Saturday, February 18, 2006


Thanks to, I've been following what's been going on in a new series over in England called 'Life On Mars'. Since I've depended on that great website so far for me updates on each of its eight episodes, I hope they don't mind that I'm calling upon them for the description of the series:

BBC ONE's new Monday night drama 'Life On Mars' [stars] John Simm as Detective Chief Inspector Sam Tyler of the Manchester Police Force, who finds himself on the trail of an elusive serial killer when his policewoman girlfriend is kidnapped.

Unfortunately, Sam is hit by a car and wakes up in 1973, and finds himself on a transfer to Manchester as a plain-old Detective Inspector -- clearly a long way from home.

The technology he normally relies on to solve crime won't be invented for another 20 years and the amoral methods of his fellow-officers are suspect, to say the least; sexism, racism and corruption are rife -- and to make matters worse, he starts picking up conversations through the television from the future, as he lies in a deep coma in his 2006 hospital bed.

Or so he thinks.

'Life on Mars' can't quite decide if it's a police drama set in the 1970s, or a sci-fi drama toying with nostalgia -- but this first episode (of eight) was nonetheless enjoyable all the same.

It felt like a cross between 'The Sweeney'-meets-"The Matrix"-meets-"Peggie Sue Got Married"; an odd, but surprisingly entertaining combination that also managed to raise a few laughs from time to time.

There's been talk on the BBC Online site that there is interest by the American networks to pick up the show. I hope that means they'd be broadcasting the original and not just remaking 'Life On Mars' to make it palatable for an American audience.

But in the meantime, I "watch" it from afar via episode recaps.

I also found it discussed over in "Behind The Sofa Again", a blog dedicated to 'Doctor Who'. And here's why:

Annie: No more funny stuff?
Sam Tyler: Funny stuff?
Annie: Y'know the whole time travel, out of body experience thing.
Sam Tyler: Well, I went to see Doctor Who, he err prescribed me some pills...

'Life On Mars' first proper reference to 'Doctor Who' happened this evening in a story surrounding a football match between Manchester United and Manchester City.

In case anyone is wondering, after a quick look around, the match happened on the 21st April 1973 (since there were no other local derby's that year) and it was a 0-0 draw (61,500 gate). Which also means the young Sam Tyler might have gone home that night and enjoyed episode three of "Planet of the Daleks" ...

There might be a way around this Zonk!, but it depends on how Annie reacted to his reply. If Sam's pronunciation of the name was meant to be "Hoo", as in Harry Hoo of 'Get Smart', then she might have just shrugged it off as being the name of a doctor of Chinese descent.

However, I'm fairly certain that we never see this "Doctor Hoo". Considering Sam's "condition" in both 1973 and 2006, it seems such a scene at a doctor's office might be worth notice.

Then again, it would appear pretty obvious that Sam meant it to be a reference to the TV show about the Gallifreyan Time Lord. He knows about 'Doctor Who'.

But if so, shouldn't Annie know about it as well? Maybe she's not one of those anorak-wearing fans, but since the show had been around since 1963, surely she must have at least heard about it. Like the blog entry mentioned, the episode "Planet Of The Daleks" was currently playing on the BBC.

It all depends on how she reacted to Sam's remark, I guess.

Two of the readers at "Behind The Sofa Again" certainly didn't make my life any easier with their comments:

You never know,maybe Tyler will find himself in the 60's or 80's as the end of season cliffhanger!
Or of course he could always wake up in the shower! ;)
Posted by: Colin Mc Donough 7 Feb 2006 14:35:25

Let's just hope it does not end with a{n} autistic child staring at a snowglobe with a police station in it.
Posted by: klaus kinski Jr 8 Feb 2006 07:52:55

Arrrgh! That's all I need!



"Aristotle once said that a play should have
A beginning, a middle, and an end.
But what did he know?
Today, a play must have
A first half, a second half, and a station break."
Alfred Hitchcock
'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'

Here's one final look at the Super Bowl ads and it's about my two favorites from this year. Both of them featured the Clydesdales of Anhueser-Busch, which have been staple at the Super Bowl fo ryears and an advertising legend for the ages.

In the first one, "American Dream", a colt has aspirations to be chosen for the Budweiser wagon team when he grows up. He stares at a framed picture on the wall of the barn which shows his elders serving together proudly as team-mates.

Since nobody is around to um... "neigh-say" him, the colt slips into the neck-ring harness and gives it a tentative tug to see what it would feel like.

Lo and behold! After some strain and initial resistance, the wagon begins to move and the colt proudly hauls it out of the barn.

Little did he realize that his parents were behind the wagon, giving it a push.

I'm just assuming that they were his parents. They could have been two steeds or two mares, for all I know. Flicka has two mommies.

Maybe it should have been entitled "La Cage Aux Foal".

In the second ad, the Clydesdales were gathered to do what they do best. No... Not that fershlugginer wagon! A football game!

In this year's variation, a young lamb streaker, shorn of his wool, dashed out on the field and did a butt-shaking victory dance for the entertainment of the fans on the sidelines - an ark's worth of Rocky Mountain ruminants like bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and even bison. (Not visible this time around is the referee - a zebra!)

The Clydesdales in all of these commercials have shown intelligence on a par with 'Mr. Ed'. But why haven't we heard them speak? Perhaps because they will never talk unless they've got something to say. And what is there to say when all you want to do is play a little ball?

It took thirty plus years before we got the splainin as to why 'Mr. Ed' talks - the mini-series adaptation of the Jonathan Swift classic 'Gulliver's Travels'. Mr. Ed, and the Clydesdales as well, are descended from those intelligent horses known as the Houyhnhnms.

Unlike the bestial human equivalent known as the Yahoo, the Houyhnhnms were practitioners of rational thought and they were elegant in all their ways.

"Upon the whole, the behaviour of these animals was so orderly and rational, so acute and judicious, that I at last concluded, they must needs be Magician."

Of course, once they moved to America where they could kick out the jams, all of that went out the window come time for the big football game!

So that splains the intelligence of the horses, and maybe even the zebra referee, but what of the other hoofed beasts there; the bisons and the sheep and such?

I'm reminded of a portrait that hangs in the hall of 'The Addams Family' household; that of Gomez' business partner - a giraffe wearing a business suit.

These intelligent beasts can only be the work of one man - Dr. Moreau from 'The Island Of Lost Souls' by HG Wells. The fact that as of yet there has not been a TV adaptation of the work is of little concern for the moment. We waited over thirty years for the work of Jonathan Swift to be adapted for Toobworld to get the splainin of 'Mr. Ed'.

I'm a patient guy....

By the way, I'm throwing this out there for anybody who works on those Clydesdale football blipverts; free to use for next year.....

During the commercial, we see a donkey wearing a rainbow colored afro wig and around his neck is a sign that reads: "Mr. Ed 3:19"

The two cowboys watching the game notice it.

"What's that supposed to mean?" asks the younger one.

"Season 3, Episode 19 of 'Mr. Ed'," says the older one. "It's called 'Big Pine Lodge' and they go on vacation up in the mountains where the guys get taken by a couple of card sharks."

"But that doesn't make any sense," protests the younger cowboy.

The older guy shrugs. "Whaddya want? He's a jackass."


"You needn't stand there staring.
We're not going to show you any more.
In fact, I'm not even going to tell you what happened.
Television audiences are becoming entirely too dependent."
Alfred Hitchcock
'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'

Friday, February 17, 2006


Not long ago, I was flipping channels and landed on 'Rio Bravo' just as a scene between John Wayne and Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez began.

I can type that name easily enough now, because, sadly, the man has passed away and his name is appearing in many different sources. But at the time, I was thinking - "Who IS that? I'm always seeing him in things!"

It's a shame it took the man's death on Feb. 6 at the age of 80 for me to learn more about him.....

Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez began his entertainment career at age 7, when his parents pulled him out of school to entertain migrant workers and residents in the American Southwest. By the height of his career as a character actor, he was one of the few recognizable Mexican-American movie and television performers in the 1950's and 60's.

In 1953, he appeared as a contestant on Groucho Marx's TV quiz show 'You Bet Your Life', and his banter with the legendary entertainer stole the show. John Wayne saw the performance and signed Gonzalez Gonzalez to his production company.

The films with Wayne, among them "The High and the Mighty," "Rio Bravo" and "Hellfighters," and guest appearances on such TV series as 'Gunsmoke' made Gonzalez Gonzalez one of the most recognizable Mexican-American actors at the time.

Because he often played sterotypical roles, had a heavy accent and frequently served as comic relief, Gonzalez Gonzalez was criticized in later years as perpetuating negative Latino images.

But his grandson, Clifton Collins Jr. (also an actor), said Gonzales Gonzales took what roles were available. And Edward James Olmos says that he was an inspiration to all Latino actors.

The early end to his education meant he never learned to read or write. Collins said his grandfather memorized lines by having his wife read to him, and that if a script changed, directors would feed him lines on the set.

Check the list below and you'll see from all of the cool shows that he appeared in that Gonzalez Gonzalez was probably the most recognizable Hispanic face in all of Toobworld.


Bates Motel (1987) (TV) .... Mexican Gardener

Chase (1973) (TV)

Dazzle (1995) (TV) .... Juan
Donor (1990) (TV) (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Hispanic Man
Ghost Writer (1989) (TV) .... Mr. Carillo
Low Man on the Totem Pole (1964) (TV) .... Pepe Martinez

"Land's End"
- The Curse of Willis (1995) TV Episode
"The Fall Guy"
- The Meek Shall Inherit Rhonda (1981) TV Episode .... Taxi Driver
- Anniversary (1971) TV Episode .... Rudlofo Diaz
"The Bill Cosby Show"
- The Sesame Street Rumble (1971) TV Episode .... Bob
"The Flying Nun"
- Operation Population (1970) TV Episode .... Farmer
- The Moo Is Blue (1969) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzales Gonzales) .... Gonzalo
"The High Chaparral"
- Mi Casa, Su Casa (1970) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Pepe
- The Firing Wall (1967) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzales) .... Bartender
"The Mod Squad"
- Never Give the Fuzz an Even Break (1969) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez) .... Restaurant Owner
"I Dream of Jeannie"
- See You in C-U-B-A (1969) TV Episode .... Jose
"Mayberry R.F.D."
- Sister Cities (1969) TV Episode .... Santos
- End of a Challenge (1968) TV Episode .... Sebastian
- Hondo and the Death Drive (1967) TV Episode .... Sancho
"The Monkees"
- A Nice Place to Visit (1967) TV Episode .... Lupe
- Scourge of San Rusa (1967) TV Episode .... Liveryman
- The Treasure of San Diablo (1966) TV Episode .... Gonzales
"I Spy"
- The Conquest of Maude Murdock (1966) TV Episode .... Jaime
- Fill No Glass for Me: Part 2 (1965) TV Episode .... Jose
- Fill No Glass for Me: Part 1 (1965) TV Episode .... Jose
"Burke's Law"
- Who Killed the Rest? (1965) TV Episode (as Gonzales-Gonzales) .... Pancho, First Policeman
"Perry Mason"
- The Case of the Wednesday Woman (1964) TV Episode .... 'Rosie' Dell

- The Quest for Asa Janin (1963) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Bartender
"Alcoa Premiere"
- The Hat of Sergeant Martin (1963) TV Episode .... Private Sanchez
- The Wedding Rings (1962) TV Episode .... Pepe
"The Dick Powell Show"
- Open Season (1961) TV Episode .... Driver
"National Velvet"
- Grandpa Returns (1961) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Pedro
"Wanted: Dead or Alive"
- Baa-Baa (1961) TV Episode
- Triple Vise (1960) TV Episode .... Tomas
"The Texan"
- Lady Tenderfoot (1960) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzales) .... Pedro Vasquez
- Trouble on the Trail (1959) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Pedro Vasquez
- The Reluctant Bridegroom (1959) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzales) .... Pedro Vasquez
- Showdown at Abilene (1959) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Pedro Vasquez
- Stampede (1959) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzales) .... Pedro Vasquez
"The DuPont Show with June Allyson"
- Love Is a Headache (1959) TV Episode .... Firmino
"Frontier Doctor"
- South of the Rio Grand (1959) TV Episode
"Hudson's Bay"
- Black Barrier (????) TV Episode
"Sheriff of Cochise"
- The Great Train Robbery (1956) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzales)
"Telephone Time"
- Felix the Fourth (1956) TV Episode (as Gonzales-Gonzales)
- Willy and El Flamenco (1955) TV Episode (as Gonzales Gonzales) .... Luis Hernandez
"You Bet Your Life"
- Episode #2.22 (1953) TV Episode .... Contestant

[thanks to the NY Times and the]


With payday, comes two new additions to the DVD library stacks here at Toobworld Central:

"The Gambler Returns: The Luck Of The Draw"
"The Gambler V: Playing For Keeps"
[two discs]

Always thought that fourth "Gambler" movie should have discarded the "Returns" and just stuck with the numerical listing and the sub-title.

This is a two disc set which I bought for "Luck Of The Draw". It's a Crossover Extravaganza with many Western stars from the old WB stable and a few others to boot, including (for who knows why!) Mickey Rooney as a silent movie director.

Look at this round-up:
Clint Walker as Cheyenne
Gene Barry as Bat Masterson
Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick
David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine
Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain
Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain
Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp
Brian Keith as Dave Blasingame aka "The Westerner"

Plus Paul Brinegar, James Drury, and Doug McClure as variations on their TV Western legends, and other historical characters like Judge Roy Bean, President Teddy Roosevelt, and Diamond Jim Brady.

One other reason it's near and dear - my friend Mary Cadorette has a small role in the two-part movie.

And speaking of Hugh O'Brian:

'The LIfe And Legend of Wyatt Earp'
[four disc set]

Subtitled "From Ellsworth To Tombstone", this is a 26 episode collection that tracks the TV history of the character right through the events that became known as "The Gunfight At OK Corral".

Until 'Deadwood' came along, I think this series did the best possible job of presenting a Western legend which hued as close to the truth as could be expected.

