Saturday, December 1, 2007

WORLD AIDS DAY


Click on the ribbon. It will lead you to a site that has a cursory timeline for the portrayal of HIV and AIDS in popular culture. For Toobworld, there are clips from 'Law & Order', 'ER', and the HBO TV movies of "And The Band Played On", "Gia", and "Angels In America".

There are also mentions of such facts as:

In its first season alone, 'ER' had eight HIV/AIDS subplots.

'St. Elsewhere' was the first series to have an AIDS related storyline, back in 1983.

Thanks to my TV Trivia buddy JHolst at TV Acres, here are a few TV characters who have passed away from AIDS over the years.....

Michael "Stone" Cates
'General Hospital'

Gill
'EastEnders'

Jesse McKenna
'Life Goes On'

Dr. Robert Caldwell
'St. Elsewhere'

(I believe there may have been at least one other from the series 'OZ'......)

On the more upbeat side, Jeannie Boulet, a physician's assistant who had the HIV virus, will be coming back to 'ER' for at least one episode. According to a report at TV Guide, Jeannie "returns to the ER on Jan. 10, when her character needs treatment for her HIV-infected son. She initially clashes with the staff over her child's care, but eventually allows Dr. Greg Pratt to help her through the difficult time."

So when a character with HIV leaves a TV show, the return of Jeannie shows that it doesn't have to be seen as a death sentence.....

This is hardly enough to mark this day. It never could be.

BCnU...
Toby OB

Friday, November 30, 2007

UP NORTH, WAAAAAY UP NORTH

Somehow I knew I'd hear from Brent, my blogging buddy to the North, regarding the story about 'The Friendly Giant' and that sketch from the Gemini Awards. He may yet blog about it as well, but I wanted to share his thoughts and memories in a post here. (I figured most of you don't bother to check out comments - if any! - so I didn't want to risk having it languish unseen.....

Here's Brent:

If you can stand a long post I might be able to give you some background to the Friendly Giant as it is one of the treasured memories of my childhood. The quick and dirty answer is that there is nothing to indicate that Friendly belongs anywhere but Main Toobworld. This is because the show was a largely self-contained entity in which the only time one ventured outside of the castle was in the opening sequence.The location set in the introductory sequence was pretty clearly Ontario farm country in modern times. The farm had a relatively modern tractor (probably a Massey-Ferguson though most of the time I was watching the show on a Black & White TV) and there was a car that drove down the road - all done with off the shelf models of course.

Once the drawbridge was lowered and we were in the three chairs (including a rocker for someone who likes to rock and a big chair for two) around a normal sized fireplace at the base of the wall we were in the Giant's domain. Mostly this was the main room, where Friendly read picture books which came oout of Rusty the Rooster's seemingly bottomless book bag home, and play his recorder, and talk with Rusty and Jerome the Giraffe. On occasion (and more often in the later years) we'd go to the Music Room, with Friendly carrying Rusty to the Music Room Bookbag. There Friendly would be joined by Jerome (who of course didn't come inside) and two or three non-speaking puppets like the kittens Angie and Fiddle and I seem to recall a raccoon as well showed up to play music.

Sadly the CBC has steadfastly refused to release The Friendly Giant on home video in any format. They claim in part that the show is too old fashioned for kids brought up on fast moving material like Sesame Street. There are probably other reasons as well though. The books Friendly reads are obviously still in copyright which means negotiating payments. The CBC's contracts with performers may also be a problem - residuals are apparently paid for any repeat airings and not just to the performers but to their estates.
~ Brent

Hee hee! He typed "oout". Let's go to the mall, Scherbatsky!

Thanks, Brent! I'm glad I have my Hap Richards in Joyville memories from kids TV in Connecticut, but I wish I could have visited the Giant's Castle as well.

BCnU!
Toby OB

A "JOURNEYMAN" PLEA

One of the Executive Producers for 'Journeyman' posted an open letter to the fans of the show at Alan Sepinwall's blog (Link to the Left, my dainties). It's such a good show that I didn't want it just to languish there, but instead I wanted to spread the word from here. Hopefully other blogs will cut and paste the message in their own blogs so that it reaches more of an audience.....

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Kevin Falls:

Some good news


Journeyman Fans

--NBC has decided to air the 12th episode ("Perfidia") on Wednesday, December 19th at ten o'clock. That means our 10th episode will air on Monday the 10th ("Home by Another Way"), the 11th will air on 17th ("The Hanged Man").

The decision to air the 12th episode had a lot to do with the passion of our fans through SaveJourneyman.net, the online petition and letters and emails to NBC executives.

And is it true you can vote once a day for the People's Choice Awards?

There's still no news on our long term future, but we can promise you this: three terrific episodes inside of ten days. Oh, yeah, and you'll get some answers, too.

Your comments and pro-active attempts to save the show are very much appreciated by me and my fellow Executive Producer Alex Graves, Kevin McKidd and the cast, writers and crew. But more importantly, it's working.

But don't rest. We need you. We want a back nine--and beyond.

