Saturday, May 10, 2008


Every Friday, Caroline Hinsey has an article in the TV section of the New York Daily News about soap operas. Yesterday's column gave me a bit of whiplash:

Don't rule out a permanent return someday if "AMC's" ratings rise with Dixie's return. After all, Jesse Hubbard just made a triumphant return 20 years after being killed.

"Even if they cut your head off on camera, you can come back," (Cady) McClain says with a laugh. "Seriously, I think the fact that they just brought back Jesse makes things trickier, so I understand why this might not happen now. But it doesn't mean it will never happen.

I don't follow the soaps that closely, but I had seen the news reports that Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan were returning to Pine Valley on 'All My Children' as their extremely popular super-couple, Jesse and Angela Baxter Hubbard. What intrigued most of those reporting the story was that Jesse had been killed back in 1988.

So when I saw the quote by Cady McClain, for alls I knew Jesse Hubbard really did have his head cut off! Now that would have been a cool challenge for Toobworld Central! However, Jesse had been shot dead while protecting a wealthy man whose life had been threatened.

Still and all, the character was dead. He even came back as a ghostly angel twice over in the series! Now he's back again in the flesh, and the excuse the writers are using is that he never died in the first place; that he faked his death so that he could better protect his family. Which means he let Angie move to Corinth and then to New York City and remarry, first to Charles Harrison (whom she divorced) and then his identical cousin Jacob Foster (whom she also divorced).

Why did she divorce Jacob when he was the exact duplicate of her late husband (both played by Darnell Williams? Maybe he wasn't exactly identical in every department......

Nudge Nudge Wink Wink!

Jesse came up with a story about what really happened when he supposedly "died" back in 1988: he was kidnapped and his abductors faked his death. One of his captors took him to the woods and dug a grave in which Jesse was about to be buried. But instead, the captor ended up in that grave instead.
And yet, Jesse was seen expiring in his hospital bed, with Angie's head resting on his chest. Uh - huh.

And that story doesn't splain how Jesse came back in spirit form in 1994 and in 2001!

It's only my theory, but as 'Monk' would say, "Here's what happened":

Jesse Hubbard did die in his hospital bed. He was allowed to twice come back in angelic form to help out his family and his friend Tad Martin. But it wasn't enough for Jesse. He wanted to be reunited with them in corporeal form on Earth. So just as Hell has its escaped souls, so does Heaven - Jesse hightailed it out of the Fields of Elysium and back to Pine Valley. It's not exactly a story anyone would really believe (except Fox Mulder or the Winchester Brothers), so Jesse came up with the other story to cover up the truth.
Mulling over these details, it led me to add "escaped souls" to the splainin category for recastaways in soap operas. I don't know how many times it's happened in the soaps, but every so often a character dies in a plane crash, but the body is never recovered. And then lo and behold! A few months later, the character returns alive, but is oftentimes recast with a new actor.

So I'm thinking they really did die and are now back as escaped souls from Hell. (Come on, you may like them, but most of these soap characters did commit some kind of crime when they were last on the show!) And as for the new look to their faces? It's one of the powers they have as souls. We saw this happen with Leon Czolgosz who killed President McKinley when he escaped from Hell on 'Reaper'. Only he now looked like Spence Olchin from 'The King of Queens'.
["Leon" Czolgosz is pictured here with Sam Oliver on 'Reaper'. He's probably discussing the... shortcomings of Jacob Foster.....]

One last thing I got out of this story - Angie Hubbard and her son by Jesse, Frankie Hubbard, have been on 'All My Children', 'Loving', and 'The City'. And therefore the two of them are eligible for induction into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame.

Toby OB


Toobworld Central uses reincarnation as a means to link TV shows together in theory. If it hadn't been used before on TV, however, we wouldn't have turned to it for hypothetical links. But it has been established as an actual practice in the TV Universe, most notably in the failed pilot for 'Poochinsky', 'What A Dummy', and of course, 'My Mother The Car'. Among the theoretical connections we've made using reincarnation have been for characters in 'Cadfael'/'Torchwood', 'Torchwood'/'Lost', 'Batman'/'Doctor Who', 'Poldark'/'Dharma & Greg', and most recently, for an entire family in 'Doctor Who'/'Quincy MD'/'Doctor Who'. (I seem to find an awful lot of them via 'Doctor Who'....)

Speaking of Dharma, it looks like 'Lost' will be venturing into the realm of reincarnation. In the most recent episode, "Cabin Fever", five year old John Locke was visited by the apparently immortal Richard Alpert. Alpert's stated purpose was to test John to see if he would be a suitable candidate for the private school run by Mittelos Biotech; but it could be that he was testing John to see if he had the potential to release the spirit of a previous incarnation from his soul.

Alpert laid out about six objects on a table and then told the little boy to choose the one that already belonged to him. Among the items: a baseball mitt, "The Book Of Laws", a vial of a sand-like substance, a compass, a comic book, and a knife.

John chose the knife, and that pissed off Alpert to the point where he withdrew the offer.
It was appropriately weird and usually that's good enough for me when it comes to 'Lost', with the hope that all would be revealed by the end. However, Maureen Ryan, the TV critic/columnist for the Chicago Tribune uncovered a deeper meaning that's rooted in actual events that have occurred over time in our world:

In some Buddhist lineages, monks go out searching for the next incarnation of a tulku, or enlightened spiritual teacher and guide, who has died. If they find a child who appears to be the tulku’s next bodily incarnation, “a number of objects such as rosaries, ritualistic implements, books, tea-cups, etc., are placed together, and the child must pick out those which belonged to the late tulku, thus showing that he recognizes the things which were his in his previous life,” according to the book “Magic and Mystery in Tibet.”

