Saturday, December 3, 2005


Submitted for your approval.....

When I was running the Tubeworld Dynamic website, I had a monthly feature in which I linked an episode of 'The Twilight Zone' to another TV series.

Some examples:

"Where Is Everybody" - 'Columbo'
"Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?" - 'Farscape'
"You Drive" - 'My Mother The Car'
"A Hundred Yards Over The Rim" - 'Quantum Leap'/'Time Tunnel'

There was one I never got around to - I wanted to link "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" with 'Leave It To Beaver'. My premise was that since both were shot on the same backlot street (as were the old "Andy Hardy" movies"), and thus their layout looked similar, than Maple Street had to be in Mayfield as was the Cleaver house.

Well, I'm glad I held off, because now I have an even better link; and this time, I've got proof right off the TV screen!

There's a new regional commercial here in the NYC area for WPLJ radio starring Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill. The scene opens with them exhorting their troop of volunteers to persuade people to join their listener recruitment drive.

And we can clearly see from a lovingly scripted street sign that they are on Wisteria Lane, the street in Fairview where the 'Desperate Housewives' all live! It's the same backlot street as seen in the show, and not looking too different from its incarnation in both 'Leave It To Beaver' and "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street".

The volunteers are instructed to canvass the neighborhood of Maple while Scott and Todd work Wisteria.

Thus we have the link to that episode of 'The Twilight Zone'. Had we been able to see a block over from Maple Street when the riots began, we might have seen the homes where Edie, Lynne, Gabriella, and Bree would one day live.

The commercial is definitely making the link to 'Desperate Housewives' at least. Scott and Todd are greeted at one door by a buxom blonde who is clearly meant to be Edie. (We only see her from the back - obviously they weren't going to shell out the big bucks to get Nicolette Sheridan to do the cameo!)

After Scott is forcibly yanked into the house for a little afternoon delight, Todd practices a bit of serlinguism (which would be appropriate, considering we're using this blipvert as a bridge between 'Housewives' and 'Zone').

"Wow!" he exclaims to the camera. "She really is desperate!"

Now, the discerning televisiologist might question this premise based on one simple fact: why are these dorks trying to drum up business in Fairview, California, when their radio show is broadcast in the tri-state region on the East Coast?

Fair question. It's because they're probably doing this campaign all across the country, in order to get more listeners for the live stream of the radio show online!



The Rolling Stones made an unusual contribution to their membership in the League of Themselves back in November, and you'll be able to see it unfold in Toobworld in about two weeks.

Continuing its partnership with the Rolling Stones, NBC's popular daytime drama 'Days of our Lives' taped scenes featuring four of its core characters as they attended the November 4 Rolling Stones concert in Anaheim, California.

The 'DOOL' characters were prominently featured in the audience at the concert and shown on the big screen behind stage as The Stones performed.

Said an NBC Veep: "Fan reaction to the Rolling Stones video premiere and the reception that the 'Days' actors received at the concert illustrate the show's continued relevance in pop culture in this, its fortieth year."

('Days Of Our Lives' premiered on NBC as a half-hour soap opera on November 8, 1965. But it probably went unnoticed in my family - My Dad celebrated his 36th birthday as well that day.)

Footage of the 'DOOL' characters at the Stones concert will air December 16, 19 and 20.



Congratulations to Dave Letterman, for snagging his rightful share of the ratings Thursday night. It was the largest estimated audience 'Late Show' has had since he reunited Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan at the Olympics, apparently. And it only took a force of nature to be captured and brought into the studio....

After 16 years, Ms. Winfrey finally agreed to come back and visit Letterman on his turf. She had not occupied the guest chair since he was hosting 'Late Night' over at NBC back in 1989. It had been an uncomfortable experience for her and she figured she never had to go through that again.

And she was right. I mean, she is Oprah.

And when she finally did deign to come back, it was on her terms, because she was the one who wanted the summit meeting more. After all, she was producing the brand new musical version of 'The Color Purple' right across the street from the Ed Sullivan Theater, so why not gain it some exceptional publicity? (Especially since the critics were not going to be too kind to the production!)

It was an incredible night of TV before and after the interview. Daves' jokes were spot-on about what a shmuck he had been in all the years leading up to this moment; and his seemingly genuine shock at the use of timpani to herald her entrance ("You scared the crap out of me!") was hysterical.

They had Tony Danza in the wings, waiting to go on in case Dave could not complete his duties as host, the night was that important to CBS. And the Top Ten list (phone messages left on Oprah's answering machine) was great. (It would have been even better if they had been fake recording of the actual people leaving the messages.)

Best of all was the faux promo for the show, which would be broadcast right after the CBS Special Report: "Hell Freezes Over".

And after the interview, Dave personally escorted Oprah through the theater and then outside to get her across the street in time for the night's opening performance of 'The Color Purple'; one of those special moments that make it fun to be in New York City - even if you weren't in that exact vicinity.

It's just a shame that the interview didn't have that same oomph. It's not like I was looking for Dave to "rip her one" as some jerk in the audience shouted out 16 years before. I'm just surprised he found time to have on Bonnie Raitt as a guest when he could have used that time to fully kiss Oprah's ass. (That baby's got back, ya dig?)

