Doctor jams with Michael in the hotel bar after hours - the Doctor on electric guitar, and Michael playing an experimental keyboard he had not quite finished building.  (This keyboard tapped into the cosmic rhythms of the Chronosynclastic Infundibulum.)  However, a freak electrical surcharge causes the keyboard to transfer Michael's consciousness into the Gallifreyan... and vice versa.  Neither body can handle the transfer.  Mark and Bill have no choice but to commandeer the TARDIS and bring both Michael and the Doctor into the heart of the Vortex to make right what once went wrong.....

What happens next?  You'll have to tune in!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARK THOMPSON!





[Promotional considerations provided by Heriot Hotels......]

THE HAT SQUAD: REMEMBERING MR. HOCKEY



"Forget all the goals and the awards, Gordie Howe has one nice looking butt."
Marc Staal
'Late Night with David Letterman'

From the Los Angeles Times:
[Gordie] Howe, known as “Mr. Hockey” for his enduring skills and the fierce competitiveness that inspired him to come out of retirement at 45 to play alongside two of his sons, died Friday, according to the Detroit Red Wings. He was 88.

“Mr Hockey left peacefully, beautifully, and with no regrets,” his son Murray Howe said in a text to the Associated Press.

Howe suffered a massive stroke on Oct. 26, 2014, and had rallied only to be felled by several subsequent strokes that robbed him of his speech and confined him to bed.

A member of hockey’s Hall of Fame and a longtime ambassador for the game, Howe had endured many health problems the last few years, including dementia and spinal surgery.

One of the strongest and most fearless players who ever laced up a pair of hockey skates, Howe played right wing with a blend of talent and toughness that made his name a part of the sport’s jargon. Although he retired for the last time in 1980, before many of today’s players were born, a player who gets a goal, an assist and a fighting penalty in a game is still said to have earned “a Gordie Howe hat trick,” a tribute to Howe’s ability to beat opponents at every facet of the game.


The televersion of Gordie Howe appeared in two shows: an episode of the Canadian drama 'E.N.G.', which was a behind-the-scenes look at a local TV news channel, and the sitcom 'Yes, Dear'.  Sadly, he only needed one more such appearance to have qualified for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, but he'll now be forever among the also-rans (unless I can find mention of his existence in some other series.)

YouTube had the full episode for 'E.N.G.', which had the hockey great show up at the station to award the anchorman with a medal which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the very first presentation of the Stanley Cup in 1893.  (If you only want to see Howe, he comes in near the very end of the episode.)


'E.N.G.'
"Overload"

An overly busy day at Channel 10 leaves everyone short tempered. Ann and Mike struggle to keep their relationship out of the office.(IMDb)


This next clip illustrated Jimmy's bucket list being fulfilled.  Among the celebrities he met were:
  • Gordie Howe
  • John Hiatt
  • Dale Ernhardt, Jr.
  • Fabio


The clip focuses on John Hiatt, but just before it cuts off Gordie Howe can be seen on the ice about to meet Jimmy.


'Yes, Dear'
"A List Before Dying"

At the studio, a piano almost falls on Jimmy. After escaping death, Jimmy goes through his box of "stuff" and finds a list of items he wanted to achieve when he got older. He begins to try accomplishing items still to do.
(IMDb)


When I was a kid, I really had no interest in sports.  But in several sports, there was one name which cut through my disinterest to come to my notice.  Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath, and Gordie Howe.

Good night and may God bless, Mr. Hockey......






Friday, June 17, 2016

THE HAT SQUAD: REMEMBERING SIR PETER SHAFFER



"I think think some of the reasons I've had a sense of happiness in my life, a sense of fulfillment, is that I began with a sense of invisibility about myself. As I evolve I become more visible. When I'm 100, if I manage to write lots of plays, I can read them all in a row and it may give me some vague sense - only vague - of what I am and was."
- Peter Shaffer

Peter Shaffer won't have that chance to read all of his plays in a row once he reached his centenary.  But he nearly made it: he died while on vacation in Ireland at the age of 90, another luminary (Robert F. Kennedy being another) to die on my birthday.  