Thanks again,
Kevin Falls
10:11 PM, November 28, 2007

KLINGON Hol lut

On the most recent episode of 'Chuck', he was being held hostage by a member of Fulcrum and Agents John Casey and Sarah Walker were at a loss as to how to proceed. However, Chuck's old friend and nemesis (yeah, his frienemy) Bryce Larkin knew exactly what to do.

Using the Klingon language, he asked Chuck if he was wearing a vest. When Chuck said yes, he also used Klingon.

And then Bryce shot him in the chest.

This wasn't the first time a language that shouldn't be spoken on Earth for another two hundred years at least has been heard in Toobworld in the 21st Century:

A 2004 episode of 'My Wife And Kids'.
In the bowling alley, Junior uses the Klingon language to ward off a rude man dressed in a Star Trek outfit who had just pushed in the line.

In the 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' episode "Seeing Red", which first aired May 7, 2002, Xander unwittingly reveals his knowledge of Klingon when he instantly determines the language used in some of The Nerds' papers.

The sixth episode of the tenth season of 'Frasier', "Star-Mitzvah", which first aired November 5, 2002, had Frasier reading a short blessing in Klingon at his son's Bar Mitzvah having been tricked into believing it was Hebrew.

In "Witch Hunt", an 'NCIS' episode, agents raid a fancy dress party where a person is dressed as a Klingon. He insults Special Agent Gibbs by saying Hab SoSlI' Quch!.

McGee translates this to "Your mother has a smooth forehead" and reveals he speaks Klingon, but not fluently.

In 2004 'ER' Episode 220 (10.19), "Just a Touch", which first aired April 22, 2004, Abby must deal with half a dozen psychiatric patients, and one of them speaks only Klingon.

In 2002 'Farscape' Episode 10401 (4.1), "Crichton Kicks", John Crichton shouts a Klingon offense at a group of invaders before stating to Sikozu, "You didn't get that? Yeah, 'cause it's Klingon!"

In 'The Big Bang Theory', the character Howard Wolowitz can speak six languages, including Klingon.

It has also been spoken in the Tooniverse:

In the 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' episode "Super Computer," Frylock names the computer he invented the "OoGhiJ MIQtxxXA" which he claims is Klingon for "Superior Galactic Intelligence." While the second word has no meaning in Okrand's Klingon, the first word is similar orthographically to the Klingon word QoghIj "brain".

The character The Comic Book Guy from 'The Simpsons' claims to have translated The Lord of the Rings into Klingon as part of his thesis.

In "Passion of the Jew", an episode of 'South Park' which first aired March 31, 2004, when Mel Gibson goes on his rampage, he also shouts Qapla'!

In the 2004 'The Simpsons' episode 330 (15.17), "My Big Fat Geek Wedding", an altar can be seen on a SciFi convention, bearing the engraved letters love from the Klingon pIqaD alphabet. However, this is not an actual word in Klingon.

[All according to Wikipedia]

'Star Trek' (including all of its spin-offs) is the most Zonked TV series in tele-history. I think the only one that might come close could be 'The Twilight Zone'. Just last week on 'Numb3rs', a cardboard cut-out of William Shatner as Captain Kirk - and a conventioneer dressed as Captain Picard - were seen at a comic book convention in the episode "Graphic".

And yet the events of 'Star Trek', beginning with 'Enterprise', shouldn't be occurring until the 23rd Century at the very least. What would be historical events to the world of 'Trek' are happening all the time, but characters within other TV shows shouldn't know about 'Star Trek' as a TV show because it's supposed to be their actual future.

So how can this Zonk be beamed out of here?

There's only one possible solution:

Somebody from the Future traveled back in Time to the early 1960s and gave Gene
Roddenberry the information he needed to create the series, basing it on events that will actually take place in the Future. Perhaps the Time Traveler did this in an attempt to destroy that very Future; we'll never know. But that's how the people of Toobworld can watch TV shows about real events that haven't even happened yet.

So not only is there a Captain Kirk, there's also William Shatner playing Captain Kirk. And based on the knowledge he had been given about the future, Roddenberry obviously cast him because of his resemblance to the real James T. Kirk.

By the way, Bryce asked Chuck in Klingon if he was wearing a vest. Apparently, there is no official Klingon word yet for "vest". (Oddly enough, there is a word for "pajamas" - "nlvnav".)

Perhaps Marc Okrand came up with one for the producers' use. But the closest they could have come using already established terms might have been "Hlp begh" - "uniform deflectors".

Yes. I'm a geek. Well, at the very least I know where to go to look this stuff up.

For many of the TV show references to 'Star Trek' in other shows, visit this
Memory Alpha page.

And so it goes.

jaH lel!
Toby OB

RIPPLE EFFECT

The writers' strike is going to affect more than just the uninterrupted production of new TV shows. Its effect will be felt in the release of DVDs already scheduled as well.

Here's an example from TVShowsOnDVD.com:

"Rumors had reached our ears that Sony was planning on a late February release of the upcoming CBS mini-series Comanche Moon: The Road to Lonesome Dove (starring Val Kilmer, Steve Zahn, Rachel Griffiths, Linda Cardellini, and Karl Urban), and that this would possibly be the only TV-DVD release from the studio during that month. However, plans to air this mini-series on CBS around the end of December and beginning of January were recently delayed, and now the six-hour mini-series won't be aired until at least a couple of weeks later than originally planned. That could, of course, delay the release of the DVDs for Comanche Moon.

