Saturday, July 26, 2008


Welcome to Day Five in our examination of the 'Doctor Who' episode "Turn Left". We're certainly feasting when just two weeks ago we were in a famine phase, wondering if we could dredge up enough stories to get us through day by day!

But after we've exhausted this study of "Turn Left", there's still the two-part finale to come; the first part of which finally aired in America last night!

With this run of "Turn Left" Tiddlywinkydinks, we're looking at those episodes of 'Doctor Who' which were set in the past and which should have had dire effects for the Earth if the Doctor was no longer alive to be the planet's guardian. (That premise was established in the episode "Turn Left".)

The world could have been - SHOULD have been! - destroyed several times over if the Doctor had not stepped in to save the day. So why did the basic set-up of daily life in London seem so normal for Donna Noble at the beginning of "Turn Left"?

Unlike the episodes which I looked at on Thursday, I don't think these four historical episodes (and two of the three suggested) could have been rectified on their own. The villains involved were all too powerful and should have wreaked havoc which would have made an impact to the present day.

So I think somebody else stepped in to take care of matters in each episode. And this being about Toobworld, I think those somebodies would be from other TV shows!

It's time to move on to the next episode in the broadcast order, and it's a two-parter.....


In the original timeline, the Doctor and Martha arrived in New York City in November of 1930 to find that the Daleks were using the Empire State Building (which was still under construction) in their master plan. They were going to use the building as an energy focal point to create a hybrid race combining the genetics of Dalek with human.
During the Doctor's attempt to stop them, many people died, including the homeless living in a tent city in Central Park. By nearly sacrificing his own life, the Doctor was able to destroy all but one Dalek - Caan - who escaped through an emergency Time vortex. Because there were so few survivors, word of the crisis never became public knowledge; and what the official organizations like the FBI and the New York police department did learn of the Daleks, they kept classified.

But what if the Doctor wasn't there to free the Empire State Building and eliminate the threat of the Dalek race and their disgusting hybrids? Why didn't we see more Dalek-headed people wandering around London in Donna's revised world of "Turn Left"? The pepperpots had over seventy years to create their new race; they should have been global and pervasive by then.
Luckily, a couple of heroes from another sci-fi show just happened to be in town.....

In the twenty-third century, Dr. Leonard McCoy, chief medical officer on board the starship Enterprise, would be driven mad by an accidental overdose injection of medicine. He beamed himself off the ship and fled through a time portal known as the Guardian of the Gate of Forever into Earth's past. His actions caused the universe as Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock knew it to cease forever. (They were protected by being within the aura of the Guardian at the time the change occurred. But all those who had been in the Enterprise orbiting above vanished with the new timeline.

Kirk and McCoy went back in Time to about a week before McCoy made his entrance into the Past - to New York City in 1930. While waiting for "Bones" to show up, Kirk made the acquaintance of a forward-thinking social worker named Edith Keeler and fell in love with her. Then Spock hit him with the news that the fate of the world centered on Miss Keeler - if she should live, the United States would delay entry into World War II and Hitler would win, which would ultimately cause the destruction of the Earth. Edith Keeler had to die in the next few days to keep the timeline on its correct path and somehow McCoy had interfered with that. It would be up to Kirk and Spock to stop the doctor, which would mean Edith would be dead.

So all went according to plan: Edith was struck by a truck, and Kirk kept McCoy from saving her. When they passed back through the temporal arch of the Guardian, the universe had been restored to the way it once was.
But who's to say that the Trek trio went home immediately to the Future?

Now that they no longer had to concentrate on the problem with McCoy and Edith Keeler, Mr. Spock would probably have taken the time to get some readings of their 1930 surroundings to bring back for historical research. And his tricorder - once put back together after being used as a time-scope - would surely have picked up readings of there being Daleks in the vicinity.
The 'Doctor Who' two-parter took place November 1st of 1930, but that doesn't mean the involvement of the three Enterprise officers had to happen at the same time. (We only know it was in 1930.) But it could have been November; people are wearing coats during the episode.

(The reason why they didn't get involved as it originally played out could be due to the Doctor eliminating the problem before Spock had a chance to use his tricorder to detect the presence of the Daleks. So they just headed on home.)

Between the three of them, armed with phasers, I think they'd be more than a match for these Daleks. The aliens might have been fearsome against the homeless, but against warriors from the future, armed with phasers? No need to aim for their eye-stalks when you've got those little killers!

