Monday, January 21, 2008


In an episode of 'Burke's Law', we were introduced to Whitman Saunders, a Hollywood gossip columnist with an acid-tipped pen. He was in love with no one more than he was with himself and treated the entire world with contempt, with little regard as to whom he might destroy with his words.

Whitman Saunders was the kind of character we'd see get their divine comeuppance in 'The Twilight Zone'.

According to Milo Morgan, his downbeaten assistant and former peer, Saunders first got his big break because he... knew people. And he happened to "know" a certain newspaper publisher's wife.

As the murder case into "Who Killed Annie Foran?" continued, several newspapers carried banner headlines (and stories) supplied Whitman Saunders which now savaged his protege, a young baseball player named Eddie Dineen. Saunders' gossip column was carried in about 300 papers across the country, and one of these was The Daily Tribune.

The Daily Tribune was a Los Angeles paper, however, as Captain Amos Burke was seen carrying a copy of it. So with a bit of tweaking, we can make the claim that the Daily Trib is the same newspaper as the Los Angeles Trib, most famously known from 'Lou Grant' among other TV appearances. A name change would be such a simple thing to splain away; perhaps the owner of the paper wanted the Tribune to better reflect its base of coverage - the sprawling metropolis. A name like "The Daily Tribune" sounded far too provincial and quaint.

So if that is the case, then we should go back to what Milo Morgan said about Saunders and how he landed his own column..... Can we then assume that the newspaper publisher's wife with whom Saunders was so... friendly was Margaret Pynchon?

As Mushrat would say in those 'Deputy Dawg' cartoons, "It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble."

However, even if he had dallied with Mrs. Pynchon, I think we saw evidence in the episode that Whitman Saunders played both sides of the fence. Early on, before Eddie Dineen became a suspect in the murder of Annie Foran, there was such a predatory look in Saunders' eyes as he watched over Eddie.

Then again, I think that if Eddie ever figured out how Saunders felt about him exactly (The ball player wasn't exactly the sharpest.), he would've taken his baseball bat to the columnist. And then "Who Killed Whitman Saunders?" would be the next week's episode.

Toby OB

No comments: