Saturday, June 17, 2006


The man who played Exidor on 'Mork and Mindy' and Yancy Tucker on 'The Waltons' has died.

The comedian and character actor died on June 8 at his Sherman Oaks home of a heart attack at the age of 75.

Donner also guest starred on such TV series as 'Bonanza', 'Columbo', 'The Six Million Dollar Man', 'Dharma & Greg' and 'Matlock'.

The great thing about the character of Exidor on 'Mork & Mindy' was that we know that couldn't possibly be his real name. Exidor was a street wacko befriended by Mork in Boulder.

As such, we can theorize that perhaps other characters played by Mr. Donner in other shows could have been Exidor, operating either under an assumed name, or known only by a description in a particular episode.

A good example of that would be the barfly who tried to strike up a conversation with 'Columbo' in the episode "Any Old Port In The Storm". (This character is not connected to two other characters he played on 'Columbo', however. As was the case with characters portrayed by Patrick McGoohan, Jack Cassidy, Robert Culp, and espeically Vito Scotti, they were all independent of each other and just happened to resemble one another.)

And it's always poss'ble that Exidor was the illegitimate son of Yancy Tucker, who lived near Waltons' Mountain during the Depression. I say "poss'bly" (as Mushrat of 'Deputy Dawg' would pronounce it) because I don't know if it was ever acknowledged on 'The Waltons' that Yancy had children.

At any rate, Exidor has to rank up near the top of any list compiling the greatest eccentrics of Toobworld.

And he will be missed.


"Mork & Mindy" - Exidor
"The Waltons" .... Yancy Tucker (1972-1979)
"The Young Pioneers" .... Mr. Peters

"Early Edition" - Lucius Snow
- Time (2000) TV Episode
- Fate (1999) TV Episode
"Legend" - Mayor Chamberlain Brown
- Fall of a Legend (1995) TV Episode
- Revenge of the Herd (1995) TV Episode
- The Life, Death, and Life of Wild Bill Hickock (1995) TV Episode
- Custer's Next to Last Stand (1995) TV Episode
- Mr. Pratt Goes to Sheridan (1995) TV Episode
"MacGyver" - Milt Bozer
- MacGyver's Women (1990) TV Episode
- Serenity (1990) TV Episode
- Halloween Knights (1989) TV Episode (uncredited)
"Falcon Crest" - Tucker Fixx
- Last Dance (1988) TV Episode
- As Tears Go By (1988) TV Episode
- Lovers and Friends (1987) TV Episode
- Hunter's Moon (1987) TV Episode
- Manhunt (1987) TV Episode
"The Fall Guy" - Edmund Trench
- Two on a Skip (1986) TV Episode
- Escape Claus (1985) TV Episode
"Adam-12" - T.J. (Tee Jay)
- Hollywood Division (1973) TV Episode
- Log 93: Once a Junkie (1969) TV Episode
- Log 32: Jimmy Eisley's Dealing Smack (1969) TV Episode
- Log 61 (1968) TV Episode
"Bonanza" - Owen
- The Horse Traders (1970) TV Episode
- Meena (1969) TV Episode

Alien Nation: Dark Horizon (1994) (TV) .... Sheriff
Columbo: Undercover (1994) (TV) .... Zeke
A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion (1993) (TV) .... Yancy Tucker
Columbo: Caution! Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health (1991) (TV) .... Arnie
A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain (1982) (TV) .... Yancey Tucker
Young Pioneers' Christmas (1976) (TV) .... Mr. Peters
Young Pioneers (1976) (TV) .... Mr. Peters
Nakia (1974) (TV) .... Fischer
Sarge (1971) (TV)
Lassie: Well of Love (1970) (TV) .... Clay Braddock

"How the West Was Won" (1978) (mini) TV Series .... Mr. Evans
"Captains and the Kings" (1976) (mini) TV Series .... Wounded Texan