And they wouldn't have been alone in their attempts to destroy the Daleks. The battle would probably have lasted long enough to draw the attention of the NYPD, and several cops we know from other TV shows might have joined in the battle. (Although many of them - at least the ones who had no future in Toobworld! - would fall against the Daleks' superior weaponry.)

Here are a few suggestions for cops we might see in this firefight:
[Pictured: Richard Queen, Dan Muldoon, Mike Parker, and Philip Marlow, private eye]
Richard Queen
Mike Parker
Dan Muldoon
Patrick Muldoon
Sgt. Gilhooley

With the version of 'Ellery Queen' which I think works best for Earth Prime-Time, with Jim Hutton as Ellery, the series took place in 1946/1947. I think it's easy enough to believe that Ellery's dad Richard Queen had been an inspector on the New York Police force all of that time. He could have been in charge, coordinating the used of the patrolmen to attack the Daleks throughout the Empire State Building. So it's likely he was out of harm's way for most of the battle and thus survived.

Patrick Muldoon was the father of Francis Muldoon who would one day become a cop himself. And it's a Toobworld Theory of Relateeveety that he was also the father of an illegitimate black son who would also grow up to be a cop, who would one day meet the Clampetts. (And his name would be Patrick as well.)It's unknown if Patrick and Dan Muldoon were related.

The Daleks in Manhattan took place about 28 years before we met Dan Muldoon and a few more before we met Mike Parker. Both of them were probably patrolmen and it's possible they could have died at the scene. And the same would go for Patrick Muldoon. This would O'Bviously affect the futures of their shows as well, although Patrick Muldoon technically didn't have his own series; that honor goes to his son. And as Francis Muldoon was already born by this point in Time, and since his father was dead by the time we met him, then Patrick's death at the Empire State Building attack would have had a minimal impact on the Future.

Not much is known about Sgt. Gilhooley, save that he served as a mentor for a young cop named Columbo. I have no idea how old he might have been in 1930, or indeed how old he was when he worked with Columbo on the NY police force. But I imagine he was a beat cop like the others back in 1930. If he died during this battle, then he wouldn't have been able to make a difference in Columbo's career later on.

(I like to keep things tidy and make connections between shows where none existed before; that there should be some sort of link between characters - like on 'Lost'. So why can't we consider Sgt. Gilhooley to have been the police officer who encountered Kirk and Spock when they first arrived in 1930?)

Once the police were involved, others whose lives centered around the Law, Justice, and defense of the United States would have come to help out as quickly as possible. Even Philip Marlowe might have given an assist if he could, helping the cops who more often than not would have been hassling him in his line of work.

And then there would be Phil Corrigan, a young spy working for the government who had been given the code classification of "Secret Agent X-9". His organization may have already been aware of the Dalek infiltration by the time that the Doctor got involved in the original timeline. And the Time Lord had everything sorted by the time they were ready to move in, which is why we didn't see them get involved. But this time, they'd have to strike fast in order to keep the situation contained.

If Secret Agent X-9 did survive the battle against the Daleks, he would one day become the head of the CIA. Perhaps at some point during the fight he and that cop named Gilhooley were able to lay down cover for each other so that they could get out of some tight situation. And little would they know that one day they would both have to deal with a rumpled cop named Columbo.

Whoever survived the battle, it's clear that they succeeded. But just as it was in the original timeline, Dalek Caan would get away. Because otherwise there would be no way for him to - well, that would be telling......

'Star Trek' (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Edith Keeler, the beat cop)
'The Adventurs Of Ellery Queen' (Inspector Richard Queen)
'Naked City' (Dan Muldoon, Mike Parker)
'Car 54, Where Are You?' (Patrick Muldoon, Francis Muldoon)
'The Beverly Hillbillies' (Patrick Muldoon [Jr.])
'Philip Marlowe'
'Columbo' (Sgt. Gilhooley ["The Conspirators"], Phil Corrigan, Secret Agent X-9 ["Identity Crisis"])

Toby O'B

For the purpose of this post, I had Phil Corrigan ten years older than the actor who played him in 'Columbo' - David White, better known as Larry Tate in 'Bewitched'. This would have made him 69 when he ordered Columbo off the investigation into Nelson Brenner, an acceptable age for a man in such a high office. And with that magnificently sculpted head of white hair, he could easily pull off the age difference.....

