Thursday, October 18, 2007


"Joey Bishop, the stone-faced comedian who found success in nightclubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack, has died at 89."

When it came to Joey Bishop's eponymous sitcom, I used to think that for the sake of Toobworld, I'd have to consider it as two different shows - in much the same way I once wanted to do with 'Burke's Law'/'Amos Burke, Secret Agent'. I've since changed my mind, but the idea of splitting one show into two different dimensions still holds true for 'Alias Smith And Jones' - the dividing line caused by the death of Pete Duel, who was replaced by Roger Davis as Hannibal Heyes.

Getting back to 'The Joey Bishop Show'.....

In the first "show", which ran for only one season (1961-62), Bishop played Joey Barnes. Joey was a Hollywood PR man who would often get in trouble at the firm and with his famous clients because of meddling interference by various members of his family.

In the second "series" (1962-65), Bishop was still Joey Barnes. But whereas that first Joey Barnes was a bit of a schlub, now he was more assertive and self-confident, married to a Texas rose named Ellie, and he was the host of a successful late-night talk show.

The temptation was to ship the first season off to some alternate universe as it wasn't very successful. But it featured appearances by Danny Thomas as both Danny Williams and as himself; how could you lose something like that from the main Toobworld? So I was just looking at an episode guide for the show at and it looks like the revision of the plot wasn't quite as abrupt as I was once led to believe.

Instead of coming back from the summer hiatus with the brand new plotline thrown out there to confuse the audience, elements of the new version were introduced as the first season was winding down. Ellie was introduced as a love interest, and Joey was offered the chance to host his own show. By the time the summer was over, Joey was hosting that show; he was married to Ellie; and best of all, the rest of his family stayed behind in California.

Over the next several seasons, Joey Barnes was able to interact with several celebrities playing fictionalized versions of themselves. ("Televersions" in the Toobworld mythos are a legitimate form of crossover to link shows together, and an appearance by Milton Berle makes for a guaranteed lock for inclusion in the "Great Link".) Even better, Joey and Ellie hosted Rusty Williams, formerly of 'Make Room For Daddy'/'The Danny Thomas Show', while he went to college. (Apparently Danny and the rest of the Williams clan more than likely moved out to Hollywood for the career opportunities.)

So here's a salute to Joey Barnes and to the late, great Joey Bishop.

Son of a gun.

Toby OB

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