Saturday, March 1, 2008


So here it is: the launch of a new monthly feature here at Inner Toob, the Fanficcer's Friend.

Each month (until I run out!) I'll be presenting a picture from a movie featuring actors and actresses better known as TV characters. Then you can take those to illustrate whatever TV fanfic stories you're writing up.

This was from the movie "The Racket" which starred Robert Mitchum and Robert Ryan. The actors seen in this still from near the end of the movie are Ray Collins and William Conrad as a crooked D.A. and cop, respectively.
But this picture could help illustrate that in the past, the TV shows 'Cannon' and 'Perry Mason' shared a common history. Collins played Lt. Tragg who arrested Mason's clients, and Conrad was the private eye Frank Cannon.

But Cannon used to be on the Los Angeles Police Force. So for Toobworld purposes, we can claim that this is a picture of Tragg and Cannon working together back in the 1950s when they both were part of the LAPD.

This would be before Amos Burke was in charge of the Homicide department at Metro Division, and before Lt. Columbo moved to the City of Angels.......

Toby OB


It occurred to me after I offered to do the new feature "The Fanficcer's Friend" that there'd be a lof of fanficcers out there who are probably just looking for something else entirely from what I was offering. They'd be wanting the types of pictures that can help spice up the salacious stories they're scribbling - stories usually relegated to within their own frameworks and featuring sexual liaisons between the characters.

That's slash-fic. I've seen that stuff out there as I ::ahem!:: do research for Toobworld - Greg and Marcia Brady "playing ball" in the house; the Professor AND Mary Ann (You have to sing that one!); and lots and lots of gay slash with Kirk and Spock. But it occurs to me that slash-ficcers out there are probably only interested in pairing off current characters from 'One Tree Hill' and 'Gossip Girl'; threesomes from 'Lipstick Jungle'; workplace assignations for 'CSI', '30 Rock', and 'Chuck'; and plenty of bungles in the jungle for the many combinations from 'Lost'. And they'd have no interest in the classic TV history pics I'll be serving up.
If I was going to read that stuff, I'd be looking for the stories about 'Kyle XY' and his hot foster mom Nicole Trager, or about John Connor and his bot "sister" Cameron from 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles'. However, I think most people out there are looking for a different combination from that show.......

Sorry. For a minute there, I was... somewhere else.......

Well, that's all the titillation you're getting from me! When it comes to photos that could help tighten up the links between shows in the TV Universe, I'm just looking for basics. You're on your own to turn it into smut.

And I don't think you want to explore in that direction with this month's picture......

Toby OB


At one point during his investigation into "Who Killed Cassandra Cass?", Captain Amos Burke of 'Burke's Law' said, "In the immortal words of Nero Wolfe, 'Phooey!'"

Burke was quoting the actual private investigator, not a character from a book. Nero Wolfe lived in New York City back in the 30s and 40s and rarely left his brownstone. All of his legwork was done by gumshoe Archie Goodwin.

Wolfe had an illegitimate son, whose mother also named him Nero Wolfe. He grew up to be a private eye with a fondness for orchids as well, and in one of those amazing coincidences found in the TV Universe, the junior Wolfe's leg man was also named Archie Goodwin. There was no relation to the original however. Nero Wolfe the younger hired the investigator because it amused him that Goodwin shared the name of his father's associate.

Captain Amos Burke may have known this Nero Wolfe personally.

A third Nero Wolfe showed up in 1977, but as he only exists in the pilot movie (star Thayer David died before the series could begin), he has been relegated to the TV dimension for the movies of the week.

'Burke's Law'
'A Nero Wolfe Mystery'
'Nero Wolfe'
"Nero Wolfe"

Toby OB


For the March of 2008 induction into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, we're saluting a lady who's still going strong in Toobworld well into her eighties. She's not only appearing as herself in shows like 'Ugly Betty', but she's also playing other characters in TV shows like 'Boston Legal' and 'The Bold & The Beautiful'.

Of course, Betty White will always be known for her roles as Rose Nylund on 'The Golden Girls' and as Sue Ann Nivens on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'. She's also starred in her own series 'The Betty White Show' and 'Date With The Angels'. (In the TV Universe, Betty White also starred on 'The Golden Girls', but their version of the show must be different from ours in some way.)

There is one series I'm still not sure about. 'Life With Elizabeth' had Betty White playing Elizabeth White, but I'm not sure if that was supposed to be a fictionalized view of her own life. If it was, there had to be some kind of splainin to go with it, as there has to be with 'The Drew Carey Show'.
And then there are the hundreds of game show appearances she's made over the years, especially with her late husband Allen Ludden on 'Password' (not to mention her commercials for 1-800-PET-MEDS!)