Toby O'B

Friday, July 25, 2008


So now we're going to look at those episodes of 'Doctor Who' which were set in the past and which should have had dire effects for the Earth if the Doctor was no longer alive to be the planet's guardian. (That premise was established in the episode "Turn Left".)

The world could have been - SHOULD have been! - destroyed several times over if the Doctor had not stepped in to save the day. So why did the basic set-up of daily life in London seem so normal for Donna Noble at the beginning of "Turn Left"?

Unlike the episodes which I looked at on Thursday, I don't think these four historical episodes (and two of the three suggested) could have been rectified on their own. The villains involved were all too powerful and should have wreaked havoc which would have made an impact to the present day.

So I think somebody else stepped in to take care of matters in each episode. And this being about Toobworld, I think those somebodies would be from other TV shows!

Today's selection is the first of the historical episodes in broadcast order which would have been affected had the Doctor died fighting the Racnoss Queen:

In 1599, three witches were set free by the words of William Shakespeare. Although they conformed to the traditional view of witches, in fact Lilith, Mother Doomfinger, and Mother Bloodtide were Carrionites from the planet Rexal 4. Carrionites used words to create scientific results that looked like magic to the unknowing.
Many ages before, the Eternals locked away Rexal 4 and its inhabitants in another dimension where they could bring no harm to the TV Universe. With the unwitting help of the Bard from Avon, the Carrionite witches hoped to break the dimensional seal and bring their sisters through the vortex. If they were successful, then "this fleeting Earth will perish!"
So after all that, without the Doctor around to stop them, why didn't the Carrionites succeed?

The Book of Exodus states: "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live." The native witches and warlocks of Toobworld may have had their own version of that quote: "Suffer not a rival witch to live."

With their highly attuned magical powers, the witches living in England at that time would surely have sensed the disturbance in the astral plane caused by the Carrionites trying to break through from their dimensional exile. The elders of the Witches' Council would have quickly divined the threat posed to their world, to witches and mortals alike, should these alien witches over-run the planet.

I think that by using their own magic, the Witches' Council would have quickly assembled all of their kind to fight this incursion of Carrionites. And through the use of their own magic, calling upon the energies of the Earth itself, the Terran witches were able to destroy the Carrionite invaders utterly so that they never would be a threat again to the world.

In this endeavor, I think the army of the Witches' Council also had the help of the angelic beings known as the Whitelighters, who served as the protectors for each witch. And those who gave the Whitelighters their power, the Elders, may have had a hand in the proceedings as well.
So who might have been instrumental in that battle against the Carrionites? Here are a few witches and warlocks I think might have been involved:

Dr. Bombay
Harley Partridge

[All pictured above]
Judge Bean

(Maurice is pictured here as he might have looked in 1599......)

Yes, even Samantha and her look-alike cousin Serena would be involved. They were certainly alive back then. The proof is in the episode when Samantha got amnesia and found herself back in the court of King Henry VIII, father of Queen Elizabeth I (who makes an appearance in "The Shakespeare Code"). It was stated that a witch could not travel back in Time farther than his or her own birth.

So she may have been just a little girl, but Samantha would have been able to take part in the battle to protect the Earth from their alien rivals.

O'Bviously they were successful and that's why there was no sign of Carrionite influence during the episode "Turn Left".


Toby O'B

Looking at the picture of Estelle Winwood as Hagatha, I can't help but wish Marty Feldman could have appeared in an episode of 'Bewitched' as her son.......

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Just thought I'd try out a little experiment. With my pseudo-kids living over in Taiwan for various reasons, I wondered if I could post Chinese lettering in my blog.

So, since they are as enthusiastic about 'Doctor Who' as I am, (and probably know more about it than I do), I thought I'd try out a simple phrase from the show:

Rose can tell you what it means.....

Toby O'B


Famous people appear as themselves in TV shows all the time; there's nothing new there - it's been done since before 'I Love Lucy', I imagine.

But every so often, someone from this League of Themselves (as I call it) will be portrayed as nothing like they are in real life.

A few examples:

Emma Thompson is not British in Toobworld. She's an American masquerading as being from the UK. She's actually from Akron, Ohio. ('Ellen')

Jean Claude Van Damme fell fifty stories to his death from the Montecito in 'Las Vegas'.

