Saturday, August 19, 2006


"What is this? Christ!
'Little House On The God-Damned Prairie'
Maggie Gavin
'Rescue Me'

In both the Real World as well as in Toobworld, Laura Ingalls Wilder was a real person who chronicled her life on the prairie in a series of books.

Here in the Real World, those stories were later translated into a very successful TV series starring Michael Landon. In Toobworld, Laura's father, Charles Ingalls, bore a striking resemblance to the actor best known for "I Was A Teenage Werewolf".

In Toobworld, those books by Laura Ingalls Wilder could have been required reading in grade school in New York City, or at least very popular among young girls.

I'm guessing it's the former, because I don't see Maggie Gavin ever being the type of young girl who would have been reading those books. Instead, I think she was probably putting that kind of time into beating up smaller kids for their lunch money so that she could buy smokes.

So it was required reading, and not a TV show to Maggie Gavin.

Zonk averted!

My work here is done.....



During the run of 'The Addams Family' (the original series), most people didn't know who Gomez and Morticia and the other family members were when they first came to call upon them. But you can be sure that nobody ever forgot them afterwards!

The show ran only two years but the lives of 'The Addams Family', as with all TV characters, continued in Toobworld. And at some point during that time, their lives caught the interest of Hollywood - perhaps it was the time when Gomez suffered amnesia and then traveled to Gotham City, where he took on the persona of The Riddler, one of the foes of 'Batman'.

At any rate, after many years in development, a theatrical movie was filmed about "The Addams Family", both in Toobworld as well as in the Trueniverse. And in both dimensions that movie was a very big hit worldwide.

So when Billy Gilmartin referred to his daughter Grace as "Morticia" in the first episode of 'Murder City', it was because her Goth make-up and wardrobe reminded him of the character he had seen in the movie, who was based on a person just as real as he was in Toobworld; and not to a character from a TV show.

No Zonk here!



For me, personally, Philo T. Farnsworth was the greatest inventor who ever lived, and his invention was more important than the heart-lung machine, more powerful than the atomic bomb, and greater than even Liquid Prell. (Sorry about that, 2046 Year Old Man!)

And had he lived, Philo T. Farnsworth would have turned 100 years old today and I wanted to pay tribute to the man who created the machine that allowed me to explore the fantasy universe I sometimes call home.....

Philo T. Farnsworth invented television. No, he invented Television.

There were about six others who were working on their own viable electronic/mechanical image transmission devices before Farnsworth, but his basic design was the one adopted by RCA and which became the industry standard. And Farnsworth first worked up the basics when he was just a 14 year old Idaho farmboy!

In 1929, Farnsworth transmitted the first human image - that of his own wife, Elma, whom he credited as being his partner in every way when it came to the invention of Television.

The thing was, his idea was stolen by RCA, run by "General" David Sarnoff, and Farnsworth would spend a good deal of his life thereafter in fighting to gain the credit and the riches that were due him.

The actual culprit was Vladimir Zworykin - even his name is villainous! - who was working for Westinghouse first and then RCA. In 1930, he visited Farnsworth in his San Francisco lab under false pretense and essentially stole the basic design to be developed back in Pittsburgh by the RCA machine.

"It's the quintessential American story," says Thomas Schlamme, a director who will be directing a movie based on an Aaron ('The West Wing') Sorkin play about Farnsworth.

"It's clearly the story about a Jewish immigrant [Sarnoff] who pulls himself up from the bootstraps and rises in the corporate world of television and entertainment. And you counter that with a young boy genius, who was a Mormon who lived in Utah.

"And these two men sort of collided at a certain point in their time. They reflect two sides of the American experience."

While he battled Sarnoff, Farnsworth continued to work on various other aspects of Television, but also on other inventions as well. By the end of his life, Farnsworth was holding about 300 patents for his works.

He went to work for Philco, but he was abused even by that corporate entity - when his son died at a young age, Philco wouldn't even give him the time off to go home to Idaho to bury his son.

Eventually, Farnsworth won out in the courts to regain the patent for the magical device he created. But by then the toll had been laid upon him - he suffered from alcoholism and bouts of depression.

When he died of ulcer problems in 1971, it's possilbe that he had seen all of the great things that his invention made possible. As Dr. Philip Kipper, a televisiologist observed, "He envisioned television broadcasting. I don't think he could envision 'I Love Lucy,' but he certainly envisioned being able to transmit pictorial images to a mass audience."