Will it actually move the DVD release? We don't know, because that title's announce date hasn't arrived yet. So we'll hold off saying one way or the other; it's just an example of all the different sort of issues that could come up when a studio tries to figure out when product will get released."

My guess is that CBS pushed back the broadcast of the mini-series so that they'll have content for February Sweeps since the writers' strike may still be going on by then. Even if a deal is reached sooner, there may not be enough time to get all their projects underway.

So the Eye's way of thinking is that it's better to hold off on showing 'Comanche Moon' now and have it in reserve for Sweeps.

And they'll need all the help they can get.... The union's not going to roll over and play nice this time around. They got burned back in 1988 with the deal made; this time they have the "new media" working in their favor!

Just sayin', is all......

BCnU!
Toby OB

ONE GIANT MESS-UP

There are times in Skitlandia (the TV dimension based on comedy sketches) when repercussions occur in the real world.

Recently, a televised awards show in Canada made fun of the puppets that inhabited the world of 'The Friendly Giant'. It was suggested that now that they are no longer on TV, the puppets are free to engage in rude, crude, lewd behavior at a retirement home. However, the family of the late creator of the show, Bob Homme, took offense at the suggestion. Since they own the original puppets and the rights to the show, they demanded the puppets back from the CBC and that the tribute display in the network's lobby to be dismantled.

I first read about the story in
Roger Catlin's blog. But the Torontoist gives more details and provides a link to the YouTube clip from the Gemini Awards.

And here's just
the YouTube link alone.

The only good thing that came out of the brouhaha is that it's now established that Jerome the Giraffe and Rusty the Rooster also exist in Skitlandia. And I have to admit, the Felt With Feelings Retirement Home for Puppets and the F.L.O.P. organization are funny ideas. But permission should have been sought and if not received, they should have been axed from the bit. There are a couple of fake puppets used, (like Basil of 'Sesame Park' and Curtains from 'Dr. Giggles Place'), so why not have all of them be original to the sketch?

What they should have done was go the route taken with Casey and Finnegan, the puppets from 'Mr. Dressup': refer to them, but don't show them.

I'm only familiar with 'The Friendly Giant' from what I've read online in such places as TVParty. So I can't say for certain whether the Giant lived in the main Toobworld or was to be found in some alternate dimension. I'd like to think that he lived in some remote Brobdignangian region of the world, and that perhaps he was related to the giants you see in the Colorado Rockies during those old Coors commercials.
THE REAL DEAL

Hopefully, the Homme family will not let their anger over the situation keep them from setting up some other kind of home for the show's puppets, so that future generations can enjoy seeing them again.....

BCnU!
Toby OB

WORLD SUPPORT FOR THE WRITERS

I've already reported on the rally in London in support of America's WGA in their fight to get their fair share of profits from "new media". Here's an excerpt from the AP report about other rallies held in Europe on Wednesday:

"In Paris, a few dozen screenwriters and others joined a march from the Opera Garnier to the Trocadero Plaza across from the Eiffel Tower in support of their American counterparts.

In Berlin, about 30 scriptwriters and actors gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
"Wir st├╝tzen das WGA!"

Demonstrations also were scheduled in several other European cities, as well as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand."

DAILY REMINDER FOR THE STRIKE

I realize I have been lax lately in my daily reminders about the WGA strike against the AMPTP in the writers' battle to gain their justly deserved royalties from their work being distributed via "new media" (iPhones, online, etc.)

To make up for that, I'm going to deploy a tried-and-true FOX strategy.

Cleavage.
Click on the picture to see how you can help the cause!

BCnU!
Toby OB

Thursday, November 29, 2007

THE LARKIN LINEAGE

Bryce Larkin (or as 'Chuck' Bartowski referred to him in full: Bryce Larkin of Connecticut) was a spy with the CIA who was thought to have gone rogue. In reality, he was working for a group within the CIA who called themselves Fulcrum, but turned against them when he realized that their goals were for the destruction of the CIA.

Bryce may have been following in the genetic memory footsteps of an ancestor, Jeremy Larkin, who was a member of the Yankee Doodle Society during the Revolutionary War. Based in Chester, Pennsylvania, 'The Young Rebels' interfered with British military plans and served as spies for the American forces during the year 1777. Working with Jeremy was young inventor Henry Abingdon and former slave Isak Poole, as well as Jeremy's girl-friend Elizabeth Coates. (Pictured, from left: Henry, Isak, Jeremy)

The show was described as being "Daniel Boone" meets "The Mod Squad" with a bit of "Mission: Impossible".

Among the notables they met during their campaign were Lafayette and Nathan Hale (who was played by the late Brandon DeWilde). It may have been due to his fateful encounter with the young teacher/spy from Connecticut which led Jeremy Larkin to move to the Nutmeg State after the war ended. And generations later, his descendent Bryce Larkin would take up the family past-time of espionage.

SHOWS CITED:
'Chuck'
'The Young Rebels'

BCnU!
Toby OB

FAMOUS AMOS NOT THE SAME AS....