Lloyd Bridges was revealed to be a cross-dressing neo-Nazi kleptomaniac. ('Ned & Stacey')

Dennis Rodman is an alien from another planet. ('3rd Rock From The Sun')

(I have come up for a splainin for the death of Van Damme, and hopefully I'll post it some day soon.)

Monday night, five new members of the League of Themselves showed up in Toobworld and proved that their tele-versions should NOT be confused with their real -life counterparts.

The boy band Varsity Fanclub showed up as themselves in 'The Middleman' episode "The Boyband Superfan Interrogation". But they weren't exactly who they said they were.....

It turns out they were really five dictators from another galaxy who were finally overthrown and banished to Earth. But instead of their exile being a punishment, doing "Hard Time On Planet Earth", this quintet of evil turned it to their advantage. Taking on the appearance of a boy band, they were using their fame and fortune toward their ultimate goal of returning home to wreak havoc.

And if they weren't stopped, the High Aldwin of the Clotharian Rebel Fleet would easily have destroyed the Earth to stop them.

So it was up to the Middleman and "Dubbie" to bring an end to the plans of Varsity Fanclub. And in so doing, it looks as though the Middleman destroyed all five dictators.

I'd never heard of Varsity Fanclub before this episode. Until a promotional spot aired just before the show ended, I thought they were specifically created for this episode as a spoof on n'Sync. But if they are real, then they only exist in the Trueniverse now, and not in Toobworld. And that would mean we'd have the same kind of Zonk headache brought up by the death of Van Damme in 'Las Vegas' should they ever appear on another show.


Those five alien despots stole the identities of the Varsity Fanclub members and were performing in their place. As for the real Varsity Fanclub, maybe they were being held captive by the aliens and so they wouldn't have been found until after the crisis ended (and after the episode ended).

Works for me!

Toby O'B


If you've ever posted a comment to a Blogger site, you know that many of them require you to type in a password - just to make sure you're not some evil death-dealing spambot. The letters always change as does the font style, so you never know what may come up.

I've yet to see an actual word spell out in this alphabet soup, but this morning I was posting a comment about Raymond Chandler and I read the resulting password much too fast:
Fans of 'Doctor Who' can probably figure out what I thought I had stumbled upon!

Toby O'B


In case you're just joining us here in the Wembley Room at Toobworld Central, I've been looking at the episodes of 'Doctor Who' which would have been affected had the change of events in 'Turn Left' remained permanent. Those episodes set in the future and on other planets would have been discarded as having no effect on Earth Prime-Time itself; and yesterday I ran down a summary of those episodes which were covered in 'Turn Left'.

So that leaves us with those episodes that would have had negligible fallout due to the Doctor's absence, and those that should have had a major impact on Toobworld unless there had been some outside help.....

That last option is the most exciting for a caretaker of Toobworld like myself, so I'll save that for last. Therefore, today we'll dismiss those episodes which had no major impact on Toobworld even if the Doctor was removed from the timeline.

We'll begin with the three-part finale of Season Three.....
Because the Doctor never traveled to the End of Time with his Companion Martha Jones and stowaway Captain Jack Harkness, the Master would never have awakened from his "sleep" as Professor Yana. Yana may have lived far longer than thought possible by those humans around him, but he may have then had the time to finally figure out what needed to be done to send the spaceship containing the last of Mankind rocketing off to "Utopia".

Yana would have been left behind with his faithful assistant Chantho to face the terrors of the Futurekind alone. Eventually, should he have lived long enough against those savages, Yana would "die" of old age and only then regenerate - if it was an involuntary measure. Based on what we've seen though with John Simm's Master and with the fate of the Doctor in the revised version of his battle with the Racnoss Queen, regeneration appears to depend on the Gallifreyan being aware of the approaching doom. Then he or she has the option to invoke the ability to regenerate.
But even if he had regenerated, that doesn't mean his memories of being the Master would have come back to him. Not that it really mattered - with the spaceship long gone, he would have been stuck on that planet anyway with no escape from the Futurekind. I think in the end, he and Chantho would have committed suicide rather than risk being torn apart alive by those cannibals.

And with the Master either dead or stuck in the far Future, he couldn't come back in Time to become Harold Saxon and assume the mantle of leadership as the Prime Minister of Great Britain. He also wouldn't have been able to track down the last survivors of the human race at the so-called Utopia and then transform them into those killing machines he dubbed "the Toclafane".