Hugh O'Brian stayed at my place of employ a few months ago, in town for a salute to the Marines. I never got the chance to even see him, but it's probably just as well. I'd more than likely have said something stupid about the way he mis-spells his last name.....

Speaking of 'Deadwood' and Wyatt Earp, it's been announced that Gale Harold, who starred in the USA version of 'Queer As Folk', will be playing the legendary lawman in the next season of the HBO Western.

There goes my fantasy of George Eads playing the part because of his physical resemblance to a young O'Brian....



The other day I suggested that Franklin Cover's brief appearance as the Justice of the Peace at the sham wedding between JustJack and Rosario on the first season finale for 'Will & Grace' could have been Tom Willis, the character he played on 'The Jeffersons'.

Here's the relevant parts of that scene.....

Thank you all for coming. I know my husband Stan would've loved to have been here tonight, but, regrettably, could not attend, as he is at home watching the Knicks game. However, I know he would echo my sentiments in saying, Rosario, by marrying Jack, we're not losing a maid. We're...keeping a maid.

Welcome. We are gathered here today to join this man, John Phillip McFarland, and this woman... Rosario Inez Consuela Yolanda Salazar... In the bond of holy matrimony. And today, Rosario and Jack take their first step on the road to true intimacy.


Shut up, you guys!

I don't see anything in that which would refute the idea that maybe Tom Willis looked beyond his life as an editor for Pelham Publishing and eventually got himself appointed as a justice of the peace.



Jean Byron, 80, an actress best known for portraying Patty Duke's mother on the 1960s TV series 'The Patty Duke Show', died Feb. 3 from an infection following hip replacement surgery in Mobile, Ala.

As Natalie Lane, she was Duke's "Mommo" on the ABC show that aired from 1963 to 1966. When the cast came together for a 1999 reunion show, Byron and Duke reconnected and began speaking every Sunday, they both said at the time.

"She truly lived a life of love and giving," Duke said Monday in a phone interview from her Idaho home. "She was indeed a mom to me. We used to laugh that she was no longer childless."

Duke remained in touch with her after the series ended, even spending Christmas together three years ago.

"I was always proud of the show," Byron said in a 1999 interview with the Mobile Register, which reported her death Monday. "It was wholesome. It was family entertainment. Not only that, but we had a brilliant, brilliant star."

The show centered on identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane, both portrayed by Patty Duke.

"We were a very close, tight company," she said of the cast. "There was much love between us."

Ms. Byron's death marks the second loss of a cast member from the show in the last few months - John Spencer, better known to TV fans as Leo McGarry on 'The West Wing', suffered a fatal heart attack a few months ago. He played the boyfriend for the Cathy character.

Byron was born Imogene Burkhart in Paducah, Ky. That was the same name her close friend Max Shulman gave the recurring character he wrote for her on 'The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis' (CBS, 1959 to 1963).

So technically, it could be said that Ms. Byron was playing the televersion of herself. But instead of growing up in Paducah and becoming an actress in Hollywood, she kept her original name and received a doctorate; teaching high school psychology and biology in Central City.

In a way, Jean Byron could be considered a fore-runner for the two Drew Carey ('The Drew Carey Show' & 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?') and two Will Smith ('Fresh Prince of Bel Air' & 'Blossom') characters in Toobworld.

Oddly enough, until a year before Dr. Burkhart showed up, a woman named Mrs. Ruth Adams who looked EXACTLY like her was teaching math at Central High. And there had been a young classmate of Dobie's who was known by the name of Imogene Burkhart.

A case of soul transference, placing the young girl's spirit into the older woman's body? [Edited thanks to Ivan G.]

I really ought to stop focusing so much on Toobworld and get out more often!

In 1956, she appeared in an episode of 'Studio 57' entitled "Rope Enough". But this is not the same "Rope Enough" which introduced the character of Lt. Columbo to Toobworld. That was on 'Suspense' and starred Bert Freed as the police detective.

It would have been a cool credit though, considering Ms. Byron also appeared in "Ransom For A Dead Man", the second pilot film for the eventual series which starred Peter Falk as 'Columbo'.

Ms. Byron appeared in dozens of other television shows before retiring in 1985. Burkhart's final acting appearance was the 'Patty Duke Show Reunion' movie in 1999.

We tip our hat and echo Red Skelton with "May God bless....."


"Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour" (1970) TV Series
"The Patty Duke Show" (1963) TV Series .... Natalie Lane
"Full Circle" (1960) TV Series .... Dr. Kit Aldrich
"The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959) TV Series .... Mrs. Ruth Adams (1959-1960)/Dr. Imogene Burkhart (1961-1963)

Columbo: Ransom For A Dead Man (1971) (as Jeanne Byron) .... Pat

The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights (1999) (TV) .... Natalie Lane

Best of Patty Duke (1963) (TV) .... Natalie Lane

"You Are There"
- Spindletop--The First Texas Oil Strike (1901) (1955) TV Episode .... Caroline Lucas

- Past Tense (1987) TV Episode .... Dorothy Anderson
- Hit Men (1975) TV Episode .... Nurse Marlowe
- Florida's Goodbye (1974) TV Episode .... Housekeeper Applicant
- Scapegoat (1972) TV Episode .... Helen
- Give My Regrets to Broadway (1972) TV Episode .... Evelyn Reinhart
"Marcus Welby, M.D."
- I Can Hardly Tell You Apart (1971) TV Episode .... Dr. Koerner