If the DHARMA Initiative does think John is the reincarnation of one of their past leaders, who could he be? This is definitely one time when we can't speculate or claim that he was some character from another show. Eventually 'Lost' will have it all splained out for us, perhaps even before this season ends.

Usually I turn to Wikipedia for the splainins behind my daily Tiddlywinkydinks, but I thought Mo Ryan broke it down to a more comprehensive description. Still, Wikipedia does have
an interesting page on tulkus. Check it out.

Toby OB

Friday, May 9, 2008


Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the executive producers of 'Lost' have said that they're preparing for the series finale in two years. Knowing that fans will be outraged by whatever they come up with, they are going to go into seclusion at an undisclosed location for "many many months".

"David Chase set a great example when he went off to Paris after 'The Sopranos' ending," said Lindelof. "Which is great because all these people are going to be asking, 'What does it mean? What is it?' The fact that there's no one really around to answer that question, it forces people to come up with what they think it means."

The precedent for David Chase, though, would have to be Patrick McGoohan. The actor left England when the finale for 'The Prisoner' aired back in the late 1960s. If I'm not mistaken, I think he also got death threats after the show concluded!

Toby OB


Beverlee McKinsey, a well-known soap opera actress of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s who played strong women on “Another World” and “Guiding Light,” died on Friday in Los Angeles. She was 72 and lived in Los Angeles.

The cause was complications of a kidney transplant, her son, Scott McKinsey, said. (He's a director for 'General Hospital', where his Mom worked for a short time in 1994 as Myrna Slaughter.)

Her two best-known roles were Iris Carrington and Alexandra Spaulding. Ms. Carrington was a manipulative, father-obsessed woman on “Another World,” broadcast on NBC from 1970 to 1979. She reprised the role in 1980 and ’81 on the spinoff “Texas,” also on NBC.

From 1984 to 1992, Ms. McKinsey played the wealthy matriarch Alexandra Spaulding on “Guiding Light,” on CBS.

Among her other Toobworld credits are episodes of 'Hawaii Five-O' [pictured below], 'Remington Steele', 'Mannix', 'Cannon', 'Longstreet', and 'MacMillan & Wife'. Ms. McKinsey also played characters from the wild West past in 'Death Valley Days' and 'The Virginian'.

Had she only been able to play the role of Iris Carrington on a third NBC soap opera, say 'Days Of Our Lives' or 'Sunset Beach', she would have qualified for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

As Red Skelton would say, May God Bless.....


"Remington Steele"
Vintage Steele (15 March 1983) - Alexis Vandermeer

"The ABC Afternoon Playbreak"
The Other Woman (4 December 1973) - Lorraine Collins

The Dead Samaritan (10 January 1973) - Rita Bell

"The Delphi Bureau"
The Man Upstairs-The Man Downstairs Project (26 October 1972) - Goldy

"McMillan & Wife"
Husbands, Wives, and Killers (10 November 1971) - Laurie Forrest

A World of Perfect Complicity (23 September 1971) - Sue Hazelton

"The F.B.I."
Summer Terror (8 February 1970) - Cathy Wheaton

"Death Valley Days"
The Wizard of Aberdeen (17 January 1970) - Maud Gage Baum

"Hawaii Five-O"
The Joker's Wild, Man, Wild! (17 December 1969) - Jo Louise Mailer

"The Virginian"
The Substitute (5 November 1969) - Abby Clayton

"The Mod Squad"
A Hint of Darkness, a Hint of Light (11 February 1969) - Claudine Addison
Another Final Game (16 November 1972) - Evalyn Ellis

Death Run (4 January 1969) - Carol Chase

"The Second Hundred Years"
Love on the Double (7 February 1968) - Flo

Wall of Silence (22 December 1966) - Mattie Mulroy

"Preview Tonight"
The Cliff Dwellers (28 August 1966) - Actress

"The Defenders"
Only a Child (13 May 1965) - Karen McDermott

"The Nurses"
Where There's Smoke (9 March 1965) - Eileen Moore

"The Reporter"
Murder by Scandal (27 November 1964) - Ann

Toby OB


"I'm talking about Bobby Charlton.
He was a prince!"
In the last episode of 'Life On Mars' during its first season, Sam Tyler reluctantly had to investigate his own father. This forced him to reconcile his memories as a four year old with the harsh realities as to why Vic Tyler really had to abandon his family.

While searching through the Tyler flat, which appeared to be abandoned, Sam found a cigaratte card with Bobby Charlton's picture. He remembered that his father gave this to him just before he vanished for good, so he knew that eventually Vic had to return to the flat and retrieve the card. So Sam settled down and waited for his father to return.

From my usual source of information... information... information..., here's a brief portrait of Bobby Charlton to be found in Wikipedia. (This should especially helpful for American viewers!)

Sir Robert "Bobby" Charlton, CBE (born 11 October 1937 in Ashington, Northumberland) is a former English professional football player who won the World Cup and was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1966. He played almost all of his club football at Manchester United, where he became renowned for his attacking instincts from midfield and his ferocious long-range shot.

At the time of his retirement from the England team in 1970, he was the nation's most capped player, having turned out 106 times at the highest level. This record has since been eclipsed by Bobby Moore and then Peter Shilton.

He left Manchester United in 1973, becoming player-manager of Preston North End but decided management was not for him and left after one season. After assuming the post of the director at Wigan Athletic F.C. for some time, he became a member of Manchester United's board of directors in 1984 and remains one as of February 2008.

He set goal-scoring records for both the England team and Manchester United, with both records remaining intact some 35 years after the end of his playing career. He was knighted in 1994.

Charlton is seen here in his last game for Manchester United at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on 28 April, 1973.

The end of Chartlon's career would have been a big deal at that time, even for a four year old Mancunian to notice. So it's nice to see that Sam would remember it in the 1973 in which he was trapped.