Still, Oprah was cool, calm, and collected, and an expert in spinning the legend of their "feud" her way. ("Feud? What feud?") And the interview's highlight was the autographed photo she gave Dave, which showed Oprah and Uma - I mean, Uma and Oprah, - in order to rub Dave's nose in the biggest gaffed of his entertainment career. (His appearance in "Cabin Boy" pales in comparison.)

Has he ever been on her show? I'm not sure if there'll be any tit for tat, but Dave better bring plenty of tat if he has any hope of balancing off what she brings to the game with the latter.......



Even after acknowledging that soap opera time is far slower than real time, it's still been 22 years since Dr. Noah Drake has been at General Hospital in Port Charles, NY. (I can't speak for the entire town, merely for his absence from the hospital.) That's because I used the fact that they still celebrate Christmas each year on 7West to mark the passage of Time.

He finally did show up this past Friday in a much heralded return well publicized by the press. But in true soap opera style, for he didn't appear in the episode until the last five minutes. Sweeps may be over, but the weekend cliff-hanger is a tradition soaps can't ignore.

But even though it's been over two decades since we last saw Dr. Drake, (not to be confused with Dr. Drake Ramoray), that doesn't mean he's just been packed in ice and put on hold until he was thawed out for future use. Even though we couldn't see what was happening, Noah Drake's life continued, with all of the misadventures and mishaps, joys and sorrows one could imagine might happen to someone usually caught up in a soap opera lifestyle.

And no one knows that better when it comes to Dr. Noah Drake than Rick Springfield, who, by an AMAZING coincidence, bears a striking resemblance to Drake.

Noah Drake "would have gone through a lot of [bleep]," revealed the actor/singer. "I certainly have in my life, and I can't imagine anyone hasn't gone through some pretty major things in those years. I'm sure [Noah Drake] won't have just had a nice, even career. He was transferred to Atlanta, but certain things can hit the fan during your 30s and 40s."

Weeeell, doggies! I'll say! When Dr. Robin Scorpio finally tracks Drake down, she finds a haggard drunk sleeping it off in the corner of some dive bar.

If there's any justice and respect for the tradition of in-jokes, let's all hope that it was the girl-friend of some guy named Jesse who led to Noah Drake's downfall.....


Friday, December 2, 2005


For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the TV Crossover Hall of Fame was established in 1999 to honor those TV characters (as well as locations and objects) which unify the TV Universe. This includes real-life people who have fictionalized tele-versions of themselves, as well as the Creators who make the crossovers possible.

The original requirements have become easier to achieve in recent years (appearances in three different TV shows, TV movies, cartoons or commercials). But that's mostly due to the fact that those who make the TV shows nowadays grew up watching TV and love the self-referential nature of the medium. But it has reached the point where some might argue that just about anybody can get into the Hall of Fame.

And this year, that was just about true....

In 2005, I reached the half century mark. Like fellow bloggers Brent McKee and Tony Figueroa, I am a child of Television. And every year on my birthday, I celebrate in my blog (or the old Tubeworld Dynamic website before this) by announcing a Birthday Honors List; inducting someone special into the ranks of the Hall of Fame who might have just missed the requirements but who is nonetheless deserving of recognition for their contributions to the TV Universe.

My mantra for the choices made on my birthday is: "What I say, goes."

The first such honoree was Suzy MacNamara, Ann Sothern's character in 'Private Secretary'. She was honored because she was involved in the first TV crossover, on the premiere episode of 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour'.

This year, since I turned fifty, I applied that dictum of "What I Say, Goes" all year long. Now that we've completed the list for 2005, let's re-run those who have been inducted over the last twelve months:

JANUARY - Lt. Columbo
FEBRUARY - Barney Collier aka Mr. Peters
MARCH - John Drake/Number "6"
APRIL - Ted Baxter
MAY - Detective Kay Howard
JUNE - Arnold Ziffel
JULY - Paladin/Hec Ramsey
AUGUST - Samantha Crawford
OCTOBER - Sweet The Demon
NOVEMBER - Adam West, live action & cartoon
DECEMBER - The Penguin, live action & cartoon

I've been running the TV Crossover Hall of Fame since 1999, and one day I will devote the time necessary to create a permanent home for it on the web.

If you're interested in seeing the full list (There are over 100 members so far!), then drop me a note at:



When the total box office grosses are tallied up at the end of the year, I'm pretty sure "March Of The Penguins" will be right up there as one of the biggest moneymakers for 2005. The documentary proved to be so popular, it's working its way into pop culture references - like the upcoming Crossover of the Week. A future inductee into the Crossover Hall of Fame suggested that he and his crossover companion should go see "the penguin movie".

So in a way, I'm taking "March Of The Penguins" as my inspiration for this month's inductee into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. (Also, the latest Coke CGI ad featuring the polar bears and the penguins as well an upcoming movie "Happy Feet".)

But in truth, I've wanted to tip my top hat to this finny fellow for years. And since I'm wrapping up my yearlong mantra of "What I Say, Goes" in celebration of my half-century mark, I figured now was as good a time as any.

So this December, instead of looking to the North Pole for inspiration, I turned to the South Pole. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you......


Waaaak waaaaak waaaak!

The Penguin was one of the premiere quartet of villains who terrorized Gotham City during the 1960s. And from a Real World perspective, he was one of only two in that quartet to be played by that same actor throughout the run of the series. (Burgess Meredith played The Penguin; Cesar Romero was always the Joker. The Riddler and Catwoman had different actors during the course of the show. But have no fear, Toob Believers! I have splainins for both!)

There are plenty of theatrically released movies that actually belong in the TV Universe, and the 1966 "Batman" is one of them. It opened between the first and second season of the show and featured that same quartet of villains.

Once again, Burgess Meredith returned as the Penguin and Romero was the Joker. Frank Gorshin, the one true Riddler, was in it as well. (Gomez Addams once briefly assumed the identity.) But Catwoman was actually a crook named Betty who would later go straight and marry a cop. Her husband was the son of a private eye named Barnaby Jones. (This Catwoman was played by Lee Merriweather.)

So even though it was a feature film, "Batman" does count as a credit in the TV Universe for The Penguin.
The Penguin was more of a mobster-styled criminal rather than a costumed super-villain. He apparently came from a wealthy background but was rejected by his family for his... "proclivities".

The Penguin harkened back to the more idealized view of high society criminals, as might have been found in films from the thirties and forties like "Lady For A Day". In keeping with his family's tradition of wealth, the Penguin lived a life of crime executed with his own self-proclaimed class and style.

In keeping with his high society ways, The Penguin would frequent nightclubs, of the supper club style much like the legendary Stork Club. (Of course, of course.) And it was at one of those supper clubs where he delighted in a most unusual act. It was a stupid human trick in which an evil hypnotist subjected a rock group known as 'The Monkees' to cruel treatment on stage while they were under his mind control.

But with his Cyrano beak of a nose and potbelly and some unknown hip condition that caused him to waddle, The Penguin distorted that image of the Gentleman Thief probably first made popular by AJ Raffles. In his top hat, tails, cummerbund, spats, and a monocle, he was a contradiction between looks and style and circumstance not too far removed from the Kings of the Road, - those haughty hobos who put on airs while wearing threadbare tuxedos as they ate beans from a can.

It was probably due to his odd looks and build that The Penguin decided to adopt the flightless avian for his image as a costumed criminal. Born Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, the Penguin was an outcast in his rich, debutante family. Their rejection drove him to become a violent criminal - at least according to the comic books and the Tim Burton movie "Batman Returns" from the early 1990s.

As far as Toobworld was concerned, the origin of The Penguin was never fully splained. In fact, only a few of the secondary villains had their beginnings detailed, like the Bookworm, Mr. Freeze, and one of my faves, King Tut.

But I suppose we have to go along with the comic book assertion that his name was Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. This is a shame, because aside from it being a stupid moniker, it does prevent us from making the claim that one of Burgess Meredith's guest roles in which he played a villain could be considered The Penguin before his transformation.

I was especially tempted by a backwoodsman he played in "The Great Silence", an episode of 'Tales Of Tomorrow'. This mountain-dweller, who single-handedly thwarted an alien threat, might have used that UFO technology to jump-start his self-improvement.

Or maybe he could have been Luther Dingle, aka "Mr. Dingle The Strong". Mr. Dingle was subjected by various aliens to a battery of experiments which expanded his mind and increased his strength in 'The Twilight Zone'.

But no. I guest we're stuck with Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, one of the worst names ever created for a fictional character.

Unlike most Batman villains, The Penguin never centered his crimes around a psychotic obsession; he was in control of his own actions and was considered sane. But he did possess a few eccentricities. For instance, he is known for his love of birds and his umbrellas, which allow him to glide through the air, double as firearms or have some other specialized function.

Because of those umbrellas, The Penguin might have been an inventor or a scientist during the thirties before turning to a life of crime. And he may have called upon that knowledge to create his many trick umbrellas which he used in the execution of his crimes. Or maybe he was just a guy who created novelty gag gifts gone wrong.

At any rate, he created umbrellas for all sorts of uses in crime. But he may also have fashioned one as a gift to his Gotham City partner in crime, the Riddler. It served no other purpose, like spraying knockout gas or having a hypnotic design that could mesmerize his victims when spun quickly. It was just that the hand-crafted handle made the bumbershoot special for the Riddler - shaped like a question mark, which was the Riddler's personal symbol.

That umbrella, along with plenty of dress shirts with question marks on the collar tabs, were somehow purloined by a time-traveling Gallifreyan. Known only as "The Doctor", he most probably appropriated the items during his banishment on Earth imposed by his fellow Time Lords.

This would have been the Doctor's third incarnation, but it would have been an incident unrecorded for viewing by the Real World. (Surprise, surprise!) It's unknown if the Doctor was in league with the Riddler or with Batman, but we do know the Third Doctor was aware of the Caped Crusader's existence.

"What did you expect?
Some kind of space rocket with Batman at the controls?"
'Doctor Who' - "Inferno"

In any event, I'm declaring that the umbrella carried by the Seventh Doctor was created by The Penguin.

Burgess Meredith played The Penguin in the series, appearing in 10 episodes of the series. Because he was so popular with the audience, the producers always had a script waiting for Meredith if he happened to come into town.

In an interview about why he decided to do 'Batman', Burgess Meredith said, "I did Batman for two reasons, one of which was salary. The other was that, after its first few episodes, Batman became the in-thing to do.

"Actually, we didn't get as much money from the show as you might think, although we were paid decent money for the feature film version. The main impetus to continue appearing on 'Batman' - beyond the desire to get some TV work - was that it was fashionable."

I remember hearing a radio interview with him many years ago in which he said that if it had not been for his appearance as The Penguin, he never would have had such a resurgence in his career to the point where he got two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Meredith just about worked right up until his death in 1997; had it not been for The Penguin, he might have retired to just the Skippy peanut butter voice-overs to tide him over.

The Penguin also made his mark in the Tooniverse as well (voiced by Ted Knight, Paul Williams, and Lennie Weinrib). His animated version qualifies him for entry into the Hall as well, having appeared in not only 'Batman - The Animated Series' and in 'Super-Friends', but also in an episode of 'Scooby-Doo'! (I suppose it could be argued that the "animated" opening credits for the 1960s live-action series were a window into the Tooniverse.

So like Adam West last month, - and that's a coincidence, honest! - The Penguin has two versions inducted this month. But we're drawing the line there. Danny Devito's depiction of the dastardly do-badder in 'Batman Returns' and the comic book character don't count. But they do illustrate how the character does span the creative universes of Mankind's Imagination.

'The Monkees'
'Doctor Who'

'The Adventures Of Batman'
'The New Scooby-Doo Movies'
'The New Adventures Of Batman'
'Batman And Robin' [part of Tarzan And The Super 7'
'Batman - The Animated Series'

And here's one last reason why The Penguin is perfect for this end of the year honor - he's suited up for New Year's Eve!



In hopes that some producer might think of using fictional products from other shows (and thus help create new links between shows), here are some recent items I've culled from various TV series in the last few weeks:

"Urban Hellraisers" - a video game
Manhattan Minx
& } Roller Derby teams
Brooklyn Clobbers
"Wabi Sabi" - a sexual thriller by Griffin Holden

Palmay Muscle Cream
Ambrose Pharmaceuticals
Stoia-Tucker Pharmaceuticals
"Mothwoman" - comic book character
King High School
The King Cobras basketball team
Broxton, Rhode Island
The Van Buren Museum of Art, New York City
Breastplate of Attila
The Sword of Mars
Strajerul, Romania

It's not inclusive, but I've only got the two eyes....


Thursday, December 1, 2005


It's December 1st - the Day Without Art.

I don't kid myself that what I do here is art. In fact, the medium I celebrate hardly ever gets considered as art. I've got a sweater here somewhere that reads: "Theater is Real Life. Film is Art. Television is Furniture."

Nevertheless, I'm taking the day "off" to mark my small observance of World Aids Day. (That late night posting doesn't count - I was still in end of November mode.) I'll be back tomorrow with the December Crossover Hall of Fame and the usual blathering.......

Today, I just wanted to tip my hat to a friend I lost to this killer: Keith Belli.

Keith and I met at UConn, although his family did have its homebase in my hometown. We worked together at the Thomaston Opera House for a summer, and then I moved to NYC and he went off to make his mark in regional theatre with stage design.

Keith was one of those friends you got to see only once a year sometimes, but that yawning space between visits never existed.

It always pissed him off that I would write his name "Kieth" rather than "Keith".

I just wish I could still piss him off today.

And if he knows that I'm writing this, I've probably succeeded.

I miss you, Kieth.



Leading up to the last two episodes of 'Las Vegas', the show's creator (Gary Scott Thompson) said there would be a death which would be a "Rosalind Shays elevator" moment. He was referring to the death of a powerful shark of a lawyer who fell down an elevator shaft on 'L.A. Law' back in 1991.

And he was right! As already mentioned here in the Inner Toob, Monica Mancuso was up on the roof of the Montecito, gesturing wildly in her billowing dress as she argued with Danny. Suddenly a gust of wind "filled her sails" and scooped her up. For mroe than a mile she "flew" over Sin City until she finally plummeted to her death.

(Ironically, the Montecito was hosting a comic book convention where a couple of nerds thought Ms. Mancuso resembled a superhero named Mothwoman. Wearing that voluminous caftan and being such a physical light-weight, it's almost as if she was pre-destined to bring that image to life... so to speak.)

It was certainly one of the best death scenes in the history of Toobworld, worthy of the comparison to the macabre imaginations of Alfred Hitchcock as well as David E. Kelley (who came up with the elevator execution of Rosalind Shays in that 'L.A. Law' episode, "Good To The Last Drop".)

Maybe it lacked something in the technical details - the rear projection on the green screen, or the position of Lara Flynn Boyle's twiggish limbs due to the use of wires. But the actual premise can't be faulted for believability, because this is Toobworld; where all TV shows are connected, even if many of those links can't be proven just yet.

And this fantasy world established nearly forty years ago that a woman of a certain build and weight could be aerodynamically capable of flight, depending on clothing particulars.

If you don't believe me, ask Sister Bertrille at the Convent of San Tanco down in Puerto Rico. If she's still there, of course. She may have returned to California to be closer to her identical cousin, Gidget Lawrence.

('Las Vegas', 'The Flying Nun', 'Gidget')


Wednesday, November 30, 2005


There's going to be an alternate ending to tonight's episode of 'Veronica Mars' available on immediately following the show's broadcast on UPN. In a way, it's similar to last week's episode of 'CSI: Miami' which had an extended ending scene show up at the site.

