Thursday, June 30, 2005


When you are such a unique and talented character actor as John Fiedler was, you're sure to rack up quite a long list of credits. And sooner or later certain patterns might suggest themselves, especially when dealing with the universal overview of Toobworld.

I found the following which I thought to be worthy of notice.......

"A Raisin In The Sun"
John Fiedler appeared in the original Broadway production of "A Raisin In The Sun". On the IBDb (Internet Broadway Database), he is listed as having played a character named "Karl Lindner".

Apparently he recreated that role for the movie version in 1961, but now his character was known as Mark Lindner - at least according to the IMDb (Internet Movie Database). The site also states that he once again portrayed the character - still as Mark, not Karl, - in the 1989 televersion.

Every so often I find actors/characters who are worthy of an honorary mention in the Crossover Hall of Fame for their multiversal contributions. The Pigeon Sisters of 'The Odd Couple' are the best example - played by the same actresses in the Broadway, movie, and TV versions of the Neil Simon story.

Aside from the discrepancy in the first names, perhaps John Fiedler as Mr. Lindner might be considered for such an honor one day.

Meanwhile, my advice to both databases? As Stan Laurel would put it, "Let's you and him fight."

"Star Trek" playing "Mr. Hengist" in episode: "Wolf in the Fold" (episode # 2.14) 22 December 1967
"Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" (1950) TV Series .... Cadet Alfie Higgins (1951-1954)

Mr. Hengist was an off-worlder administrator on the planet Argellus II who died in 2267. Young cadet Alfie Higgins was a member of the Solar Guards in 2350.

Since Argellus II needed to hire citizens of other worlds to run their bureaucracy (because of their own peaceful yet hedonistic tendencies), Mr. Hengist was not a native of that world. He came from Rigel IV, possessed by a murderous energy source that had once possessed a Victorian named Sebastian on Earth in the 1880s. (As seen on 'Babylon 5', that symbiotic relationship led to the terror of Jack the Ripper.)

Whether Mr. Hengist was a native of Rigel IV or not, it's likely his ancestry began on Earth. And perhaps he left his family behind on the third rock from the Sun while he journeyed the galaxy performing his bureaucratic duties. It might even be that he came from London, and that's where he first absorbed the Redjac entity after the Vorlons purged it from Sebastian.

So it's my theory that Alfie Higgins, who would have been born in 2325 (with a name like that, probably in London), was the great-grandson of Hengist.

"One Life to Live" (1968) TV Series .... Gilbert Lange/Virgil (1987)
"The Twilight Zone" playing "Field Rep" in episode: "Cavender Is Coming" (episode # 3.36) 25 May 1962

The "Field Rep" is actually an angel, as was Virgil who served as the guardian angel for Vicki Buchanan on the soap opera. As he wasn't named in the episode of 'The Twilight Zone', I can find no reason why he couldn't be the same character from 'One Life To Live'. Man, I just love the idea of that crossover!

"The Streets of San Francisco" playing "Mr. Winkler" in episode: "Mask of Death" (episode # 3.4) 14 March 1974
"Switch" playing "Harry Winkler" in episode: "Dancer" (episode # 3.6) 5 December 1977

Not to be confused with Henry Winkler!

I'd like to think that both of these characters are one and the same. And that at some point in those three intervening years, he moved down from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

I can't find any info on the 'Switch' episode, and very little about the one from 'Streets Of San Francisco'. (Man, what a long title to type! I would have punched it up with 'Frisco Streets'.)

In "Mask Of Death", John Davidson played a cross-dressing serial killer. He went out on dates with middle-aged men (who had no idea he wasn't a she) and then stabbed them through the heart with a hatpin.

So I've got this feeling that John Fiedler's character fits the vic profile perfectly. And you know what? Still not a problem! Maybe both his Winklers (Man, that sounds dirty!) had different first names, but that could just mean that they were twin brothers!

And as such, it makes a better fit for a link, since any character discrepancies can be splained away by them being twins and not the same guy.

"Kolchak: The Night Stalker" (1974) TV Series .... Gordy Spangler (1974-1975)
"Bewitched" playing "Spengler" in episode: "Three Men and a Witch on a Horse" (episode # 8.13) 15 December 1971

Here's another case for identical twins. Mr. Spengler in New York and Westport was a client of McMann & Tate (and usually not one to gamble on a horse). Gordy "The Ghoul" Spangler was a morgue attendant working in Chicago.

As to the differences in spelling the surnames, let me give you a Real World example of why this is not a discrepancy. The late Pete Duel who starred in 'Alias Smith And Jones' has a brother named Geoffrey Deuel. I believe Geoffrey kept the traditional family spelling, while Pete updated his for show business reasons.

And since it's possible that the Spangler family began in Chicago, it could be their Dad was a real horndog who slept around. After all, there's another resident of the Windy City who looks just like the both of them, one Emil Peterson. (I'll have more on Mr. Peterson in a later post.)

Spangler & Spengler could be related to an old-time radio legend named Happy Spangler. This is just conjecture, but Happy was once a mentor to comedy writer Rob Petrie who happened to also come from Illinois.... ('the Dick Van Dyke Show')

Cannon (1971) (TV) .... Jake
"Cannon" playing "Brent" in episode: "Flight Plan" (episode # 1.14) 28 December 1971

Aside from 'Columbo', many of the detective dramas from the early seventies don't have much of a presence on the Internet. It's tough trying to find something as simple as an episode guide for them.

