Friday, November 2, 2007


With the month of November, the TV Crossover Hall of Fame usually turns its attention to politicians, newsmakers, and those who report the news. In the past we've honored George Washington, JFK and Jackie Kennedy, their son John F. Kennedy, Jr., Walter Cronkite, Murphy Brown, Rudy Giuliani, NYC DA Arthur Branch, Ambassador Sarek, and Adam West, Mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island.

Because of events earlier this year, there was only one logical choice to honor this month: President Gerald R. Ford.
When he was sick with pneumonia some time ago, I wrote up a little tribute to him for the "Inner Toob" blog, which I'd like to revisit now:

President Ford once visited the law firm of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt, according to Senior Partner Paul Lewiston. Unfortunately, that happened at the same time when Denny Crane's fifth wife, Clovis, showed up drunk in the offices.

President Ford appeared as himself in an episode of 'Dynasty' with his wife Betty (who also appeared in an episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' in which she executed a perfect telephone reaction cliche). He also appeared in archival footage in a disco-themed episode of 'Quantum Leap'.

But he was also portrayed by actor Josef Sommer in a TV movie from 1987, 'The Bette Ford Story'.

In the Tooniverse, President Ford was a member of the super-hero team known as "The Ex-Presidents", as seen on 'Saturday Night Live'. And he also appeared as himself in a sketch on that long-running variety show when Ron Nessen hosted the show.

As for his portrayal by Chevy Chase in the first year of 'SNL', we should just enjoy those sketches for the pratfalls and leave it at that.

Of course, since that time, I've come to the conclusion that variety shows and comedy sketches belong in their own universe, nicknamed Skitlandia, in which President Ford would look like Chevy Chase.

But this month, I'd also like to honor the woman who stood by his side for so many years, his wife Betty. As mentioned above, she also appeared in that episode of 'Dynasty' and had the spotlight to herself in the episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'. Murphy Brown stayed at the alcoholism treatment center that bears Mrs. Ford's name (as several other TV characters probably did).

As was the case with her husband, Betty Ford had a televersion when her life story was portrayed on TV. Gena Rowlands took on the role in the 1987 movie, "The Betty Ford Story".

Gerald Ford was never elected to the office of the President; never elected as Vice-President. But looking back now, it seems almost provident that he was in the right place at the right time for the sake of the country, and Betty Ford's candor and streak of independence was an inspiration to many.

Toobworld Central welcomes them both into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.


Drew Snyder (Gerald Ford)
. . . "Dark Skies" (1996) {The Warren Omission (#1.12)} TV Series

Josef Sommer (President Gerald Ford)
. . . Betty Ford Story, The (1987) (TV)

Gena Rowlands (Betty Ford)
. . . Betty Ford Story, The (1987) (TV)

Joe Stokes (II) (Gerald Ford)
. . . "Days That Shook the World" (2003) {Nixon} TV Series

"The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
- The Seminar (1976) TV Episode .... Herself

Jeffrey Ventimilia (Gerald Ford)
. . . "That '70s Show" (1998) {Streaking (#1.3)} TV Series

- Carousel (1983) TV Episode (as President Gerald R. Ford) .... Himself

"Dynasty" .... Herself (1 episode, 1983)
- Carousel (1983) TV Episode (as Mrs. Betty Ford) .... Herself

"Quantum Leap"
- Disco Inferno - April 1, 1976 (1989) TV Episode (uncredited) .... Himself

"Quantum Leap"
- Disco Inferno - April 1, 1976 (1989) TV Episode (uncredited) .... Herself


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