Toby OB

Thursday, May 8, 2008


'Spycatcher' was a BBC television series, starring Bernard Archard, which ran from 1959 to 1961. It was based on the real-life activities of Dutch counterintelligence officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Oreste Pinto (once called "the greatest living authority on security" by Dwight D. Eisenhower) who specialised in the interrogation of suspected spies during World War II and had later published his memoirs under the title "Spy Catcher". Each episode showed Pinto (Archard) questioning, and eventually exposing, an enemy agent.

"Producer Terence Cook and I knew that Colonel Pinto – aged about 40 – was a star part, but we wanted an 'unknown' to play it," said Robert Barr, who scripted the drama. "Agents laughed. No one of star value, they said, could possibly have reached that age without being a star." But Archard was summoned, after a BBC employee recalled him as a Coal Board official in a 1958 dramatised documentary on open-cast mining, and he landed the role.

On August 28, 1959, the Radio Times published this article by Robert Barr about the TV series 'Spycatcher':

The series of adventure stories which begans at 8:45pm tonight tells how Colonel Oreste Pinto and his team of investigators sorted out, among the stream of war-time refugees arriving in Britain, those who were genuine and those who were spies:

During the war, when I was attached to General Eisenhower's personal staff, I sometimes saw a Dutch Intelligence officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Pinto, visit the camp to make personal reports. General Eisenhower once referred to him as "the greatest living expert in security".

Oreste Pinto, a lean, kindly Dutchman and an excellent story-teller, began his Secret Service career with the Deuxieme Bureau, the French equivalent of M.I.5, and at the outbreak of war was engaged in counter-intelligence work for Britain. With the German occupation of Europe there began a steady flow, at times it was a flood, of refugees into Britain. Most of them were determined anti-NAZIs - young man from the disbanded armies, and fishermen - welcome recruits for the newly-formed Free Forces. But as this flow of refugees continued it became clear to British counter-intelligence that since the Germans could not stop the escapes, at least they could use them to infiltrate spies into Britain. So every refugee and escaper who arrived in Britain, whether by cockleshell boat across the North Sea, or by the long overland routes to Gibraltar and Lison, was brought before Colonel Pinto's team of interrogators for "screening".

Here, in makeshift premises in London, their stories were heard and their few possessions were minutely examined. And it was here that the smallest possessions - a forgotten bus ticket, the old-fashioned watch, the pocket English dictionary, or the odd cigarettes - were made to give up their secrets. The problems facing the counter-intelligence team were infinite: the spies had to be caught before they could engage in espionage; only a tiny fraction of the escapers were potential spies, and the others must not be made to feel that that they had escaped from one Gestapo only to fall into the hands of another; often the most patriotic of the refugees vouched unwittingly for the spy who had travelled with them.

The record of Colonel Pinto and his team in trapping the spies who came to Britain is exceptional and is fully described in Colonel Pinto's two excellent books Spycatcher and Friend Or Foe? which tell in exciting detail both the methods and intentions of the spies and the patience and experience required to trap them.

Every efficient spy, says Colonel Pinto, would have a plausible and well-supported story. Only the ability of the interrogator to probe beneath the surface could succeed in breaking the spy's story. Colonel Pinto lists the following qualifications "for a successful spycatcher": a phenomenal memory, patience and regard for detail, a gift for languages, courage, a detailed knowledge of the capitals and towns of the world, a thorough knowledge of international law, a gift for detection, and a long experience of the methods and tricks of spies.

The six stories of the series have been chosen to show these qualities in action. Most of the stories deal with agents who came to Britain at great risk and determined to spy - but not all of them! In choosing the stories I have tried to put the viewer in the same quandary as the spycatcher, for in at least two cases the suspect was finally proved innocent, although in one case you might not agree!

(My thanks to Action TV)

Iin 1962, the story of Oreste Pinto continued with a new series filmed in Pinto's native country of The Netherlands. 'Die Fuik' starred Frits Butzelaar as Pinto and ran for ten episodes.

Toby OB


Bernard Archard was about to board a boat to Canada back in 1959, ready to chuck it all in as to his acting career in England, when he received a call to appear in a few BBC productions. What he didn't realize at the time was that he was being groomed with these parts to take on the role that would make him famous, that of real-life 'Spycatcher' Lt. Colonel Oreste Pinto. The Dutch officer worked in Great Britain, interrogating the WWII refugees to weed out the infiltrators. In a way, it was a combination of 'Spooks' and 'Cracker' set during the war.

He began to carve out a career for himself in the movies even before 'Spycatcher' ended in 1961 after a two year run (but of four seasons). Among the better known films are "The List Of Adrian Messenger", "Run A Crooked Mile", "Roman Polanski's MacBeth", "The Day Of The Jackal", "Krull" and the movie adaptation of the TV series "Dad's Army".

Born August 20th, 1916, Bernard Archard passed away on May 1st at the age of 91.

In Toobworld, aside from giving Colonel Pinto his televersion, Archard was perhaps best known from two roles on the series 'Doctor Who'. His appearance as Bragen in "Power Of The Daleks" is unfortunately lost due to the great tape swipe purge by the asswipes at the BBC (May they be nibbled to death by ducks!). For Toobworld, it's the most prized of the lost episodes because of the connection that might be made to 'Star Trek'. (It was set on the planet Vulcan.)

It's as Laurence Scarman in "The Pyramids Of Mars" for which he's better known by fans of the Time Lord. Many consider that story to be one of Tom Baker's best as the Fourth Incarnation of the Doctor.

He also had a regular role in the prime-time soap opera 'Emmerdale' as the second husband of Annie Sugden, Leonard Kempinski. Their late December romance didn't last long though - the local airport suffered a Lockerbie-styled crash and he was killed by a piece of the wing.