It was Ms. White's association with 'Password' which led to her first big appearance as herself in a fictional setting. As usual, she was the celebrity partner, this time playing against a famous New York sportswriter, Oscar Madison. Madison unfortunately was teamed up with his roommate, Felix Unger. ('The Odd Couple')
There's a spoof poster you can see online which declares "Betty White Is Sick Of Your Shit". That no-nonsense attitude served her well on 'The Naked Truth' when she drove off with Nora Wilde stuck in the passenger side window, and when she was keeping bus depot manager John Hemingway in a "Sunset Boulevard" style arrangement.
Miss White also has doppelgangers in other TV dimensions. In animated form, she appeared twice on 'The Simpsons' and in an episode of 'Family Guy' as well. And in the TV dimension for those movies of the week that couldn't fit into the main Toobworld (mostly because of alternate history Presidents) she showed up in "Vanished", based on the novel by Fletcher Knebel.

Here's a full list of Betty White's appearances as herself in the TV Universe:

"Ugly Betty"
- Bananas for Betty (2007)
"I'm with Her"
- Meet the Parent (2003)
"The John Larroquette Show"
- Here We Go Again (1996)
"The Naked Truth"
- Star and Comet Collide! Giant Bugs Invade! (1995)
- Elvis Is Coming! (1995)
- The Network (1987)
"Madame's Place"
- Episode #1.19 (1982)
"The Odd Couple"
- Password (1972)
"O'Hara, U.S. Treasury"
- Operation: Lady Luck (1972)

Vanished (1971)

"The Simpsons"
- Homerazzi (2007)
- Missionary: Impossible (2000)
"Family Guy"
- Peterotica (2006)

Betty White turned 86 back in January and she's still going strong. So there's still hope she'll be showing up again in some other TV series as herself.

I'm thinking 'Torchwood'........

Well, we wouldn't want it to be 'Dexter', do we???

Toby OB

Friday, February 29, 2008


A quantum leap for Leap Day!

"A brief if frenetic introduction to Mr. Archibald Beechcroft, a child of the twentieth century, a product of the population explosion, and one of the inheritors of the legacy of progress. Mr. Beechcroft again. This time act two of his daily battle for survival. And in just a moment, our hero will begin his personal one-man rebellion against the mechanics of his age, and to do so he will enlist certain aids available only in the Twilight Zone."
- Rod Serling
'The Twilight Zone'

When actors play more than one role on Television, sometimes it becomes necessary to find a reason why those two characters look alike - especially when several of those characters appeared on the same show.

For example, Bruce Kirby is known best for his role as Sgt. Kramer on 'Columbo', but he also played a custodial worker in a cosmetics research lab in the episode "Lovely But Lethal" and as a TV repairman in "Make Me A Perfect Murder". In the episode "Strange Bedfellows", he was called Sgt. Brindle, not Kramer. (Quick splainin for those - the custodian was Sgt. Kramer's brother, who got his TV repairman's license after losing his job at BeautyMark for spilling secrets to Lt. Columbo. It was through the brother that Columbo met and began working with Kramer. As for Sgt. Brindle, that was still Sgt. Kramer, but for some reason, his co-workers had taken to calling him by the nickname of Sgt. Brindle as some sort of a joke. It's something never explained to the viewers.)

Vito Scotti and Michael Lally each appeared in many different roles on 'Columbo', but their splainins would take too long for this piece. (And it's "been there, done that". Bored now......)

The typical, classical splainin is "identical cousins", a tradition that was formalized with 'The Patty Duke Show'. Although it wasn't applicable on that show, sometimes the term "identical cousins" actually refers to bastard half-brother (or sister). I covered this topic in the blog post "
A Double In Justice", dealing with the several judges David Lipman has played on the various 'Law & Order' series.

Otherwise, some of the main reasons for these lookalikes running around Toobworld are strong family genetics, plastic surgery, robots, aliens, quantum leaping, and when there are too many "twins" because of the popularity in casting certain actors (a condition known as "urichosis"), we have to rely on cloning. (In the case of characters played by Robert Urich, from whom "urichosis" got its name, all of his many contemporary TV characters from the late 70s until his death in 2002 were all cloned from the genetic material of his character in 'The Lazarus Man', kept in storage for many decades.)

As usual, I'm going the long way around to get to the topic of this post - I've found a new way to splain away multiple TV characters in the TV Universe all looking exactly alike, but it can only be applied to those characters played by one actor.

Shelley Berman.

True televisiologists have probably already figured out where I'm going with this one.

In May of 1961, Berman played Archibald Beechcroft in "The Mind And The Matter". Beechcroft was an insurance agent who read a book by that title and used the power of his mind to rid the world of people. When he became too lonely, he decided to repopulate the Earth - but only with carbon copies of himself in all walks of life, men and women alike.

The experiment lasted just over an hour, but Beechcroft finally put back the world to the way it was because as he put it, "A lot of me is just as bad as a lot of them."

We don't know if he ever used his mental powers again, but we also don't know if he was really successful in making the correction to his earlier experiment. After all, he was a novice when it came to using his mental powers; and the world is a mighty big place. It could be that some of his "test subjects" in the human populace never got the upgrade.