By March 11th, 1971, he would have seen the Moon landing and the coverage of Kennedy's assassination and funeral - events which brought America together via his invention. Farnsworth might have seen 'Twelve Angry Men' by Reginald Rose and 'Patterns' by Rod Serling and 'Marty' by Paddy Chayefsky. He might have seen 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' and the first season of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'All In The Family'.

Perhaps he also saw 'The Prisoner' and 'Star Trek'.

And it's pozzble, jus' pozzble, that he also saw 'Turn On', 'You're In The Picture', 'My Mother The Car' and 'Clutch Cargo' cartoons. Visions like that would probably exacerbate his depression.

Despite the many low points throughout the years since Television came into existence, at least Sarnoff did some good by stealing Farnsworth's invention. "[He knew] this would be a great thing, that we would pump the best of ourselves into people's living rooms," says writer Aaron Sorkin. "that this was going to end fear, that it was going to end illiteracy, that it was going to end war by pointing a camera at it."

(At the same time, it also contributed to war by giving Al Quaeda a venue in which they could show the beheading of a man with impunity. One of my co-workers showed me that video on his cell-phone last night around midnight, and it was a sickening way to begin Farnsworth's birthday.......)

So if you should happen to land on one of the many NBC stations - NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, BRAVO, SCI-FI - today while flipping through channels, remember to flip the bird at the Peacock, as a salute to Philo T. Farrnsworth


The word is half Greek and half Latin.
No good will come of it
C.P. Scott, editor,
Manchester Guardian, 1928

Friday, August 18, 2006


Here's something I wrote back on Thursday, May 25, 2006 about 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia':

When the show returns to FX on June 29th, Danny DeVito will be part of the cast as the father to Dennis and Dee.

Of the quartet that makes up the cast, however, I think he'd have been more believable as the father of Charlie.

But tele-genetics have never been a priority among casting agents.....

That may be so, but I should have trusted in the writing talents of Mssrs. Howerton, Day, and McElhenny. The season finale aired last night, in which Dennis and Dee found out that Frank (DeVito) wasn't their biological father after all. Turns out that Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes-Image from '7th Heaven', Stephen Collins, was their real dad and he was great in the role of the too-good-to-be-true millionaire philanthropist.

That at least served the purposes of the science department here at Toobworld Central when it came to their family's tele-genetics. But then, in a tie-it-all-together final scene that could put the best of 'Seinfeld' to shame, we learned that DeVito's character once had a one-night stand with Charlie's Mom thirty years before. And that would mean......

It was a great way to end the second season, which totally avoided a sophomore slump by ratcheting up the selfish, boorish behavior of the quartet of main characters in such an outrageous manner that it will be sure to cause palpitations in jerks like Wildmon, Bozell, and the clowns at the FCC.

And even though I called it back in May, even though they telegraphed it (now that I look back upon it) all through the episode, I never saw that final moment coming.

These guys are genius.

And Dee's pretty sweet as well.



At the end of August, Alan Thicke will be appearing on the soap opera 'The Bold & The Beautiful' as a talk show host.

As he hosted talk shows in the past, it's pozzble, jus' pozzble, that Thicke will be appearing as a member of the League of Themselves.

But I'd like to see him show up as Dennis Dupree, the talk show host he played in the short-lived NBC sitcom 'Hope & Gloria'.

Dupree worked for a local affiliate in Pennsylvania on that show, but that shouldn't prevent him from being seen now in a Los Angeles market (where 'B&B' takes place). The TV business - even in TV Land - is extremely precarious; and its vagabond players (both in front of the camera and behind the scenes) move from market to market, wherever the work is.

The best I can hope for is that we'll never know the name of Alan Thicke's character, so that we can just make the assumption that he's Dennis Dupree. But the chances for that will be slim - talk show hosts usually have the show named after them. And whoever is going to show up on the program - one of the Forresters, no doubt, to tout the fall fashions, - I'm sure there will be quite a publicity buildup within the show in which the character's name will be invoked.

I remember reading once of talk that Dennis Dupree might be spun off to his own show. But that was before 'Hope & Gloria' was canceled, of course. And even then it could have been just a rumor planted by a concerned party hoping to generate some buzz for the idea.

Gee.... who could that have been.....?



As I mentioned in an earlier post, Life caught up to me this week and not only was I falling behind in my posting, but also in viewing my favorite shows of the week.

So I finally watched this week's episode of 'Life On Mars' on BBC-America. The show is about a modern-day detective in Manchester, England, who finds himself transported back to 1973 after a car accident. Whether he's really there or in a dream-world caused by a coma back in his own time, the cop has to adjust his modern methods of police work to a far less sophisticated time in order to survive long enough to find out what's happened to him.