Among his other roles: 'Upstairs, Downstairs', 'Rumpole of the Bailey', 'Bergerac', 'The Avengers', 'Callan', 'Danger Man', 'Z Cars', 'Paul Temple', 'Dixon of Dock Green', and 'The Professionals'. His work on 'Danger Man' could be attributed to a friendship forged with Patrick McGoohan when they worked together in theatre.

"Emmerdale Farm" - Leonard Kempinski

"Keeping Up Appearances"
Hyacinth Tees Off (22 September 1991) - Hotel Guest

Off Shore Trades (18 October 1985) - Dr. Rodgers
Poison (21 February 1987) - Dr. Rodgers

"Lytton's Diary" - Ian the Editor
Rabid Dingo: Shock Horror (1 January 1985)
The Silly Season (1 January 1985)
The Lady in the Mask (1 January 1985)
Daddy's Girls (1 January 1985)
Come Uppance (1 January 1985)
Tricks of the Trade (1 January 1985)
Rules of Engagement (1 January 1986)
The Ancien Regime (1 January 1986)
The Ends and the Means (1 January 1986)

"Number 10"
The Iron Duke (6 March 1983) - Duke of Wellington

"The Professionals"
A Man Called Quinn (30 January 1983) - Granger

Waxwork (13 April 1980) - Governor of Newgate

"Charles Endell, Esq"
Glasgow Belongs to Me (28 June 1979) - Archibald Telfer

"Rumpole of the Bailey"
Rumpole and the Show Folk (12 June 1979) - Jarvis Allen

"Dick Turpin"
The Whipping Boy (3 March 1979) - Duke of Hereford

"Wodehouse Playhouse"
The Editor Regrets (28 November 1978) - Purkiss

"Play for Today"
Leeds United (31 October 1974) - Managing Director, Blacks

"Upstairs, Downstairs"
What the Footman Saw (29 December 1973) - Colonel Tewkesbury

"Special Branch"
Polonaise (2 May 1973) - Ministry Official

"Crown Court"
Criminal Libel (27 December 1972) - Dr. Holt-Matthews
Further Charges (9 January 1974) - Peter John Elgar
Double, Double (2 October 1974) - Sir Hugo Jellicoe
Will the Real Robert Randell Please Stand Up (29 October 1975) - William Boyce
Beyond the Limits (9 January 1979) - William Boyce

"The Adventures of Black Beauty"
The Duel (11 November 1972) - Bulov

The London Beat (8 November 1972) - Actor

"Country Matters"
Breeze Anstey (24 September 1972) - Actor

"The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes"
A Message from the Deep Sea (20 September 1971) - Dr. Davidson

"Man at the Top"
Join the Human Race (18 January 1971) - Joshua Redroe

"Paul Temple"
Who Dies Next (23 November 1969) - Rev. J. Smith
Party Piece (7 July 1971) - Chief Inspector McPhail

"Oh Brother!"
Behold This Dreamer (2 May 1969) - Father Koenig

Once a Big Man, Always a Big Man (19 March 1969) - Albert Watt

"ITV Playhouse"
If Only the Trains Come (16 December 1968) - Dr. Ragin

"The Jazz Age"
Lonely Road (10 December 1968) - Jenkinson

"Mystery and Imagination"
Dracula (18 November 1968) - Dr. Van Helsing
The Suicide Club (9 February 1970) - President

"The Wednesday Play"
The Devil a Monk Would Be (8 November 1967) - The Prior

"Doctor Who" (10 episodes)
The Power of the Daleks: Episode 1 - 6 (November 1966) - Bragen
Pyramids of Mars: Part 1 - 4(25 October, 1,8,15 November 1975) - Marcus Scarman

"Play of the Month"
Days to Come (25 October 1966) - Moris

"Out of the Unknown")
Frankenstein Mark 2 (13 October 1966) - Dr. Giddy

"Danger Man"
I Can Only Offer You Sherry (20 January 1966) - Nubar

"The Avengers"
The Master Minds (6 November 1965) - Desmond Leeming
Split! (10 April 1968) - Dr. Constantine

It's Better to Know (7 September 1965) - Major Green

"Dixon of Dock Green"
Don't Play with Fire (5 December 1964) - Herbert Jones
Shadows (5 December 1970) - Colonel

"The Hidden Truth"
Sweets to the Sweet (10 September 1964) - Andrew Quincey

"The Midnight Men" - General Plaski
The Man from Miditz (21 June 1964)
The King Shall Die (28 June 1964)
Time of Danger (5 July 1964)
The Proxy (12 July 1964)
The King's Business (19 July 1964)
Promise to Kill (26 July 1964)

"Dr. Finlay's Casebook"
A Present from Father (5 January 1964) - James Senlac

"Z Cars"
Quiet Confidence (29 May 1963) - Charlton
Inspection (2 November 1965) - HM Inspector of Constabulary
For Old Time's Sake!: Part 1 & 2 (2, 3 March 1970) - Harry Wardle

"Zero One"
Discord (20 February 1963) - Atkins

"Scales of Justice"
A Woman's Privilege (30 November 1962) - Actor

"Man of the World"
Nature of Justice (17 November 1962) - Sheikh

"No Hiding Place"
Top of the Ladder (2 October 1962) - Dr. Alan Brand

"The Sunday-Night Play"
Member of the Family (24 June 1962) - Edwin Carrington

The Light Trap (21 May 1962) - Henry Carter
The Rescuers (23 September 1963) - Mr. Wales

"Sir Francis Drake"
Court Intrigue (15 April 1962) - Sir Christopher

"Top Secret"
After the Fair (6 October 1961) - Hernandez

"Danger Man"
The Leak (9 April 1961) - Doctor Bryant

"The Pursuers"
Tomorrow's Ghost (1 January 1961) - Carson

"The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre"
Clue of the New Pin (1 January 1961) - Supt. Carver
Man Detained (30 September 1961) - Inspector Verity
Flat Two (31 December 1961) - Insp. Trainer
Face of a Stranger (31 October 1964) - Michael Forrest