So it could be that any of the TV characters portrayed by Shelley Berman after May of 1961 - and there is quite a list! - didn't originally look like Shelley Berman. It could be that they were victims of Archibald Beechcroft's experiment of mind over matter, but when it came time for the reversion, they somehow fell through the cracks.

There are two characters whom I would eliminate from this possibility, and that's only because they already looked like Archibald Beechcroft. They were his brothers.

One of these is Marcus Beechcroft, who appeared in an episode of 'Brothers', and the other is Mel Beach, who was a member of the cast of both 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' and its sequel, 'Forever Fernwood'. For reasons unknown, probably to disassociate himself from at least one of his brothers (Gee, which one?), Mel Beach changed his last name from Beechcroft.

Here's a list of the other TV characters who now all resemble each other because of one fateful day in May of 1961:
"Walter & Emily" .... Albert
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" .... Nat David
"Boston Legal" .... Judge Robert Sanders
"L.A. Law" .... Ben Flicker
"ABC Afterschool Specials" .... Harold
- The Kid Who Wouldn't Quit: The Brad Silverman Story
"CBS Summer Playhouse" .... Harry
- Mabel and Max (1987)
"State of Mind" .... Harvey Fleischman
"Entourage" .... Uncle Shelley
"Grey's Anatomy" .... Jed Sorento
"Dead Like Me" .... Theo
"The King of Queens" .... Arthur's Half-Brother
"Walker, Texas Ranger" .... Ira Goldberg
"Arli$$" .... Ollie Fogle
"Chicago Sons" .... McGlashan
"Friends" .... Mr. Kaplan Jr.
"Living Single" .... Hyman
"MacGyver" .... Abe Sherman
What's Alan Watching? .... Mel Krasoen
"Night Court" .... Al
"Knight Rider" .... Josh Bevin
"Hotel" .... Barney
"Matt Houston" .... Dicky Bevac
"CHiPs" .... Strum
"Vega$" .... Mickey
"Police Woman" .... Eddie Bender
"Emergency!" .... Art Frommich
"Love, American Style"
(segment 'Love and the V.I.P. Restaurant') - George
"Adam-12" .... Phil Duke
"Mary Tyler Moore" .... Dr. Walter Udall
"That's Life" .... Mr. Quigley
"The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." .... Dr. Toulouse
"The Man from U.N.C.L.E." .... Sheldon Veblen
"Bewitched" .... Mr. Brinkman
"Burke's Law" .... King Dmitri
"Breaking Point" .... Roy Chase
"General Electric Theater"
- The $200 Parlay .... Stanley
I haven't been able to track down the names of the characters Shelley Berman played on these shows:

"L.A. Doctors"
"The Hero"

"Flying High"
"Love, American Style"
(segment "Love and the Ledge")

"Civil Wars"
- Werewolf of Hollywood
"St. Elsewhere"

But they were all probably subjected to the Beechcroft Transformation of 1961.

(I do know that his 'St. Elsewhere' character died at the St. Eligius Hospital in Boston and his head was mistakenly mailed to Dr. Mark Craig's mother-in-law. Finding it, she suffered a heart attack and died..... I don't know if that says anything about the Beechcroft visage.......)

Those characters who looked like comic actor Shelley Berman before May, 1961.....? Well, for better or worse, they were probably born that way........

"Peter Gunn" .... Danny Holland
"Rawhide" .... Mendel Sorkin
"Mister Roberts" - The Replacement (character name unknown)

Beechcroft's power could have extended across the vortex into other TV dimensions. In the Toobworld classified as Earth Prime-Time/Dolt, the Principal bore his likeness in an episode of 'That's My Bush!'. And in the Tooniverse, Mr. Alderman resembled Archibald Beechcroft (at least vocally) in 'The Blues Brothers Animated Series'.

His mental mastery even held sway over non-human beings who live on Earth, as evidenced by Santa's elf Nobby Frostybump, who never reverted back (perhaps due to magical interference. ('Lizzie McGuire')

Hopefully, all of the women who were transformed to look like Beechcroft were able to revert back to their original looks. But if any of them were pregnant at the time, it may have permanently altered the looks of their babies......

I'll be returning to this topic on my birthday. You can probably guess why.......

Toby OB

"Mr. Archibald Beechcroft, a child of the twentieth century, who has found out through trial and error - and mostly error - that with all its faults it may well be that this is the best of all possible worlds. People notwithstanding, it has much to offer. Tonight's case in point in the Twilight Zone."
- Rod Serling
'The Twilight Zone'

[Editor's note: Despite the way the heading may read, Shelley Berman is still alive. I just wanted to go for that play on words from that weird song as this was Post #2525......]


A few years back I thought I'd dedicate the month of March to the League of Themselves when it came to the inductions into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame. And that idea fell by the wayside with theme years and other nominees of note.

The League of Themselves consists of real world people, not always celebrities or famous, who play fictionalized characters based on themselves. Same names, same reputations, but meeting characters and becoming involved in situations that never could happen in the real world.

