Saturday, October 8, 2005


I've pulled out my files from the old Tubeworld Dynamic website for April of 2002, when Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 were both inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, and I will be reprinting some of the articles around the middle of this coming week.

In the meantime, let this list of his contributions to Toobworld stand in tribute to a force of niceness.

"Get Smart" (1995) TV Series .... Maxwell Smart
"Check It Out" (1985) TV Series .... Howard Bannister
"Don Adams' Screen Test" (1975) TV Series .... Host
"The Partners" (1971) TV Series .... Det. Lennie Crooke
"The Hollywood Palace" (1964) TV Series .... Guest Host (1969)
"Get Smart" (1965) TV Series .... Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 (1965-1970)
"The Bill Dana Show" (1963) TV Series .... Byron Glick

Inspector Gadget: Gadget's Greatest Gadgets (1999) (V) .... Inspector Gadget
"Gadget Boy's Adventures In History" (1998) TV Series (voice) .... Gadget Boy
"Pepper Ann" (1997) TV Series (voice) .... Principal Hickey
"Inspector Gadget's Field Trips" (1996) TV Series (voice) .... Inspector Gadget
"Gadget Boy and Heather" (1995) TV Series (voice) .... Gadget Boy
Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas (1992) (TV) (voice) .... Inspector Gadget
"Inspector Gadget" (1983) TV Series (voice) .... Inspector Gadget
"Underdog" (1964) TV Series (voice) .... Tennessee Tuxedo
"Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales" (1963) TV Series (voice) .... Tennessee Tuxedo

Get Smart, Again! (1989) (TV) .... Maxwell Smart
Murder Can Hurt You (1980) (TV) (voice) .... Narrator
The Love Boat (1976) (TV) .... Donald Richardson

Inspector Gadget (1999) (voice) .... Brain
The Nude Bomb (1980) .... Maxwell Smart

Joys (1976) (TV) .... Don Adams
Saga of Sonora (1973) (TV)
"Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre" in episode: "Murder at N.B.C." (episode # 4.5) 19 October 1966
"Startime" playing "Himself" in episode: "Soldiers in Greasepaint" (episode # 1.29) 26 April 1960

"Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher" playing "Principal" in episode: "Gargoyle Guys" (episode # 1.13) 8 January 1997
"Empty Nest" playing "Himself" in episode: "Charley's Millions" (episode # 6.20) 8 March 1994
"The Fall Guy" playing "Sheriff" in episode: "Losers Weepers: Part 1" (episode # 4.1) 19 September 1984
"The Love Boat"
in episode: "Rose Is Not a Rose, A/Novelties/Too Rich and Too Thin" (episode # 7.24) 17 March 1984
in episode: "Zinging Valentine/The Very Temporary Secretary/The Final Score" (episode # 6.20) 12 February 1983
playing "Sidney Williams" in episode: "Doc Take the Fifth/Safety Last/A Business Affair" (episode # 5.13) 2 January 1982
"Bill Robinson" in episode: "April's Love/Happy Ending/We Three" (episode # 3.17) 12 January 1980
playing "Lenny Camen" in episode: "Isaac's Double Standard/One More Time/Chimpanzeeshines" (episode # 1.14) 14 January 1978
"Fantasy Island" playing "Cornelius Wieselfarber" in episode: "The Red Baron/Young at Heart" (episode # 3.6) 27 October 1979
"The New Scooby-Doo Movies" playing "Himself" (voice) in episode: "The Exterminator" (episode # 2.5) 6 October 1973
"Wait Till Your Father Gets Home" playing "Himself" (voice) in episode: "Don for the Defense" 1973
"It's Happening" playing "Himself" (episode # 1.1) 15 July 1968
"The Danny Thomas Hour" playing "Harry" in episode: "Instant Money" (episode # 1.1) 18 September 1967

"Get Smart" (1995) TV Series .... Maxwell Smart
"Get Smart" (1965) TV Series .... Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 (1965-1970)
Get Smart, Again! (1989) (TV) .... Maxwell Smart
"The Fall Guy" playing "Sheriff" in episode: "Losers Weepers: Part 1" (episode # 4.1) 19 September 1984
Perhaps Sheriff Maxwell Smart? After the fiasco working for PITS, Smart might have taken a job in law enforcement on a local level, until he was accepted back into the folds of CONTROL.
The Nude Bomb (1980) .... Maxwell Smart
Joys (1976) (TV) .... Don Adams
I remember seeing this, but as to whether or not he was appearing as himself or as Maxwell Smart..... I think my brain mercifully wiped the slate clean.
"The Bill Dana Show" (1963) TV Series .... Byron Glick
It's always been my contention that Byron and Maxwell were cousins, identical cousin.

Inspector Gadget (1999) (voice) .... Brain

These were two different Inspector Gadgets. There was the one from the Tooniverse, and then the live-action figure in the Cineverse, which had no connection other than as an alternative version.
Inspector Gadget: Gadget's Greatest Gadgets (1999) (V) .... Inspector Gadget
"Gadget Boy's Adventures In History" (1998) TV Series (voice) .... Gadget Boy
"Inspector Gadget's Field Trips" (1996) TV Series (voice) .... Inspector Gadget
"Gadget Boy and Heather" (1995) TV Series (voice) .... Gadget Boy
Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas (1992) (TV) (voice) .... Inspector Gadget
"Inspector Gadget" (1983) TV Series (voice) .... Inspector Gadget

"Pepper Ann" (1997) TV Series (voice) .... Principal Hickey
"Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher" playing "Principal" in episode: "Gargoyle Guys" (episode # 1.13) 8 January 1997
These two school principals are the same man, but in two different TV dimensions.

"Empty Nest" playing "Himself" in episode: "Charley's Millions" (episode # 6.20) 8 March 1994
"The New Scooby-Doo Movies" playing "Himself" (voice) in episode: "The Exterminator" (episode # 2.5) 6 October 1973
"Wait Till Your Father Gets Home" playing "Himself" (voice) in episode: "Don for the Defense" 1973
Along the same lines as with Principal Hickey, there is the tele-version of Don Adams in the main Toobworld, who also hosted 'Screen Test', and then there's the pen-and-ink version from the Tooniverse.




I just finished watching the October 7th episode of 'Threshold'....

When it was decided that Baltimore Police Detective Rossi had to be brought in on what was happening at the Threshold project, J.T. Baylock warned her of the consequences should she decide to "gossip".

"There is too much at stake for this to become gossip at the cop bar."

And where might that cop bar be? I'm staking the claim that the Waterfront, previously owned by Tim Bayliss, Meldrick Lewis, and John Munch, and which was right across from their old precinct house, would be the ideal candidate to serve as the official cop bar in Baltimore.

Bayliss might not be a partner anymore, as he's probably serving time in prison. And Munch might be just a silent partner since he's now working in New York City on the Special Victims Unit. So Meldrick would be the main, visible presence at the Waterfront.

But even if Rossi went in there and told everybody her story, they probably wouldn't believe her. Besides, she never really did get the truth - Threshold offered up Al Quaeda as the easy catch-all villain for what was happening.

Who was going to believe Charm City nearly suffered an alien invasion?

Well, yeah... Munch would have.......


"Thin blue line between us and the terrorist invasion of Baltimore."
Beau Felton
'Homicide: Life On The Street'

Friday, October 7, 2005



My name is Toby.

And I'm a fanfic enabler.

"Fanfic" refers to stories written by devotees of certain books, movies, and TV shows, who feel a need to continue the adventures of their favorite characters. These aren't professional stories (although I've heard that some professional writers got their start by writing fanfic), and by copyright laws, they're not legal either.

In the old days, such fans would mimeograph their stories and just pass them out to friends and like-minded disciples of the original. Even when these groups of fanboys began organizing, charging dues, publishing small magazines, it still was pretty low-tech.

And then the Internet opened the floodgates.

You can find fanfic online for just about every show that has ever been broadcast. Well... I don't know if there's anything out there for 'Far Out Space Nuts', but I have seen fanfic for Bob Denver's best-known series, 'Gilligan's Island'. (And with characters like Ginger and Mary Ann, you can get a sense of which direction those stories took!)

(Sorry if you already knew all of that. If I'm not mistaken, the term "fanfic" has already been accepted into the
dictionary. It's just that I never know if a complete neophyte has stumbled across Toobworld, or if I'm preaching to the choir, those who understand the concept and my wacked-out ideas.)