I've been eagerly awaiting this show since the end of December when Martin Conaghan first reported on it for And in one of his detailed summaries and critiques of the show, he mentioned that the cop, Sam Tyler, would have a 'Quantum Leap'-like moment in which he got to meet Marc Bolan of the group T-Rex. (Apparently, the show takes place two years before Bolan's death in a car accident and Sam warns him to stay away from the minis.)

So it was a shock to watch the credits for the fourth episode and see that Marc Bolan was supposedly in there and yet I never remembered seeing the scene.

Here's how I wrote it up for Since I had to post it to a piece written back in January and which is now stuck in some dusty archive somewhere, I don't think it'll ever be seen by anybody. So that's why I'll trumpet it here. (As if I have that big a readership!)

Not sure if a comment added to a post from back in January will ever get noticed, but here goes anyway.

I just watched my tape of this episode which aired on BBC America Monday night.

When the credits ran at the end, I noticed the name of Marc Bolan as a character and remembered Martin's mention of him in an encounter with Sam.

I know I didn't walk away from the TV during the episode, but maybe I looked away and the scene went by faster than it sounded.

So I rewound the tape and it's obvious to me that BBC-A edited the scene out!

Near as I can figure it, the chance encounter with Marc Bolan happened inside the night club run by the bad guy. It must have been just after Hunt treated Annie horribly on the stairs up to the VIP lounge, but before they entered Warren's office.

I figured it was there, because Sam seemed sympathetic to the treatment Annie received from a boss, but when we see him next, he's got this beatific smile as he shakes his head in wonder.

Since he's in the VIP lounge of the club, I have to figure that's where he met Marc Bolan.

And it also looks like they cut out most of the references to the Grand National and how Sam predicted the winner. For an American audience, I don't think we even know what the pageantry on the TV is for in the few scenes we see.

I don't know why I continue to be suprised when a cable outlet pulls a stunt like this on me. They're just in it for the revenue, same as the big broadcast networks. But I keep hoping they remember that in their own particular niche, they should be providing a service as well as the content. That they should be caretakers of their particular venue of programming so that future generations can enjoy these shows as they were first broadcast.

And as we've seen in this case, it's not even a matter of generations, just a matter of months and a jump over the ocean and we don't get to see the same episode as shown in England.

The same disillusionment is with the Sci-Fi Channel for showing wrestling on Tuesday nights after 'Eureka' - but then, I switch over to 'Rescue Me' on FX anyway. It's just the idea that wrestling is on there that bugs me.

Unless one of those wrestlers rips his own skin off to reveal that he was really some alien bug in disguise, where's the science fiction?

And a block of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' on Sci-Fi one night? Even if every one of them dealt with Detective Munch's conspiracy theories, it's not right.

And don't get me started with TV Land, which is supposed to be the reliquary of our TV cultural heritage. They've sped up scenes to make them look like jerky silent movies (see the episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' where Rob and Laura are trapped in an elevator with Lyle Delp [Don Rickles].)

And they edit out key scenes so that later scenes don't even make sense. (A good example of that - in "Chuckles The Clown Bites The Dust", Mary holds up a vegetable mobile and asks Ted to take it with him when he's cryogenically frozen. But you don't see anymore the scene where Sue Ann Nivens gives the Happy Homemaker prop to Our Mayr.)

I don't even know why I keep watching these shows when they air; I collect the DVD sets of the shows in which I'd most notice these edits. I suppose it's just the result from years of conditioned experience.

But getting back to 'Life On Mars', I suppose what really irks me about the editing is that we never even got the chance to at least see it once in its unedited form. I can understand doing it for the repeats, like AMC does with 'Hu$tle' and its afternoon showing the next day - they take out almost fifteen minutes of material by then. But at least you had the opportunity to see it in the original 45 minute format twice the night before.

And this from a movie network that puts commercial interruptions in its movies. At least they know how to treat a TV show properly.......


Thursday, August 17, 2006


From the New York Times:

Bruno Kirby, a longtime character actor known for playing the best friend in two of Billy Crystal’s biggest comedies, “When Harry Met Sally” and “City Slickers,” died here on Monday. He was 57.

The cause was complications related to leukemia, his wife, Lynn Sellers, said in a statement.

Born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu in 1949 in New York City, he was the son of the actor Bruce Kirby.