A lot of crossover fans don't include those who play themselves when it comes to establishing connections between shows. But not at Toobworld Central. We don't see any difference between Archie Bunker and Sammy Davis, Jr. (Well, Archie would see three major differences, anyway!) Both of them are fictional characters within the framework of 'All In The Family' and 'Archie Bunker's Place'. That version of Sammy Davis, Jr. is distinct from the real world celebrity.

Sometimes a celebrity playing himself even gets his own show:

Jerry Seinfeld
Bette Midler
Charlie Ruggles
Charles Farrell
Drew Carey (although he's a clone of the comedian. Long story)

Why should these shows get excluded from the Great Link?

Over the years we've celebrated several celebrities who are sometimes better known from portraying themselves in Toobworld than they are for any other TV characters in their resume:

Jack Benny
George Burns
Milton Berle
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Rudy Giuliani
Dick Clark
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Dr. Joyce Brothers
Walter Cronkite
Bob Costas
Roy Rogers & Dale Evans
Shari Lewis
the original cast of 'Star Trek'
Adam West (in the Tooniverse)

So all of that is just a warm-up for tomorrow's induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.......

Toby OB

Thursday, February 28, 2008


"I despise people. I loathe them."
Archibald Beechcroft
'The Twilight Zone'
"People... I'm glad I'm not one of them."
Store Clerk
'That's Life'


William Keck of "USA Today" interviewed Henry Ian Cusick for tonight's episode of 'Lost' which will center around Cusick's character Desmond Hume (a fave here at Toobworld Central). And this selection jumped out at me:

Q: What was it like for you and Naveen Andrews (Sayid) working on that freighter out in the middle of the ocean?

A: We filmed off Barber's Point (the west coast of Oahu) — about 10 to 15 minutes offshore. Once you're there, you're stuck on the boat, so we all had to find places to sleep and hide to be out of the shots. We had days and days being on that freighter and had a few night shoots as well. Because Naveen and I are both from the U.K., we had a lot of things to talk about — like characters from crappy old TV shows from our childhoods.

Now THERE'S a conversation I'd love to join. Nobody loves crappy old TV like me; I don't care from what country!

Toby OB


"William Buckley, with his winningly capricious personality, his use of ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare to an anteater’s, was the popular host of one of television’s longest-running programs, 'Firing Line,' and founded and shepherded the influential conservative magazine National Review."
- The New York Times

Roger Catlin gave this description of Buckley that is probably the most palatable for this knee-jerk moderate:

"William F. Buckley, Jr., was, in addition to a columnist, a frequent figure on TV where his brand of conservatism was of a most erudite type – so far away from the oafish know nothing bullies of today’s right wing broadcasting brethren."

Buckley was his own best representative in TV Land with his hosting duties on 'Firing Line' for 33 years, beginning in 1966. But he was also served with several televersions in the sketch comedy dimension of Skitlandia, most notably played by Joe Flaherty on an 'SCTV' "show" called 'Just For Fun' with the televersions of Indira Gandhi and Pierre Trudeau, and hosted by Stan Kanter.

William F. Buckley died Wednesday at his home in Connecticut at the age of 82.

Toby OB

"Last call for lunatic liberals and their 3rd-world girlfriends."
'William F. Buckley'


I'm going to be adding a new monthly feature to the Inner Toob in March, one which will probably make Lee Goldberg grind his teeth a bit - "The Fanficcer's Friend".

I don't consider what I write here at Inner Toob to be fanfic. I do theorize about unseen adventures of TV characters, but that's all in the service of making the TV Universe more cohesive. My aim is to eliminate discrepancies and to suggest possible connections between shows so that we can consider as many of the TV shows and commercials as possible to be in the same dimension.

After that, if someone wants to come along and write up a story using those concepts, that's their own bidness.

"Fanficcer's Friend" will be a monthly photo illustration of a possible crossover between at least two TV series which have never been officially linked together. My only stipulation is that the picture must come from a movie source, and not from some other TV show. That would be a scene that has already played out in Toobworld and there are enough reruns in that world as it is.

So these examples would not be acceptable:

While that is Dr. Zorba in the picture on the left, as played by Sam Jaffe on 'Ben Casey', that cannot be Admiral Harriman Nelson, the character played by Richard Basehart in 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' nor Wilton Knight of 'Knight Rider'. This was already established to be Mark Cassidy in the episode "Light Up The Dark Corners".

In the picture on the right, we can't make the claim that somehow Mr. Spock of 'Star Trek' went back in Time and served alongside Sgt. Chip Saunders during World War II. Instead, that's Private Baum as played by Leonard Nimoy in the 'Combat!' episode "The Raider", starring Vic Morrow. (However, I am willing to entertain the notion that Private Baum is the father of Paris, a member of the IMF in 'Mission Impossible'.)