While looking up examples of the name "Taylor" today at IMDb.com, I ran across this combo (with episode descriptions from TV.com):

John Amos (I) (Reverend Taylor) . . . "A-Team, The" (1983)

{Pure-Dee Poison (#2.17)} TV Series

"The A-Team helps a southern minister stop the manufacture of lethal moonshine in his parish."
John Amos (I) (Duke Taylor) . . . "Love Boat, The" (1977)
{Zinging Valentine/The Very Temporary Secretary/The Final Score (#6.20)} TV Series

"On this Valentine's Day cruise, a singing valentine "pussycat" falls for a stuck-up guy who has just been dumped by his girlfriend; the owner of a secretarial agency plays secretary to a writer taking a working vacation, even though he is far better at romancing her than he is at taking dictation and typing up her notes; a womanizing pro football player falls for a snooty, straight-laced college English professor."

'The A-Team' episode took place in 1984, and 'The Love Boat' episode was from a year earlier.

I'm just taking a guess here, but I'm assuming Duke Taylor was the football player. I don't see him taking the high road into a ministry in that short a time, even if his on-ship romance took a nose-dive. So I'm going to guess that Duke and the Reverend were twins, neither one of them evil......

BCnU!
Toby OB

SHARAPOVA'S ROVER

The televersion of tennis ace Maria Sharapova has a pet dog (looks to be mostly a dust-mop) that must be a reincarnated human. For the dog is sentient, although we haven't seen evidence it can actually speak yet. But it does articulate its thoughts in a very Latino accent.

Both of them appear in a new Canon Powershot blipvert, as Maria incessantly takes the little pup's picture - despite his "protests".

Since he doesn't talk to her, it would appear that the dog (It sounds like his name is "Dolce". "Dulce"?) has not taken her into his confidence that he used to be human. In fact, he refers to her as "Maria Sharapova", which denotes something of a lack of intimacy between the two of them. He even seems slightly resentful that she owns him.

I would infer that this means that they were not acquainted in a past life, when "Dulce" was alive as a human - which is usually the case with reincarnated dogs. In fact, he has a Latino accent, possibly from Spain(?), while Sharapova is originally from Russia.

As for his previous incarnation, I'm going to go with Zapato Dulce, a character from an episode in the second season of 'Psych'.

SPOILER ALERT!

Zapato Dulce had been one of the three judges on the TV show 'American Duos', and he turned out to be the guilty party behind the crimes connected to the show. Now this theory can all change should the character somehow ever come back on 'Psych'. (Hey, it's happened before in crime shows! 'Matlock' would use it as a device to show clips as they tried to figure out who was trying to kill the lawyer.) But I'm thinking that Dulce may have died in prison shortly after being arrested, and his spirit has returned to be Sharapova's bitch-toy.

Not exactly a punishment for his crimes.....


Whoever he was as a human, it's more than likely Dulce was just as vain then as he is now - by the end of the blipvert, he's back inside Sharapova's TV home, where he can admire his wall of portraits all day long......



BCnU!
Toby OB

THE GAME OF THE NAME: TOP TEN

The U.S. Census Bureau has released data from the 2000 census which shows the "popularity" of certain surnames. And for the first time, two Hispanic names have cracked the Top Ten: Garcia and Rodriguez.

Most of these names are pretty popular in Toobworld as well. In addition, the Number One name, - of course it's "Smith" - has shown up several times in the titles of TV shows: 'Mr. Smith', 'The Smith Family', 'Alias Smith And Jones'.....

But for some reason, I think the name "Taylor" would have been on this list if it was published by the Telemerican Census Bureau - Andy, Opie and Bea Taylor ('The Andy Griffith Show'), Tim Taylor & family ('Home Improvement'), Mac Taylor ('CSI: NY'), Chris Taylor ('EastEnders'), Dr. Alex Taylor ('Medics'), Vince Taylor ('Commander-In-Chief'), Mark Taylor ('Joking Apart'), Derek Taylor ('Silver Spoons'), John Taylor ('Paradise') and - well, you get the idea.

For the actual Top Ten list, I'd like to present at least one example for each name from Toobworld:

1 Smith
Dr. Zachary Smith, 'Lost In Space'

"Smith" is never going to be knocked out of its berth at first, I'm thinking, so I figured why not knock it down a peg in status by illustrating the name with Toobworld's most sniveling, craven coward of a villain, who may have been a pederast in the making?

Dr. Zachary Smith tried to sabotage the Jupiter Two spaceship back in the late 1990s, but he was trapped on board the ship when it blasted off. In order to survive, he formed an uneasy alliance with the Robinson Family and took an almost unhealthy interest in young Will Robinson.

2 Johnson
Alice Johnson, 'Room 222'

Alice Johnson was the plucky and idealistic young teacher on the faculty of Walt Whitman High School. Although the actual character was never seen again in Toobworld outside of 'Room 222', I've often thought she might have made for an interesting Companion for the Seventh or Eighth Doctor in their unseen adventures. I don't know why, maybe it's that young and idealistic teacher aspect....

3 Williams
Rusty Williams, 'Make Room For Daddy'

The reason I chose Rusty over his father Danny is that for the nightclub comic, "Williams" was a stage name; his real name would have been Lebanese in origin. For Rusty, however, it would have been the name registered on his birth certificate.