So the decimation of Earth would never have taken place, Martha's apartment would never have blown up (although she would have been dead anyway), and the American President would never have been killed. (The fact that the American President wasn't the same as should be found on Earth Prime-Time is a different topic altogether.)

And since Harold Saxon never existed, Professor Richard Lazarus never would have received funding from him to complete his work on the machine that could reverse aging. It's possible that he might have found the grants elsewhere, but it's more likely that eventually he would have died before finishing the experiment. Thus, that monstrosity he had become would never have come into being to terrorize the populace of London.


Without the Doctor, those "mayflies" known as The Family of Blood would not have any reason to visit that English village in 1913. (If they are the same as in the original novel about Doctor #7, their alien race would be the Aubertide.) Therefore, the lives of Mr. Clarke, Lucy Cartwright, Jeremy Baines, and Jenny the maid would have all been spared.

Of course, this would have affected the timeline, as Baines would have gone off to war against the Germans a few years later. And even if he was not killed there, he would have surely killed some of the Bosch and changed their destinies. If he survived, he would have returned home to England, perhaps raised a family and thus furthered muddied the timeline.
Lucy would have grown up and perhaps she and Jenny would also eventually have children which would have caused a ripple effect down along the time-stream as those children had children, and so on. As for Mr. Clarke, I think his continued existence would have been negligible, as he was pretty well set in his ways by that point in his life. If he was married, he probably already had children so their existence was never in question. Their destinies, on the other hand, could have altered had he lived.
But all in all, it doesn't look like their new lease on life had any major impact on the overall timeline for Toobworld as seen in "Turn Left". As for young Tim Latimer and Phillips, I think their lives would have played out in the same manner - thanks to Tim's precognitive ability (and even without the watch).
This episode, in my opinion the greatest episode of any TV show of any genre in 2007 (and awarded the Toobit Award as such), would follow along the same paths as established with the "Family of Blood" two-parter. The Weeping Angels would have had no reason to come to Earth if the Doctor was not there, therefore Billy Shipton and Cathy Nightingale would never have been sent back into the past. They would have "lived to death" in the present onwards, and who knows how their lives would have turned out.

This means that Billy didn't marry his own Sally back in 1969 and raise a family; and Cathy didn't begin her family tree in Hull, 1920 (which would have included her grandson, seen here). So the loss of those Toobworldlings would have caused some effect on the timeline, but again, not to any overwhelming effect as far as we could see in "Turn Left".

And finally, that 1/8th of an episode....
Since the Doctor was dead, he never would have had the opportunity to meet his former self, the Fifth Incarnation of the Doctor, when he forgot to raise the shields of the TARDIS upon leaving Martha. (Besides, as already stated, she was dead too.) So there was never going to be an emergency that could have caused a rip in the space-time continuum, the size of Belgium. And thus, no need for either one of them to employ the old razzle-dazzle of that wibbley wobbley timey-wimey stuff.

So that leaves with us with four episodes to deal with - four and 3/37ths episodes, that is. I've added a few more bits and pieces..... (Don't mind me. I get paid to do math and I don't even know what I'm talking about! Good thing I'm not officially an accountant, because I can't even account for myself. Thank you, Firesign Theater!)


I'm thinking now that with each of those episodes, we'll focus a little more on them separately. And that means we can stretch out this series of Tiddlywinkydinks for another five installments.....

Toby O'B


Actor Larry Haines passed away at the age of 89 on July 17th in Florida. He's best known for playing Stu Bergman on 'Search For Tomorrow' from 1951 to 1986. That was the show's entire run, although he didn't appear in the first two months of the show.

Stuart Bergman lived in the town of Henderson, next door to the main character of the show, Joanne Gardner Barron Tate Vincente Tourneur. (She had been married four times, widowed three times.) Stu was married to Joanne's best friend, Marge, who passed away in 1971. They had several children - Janet, Tommy, Jessie, and Jimmy - and all but Jimmy would become "Quantum Leap"-styled test cases. This means that they were replaced by others who resembled the originals to those around them. Stu and Marge never noticed that their own children had been replaced, but to the audience viewing in the Trueniverse they looked like other people. (And that's how we deal with recastaways on soap operas. All of these soap opera towns were chosen in the future for these experiments.)