With a Vengeance (1992) (TV) .... Det. Max Borovey
The Hit Man (1991) (TV) .... Otto
The Rocket Boy (1989) (TV) .... Hawkhead
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987) .... Swarma
Standing Tall (1978) (TV) .... Sheriff Brumfield
Trail of Danger (1977) (TV) .... The Sheep Boss
The Boy Who Talked to Badgers (1975) .... Burton
Mrs. Sundance (1974) (TV) .... Ben Lant
The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973) (TV) .... Dispatcher
No Place to Run (1972) (TV) .... Car salesman
The Intruders (1970) (TV) .... Roy Kirsh

"Center of the Universe"
- The Break-In (????) TV Episode .... Nathan
"Dharma & Greg"
- Hell No, Greg Can't Go (2000) TV Episode .... Joe
"Pacific Blue"
- Heat of the Moment (1998) TV Episode .... Luther
"The Naked Truth"
- Hero Pig Goes Hog Wild! (1995) TV Episode
"Married with Children"
- Sofa So Good (1994) TV Episode .... Maray the Couch Maker
"Hearts Afire"
- String of Pearls (1993) TV Episode .... Sheriff
"In the Heat of the Night"
- Family Reunion (1992) TV Episode .... Roy Paxton
"Murder, She Wrote"
- From the Horse's Mouth (1991) TV Episode .... Sheriff Tyrone McKenna
- If a Body Meet a Body (1986) TV Episode .... Silas Pike
- Cleo Rocks (1989) TV Episode .... Benjamin Wintergreen
- Soft Touch (1987) TV Episode .... Vince
"Good Morning, Miss Bliss"
- The Mentor (1989) TV Episode .... James Lyman
- The Fisherman (1988) TV Episode .... Tom Jakes
- The Cop (1986) TV Episode .... Truck Buyer
"Rags to Riches"
- A Very Foley Christmas (1987) TV Episode .... Eli Tuttle
- One for the Road (1986) TV Episode .... Joe Connell
"The Fall Guy"
- Boom (1984) TV Episode .... Conlin
- Spaced Out (1983) TV Episode .... Dep. Harris
"The A-Team"
- Breakout! (1984) TV Episode .... Sheriff
"Simon & Simon"
- A Little Wine with Murder? (1984) TV Episode .... Cody Dexter
"Blue Thunder"
- Revenge in the Sky (1984) TV Episode .... Neil Gerrard
"Little House on the Prairie"
- The Older Brothers (1983) TV Episode .... Bart Younger
- Buffalo Bill & Annie Oakley Play the Palace (1983) TV Episode .... Buffalo Bill Cody
"Fame" - That Was the Weekend That Was (????) TV Episode .... Exalted Muskrat
"The Incredible Hulk"
- The Phenom (1981) TV Episode .... Bernard Devlin
- Sideshow (1980) TV Episode .... Mr. Benedict
"Eight Is Enough"
- Fathers and Other Strangers: Part 2 (1979) TV Episode .... Man on Bus
- Fathers and Other Strangers: Part 1 (1979) TV Episode .... Man on Bus
- Ride the Whirlwind (1979) TV Episode .... Coby
"Code R"
- Episode dated 4 February 1977 (1977) TV Episode .... Bo Plummer
"Charlie's Angels"
- To Kill an Angel (1976) TV Episode .... Korbin
"City of Angels"
- The Bloodshot Eye (1976) TV Episode
- Episode #1.7 (1976) TV Episode
- Time Bomb (1975) TV Episode .... Sarge
"Get Christie Love"
- A Few Excess People (1975) TV Episode .... Bernie Karp
- Perfect Fit for a Frame (1975) TV Episode .... Sheriff
- The Seventh Grave (1973) TV Episode .... Chief
- The Hiders (1975) TV Episode .... Belnap
- Talbot (1973) TV Episode .... Brown
- A Noose for Dobie Price (1968) TV Episode .... Gil Boylan
"The Six Million Dollar Man"
- Stranger in Broken Folk (1974) TV Episode .... Horace Milser
- The Concrete Jungle Caper (1974) TV Episode .... Val
- Isolate and Destroy (1973) TV Episode .... Roscoe
- Clear with a Civilian: Part 1 (1973) TV Episode .... Harry Rustin
Columbo: Any Old Port in a Storm (1973) (TV) .... The Drunk
"The Rookies"
- Get Ryker (1973) TV Episode .... Ned Collins
- Climb a Deadly Mountain (1973) TV Episode .... Rizo
"McMillan and Wife"
- Two Dollars on Trouble to Win (1973) TV Episode .... Price
"Kung Fu"
- The Tide (1973) TV Episode .... Houlton
"Ghost Story"
- Creatures of the Canyon (1972) TV Episode .... Ralph
"Alias Smith and Jones"
- The Day the Amnesty Came Through (1972) TV Episode .... Charlie Taylor
- The Bounty Hunter (1971) TV Episode .... Nate
- Never Trust an Honest Man (1971) TV Episode .... Preacher
- Survival Times Two (1972) TV Episode .... Fourchet
"The Mod Squad"
- Feet of Clay (1971) TV Episode
- The Hot, Hot Car (1971) TV Episode
"The High Chaparral"
- A Matter of Vengeance (1970) TV Episode .... Wilby
- The Reluctant Deputy (1970) TV Episode .... Sam Pelletier
"The Big Valley"
- Town of No Exit (1969) TV Episode .... Pete Haunch
"The Guns of Will Sonnett"
- Guilt (1968) TV Episode .... Arch Merceen
- Look for the Hound Dog (1968) TV Episode .... Parkin
"The Outsider"
- The Twenty Thousand Dollar Carrot (1968) TV Episode .... Sheriff Wade
"The Virginian"
- Ride to Misadventure (1968) TV Episode .... Matt Dooley
"I Spy"
- Home to Judgment (1968) TV Episode .... Mailman
- Dragon's Teeth (1965) TV Episode .... Dr. Bustard
"Garrison's Gorillas"
- The Great Crime Wave (1967) TV Episode .... Sgt. Winkler
"Run for Your Life"
- Down with Willy Hatch (1967) TV Episode .... Sheriff Hinkleman
"Daniel Boone"
- Take the Southbound Stage (1967) TV Episode .... Pike
- The Trap (1966) TV Episode .... Coot
- A Question of Guilt (1967) TV Episode .... Patrick Clancy
- Odyssey (1965) TV Episode .... First American GI
- Incident of the Travellin' Man (1963) TV Episode .... Billy Harger
- Judgment at Hondo Seco (1961) TV Episode .... Billings
- Incident of the Running Man (1961) TV Episode .... Toland

