Saturday, November 13, 2004



To conclude the trilogy about TV shows that present two different TV universes*, we hearken back to Yesteryear, where we hear the cry of "Hi Ho, Silver!"

Heap big problem, Kemosabe - there are two men making that cry.

'The Lone Ranger' began its run on TV with Clayton Moore as the Masked Man. But when contract negotiations broke down between Moore and the producers, John Hart was brought in to assay the role of the Lone Ranger.

The suits must have thought that since the character was hidden away behind a mask, then the kids in the audience would never be able to figure out that there had been a switcheroo.

But as my Iddiot friend Stan could tell you, they noticed.

The experiment lasted two season, but it was obvious from the ratings that they couldn't pull the wool over the kids' eyes. So they brought back Clayton Moore to once again pull the mask over his eyes.

So instead of an alternate dimension at the beginning or the end of the episode, we now had a series that displayed the variant in the middle of the show's run.

But there's another splainin for the Lone Ranger who looked like John Hart. That's because he was John Hart, playing the Lone Ranger on a TV show that was seen by the populace of TV Land. What we saw during those two seasons were episodes from the Toobworld version of the Lone Ranger legend.

[Something similar happens all the time in the literary universe. One of the best examples is "Venus On The Half Shell". This book was written by Philip Jose Farmer as 'Kilgore Trout', the fictional author chronicled in various stories by Kurt Vonnegut.]

This splainin comes in handy decades later when John Hart appeared on shows like 'Happy Days' and 'The Greatest American Hero' as the man who portrayed the Lone Ranger on their TV shows.

It wouldn't be the only time we got to see the TV shows that the people of TV Land watched. Just recently there was a TV movie about the Brady Bunch, which had Mike Brady becoming President of the United States. Using the actors from the movie versions of the story, most likely they're the version known to other TV characters as 'The Brady Bunch'.

[It's always been my contention that the likes of the blended families who became 'The Brady Bunch' were the inspiration for a TV show within the TV universe. That's why so many other shows ('Day By Day' & 'The X-Files', for example) refer to 'The Brady Bunch' as a TV show and not part of their own universe.]

So Clayton Moore's portrayal embodied the real Lone Ranger in Toobworld, while John Hart was not the real thing but an incredible simulation.

But if the idea that a TV show we watch is watched by TV characters we watch is too much data input for your 2.0 mind, go back to the simpler splainin of the alternate universe. It will prevent your head from spinning so much that you'd want to put a silver bullet through your brain.

And on that cheery note....


*This trilogy of essays dealt with series that had full season pickups for their alternate dimensions. Next time up, we'll look at a few "singular" shows.....

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