Sunday, April 24, 2005


Today Pope Benedict XVI was officially installed as the Pontiff for the Catholic Church. And I'm still not ready to let the topic fade away.

(Although I suppose there are a couple of essays I can put aside for now. It's not like I'll have to wait another 26 years before I get the chance to use them. Sorry, Benny.....)


It's one of the main tenets of Toobworld that the characters from a TV show continue to exist in the TV Universe even after the show that housed them is canceled. They could even long outlive the actors who played them: Jeff Miller most likely still lives in Capital City even though Tommy Rettig passed away; Ted Baxter possibly still does commentary and specials on WJM news nearly twenty years after we lost the great Ted Knight.

And not only do they still exist, but their lives continue to evolve; they don't remain static and unchanged. For instance, during the intervening years between the last episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and the TV movie 'Mary and Rhoda', Mary Richards had married a congressman named Cronin, moved to New York, had a daughter named Rose, and became widowed. Meanwhile, her friend Rhoda moved to Paris after marrying a Frenchman (whom she later divorced) where she had a daughter, Meredith.

In 1971, a former San Diego cop named Samuel Cavanaugh was now a priest at St. Aloysius Church. He was known as 'Sarge' by his friends and his parishioners, who often called upon him for spiritual advice and for secular help because of his nine years experience as a homicide detective.

That was over thirty years ago. And while Father Cavanaugh might have lived out his career as a parish priest, as is the case with so many men of the cloth, Sarge might also have found advancement within the Church hierarchy. It seems the fate of established TV characters that they are marked for greatness or singled out for notice in some way.

And that's why we think Sarge eventually rose to the position of Monsignor, and then to a bishopric, and finally he would have been elevated to membership within the College of Cardinals.

Over his 26 years as the Pope, John Paul II called many to don the red cap; so many that of the 118 or so who were eligible to elect his successor, only two had not been chosen by His Holiness.

TV shows are always creating new Congressmen, knowing that there can't be too many nutjobs out there (like me) who might check to see if they actually have a counterpart in the House of Representatives of the Real World.

And so it would be with the College of Cardinals. Who's to say that the Pope John Paul of TV Land didn't elevate Samuel "Sarge" Cavanaugh to the position of Cardinal?

There were a lot of old men with white hair among the princes of the Church in those scenes we saw on TV from Rome. It wouldn't be hard to blend Father Cavanaugh into the mix with the latest CGI technology.

And that's the other thing - George Kennedy, who played 'Sarge', is still alive; still active as an actor. Just last year I saw him on 'The Young & The Restless' as Victor Newman's father. If called upon, he conceivably would have been able to portray this priest who once was a cop one more time.

Perhaps he could even help out the Roman polizia with their investigation into a related murder just before the Conclave......

At the very least, he could always help clear the runway for the Pope's plane - oops, wrong character!


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