Rusty will one day make the TV Crossover Hall of Fame as he appeared in 'Make Room For Daddy', 'Make Room For Grand-Daddy', 'I Love Lucy', and 'The Joey Bishop Show'. Sadly, the actor who played him took his own life a few years ago.....

4 Brown
Ed Brown, 'Chico & The Man', 'Ironside'

This was always a theoretical link for me. It's my contention that Sgt. Ed Brown of the San Francisco Police Department was the son of Ed Brown, who owned that old garage in Los Angeles. Spend a little time with that irascible old coot and you can easily see why the family relation between the two went unmentioned....

5 Jones
Kenneth Yarbrough Jones, 'Kentucky Jones'

Like "Smith", there would have been plenty of choices available for the name of "Jones", so I figured I'd go with one of the late Dennis Weaver's lesser-known characters.

Kentucky Jones was a widowed veterinarian who was unprepared to raise the Chinese orphan his late wife applied for just before she died. But Dr. Jones came to love Ike Wong (full name Dwight Eisenhower Wong) and both of them learned from each other while living on a Southern California ranch.

6 Miller
'Barney Miller'

One of the best central straight men in sitcom history, Captain Barney Miller was the calm eye in the storm of his precinct who couldn't maintain that same equilibrium in his home life. In the present day of Toobworld, Captain Miller is surely and well-deservedly retired from the force, especially since his old precinct was turned into a police museum honoring Teddy Roosevelt.

7 Davis
Cissy, Buffy, Jody, and Uncle Bill Davis, 'Family Affair'

Since it was a family affair, it wouldn't be fair to choose one over the other in this case. Cissy and the twins were the children of Bill Davis' brother, who perished with his wife in a car accident. The confirmed bachelor had to adjust his lifestyle - his globe-spanning business interests as well as his romantic dalliances - in order to make room for the children in his life. (It turned out to be more of an adjustment for his gentleman's gentleman, Mr. French, but they all gelled into a true family unit.)

8 Garcia
Penelope Garcia, 'Criminal Minds'

Better known just as Garcia, she's a computer whiz kid who can tap into just about any online source of information to provide assistance for the FBI profiler team. It looks like she survived an horrific attack in the most recent episodes, one which might force her to take stock of her life and her infatuation with Agent Morgan.

9 Rodriguez

Detective Al Rodriguez is partnered up with Ruben Sommariba at their NY precinct, where their commanding officer knows them only as "Rice And Beans". The viewing audience never heard him speak - perhaps a trick he learned from former police officer Francis Muldoon - but we know he could... off-screen. Several times charactes would talk about what Al had to say to them and of course we never got to see proof that he told them anything.

10 Wilson
George Wilson, 'Dennis The Menace'
As the cantankerous old man who lived next door to the Mitchell home, George Wilson was often beset by problems caused by young Dennis Mitchell. It got so bad that he finally had to be move into a sanitarium (something which his wife Martha would never speak about).

It can't be proven, but it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, as Mushrat would say, that George and Martha Wilson were the parents of Tim Taylor's next door neighbor on 'Home Improvement'. But that would take further research, as I'm not sure whether or not his parents ever showed up over the fence on that sitcom.

So those are my examples of the Top Ten names on the US Census as of 2000.

My name? Well, if you must know, it placed 234 on the list; up from 281 from 1990, thank you very much. And definitely without help from me adding to the list.

(This is where I grip my my tie, Rodney-style, and sneer, "Not that I know of......")

BCnU!
Toby OB

WGA WORLD NEWS UPDATE

Dozens of British film and TV writers rallied outside the Trades Union Congress building in London yesterday, holding the familiar red and black picket signs with the slogan: "We support the Writers Guild of America."

Protests were held elsewhere in the world to support the WGA as well.


BCnU!
Toby OB

ONE STRIKE STRUCK

By MICHAEL KUCHWARA
The Associated Press
NEW YORK

Broadway stagehands and theater producers reached a tentative agreement Wednesday night to end a strike and almost immediately return to the stage most of the two dozen plays and musicals that have been shut down for more than two weeks.

The settlement came after two days of marathon, all-night sessions and months of negotiation between Local 1 and the League of American Theatres and Producers. The walkout, which began Nov. 10, has cost the city and theaters millions of dollars in lost income.

Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for the union, confirmed the agreement ending the 19-day work stoppage.

"We're glad there's a deal, and everyone should go back to work and the public should go see a Broadway show," Cohen said.

Most shows were expected to resume performances Thursday, the league said.

That's one down. Hopefully the WGA and the AMPTP will settle their differences - and in the favor of the writers! - soon.

But at least now my friend Michael can get back to work at "Mamma Mia" - if his back lets him, that is!

BCnU!
Toby OB

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

THE HAT SQUAD: MEL TOLKIN

In the Toobworld novel I've been working on forever, Toob Cooper tells his twin brother Thom - who's a fantasy aficionado - that the TV dimension is more Mel Tolkin than Tolkien.

Mel Tolkin was one of the leading writers for 'Your Show Of Shows' and was one of the creative forces behind 'All In The Family'.

Mr. Tolkin passed away on Monday at the age of 94.