But this won't qualify for Crossover of the Week honors next week, because it's more of a showcase for one of the many alternate dimensions in the TV Universe. Depending on what happens in the online version of the ending, it could fit in nicely over in the evil mirror dimension.

The alternate ending, and the actual ending will both be available online for one week, where viewers can vote on which ending they liked best.




What are you doing to me, FOX?

This was from TVWeek:

Medical drama 'House' will remain in its current 9 p.m. Tuesday time period, while 'Bones' will move to Wednesdays at 9 p.m. following the 'American Idol' audition shows beginning Jan. 25.

I'm sure it's probably going to do gangbusters following 'American Idol'. Look how that helped 'House' last season.

I like 'Bones' a lot. It's on my list as one of the best new shows from the 2005 season.

But I live and breathe 'Lost'. And that airs on Wednesdays at 9 pm on ABC.

Sometimes these choices are easy to make. I liked 'Commander In Chief', recognizing its faults but still finding it an entertaining and fast-moving hour. (I'm a big fan of backroom political intrigue "Fletcher Knebel" type of stories.)

But as soon as 'House' returned after the baseball break, it was time to put Geena Davis' presidency on the back-burner and return to TV's best curmudgeon.

And it's not like I can watch one and tape the other to watch later. Okay, fine. It's true I don't know how to work the equipment to do that anyway. But I work an overnight shift and so I'm sleeping during prime time. I have to make the Sophie's Choice on which shows to tape.

At least with 'Veronica Mars' - which also airs at 9 pm on Wednesdays, - I know I have a backup plan with UPN's re-airing on the weekends. 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' and 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' have the same kind of set-up with USA Network.

Here's an idea: Why not rerun 'Bones' a week later on FX on some other night - like Saturdays? It's an elephant's graveyard anyway when it comes to ratings, so what do you have to lose?

Like I said, I'm sure 'Bones' will benefit from this maneuver and may even guarantee it a second season. I'm just upset I can't come along for the ride.

I hope FOX will have a generous rerun policy this summer. If not, then FOX You, Murdochian Suits! May you be nibbled to death by ducks!



Got an e-mail from my dear friend Ivy:

There was an entertainment headline this morning that cracked me up:

"Next Apprentice To Be Shot in Los Angeles."

Guess they'll try anything to boost the ratings. :)

She's right!

You know this misconception is the type of "ripped from the headlines" story that's going to inspire one of the 'Law & Order' shows to "rip it" off....



It's a shame that 'Las Vegas' is on NBC and 'CSI' is on CBS. I'd love to see Anthony Zuiker and the 'CSI' writers acknowledge the bizarre death of Montecito Casino owner Monica Mancuso in the last two episodes of 'Las Vegas'. (She was blown off the roof by a gust of wind which treated her dress like a billowing sail.)

They could make some sort of veiled reference to it as a case that was solved off-camera. After all, despite the intervention of Big Ed throwing around his FBI contacts with the cop who was hassling Danny as a suspect , only Gil Grissom and his CSI team could officially clear him of suspicion. One of the basic tenets for the 'CSI' shows is "Only the evidence tells the Truth", and that includes the security cameras on the Montecito's roof.

There was another Vegas death that would be in the CSI archives from forty years before - one Franklin Gibbs of Elgin, Kansas, on 'The Twilight Zone'. Caught up in "The Fever" of gambling, Gibbs was haunted by one particular slot machine which followed him back to his hotel room out of revenge for being tipped over.

Terrified, Gibbs was forced off the balcony of his hotel room and was probably written off as a suicide by the investigators who preceded Grissom's team.

Who was going to suspect a slot machine to be a murderer? It's not like one-arm bandits leave fingerprints......

I'd also like to see somebody mention the ghoulish bet made by "The Man From The South" involving the dependability of a cigarette lighter and the possible loss of fingers, as seen on 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'.

And maybe I've missed it over the years, - and I don't care if it happens on 'CSI' or on 'Las Vegas', although both of them should do this, - but there should be some mention of Dan Tanna. Played by the late, great TV stalwart Robert Urich, Tanna was a private eye nonpareil in 'Vega$' back in the '70s.

It wouldn't kill the current shows to tip their hat in some small way for the TV character who first made their locale popular in TV Land.


"No such thing as a sure bet...
Unless the deal is fixed."

Perry Mason


It must be nice to be able to watch a TV show, commercials included, and not have a thousand and one weird ideas pop into your head about the meaning of it all in some alternate dimension. Sometimes I wonder if I was ever able to watch a TV show like the so-called normal people do......

Basically, Toobworld is a fantasy universe in much the same way Middle-Earth is, or Narnia. And like them, Toobworld also has elves, and satyrs, and dwarves, and talking trees, and witch-queens. Plus lions and dragons and bears who use Charmin tissue.

Oh my.

But Toobworld is a far scarier place.

You probably find that hard to believe. You watch Mary Richards throw her hat up in the air and wish you had the courage to do the same thing. Maybe when you were younger, you were tempted to ask your grandmother if she could come back as a car when she died.

But let's say you're out in the woods, probably walking along the Appalachian Trail. And there's a guy out there by the side of the trail, sitting on a log near his tent.

And he looks at you as you pass by and just says,

"You know? I've got genital herpes."

It's the serlinguists, those people who talk to the camera, who would scare the crap out of me if I lived in the TV Universe......