Here are two other good examples from 'Poirot' that might have proved tempting to other "Whovians:

Hercule Poirot and The Doctor (in his 8th and 9th incarnations respectively)? No, that's Paul McGann as a different doctor (Dr. Peter Lord in "Sad Cypress") and Christopher Eccleston as Frank Carter ("One Two, Buckle My Shoe").

But a screen capture from a movie comes from a different universe, created from another aspect of Mankind's creative spark. And as such, we can make the claim that in Toobworld, the actors depicted in that photo could instead be TV characters for whom those actors are better known.

So we'll be premiering the first such suggestion in just a few days......

Toby OB


Lt. Gen. Dan Shomron passed away the other day at the age of 70. He was the paratroop commander who planned and led the 1976 raid on the Entebbe Airport in Uganda to free 103 hijacked hostages. The incident became the basis for two star-studded TV movies the following year, one in which Shomron was played by Harris Yulin and by Charles Bronson in the other.

Although "Victory At Entebbe" had the bigger names in its cast, Shomron preferred "Raid On Entebbe". "I like in particular the movie in which Charles Bronson portrayed me," he said in 2006.

I think the two Entebbe movies would hold the record for number of televersions broadcast within a year of each other about the same event, until there was the trifecta for the "Long Island Lolita", about Amy Fisher and the Buttafuccos. ("Victory On Entebbe" came out first, and therefore it's the official televersion for Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.)

Toby OB


I've read in a few blogs that supposedly only Academy members and award winners are allowed during the memorial segment shown at the Oscars. However, that argument didn't hold up as they neglected to show members like Lois Nettleton and John P. Ryan.

I never even noticed the omission of Brad Renfro (bleeped off as I was about Charles Lane being excluded), but apparently he was the spearhead for the criticisms over how the tributes were handled.

Ken Levine, writer and director of such shows as 'Cheers' and 'M*A*S*H', had this to say about the situation:

"When contacted about the Brad Renfro oversight in the "In Memoriam" piece, a spokesman for the AMPAS said it was an "editorial decision made because not everyone could be included." Oh really? But it's okay to show a couple of agents."

So that steams me up even more that Charles Lane was excluded from the montage salute.

Toby OB


In the 'Lou Grant' episode "Aftershock" from October of 1977, Billie Newman claimed that she had been on the Tribune staff in 1971. That would seem to go against the show's continuity as Billie is only introduced into the series a few episodes before.

Two possible splainins:
1] either she worked there previously and then left, only to return
2] or she was lying

I like both versions, so I'm not going to choose.....

Toby OB

(Billie is seen here in a 'Lou Grant' episode with Flo Meredith, the "aunt" of Mary Richards on several episodes of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'.)


The main reason I picked up that pilot episode of the 1990s version of 'Burke's Law' was to grab a picture of Henry the Chauffeur reading the newspaper during the climax. And it wasn't just any newspaper......

So both incarnations of 'Burke's Law' - and by extension, its spin-off 'Honey West' - can now be linked to not only 'Lou Grant', but also to the 'Lookwell' pilot. (You'll also see a shot from '24' [above center], but as that is from an alternate TV dimension, it doesn't exactly count.)

A subway poster in Los Angeles also features the Trib in a tie-in celebration for both the subway and the show "Wicked":
But that's outside the TV Universe altogether.

The Los Angeles Tribune was the 2003 Birthday Honors inductee into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, along with the National Inquisitor, Playgirl Magazine, and the New York Ledger.

Toby OB

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I now have that 'Pioneers of Television' mini-series which aired on PBS a few weeks back. I may have ordered it through Amazon, but it's definitely a PBS offering.

Since I was just across the street at the New York Times today (after having lunch with my buddy Michael who's an editor there), I stopped into my favorite resource for bootleg DVDs and picked up two containing episodes of the 1990s version of 'Burke's Law'. One for the pilot, which contains a great crossover prop (more on that soon), and the other for the remake of an episode from the earlier incarnation of the show. "Who Killed Alexander The Great?" had the exact same crime and solution as "Who Killed Merlin The Great?" written by Levinson & Link, the creators of 'Columbo'.

I use this episode as the basis for my contention that Captain Amos Burke was showing signs of Alzheimer's......

Toby OB


George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer. He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.

George Gershwin composed songs both for Broadway and for the classical concert hall. He also wrote popular songs with success.

Early in 1937, Gershwin began to complain of blinding headaches and a recurring impression that he was smelling burned rubber. He had developed a brain tumor. In June, he performed in a special concert of his music with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the direction of French maestro Pierre Monteux. It was in Hollywood, while working on the score of The Goldwyn Follies, that he collapsed and, on July 11, 1937, died at the age of 38 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital following surgery for the tumor.
[from Wikipedia]

Those are the facts, as laid out in the real world. However, in the TV Universe, we're left to deal with a twist in that reality. In the 'Poirot' mystery, "Sad Cypress", retired Belgian detective Hercule Poirot picks up a newspaper before taking a taxi to the library. The news vendor is hawking the edition's big story as "Gershwin Dies". We even see the story in Poirot's newspaper.