Stu Bergman survived the massive flooding which nearly destroyed Henderson, but outside of the show's reality none of them could survive the low ratings after the show switched from CBS to NBC. In the last episode of 'Search For Tomorrow' (which aired after Christmas in 1986), Stu Bergman was seen with Joanne Tourneur gazing at the night sky as Joanne said, "Tomorrow, I can't wait!"

For playing the role of Stu, Haines won two Daytime Emmy Awards - in 1976 for Outstanding Actor and in 1981 for Outstanding Supporting Actor. (He is shown here accepting the award in 1981.)

Despite spending 35 years on 'Seach For Tomorrow', Larry Haines was still able to populate Toobworld with other characters. Here is a rundown of those roles:

"Loving" (1983) .... Neil Warren
(unknown episodes, 1994-1995)

"Another World" (1964) .... Sidney Sugarman (aka 'Sharky')
(unknown episodes, 1989)

"Phyl & Mikhy" (1980) .... Max Wilson

"Search for Tomorrow" (1951) .... Stuart 'Stu' Bergman
(entire run) (unknown episodes)

"The First Hundred Years" (1950)

"Starting from Scratch" .... Alfred
- Episode #1.5 (1988)

"CBS Summer Playhouse" .... George Sr.
- Baby on Board (1988)

"Kojak" .... Michaels
- Kiss It All Goodbye (1977)

- All Work and No Pay (1976)

- Arthur's Medical Convention (1975) .... Ted
- The Tax Audit (1974) .... IRS Agent Harold Clarke

- Legacy for a Lousy Future (1966)

"For the People"
- A Competent Witness (1965) .... Hyman
- The Killing of One Human Being (1965) .... Madigan

"The Defenders" .... Dr. Wallace
- Comeback (1964)

"Mr. Broadway" .... Holman
- The He-She Chemistry (1964)

"The Nurses"
- Credo (1964)

"Deadline" .... Victor Reisel
- Victor Reisel (1959)

"The Man Behind the Badge"
- The Case of the Reluctant Flop Artist (1954)

"Eye Witness"
- Burial Plot (1953)

Miss Jones (1991) (TV) .... Larry Shapiro

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1975) (TV) .... Bratt

The Country Girl (1974) (TV) .... Phil Cook

Larry Haines also appeared in the movie version of 'The Odd Couple' as Speed, one of the poker-playing buddies of Felix and Oscar.
Toby O'B

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Thanks to Bill Crider (the link to his Pop Culture Magazine can be found to the left, amigos), I learned that today marks the 120th anniversary of Raymond Chandler's birth.

Chandler must be considered one of the fathers of hard-boiled detective fiction, a title he shares with Dashiell Hammett. His creation of Philip Marlowe stands as the epitome of the private eye.

To salute his birthday, I'd like to share an excerpt from "The Red Wind", one of his stories which was read by Lou Grant in "Mary The Writer", an episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'. Lou presented this to Mary Richards as an example of great writing:

"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."

"Red Wind" was first published seventy years ago in January, 1938. It appeared in "Dime Detective Magazine" and then appeared in two collections, "The Simple Art Of Murder" and "Trouble Is My Business".

It was adapted for television twice. The first time was as one of the episodes for 'Philip Marlowe, Private Eye' which starred Powers Boothe as the iconic private eye. About ten years later, it was remade for the 'Fallen Angels' anthology series. This time it took place in the alternate TV universe where previously white characters (like 'The Odd Couple') were now black. Danny Glover filled Marlowe's gumshoes for this production.

By the way... Mary's reaction to the excerpt? She thought that Chandler "writes well about the weather"!

So here's a tip of the fedora to the memory of Raymond Chandler on the 120th anniversary of his birth.

BCnU, dollface!
Toby O'B


I'm feeling a bit guilty today over the death of Estelle Getty.

No, I had nothing to do with it!

It's just that for the nearly ten years I've been running the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, her character of Sophia Petrillo, originally on 'The Golden Girls', has been at the top of my list for induction into the Hall. And every year, I kept finding another excuse not to include her: Oh, I think this actress will be more fun. I'm running themes this year for 'Star Trek', 'Law & Order', 'Doctor Who' etc. There's always next year.....

Time finally ran out for Ms. Getty, as she passed away the other day at the age of 84. It's not like she was ever going to see a tribute here under normal circumstances; but even more so for some years now, as she had been suffering from a brain disease which finally took her life.

