Wednesday, June 15, 2005


For me personally, Lane Smith has secured for himself a place in Toobworld with three roles which are definitely not part of Earth Prime-Time. And these roles may be all part of the same dimension which could have come into existence because of one of those roles.

Confused? You must be. I know I am. Allow me to splain.

His best-known role would be the alt. Perry White, managing editor of the Daily Planet ('Lois And Clark'). The newspaper could be set in the Metropolis of Earth Prime-Time Delayed, as Superman, Perry White, and the Daily Planet were all on the main Toobworld back in the 1950s.

Lane Smith's Perry White was a smooth and easy mix of Big City razor-sharp cunning and down-home folksy craftiness, the perfect blend for a leader in the 1990s.

I've eased one major headache by shipping historical recreations, especially those of the presidents, off to the many alternate dimensions so that I don't have to keep finding ways to reconcile all the different actors who played Abe Lincoln, for example. I mean, I can't keep calling on quantum leapers as to the reason why the features of the presidents keep changing with every new casting.

JFK, maybe. After all, who wouldn't want the chance to leap into his life for a day? So long as it wasn't November 22nd, 1963, of course. Almost nobody would want to live those last moments for him........

But Herbert Hoover? ('Backstairs At The White House', 'The Day The Bubble Burst')

So that headache may be gone, only now I have to reach for the splainin aspirin when it comes to deciding which historical recreation should be assigned to which dimension.

Lane Smith portrayed Richard M. Nixon in 'The Final Days', which in itself seems to preclude this mini-series president from consideration as the Tricky Dick of the Evil Mirror Universe. I would think that televersion of the 37th President got away with it all and stayed in office - at least until he was probably assassinated.

Since the line of presidential succession was drastically altered in 'The West Wing' universe (going back at least four presidents), it might have been possible that Lane Smith found a home for Milhouse in this Oval Office. But it will all depend on any mention of Nixon during the course of the series.

I'm thinking that Lane Smith's Nixon resided and presided in the 'Lois & Clark' dimension. Why? Because in the episode "Top Copy", Perry White mentioned that he used to be told that he looked like Nixon, which may have been why he never set foot in the White House.

So what if it was just an in-joke? If Perry White looked like Nixon, doesn't it stand to reason that this Toobworld's Nixon was also played by Lane Smith?

In a related vein, it was Lane Smith's guest appearance in an episode of 'The Twilight Zone' which might have precipitated the creation of this particular dimension.

In "Profiles In Silver", Lane Smith played Professor Joseph Fitzgerald from the year 2172. Fitzgerald had been working undercover in the year 1963, the same year in which his famous ancestor, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated.

Professor Fitzgerald altered history by saving Kennedy's life, but the new timeline was leading to the eradication of all life on Earth.

President Kennedy realized this and demanded that he be sent back to make right what once went wrong. Professor Fitzgerald however only partially agreed......

Remember when I said almost nobody would want to live those final moments of Kennedy's life for him? Professor Fitzgerald quantum leaped himself so that he took that fateful and fatal final ride through Dealey Plaza. And he sent President Kennedy back to the future so that by March 7, 2172, he was a lecturer at Harvard University.

Many of the alternate dimensions we've come to explore via shows like 'Sliders' came into being because of time travel meddling in such shows as 'Quantum Leap', 'Early Edition', Red Dwarf', and this episode of 'The Twilight Zone'. Perhaps this one particular dimension was so influenced by Professor Fitzgerald's personal involvement, that he came to embody some major players in its politics and press like Dick Nixon and Perry White. Perhaps some other characters portrayed by Lane Smith also inhabited this dimension rather than the main Toobworld.

Or maybe I'm just talking through my hat.



Anonymous said...

Couldn't his Nixon be the one for the main TV Universe?

If not, which Nixon would you pick?

I think it should be the actual real Nixon, since he appeared as himself on LaughIn.

Toby said...

Gee, thanks a lot!

I was all set to choose Rip Torn in 'Blind Ambition', but now you've presented me with a quandary.....

Should I automatically accept the real Nixon for the TV version? Even if it was just one punchline (poorly delivered to boot!), maybe it should be "Nixon's The One!"

Of course, then we have to accept Gerald Ford for his cameo on Saturday Night Live, but that's okay because he also performed as himself on 'Dynasty'!