Here's a selection from the MSN obituary:

He wrote comedy for Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas and in the 1970s was a writer and story editor for "All in the Family."

For Caesar, he contributed to the 1949 TV variety show "The Admiral Broadway Revue," and wrote for "Your Show of Shows" from 1950-54 — including its theme song — and for "Caesar's Hour," which ran from 1954-57.

Sketches from the shows, many pairing Caesar and Imogene Coca, became classics. Caesar and company captured new generations of fans with the 1973 theatrical compilation film "10 From Your Show of Shows" and more recent DVD releases.

"I guess he was most proud of his professionalism," his son said Tuesday. "Of course, he was very proud of his association with Caesar and his association with the birth of the Golden Age of television."

Tolkin "was a tremendous asset," Caesar, 85, told the Los Angeles Times. "He was a very talented man, and he worked really hard."

As head writer on "Your Show of Shows," Tolkin worked with the likes of Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart, whose later credits include "M-A-S-H" and "Tootsie.'"

Caesar's team worked in a pressure cooker atmosphere, creating material for the live, 90-minute show and trying to satisfy the notoriously difficult star.

The experience inspired Simon's play "Laughter on the 23rd Floor," and was fictionalized in the 1982 movie "My Favorite Year."

There was "a creative anger in the room," Tolkin told the Times in 1995. "We had an acoustic ceiling. People would throw their pencils at it in frustration. One time I counted 39 pencils hanging from the ceiling."

Tolkin "absolutely had a brushstroke of genius," Brooks told the paper. "He was never Bob Hope contemporary. ... It was always the human condition, what happened in the human heart, and he taught me that."

Tolkin received several Emmy nominations and shared an Emmy with several colleagues in 1967 for "The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special."

BCnU....
Toby OB

TOONING OVER A NEW LEAF

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was seen in the latest episode of 'The Simpsons' ("Funeral For A Fiend") hawking a new style of mop on TV.

He was wearing the Number 16 on his football jersey.

So "The Numbers" exert their influence in the TV Universe even over into the Tooniverse!

BCnU!
Toby OB

SELLIN' CELINE

Just before Thanksgiving, Celine Dion traveled to Pine Valley to sing on Erica Kane's talk show, 'New Beginnings' (as seen on 'All My Children').

It's not known whether her televersion on Earth Prime-Time suffers from brittle bird bone syndrome as she does in Skitlandia, so it's unclear whether that was a factor in her visit.

But she did care enough about the visit to learn more about her host and so was able to commiserate with Erica about her family's recent problems.

This appearance links 'All My Children' to 'The Nanny', as Celine Dion appeared in the episode "Fran's Gotta Have It".

Over in the Tooniverse, the singer gave birth to Sally, the daughter of Terrance, a character on 'South Park'.

BCnU!
Toby OB

BITS 'N' PIECES OF TV TRIVIA

Looks like we have another link between TV shows, thanks to a breakfast cereal.

NYC Police Detective Matt Parkman served up a bowl of Bits 'n' Pieces for his foster daughter Molly in a recent episode of 'Heroes'. Bits 'n' Pieces may be a regional rather than a national breakfast cereal, as the only other TV show in which it appeared was an episode of 'Grounded For Life', which took place on Staten Island.

BCnU!
Toby OB



GOT IT, FLAUNTING IT

Sorry.

Couldn't resist......


Create Fake Magazine Covers with your own picture at MagMyPic.com

BCnU!
Toby OB

NEW @ TOOBWORLD CENTRAL

Taking advantage of the big sale at Amazon.com, I picked up a handful of DVDs and the first two arrived today:

"Rowan Atkinson: Live!"

and

'Eureka' (Season One)

Presents for loved ones this holiday season?

What are you? Nuts?

BCnU!
Toby OB

ZONKIN' ON UP

While investigating a report about the comic book "Cosmic Man" (thanks to fellow student of Westphallia "RAF"), I came across this snippet of dialogue from the first season of 'Everybody Hates Chris':

"Do I look like Florence from 'The Jeffersons'?"
Rochelle

No wonder everybody hates Chris if he's gonna go around Zonking like that back in 1982!

It was supposed to be a reference to the hit sitcom for the benefit of the audience. But within the reality of Toobworld, it's a Zonkish slap upside the head. 'The Jeffersons' and 'Everybody Hates Chris' should be sharing the same TV dimension.

And with Florence Johnston already inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame this year, we don't want to go thinking about tossing "EHC" into some alternate dimension. Because that's the show that would have to go, since 'The Jeffersons' is already well-established in Earth Prime-Time with all of its many crossovers.

I think this Zonk can be fixed.

Although we never saw it happen, apparently Rochelle and Julius Rock may have known the Jeffersons. Maybe not as friends; they were on different social levels by that point in Time. But perhaps the Rocks were customers at one of George Jefferson's dry cleaning establishments throughout the City.

And it could be that not only did they come to know the Jeffersons through the business connection, but perhaps on occasion they ran into the Jeffersons' maid Florence Johnston.

It seems kind of weak, but only because it doesn't have the dramatic oomph of TV reality. Instead, it feels more like something that actually could happen in mundane real life.

And if so, we don't get Rocked by a Zonk.