- Nora Clavicle and Her Ladies' Crime Club (1968) TV Episode .... Mrs. Lindseed, Mayor's Wife
- Bad Blood (1962) TV Episode .... Annie Whitaker
- Fall into Darkness (1962) TV Episode .... Norma Frances
- The Idol (1962) TV Episode .... Deborah Morse
- Road to Three Graves (1960) TV Episode .... Alice Norris
- Blind Spot (1959) TV Episode .... Ruth
- The Broken Pledge (1957) TV Episode .... Fay Kirby
"The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor"
- Crossed Wires (1962) TV Episode .... Livona Hart
"Bus Stop"
- The Man from Bootstrap (1961) TV Episode .... Helen Adamson
- Appointment in Jericho (1960) TV Episode .... Marla Keel
"Hawaiian Eye"
- The Kikiki Kid (1960) TV Episode .... Karen Ward
"Bourbon Street Beat"
- Find My Face! (1960) TV Episode .... Grace Carvay
- The Taste of Ashes (1959) TV Episode .... Martha Delastone
"77 Sunset Strip"
- Created He Them (1960) TV Episode .... Claire Donaldson
"State Trooper"
- The Prettiest Dress in Goldfield (1959) TV Episode
- The Winnemucca Weskit (1958) TV Episode .... Millie
- Vertical (1958) TV Episode .... Beverly
"Lux Playhouse"
- A Game of Hate (1958) TV Episode
"Yancy Derringer"
- Ticket to Natchez (1958) TV Episode
"Jefferson Drum"
- A Very Deadly Game (1958) TV Episode .... Angela
"Code 3"
- Suspect Number One (1957) TV Episode
"The 20th Century-Fox Hour"
- Threat to a Happy Ending (1957) TV Episode .... Wilma Standish
"Science Fiction Theater"
- The Miracle Hour (1956) TV Episode .... Cathy Parker
- One Thousand Eyes (1956) TV Episode .... Ada March
- The Long Day (1955) TV Episode .... Laura Gilmore
- The Human Equation (1955) TV Episode .... Nan Guild
"Soldiers of Fortune"
- The Tattooed Lady (1956) TV Episode
- The Girl in the Jeep (1955) TV Episode
"Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers"
- The Regiment (1956) TV Episode .... Katherine Cheney
"My Friend Flicka"
- Big Red (1956) TV Episode
"TV Reader's Digest"
- Go Fight City Hall (1956) TV Episode
- Miss Victoria (1956) TV Episode .... Sally
- Six Hours of Surgery (1955) TV Episode .... Head Nurse
"Studio 57"
- The Old Lady's Tears (1956) TV Episode
- Rope Enough (1956) TV Episode .... Betty Madden
- The Last Day on Earth (1955) TV Episode .... Mary Carlyle
- Christmas Every Day (1954) TV Episode .... Helen
- The Plot Against Miss Pomeroy (1954) TV Episode .... Eunice Pomeroy
"Celebrity Playhouse"
- Tantrum Size 12 (1956) TV Episode
- The Choice (1956) TV Episode
"The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin"
- The Poor Little Rich Boy (1955) TV Episode .... Irene Larrimore
"The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse"
- The Boy with the Beautiful Mother (1955) TV Episode .... Teacher
- Live a Little (1954) TV Episode
- The Night Light at Vorden's (1953) TV Episode .... Vanessa Vorden
"Stage 7"
- Emergency (1955) TV Episode .... Mary
"The Millionaire"
- The Betty Jane Ryan Story (1955) TV Episode .... Betty Jane Ryan
"Schlitz Playhouse of Stars"
- Hemmed In (1954) TV Episode

[thanks to the, the L.A. Times, and the official Patty Duke site]


It was via Carolyn Hinsey's column in the NY Daily News that I first heard the story, but Herbie JP over in Media Village had more details - Emma Samms is returning to 'General Hospital' as her character of Holly Scorpio on February 20th.

So that's this coming Monday, and it will be part of the celebration for the soap opera's 11,000th episode.



"Seeing a murder on television can help work off one's antagonisms.
And if you haven't any antagonisms,
The commercials will give you some."
Alfred Hitchcock
'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'

The Debit MasterCard ad featuring 'MacGyver' was the only blipvert during the Super Bowl to have a direct link to a TV series. But there were a few others that could be connected hypothetically... with only a few slight twists of pretzel logic to make them work.

Perhaps as a preview to 'Eureka!', this summer's series on the Sci-Fi Channel, a company called PS gave us the "Best Defense" spot in which all the residents of a small town went about their everyday activities clad in bio-hazard suits.

Since Eureka is a town in the Pacific Northwest that is populated by scientists working on secret projects for the government, maybe something went wrong that particular day......

Nationwide's spot featuring Fabio as a gondolier? To me, that was the kickoff for an episode on sci-fi shows like 'The X-Files', 'Doctor Who', the short-lived 'The Chronicle' or the upcoming 'Torchwood': in various places around the globe, people are suddenly aged rapidly and that's when the titular strike team leaps into action!

Or it could have been the payoff ending to an episode of 'The Twilight Zone'...... Maybe that woman in the gondola fed off Fabio's life force in much the same way as movie star Pamela Morris did in the episode "Queen Of The Nile".......

For their pain medication, the only one for such a product to run during the game, Aleve instead went behind the scenes of a TV show and delivered a Zonk! with the help of Leonard Nimoy.

We learned that had it not been for the pain reliever, Nimoy's arthritis would have made it impossible for him to give the Vulcan salute of greeting to a convention hall full of 'Star Trek' geeks.

Somewhere in that audience sat the cast of 'Dweebs', I'm sure of it!

The "Crime Deterrent" ad was already perfect, but in trying to imagine it in terms of TV shows, I can see Barney and Marshall from 'How I Met Your Mother' playing those roles instead. Barney is just the type to whack a friend in the head with a cell phone. And Marshall is just thick enough to fall for it twice.

Their other commercial with that odd, Russianesque fellow so in love with his phone's tunes for every occasion suddenly turned into a tribute to 'The Benny Hill Show'. In a way, it was almost comforting to me, as Benny Hill's erudite straight man Henry McGee passed away only the week before.....

One of their many ads (ten in all, I believe) dealt with two hikers in a confrontation with a very angry, probably very hungry bear. Trapped against a rock wall, one of the guys uncaps a bottle of Bud and offers it to the bear. Momentarily gratified by the offering, the bear becomes enraged once again as the other hiker races in and steals the beer before racing down the trail.

The timing of this commercial's premiere was somewhat unfortunate as a documentary by Werner Herzog was broadcast around the same time on the Discovery Channel. "Grizzly Man" was the true story about an amateur bear enthusiast and his girl-friend were mauled to death by bears in Alaska.

Not sure how many people saw that documentary in comparison to those who saw the commercial during the Super Bowl, but I think the truth about such encounters takes the humor out of the spot.

This neatly ties in with 'Dinosaurs!', which also postulated that cavemen were already in existence while the great thunder lizards still roamed the Earth. It also ties in with 'Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' and 'It's About Time' in that these grunts somehow knew and understood the futuristic concept of Federal Express. How else could they have known about that if not for a splainin from Arthur and Ford or Mac and Hector, respectively?

And yet.... with those rrrrrridges around their eyes looked like somebody from the now disbanded 'Star Trek' make-up department found a new use for their talents. Maybe these were two aliens trapped in Earth's past, trying to cope with the lack of services they were using in Earth's present.

How did they get stuck back in the past? Maybe they went to Kinko's and tried photo-copying a mirror. 'Not Necessarily The News' warned such a result would occur......

Stay tuned.......



Andreas Katsulas, best known to fans as G’Kar on 'Babylon 5' and Commander Tomalak from several episodes of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation', passed away this week after a battle with lung cancer. He was 59.

A St. Louis native, Katsulas moved to Los Angeles in 1986 where he quickly began to score supporting parts in a variety of popular film and television series. His turn as the one-armed man in Harrison Ford’s remake of "The Fugitive" was perhaps his biggest film, but the actor was also spotted over the years in everything from 'Alien Nation' to 'NYPD Blue' on the small screen, and "Someone to Watch Over Me" to "Executive Decision" in features.

But it was his turn as the unlikely religious disciple G’Kar on the popular sci-fi show 'Babylon 5' for which fans will most remember Katsulas.

Here's the tribute I left for him at

Katsulas' work as Ambassador G'Kar proved not only how great an actor he was, but how good a writer JMS turned out to be with 'Babylon 5'. The character started out as a stock alien villain, but grew over the course of time to have all the shadings and emotions expected in real people.

In fact, it's a quote from another classic in the genre that best sums up his skills as an actor:

Despite playing an alien lizard and hampered by a ton of latex, "of all the souls I have encountered in my travels...his was the most...human."