Here's what I just posted to I think it serves as well as anything in relating how I feel about the loss of Bruno Kirby:

I first saw him in "By Dawn's Early Light" (a 'Columbo' episode) and later that same year in "Godfather 2" as Peter Clemenza. (What's interesting about that is that Bruno also played Richard (the original Clemenza) Castellano's son in 'The Super'.

A few years later I saw him in "Between The Lines", still one of my top ten favorite movies and that sealed me as a fan of his.

That 'Columbo' episode was the first time his dad, Bruce Kirby, got the chance to play Sgt. Kramer. (He had played a cosmetics company janitor in an earlier episode.) And it must have been great fun to get the chance to not only work with greats like Peter Falk and Patrick McGoohan, but with his own Dad as well.

My sympathies go out to Bruce Kirby and to Bruno's wife and the rest of his family at this time.

The Show Formerly Known as the Martin Short Show (1995) (TV) .... Manager
"It's Garry Shandling's Show." (1986) TV Series .... Brad Brillnick (series 3 & 4)
"Buchanan High" (1984) TV Series
"The Super" (1972) TV Series .... Super's Son

Mastergate (1992) (TV) .... Abel Lamb
Million Dollar Infield (1982) (TV) .... Lou Buonomato
Some Kind of Miracle (1979) (TV) .... Frank Smiles
A Summer Without Boys (1973) (TV) .... Quincy
All My Darling Daughters (1972) (TV) .... Anthony Stephanelli

- Guys and Doll (2006) TV Episode .... Phil Rubenstein
Helter Skelter (2004) (TV) .... Vincent Bugliosi
American Tragedy (2000) (TV) .... Barry Scheck
Frank Nitti: The Enforcer (1988) (TV)

"The Larry Sanders Show"
- Flip (1998) TV Episode .... Himself
- Putting the 'Gay' Back in Litigation (1998) TV Episode .... Himself
- The Roast (1997) TV Episode .... Himself
- The Book (1997) TV Episode .... Himself
- Artie's Gone (1993) TV Episode .... Himself

This Is Spinal Tap (1984) .... Tommy Pischedda

"The Jury"
- Too Jung to Die (2004) TV Episode .... Carmen Pintozzi
"Mad About You"
- The Gym (1996) TV Episode .... Virgil
"Homicide: Life on the Street"
- The Gas Man (1995) TV Episode .... Victor Helms Sr.
- Call Me Irresponsible (1993) TV Episode (voice) .... Marco
"Fallen Angels"
- I'll Be Waiting (1993) TV Episode .... Tony Reseck
"Tales from the Crypt"
- The Trap (1991) TV Episode .... Billy Paloma
"Hill Street Blues"
- The Russians Are Coming (1983) TV Episode .... Louis
- Homecoming (????) TV Episode .... Marty Shwartz
"Likely Stories, Vol. 1" (1981) TV Series
"Detective School"
- The Bank Job (1979) TV Episode
- Board of Rights (1976) TV Episode (as Bruce Kirby Jr.)
- Acts of Desperate Men (1975) TV Episode (as Bruce Kirby Jr.) .... Keith Wicks
Columbo: By Dawn's Early Light (1974) (TV) (as B. Kirby, Jr.) .... Cadet Morgan
"Emergency!" - Seance (1973) TV Epi .... Ken
"Room 222" (as B. Kirby Jr.) .... Herbie Constadine (1971-1973)
- Walt Whitman Goes Bananas (1972) TV Episode .... Herbie
- Pilot (1972) TV Episode (as B. Kirby Jr.) .... Pvt. Lorenzo Boone



Here's a big thanks to Bill Crider for pointing out that Davy Crockett was born on this day in 1786 in Tennessee, so I wanted to wish the frontiersman a hearty 220th birthday.

Several actors have played Davy Crockett on Television (no need to concern ourselves with those in the movies), but all of them might as well be relegated to alternate dimensions of Toobworld. That's because there's only one actor who embodies the figure of the man and the legend: Fess Parker.

Walt Disney produced a series about Crocket starring Parker which was filmed to be only three episodes in length. Apparently, nobody had any idea how popular the character would prove with the children of the 1950s. Otherwise they would have kept the series running indefinitely, rather than airing the episode which definitely killed off his character at the Alamo.

The producers of future TV shows learned a valuable lesson from that, and fictionalized the adventures of legendary real-life characters in their productions. And I think the public became so accustomed to it that they rose up in anger when David Milch followed historical fact and killed off Keith Carradine's portrayal of Wild Bill Hickcock in the fourth episode of 'Deadwood'.