Some of the companies who own the rights to the original material have embraced the fanfic writers. Paramount's publishing arm even bought up a lot of it to publish as part of their massive line of tie-ins. Still others have sicced the Man on fanfic, threatening legal action if their sites were not shut down.

Over at Lee Goldberg's blog, he's in the vanguard for the crusade against fanfic, and he takes a lot of flak from the more fanatical adherents to the form. Now, me.... I've got nothing against the basics of fanfic, but I don't go searching for it either. (A caveat: I do list Martin Ross' 'Columbo' fanfic site to the left, as well as a more general site as well.)

It's just that I want to steer clear of other people's ideas in their stories, so as not to taint the theories I come up with for keeping the TV Universe cohesive. And I don't want to influence the splainins I dream up for discrepancies.

I used to read a ton of the official 'Star Trek' tie-ins, and never had a problem in keeping those separate from what was actually broadcast. (It's practically impossible, but ideally I would like to keep the Toobworld theories limited to what was shown on TV.)

But then I read Barbara Hambly's "Ishmael", a tale in which Spock found himself back in the Seattle territories of the 1870s... among the actual characters from 'Here Come The Brides'. And although they remained un-named, he also met other characters from classic TV Westerns.

I think the book has since been disowned by the parent company (who may have themselves neglected to address the rights of others whose works were invoked for it). But don't quote me on that.....

Anyway, I liked it a lot, but now I can't get my noggin past the idea that Spock's human mother, Amanda Grayson, was - will be! - descended from Aaron Stemple and Biddie Cloomb. (Which means that Spock has a Mark Lenard character on both sides of his family.)

I suppose what I do could be considered fanfic. I devise some pretty outlandish theories to link TV shows together. In a way, those could be regarded as stories. But I look at my work as more of a technical guidebook in much the same way as those who dabble in the Wold Newton concept do. Sometimes the Toobworld Dyamic can be looked upon as more of a philosophical tract.

But when it comes to playing in someone else's sandbox, I'm not really using their action figures; I'm just pointing out why they were left in a particular pile of sand.

Still, I guess some of the stuff I've come up with can inspire "fanficcers". And in a past blog entry I even suggested that they should look for old photos which featured the same actors; in that way they might find inspiration for new directions to take in their stories.

(The best example I used was a scene from 'The Racket', in which Ray Collins as a crooked judge was on the phone while an equally crooked cop played by William Conrad stood in the background. Freeze that shot and it could be claimed that instead it featured Lt. Arthur Tragg and Frank Cannon when he was still in the L.A. Police Department. That way, you could then launch into a crossover story between 'Perry Mason' and 'Cannon'.)

If you could find a screen capture in there of those two actors plus William Tallman (who went on to play Hamilton Burger on 'Perry Mason'), even better!

But while I was watching 'Bones' last week, I realized that my suggestion to use frame grabs was woefully behind the times. Why use a still photo when you can illustrate your fanfic with a quick video clip?

In that episode of 'Bones', Zack Addy - an assistant at the Jeffersonian Institute, - walked up to FBI Agent Seely Booth and said, "I need to have a conversation with you about sexual positions." Booth then informed the twink that if Zack ever tried that, Booth would shoot him right between the eyes.

Okay, I apologize. I shouldn't have called Zack a "twink". But you should see Eric Millegan, the kid who's playing the role! And not that I give credence to everything I read in the, but they did say in Millegan's bio that he was named "Hottest Up and Coming Openly Gay Actor of 2003" by OUT Magazine.

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

But drop Millegan's Zack into the middle of 'Prison Break' and he'd be holding onto T-Bag's pocket lining by the commercial break!

Oops - I probably just gave some fanficcer an idea. See what I mean about me being an enabler?

That type of fanfic is called "slash", and I do have problems with it. Stories that continue the type of adventures that were seen in the original programs, fine. Even crossovers with characters from other shows would be acceptable so long as they remained believable or at least splainable. (I did see a story once that combined characters from 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' with those from 'Bonanza'. Needless to say, it was quite a stretch!)

But writing up stories that change a character's personality or sexual preference, or just veer off in directions that have no established basis in the original TV shows? Nah, that's just wrong.

And yet it's probably the most popular form of fanfic out there. Kirk and Spock, Solo and Kuryakin, James West and Artemus Gordon? Characters who were only ever seen romancing the ladies on their shows now falling into the arms of their partners and co-workers of the same sex?

Don't get me wrong. I'll pull the Seinfeldian defense that there's nothing wrong with the basic situation. My complaint is towards who is involved. You want to have Robin slide down the "Batpole", fine. I think you could make a case for that. (Although I'd like to think Dick Grayson would be the ancestor to Amanda Grayson!)

But 'The X-Files' ended with Fox Mulder finally "shipped" with Dana Scully. So why would anybody want to write a story in which he creates the Beast With Two Backs with Deputy Director Skinner?

The Truth is not outed!

Still and all, I can see how easy it would be to start thinking in that direction. While I was mulling this essay over in my head, I was watching a 'Doctor Who' story from the Pertwee era, "Inferno". (The Third Doctor found himself in the evil mirror universe with variants of the friends he left behind in the main TV dimension.)

In the sixth episode of the story, Petra Williams and Liz Shaw tried to re-activate a computer that might be their salvation, but when it failed, they shared a glance that lasted but for a split-second. And yet just from that, I could picture them tossing all their cares aside and stripping off all their clothes to indulge in their passions.

Hey! They were going to be consumed by lava at any moment; might as well go out with a bang!

And since it was an alternate universe in which their characters were markedly different, who's to say Petra and Liz weren't already in sweet, sapphic love? (Sounds like the title for a bodice-ripper!) Besides, who can say no to a bit o' girl-on-girl fun?

How do I type one of those Bob Hope growls......?

Anyway, if you are a reader of fanfic, and slash fic in particular, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know if you ever come across a story dealing with Zack and Booth of 'Bones'. I want to see if anybody really did find inspiration in that snippet of dialogue.

I get the feeling it won't be too long into the season before they start showing up online......



Now that the new season is underway, let me take a moment to do something I should have addressed over the summer - my biggest disappointments from last season.

1] 'Enterprise' - 'Kevin Hill'
My one big missed opportunity for a inter-network crossover from last year will always be that what-might-have-been "wish-craft".

But think of the brass balls it would have proudly knocked together to play "Stormy Weather" if they were able to pull it off. Two such different series - one, a prequel to the entire 'Star Trek' franchise and set 150 years into the future; the other a present day law show with a heart as a hip ladies' man of a litigator finds his life derailed when he has to raise his cousin's young baby.

What could they possibly have had in common?

The way I dreamed it as a "wish-craft", the crew of the 'Enterprise' had to go back in time to Philadelphia of 2005 in order to save the life of that little girl whom 'Kevin Hill' was raising. Why? Because if she failed to fulfill her destiny, Ensign Travis Mayweather would never exist.

The combatants in the Temporal Cold War might have known the part Travis was to play even farther in the future, and so they would have tried to destroy his very existence before he even had a chance to come into being.

It would have been such a radical crossover that it would have garnered plenty of press for the direction in which both shows would have been boldly going. But now? The best I can do is offer up this suggestion here in the blog and hope there's some fanficcer out there who runs with it.

(Let me know if you do......)

2] 'Jack & Bobby'
This was hubris to the highest degree. The WB gets a show that would not only play to their usual audience of young demographics, but which would also appeal to the wonks who loved the political intrigue on 'The West Wing'.
They even had an exec producer/director in Thomas Schlamme, who not only had been a driving force behind 'The West Wing' during the Aaron Sorkin years, but who was also married to this show's star, Christine Lahti.

You had to figure he'd not only make the political storylines as compelling as they were on 'The West Wing', but he'd take great care in the development of Lahti's character as the primal force behind her two sons 'Jack & Bobby'.

So what do they do? The show gets scheduled directly opposite 'The West Wing', thus forcing its target audience to make a choice between the two instead of giving them the chance to have a second chance to feed their need for political intrigue. And to make matters worse, Lahti's character completely dominated the storylines rather than the boys; which might not have been so bad except that she came off too shrill and shrewish.

Oh well. At least they had a chance to provide some kind of wrap-up for the series, but it had such great potential in the beginning. Go back and watch that first episode again. I still choke up as I watch it, as we learn what the future holds for these two boys.

Here's hoping the DVD boxed set arrives before the next presidential election......

3] 'Cold Case'/'American Bandstand'/'American Dreams'
Yeah, I know this was just a case of "wish-craft". These three shows were each on separate networks. So what? 'American Dreams' was on NBC, and 'American Bandstand' was a long-time staple of the ABC schedule. And yet the former was able to grow out of the memories and even some of the footage from the latter. (Yes, I know that the involvement of Dick Clark as the producer of both played a major role in that!)

Still, I think it would have been cool for 'Cold Case' to have re-opened a case that might have grown out of a plot-line in 'American Dreams'. A "Philly Threeway".

Failing that, there's still a chance Detective Lilly Rush could investigate some kind of case in Philadelphia that is connected to 'American Bandstand', since it has returned for a new season on Sunday nights.

I'm fairly optimistic that they might find a way to do so. The writers for that show have come up with some pretty fascinating flashback stories for their 'Cold Case' investigations.

4] 'Eyes': A Lack Of Vision
'Eyes' was killed too soon. ABC just wasn't happy with the numbers it got following both 'Lost' and 'Alias'. What they probably failed to take into account was that the fanatic audiences for both of those shows probably fled all TV programming afterwards in order to run to their computers and begin discussing the latest developments in the world of the Bad Robot.

I know I would abandon the TV right after 'Lost', not being an 'Alias' fan. But I was - and still am - a big fan of 'The West Wing', which at the time was following over on NBC in the 9 o'clock slot. Yet I was so pumped up by what I had just seen in any of the 'Lost' episodes, that I just had to get more by joining other fans online to discuss it.

So 'The West Wing' and 'Alias' have been moved to other nights and 'Lost' has taken its rightful place as the center of Wednesday nights. But 'Eyes' became the sacrificial lamb and slaughtered too soon rather than finding it a new home on the schedule.

So what took its place? 'Invasion'. It was deemed to be more in keeping with the mood established by 'Lost'.

But the same situation arose. Who wanted to hang around for a show that covered nearly the same topic as 'Threshold' on CBS and NBC's 'Surface'? (Both of which also did it better, by the way.)

At least 'Eyes' was always lively. Too many of the characters on 'Invasion' seem to have had the life sucked out of them and so the show ended up the same way.

'Eyes' is dead. I know that. I have to accept it. My only hope is that the producers will be able to get the DVD boxed set out soon enough so that people can see what they were missing.

But I get the feeling that the Powers That Be at ABC are afraid to let that happen. Getting your nose rubbed into a DVD boxed set's sales figures can cause nasty paper cuts.

5] 'Jake in Progress'
From Chris Rywalt at
But I can’t help thinking: In a world where William Shatner can star in not one, not two, not three, but four hit series despite displaying all the acting ability of a tube sock, can’t we find room for John Stamos and his second act?

He posted that before it was announced that 'Jake In Progress' would be returning. But it was a close call, and this show deserves the chance to develop and find its audience. Last spring, when it arrived for a short-run showcase near the end of the season, it provided a welcome relief for those who tired of the same old routine in the 8 o'clock hour on a Thursday - the abysmal 'Joey' on NBC, and the CBS cast of beenthere/donethatters on 'Survivor'.

So the show is coming back, and if the ratings for 'The Night Stalker' are any indication, we may see it come back pretty soon.

6] 'Lost'
Thank God 'Lost' opened its second season with huge numbers and has provided enough answers and more mysteries in its first three episodes to keep old fans and new happy.

But ABC is lucky to have been able to keep that audience around in time for the sophomore season. The way they screwed up the repeat schedule this summer - dropping some episodes, playing a few out of order, - it was enough to even rile the fanatics who already knew every detail by heart.

To me, it's almost as if the network suits (May they be nibbled to death by ducks!) didn't give a bleep because they knew the hard-core audience would return no matter what and bring the water-cooler herd along with them.

They should have read the various online bulletin boards towards the end of the season and see how dicey a gamble that was.

7] Mark Valley
Mark Valley as 'Keen Eddie' was a fantastic character and his fish-out-of-water American cop in London series was hip and edgy. But, like far too many TV shows on FOX, it was never given the proper timeslot and so was yanked before it could find its audience.

I'm glad it came out on DVD - picked up my copy straightaway as soon as it hit the shelves.

Unfortunately, now Mark Valley is playing it safe and he took a job on 'Boston Legal', the spin-off of 'The Practice'. Here he plays one of the foils to James Spader's character of Alan Shore; playing the role as a stuffed-shirt, uptight lawyer in the same firm. All the fun has been taken out of him and given over to Shore.

With characters played by Rene Auberjenois and Candice Bergen, Shore has enough fencing partners at the firm. Mark Valley should be allowed to lighten up and be more of a comrade in arms; give him the chance to evoke that Keen Eddie charm. "Hi. My name is Eddie. What do you think of me so far?"

With the big slash in the roster of supporting players on 'Boston Legal', maybe we'll get the chance to see Valley kick out the jams and revamp this character from the tight-ass he currently is. Give us another shot to decide what we think of him so far.

So dat's de name of dat tune......


Thursday, October 6, 2005


My Iddiot friend, Brian-El of Krypton, tried out once again for the game show, 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire', and he checked in with this report.....

I went to New York last week to take the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"test/audition for the third time. This time, they did things a little differently: the test actually started at the given time, as we were herded into a cramped auditorium across the street from the studio and had to take the test jammed together in seats with no clipboards--we just had to juggle the test & Scantron sheet. Then we were given an hour break before the show tapings.

This test seemed to be the hardest of the three I've taken--there were about seven questions I wasn't sure I'd gotten right, including "gravidity is a medical term for what?", "tequila is made from what plant?", "what color is an amethyst?", and "in geometry, what letter represents the slope of a line?" (answers below). I got all those right, but missed "how many articles are in the U.S. Constitution?", so I'm pretty sure I got 29 out of 30 correct.

The taping was uneventful. I guess the high point for me was right after Meredith Viera walked out--it had been raining on & off all day, and Meredith turned to our audience section and asked "how's the weather out--is it raining?" I gave her the "so-so" gesture, which she saw and repeated--"so-so, huh?" Well, at least I got to answer one question! One nice-but-bland guy won $25,000, and one woman bombed out early on a question I know the answer to all too well: "Angina pectoris is pain caused by a lack of blood flow to what organ?" She said "the stomach". I

So I passed the test and was interviewed by a guy named Mickey. I was very upbeat, told him it was my third time passing the test and I realllllly wanted to get into the hot seat, and said I thought I'd do pretty well on the show. All to no avail, as I got the "sorry" postcard yesterday. I wonder if maybe they want very few people who might do well,as it's rare to see anyone get past $25,000 these days.

The shows I watched are scheduled to be broadcast Nov. 29 & 30 (Tue./Wed.), although last time I did this, the shows were not on when they were supposed to be--in fact, I never saw them.
As they say in football, three and out. I won't bother auditioning again unless it's convenient for me. Guess I'll have to be content living as a hundredaire.

Happy Fall,

gravidity = pregnancy
tequila comes from the agave plant
amethysts are purple
m is the slope of a line
there are 7 articles in the Constitution (I said 13)

Um.... oh yeah. I knew all of those.......
Yeah, that's the ticket!



Apparently, as I was fixated upon theoretical crossovers for 'Doctor Who' all summer, I completely missed an actual crossover!

Granted, it was a crossover between two "reality" shows, but it involved two series that were broadcast on different networks (albeit both under the umbrella of the NBC mothership). And at least one of the two shows did make a crossover with a fictional series. (And even though it was 'Good Morning, Miami', it still counts!)

Oh, and the host of the second series not only appeared, but he serves as a swell-headed link to plenty of other fictional series.

Here are the details about this crossover:

In his brief time on the third season of 'The Apprentice', Danny Kastner distinguished himself by his guitar-playing, warm-fuzzy blather that really didn't mean anything and his really poor fashion sense.

It's that last bit, probably, that landed him on a makeover show.

In the latest example of rampant reality-TV cross-pollination, Kastner was the subject of Bravo's 'Queer Eye' Tuesday (Aug. 16). The Fab Five corralled Kastner's scraggly hair and explained that leisure suits weren't a fit for today's corporate culture.

Kastner's would-be boss, Donald Trump, made an appearance on the show made a bet with the 'Queer Eye' team -- who showed up on "The Apprentice" during its first season -- about the occasionally unfocused Kastner's ability to pull off a charity event.

If the Fab Five were able to help him do it, Trump was going to give Kastner another audience in his Trump Tower boardroom -- the real one.

[adapted from Zap2It's news story]

Unfortunately, I have no idea if Kastner pulled it off or not; but I can't shake this image of Trump leading Jai around the conference table as though he was Patrick McGoohan in "Braveheart" and leading the lad over to the big windows......

"And how do your culture tips prepare you for something like this......?"




Richard Briers starred in the 1975 series 'The Good Life' (known in America as 'The Good Neighbors'). It was about a man who decided to chuck it all on his 40th birthday and become totally self-sufficient, a man of the land.... while still living in his suburban home.

I'm in the process of watching the complete series on DVD. Back in the late 70s, it served as my introduction to Felicity Kendal and I've been a big fan of hers ever since.

Over at the BBC Online, Briers paid tribute to his old friend Ronnie Barker, who passed away on Monday:

"What a marvellous friend Ronnie was. Everyone liked Ronnie - there was nothing about him to dislike - he was a generous man, a very nice man and a great family man too.

We worked together on Tom Stoppard's 'The Real Inspector Hound' at the Criterion Theatre 1968.

But I knew him before then as my wife, Ann, had worked with him at the Royal Court theatre. We became good friends. "

As I said, I'm still working my way through Briers' series of 'The Good Life', so for alls I know, Ronnie Barker might have made an appearance on the show.

But I couldn't help dreaming in Toobworld. I would have loved for a scene in which Tom Good (Briers) tried to barter with Mr. Arkwright (Barker) at his 'Open All Hours' shop in Doncaster.

Or as a sly nod to 'The Two Ronnies', perhaps Tom could make his own candles only to find out that his prospective client wasn't looking for four candles, but for fork 'andles!



Lee Goldberg is a producer and writer who is (in my opinion) one of the top televisiologists in the country; right up there with David Bianculli. (Not that I always agree with either one of them.)

Goldberg has noted on his blog today a recent addition to those TV cliches that may be annoying to some, but which form the basis of the Television Mythology.

There you'll find his observations on the recent glut of shows, like 'The Ghost Whisperer', 'Medium', 'Monk', and 'Nip/Tuck', in which characters talk to people who aren't really there. This formula has really gained popularity since 'Six Feet Under' first aired, but shows have been doing it for years.

'Rescue Me' is another current biggie for this new TV cliche.

Some others I can think of - Bess Armstrong as Maxwell's dead wife on 'The Nanny', Elliot Axelrod appeared to Fiscus (at least in dreams) on 'St. Elsewhere', and Gary visited Michael for a few episodes after his death on 'thirtySOMETHING'.

But I don't know if I'd include 'Ghost Whisperer' or 'Medium' in this category, as those really are supposed to be ghosts and not just figments of the imagination, as all the others are. ('Shades of L.A.' had a similar kind of premise about ten years ago. Probably plenty of others.)



The League Of Themselves is one of the components which separates Toobworld from other sites that explore TV crossovers. The members of the League are those people, usually famous, who appear as themselves in episodes of fictional TV shows.

Other sites reject their inclusion as possible links because they exist in the Real World unlike the other characters. But it's my contention that we ALL exist in Toobworld; some of us just haven't seen our tele-versions pop up on TV yet. But thanks to the widespread use of amateur video in and to shows like 'America's Funniest Home Videos', more and more of us are becoming members of the League Of Themselves.

As a matter of fact, I expect to see one of my brothers on 'Cops' every week......

I don't see why Real People appearing as themselves on dramas and sitcoms should be excluded from consideration. They're in fictional settings, doing fictional things, saying fictional dialogue. These aren't the same people as they are in the real world, so why can't we consider Pauly Shore in episodes of 'Entourage' be just as much of a TV character as Paulie Walnuts on 'The Sopranos'?

For the first two weeks of the new Fall TV season, there was quite a burst of activity for the League Of Themselves as each show (mostly the returning series) made a bid to gain attention. And two of those series, both on HBO, deal in the world of show business, so they an always be counted on to provide new members to the roster. (HBO had two other series doing the same thing over the summer - 'The Comeback' and the aforementioned 'Entourage'.)

So here's a quick rundown of the latest membership rolls and wherever possible we'll include a few of the other links created by these appearances. (The fictional ones only.)

Carson Daly
'Undergrads' (the Tooniverse)
'Movie Stars'
'Sabrina The Teenage Witch'
Trace Adkins

Charles Barkley
'Hangin' With Mr. Cooper'
Adam Carolla
'Fired Up'
'Son Of The Beach'
'Dawson's Creek'
'Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place'

Kate Winslet
Ben Stiller
'The Larry Sanders Show'
'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

Richard Lewis
'The Larry Sanders Show'
'Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist' (Tooniverse)
Ted Danson
'Diagnosis Murder'
Rosie O'Donnell
'The Nanny'
'Spin City'
'Suddenly, Susan'
'Beverly Hills, 90210'
Wanda Sykes
'Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist' (Tooniverse)

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

The Ying Yang Twins

Hugh Hefner
'Just Shoot Me!'
'Sex And The City'
'Buddy Faro'
'The Fresh Prince Of Bel Aire'
'The Larry Sanders Show'
'The Simpsons' (Tooniverse)
'Laverne And Shirley'
'The Odd Couple'
'Burke's Law'


And those were just the guests from the first two weeks! I think we'll see quite an expansion of the TV Universe over the coming season....



"That'll be perfect.
You'll live right across the hall.
Just like Ross and Rachel."
Holly Tyler
'What I Like About You'

When I saw that quoted in TVGal's column at, I didn't panic. I just reached for the "Complete Directory To Prime Time Network And Cable Shows" and looked up this series for where it's located.

What a surprise! Manhattan!

At some point in her sitcom life, Val Tyler (Holly's older sister) must have met Rachel Greene or Ross Geller, both of whom also lived in New York City.

I'm betting on it being Rachel, perhaps in connection to Val's public relations career and Rachel working in the fashion biz. Through Val, Holly would have come to know Rachel - they might have invited her and Ross to a party at their Upper West Side apartment, or they both went down to the Village and saw where they were living.

So not only can we save this from being a Zonk!, but we can turn it around to get a Missing Link!

Another satisfying day fulfilled. I think I'll go take a nap.



I found this at Yahoo! News. It's not going to do much for the suits at UPN, but it should bring a smile to a certain scribe in Hollywood.....

"In order to nab 117th place (1.4 million viewers), UPN had to produce a whole new series ('Sex, Love & Secrets'). In order to secure 118th place (912,000 viewers), Pax merely had to dust off an old 'Diagnosis Murder'. "

They probably could have exhumed an old episode of 'Misfits Of Science' from the grave and it would have done better!

Had the show killed off Denise Richards' character in some way, preferably gruesome, I know I would have tuned in. Yes, she's beautiful, and that's the only reason she's always going to find work. Well, that and her roller-coaster of a marriage to Charlie Sheen.

But her acting stinks on ice. 'Starship Troopers' may have been crap for other reasons, but at least it might have been salvaged by her character's brain getting sucked out by the aliens. At least the revival of 'Burke's Law' knew enough to cave in that pretty skull with a baton.

They should make her a regular on 'Joey'; help kill that show faster!



This has nothing to do with TV, more to do with the movies and ultimately with Broadway musicals. I just wanted to make this claim somewhere so that it could be googled in the future to back up my boast that "you heard it here first!".

I went to see "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" last night with my friend Mark. And near the end of the film, I leaned over and whispered "In ten years? On the stage of the Gershwin."

A few more songs to flesh it out and you've got a great love story. As for the George Pal-flavored puppetoons which could do things humans can't? Disney was able to surmount the challenges of taking a cartoon about animals and transforming it into Broadway magic; I would think this would be even easier.

The last time we see Emily might be tough to translate to the stage, but everything else would work - Scraps as a puppet; Bonejangles as a skeleton attached to a black body suit; even the occasional loss of Emily's body parts could be covered with stage tricks.

Like I said, you heard it here first.

Go see the movie, it's a wonderful, fast ride through a very dark imagination.


ps- It could work as a TV series as well. There! That should be sufficient to keep me in my televisiology grant money!


One of the basic building blocks for the TV Universe is the cliche. Repeated often enough, it becomes mythology, religion, science. But at the beginnings of every cliche lies a True Moment.

Pregnant woman trapped in elevator goes into labor.

Previously unknown identical twin is evil.

Cops have either a handicap, a gimmick, or a strange last name. has put together a list of the top five sci-fi TV show cliches:

Check it out and see if you can come up with your own additions.


Wednesday, October 5, 2005


To kick off the new season for Toobworld, 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' launched a crossover with the mothership of the Dick Wolf franchise. Nothing revolutionary in this; after all, 'Law & Order' shows are all very well meshed. There have been so many crossovers, that the characters from the main show will be the core of the weekly inductions into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame next year.

[That's right, True Believ- er, True Viewers! For 2006, we'll be going weekly for the Hall of Fame!]

Here's the TV Guide recap for Part One ("Design"):

Originally aired: Tuesday September 27, 2005 on NBC

"After Benson talks a pregnant woman off a ledge, it's discovered that she's the daughter of a scam artist and a controversial scientist."

On the following night, the story continued on 'Law & Order':

Originally aired: Wednesday September 28, 2005 on NBC

" 'SVU' detectives Olivia Benson and Fin Tutuola help in a murder investigation that involves a scam artist and her daughter." described the combo this way:

Benson saves April Troost from committing suicide, but feels responsible when Troost dies during the trial of the man she accuses of raping her and getting her pregnant. It isn't long before detectives learn that Barclay Pallister wasn't the only man April picked up in a bar who has no recollection of sleeping with her, and the squad realises that Troost was no victim. Their search takes them from prospective parents looking to adopt her child to the men she drugged and accosted to the sperm center she used to work at, which ends up at the center of the case.

When the body of Patrick Sullivan is found with one of Olivia Benson's business cards in his pocket, Green and Fontana call on SVU to help them with their case. Although not initially clear, the detectives soon realise that Patrick Sullivan is connected to Lorraine Dillon and April Troost, career criminals that Benson had previously been unable to catch. Lorraine confesses to the crime and claims she did it to protect her daughter, but when April ends up on the stand she tells a different story, and McCoy and Benson disagree on which of the two is telling the truth.

These crossovers might be considered safe and maybe even a bit of the ol' "same old, same old". (It's not like pulling off a crossover between 'Medium' and 'My Name Is Earl'.... although I think it could be done!)

But the power in these crossovers lie in the guest casts. Last season's May Sweeps crossover featured Alfred Molina and as his mother, Angela Lansbury, who was nominated for her performance.

This year, in the first hour alone, the cast featured Ronny Cox, Peter Reigert, Julian Sands, and Lynda Carter and Estella Warren as a mother/daughter duo of con artistes.

Date/rape, baby-snatching, genetic experimentation, and a con worthy of the movie "Heartbreakers" - there was more than enough there to spread out over the two shows! It was quite a burst out of the starting gate for the season's crossovers, and we'll N-B-see the next one on the Peacock Network as well.

So we're off and running!


Tuesday, October 4, 2005


Actor Nipsey Russell, known as "the poet laureate of television," passed away at Lenox Hill Hospital. His longtime manager, Joseph Rapp, confirmed that the cause was cancer. He was in his early 80s.

Rapp said Russell was born in 1923, although some reports had him born in 1924. The manager said his age was never clear because Russell did not retain a birth certificate.

Russell achieved his first major role as Officer Anderson in 'Car 54, Where Are You?' In a way, this was a major break-through in my opinion. Back then, if blacks weren't appearing in shows like 'Amos And Andy' which basically kept them segregated from white characters, then they were relegated to servant roles like Eddie "Rochester" Anderson working for Jack Benny. Ethel Waters and Louise Beavers may have played the lead in 'Beulah', but it still was the role of a maid.

And forget about seeing citizens of color in Mayberry.

Officer Anderson worked his beat in the Bronx and was seen as just another member of the squad at the 53rd Precinct; there was no spotlight as if to shout "Hey! Look how progressive we are!" In that way, 'Car 54, Where Are You?' was similar to 'You'll Never Get Rich' (the Bilko show with Phil Silvers).

Nipsey Russell appeared on a string of game shows and variety shows, such as the 'Dean Martin Roasts', 'Laugh-In', and 'The Jackie Gleason Show'. He delighted audiences with short poems, earning him the nickname "the poet laureate of television" from Ed McMahon of 'The Tonight Show', one of many talk shows on which he would appear.

Car 54, Where Are You? (1994) .... Captain Dave Anderson
Although this was the same character he played in the TV series (promoted to Captain), the movie can't be considered a continuation of the main Toobworld. That's because the two main characters - Officers Toody and Muldoon - were played by different actors. It's a shame since we also were treated to seeing Al Lewis as Leo Schnauser again.

"Juvenile Jury" (1983) TV Series .... Host
"The Dean Martin Comedy World" (1974) TV Series .... Host
"Barefoot in the Park" (1970) TV Series .... Honey Robinson
"ABC's Nightlife" (1964) TV Series .... Regular (1965)
"Car 54, Where Are You?" (1961) TV Series .... Officer Anderson (1961-1962)
"Jackpot" (1985) TV Series .... Host (1984 CBS Pilot Only)
"Your Number's Up" (1985) TV Series .... Host
"Match Game PM" (1975) TV Series .... Guest panelilst
"Masquerade Party" (1974) TV Series .... Himself/panelist
"Match Game 73" (1973) TV Series .... Guest panelilst
"To Tell the Truth" (1969) TV Series .... Himself/panelist (1971-1978)
"What's My Line?" (1968) TV Series (uncredited) .... Himself/guest panelilst
"The Dean Martin Show" (1965) TV Series .... Himself (regular performer, 1972-1973)
"Missing Links" playing "Himself" 11 September 1964

Fame (1978) (TV) .... Vinny

[This was the Arthur Miller play, not connected to the movie and series about the performing arts school.]

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Lucille Ball (1975) (TV) .... Himself

"100 Centre Street" playing "Wallace Roy" in episode: "Joe Must Go" (episode # 1.9) 12 March 2001
"Spin City" playing "Himself" in episode: "James and the Giant Speech" (episode # 4.2) 28 September 1999
"Viva Variety" playing "Himself" 9 December 1997
"227" playing "Edmund, Lester's Uncle" in episode: "Men's Club" (episode # 3.1) 27 September 1987
"The Love Boat" playing "Dapper Dan Manhoney" in episode: "Friends and Lovers/Sergeant Bull/Miss Mother" (episode # 4.1) 25 October 1980
"Police Woman" playing "Witt" in episode: "Guns" (episode # 4.2) 1 November 1977



British comedian Ronnie Barker has died at his London home after a long illness.

The TV legend, who, with the diminutive Ronnie Corbett, starred in the TV hit 'The Two Ronnies', was 76. His agent, Rosalind Chatto, said Barker died on Monday afternoon after a long period of heart trouble. His wife, Joy Tubb, was with him.

Barker was one of the most versatile and successful comic actors of his generation. 'The Two Ronnies' brought Barker and Corbett worldwide fame. Barker also made a name for himself as the smart-alec prisoner Fletcher in the prison comedy series 'Porridge', and as the lugubrious, stuttering shopkeeper Arkwright in 'Open All Hours'.

In 1987, at the peak of his career, he announced his retirement at the age of 57. In the announcement Barker implied he had achieved what he wanted to and that he did not have the stomach to continue. He then concentrated on his beloved antiques shop in the Cotswolds, vowing never to return to the spotlight. But he made one or two exceptions, including this year when he reunited with Corbett to present a special six-part series looking back at their favourite moments from 'The Two Ronnies'.

Ronald William George Barker was born on September 25, 1929, in Bedford. He was educated at Oxford High School and began his acting career with the Aylesbury Repertory Company in 1948. By 1955, he was appearing in roles in West End productions, including "Mourning Becomes Electra" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream". He also appeared in the highly successful radio comedy series "The Navy Lark".

Barker and Corbett first worked together as writers for 'The Frost Report' in 1966. They teamed up in 1971, and 'The Two Ronnies' began a 16-year BBC run that yielded 98 shows. In the process they came to represent a distinctly old-fashioned style of British humour, which at its peak was watched by 17million viewers an episode.

Barker once said, however, that 'Porridge' was the best thing he had done. "I knew with 'Porridge' from the first episode. It was in front of an audience, which is a wonderful sounding-board as to how well it's going. My wife was in the audience for that and she said afterwards 'This is going to be a big success', and she was right."

But although he agreed that Fletcher was his most successful character, his favourite one was the slightly lascivious Arkwright.

His successes earned him many accolades including three Bafta awards and an OBE in 1978. He wrote several books, including "Book Of Bathing Beauties" (1974) and his autobiography "Dancing In The Moonlight" (1993).

Barker married Ms Tubb in 1957. He is also survived by two sons and a daughter.