"Police Surgeon"
Under the Influence (17 September 1960) - Drew

"ITV Play of the Week"
The Night of the Big Heat (14 June 1960) - Sir James Murray

"Spy-Catcher" - Lt. Colonel Oreste Pinto
One Must Die (3 September 1959)
Three from Spain (10 September 1959)
Friend or Foe? (17 September 1959)
The Gentle Gestapo Man (24 September 1959)
I Know Your Face (1 October 1959)
Louise (8 October 1959)
Double Agent (18 February 1960)
The V.I.P. (25 February 1960)
Like Father, Like Son (3 March 1960)
Game, Set and Match (10 March 1960)
Never Say Die (17 March 1960)
The Absent Friend (24 March 1960)
Infernal Triangle (31 March 1960)
Left Luggage (4 October 1960)
The Photograph (11 October 1960)
Neutral Ground (18 October 1960)
Margin of Error (25 October 1960)
Happy Landings (1 November 1960)
Spitfire Johnnie (8 November 1960)
Doves of War (16 May 1961)
One of Our Aircraft (23 May 1961)
Keeping a Promise (30 May 1961)
Traitor in the Forest (6 June 1961)
Logic and Lives (13 June 1961)

Episode #1.2 (15 February 1957) - Dr. Masters

Toby OB


In the first episode of 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' ("Eleven Days To Zero"), Dr. Gamma and his evil organization tried their best (their worst?) to thwart the Seaview's mission.

Dr. Gamma was listed in the credits as being played by Theo Marcuse. And, indeed, for the most part it was Marcuse that we see in the role. But every so often, Dr. Gamma was instead seen portrayed by Werner Klemperer!

A recastaway within the same episode!

Here's my splainin.....

"Dr. Gamma" is an O'Bvious alias. But I don't think his real name was of Terran origin, and not even for someone who was humanoid.

I think Dr. Gamma was actually an alien, an ornithoid named Korob as seen in the 'Star Trek' episode "Catspaw" which took place over two hundred years after this episode of 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'.

Whatever was Korob's ultimate goal working in disguise to cause such destruction to the Earth, it may be that he was ill-prepared for the mission. It looks as though his transmutation device kept shorting out, altering his human guise so that he looked like some other bald human.

This other form must have been on file in the device's data banks, but it's unknown as to whether or not it was supposed to be some other character played by Klemperer whom we already knew in Toobworld. Personally, I'd steer clear of Wilhelm Klink (saving him for more light-hearted fare), and instead consider his role as the Diplomat in "The Project Strigas Affair" on 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' as the leading candidate.

"Dr. Gamma" worked in shadowy environs at his headquarters, so it's likely nobody around him noticed the change. And even if they did, they were probably too scared of him to point it out.

As we saw in "Catspaw", those ornithoid aliens were pretty fragile in their natural state. No matter how advanced they may have been, I don't think Korob could have survived another two hundred years. So I think it's possible that he used their advanced technology in order to go back in Time to alter the world's history; only to discover that certain events are already fixed in Time and that's why his nefarious plan didn't work.

The Doctor could have told him that and spared him the trouble!

So having failed in his bid for world conquest, Korob hightailed it back to the Future and that's why the character was never seen again on the show - played by any actor.
Toby OB

"Sometimes our hold on Reality is very thin."
Jacob Grimm
'Once Upon A Brothers Grimm'

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Thanks to 'Hi Honey, I'm Home', we know that characters from the TV shows that we watch can be teleported out of the main Toobworld and wind up in an alternate TV dimension full of fictional characters as well. But now those original TV characters are living embodiments of their fictional televersions.

Head hurt yet?

On 'Hi Honey, I'm Home', a TV sitcom family moved into the "real world" after their fictional TV show was cancelled. And with each episode, at least one other TV character from a classic real TV show would drop in for a visit. Grandpa Munster, Gomer Pyle, Alice and Trixie - even Mr. Ed if I'm not mistaken! - all made the trip through the vortex.

In a way, this makes 'Hi Honey, I'm Home' an "Essential" as it provides the splainins for those TV characters whom we've seen step out of their natural habitat and act like they know that they come from a TV Universe.
From there, this new TV dimension is most often seen in TV commercials. For example, Tony Sirico showed up out of the TV dimension in order to strong-arm a guy named Jimmy into ordering his movies and TV shows via Netflix. It's not stated, but if this is the Zonk dimension of 'Hi Honey, I'm Home', then Sirico is appearing as "Paulie Walnuts" Gaultieri from 'The Sopranos'.

Once his work was done in that Netflix blipvert, Paulie didn't "slide" back to the New Jersey of the main Toobworld. Instead, he's been terrorizing the employees of Denny's Restaurants up and down the Garden Turnpike; shaking them down to provide a REAL breakfast. Who knows where he might strike next. (He may even have shown up earlier, threatening Fred at Dunkin' Donuts back in the early 90s!)

This isn't just a phenomenon with American TV shows. Recently in Argentina, a mob of TV characters from many of their TV shows, as well as from movies like 'Pirates Of The Caribbean 3', gathered to protest the fact that the Argentine version of DirecTV was not charging anything for installation. They clearly figured this was a scam and that they deserved a cut of the money that was being collected secretly.
So the mob - full of characters who escaped from wrestling programs, soccer - excuse me! - futbol matches, soap operas, cooking shows, and movies - was egged on by a yellow hippo who was probably an escapee himself from some Argentine kids' show. (I think Barney's anorexic cousin is seen trying to escape up a fire escape.)

They charged the DirecTV employees who were armed with the satellite dishes which they used as their shields. But they were eventually captured and brought back to be beamed out via the satellite network. And all to the tune of "We're Off To See The Wizard" from the original soundtrack.
Check out the
anarchy here!