[thanks to the]


Seven years after the death of his partner in the Real World, the puppet simply known as "Emu" will be making a return to Toobworld, now partnered with his late partner's son.

Toby Hull, son of the late Rod Hull, will join Emu in a 26 episode series for the children's network CITV.

Perhaps the most famous - or infamous - moment in Emu's previous life in Toobworld happened on Michael Parkinson's talk show, when he went ballistic and attacked the host on air. And when he met the "Queen Mum" back in 1972, Emu ate her bouquet.

Rod Hull died in 1999 after falling from the roof of his cottage while adjusting his TV antenna. He and Emu had been working together since the late 1960s in Australia, and then returned to England in 1970 to gain their fame in Television.

Emu was not long out of work after his partner's death, as Toby Hull became his new partner and they began to tour the pantomime circuit.



Thirsteen year-old Tatiana Morales was accused of taking the child on Saturday from Zeus Tattoos, a tattoo parlor owned by the boy’s father, where she often hung out, police said. She was obsessed with the child and longed for a baby of her own, the tot's relatives and her friend said yesterday.

Two witnesses spotted the pair on a street in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn and called police, who picked them up at around 2 a.m. Monday, authorities said. Photographs of the girl and the little boy had been disseminated by the news media.

Police had been looking for Tatiana after employees of Zeus Tattoos said she had lured the tot outside on Saturday even though his father had made clear he didn’t want her to take him.

The boy’s father, Luis Aponte, called police at 5 p.m., three hours after the abduction. He had been hoping that the girl would come back with his son.