Both Katsulas and G'Kar will be missed.


"Babylon 5" .... G'Kar (1994-1998)
"The Guiding Light" .... Lucien Goff (1982)

Seduction: Three Tales from the 'Inner Sanctum' (1992) (TV) .... Frank
Murder Times Seven (1990) (TV) .... Marco Volatile
The Neon Empire (1989) (TV) .... Vito
Steal the Sky (1988) (TV) .... Colonel Gemayel
A Very Delicate Matter (1982) (TV) .... Zachary Pscharapolus
King of America (1982) (TV) .... Markos
Série noire (1979) .... Andreas Tikides

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1982) (TV) .... Snout
Mesure pour mesure (1979) (TV) .... Claudio

Babylon 5: The Gathering (1993) (TV) .... G'Kar
Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight (2002) (TV) .... G'Kar

Babylon 5: In the Beginning (1998) (TV) .... G'Kar
The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990) (TV) .... Kasha

Path to Paradise: The Untold Story of the World Trade Center Bombing (1997) (TV) .... Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman

"The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest"
- The Robot Spies (1997) TV Episode (voice) .... Stephano DePace

The Fugitive (1993) .... Frederick Sykes

"NYPD Blue"
- Shear Stupidity (2003) TV Episode .... Ron Szudarek
- Cogenitor (2003) TV Episode .... Vissian Captain
- Forcing the End (1999) TV Episode .... Moses Gourevitch
"Star Trek: The Next Generation"
- All Good Things (parts 1 & 2)... (1994) (TV) .... Commander Tomalak
- Future Imperfect (1990) TV Episode .... Commander Tomalak
- The Defector (1989) TV Episode .... Commander Tomalak
- The Enemy (1989) TV Episode .... Commander Tomalak
"Diagnosis Murder"
- The Plague (1994) TV Episode .... DEA Agent
"Murder, She Wrote"
- A Killing in Vegas (1991) TV Episode .... Jerry Pappas
- Deadly Encounters: Part 2 (1990) TV Episode .... Nikolai Janosch/Arno Kudriescu
- Deadly Encounters: Part 1 (????) TV Episode .... Nikolai Janosch/Arno Kudriescu
"Mancuso, FBI"
- Ahami Awry Kidnapped (1990) TV Episode
"Jake and the Fatman"
- You Turned the Tables on Me (1990) TV Episode .... Everett Ashford
"Alien Nation"
- The Game (1989) TV Episode .... Koulak
"Father Dowling Mysteries"
- The Mafia Priest Mystery: Part 1 (1989) TV Episode .... Assistant District Attorney Douglas
"Houston Knights"
- Cajun Spice (1988) TV Episode
"The Equalizer"
- Video Games (1988) TV Episode .... Warren Briggs
"Max Headroom"
- Baby Grobags (1988) TV Episode .... Mr. Bartlett
- Grossberg's Return (1987) TV Episode .... Mr. Bartlett
"Heure Simenon, L'"
- Un nouveau dans la ville (1987) TV Episode .... Le 'Yougo'

[thanks to the]

Thursday, February 16, 2006


"Television has done so much for psychiatry
By spreading information about it,
As well as contributing to the need for it."
Alfred Hitchcock
'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'

With Ford's entry in the lineup of Super Bowl Blipverts, I thought it was as good a time as any to re-examine the plight of Toobworld's most discriminated minority....


The Ford Escape Hybrid could be linked to 'Muppets Tonite!', 'The Muppet Show', and 'Sesame Street' thanks to its very special guest star Kermit The Frog. With this ad, Kermit adds another credit to his TV crossover Hall of Fame resume. In fact, he is one of the Hall's founding fathers, considered part of the "proto-hall" - those characters whose tributes in the old TwD website first gave me the idea that certain crossover characters should be honored in some way.

Unlike many cartoon characters, puppets are not shunted off to their own alternate dimension like the Tooniverse. They co-exist with humans on Earth Prime-Time as sentient beings. Although technically never televised, their roots begin on the Isle of the Blessed, which was first described by Lucian of Samosata in the 2nd Centuray AD.

According to his "True History", the puppet people are invisible beings who gave themselves form by wearing spiderwebs dyed purple. Centuries later, once humans discoved the Isle of the Blessed, (also known as Yazoo, Gortch, or just The Living Island), ambassadors with legendary names of Henson, Tillstrom, and Baird created new shells for these spirits to give them visible bodies.

And the spirits took on the qualities that would be associated with the form of the puppet shell. So Kermit would display the attributes of a frog; Oliver J. Dragon would be a dragon in his own mind; Globey would function within 'Peewee's Playhouse' as a globe; and Skred of 'Saturday Night Live'.... Well, whatever he was, he was damned good at it!

With these new bodies, puppets eventually joined the immigration to the New World, although they are for the most part kept segregated from human society. Puppet people are fine as entertainers, sure. But even though Ed Sullivan had no problem with giving Topo Gigio a goo'night kees, that didn't mean the variety show host would have wanted the Italian puppet mouse accepted by his co-op's board as a new resident.

So they are ghettoized to specific sections of major cities, like on 'Sesame Street' and 'Pinwheel', or in their own communities like 'Eureek's Castle'. At least there are some humans who don't mind living among puppets, like on 'The Hap Richards Show', a local program from Connecticut while I was growing up. (And in fact, I still have my certificate of citizenship in Joyville, Ct.!)

But the prejudice against the puppet people keeps them in the background, out of sight. Don't bother looking for the puppets on Wisteria Lane ('Desperate Housewives') or on board the 'Battlestar Galactica'. I don't think the 'CSI: NY' team would even bother to show up if Big Bird ever got pumped full of bird-shot down on 'Sesame Street'; not even if Dick Cheney pulled the trigger.

So I didn't need to see a human hiking along with Kermit, or even as the driver of the Escape Hybrid, to know that the Muppet frog co-existed with our TV counterparts.

It's just that he probably wouldn't be getting a lift back into town from the driver!

Now, when it comes to the Honda blipvert in which the Ridgeline mudflap silhouette of a woman came to life.... Definitely a denizen of the Tooniverse. The special guest appearance by fellow mudflap star Yosemite Sam clinched that. They were both in the some interface between the dimensions, where pen-and-ink toons can interact with flesh-and-blood humans, since the Honda truck was 3-D live action.

They were probably parked around the corner in Metropolis where Jerry Seinfeld hangs out with the animated Superman.....

Stay tuned.......


Wednesday, February 15, 2006


"Crime does not pay - even on Television.
You must have a sponsor."
Alfred Hitchcock
'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'

In one of the last remaining pages of the old Tubeworld Dynamic website, there's a primordial splainin about the TV Universe, featuring my early theories and beliefs.

Among these, there's a splainin about "quantoon physics":

Most of the oddities in the TV Universe can be traced back to the commercials. In less than sixty seconds, a TV ad can wreak havoc on the natural laws of the TV Universe. People can walk up walls, stretch their bodies to grotesque proportions, and shatter the barrier of the Fourth Wall. It's a scientific principle we call "quantoon physics".

And we wouldn't have it any other way. Most times the commercials can be just as entertaining as the programs they sponsor. And in the case of UPN, they can be even more so.