Toby OB


I always like to see other people "thinking inside the box" and who don't need a TV show to wash over them and do all the work for them. These people are willing to fill in the blanks for themselves. Even better when it's all for a TV show that forces you to work in order to find all of the clues. The two best current examples, one a drama and the other a sitcom, are 'Lost' and 'How I Met Your Mother'.

A few days ago
Matthew L responded to a comment made in Alan Sepinwall's blog. (You'll find the link to the left.)
"there's the matter of the show glossing over from Stella not having time to date to being in the middle of a semi-serious relationship with Ted"

I think I suggested a solution to this question in a post to last week's column - but I was late to that column, so I don't know whether anyone saw it.

My view is this - she has a standard "I'm too busy" answer to anyone who asks her out. Because she is genuinely busy, and making room for a date is complicated, and not worth the effort for a guy who might go out with her once or twice and then not progress things any further. It's a lot of effort to arrange her schedule, arrange a sitter, etc, for someone who is just out for a bit of fun, nothing too serious.
But Ted's two-minute-date just made her think that this guy is serious, and he is worth the effort. And so she makes time for him - because if you meet someone who you think might genuinely be "the one", you would make time for them, no matter how difficult it would be.
They could have explained that a bit clearer, sure, but it's not strictly necessary. All you need to know is that she has made time for a relationship.

Matthew L sounds like a guy who never needed to see Chekov meeting Khan on the original 'Star Trek'!

Toby OB


When dealing with recastaways, the need to change actors in order to better represent the differences in aging usually gets a free pass. In fact, I'd prefer that over the original actor trying to pass him/herself off as older or younger than they really are. The makeup and the acting comes off a bit phony.

Quiznos is currently airing a blipvert in which an elderly Asian woman working in a laundromat pulls an autographed five dollar bill off the wall and eats it.

I'm thinking that, given the changes wrought by age in the last thirty-five years (at least!), this old woman was Mrs. Lee in that San Francisco Chinese laundry shop who espoused the glories of Calgon.
The old woman in the Quiznos ad isn't named, but even if she wasn't called Mrs. Lee, that's not a problem in arguing the case. In the span of time since that Calgon commercial, she may have remarried - due either to divorce or being widowed. (Her husband - that hotshot! - might have been killed by an angry customer when they found out his "ancient Chinese secret was nothing more than Calgon.)

By the looks of her surroundings in the new commercial, it looks like the Lees expanded the business, probably opened several stores throughout Chinatown. They may have become the Chinese Weezy and George Jefferson!

Toby OB


New additions to the Library at Toobworld Central!

'The Adams Chronicles'

I haven't seen it since it first was broadcast, but it should make for a nice followup to HBO's 'John Adams'. I'm keen to see William Daniels again as John Quincy Adams.

'Perry Mason Anniversary Edition'

High praise for this from Lee Goldberg, and it's packaged by the same guy who's been putting out the 'Wild, Wild West' collections, so I'm certain it'll be more than just a retread of old episodes!

'Burke's Law' - Season One, Pt. 1

Hopefully this will prove popular so that the whole series is released on DVD. Some of my all-time faves are in the second season. And if it proves to be that successful, maybe I'll see 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent' released as well!

One can hope!

Toby OB


Well, I thought I ordered "The Last Days Of Pompeii", the mini-series based on the book by Bulwer-Lytton and which starred Brian Blessed, Ernest Borgnine, Linda Purl, Franco Nero, Anthony Quayle, and Sir Lawrence Olivier. Instead, Netflix sent me "Pompeii: The Last Day'.

This was a documentary with scenes acted out, including Tim Pigott-Smith as Pliny the Elder. (I recently saw Pigott-Smith in a recent 'Poirot': "Taken At The Flood".

And I really enjoyed it a lot! It makes for an excellent companion piece to the recent 'Doctor Who' episode "The Fires Of Pompeii". In fact, someday I hope we see the Doctor return to soon after the events and meet Pliny the Younger.

Here's what Wikipedia says about Pliny the Elder's ill-fated voyage towards the shores of Pompeii after Vesuvius blew its top:
Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, (AD 23 – August 24, AD 79), better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient author, naturalist or natural philosopher and naval and military commander of some importance who wrote Naturalis Historia. He is known for his saying "True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read".

He received from Vespasian the appointment of praefect of the Roman Navy. On August 24, 79 A.D., he was stationed at Misenum, at the time of the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which overwhelmed Pompeii and Herculaneum. A desire to observe the phenomenon directly, and also to rescue some of his friends from their perilous position on the shore of the Bay of Naples, led to the launching of his galleys and crossing the bay to Stabiae (near the modern town of Castellammare di Stabia).

His nephew, whom he had adopted, Pliny the Younger, provided an account of his death, and suggested that he collapsed and died through inhaling poisonous gases emitted from the volcano. His body was found interred under the ashes of the Vesuvium with no apparent injuries on 26 August, after the plume had dispersed, tending to confirm asphyxiation or poisoning.

The story of his last hours is told in an interesting letter addressed twenty-seven years afterwards to Tacitus by the Elder Pliny's nephew and heir, Pliny the Younger, who also sent to another correspondent an account of his uncle's writings and his manner of life.

Pliny is still remembered in volcanology where the term Plinian (or Plinean) refers to a very violent eruption of a volcano marked by columns of smoke and ash extending high into the stratosphere. The term ultra-Plinian is reserved for the most violent type of Plinian eruption such as the 1883 destruction of Krakatoa.

Toby OB

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


In an early episode of 'Happy Days', the oldest Cunningham sibling, Chuck, went out to play basketball.

He never returned.

There was no mention of him ever again on the show; in fact, Howard Cunningham once spoke of his two children (meaning Richie and Joanie) as if Chuck never existed.

This wasn't a unique case in Toobworld. People would disappear without splainin from TV shows many times over. And it would come to be known as the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. But now we have a series that could provide a splainin for their disappearance. Well, we had a series - after four seasons and with no resolution, 'The 4400' was canceled by the USA Network.

'The 4400' referred to the number of people abducted throughout the last sixty plus years and then all suddenly returned just outside Seattle in July of 2004. All of them were still at the age they were when they disappeared.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say out of those 4400 returnees, we met (or just learned about) only 150 of them at best. That leaves a lot of wriggle room as to who those other returnees were.
So why not splain away those TV characters who disappeared without a trace as being members of 'The 4400'.

Of course, to remain true with the original casting, many of them could never have been seen on the show 'The 4400'. Chuck Cunningham disappeared over thirty years ago in Toob-time and Gavan O'Herlihy will have definitely aged during that time.

This also gives a splainin as to why Chuck's appearance changed once O'Herlihy was replaced in the cast by Randolph Roberts. It happened at least once in 'The 4400' that a character was replaced with a doppelganger by those who were behind the abductions. (Probably wanted to give themselves some lead time before his disappearance was noticed.)

Ric Carrot played Chuck in the 'Love, American Style' segment that served as the 'Happy Days' pilot ("Love And The Happy Days"). But we can just make that the counterpart for Skitlandia.

As for the appearance by O'Herlihy and Roberts on the 30th Anniversary Special for 'Happy Days'..... O'Bviously that series was set in the same alternate TV dimension which houses 'Hi Honey, I'm Home', where our TV shows are considered TV shows by other TV shows. (It's an evil place. Evil, I tells ya! Better stay away from there!)

Here are a few other missing TV characters we might consider to be members of 'The 4400':

Tina Pinciotti on 'That '70s Show' is revealed to be Donna Pinciotti's younger sister. After Fez hits on her she is never seen again. (More likely she was shipped off to school in another state.)

On 'Square One TV', the character Kate Monday disappeared after the third season and was replaced with Pat Tuesday. (But that could be a job transfer.)

Benny Hawkins, the slow-witted repairman on 'Crossroads', was last seen in 1987 climbing up a ladder to change a light bulb. (This situation sounds like a possible candidate!)

The first season of 'M*A*S*H' had several characters that were carried over from the novel and film of the same name, but subsequently dropped, including Spearchucker Jones, Ugly John, Lieutenant Dish, and General Hammond. (I like this as a mass abduction during the war!)

After the first season of Gerry Anderson's British science fiction TV series 'UFO', Alec Freeman, Gay Ellis and Peter Carlin disappear. Their absence is never explained. (Perhaps a different reason for their disappearance - perhaps an unrelated abduction.)

Sonja and Buzz Harper in 'Mama's Family'
Samantha Molloy on 'Life With Bonnie'
Warren Ferguson on 'The Andy Griffith Show'
Lana Shields on 'Three's Company'
Cletus Hogg on 'The Dukes of Hazzard'
Brendan Lambert on 'Step by Step'

I suppose it could be argued that we should leave well enough alone; that we shouldn't risk the chance they might return to our TV screens......

Toby OB

(With all of that, I still believe Chuck Cunningham was probably murdered by his crazy-eyed sister Joanie!)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Today's TWD: "The Essentials"

I don't know if the Turner Classics Movie channel still does this, but they used to have a regular feature called "The Essentials". During "The Essentials" they'd play those movies that were essential for a film fanatic's well-rounded collection.

In a way, the concept of Toobworld has its own "Essentials". These are the TV series which provide the foundation for many of the building blocks in the TV Universe. Some of these shows aren't great classics; some are probably considered not good at all. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that they established a premise which can be used to link other shows together.

For example - reincarnation. Just recently, I made the theoretical link between 'Doctor Who', 'Quincy', and 'My Family', all based on the idea that just maybe certain characters in those series were the same, sharing the same soul. And I had the precedent to make this claim with the theme song from 'My Mother The Car', definitely one of the least respected shows in history. (I refuse to call it the worst. I can think of plenty of others which could probably lay claim to that title!)

Anyway the rules of reincarnation are mapped out in the first stanza of the 'My Mother The Car' theme song:

"Everybody knows in a second life,

We all come back sooner or later.
As anything from a pussycat
To a man-eating alligator."

Here are a few other TV series and the topics for which they could be considered the patrons:

'Homicide: Life On The Street'
- John Munch
'St. Elsewhere'
- St. Eligius Hospital
With this character and this location serving as the nexus, Toobworld can be officially linked through about 130 shows at least. (Toobmate - gotta come up with a better moniker than that! - "RAF" has the most amazing list of shows that he can make the argument for connecting!)

- escaped souls
Speaking of souls, sometimes we see a TV character get killed as the bad guy in a show, only to return later in another series, again as a bad guy as well. They could be the escaped souls of those earlier characters who haven't been recaptured yet by Zeke Stone or Sam Oliver. (My Iddiot friend Listener Mara suggested this is how 'Angel' came back from Hell in 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'. He just never encountered Zeke and Sam.... yet.)

- alternate dimensions
"Mirror Universes" didn't originate with 'Sliders'; 'Star Trek' and its sequels especially would delve into the concept of an alternate evil mirror universe. But 'Sliders' helped popularize Hugh Everett's "Many Worlds" theory of quantum mechanics.

- the rules of witch-craft
Aunt Clara can probably take the credit for the most important - what happens to a witch when the powers begin to fade. They have to transform themselves into something that can be useful - like a rocking chair or a bed warmer. Also, a witch can't travel back beyond the time of her birth - another good rule.

'Quantum Leap'
'Time Tunnel'
- changes to Toobworld History
If there are certain factors in TV shows that prevent them from being part of the main TV Universe, we can use the characters in these shows to suggest that they went back and changed the course of the show's history after the fact. So that even though we saw something happened on that show, Sam Beckett and the others went back in Time to put right what once went wrong. (For instance, 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' was broadcast in the 1960's, but took place in the early 1970's. And they had as President a man named McNeill. It's the Toobworld contention that somehow Dan Vasser of 'Journeyman' went back in Time and re-adjusted the timeline so that the President was Nixon as it was meant to be.)

'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'
- 1] realignment of Earth's history
- 2] the Golgafrinchans
Arthur Dent, last survivor of Earth in 1980/81 before it was blowed up real good by the Vogons, ended up on Earth back in the time of the Neanderthals. All actions he took from that point on altered the timeline of Earth. The Golgafrinchans crash-landed with him and probably inter-bred with the Neanderthals to create the true human race. (Three generations later? The cavemen of 'It's About Time'!)

'The Wild, Wild West'
- Fabian Lavendor was an undertaker who could fake an Old West bad guy's death and help him get back into the public with a new name. This could splain away why we saw so many Western cowboys played by Morgan Sheppard and Jack Elam, among others.

- Dr. Miguelito Loveless is just my all-time favorite TV character and I try to link him to as many shows as I can, from 'Bonanza' and 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent' to 'Get Smart', 'Star Trek' and 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'.

'Buffy, The Vampire Slayer'
- Mr. Sweet is a demon who causes people to burst out into song to express their inner selves against their wills. As good a splainin as any for 'Cop Rock', 'Hull High', and 'That's Life' and any other TV character who suddenly bursts into song, like Olive in 'Pushing Daisies'.

- Immortality
Let's say we see an actor in a role that takes place in the modern day. But we also see him playing another role on a different show but it's set in an earlier time period. Those two characters could be the same person, operating under different names, because they're Immortals.

'Friday The 13th - The Series'
- evil objects
Remember that devil doll from 'The X-Files' and especially Talking Tina from 'The Twilight Zone'? Speaking of 'TZ', how about those electrical appliances that tried to kill Richard Hayden in one episode? They're eeeeeevilllllll! And they probably came from the accursed antiques shop in this show.

"Star Trek - First Contact"
Yep, we have a movie in the list! In this film, Jean-Luc Picard and his team went back in Time to thwart an evil plot by the Borg to alter the world's destiny. By helping out Zephraim Cochrane, they inadvertently changed History themselves. This splains why the 'Enterprise' helmed by Captain Archer was more technologically advanced than the Enterprise of the original 'Star Trek' series. The original series played out, but if we could actually go back and see it again within the reality of the TV Universe, Kirk and Company would now have a starship filled with the latest CGI tech. (Big thanks to my Little Buddy Sean who came up with this theory. One day he'll have it all written up and I'll feature it here in the blog.)

It may be still early to add this one to the list, but here's a possible candidate:

- The Numbers
I've been enjoying the treasure hunt for Hurley's Numbers in other TV shows, but it's not always proven that they had any effect on the characters in those shows. Still, some of those used within 'Lost' itself really didn't have much impact where they were used.
- the Island
We'll have to wait until the very end of the series before we can say for certain that this magical mystery tour should have any impact on Toobworld at large.

Do you have any suggestions for this list of "The Essentials"? Let me know!

Toby OB

Sunday, May 4, 2008


After the 'Doctor Who' episode "The Fires of Pompeii" aired in Britain, there was a discussion about Donna Noble's basic education with regards to Latin curriculum (curriculae? curriculee! curriculahahahahahaha!) requirements and the like.

This was all sparked by Donna's observation that if they were supposed to be in ancient Rome (or brand new Rome as the Doctor noted), then why was there only one hill and not seven?
As it turned out, of course, it was because they were in Pompeii, not Rome. And that "hill" was Mount Vesuvius, pre-Big Boom.

Donna admitted that she was no expert on the subject, and she's probably not the brightest hammer in the shed (Wait, that's not right.....). But it didn't surprise me that she should know a piece of geographical trivia like that. Even over here in America, the history we learn is always governed by who dominated that history, so Ancient Rome would have been accorded great emphasis.
But I'd like to think there was another reason why Donna knew that there were seven hills of Rome. I think she went to see the musical "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" when it played on the West End back in 2004.

In that Shevelove/Gelbart/Sondheim musical, the slave Pseudolus needed the use of the House of Senex, who lived next door to Pseudolus' master. So, disguised as a soothsayer, Pseudolus told Senex that he had to run seven times around the Seven Hills of Rome in order to rid his home of ghosts... or something like that.

The Royal National Theatre produced the revival in 2004, which began previews at the Olivier Theatre in London on June 28 and opened on July 9, running for 76 shows before it closed on November 2. Directed by Edward Hall and choreographed by Rob Ashford, it starred Desmond Barrit as Pseudolus with Sam Kelly as Senex, David Schneider as Marcus Lycus, and Hamish McColl as Hysterium.
But she may also have seen the 1994 revival which returned Frankie Howerd to the role of Pseudolus, which he had also performed back in the sixties. Ironically, it was this production that inspired Howerd's hit series 'Up Pompeii', in which the comic actor played the slave Lurcio. (Latin is all Greek to me - and I'm surprised that joke didn't show up in the 'Doctor Who' episode! - but maybe somebody can clue me in if that name is a joke in itself.)

I would have liked some references to 'Up Pompeii' during "The Fires Of Pompeii", but what can you do? Can't have everything, I'm told. (Still looking for that loophole!)

I've put the 1984 mini-series adaptation of Bulwer-Lytton's "The Last Days Of Pompeii" in my Netflix queue in hopes of finding theoretical links from that. I'm already keen on the idea that the young teen Quintus in 'Who' might have been named after a character played by Anthony Quayle!

Toby OB