BCnU!
Toby OB

MILLER'S BLARNEY

The Google GMail quote for Monday was:

"Chaos is the score upon which Reality is written."
Henry Miller


Seems apt for Toobworld's reality as well. Without Chaos (and not just KAOS), there might not be conflict. And without conflict, where would we get the plots that drive the episodes of our favorite TV series?

BCnU!
Toby OB

Monday, November 26, 2007

HOISTING HEISLERS

Big thanks go out to "RAF" for pointing out the existence of Heisler beer in Toobworld! A quick check at Wikipedia has this rundown of the TV series which have seen Heislers on store shelves, in bars, and in personal refrigerators:

'Bionic Woman'

'Burn Notice'
Sam Axe is frequently seen drinking a bottle of Heisler beer.

'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'
In the episode "Sounds of Silence" Heisler beer can be seen in a refrigerator at a crime scene.

'CSI: Miami'
In the episode "High Octane," Heisler beer bottles are collected from a crime scene and analyzed at the crime lab.

'Everybody Hates Chris'

'Ghost Whisperer'

'K-Ville'
In the episode "No Good Deed," Marlin Boulet and Charlie Pratt each drink a bottle of Heisler beer in a bar.

'My Name Is Earl'
Heisler beer is seen in many episodes and frequently consumed by characters.

'Prison Break'
In the episode "The Message," Charles "Haywire" Patoshik purchases Heisler beer for two teenagers.

'Star Trek: Enterprise'
In the episode "Carpenter Street," Heisler beer can be seen in a character's refrigerator.

'The Shield'

'Two and a Half Men'

'The Unit'

'Veronica Mars'
In the episode "Weevils Wobble But They Don't Go Down," Heisler beer is consumed by characters while at the beach.

Of these, 'The Unit', 'Bionic Woman', and 'Prison Break' all belong to alternate TV dimensions. ('The Unit' and 'Prison Break' because they have different Presidents than George W. Bush, and 'Bionic Woman' because the 1970s version has claimed territorial rights in Earth Prime-Time.)

So that just means that Heisler Beer is multi-dimensional!

The day we see some TV character kicking back with a can of Heisler in one hand and a Morley's cigarette in the other, there'll come a seismic merging in the TV Universe!

BCnU!
Toby OB

COMIC QUOTE

Somebody pointed out that I forgot to add the promised comic book convention quote from 'Entourage' in my post "Conventional Linking"......

Jesse Jane:
Promoting my new comic book, "Pussy Patrol."
Jesse Jane:
It's just me and the girls. We lick ass by day and kick ass by night.
'Entourage'

BCnU!
Toby OB

ACCESS TOOBWORLD

Thanks to framed photos, certain celebrities, as well as the President of the United States, found themselves entangled in the world of 'Moonlight'.

In the episode "12:04 AM", movie producer Jerry Drake had a picture of himself with Jessica Simpson and one with Adam Sandler.

Simpson has only promotional appearances and performances to her credit in Toobworld, but Sandler showed up on campus to perform in an episode of 'Undeclared' and was on hand during "Hank's Wedding" in 'The Larry Sanders Show'.

Meanwhile, the L.A. D.A., George Quinlan had a photograph of himself with George W. Bush in his office. Since he was soon after killed by a vampire, I wonder if the President will attend the funeral.....

BCnU!
Toby OB

CONVENTIONAL LINKING

Several TV shows have had episodes set at comic book conventions across the country. (But as Comic-Con gains more influence and power,they'll probably be the focus of attention from now on, as they were for an episode of 'Entourage'.)

What's great about the use of a comic book convention as the location is that no matter what city is hosting, you can still make theoretical links to other TV shows. All you need are the fictional comic books that have appeared in other shows.

And you don't even need to see them. Take for example this latest episode of 'Numb3rs' - "Graphic" was focused mainly on two comic books, the ultra-rare "Ultra-World" and the currently popular "NanoPunk".

But there had to be at least a hundred dealers at that conventions, all with thousands of titles from a wide variety of publishers.

Here are a few titles we might assume were there:

From 'Psych':
Issues of classic "Red Phantom" and the more popular "Green Spirit" -the prices of which might be affected by the popularity of the movies based on them.

From 'Mad About You':"Mega Void #1 - Not only is it the premiere issue of the comic, but it also introduced the character of Talon, who was the evil bitch empress of the galaxy (supposedly based on the artist's ex-girlfriend).

From 'Dharma & Greg':
Another comic book based on the main character in a TV show - "Blonde Tornado"

From 'Heroes':
The late and lamented Isaac Mendez was working on "9th Wonders" when he was murdered. That should make his comics all the more valuable!

From 'Entourage':
Definitely an adults-only title - "Pussy Patrol". Check out the quote at the end of the post!

From 'The Adventures Of Ellery Queen':
I'm not sure if they would be in mint condition, but there might be issues of "Swamp Critters" and a comic based on Ellery Queen himself (both from the mid-1940s) published by Capricorn Comics.

From 'Once A Hero':
Pizazz Comics would be represented by their line of "Captain Justice"comic books, but I doubt the superhero who uses 'Captain Justice' as his role model would show up.