And yet, on the opposing page, there is this obituary notice:
How could it be that Gershwin's death didn't become news in England until two months later?

Maybe there wasn't the instant communication system we have today via the Internet, but the people in 1937 had access to the telephone, telegrams, MAIL! - which would have crossed the Atlantic much faster than it would appear by this story. I don't know why - or how - but the life of George Gershwin's televersion must have died September 16th of 1937 as well.

But then again, maybe it's best to employ the Toobworld version of Occam's Razor and go for the simpler splainin: the typsetter at the paper made a mistake with the notice of Mrs. Welman's death. It should have read that she died in July, not September.

Perhaps the typesetter was drunk, upset over the news about Gershwin.

Young Indiana Jones met the famous composer twice in his life, in June and August of 1920. Introduced by a mutual friend, they jammed together in New York and Gershwin introduced him to some of the leading names in theatre (George White, Irving Berlin) as well as to its critics (Dorothy Parker, Alexander Wolcott). Later that year, Gershwin got Indy a job in Hollywood working with Carl Laemmle, Erich Von Stroheim, and John Ford. (Both encounters can be found in 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' in the episodes "Young Indiana Jones And The Scandal of 1920" and "Young Indiana Jones And The Hollywood Follies".)

The televersion of George Gershwin didn't quit the stage, as it were, once he died. About fifty years after his death, Gershwin's spirit was summoned via a psychic to provide inspiration for Jo-Jo Gillespie, a Broadway lyricist, after he split with his partner Jerry Lane. What kept the ghost earthbound was "Gershwin's Trunk", as recounted in the episode from 'Amazing Stories'.

Toby OB


Dean - "FYI...ghosts are real, too. So are werewolves, vampires, changelings, evil clowns that eat people ..."
Henricksen - "Okay then."
Dean - "If it makes you feel any better Bigfoot is a hoax."
- 'Supernatural'

"I think a world like that - where there might be aliens; where there might be a Bigfoot, or a Loch Ness Monster; where it might be possible that Elvis and JFK are alive in Switzerland and living in a sanitarium.... I think that's a more interesting world and that's the world that I want to live in! And that's the world I'm gonna keep on living in!" - George O'Grady, 'The George Carlin Show'

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A belated happy birthday to announcer Don Pardo, who turned 90 last Friday. It was announced by Tina Fey during the curtain calls for 'Saturday Night Live', the first episode since the return from the writers' strike.

The curiosity factor was probably the reason why 'SNL' had its highest rating since a February 2006 episode with Steve Martin as host (who also showed up in Tina Fey's monologue). So Don Pardo got to benefit from that, having such a large audience to witness as he tried to blow out 90 candles.

Don's been with NBC since 1944 and has always been a major contribution to the 'SNL' experience. (There was just something... wrong about that year when somebody else was the announcer for the show.)

So here's to you, Mr. Pardo! All the best for many more!

Toby OB


This week's episode of 'Burke's Law' shown on American Life TV was "Who Killed Cassandra Cass?". As usual, the guest cast was a feast for fans of old time stars: Lola Albright, William Bendix, Shelley Berman, Louis Nye, Elsa Lanchester, Nehemiah Persoff, Nancy Malone.

There was a moment early on that serves as a bit of "Serendipiteevee", and this time not a personal one. It's not an in-joke, but more of a nice connection to a different TV series.
Sgt. Les Hart stuck to his dependable theory that the butler did it, which he felt was confirmed by the fact that Hooper was now drunk on port wine. As far as Captain Amos Burke was concerned, this just served to confirm that old adage - any port in the storm.

Along with Detective Tim Tilson, the trio had a good laugh over the bad joke.

Tim Tilson was played by Gary Conway, who would later become the star of 'The Land Of The Giants'. And the last role I can associate with him was that of the murder victim in an episode of 'Columbo'.

His character was Ric Carsini, a playboy who was intent on selling the family vineyards for the money, which angered his older half-brother Adrian. And that led to Ric's murder.

And the name of that episode? "Any Old Port In The Storm".

Like I said, there was no deliberate connection between the two uses of the phrase. Just one of those bits of tele-magical fluff.

Toby OB


I never did get around to completing my look at certain commercials that premiered during the Super Bowl this year. One of those I missed was for Bud Light starring Will Ferrell, as his character Jackie Moon from the upcoming movie "Semi-Pro".

And now Jackie Moon has another blipvert to his credit, with an ad for Old Spice.
This places the character two-thirds of the way towards being qualified to enter the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame.

As "Semi-Pro" gets closer to its opening, we may yet see Jackie Moon reappear in other TV commercials for products like Gatorade, Nike, Gold Bond's powder, who knows? His participation might be enough to drag commercials for the Clapper and Chia Pets out of the Christmas-only closet!

Toby OB

Monday, February 25, 2008


With the season finale of 'Monk', the series presented several Zonks to overcome before finally creating a situation where it would appear that the series should be tossed out of the main Toobworld and into some parallel dimension. Mr. Monk might agree, since he'd also like to keep things nice and tidy.

But before I get into those problems, however, I do want to give the episode its due for touching on its own history. With the world thinking that Adrian Monk was dead, Randy Disher mentioned that Sharona Fleming and her son Benjy would be coming back to San Francisco for the memorial service. Sharona had been Monk's personal assistant in the first two seasons, but she left to remarry her ex-husband and move back East. (Of course, in real life, it was a conflict over her contract.)

So let's get down to the Zonks of "Mr. Monk Is On The Run, Part II" and see if they can be de-Zonked......

"Car Wash Columbo"
This was the nickname given to Monk by the press, when he solved the hit-and-run murder of a highway worker in Nevada. At the time, they thought he was actually Leland Rodriguez since he was hiding out under an assumed name.

This isn't a problem. There was never any mention of 'Columbo' as a TV series whenever the nickname came up. So it could be that it was a reference to Monk being the car wash version of the actual detective on the Los Angeles police force.

Since it's getting more unlikely that we're ever going to see one last outing by Peter Falk as the rumpled detective, the Lieutenant is probably retired by now. And his fame has been well-publicized over the years - in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a best-selling novel was written about him! (He may even have had a TV show based on his career, much like David 'Toma' did in the real world. If so, that would go some way towards splainin those Zonks which do mention 'Columbo' as a TV show.)

Dale "The Whale" Beiderbecke
This was the third appearance of Monk's arch-enemy, and this was the third actor to play the role. Dale the Whale is Professor Moriarty, Dr. Loveless, Wo Fat, and Batman's Rogue Gallery all rolled into one corpulent, disgusting mound of flesh to rival that of Mr. Creosote.
He was played by Adam Arkin when we first met the billionaire blob, and then by Tim Curry. This time out, Ray Porter fleshed out the role of Dale Beiderbecke (with more than a little help from the makeup department.)

I may have addressed the issue back when I was running the Tubeworld Dynamic website as a going concern. (The TwD ended in 2002, and the Inner Toob blog didn't begin until 2004.) And if so, I think the reasoning I had for the change in appearance for the character was due to a fluctuation in his massive weight. Either by gaining more poundage in prison or by dropping some excess avoirdupois due to those circumstances, somehow Dale's visage went through an alteration .

I think that excuse can work in this case as well, now that Ray Porter is playing the portly prisoner. (The hair coloring changes as well as the addition of a Van Dyke also helps.)

Governor Richard Wechsler
And now we come to the reason why 'Monk' should be banished from Earth Prime-Time and instead take up residency in an alternate dimension like that for '24', 'The West Wing', 'Commander-In-Chief' or any other dimension created for TV shows which posit elected officials who differ from the real world and its mirror image in Toobworld.

Monk disrupted the Centennial celebration parade for Riverton, Calfifornia, in order to save the life of the governor who was seen and identified as Richard Wechsler. (The Governor was marked for assassination so that the Lieutenant Governor would assume the office. As he was in the pocket of Dale the Whale, he would have made sure the billionaire had his sentence commuted.)

As most everyone should know, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the California "Governator", both in the real world and in mentions in Toobworld as well. (He's also the Governor in Skitlandia, but may already be the President in the Tooniverse, thanks to "The Simpsons Movie".) Too many TV series have made passing references to Schwarzenegger as the Governor, and more will likely occur while he's in office. Therefore, having the governor identified as Wechsler would mean that 'Monk' has to move.

The best bet would be to create a dimension for USA Network shows, since they all shared the same reality in various promos for the network. 'Monk' has met Shawn Spencer of 'Psych', John Smith of 'The Dead Zone', and Shawn Farrell of 'The 4400'. John Smith was already cast out of Toobworld once the POTUS of their show was assassinated, and it was always dodgy at best as to where 'The 4400' stood in the TV Universe firmament.
Up until this last episode, everything about 'Monk' could have stayed in Earth Prime-Time. So I'd rather just claim this one storyline is from an alternate dimension, which we got to view as the audience, in much the same way we got to see the Evil Mirror dimension of 'Star Trek' in an episode of 'Enterprise'. I'd have no problem with the show mentioning the events that transpired in this two-part season finale, just so long as the name of Wechsler was never brought up again. Just calling him "the Governor"... where's the harm in that? Then we can assume that Monk performed heroically in the same situation in the main Toobworld, but saving Governor Schwarzenegger instead.

Should they persist in referring to or revisiting the character of Governor Richard Wechsler on 'Monk', we may have no choice but to toss 'Monk' to the vortex wolves.

This may be a time when we have to call on the services of Dr. Sam Beckett of 'Quantum Leap' or those of Dan Vasser of 'Journeyman' to save the day with their trips back in Time to change History. (Something Tony and Doug never seemed able to do with 'The Time Tunnel'.)

