Thursday, April 20, 2006


Sorry. You won't find anything here about the '21 Jump Street' sequel......

Thanks to Lee Goldberg's blog (You'll find the link to the left), I found the
home page focused on the "scandalous" book "Oakdale Confidential", which has thrown the town of Oakdale into an uproar on the soap opera 'As The World Turns'.

The website also has a
blog which is being handled by "Anonymous" who wrote the book. The mystery author wrote the book in the voice of whoever will be eventually revealed as the author on the show. He/she is also doing triple duty blogging as Katie and as Luke, both from 'ATWT'.

From the blog's first entry:

I am Anonymous. I’m a ghost-writer, and my latest project is “Oakdale Confidential” from Pocket Books, a novel written to celebrate As The World Turns 50th Anniversary.

Starting April 7, 2006, at 2PM on CBS, the characters of fictional Oakdale USA are going to be all up in arms, wondering who wrote this scandalous, sexy, anonymous novel. The story will play out on air for weeks, and eventually lead to many complications in the lives of Oakdale’s favorite couples.

"Oakdale Confidential" is also available here in the Real World.

There's another book being published in Toobworld as well as in the Real World this TV season. "Bad Twin" by Gary Troup (an anagram for "Purgatory") has already been seen in manuscript form on 'Lost', being read by Hurley. I'm sure we'll be seeing it again in the hands of Sawyer, a voracious reader.

The identity of the true author of "Bad Twin" is also being withheld at this time, but apparently he/she is a noted mystery writer. As for Gary Troup, it's believed he was the guy in the pilot who got sucked into the engine.

(Watch that scene again in VERY slow motion. You can see the Smoke Monster swoop in and slam against the side of the engine just before it explodes!)

There have been other books published in the past that were packaged to look as though they came right out of the world of the show; there was one for 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' and a great recreation of the Access Guide for 'Twin Peaks'. The series of paperbacks about the adventures of Jessica Fletcher from 'Murder, She Wrote' are written in the "first person", but this isn't the same thing as being one of the many novels written by JB Fletcher getting published in the Trueniverse.

But as near as I can figure, "Oakdale Confidential" and "Bad Twin" are the first examples of tie-in novels that actually play a role within the framework of the TV shows that spawned them. I'm surprised Paramount never released at least one 30s-era mystery novel allegedly written by Dixon Hill, favorite author of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. With the amount of books they have released as tie-ins to that franchise, somebody must have realized there would have been plenty of geeky fanboys out there ready to buy it!

Still, there are plenty of TV shows in the past which could have pulled off this same synergistic marketing ploy. However, many of them weren't on the air long enough to get the paper loaded into the typewriter. (Hey - I said these shows were in the past!)

'Bram & Alice'
'Double Trouble'

'Kelly Kelly'
'Living in Captivity'

'Normal Life'
'Oh Madeline'
'Stark Raving Mad'

'What's Happening Now!!'
'Window On Main Street'

Since there's always an appetite for mystery novels, perhaps those shows that featured mystery novelists would have fared better with tie-in novels "written" by the main characters:

'Glynis' (It was always a Wish-Craft for me that Glynis Johns might one day appear as her title character from this little-known series on 'Murder, She Wrote'. It would have been a natural. She did appear on the show finally, but as a totally different character.)
'Over My Dead Body'
'The Snoop Sisters'

With 'Sable' and 'Stone' it was more a case of the show itself being the mystery. 'Sable' was about a spy who claimed to be a writer of children's stories as a cover story; while 'Stone' was about a police detective who wrote novels.

The British have had several shows which could have capitalized on this notion. Chief among them would have been 'Jason King' - the title character "wrote" the popular series of "Mark Caine" novels.

'Blackeyes' (The name of the novel written by the main character)
'Paul Temple'

'The Singing Detective' (It's hard to picture Denis Potter selling out in that way, however.)
'Two's Company'
'Wilde Alliance'

Two of the biggest hits on TV in the 1980s could have really cashed in on this idea. At the height of its popularity, 'Magnum, P.I.' could have published one or two novels allegedly penned by the mysterious Robin Masters, who owned the estate where Magnum was in charge of security.

And as Nancy Weston's children's book played such an important role in the ongoing plotline on 'thirtySOMETHING', the show's creators could have capped off the story with the book's publication in the Real World as well as in Toobworld.

There were a few sitcoms about authors which would have provided alternates to the novel idea. Dick Loudon ('Newhart') wrote how-to books and continued to do so even after he purchased an inn in Vermont.

On second thought, maybe it was just as well we never got any Dick Loudon how-to books published in the Real World. As it turned out, Dick was nothing more than the dream-state alter-ego of pschologist Dr. Bob Hartley of 'The Bob Newhart Show'. There are too many people out there already with a tenuous grasp on reality as it is (not that anyone comes to mind - ahem!).... I'd hate to think they'd be damaged further by such mind-bending books.

Somebody who looks amazingly like Loudon, Bob McKay ('Bob!'), created the comic book, "Mad Dog". They should have at least given the comic a one-issue try-out as a promotional for the sitcom. As would have been the case with the Dixon Hill novels for 'Star Trek', you've got a built-in collectors' mentality out there who would have gladly bought it and slapped it into mylar for posterity.

And perhaps a collection of the fictional "Cosmic Cow" comic strips might have been in order to help expand the interest in Ted Knight's sitcom 'Too Close For Comfort'. I'm sure it could have been a best-seller - the show ran far longer than I would have ever guessed to be possible, so somebody was a big fan of it.

Any one of those books could have then done a crossover with the best series ever about the world of publishing - 'Dream On'. But as that would have been too much of a stretch, the HBO sitcom could have instead created a novel to be published in both worlds. It would have provided a story arc over an entire season, from its conception through the contract negotiations (for movie rights as well!) and marketing strategies until its publication to cap the season finale.

And the identity of the author would have been integral to the ongoing storyline: Dr. Richard Stone, an ubermensch looked upon as a savior to the world and bane of the existence of book editor Martin Tupper after Stone married Martin's ex-wife Judith.

I think it would have worked. I'd make book on it!


[My thanks to TV Acres - link to the left! - for most of the series cited in this post.]

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