From 'Too Close For Comfort':
Evoking a more innocent age of readership, there would be a lot of old issues of "Cosmic Cow" in remainder bins.

From 'Bob!':
It would be great to have a panel of past stars of the Ace Comics line on a panel together! Not only Bob McKaye, creator of "Mad Dog", but others like Buzz Loudermilk, Jim Fleisher, Don Palermo, and Vic Victor. Each of them had their own niche in war comics, nurse/romance comics, supernatural thrillers, and fuzzy Fizzy tales.

And you could get Henry Rush and Abner Bemis on the panel as well! (Ross Moore as well, if he hasn't yet succumbed to his emphysema.)

But of course, it's too late for Isaac Mendez.......

Excelsior!
My thanks to TV Acres (link to the left!) for most of the info about these comic books.

BCnU!
Toby OB

Sunday, November 25, 2007

HERE'S ANOTHER LUCY

Lately, before I go to bed Sunday evening, I watch the opening minutes of the 'Burke's Law' repeat on American Life Network in order to see who the guest stars are going to be. Then I watch the full episode when I get home in the morning from work.

Tonight I had to look up who the actress was playing Lucy Brewer, who discovered the murder victim. (Like Marlyn Mason who was also in "Who Killed Jason Shaw?", she didn't merit a major credit at the beginning of the episode.)

Joyce Jameson played the slightly addled woman who did "favors" as her profession, and according to the IMDb.com, she played several women named Lucille over the course of her career. Even better, none of those other roles had last names attached to them and all of them were to be found in Los Angeles!

'The Fall Guy'
- "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harold" (1982) TV Episode .... Lucille


'Baretta'
- "They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To" (1976) TV Episode .... Lucille

"Promise Him Anything" (1975) (TV movie) .... Lucille

'Emergency!'
- "Kidding" (1975) TV Episode .... Woman Stuck in Door

(I threw that last one in as a gimmee. After all, why shouldn't we assume that her name may have been Lucille, and Lucy Brewer at that?)

So, depending on how this episode of 'Burke's Law' turns out, and what I can find out about these other episodes, it could be that Joyce Jameson as Lucy Brewer can one day be a minor addition to the TV Crossover Hall of Fame as part of my birthday honors list.

Sadly, Ms. Jameson won't ever know about it. She took her own life back in the 1980s.

BCnU....
Toby OB


BAM! POW! ZONK!

It's no longer a Zonk if a comic book character becomes a TV character, while the original comic book gets mentioned in some other show. Super-powered beings are the stuff of comic books, so it would stand to reason that Toobworld comics would be published about "real" super heroes.

This came up several times in "Graphic", this past Friday's episode of 'Numb3rs'. The focus at the comic book convention crime scene was on two comic books only to be found in Toobworld, "UltraWorld" and "Nano Punk". But mention was made of other super heroes like Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and Daredevil - all of whom exist in the TV Universe.

(I noticed no DC comics were mentioned in the episode. Could that have been part of a product placement deal with Marvel?)

All of the above-mentioned comic super heroes exist in the Tooniverse, (and a few of them over in the movie universe as well); but that's not a major concern here at Toobworld Central. But they have all made their debuts on Earth Prime-Time one way or the other - Spidey had his own TV series back in 1978; Doctor Strange had his own TV-movie which served as the unsuccessful pilot for a series; Daredevil partnered up with the Hulk in a TV movie sequel to 'The Incredible Hulk'; and the Fantastic Four (the same actors from the two recent movies) showed up to play basketball against Magic Johnson in 2005 NBA promotional spot.

Other "real life" super heroes appeared in Toobworld comic books over the years and the same situation would apply. In fact, it all began with Superman and he's the perfect example of existing in Toobworld and in comic books at the same time. In "The Birthday Letter", one of the episodes of 'The Adventures Of Superman', little Katie is seen reading the comic book based on his life.
The Superman comic book continued to be published long after the death of Superman in the dimension of Earth Prime Time. (Superman still lives in other TV dimensions.) And apparently the facts of his secret identity must have become public knowledge, because they were worked into the comic books as well.

This is how Jerry 'Seinfeld' learned that Superman's father on Krypton was named Jor-El, which is the word he used for his bank code.

So, no Zonks here, Masked Man!

BCnU!
Toby OB


Alan:
"Oh, you were into super heroes?"
Larry:
"
Well, Daredevil, Fantastic Four.
Of course my favorite was Galactus
."
Charlie:
"That’s the guy who ate planets."
Larry:
"
Yeah, well, he was stellar Darwinism.
He was necessary to the survival of the universe
."
Charlie:
"Huh?"
Larry:
"Yeah, he was the third force along with eternity and death."
Charlie:
"Larry, he wanted to eat the Earth."
Larry:
"But, he didn’t."
'Numb3rs'

JABBA THE HOT TUB

My brother Bill says I'm a chicken for not posting a "better" picture of me in my cousins' hot tub on Thanksgiving day. He thought I was going to use the one he calls "the Auntie Mame" pose.

I said that it made me think less of Auntie Mame and more of Jabba the Hut.

Nevertheless, I decided to rise to the challenge - and don't worry, I was wearing a bathing suit.....
BCnU!
Toby OB