At the Guardian Unlimited site, they've reprinted one of Mr. Barker's monologues which is a perfect example of his skill in wordplay:

"Good evening. I am the president of the Loyal Society for the Relief of Suffers from Pismronunciation, for the relief of people who can't say their worms correctly, or who use the wrong worms entirely, so that other people cannot underhand a bird they are spraying. It's just that you open your mouse, and the worms come turbling out in wuck a say that you dick not what you're thugging to be, and it's very distressing.

"I'm always looing it, and it makes one feel umbumftorcacle, especially when one is going about one's diddly tasks. Slopping at the Sloopermarket, for instance. Only last wonk, I approached the chuckout point, and I shooed the ghoul behind the crash desk the contents of my trilly, and she said 'All right, granddad, shout 'em out.' Well, of course, that's fine for the ordinary man in the stoat who has no dribble with his wolds. For someone like myself, it's worse than a kick in the jackstrop.

"Sometimes, you get stuck on one letter, such as wubbleyou. And I said, 'Well, I've got a tin of woup, a woucumber, two packets of wheese and a walliflower'. She tried to make fun of me and said, 'That will be woo pounds, wifty-wee pence.' So I just said 'Wobblers!' and walked out.

"So you see how dickyfelt it is. But help is at hand. A new society has been formed by our mumblers to help each other in times of excream ices. It is balled Pismronouncers Unanimous, and anyone can ball them up on the smellyphone any time of the day or note, twenty-four flowers a spray, seven stays a creek, and they will come 'round and get drunk with you.

"For foreigners, there will be inperpetwitters, who will all speak many sandwiches, such as Swedish, Turkish, Burkish, Jewish, Gibberish and Rubbish. Membranes will be able to attend tight stool, for heaving classes, to learn how to grope with the many complinkities of the daily loaf.

"Which brings me to the drain reason for squeaking to you tonight. The society's first function as a body was a grand garden freight, and we hope for many more bodily functions in the future. The garden plate was held in the grounds of Blennham Paleyass, Woodstick, and the guest of horror was the great American pip singer, Manny Barrellow. The fete was opened by the bleeder of the opposition, Mister Dale Pinnock ... Pillock, who gave us a few well-frozen worms in praise of the society's jerk. He said that 'In the creeks and stunts that lie ahead, we must do out nut roast to ensure that it sucks weeds.'

"And everyone visited the various stores and abrusements, the rudeabouts, thing boats and the dodgers, and of course, all the old favorites such as Srty your Length, guessing the weight of the cook and tinning the pale on the wonky. The occasion was great fun, and I think it can safely be said that all the men present and thoroughly good women were had all the time.

"So, please join out society. Write to me, Doctor Small Pith, The Spanner, Poke Moses, and I will send you some brieflets to browse through and a brass badge to wear in your loophole."

The BBC Online presented a selection of the star's finest lines in today's edition, from classic shows like 'The Two Ronnies', 'Open All Hours' and 'Porridge'.

The Two Ronnies:
"On a packed show tonight, we'll be talking to an out-of-work contortionist who can no longer make ends meet "

"What have I learned, Mr Mackay? Three things. One - bide your time. Two - keep your nose clean. And three - don't let the bastards grind you down."

The Two Ronnies:
"The man who invented the zip fastener was today honoured with a lifetime peerage. He will now be known as the Lord of the Flies."

Doctor: I want you to fill one of those containers for me.
Fletcher (other side of the room): What, from 'ere?

Open All Hours:
"Don't just crit there siticising!"

The Two Ronnies:
"The toilets at a local police station have been stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on."

The Frost Report:
"I look up to him because he is upper class, but I look down on him because he is lower class."

The Two Ronnies:
"The search for the man who terrorizes nudist camps with a bacon slicer goes on. Inspector Lemuel Jones had a tip-off this morning, but hopes to be back on duty tomorrow."

"(Playing Monopoly) Would you Adam and Eve it? Go to jail! "

The following segment is from a sketch that is considered to be the best from 'The Two Ronnies':

Ronnie Corbett (shop assistant): There you are, four candles.
Ronnie Barker: No, fork 'andles! 'Andles for forks!

And this was their distinctive sign-off for each episode:

The Two Ronnies:
Ronnie Corbett: So it's good night from me...
Ronnie Barker: ...and it's good night from him. Good night!

The BBC Online asked readers to submit their favorite Ronnie Barker lines and comedy bits and there has been quite a nice compilation so far:

Best one liner has to be the sequence in Porridge with Lenny where Fletch starts: Would you like the usual, sir?
"I think I'll have a drink first."
"Large one?"
"Mind your own business."
Martin Taylor, London, UK

Open All Hours: What he comes in for is his business. What he goes out with is my business.
Brian cheverton, Frimley Green, England

How could you miss off "G-g-g-granville, f-f-f-fetch yer cloth".
Bob Sykes, Burnley, UK

"There's only one thing worse than a drunken Scotsman.. and thats a sober one"

"My aunt did some missionary work Mr Mackay."
"Oh yes Fletcher where was that?"
"Glasgow I think."
Tim Handley, London UK

Serving dinner as a butler to two obnoxious upper-class individuals, who are oblivious to his contempt: "Your nuts, M'Lord' 'Your crackers, M'Lady."
Chris Gledhill, Beverley, UK

My favourite work of his was Porridge, and I have been sat here trying to think which one of his one liners is my favourite from that show but I can't. Each episode is just half an hour of solid laughter as far as I'm concerned, and I can pay no higher tribute to a comic actor. He will certainly be missed, RIP Ronnie. God bless and thank you for the laughs.
Stephen Bridgeman, Bromley, England

Open All Hours:
Nurse Gladys: Business is looking up.
Arkwright: Yes, but p-pleasure is looking down (gazing at her cleavage)
Martin, London

"...and we will be speaking to the disillusioned vet who, in James Herriott style, is writing his memoirs, under the working title of 'All Creatures Grunt and Smell'"
Alan, London Uk

The Two Ronnies -
Jehosephat & Jones
"Little Mary-Ellen by the old barn door,
I know just what she's a-waitin' for.
Up in the loft where the lamp light flickers.
I lost my heart and she lost her parasol!"
KJ, Fife, Scotland

Four Candles sketch is my favourite.
William Kelly, Bathgate UK

My daughter and I sat at work remembering the brilliant sketches, especially in Open All Hours. He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.
Lesley & Natalie, Oxford
Lesley Stowell, Oxford, England

Barker "That is a plant".
Mackay "No it's not, it's a tin of pineapples".
Allan, Edinburgh

My childhood revolves around memories of the Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise and my grandad making me laugh. It's a shame that so many of my comedy heroes are no longer here.
Mark Minghella, Prescot, UK

The Mastermind Sketch what else can you say but absolutely brilliant
Steve O'Mara, Yate South Glos

I had to add in my own two-bits to the site:
I don't see it mentioned here, but I remember a "Two Ronnies" "news" item about a woman who had been fitted with a faulty IUD and was now "expecting a baby in the spring."

I still find myself using "And it's goodnight from him" on customers, even if I know only a handful may understand the source.

What a team they were and they helped goose the image of TV comedy over here in America by the late 1970s.
Toby O'Brien, NYC, USA

Here's a look at Ronnie Barker's contributions to the roster of Toobworld:

Beyond the Box: Norman Stanley Fletcher (2003) (TV) .... Norman Stanley Fletcher
My House in Umbria (2003) (TV) .... The General
The Gathering Storm (2002) (TV) .... David Inches
Porridge (1979) .... Norman Stanley Fletcher
When We Are Married (1975) (TV)
The Picnic (1975) (TV) .... The General
Franklyn and Johnnie (1974) (TV) .... Johnnie Wetherby
Idle at Work (1972) (TV) .... George Idle
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1971) (TV) .... Bottom
The Keys of the Cafe (1965) (TV)

