Sunday, September 17, 2006


I was on vacation this past week - as Rob Buckley would put it, I was "on me hols". And the place where I was staying had access to the Encore Westerns channel. When I was up there during July, I treated myself to watching 'Alias Smith And Jones' each day at 6 pm EST. It's always been one of my favorite series, even outside the Western genre.

(Thinking of it now, I should have listed Hannibal Heyes as one of my Top 25 TV characters. I'd probably have to send Maggie Jacobs of 'Extra' further down the list.....)

I figured: why give up on a good thing? So I watched the show while I was there again.

But the week began with two episodes from when Roger Davis was playing Hannibal Heyes, after the suicide of Pete Duel.

Years ago, when I was running the Tubeworld Dynamic website, I wrote a multi-page splainin on how Hannibal Heyes was able to change his complete appearance, right down to his voice. I thought it was a pretty good essay, especially as it gave me the chance to bring my favorite TV character, Dr. Miguelito Loveless into yet another TV show, deep background. And it provided theoretical links to 'The Wild Wild West' in other ways as well as to other shows like 'The Avengers' and 'The Prisoner'.

But as I begin collecting all my old splainins to see what kind of shape I can knock them into, I decided that particular splainin was wayyyy too complicated. And one thing I want to do is simplify, simplify, simplify the TV Universe.

It had been years since I saw those 'AS&J' episodes which featured Roger Davis, perhaps not even since they first aired. And even then, I think I finally fell away from the series because of his involvement, since there was just something missing without Peter Duel involved.

So I watched those two episodes with great interest, with a fresh perspective, and decided it was time to re-think and re-tool my splainin for the new look sported by Joshua Smith aka Hannibal Heyes.

I decided the simplest splainin would follow the template I'm using for the two different versions of Joey Bishop's sitcom. Bishop played Joey Barnes first as a talent agent bossed around by his family, and then as a late night talk show host with a beautiful wife. Although the change-over occurred between the first and second season, Joey Barnes was supposedly a talk show host for awhile.

The splainin for this involves alternate TV dimensions.

For Earth Prime-Time, the Hannibal Heyes as played by Pete Duel is the official version of the character. Not so much because he was the first, because that rule is flexible. (As is the case with 'The Joey Bishop Show' - the three years in which he was a talk show host belong in the main Toobworld because of a mult-episode crossover with 'The Danny Thomas Show'.) The first incarnation of 'Alias Smith And Jones' belongs in Earth Prime-Time because Pete Duel was inarguably the best in the role.

Roger Davis served well as a replacement after Duel died, and the audience was already somewhat accustomed to him as the narrator for the original version. He may even have been better received had he been the first.

But once you've seen Duel, ain't no one more cool.

What especially helps with the idea that there is a distinct, dimensional divide between both versions of the show is that the opening of the series - in which Curry and Heyes confer with Lom Trevors - was re-shot. Both the Duel image of Hannibal Heyes and the Davis version have the same conversation with the Sheriff about the possibility of amnesty.

This is what especially tosses my original theory about Heyes' mind transplant into the body of the 'Smiler With A Gun' (thanks to the scientific genius of Dr. Loveless) out the window. With that theory, life for Hannibal Heyes continues onward in his new body; he doesn't go back in Time and relive it all over again.

By the way, I used to include the transition of 'Burke's Law' into 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent' as an example of the same show existing in two different dimensions. This is because Burke returned in the 1990s and was still the head of the L.A. Homicide department, with no mention of his tenure as a spy for the U.S. government.

However, I've looked through the episode guide for that last season of Gene Barry's show and found this:

The Prisoners of Mr. Sin 10/27/65
With his knowledge, expertise, and photographic memory, [Dr. Walter Bannister] is highly sought after. Deep in his brain are the files of twenty-one of the country's best agents, including Burke.

Planning on selling his information, Bannister is instead captured by Mr. Sin, who plans to auction off Bannister's facts to the highest bidder, keeping the money for himself.

Mr. Sin was played by the late, great Michael Dunn, best known for playing Dr. Miguelito Loveless on 'The Wild, Wild West'. It's always been the contention here at Toobworld Central that Loveless was immortal, and that he was still active on Earth Prime-Time one hundred years after the events of 'The Wild, Wild West'.

When he was next seen in Toobworld, he was operating under several aliases: Mr. Big ('Get Smart') and The Clown ('Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'). As an alias, Mr. Sin fits nicely into that same groove, so how could I ever leave 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent' out of the main Toobworld?

But getting back to Hannibal Heyes - Remember Hannibal Heyes? This is a post about Hannibal Heyes. - there is still a splainin needed for the difference in appearance for the version played by Roger Davis.

And that's easy to splain: a simple twist of his DNA strand before birth. This happens all the time in the dimension of Earth Prime-Time Delayed, which is where we house all the remakes and/or lesser known versions of other TV shows.

So even though Kid Curry aka Thaddeus Jones remained the same (being played by Ben Murphy in both incarnations of the show), we might as well toss the re-tooled incarnation of 'Alias Smith And Jones' over into the Remakes dimension with 'The New Addams Family', 'The New Monkees', and 'The New Gidget'.

"I wish the Governor would let a few more people in on our secret."
Hannibal Heyes
'Alias Smith And Jones'

Well, I may not be the Governor of Toobworld - I'm just a Caretaker, - but hopefully this splainin will serve......


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