So I have no way to confirm whether or not the characters of "Jake" and "Brent" might not in fact be "Jake Brent". It's a possibility that will have to be put on hold until the next seismic shift at TV Land, when something like 'Hunter' finally gets a stake through the heart so that the really classic detectives can get some exposure.

"Quincy" playing "County Health Commissioner" in episode: "For the Benefit of My Patients" (episode # 5.10) 22 November 1979
"Quincy" playing "Howard Clausen" in episode: "Matters of Life and Death" (episode # 3.14) 20 January 1978
Columbo: Blueprint for Murder (1972) (TV) .... Doctor

If the DVD boxed set of the first season of 'Quincy' proves popular enough, maybe all of the seasons will eventually be released. And then I can order up the appropriate discs through Netflix in order to find out if "Howard Clausen" in the third season was also - or became - the "County Health Commissioner" in season five.

Otherwise, I'd like to think his un-named doctor character from 'Columbo' became the Los Angeles Health Commissioner in the the intervening seven years.......

"McMillan and Wife" playing "Simpson" in episode: "Freefall to Terror" (episode # 3.3) 11 November 1973
"McMillan and Wife" playing "Sykes" in episode: "The Devil, You Say" (episode # 3.2) 23 October 1973

Just one episode apart from each other, and although I don't know where they stood in the production order, and even though their broadcast dates were a month apart in the 'Sunday Night Mystery Movie' on NBC, I can't believe the continuity people were asleep at the switch.

I'm thinking that this could be the case of an error at the IMDb.

Gee! The IMDb made a mistake? Who'd a thunk it???

If I'm not mistaken, Fiedler's character was a forensics technician for the San Francisco police department. And I know there were several episodes in which John Astin contributed a very funny portrayal of a similar character. And his CSI guy was definitely named Sykes. (I still haven't fully abandoned the theory that he was the father of Matt Sykes of 'Alien Nation'.)

So if Fiedler's character was called "Sykes" in that first episode by Stuart McMillan, I'll chalk it up to the Commissioner's distracted mind. I think by this time in his marriage he was beginning to suspect that Sally was illegally terminating her pregnancies.....

It could be due to another reason; one of those little quirks many citizens of Toobworld seem to have to make them more interesting to the viewers at home. Maybe in this case, Mac just has this thing about calling ALL the guys in Forensics "Sykes".

And then there's another reason why I favor the name of "Simpson" for Fiedler's character......

"McMillan and Wife" playing "Simpson" in episode: "Freefall to Terror" (episode # 3.3) 11 November 1973
"Destry" playing "Bill Simpson" in episode: "Deputy for a Day" (episode # 1.8) 3 April 1964

Tele-genetics are strong; the DNA strands which can create carbon copies from one generation to another can last for centuries. For example, Ric and AJ Simon ('Simon & Simon') had ancestors who resembled them going back to the American Revolution.

I also believe that it can even occur after thousands of years. As my example? It's been a long-standing theory that Dr. Miguelito Loveless of 'The Wild, Wild West' is descended from Alexander the Platonian who appeared in one episode of 'Star Trek'. I think the dwarf may have taken advantage of some Greek peasant girl during his sojourn on Earth circa 400 BC.

[And long-lasting genetic echoes will be my contention when I present my theory of the connection between 'NewsRadio' and 'Doctor Who' in a few weeks.....]

So I think Bill Simpson may have founded the bloodline which eventually can be traced to Mr. Simpson of the Frisco crime lab.

Guns of Diablo (1964) (TV) .... Ives
"The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters" playing "Ives" in episode: "The Day of the Reckoning" (episode # 1.26) 15 March 1964

Although these get separate mentions in the IMDb, they are technically one and the same. 'Guns Of Diablo' consisted of at least two episodes of the TV series 'The Travels Of Jaimie McPheeters' edited together.

"Peter Loves Mary" playing "Clerk" in episode: "Getting Peter's Putter" (episode # 1.22) 22 March 1961
"Get Smart" playing "Mr. Hercules" in episode: "Classification: Dead" (episode # 3.12) 23 December 1967

"Peter Loves Mary" was an early sitcom which took place in Oakdell. Might it be possible that one of John Fiedler's many other characters - even Emil Peterson of 'The Bob Newhart Show' - once worked as a clerk in a store? (Based on the episode's title, I'm assuming he sold sporting goods. Hrmmmmm, that is a very suggestive title.)

That's the great thing about characters with no names - you can assign them to just about anybody else!

My choice for the best bet? Mr. Hercules, the KAOS agent who was a physical fitness nut. If it really was a sporting goods store, perhaps it was also serving as a front for the evil organization to keep it hidden from CONTROL.


"Police Story" playing "Richard Steele" in episode: "The Ripper" (episode # 1.15) 12 February 1974

Did Mr. Steele ever get called by the nickname of "Dick"?

That would be... unfortunate.

And interesting that the title's name would be "The Ripper". Somewhat prophetic (at least in the inner timeline of Toobworld, not that of the Real World broadcast schedule) considering that about 300 years into the future, the latest incarnation of Jack The Ripper would look like Richard Steele......


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