"Clarence" (1988) TV Series .... Clarence Sale
"The Magnificent Evans" (1984) TV Series .... Plantagenet Evans
"Going Straight" (1978) TV Series .... Norman Stanley Fletcher
"Open All Hours" (1973) TV Series .... Arkwright (1973-1985)
"Porridge" (1973) TV Series .... Norman Stanley Fletcher
"Seven of One" (1973) TV Series .... Various
"His Lordship Entertains" (1972) TV Series .... Lord Rustless
"The Two Ronnies" (1971) TV Series .... Himself/Various Characters
"6 Dates with Barker" (1971) TV Series .... Fred
"Hark at Barker" (1969) TV Series .... Lord Rustless
"The Ronnie Barker Playhouse" (1968) TV Series .... Various Characters
"Frost on Sunday" (1968) TV Series .... Various roles
"Before the Fringe" (1967) TV Series
"Foreign Affairs" (1966) TV Series .... Grischa Petrovich
"The Frost Report" (1966) TV Series .... Various roles
"A Tale of Two Cities" (1965) TV Series .... Jerry Cruncher
"Bold as Brass" (1964) TV Series .... Mr. Oakroyd
"How to Be an Alien" (1964) TV Series (voice)
"More Faces of Jim" (1963) TV Series .... Various Characters
"Six More Faces of Jim" (1962) TV Series .... Various Characters
"The Seven Faces of Jim" (1961) TV Series .... Various Characters
"It's a Square World" (1960) TV Series

The Two Ronnies at the Movies (1999) (TV)
The Comedy Trail: A Shaggy Dog Story (1999) (TV) .... Himself
Two Ronnies Night (1999) (TV) .... Himself
The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything (1999) (TV) .... Renaissance Man
Christmas Night with the Two Ronnies (1987) (TV) .... Various roles
"The Two Ronnies in Australia" (1987) TV Series .... Various roles Ronnie Corbett in Bed (1971) (TV) .... Various Characters
The Ronnie Barker Yearbook (1971) (TV) .... Various Characters
The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971) .... Guest Appearance (segment "Sloth")
"A Christmas Night with the Stars" (1958) TV Series .... Himself - Host (1971)
'Wiltons' - The Handsomest Hall in Town (1970) (TV) .... Music Hall Performer

"Comedy Connections" playing "Himself" (archive footage) in episode: "The Two Ronnies" (episode # 3.8) 11 April 2005
"Britain's Best Sitcom" playing "Himself" in episode: "Porridge" 21 February 2004
"The Avengers" playing "Cheshire" in episode: "The Hidden Tiger" (episode # 5.8) 4 March 1967
"The Saint" playing "Alphonse" in episode: "The Better Mousetrap" (episode # 5.9) 25 November 1966
"Sykes and A..." in episode: "Sykes and a Log Cabin" (episode # 7.6) 31 March 1964
"Benny Hill" playing "Chef" in episode: "A Pair of Socks" (episode # 1.2) 2 March 1962

And it's good night from him.


Monday, October 3, 2005


According to the latest episode of 'Threshold', the aliens may have been to Earth as long ago as a century before what was considered the initial contact on September 16th, 2005. This was based on the discovery of a 4-dimensional artifact of alien origin that had been found buried in Ohio, and analysis of the surrounding dirt.

Having been there since at least 1900, it's now a possibility that its mutagenic powers might have seeped into local water tables. Or perhaps it passed its deadly traits through the food chain via local crops. Buried as it was, it was theorized that its power had been dampened. But even so, over an extended period of exposure a family might have found itself affected; it may not have been readily apparent, but it still could have manifested istelf in future generations through DNA.

So it's possible this is the reason why Anthony Fremont was born in Peaksville, Ohio, already exhibiting the deadly powers he would use to isolate and terrorize the town by the time he was eight years old. ('The Twilight Zone' - "It's A Good Life")

Anthony might have also been part of the family tree that could be traced back to the demi-god Evander ('Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' - ""), all of whom were able to bring their imaginations to life.

And even then, the addition of the alien energies to his genetic make-up would have augmented the danger Anthony Fremont posed to the world with his "wet, purple gaze".

But... that's a good thing. It's a good thing that it happened. It has to be - I don't want to be wished into the corn field.

Or didn't you ever wonder why Martha Stewart is always saying it's a good thing?



This weekend marked the fiftieth anniversary for both 'The Honeymooners' and 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', and the forty-fifth anniversary for 'The Andy Griffith Show'. TV Land marked the occasion for the citizens of Mayberry by showing 48 hours worth of episodes of the show.

I love all three series, but even with 'The Honeymooners' clocking in with only 39 episodes in its "original" format, I've never seen every episode of these shows. So every time I checked in to TV Land, there was always something new for this old televisiologist.

One such episode was "Stranger In Town", the tenth of the series. It had almost a 'Twilight Zone' aura to it as everyone was freaked out by the newcomer who knew all about them. It even had a "Zonish" mixture of hysteria and paranoia near the end as the citizens of Mayberry gave in to their fears and suspicions of the stranger and tried to run him out of town... or worse!

But what really marks the episode for notice is the first appearance of Floyd Lawson, the town barber. However, the Floyd we saw in that episode was played by a different actor than the man we came to know as the tonsorial artist. Whereas Howard McNear was the Floyd we came to know and love, it was Walter Baldwin who first commanded the chair.

It's easy enough to splain away. That first Floyd Lawson was in fact Floyd Lawson Senior. And when we meet Floyd again and he's now looking like Howard McNear, that's obviously his son.

However, he wasn't named after his own father, despite the fact that they shared the same name. Instead he was named after yet another Floyd, his mother's brother. It's one of those little quirks of small-town life which are taken for granted by the other characters in the show.

Oliver Wendell Douglas would understand how disoriented that could make a feller.

Speaking of 'The Twilight Zone', there's another theory about Floyd's dad which helps to expande the TV Universe - Old Man Lawson couldn't keep his trouser snake under control.

In another small North Carolina town, (Pitchville Flats, probably on the far side of Mt. Pilot), the elder Floyd Lawson had a mistress. And she bore him a son named Mitchell, half-brother to Floyd Lawson, Jr. (as seen in the episode "Hocus Pocus and Frisby").

Tele-genetics being what they are, Floyd, Jr. and Mitchell were half-brothers, identical half-brothers, and you would find that they laughed alike, they walked alike. At times they even talked alike!

You could lose your mind when half-brothers were two of a kind!



[I was going to name this "Gosh, Mr. Wilson!" - more televisionary, you know, - but I know I can't be the only one out there who googles his own name..... ]

C.J. Wilson lives upstairs from Toobworld Central. He is known to my ceilings as "Thunderfoot".

He's appeared in the Broadway productions of "Henry IV", "A Long Day's Journey Into Night", and "The Best Man".

And this coming Thursday, he'll be appearing in an episode of 'Without A Trace' on CBS. It should be Episode #72, "Safe":

"The team searches for a missing teenager who was paranoid about his own personal safety and left an ominous message behind.They investigate whether the 15-year-old whiz kid is missing of his own accord in order to execute his elaborate plan to bomb his high school."

For Toobworld Central, it airs on WCBS-2 at 10 pm, Thursday. But check your local times and listings.


Sunday, October 2, 2005


October! Halloween! The Treehouse of Horror!

Usually we mark this month by inducting somebody into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame who's - Owoooo! - really scary, kids... or at least some kind of monster: Jack the Ripper, Frankenstein's Monster(s), Lee Harvey Oswald....

And usually, as with any other inductee, we still require the minimum of three different occurrences to qualify.

But not this year. In this year of living fiftyishly, I've thrown all of that to the wind and have been inducting those I consider worthy for inclusion but who are shy on the requirements.

It's a case of "What I Say, Goes".

So for October, I've got a candidate who's truly demonic. However, he made only one appearance in Television and yet I can make the claim that his influence can be felt throughout not only Earth Prime Time but in several of the alternate dimensions as well.

And even though the candidate is demonic, he's also sweet.

Sweet with a capital "S", that is. Sweet the Demon who appeared in "Once More With Feeling", the all-singing! all-dancing! episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'.

Using his supernatural powers, Sweet forced people to confront their innermost feelings through song and dance; sometimes pushing them beyond their limits until they burst into spontaneous combustion.
Hippie Coke drinkers might wish they could teach the World to sing, but Sweet made it mandatory.

As I said, when he was summoned to Sunnydale, it was the first and only time we actually saw Sweet. But that wasn't the only TV location at which he worked his black magic. There are other series which show the tell-tale signs that they were under Sweet's demonic influence:

'That's Life'
'Hull High'
'Cop Rock'

Each of these shows were weekly musical slices of Life, with their song and dance showcases presented as though they were everyday events.

'That's Life' was a year in the life of a young couple as they fell in love, married, and planned for a family.

'Hull High' tracked the trials and tribulations of teachers and students at the title high school.

And most infamous of them all, 'Cop Rock' followed the Men In Blue as they walked the beat with dancing flat feet, all to the music of Randy Newman.