I'm just sayin', is all. Just an o'bservation while watching my tape of 'Bones'.....


"You see what I mean, Mr. Grant?
It's a lousy, lousy world"
Mary Richards
'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


For the second "winner" of the Crossover of the Week, one just had to flip over to CBS and watch 'CSI: Miami'. But the crossover didn't happen during the episode; instead, it happened after the show ended.

AND it didn't even happen on TV at all!


Promoted as an extending ending to the episode, viewers were urged to visit and click on the link to a scene between reporter Erica Sikes and new CSI team member Ryan Wolfe.

Granted, it was mainly a showcase for the new Hummer, (which got better close-ups than the actors!), but TV has always been about selling cars. That's why there's such a thing as the Fall TV season anyway - it was set in September to help usher in the new line of cars.

But the scene was vital to the forward motion of the plot. Erica clued Ryan in that somebody on the team was badmouthing the department to the press - and maybe even culpable for something worse.

We also learned that Horatio Caine was aware of her information... information... information...... So that would mean Ryan and Horatio weren't under suspicion. Doesn't it? Her wording was slightly vague, and she might have been leading Ryan on in order to trip him up or get him to relax his guard while she continued her investigative reporting.

Then again, there has been a simmering relationship building between the characters over three episodes of this season, so it could be she was genuinely concerned that he should know the truth.

At least as much as she could reveal.

It was an important scene that will have ramifications and reverberations right through to the end of the season, so it can't be shrugged off as just a publicity stunt.

It wasn't the first time that Toobworld interfaced with "Cyberia". That honor is held by 'Homicide: Life On The Street' which had a running storyline online about the second shift at that Baltimore precinct, starring character actor Joe Grifasi. Finally members of both teams met up during the episode "" with an appropriate case - a serial killer who streamed his murders online.

And in addition to happening during November Sweeps, this extended scene for 'CSI: Miami' occurred at a very propitious TV time. Just a week before, the news was full of stories about TV shows being available for sale on iPod and other MP3 devices. So the Eye was dipping its toe into exploring new frontiers of Television.

'Medium' looked back and 'CSI: Miami' looked forward with novel experiments, and that's why the duo have been chosen to share the "honors" of Crossover Of The Week.


"Television is a passing fancy.
The last time I turned it on,
I was confronted by a singing, dancing seltzer pill named Speedy."
Major Charles Emerson Winchester


Let's just take a moment, before we continue with the salute to the Crossovers of the Week, to pay tribute to a TV character who passed away last night (even though she was blown away in 'Las Vegas' last week - literally!)

You wouldn't have guessed it to look at her, what with her small frame of little bird-bones, but Monica Mancuso was one tough-as-nails, hard-assed bitch. And I mean that in a good way.

"She must have slept her way to the top" would have been the kind of snarky comments cattily whispered behind her back; never once considering her ability to use her ambition and her determination to reach the top of the food chain in the business world.

But Monica really was more Trump than strumpet. You would expect to see such qualities in a male character who might have one day challenged The Donald for supremacy in the business world. But when it's displayed by a woman, then the knives come out in describing her.

It might have been because she was such a small, frail-looking wisp of a woman that led to her development of her Amazonian persona.

Or it could be that she was inspired by a family member.

It's possible - and we might never know now since her rise to the top came to an end so suddenly with a big letdown! - but it could be that Monica's uncle might have been a retired FBI agent named Nick Mancuso.

"Nico" had been dismissed by most of his superiors as "a lonely misanthrope with no respect for authority", but who bulled his way until he achieved his goals, no matter who got brought down in the process. (Mancuso probably retired from the FBI sometime after 1995.)

That type of attitude served Monica well as she ended up reaching her goal to acquire the Montecito, only to be brought down by the casino itself - and a good gust of wind.

Her uncle would probably tell ya she was quite a dame; one who made one hell of an exit.

Here's looking at you, kid. Up, up, and away!

('Las Vegas', 'Mancuso, FBI', & 'Favorite Son')


"When this passion called aspiration becomes lust,
When its flame is fanned by greed and private hunger,
Then aspiration becomes ambition - by which sin the angels fell."


Still in the surge of November Sweeps, we have a tie for the Crossover of the Week! Both shows offered something different from the standard fare of crossovers. However, one explored the future of Television while the other took a retro-look back on its history.

Interestingly, both shows went head to head in the sked, but you could flip from one to the other wihtout missing the key crossover moment. (Just don't let Larry Sanders you were flipping!)

First up......


'Medium' harkened back to the days of 3-D movies, complete with the special glasses. And to introduce this unique presentation, Rod Serling was resurrected from a classic clip from 'The Twilight Zone'. But he was given new dialogue to "recite"... thirty years after his death.

In the Real World, Rod Serling is a titan in the art of Television writing. Yes, 'The Twilight Zone' is legendary, but it's his work with original dramas like "Patterns", "Requiem For A Heavyweight", and "A Storm In Summer" that set him above nearly all others.

But in Toobworld's reality, Rod Serling is something more. He is an other-worldly commentator on the world around him (Earth Prime-Time) who addresses his observations to the audiences watching at home on Earth Prime. (In fact, I've appropriated his name to describe the art of talking to people through the camera lens - "serlinguism".)

We know that he existed as an actual TV character, because Perry Mason claimed that he knew Serling But his televersion may or may not have been created by playwright Gregory West. Whether he was "real" or a figment of the imagination or the manifestation of an under-done potato, Rod Serling proved to be above and beyond the reach of Death's limitations.

So many years after his passing in the Real World, he made another spectral visitation in a1998 episode of 'Early Edition' ("A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight").

Gary: Chuck, do you remember physics 201, the space-time continuum? Time, it's not a line. It's, uh, time is a--
Chuck: It's a magazine. What are you talking about?
Gary: What I'm talking about is time. Time - -
[Rod Serling materializes in the chair behind them.]
Rod Serling. Men talking about an improbable thing like going back in time.
Chuck: What is he talking about?
Gary: I have no idea.
Rod Serling: A friendly debate revolving around a simple issue. Could a human being change what has happened before?
Chuck: Do you know him?
Gary: Never saw him before in my life.
Rod Serling: Interesting and theoretical, because whoever heard of a man going back in time? Before tonight that is. Because this is.... the Twilight Zone.

[The scene dissolved to a field of stars similar to that seen in 'The Twilight Zone' as the classic theme song kicks in. And then the 'Early Edition' cat meows.]

Rod Serling was inserted into the episode as part of CBS's 50th anniversary week. Other shows that did the same thing that week included 'Murphy Brown' (Edward R. Murrow), 'Chicago Hope' ('Medical Center'), 'The Nanny' ('I Love Lucy'), and 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman' ('Gunsmoke'), among others.

His dialogue came from the 49th episode of the show, "Back There".:

"Witness a theoretical argument, Washington D.C., the present. Four intelligent men talking about an improbable thing like going back in time. A friendly debate revolving around a simple issue: could a human being change what has happened before? Interesting and theoretical because who ever heard of a man going back in time, before tonight, that is. Because this is the Twilight Zone."

And now here he was again, exhorting the audience to put on their special glasses to better enjoy the episode of 'Medium' which would be presented in 3-D.

Gregory West kept the manifestations of his imagination on snippets of audio tape which he stored in his safe. Although he "banished" Rod Serling by tossing his tape into the fire, West must have reconsiderd and brought him back to "life" (or is it Memorex?) just as he had done for the new version of his "wife".

More than likely, the playwright is now dead, since the actor who played him, Keenan Wynn, has also passed away. And if that's so, it could be that the spawn of his mind outlives him so long as Mrs. Mary West never destroyed those tapes.

Therefore, despite the fact that Rod Serling is dead in the Real World, he'll always live on in Toobworld, as seen on 'Early Edition' and 'Medium'.

And that's a good thing.

However, there's a caveat. Rod Serling's vocal style and job as the host and creator of 'The Twilight Zone' has made him a popular target for parody in other TV shows and commercials. These imitations have no connection to the real thing, though. But 'Medium' and 'Early Edition' do, even if the dialogue changed slighlty.

And that was the first of the two Crossovers of the Week......


"This is weird! It's like the Twilight Zone.
I kind of half expect Rod Steiger to just walk out here."
Jackie Thomas
'The JackIe Thomas Show'

Monday, November 28, 2005


In Monday's New York Post, on the last page of today's TV highlights, there's a notice for the big December offering on the Sci-Fi Channel:


It's a mini-series about a group of people who are exploring the mysteries of the Bermuda Triange.

I didn't make any spelling errors. The Post did. They spelled "triangle" without an L.... TWICE!

And that's not all. Like I said, it's listed in today's highlights, but it premieres NEXT Monday.

I hate that paper.


Sunday, November 27, 2005


"This may be the first alien born on Earth."
Dr. Molly Caffrey

'Threshold' as a series has been cancelled (and I'll have some ruminations on that sometime soon), but maybe it would have survived had Threshold the project within the TV Universe had somebody else in charge. Because obviously, Dr. Caffrey had not been doing her homework when it came to aliens on Earth.

Luckily it wasn't as bad as having Michael Brown in charge of FEMA or Maxwell Smart in charge of CONTROL, but still!

Granted, many of the aliens born on Earth escaped detection by the authorities and were kept secreted away by their families. Mainly, this was because those children were hybrids, results of human-alien fertilization. But there were others that had to have come to the attention of the authorities.

Those that would have been known to the government included:

"The Children Of Spider County" - who were five young scientists, born in the same county on the same day. They were the offspring of an alien and were taken by their "father" back to his planet. (from 'The Outer Limits', original series. There are probably several other cases of alien offspring to be found in the remake of the late 1990s.)

Vesna Francisco - When the Tenctonese landed on Earth back in 1995, there was no way to hide that fact from the whole world. After the Kanamit fiasco of the early 1960s ('The Twilight Zone' - "To Serve Man'), the government and the general populace were wary of strange visitors from another planet.

But the "slags" were integrated into society and records were kept. So when Susan Francisco conceived Vesna with her husband George (and with an assist from Albert Einstein who served as the Binnaum), and George carried the baby to term in his marsupial-like pouch, there was no way that was not going to go unnoticed. Especially since George was a detective in the LAPD, and his partner Matt Sykes helped deliver the baby. (from 'Alien Nation')

And then there were those alien/human hybrids that escaped notice because nobody knew the father (It never seems to be a mother.) was an alien.