I'm a baaaaaaaaad TV fanboy.......

There were several ads during the Super Bowl that took the slice o' life motif and stretched it like the Official White House stance on domestic wiretapping printed on Silly Putty. The ads for Full Throttle Energy, Emerald Nuts, and 'The Office'-inspired quest for the "Hidden Bud Light", and the installation of the secret fridge for those Bud Lights in the "Man Kitchen" all went over the top for cartoonish behavior.

While watching the ad for Full Throttle Energy drink, something I'll probably never see anywhere else but in a commercial, I found myself wondering:

If these guys all have the energy to drop what they're doing and chase after this truck with the giant Full Throttle Energy can on its back, then what do they need the drink for in the first place?

I was suspicious. What exactly IS this stuff? Maybe it actually is "The Stuff" (from a pretty obscure Larry Cohen movie). Or maybe it's the live action equivalent of Slurm from the Year 3000, found in 'Futurama' over in the Tooniverse. Only out of whose butt are they getting the squeezin's?

Forget Michelob Amber; I think this is Soylent Amber!!!!

When I saw the Eagle-Eyed Machete Enthusiasts Recognize A Little Druid Networking Under The Stairs, it only made me shrug. It was just the long-playing version of the Emerald Nuts acronyms that we've seen before in the back alleys of Toobworld. They'd probably be more at home in the TV Sketch dimension, mixing right in with the Widettes, Doug and Debbie Whiner, and the guy who went around squishing your head.....

Picture the staff in the Scranton offices of Dunder-Mifflin (or my personal favorite - Upton/Weber) infected by the Rage plague of "28 Days Later". That's the visual you get when these office drones go boogatz looking for the hidden bottles of Bud Light.

Not too far out of the realm of possibility in the TV Universe, but as it is with puppets and most human beings in Toobworld, you wouldn't want to attempt meshing the commercial seamlessly into a scene from the movie "Office Space". (Which to my mind belongs in the TV Universe!)

Hopefully the blipvert for the "Hidden Fridge" sped by quickly for other viewers. That way they never had the time to think about how that guy was able to build a secret panel into the wall to hide his refridgerator from the soon-to-arrive football fans, and yet never realize that there was another apartment on the other side.

For that matter, those dunder-heads in the other apartment should have figured out why they were connected. Me, I was just wonderin' if that apartment came with a two-way medicine cabinet as well as a man-kitchen!

But none reached the apex of "quantoon physics" like the slice o' life seen in that quaint little village of Stunt City, which was featured in the blipvert for Degree deoderant. That location probably can only be found inside the borders of TV-L.A. County, not far from Hollywood and Television City.

Anybody see a white Ford Bronco during that blipvert?

Stay tuned.......


Tuesday, February 14, 2006


"Just as no rose is complete without thorns,
No television show is complete without the following commercials."
Alfred Hitchcock
'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'

With the choice of the Debit MasterCard/MacGyver crossover to kick it off, I'm finally going to write about the Super Bowl ads and their place in the TV Universe. Not ALL of them, of course - even I have limits!

We can skip the ones that aired in the past - used goods. These would include the Hummer 3 love battle between the monster ( and the giant watcher robot. And forget about the movie previews and those commercials that were pretty much straight-forward messages like the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty and for the Cadillac Escalade. (Ugh. Was there a commercial more boring than that one during the Super Bowl?)

I can cover a good portion of the blipverts with the sweeping theme of "Everyday TV Life". Sticking the word "TV" in there is key, because even in the mundane details, life in Toobworld can vary greatly from that in the Trueniverse.

Some of these ads could have happened in the real everyday life - well, okay, maybe the guys listening to the game and having a cookout up on their roofs was a tad sitcommish, (as was the finally approved bit), but I'll bet there are lots of kids who have had the sort of conversations heard in the Toyota Camry Hybrid spot.

There was nothing with the dramatic pull of last year's popular "Salute To American Troops" by Anhueser Busch (which later in the year I was able to link to 'Over There' on the FX network.) But there was no dearth in the sitcom aspects regarding the lifestyles of the male animal.

The touch football game in the Michelob Amber blipvert followed in the tradition of 'Friends' and 'How I Met Your Mother' - a group of close friends enjoying good times and comedic situations; capping it all off with a beer... and without having to endure being tinted blue like in the old Zima ads.

The two security guards in the Sierra Mist spot populate everybody's nightmares about going to the airport, and they could easily be found causing hassles for the characters in any sitcom, even if the goal of stealing your refreshing beverage never came up.

And what separated 'The Wave' in the Budweiser blipvert from any similar feat attempted in the Real World? Its perfection.

Like I said, it's all in the details.......

Stay tuned. I'll be back with more, after the break.......




The rock band Lifehouse performed today on 'One Life To Live', and I'm told they provided a musical backdrop for Michael's proposal to Marcie.

Monday, February 13, 2006


This looks to be a good year for blipvert crossovers with Television shows. Just before the new year, we had Frank and Marian Barone of 'Everybody Loves Raymond' in a variation on an Alka Seltzer classic. (It is currently in heavy rotation on many networks.)

And there's a couple of despairing domestic engineers in a beverage blipvert that I'm holding in reserve for the dry spell I've been expecting since January. (As it turns out, I had another week with three contenders for top dawg crossover. This is all due to the disruption caused by that 900 lb. gorilla known as the Olympics.)

Anyway, the Crossover of the Week happened in a commercial that premiered during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. It was for Debit MasterCard, and as the narration by Billy Crudup pointed out, having the ability to buy the everyday things that could help you get out of any kind of jam was priceless.

What kind of everyday things? A pine-tree air freshener to cut your restraints, tube socks to slide down a wire, and a ballpoint pen, rubber bands, paper clips, tweezers, nasal spray and a turkey baster to hot-wire an old truck.

And who would buy such things in case of such an emergency? None other than Angus 'MacGyver'!


(At the end of the blipvert, MacGyver is in a convenience store purchasing an array of off-the-cuff items, awkwardly avoiding the questioning looks of the cashier.)

Twelve years after he was last seen in Toobworld, - and almost a year after the death of his old friend Pete Thornton, - the action hero of the Phoenix Foundation proved that he still had what it takes to get out of a tight fix.

The blipvert also showed that should Richard Dean Anderson ever consider a return to the airwaves as 'MacGyver', a slot on the sked will be available for him.

And if not, we can probably squeeze him in using a clothespin, a shoelace, and no-fat butter substitute.

As Paul Alvarado-Dykstra of put it: "I really love this spot, which is a megadose of pure robogeek joy (though it falls just short of perfection due to the lack of a Dennis McCarthy score).

One can only hope that Paramount will wake up, smell the coffee, and make a smart, fun, suspenseful and action-packed MacGyver movie with Anderson - not to mention Teri Hatcher and Bruce McGill (reprising their recurring roles of Penny Parker and Jack Dalton)."

Richard Dean Anderson had no qualms and happily no apologies for using the blipvert forum to make MacGyver's return to Toobworld.