Two weeks earlier the teenager, who often played with the little boy, had taken him to a nearby candy store with his father’s permission and had returned promptly, Zeus Tattoos employees said.

Zeus Aponte, the boy’s uncle, said he once overheard Tatiana tell the boy, “I’m your mommy.” The 13-year-old, who had been a straight-A middle school student, recently got a tattoo from the boy’s father after showing him false identification that she was 19, authorities said.
[from the New York Daily News]

I get this feeling we'll see this as the basis for a storyline "ripped from the headlines" on 'Law & Order' next season. And it sounds like the kind of story in which we'll see Dr. Olivet make a return visit to the show.



Alex Toth was a professional cartoonist who was best known for his designs for Hanna Barbara during the 1960s and 1970s. 'Jonny Quest', 'Super Friends', the original 'Birdman', and especially 'Space Ghost' all show the influence of his style of art. And that style was "re-born" on Adult Swim with the launches of such shows as 'Space Ghost: Coast To Coast', 'Sealab 2021', and 'Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law'.

Alex Toth died at his drawing table on May 27, 2006, so in a way it could be said that he died with his boots on. The following week, Adult Swim devoted bumps to Toth which simply read "Alex Toth 1928-2006". The words then faded out and the "[adult swim]" logo was not shown. This was a style which the network only used when mourning the passing of someone they deemed to be an important person in their realm of cartoons.



During the third season opener for 'Entourage' on HBO, we finally got to meet THE woman in Vince Chase's life.

His Mom.

But during the course of the episode, Vince's brother Johnny "Drama" Chase, kept referring to her as "Mom" as well. And there seemed to be the Smothersly sense of "Mom always liked you best" when Drama talked about her.

Now, I don't have the first two seasons hanging about here at Toobworld Central. Eventually I'll get them on DVD, but in the meantime? I relying on memory and that's running on fumes.

But as I remembered it, - and several websites seem to back me up on this, - Vince and Johnny were half-brothers. The inference being that Johnny was older, by their Dad's first wife, and Vince was their Dad's son by his second wife.

The one trivial bit that I may be mis-remembering is that Vince's mother was of Asian descent, perhaps even Chinese-American. But that could be something I picked up from that episode where he was training to make that soda commercial with director Cha Ching. Or at least thought I heard that at some point.

If that is true, having Mercedes Ruehl portraying Vince's Mom pretty much turns that statement into a Zonk!.......

So let's deal with that first, just in case it was stated at some point during the first two seasons of 'Entourage'.

It could be that it's just a claim to build up the legend of Vince Chase for his adoring fans who eat up all the info they can get on their fave star. You know, like the claims of Rock Hudson being such a manly man during the 50s......

But that could be all that is - just a claim. Vince may have even used it as a way to impress women.

Until the show itself further elaborates, I'll have to just leave it at that.

Now as to Johnny and Vince being half-brothers named Chase and yet having the same Mom.....

Here's a possible splainin to cover that discrepancy: Johnny and Vince do share the same Mom, but she had Johnny by another man. Perhaps she was already married to Mr. Chase; perhaps Drama is the product of an earlier marriage for her; or maybe just from a previous relationship of - *ahem!* - unknown legitimacy. Hey, it was about forty years earlier; times were different back then.

In this way, Vince and Drama can have the same father, as Drama's real father may have dropped out of the picture and thus left the field open for Chase Senior to adopt Johnny. And by having the same biological Mom as Vince, it solves any discrepancy that might have come up from this last episode.

I just don't know how Ms. Ruehl must feel playing "Mom" to somebody who's played by a 41 year old in real life.....

At any rate, here's hoping that one day the writers of 'Entourage' address the situation in the show, so that the "AquaMom Zonk!" can be avoided.

I can't do the work for everybody!



We never knew Paladin's real name on 'Have Gun Will Travel'. He had been a dissolute gambler who had wasted his life, including an education at West Point.

He found his purpose in life during a confrontation with a dying gunman named Smoke, who was protecting the rights of some farmers against a brutish cattle baron.