Mearth - son of Mork from Ork and Mindy McConnell of Colorado. He was hatched from an egg looking like an old man. (Orkans age backwards) Because of this, Mindy had a hard time relating to him as her son. It didn't help matters that Mearth called her "shoe". (from 'Mork & Mindy')

Evie Garland - the daughter of Donna Froelich and an Anterian named Troy Ethel Garland, she began to manifest her powers upon reaching her 13th birthday. These powers included the ability to stop time, teleportation, and gleeping - which was the ability to rearrange molecular structure. (from 'Out Of This World')

Scott Hayden - son of Jenny Hayden and a galactic mapmaker who had taken the form of Jenny's late husband. Upon his return to Earth, the alien now assumed the form of a deceased photographer named Paul Forrester so that he could help his son locate his missing mom. (from 'Starman' - both the movie and the TV series)

Eric Travis (ET) Dubcek - son of Vicki Dubcek and the Big Giant Head (aka Stone Philips) who was the supreme commander of the alien race from which the "Solomons" came. Apparently, in their original forms the aliens look like gelatin molds, but ET Dubcek was human in form. This suggests that the human genome - while supremely adaptable to add in alien DNA, - is dominant when it comes to physical form. (from '3rd Rock From The Sun')

Ollie & Cassie Sunday - son and daughter of George Sunday and Janet Dawkins. She was a nurse from the UK who accidentally fell into the Grand Canyon and was rescued by the superhero Thermoman. AKA George Sunday, Thermoman was a thick-headed dolt from the planet Ultron. Janet fell in love with George and their children were "blessed" with powers of their own. (from 'My Hero')

A pure-blooded alien child born on Earth before Vesna Francisco was Connie Conehead, daughter of stranded Remulackians Beldarr and Prymaat Conehead. She sprang from the cranial cone of Prymaat in such a way as to suggest that perhaps the mythology surrounding the birth of Athena might have had its origins from an earlier visitation by Coneheads. ('Saturday Night Live', 'Coneheads' the cartoon special, and "The Coneheads" feature length movie)

There are two children I am not including in this list because there would have been no way for Dr. Caffrey to have known about them. It's my contention that the mini-series 'V' and 'V - The Series' took place on an alternate Earth Prime-Time, possibly the evil mirror dimension.

Had the Earthlings of the main Toobworld experienced their invasion, the 'Threshold' project would have been up and running long ago and the FBI agents working on 'The X-Files' would never have had so much trouble bringing their investigations to light for public scrutiny.

But as I mentioned earlier, after experiencing the Kanamit encounter, Earthlings were a bit more wary about dealing with aliens - especially those with a taste for human flesh.

So the children of Robin Maxwell and a young "Visitor" - the lizard-like creature that died at birth and its twin who grew up to be the human-like Elizabeth Maxwell (albeit with strange powers) - would have been known to the authorities. And thus Dr. Caffrey should have known about them.

Those are just a few examples, from the top of my head - but not in a Remulackian sense. If you think of any more, feel free to add them in the comments section.



Relax. It's not what you think.....

One thing (among many) we insist on here at Toobworld Central is credibility in the family tree of a character. We've got to believe that the actors cast to play each other's family members must share some of the same DNA strands.

Currently, a great example is Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller of 'Prison Break'.

At least, I'm pretty sure it's not just because of the haircut.

A classic example? Leonard Nimoy and Mark Lenard as son and father on 'Star Trek'.

One of the worst transgressors? Jimmie Walker as JJ Evans in 'Good Times'. Why didn't James and Florida ever admit to stealing him for their own? Because there's no way he was a product of their union. (I think it's more likely his parental units could be found on 'Farscape'.)

I once threw out the idea that perhaps Dr. Gregory House could be the illegitimate son of Dr. Mark Sloan of 'Diagnosis Murder'. If they ever saw it, the producers of 'House' threw the idea out too, and instead cast Lee R. Ermey. But I still think any character played by Dick Van Dyke would have been a better choice genetically. (And I also think Van Dyke could have pulled off the personality part as written.)

Recently I suggested Dabney Coleman for the father of Earl Hickey on 'My Name Is Earl'.

Beau Bridges got the gig.

I can live with that, mainly because he does look like Randy Hickey's biological father. As for Earl? Maybe Bridges' character is his father on paper only, in much the same way Earl is for Joy's two kids.

So maybe Dabney Coleman can be brought in somewhere down the line to be the actual Earl's Daddy.

I've got another suggestion for a father and son reunion. (Actually I have two, but I just want to toss out this quickie and save the other for a more detailed post.)

Christian Kane plays Jack, Annabeth Chase's husband on 'Close To Home'. Watching him embrace his wife in the latest episode, tight close-up, I flashed on the perfect choice to play his dad - Bruce McGill. (D-Day in "Animal House", Jack Dalton on 'MacGyver')

McGill has that man-of-the-people feel as an actor; a trait he might have passed down to his construction worker son - if he was chose to portray Jack's father.

The show is called 'Close To Home' so that it can explore how Annabeth's family is affected by the cases she prosecutes. So that means there will be plenty of opportunities to see various aspects of her home life. And hopefully we can get a chance to meet a lot of the people on both sides of her family - including her in-laws.

So there's my suggestion for casting Annabeth's father-in-law. Once again, I'm throwing the idea out there freely so that the Powers That Be can ignore it as usual.