This show had actual crossovers which spread the influence of Sweet. In one of the episodes, McKenzie-Brackman lawyers Victor Sifuentes and Abby Perkins of 'L.A. Law' showed up and Lt. Howard Hunter from 'Hill Street Blues' made an appearance in another.

That trio of shows were full series that were probably under Sweet's sway. There's another one as well, but which is found in the alternate TV dimension of Earth Prime Time Delay. That would be 'The Honeymooners', which featured Sheila MacRae instead of Audrey Meadows as Alice Kramden.

Here's what Musicals 101 (link to the left) has to say about the show:

"As part of his weekly CBS variety series, [Jackie] Gleason produced ten hour-long musicals featuring Ralph Kramden and his beloved 'Honeymooners' cohorts. The Kramdens and Nortons win an all expenses paid vacation (by writing a slogan for Flakey Wakey breakfast cereal), and proceed to sing and dance their way through every major European country -- with an African safari thrown in.

These episodes were tremendous fun, and were so well received that they inspired Gleason to produce 32 more new 'Honeymooners' episodes over the next three years."

Had it not been for Ms. MacRae as the Alice recastaway, I would have had no trouble inflicting this upon 'The Honeymooners' of the main Toobworld, even though we never saw this happen in the original 39 episodes. (By the way, the original series celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this weekend.)

Sometimes only one episode might signal the presence of Sweet's influence, rather than the whole series.

Over in the Tooniverse, it looks like Sweet could have added to the trauma of a hurricane fast approaching Lawndale by making the friends and family of 'Daria' Morgendorffer make all their preparations in time with the music.

On 'Xena: Warrior Princess', Sweet may have been pulling the strings behind the scenes in the dimension of Illusia, a tarot-card dream world. That was where feuding partners Xena and Gabrielle broke into song for their "Bitter Suite" war of words.

If Sweet also worked as a dreamin' demon, then some of his victims may not even have known that they were being assaulted by him. For example, while on a trip through Europe, Lucy Ricardo was devastated when her husband Ricky wouldn't let her take a side-trip to her ancestral origins in the Scottish Highlands.

So instead, "Lucy Goes To Scotland" anyway by dreaming of her ancestry as a MacGillicuddy in Kildoonan. And she even incorporated her friends Fred and Ethel as a two-headed dragon. (Perhaps it was a race memory of Siskbert from the movie "Willow". Okay.... maybe not.)

The fact that a potential victim was incapacitated by illness probably made no difference to Sweet. He would never have hesitated to violate Dr. Aaron Schutt's mind into transforming the key points of his life into song.

Songs in the key of Life, as it were.

But if characters bursting into song was a sign of Sweet's presence in Toobworld, then it's the plethora of musicals in the Golden Age of Television which certainly buttress that argument.

I've gone through the book "Television Specials" by Vincent Terrace and visited the TV Musicals pages of the Musicals 101 site to find a few interesting examples where Sweet might have set the beat:

"Amahl And The Night Visitors"
"Commissioned by NBC, this enchanting opera became one of the landmark events in early television.

A crippled shepherd boy joins the Three Magi and is cured when he gives his only possession (his crutch) to the new born Christ."

Sweet would have attempted to exert his influence over the birth of Christ in eight different TV dimensions, since this opera had eight different productions (with many cast changes) on NBC over the years.
The legend of the Arabian Knights was not the tale of a blue genie in a red-hot Disney 'toon, but instead a tuneful tale by Cole Porter who created "Red, Hot, And Blue!". They both shared the basic same characters in Aladdin, the Emperor, and Princess Jasmine, however.

I'm inclined to keep this version of the story in the main Toobworld, especially because of the appearance by George Hall as the Chamberlain. I'd like to make the case that he was the root of the family tree that led to Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. in 'The Indiana Jones Chronicles'.
"The Legend Of Robin Hood"
Here's another character who's only a legend in the Real World, but a living breathing figure of reality in Toobworld. Of course, as with many of these mythic characters, there are many different versions and plenty of dimensions in which to house them.

With music and lyrics by James Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, and a range of actors including Noel Harrison, Roddy McDowall, Victor Buono, Walter Slezak, and maintaining a family tradition, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Sweet could take great pride in the atmosphere he created in Sherwood Forest.
"Jack And The Beanstalk"
Sweet would have had several opportunities across the dimensional vortex to interfere with the tale of Jack the Giant-Killer. The 1956 version which starred Joel Grey, Cyril Ritchard, and Celeste Holm is situated in the main Toobworld; while the version starring Gene Kelly about a decade later would be found in Earth Prime Time Delay.

"A Christmas Carol" - 1954/"The Stingiest Man In Town" - 1956
Here's another case in which Sweet could have made several attempts to distort the lives of the same characters in several dimensions. Nevertheless, neither of these would be my choice for the official TV version. (I'm still up in the air regarding that.)

Interestingly enough, Jacob Marley in the earlier production was an exact mirror image to the Ebenezer Scrooge of the latter musical version. (Yeah I know.... it's because Basil Rathbone played both roles.)
"Saga Of Sonora"
Sweet might have even worked his magic in the Wild, Wild West with this tale of "sheer lunacy and great mad charm" (as described in the Don Adams narrated the tale as Vince Edwards was tossed back in time to face off against a villain and his dastardly damsel (as played by Zero Mostel and Jill St. John).

One of the lines - "It was suicide. He backed into my gun six times." - echoed down the ages in an episode of 'Batman' in which Shame showed off his fancy pocket watch which he traded for with a train conductor. When asked what he gave the conductor in return, Shame drawled, "Three bullets in the haid."
"A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court"
There have been lots of tele-versions of this Mark Twain classic, and plenty of TV dimensions in which to send it. My favorite version of the hero was Thomas Mitchell, but the production was a bit shoddy. Still this version - with Eddie Albert as Martin Barrett, - is closely tied to that earlier staging in that Boris Karloff again portrayed Arthur Pendragon. ~~~~~
"Of Thee I Sing"
There's a TV dimension which I've dubbed "Earth Prime Time MOTW" - in which we find all of the American Presidents who served only in TV movies of the week. And this Pulitzer Prize winning 1930s Gershwin hit would be the perfect opportunity for Sweet to assail the Oval Office.

(And what a cast! Carroll O'Connor, Cloris Leachman, Jim Backus, Michelle Lee, Jack Gilford, Jesse White, Paul Hartman, and Ted Knight!)

But Sweet would not have been above fiddling about with the destinies of the POTUS in the main Toobworld, however.....

"The Great Man's Whiskers"
Earlier in the summer, I decided that the late Ford Rainey should be the official face of Abraham Lincoln in the TV Universe with three different portrayals of the 16th President. However, recastaways can be ignored when the change in appearance is due to an alteration in physical appearance. Aging and plastic surgery are the main reasons, but why not the addition of a beard as well?

I'm willing to say that this moment in the life of Honest Abe, in which a young girl writes to President Lincoln suggesting he grow a beard to hide the sadness in his face, should be considered part of Earth Prime Time. From this portrayal by Jason Robards, he would later age into the look of Ford Rainey.

And you can't beat the lyrics of Yip Harburg, in my book!
"Olympus 7-0000"
If Sweet was involved in this tale told on the 'Kraft Music Hall', then the god-hood of Hermes proved to be no match when the wing-footed son of Zeus is summoned to assist a struggling college football coach in New England.
"It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman!"
The Man of Steel is a modern-day myth with many incarnations across the dimensional vortex.

1] 'The Adventures of Superman' can be found in the main Toobworld.
2] 'Lois & Clark' and 'The Adventures of Superboy' share the same alternate universe, Earth Prime Time Delay.
3] Because Clark Kent has yet to go public in his persona of Superman, I feel safe in relegating 'Smallville' to the same world in which 'The West Wing' takes place. (But all bets might be off this season.)
4] 'Superfriends', 'Justice League Unlimited' and all other animated versions exist in the Tooniverse. (But their Superman crossed the vortex to visit with Jerry Seinfeld in the main Toobworld.)

But here's yet another version, and fans of the comic book know that Superman would have no protection against Sweet's magic. But it must have taken something out of the demon because it's a pretty lousy score which was inflicted on Metropolis.
"Evening Primrose"
If 'The Twilight Zone' had ever been invaded by Sweet, this might have been the type of story we'd see. Using the music of Stephen Sondheim, it was the story of an underground society living in a department store at night, and it had an unnerving finale that was reminiscent of Rod Serling's bailiwick.

So there you have it - just a few of the many reasons as to why I consider Sweet the Demon worthy of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.