Toby OB


Once again, because I work an overnight shift, I watched the Oscars telecast in a time-delay, and I made it through my "divvered" recording in just under an hour this morning.

As usual, the "In Memoriam" section made me choke up with the images of the various actors and production people who passed away last year between the dates of February 1st, 2007 to January 31st, 2008. (This span of time was posted on screen, which I've never noticed them do before; but it did give them the opportunity to bring in Heath Ledger.)

I compared their list to mine of TV actors who passed away last year, thinking there had to be someone who belonged on both lists. And I found several that surprised me by their omission by the Academy.

Putting aside some names because their Television work far outweighed their movie output (like Charles Nelson Reilly, Lois Nettleton, and Tom Poston - although it would have been nice to include him along with his wife Suzanne Pleshette!), there were still four notable actors missing from the tribute:

Ian Richardson
Yes, the actor is better known for his stage and TV work, but this list of movies is not to be dismissed lightly:

"The Fourth Protocol"
"Dark City"
"M. Butterfly"
"Year of the Comet"
"Cry Freedom"
"Man of La Mancha"
"A Midsummer's Night's Dream"

Alice Ghostley
Again, perhaps she was better known for her TV work, but who could deny what she added to these movies:

"The Graduate"
"With Six You Get Eggroll"
"The Flim-Flam Man"
"Rabbit Test"
"The Odd Couple II"
"Viva Max"

Maybe those last three could be written off as inconsequential fluff, but there is also her contribution in "To Kill A Mockingbird", for Bleep's Sake!

Joey Bishop
Just for his Rat Pack connections to the movies in "Sergeants Three" and the original "Ocean's Eleven", the comic should have been included.

Charles Lane
But the biggest oversight was that of Mr. Lane, who passed away in July of last year at the age of 102. He had been making movies since 1931, with his last job in 2006. Probably over 200 movies in all!

Movies like "On The Twentieth Century", "You Can't Take It With You", "It's A Wonderful Life" - Frank Capra cast him in ten movies and called him his "Number One Crutch". He was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild - for that alone, he should have been honored!

If I was to address the producers of the Oscars telecast over these slights, I'm sure the excuse would be a matter of time. However, I noticed that with the writers' strike resolved, the introductions crafted for the presenters took up more time than many of the acceptance speeches. Those could have been cut down so that these few names could have received their due (and the award winners wouldn't have to be so rushed to get through their acceptance speeches).

Just sayin', is all.....

Toby OB

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Thanks to Joe at "I Am A TV Junkie" (link to the left, Party Faithful), I've been checking out a Toobworld website for Jennings and Rall. "J&R" is a Haliburton-styled corporation that looks to be conspiring to take over what's left of America in the alternate TV dimension for 'Jericho'.

I'd add them to the blogroll of similar links to the left for such shows as 'Eureka', 'Lost', and 'Doctor Who', but it doesn't look as though the Nut Brigade was successful in bringing larger audiences back to 'Jericho'. Apparently, it's going to be the seven new episodes and out for the post-nuke drama.

One thing the website will spur me to do - a bit o' spring cleaning on those other sites. I'm guessing some of those "freakylinks" might be dead ends by now.....

Toby OB

So, three fictional blogs have bitten the dust - Barney's, Adam's, and Dave's. BAD - I don't like the portent of that! I also found a new link for Widmore Labs (which had morphed into a real estate site), and added two blipvert links - one for Adweek's Ad of the Day and one for TV Spots' Ad Archive.


A fellow enthusiast for the crossover, and a frequent commenter at the Tommy Westphall LiveJournal (link to the left), "RAF" wrote to "Inner Toob" recently after the premiere of the 'Knight Rider' TV movie sequel:

"There is also a connection between 'Knight Rider' and the 'Seaquest's. In an episode, a poster for Knight Industries can be seen on a season 2 episode of 'Seaquest DSV', just one [of] the many links on my list."

Checking out his claim, I found this mention in an "Easter Egg" site:

In Season 2, Episode 9, 11 minutes in, you see Brody and a woman hiding next to a billboard pole on a pier. As they talk you can see a poster right next to their heads for a
car show. One of the manufacturers listed is Knight Industries, a clear reference to Knight Rider which was also produced by NBC.

So I ordered up the appropriate disc from Netflix and found the evidence this morning:
However, I believe that we have to put 'SeaQuest DSV' into an alternate TV dimension. Even though it's set in the future, it's not far enough into the future to make it likely that all of the scientific advancements promised by the series will come to pass by the time the real world, or even the main Toobworld, catches up to its timeline.

As such, I think then that we can say 'SeaQuest DSV' shares the same dimension with the 'Knight Rider 2000', which was set in a TV Universe in which guns were outlawed and prisoners were cryogenically imprisoned.

But that's... okay, as Stuart Smalley would say. It's nice to know that 'Knight Rider 2000' won't be lonely in its dimension. (I think we can even put the 'Birds of Prey' series in with them!)

Toby OB