“While I've had offers to bring the MacGyver character back to life, MasterCard had the sense of humor I felt was needed to bring the character back,” he said. “The commercial really speaks to how oftentimes everyday items are truly 'priceless' and can serve as life savers.”

And if they were watching the Super Bowl in Springfield, Patty and Selma Bouvier exhaled their cigarette smoke with deep satisfaction.....


"There's a time to be Daniel Boone,
And there's a time to be a plumber."
Angus MacGyver


Over at the Live Journal focusing on the Crossover Universe According to the Mind of Tommy Westphall, (see the link to the left) contributor "Truth Be A Liar" (great name!) recapped a historic event in Crossover history:

"The government was trying to get information on the Bluth family for their case. So they put up this fake flyer claiming to be setting up a workshop to help fathers create scrapbooks for their daughters, so they can connect to them better.

Tobias, knowing that his daughter's birthday was coming up, signed up for the class. It was obvious from the beginning that the class was a set-up, as the narrator said that this had been used to find evidence on such people as Ken Lay.

Basically, Professor Munch kept urging everyone to include personal financial documents in their scrapbook to make it really authentic, obviuosly hoping that Tobias would put some evidence about the Bluth family's crimes in his scrapbook. It was made especially obvious when Tobias said he needed to go to a storage unit to get his documents, and 'Professor' Munch said they would arrange a hellicopter for him."

Professor Munch!

However, a frequent correspondent here, Will Devine (known to us by his "tribal name" of "Words Say Nothing"), wasn't so sure that it should be included:

"Was it truly clear that Belzer was playing the same character of John Munch, from Homicide, SVU, et al? Obviously the name is there, but I'm not sure it corresponds with Munch's government conspiracy views. (I just don't see him directly working for the federal government.)

There's also the fact that AD takes place in California and Munch is supposed to be in New York. I just have to wonder if it's actually John Munch in AD, or perhaps an identical brother/cousin/whatever."

As for me, regular readers know I've had no problem in the past in doing the Limbo to bend the poz'bilities enough to fit my own theories. So I have no trouble in believing that 'Professor Munch' was supposed to be Detective John Munch of the 'Special Victims Unit'. And although I didn't bother to cobble together a splainin as to why he was in California working for a government he clearly distrusted, I can accept it as it stands.

But the fact that I would have to come up with a splainin for that, unlike his appearance on 'The Beat' or in an episode of 'The X-Files', diminishes the strength of the crossover's standing for the week. However, it certainly isn't because of an overdose of "Been There, Done That" when it comes to the Munchkin. All crossovers are important, but when Munch adds yet another show to his own personal roster, and yet another one that crosses network borders at that, then it truly should be seen as the milestone that it is.

This marks Munch's ninth appearance in the TV Universe:

'Homicide: Life On The Street'
'Law & Order'
'The X-Files' (on FOX)
'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
"Homicide: The Movie"
'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'
'The Beat' (on UPN)
'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'
'Arrested Development' (on FOX)

In the first official year of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame's existence, Munch was inducted as a member. And I wouldn't be surprised if there are some crossover scholars out there who begin to reconsider their view of the TV Universe as being centered around Munch rather than around Tommy Westphall of 'St. Elsewhere'.

But even so, because I would have had to work a bit to make this crossover perfect, it only made it to First Runner-up for Crossover of the Week.

I do so hate to work....




On this week's 'The King of Queens', Carrie Heffernan got a new, hig-profile client at the real estate business - actress Kirstie Alley, whose televersion was seeking a condo in the New York area. But as they worked together, Carrie found herself eating and even smoking for Kirstie, who was still fighting to lose all of the weight she had gained.

This ties right in with 'Fat Actress', the Showtime series in which Kirstie Alley dramatized her "Battle Of The Bulge" for the TV Universe.


Also in New York City, Michael Scott arrived with the documentary camera crew in tow to attend a Dunder-Mifflin regional managers meeting. While he was in Rockefeller Center, Michael thought he saw Tina Fey of 'Saturday Night Live' and pestered some poor woman, never noticing as talk show host Conan O'Brien strode past him.

This appearance by my semi-cousin is one of the best examples that celebrities appearing as themselves in TV shows are as fictional as the other characters in the show. (This has been a major sticking point for other crossover specialists like the "Westphallians".)

This episode had a specific time-frame; it was taking place on Valentine's Day, this coming Tuesday. But in the Real World, Conan O'Brien will be meeting the new Finnish Prime Minister in Helsinki on Tuesday. (He's taking credit for her election.)

Even if it was supposed to be a give-and-take over a few days, the TV Conan doesn't jibe with the True O'Brien - Conan landed in Finland on Saturday and will probably not be flying out until at least the next day.

Although truth to tell, Conan did look like he was suffering a major case of jet lag in that cameo on 'The Office'!


Sunday, February 12, 2006


It's all in the punctuation........

Tom Willis of 'The Jeffersons' married Helen Douglas in 1952 and had two children, Jenny and Allan. He worked as an editor for the Pelham Publishing Company, but in the 1980s, he went into partnership with his neighbor (and the father-in-law to Jenny) George Jefferson, investing in "Charlie's Bar".

It's my theory that in the late 1980s, after his daughter Jenny divorced Lionel Jefferson, Tom Willis began his soul-searching to find more meaning to his life. This journey of self-awareness was heightened by the tensions in his relationship with his son Allan, who used to live on a commune, and then by the death of his wife Helen sometime after 1995.

There had to be something more meaningful for Tom to do than just be an editor making sure there weren't too many exclamation points in a manuscript.

It wasn't so much religion per se, but I think Tom found a higher calling by getting more active in local politics, in order to bring him closer to his son and his views. Eventually he might have become a Justice of the Peace, and as such, he would have been empowered by the State of New York to perform wedding ceremonies.

In May of 1999, Justice Of The Peace Thomas Willis was scheduled to marry William Truman to Rosario Salazar. It was really a sham marriage, as Will was gay and only going through with the scheme to make sure Rosario was allowed to stay in the country.

That happened in the first season finale of 'Will & Grace'. Looking through the list of TV credits for Franklin Cover, who played Tom Willis, he also appeared in the second of two 'All In The Family' episodes that launched the 'The Jeffersons' as a spin-off.

It doesn't look likely that he played the role in anything else, but with the stretch that he could have been the JP for that 'W&G' episode, I'd be happy to induct him some day into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame... on the birthday honors list, of course. (When what I say, goes.)

I mentioned that there were two episodes of 'All In The Family' which were instrumental in the creation of 'The Jeffersons'. But the first one concerned the wedding of Lionel and Jennie, and it featured Charles Aidman as Tom Willis.

I wrote about this once before in my old Tubeworld Dynamic website when it was still active. It's my belief that this is no Zonk!, nor is it a case of a 'Quantum Leap' from the future. (Although I think that's a possibility as to why there were two Lionel Jeffersons during the run of the show.)

We can also rule out aliens, robots, demonic possession, illness, weight gain, and plastic surgery as reasons why Tom Willis should look so different from one episode to the next.

It's always best to go for the simplest reason. And in this case, there were two Tom Willises at that wedding reception.