British playwright Sir Peter Shaffer, who won an Oscar for "Amadeus" and wrote "Equus", has died at the age of 90.

Sir Peter was on a visit to Ireland and died with his niece Cressida at his side, his agent said.

He had won Tony Awards for both "Amadeus" and "Equus", which was later revived with "Harry Potter" actor Daniel Radcliffe in his West End lead debut.

He was able to fulfill that Irish blessing/curse, "May you die in Ireland......"

Sir Peter appeared as himself in a variety of documentaries, including a "Making Of..." about the movie version of "Amadeus".  But also in celebrations of Juliet Mills and of filmmakers in the San Francisco area.  

Several of his plays were produced for television, and a couple of those were staged several times over - something that is not uncommon in the TV dimension of ToobStage.  What makes that aspect even more interesting is that two of them - "Five Finger Exercise" & "Balance Of Terror" - were done in different languages. (There is only one ToobStage dimension, one that replays over and over, but which constantly reinvents itself.)

Here is a list of those plays which can be found in Toobstage:

"EQUUS"
Broadcast in Slovakia in 2008

"AMADEUS"
Broadcast in Romania in 1984

"FIVE FINGER EXERCISE"
Broadcast in Great Britain in 1970
Presented by 'Noche De Teatro' in Spain, 1974
Broadcast in Greece as "I Askisi Pente Daktylon" in 1978

"BALANCE OF TERROR"
Presented by 'Studio One' in 1958
Broadcast in Germany as "Terror In Der Waage" in 1960

"THE PRIVATE EAR"
Broadcast in Austria in 1967

"THE GIFT OF THE GORGON"
Broadcast in Portugal in 1999 as "O Poder Da Gorgone"

"BLACK COMEDY"
Broadcast in Portugal as "O Fusível" in 1997

"THE SALT LAND"
Presented by 'ITV Play Of The Week' in 1955

As many of you probably know, I'm more interested in the fictional "televersions" of people from the Real World.  And we have proof that Peter Shaffer did exist in the main Toobworld of Earth Prime-Time... even if we didn't get the chance to see him.


'MIDSOMER MURDERS'
"DEATH OF A HOLLOW MAN"

In the third episode of this long-running mystery series, DCI Tom Barnaby was helping out the Causton playhouse by painting sets for their production of "Amadeus".  (He probably wouldn't have gotten involved had not his wife Joyce been cast in the production.)  As it turned out, there was a lot of backstage intrigue as the production was plagued by several murders.


 

I was hoping for more references to the stage play, or to "Equus", in other TV shows.  But all I could find were references to the song "Rock Me, Amadeus" or to Mozart in a general sense.


Good night and may God bless, Sir Peter Shaffer.....

Thursday, June 16, 2016

TVXOHOF, BIRTHDAY HONORS LIST II - GEORGE KENNEDY, AJ'S IMAGINARY FRIEND


2017 will be a year of memorial tributes in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, with all of the new members having been played by actors who passed away in the last two years.  But there's one I'm celebrating this year since he's being inducted as a member of the League of Themselves (which is our theme for 2016.)
 
And I chose this particular date because I wanted him to gain membership on a "birthday honors list"... just not my birthday.
 

Today we honor the memory of actor George Kennedy, winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Dragline in "Cool Hand Luke", and who played Joe Patroni in all four movies in the "Airport" franchise.  In Toobworld his two biggest contributions may have been Bumper Morgan in the TV version of 'The Blue Knight', which officially made the beat cop a true "Multiversal" (BookWorld, the Cineverse, and Toobworld), and Father Samuel Cavanaugh AKA 'Sarge', the cop who became a priest.  Sarge was involved in a crossover with 'Ironside' which launched his show, but didn't get another chance at .  And unfortunately, three different entries were needed for the basic membership qualifications of the Hall of Fame.  Still it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that a way could be found to get Sarge in.  And I'm just crazy enough to pull it off.....
 
But for today, we're honoring George Kennedy as his own fine self.  And we're doing it on June 16 because today is my brother AJ's birthday.  And when he was a little kid, his imaginary friend was George Kennedy.
 
I don't think the George Kennedy of his imagination matched up to the real-life actor, but it didn't matter to me.  I had just seen the first "Airport" movie when AJ's fixation had begun and Joe Patroni had already quickly taxied his way into my list of all-time favorite movie characters.  A few years back when I took a look at the fictional versions of celebrities playing themselves, I showcased George Kennedy on AJ's birthday.  So I thought it only fitting to do so again now that he's passed away.....
 
George Kennedy, that is.  Not my brother!
 
Here are the three times George Kennedy has played himself in a fictional setting:
 

1] 'Wings' - "What About Larry?"
Stuck at Tom Nevers Airfield on Nantucket, Kennedy was basically stalked by Brian Hackett the whole time, peppering him with questions about the things he did as Patroni.
 

2] 'Benson' - "Reel Murders Parts One & Two"
After a Hollywood director was found dead in the Governor's mansion, Kennedy was among the suspects.  (It was Kennedy who wanted to use the mansion to film a movie.)
 

3] 'Saturday Night Live' - host in 1981, with Miles Davis as the musical guest.
While taping the show, all the cameras go out and the technicians all have heart attacks, so George Kennedy has to take charge and talk the show through to safety.

I was originally going to refer to the SNL appearance as being in Skitlandia because of that sketch mentioned above.  But a quick look through the Connections section of SNL's IMDb page shows that 'Saturday Night Live' is an accepted TV show within the TV Universe.  


Leaving aside any mentions of just catch-phrases and characters, here are some TV shows that acknowledge SNL as an actual show:
  • 'Square Pegs'
  • 'All In The Family'
  • 'Fame'
  • 'The Greatest American Hero'
  • 'ALF'
  • 'Who's The Boss?'
  • 'Designing Women'
  • 'The Larry Sanders Show'
  • 'The Golden Girls'
  • 'Married with Children'
  • 'The Nanny'
  • 'Freaks & Geeks'
  • 'SportsNight'
  • 'Even Stevens'
  • 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
And so all three of these appearances can be considered as being part of Earth Prime-Time.

Thank you, George Kennedy, for giving us so much entertainment in both the TV and the Movie Universes.

Good night and may God bless.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

THE HAT SQUAD: REMEMBERING JANET WALDO



From the Associated Press:
Janet Waldo, who provided the voice for Judy Jetson and many other cartoon characters, has died.

The veteran film, TV and radio actress died at age 96 at her home in Encino.

A native of Yakima, Wash., Waldo was featured in the futuristic series "The Jetsons," which initially aired in the 1960s. Her other credits included Josie in "Josie and the Pussycats" and Fred Flintstone's mother-in-law in "The Flintstones."


I'm sure I'm not alone among fans who saw Janet Waldo as the second most famous name among the women who were voice artists, after June Foray.  Among her characters, my favorite was Penelope Pitstop.  I had a soft spot for that daring young lady in her sports car back when um, strange things were happening.  Strange days indeed, Mama....


Eep opp ork ah-ah, Janet Waldo......

Monday, June 13, 2016

JUST ANOTHER MINUTIAE MONDAY: ALI ADDENDUM FOR THE TVXOHOF


In addition to his actual appearances as his fictional televersion on several shows, as well as the previously mentioned references to him in other shows, Muhammad Ali had two more mentions that warrant inclusion in his stats for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame: In 'NCIS', Director Leon Vance, a former boxer, has a framed photo in his office of Ali gloating over the floored Liston at the end of the second fight. In "Last Man Standing", he discusses the photo with Gibbs and mentions the fixing allegations. The 'Mad Men' episode "The Suitcase" from Season 4 revolves around the second fight [which Roger Sterling attended]. The outcome actually inspires Don Draper to a commercial. [from Wikipedia]