Like Saul on the road to Tarses, the gambler saw the light and found his true calling: upon the death of Smoke, he took up the cause of those farmers and anyone else who needed his help. For those who just needed to hire his services (i.e. his skill with a gun), he was a mercenary with a fee high enough to reflect how good he was. But the pursuit of Justice would trump the wishes of his clients whenever there was a conflict between the two.

Like the song described him, Paladin was a knight without armor in a savage land.

And now Eminem, the rapper and star of "8 Mile", wants to remake 'Have Gun Will Travel' as a theatrical release.

But it's not to be a faithful remake. It won't be set in the late 1800s; it will the present day. It won't be taking place in the Old West, but in Detroit's inner city instead. And instead of being a soldier of fortune, something of a ronin with morals and ethics, Eminem's version would be a bounty hunter... not exactly the most honorable of professions.

And can you picture Eminem as a man of erudition and learning, one who loves the finer points of culture?

Yeah. Same here.

So it goes - from West Point to what's the point?

Why did they even bother to buy the rights to the property i? From what I understand, you can't copyright a title, so if that's all they wanted, they could have just taken it, right? (Maybe I'm wrong - it won't be the first or last time.)

But stripping it of everything tha tmade the show unique - didn't Frank Spotnitz's experience with Carl Kolchak teach them anything?

I think the real impetus for this project was the success of "Four Brothers". (Was it a success?) It was the inner city update of "The Sons Of Katie Elder", another Western.

If this proves successful, you can expect other Westerns to get the inner city treatment. (I think "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" and "High Plains Drifter" would probably work in that form.)

But taking a TV Western and converting it to the inner city of today, one could take it to ridiculous extremes.


'F Troop' as a comic version of "Fort Apache: The Bronx".

Never mind.

This update of 'Have Gun Will Travel' will be nightmare enough, thanks.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


"There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them."

The head of security at work loaned me one of his boxed sets for 'Naked City' (3 disks, four episodes each).

One reason I find that the show is still superior to 'Law & Order', even for its age, is that there is so much variety to the episodes, whereas 'L&O' is so rigidly formulaic. Even if Dick Wolf's baby stayed within the boundaries of crime investigation first half hour, prosecution of the case in the second half, it's still ALWAYS about murder.

On the other hand, the cops of 'Naked City' investigate domestic abuse, art theft, kidnappings, juvenile delinquency, and they also partake in the occasional cross-country prisoner transport. Murders don't always have to take place.

I suppose it would be more fitting to compare it to 'Homicide: Life On The Street', or because of its setting, 'NYPD Blue'. But even then, both of those shows were always fixated on murder.

But above all, the show's great because it's from a day when the written word was sometimes more powerful than the visual image.

One episode I watched the other day was 'The Multiplicity Of Herbert Konish' which had David Wayne, Jean Stapleton, and Nancy Marchand as its guest stars. It was all about a little man who led five different lives in the city, and the cops were convinced he was breaking some kind of law.

Herbert Konish worked in a finance company; he ran a mission for the downtrodden; he operated a farm in Staten Island; he communed the night away with fellow "beat poets"; and on his lunch hours, he hustled ping pong games - all five lives led under different aliases.

It was written by Ernest Kinoy, who must be considered one of the unsung legends of Television. Nobody dies in the episode, there's no big dramatic mystery; it's just a charming, quiet little character study that's bemusing.

Far be it for me to think I could improve on the work of a great writer like Kinoy, but at the very end, there was something I would have changed - the very last line. For such an offbeat episode as this, I would have rewritten the standard closing words of the show to reflect the nature of this episode......

"There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been five of them........"



Have you seen the series of Netflix ads?

Up until now, they've featured generic characters from a wide variety of movie genres who invade your home with each delivery of a new Netflix title. But this time, the latest blipvert features an actual character from Toobworld - Paulie Walnuts Gaultieri, as played by Tony Sirico.