Archie met a cousin of the bride's father, who also had the same name. (It's not an uncommon occurrence.) In and of itself, this could have been the end of it, but the other Tom Willis finally let it slip that he was the bride's father.

As he didn't give a rat's backside to being at the wedding in the first place, Archie probably wasn't paying close enough attention to the ceremony to have noticed that the man who gave the bride away was not the same man he was talking to at the cash bar. He certainly didn't object when this Tom Willis made that claim.

I think there could be two reasons why the first Tom Willis would claim to be Jenny's father. One was that he was becoming disgusted with Archie's observations on the blacks attending the reception and wanted to put him in his place in the strongest way possible.

But then again, it could be that he really was Jenny's dad!

Nothing is purely black and white in life - except for the bride and groom that were on top of Tom and Helen's wedding cake. Although we don't often see it, all TV characters have shades of gray. It's always possible that Helen Douglas Willis cheated on her husband with his cousin and gave birth to a daughter which she passed off as her husband's.

It's a plot stand-by that is quite common in soap operas which are a major factor in the TV Universe.

This might also splain why their daughter was black and their son Allan looked more white - a difference in the donor DNA.

It was obvious that the Tom Willis played by Charles Aidman was pretty much in his cups at the bar when Archie struck up the conversation with him. Otherwise he might never let slip such a revelation no matter what the reasoning behind it.

As to why we never saw Franklin Cover as the true Tom Willis in that episode..... Well, it was 'All In The Family' and as 'Lost' episode guides might have put it, the show was Archie-centric. Obviously the "Cover version" never wandered into Archie's orbit to be noticed in the story.

And so ends this Willis Screed.



TV producer Dick Wolf has done pretty well for himself when it comes to being an overlord in the TV Universe. (I am a mere caretaker.) Currently, he has three TV series filling up slots in the NBC schedule - 'Law & Order', 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit', and 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'.

And when I say "slots", I mean that sometimes these shows are used to plug the holes in the sked when other shows tank.

He's had his own failures in the past, of course - 'Deadline' and 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury', which were both part of the 'L&O' franchise in their own ways. Although to be fair, 'Trial By Jury' was a very good show but NBC was nervous for better ratings almost immediately and so 'twas untimely ripped from the schedule.

He's also produced a reality show in the 'Law & Order' mold, and now has a new series to be set in his Toobworld bailiwick - 'Conviction'. This show will feature Stephanie March as ADA Alexandra Cabot, who used to be a regular on one of his other shows, 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'.

So even though he's molded a reality show to fit the 'L&O' mold (Mmmmmm.... Now I want a Jell-O mold.), there's one corner of the TV market in which Dick Wolf has not conquered with the 'Law & Order' brand......

Saturday morning children's programming.

It must keep him awake at nights, I'm sure! Lying there in his bed stuffed with 'L&O' revenue; gazing up at the ceiling; wondering how he can finally corner the market in kiddie TV with 'L&O' characters.

And this week, he could have found just what he was looking for in the news.....

From a report filed by WCBS-TV reporter John Slattery:

"Talk about an unlikely investigator for the Brooklyn D.A. It's a cat named Fred, who was specially deputized to help in a sting operation that resulted in the arrest of a former veterinary technician, Steven Vassall, 28, of East Flatbursh.

Brooklyn DA Charles J. Hynes said Vassall allegedly masqueraded as a vet, even doing surgery.

The DA believes Vassall may have been practicing for the last seven years. What was odd was that he didn't work out of an office. His practice was strictly house calls.

Hynes showed reporters an undercover videotape. Investigators had set up a sting in an apartment, using Fred the cat as bait. Vassell allegedly agreed to neuter Fred for $135... and then he was arrested."

'Law & Order: Pet Squad' or 'Undercover Pets' or 'Felony Felines'..... So long as the title was preceded by 'Law & Order', Dick Wolf would be happy.

Maybe they could bring in Moose, the Jack Russell terrier who played Eddie on 'Frasier', to be the cat's partner. I don't think Moose has found much gainful employ since 'Frasier' went off the air, save for a few "Coach" print adverts.

Perhaps a special guest appearance by Dog, the basset hound owned by 'Columbo', and the cockatoo from 'Baretta' could appear in a very special episode during Sweeps - "When Celebrity Pet Owners Go Bad".

And as a network crossover to please the hierarchy on the Peacock Throne at NBC, why not an episode featuring the bad driving skills of Toonces from 'Saturday Night Live'? (It was mostly a puppet in those sketches, but the real Toonces has already joined John and Gilda and Phil and Danitra and Uncle Mike in that big Studio 8-H in the sky.....)

Of course, in the long run Dick Wolf would probably pass on the idea. It's not like the Animal Planet network hasn't already done this kind of story several times over. So this new concept to present stories "ripped from the headlines" would end up being de-clawed.......


"Never trust a female, even the four-legged variety."
Number Six
'The Prisoner'


Sci Fi Channel must have seen how well original series did over the last few summers for cable outlets like TNT, USA, and FX - 'The Closer', 'Monk', 'The 4400', 'Rescue Me', 'Starved' -#

Okay, so it'll always be a crapshoot.

Anyway, Sci Fi has picked up the option to run 11 episodes of 'Eureka', a series for which the 2 hour pilot movie had not even been broadcast yet.

'Eureka' takes place in the Pacific Northwest, which helps expande the locations of the TV Universe. The Northwest is already home to other locales of off-beat happenings - 'Twin Peaks', Lynchboro ('Wiseguy'), and that focal point for freeky, Seattle. Really, Seattle. 'Glory Days', 'John Doe', 'The 4400', 'Frasier'...''

Eureka is totally populated by scientists who are conducting top-secret research for the government, which should provide plenty of story lines despite the self-contained, restricted locale.

The type of experiments should also yield a bonanza of hypothetical links to other shows. And already I have dream suggestions for guest stars:

Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch
David Duchovny as former FBI Agent Fox Mulder

'Eureka' automatically lands on the top of my summer must-see list if only because of the opportunities to link it all up!



Movies That
Won't Be Shown
on the Lifetime
- - - -
Mother, May I Marry a Nice Doctor You Really Like?
The Ideal Husband (Not Meant Ironically)
A Child Accounted For and in No Danger
The Amicable Divorce and Custody Agreement
A Pleasant Family Christmas
The Man Who Was as Nice as He Initially Appeared to Be
My Daughter's Internet Pen Pal Who Is Another Preteen Girl
The Successful Surgery That Improved the Quality of the Patient's Life
The Number of Children We Planned For, All Healthy

Thanks to for pointing out this website to me:

Lots of great lists, including ones for Klingon Fairy Tales & Recipes, and Bruce Springsteen songs with more appropriate titles



I went to during the night at work (with this snowstorm, it's waaaay slow on the job right now!) and took the quiz to find out where I would end up after death.....

"After death, you will continue to exist as if nothing has ever happened. You will continue to be yourself, but because you are in a parallel universe, some things will be different. You may not have married the same person, you might live in a different spot, but you will be the same person underneath it all and you will continue your life unaware that you ever died."

Sounds like the Toobworld novel concept.

And more than likely, this type of thing has already happened.....