Those viewers who complained are just stupid c***suckers, as Al Swearengen might point out.....

Disney went on to produce two more episodes about Davy that would have to be inserted into the middle of the show's timeline. Both dealt with river life and also featured another figure out of America's tall tales - Mike Fink.

(Fess Parker crossed over into the "Cineverse" as Davy Crockett in the Bob Hope movie, "Alias Jesse James".)

Davy Crockett was the fifth of nine children and it's possible that Davy's televersion could be the great grand plus uncle of Sonny Crockett of 'Miami Vice'.

His mother's maiden name was Rebecca Hawkins. So it's possible that a male relative passed down the family name so that Davy Crockett is distantly related to Billy Jim and RJ Hawkins, a lawyer and his cousin who was a private investigator. ('Hawkins On Murder')

His legend might have not survived, however, had the family kept its original Huguenot name of "de Crocketagne". Well, maybe on BRAVO. But the legend endures and will do so hundreds of years into the future of Toobworld.

How can we be assured of that? Because Dr. Julian Bashir and Chief of Operations Miles O'Brien often recreate his adventures in the holosuites of 'Deep Space Nine'.

Johnny Cash (I) (Elder Davy Crockett)
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett: Rainbow in the Thunder} TV Series

Mac Davis (I) (Davy Crockett)
. . . "Tall Tales and Legends" (1985) {Davy Crockett} TV Series

Tim Dunigan (Davy Crockett)
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett: A Natural Man (#33.8)} TV Series
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett: Guardian Spirit} TV Series
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett: Rainbow in the Thunder} TV Series

Fess Parker (Davy Crockett)
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett Goes to Congress (#1.14)} TV Series
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett and the River Pirates (#2.13)} TV Series
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett at the Alamo (#1.18)} TV Series
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race (#2.10)} TV Series
. . . "Disneyland" (1954) {Davy Crockett: Indian Fighter (#1.8)} TV Series

John Schneider (I) (Davy Crockett)
. . . Texas (1994) (TV)

Jack Watson (Davy Crockett)
. . . "Into the Labyrinth" (1981) {Alamo (#2.3)} TV Series

Scott Wickware (Davy Crockett)
. . . Dear America: A Line in the Sand (2000) (TV)

Richard Young (Davy Crockett)
. . . "Amazing Stories" (1985) {Alamo Jobe (#1.3)} TV Series



Like "they" say, Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

On Sunday, I accidentally killed my fridge; stabbed it through its cold heart with a hammer and screwdriver in a bid to defrost it faster.

So I had to clear out all the stuff in the long hallway to make room for the old one to go out and the new one to come in. Now my living room looks like the warehouse at the end of "Citizen Kane". (Or "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" if that works for you.)

And then, when it came to making a choice between posting to my blog last night and going on the WFUV Blues Cruise with four great friends to hear and meet The Smithereens, you, Dear Readers, lost out.

So I'm kind of backed up in writing stuff up for Inner Toob, let alone posting them.

In the meantime, here's a great little joke from the blog of Alan Sepinwall, TV columnist for the Star Ledger in New Jersey.

What if I was to tell you that there was a TV show about a hot suburban mom who deals with the financial stresses of widowhood by becoming the neighborhood pot dealer? Is that something you might be interested in?

Sorry... wrong pay cable channel.

Great little way to cross over 'Weeds' and 'Entourage' in TV criticism.....


Sunday, August 13, 2006


Warning: Major spoiler for the ending of David Tennant's first season as the Doctor is included here....

According to "The Misfit", one of the episodes from 'Lost' next season will be entitled "An English Rose" and it will feature Mr. Eko flashbacks.

Wouldn't it be cool if the title was a reference to Rose Tyler from the revival of 'Doctor Who' and who accompanied the Ninth and Tenth incarnation of the Doctor?

Of course, I created my own problem with that by finally deciding that the RTD revival of the show takes place in an alternate dimension from the main Toobworld. And even then, Rose Tyler is now shunted off to yet another dimension, nevermore to be with the Doctor.

But that doesn't mean Billie Piper couldn't play Rose's doppelganger in Earth Prime Time as well.....




Until proven otherwise due to some future plot point, it's pozzble, it's pozzble that Julia O'Hara of the Santa Barbara police department is following the family tradition of law enforcement as a career.

It could be that her grandfather made a name for himself back in the 1960s as the Chief of Police in Gotham City......