Since he's not identified by name, the character could be any mob enforcer that he's played over the years in the movies. But the clothing, the clipped manner of speech, the precise hand movements, all point to Sirico appearing in the ad as Paulie Walnuts.

As these commercials play out, the characters are appearing as fictional beings brought to life in your home, thanks to the use of Netflix. We in the audience are supposed to see them as not being as real as the person who rented the movie.

However, in this case, Sirico's character (and again, I think it's Paulie) is "advising" the homeowner that it would be in his best interests to get Netflix rather then go out to the local video store.

The person who rents movies in these commercials is a character in Toobworld by virtue of being in a broadcast TV commercial; living in the same universe borne of Mankind's artistic output as Paulie Walnuts should be. But even though there is no red envelope from Netflix in the house just yet, it's obvious that this version of Paulie is supposed to be from the TV show and not a fellow member of the TV Universe.

So how do we reconcile the two characters to be in the same dimension even though one is supposedly less real than the others?


'Hi Honey, I'm Home' was an offbeat sitcom made for both ABC and Nickelodeon in which sitcom characters from shows no longer on the air would be sent into the "real world" to live in the "Sitcom Relocation Program" until the time came when they would be called upon to grace the airwaves again.

One such TV family was the Nielsens, who moved in next door to Elaine Duff and her kids; one of whom figured out that his neighbors were escapees from a TV Universe.

Among the guest stars from actual past programs were Grandpa Munster, Gomer Pyle, Alice Kramden and Trixie Norton. So we're led to assume that they came out of TV Land, and the Duffs were from the Real World.

It sounds like it represented everything Toobworld stands for.

But the premise falls apart because of the basic Toobworld concept. Since whatever is broadcast is part of the TV Universe, (Earth Prime-Time AKA Toobworld), then Elaine Duff and her kids are just as fictional as the neighbors.

It's the same situation found with Paulie Walnuts and the potential Netflix customer (and that guy's wife as well, but she's already been rolled up in the carpet.)

Since the Duffs and the Netflix guy are also from the TV Universe, they are the ones who must be considered on the first level of Earth Prime Time, the main Toobworld. And so the relocated sitcom characters and Paulie Walnuts would be from Toobworld's own version of a TV Universe.

We know Toobworld has its own fully realized TV dimension into which "real" characters can escape. We've seen it in a light beer commercial in which two guys slap their beer bottles down on top of the TV set and find themselves transported into whatever was showing on the Toob at the time. (In this case, it's a martial arts movie and they end up kicking ass... until something goes horribly wrong by the end of the commercial and they find themselves channel-surfed into a new scenario.)

Obviously - unlike our Real World in relation to Toobworld - it's a two-way street for crossovers. Toobworld residents can enter their own TV dimension and those who already live in that TV Land within TV Land can travel out to the "real world".

So whether it's done via a secret government program, or through the auspices of the Netflix company, TV characters twice removed from the reality of our own world can come one step closer to "reality" by stepping out of their own fictional dimension into that of Toobworld.

And that means Paulie Walnuts of the Netflix ad (but not the Paulie Walnuts of 'The Sopranos', who is "real") and the Nielsens of 'Hi Honey I'm Home' are from the same dimension.

And there's your Crossover of the Week.

As to why so many TV characters would have TV shows about them being broadcast, especially characters with secrets to hide (like Paulie Walnuts and Clark Kent, for example).......

Well, that's a poser for some other prime time.


Warning: this blog post was especially designed to cause Ivy's head to explode.

Monday, June 12, 2006


I received this notice from Jeffb, friend and fellow member of the Idiot's Delight Digest, referring to last Thursday:

If you get a chance, watch 'ET' tomorrow night. It depends on the editing, but it's likely you'll see me and maybe Sandy and Meira.

One of my students found out tonight, in an elaborate set up by New Line, that she has been chosen to play Tracy in the movie version of "Hairspray"! 'ET' has an exclusive tomorrow night.

Just what Toobworld needed: a couple more Iddiots.

But congratulations to Nikki Blonski for landing the role of Tracy Turnblad, opposite John Travolta as her mom, Edna.