Ms. Getty broke into the national consciousness with her performance as Sophia Petrillo, but she had been working for many years in theater before that. As she would say, after fifty years she had become an overnight success. Her popularity as Sophia seems all the more remarkable in a youth-obsessed society, in a medium that aims for younger demographics with shows like 'Gossip Girl', 'One Tree Hill', and 'The Hills'. I was looking through the flair application of buttons on Facebook today and I was surprised to see a handful dedicated to Sophia!

Here's a good description of Sophia Petrillo from the New York Times obituary:

Sophia, characterized by her bluntness and cranky lamentations about old age, treated her daughter with a kind of loving contempt, and their two roommates, the man-obsessed Blanche (Rue McClanahan), and the dim-witted Rose (Betty White), with the eye-rolling impatience of one who will not indulge the self-delusions of others. When Blanche complained that her life was an open book, Sophia witheringly replied: “Your life is an open blouse.”

Estelle Getty played Sophia Petrillo as a regular on the 'Golden Girls' sequel 'The Golden Palace', as well as being a recurring character in the spin-off 'Empty Nest'. (She lived next door to Dr. Harry Weston.) And she appeared in episodes of 'Nurses' and 'Blossom' as Sophia as well. "Nurses' is a legitimate connection, as that show took place in Miami as well and was a Susan Harris production.

However, Blossom didn't actually meet Sophia; she dreamt of meeting her. And it's one big giant headache of a Zonk because 'The Golden Girls' was Blossom's favorite show. Ugh. (My thanks to blogging buddy Thom Holbrook for that info, which can be found at his "Crossovers & Spinoffs" site (link to the left, dear reader). Maybe 'The Golden Girls' in Toobworld is a reality show - a look at the daily lives of four senior women living together in Miami?

Still, she has four solid reasons why she belongs in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame and that will be rectified next year, the tenth anniversary of the Hall.

Here are the credits she garnered in Toobworld, as well as in the Tooniverse:

"Nurses" .... Sophia Spirelli Petrillo-Weinstock
- Temporary Setbacks (1993)

"The Golden Palace" .... Sophia Spirelli Petrillo-Weinstock
(24 episodes, 1992-1993)

"The Golden Girls" .... Sophia Petrillo
(173 episodes, 1985-1992)

"Empty Nest" .... Sophia Spirelli Petrillo-Weinstock
(2 episodes, 1988-1995)

"Blossom" .... Sophia Petrillo
- I Ain't Got No Buddy (1991)

"Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man" .... Aunt Jane [voice]
- Westward, No! (1997)

"Mad About You" .... Paul's Aunt
- The Birth: Part 1 (1997)

"Brotherly Love" .... Myrna
- Motherly Love (1996)

"Touched by an Angel" .... Dottie
- The Sky Is Falling (1996)

"City" .... Former City Manager
- Seems Like Old Times (1990)

"Newhart" .... Miriam the Librarian
- What Makes Dick Run (1985)

"Hotel" .... Roberta
- Intimate Strangers (1984)

"Cagney & Lacey" .... Mrs. Rosenmeyer
- Baby Broker (1984)

A Match Made in Heaven (1997) (TV) .... Betty Weston

Copacabana (1985) (TV) .... Bella Stern

Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story (1984) (TV)

No Man's Land (1984) (TV) .... Eurol Muller

1] Paul's Aunt in 'Mad About You' is not given a name, but since I don't remember the episode, I hesitate on making the leap to her identity being that of Sophia. Estelle Getty was basically in disguise when she played Sophia and without the wig and the over-sized glasses, she looked totally different. The same probably held true with her appearance as Paul's Aunt.

2] Since 'Newhart' was all a dream, it could be that Miriam the Librarian represented somebody Dr. Bob Hartley knew. I suppose it's always possible he met Sophia Petrillo.... After all, she was in Chicago to witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Maybe she went back again at some point.....

In a statement, her former co-star Rue McClanahan said: "'Don't feel sad about her passing. She will always be with us in her crowning achievement, Sophia.''

And as Red Skelton would have said, "May God Bless......"

Toby O'B


My bloggin' buddy Joe Bua of "I Am A TV Junkie" (link to the left, true believers!) pointed the way to a snippet from a Joss Whedon interview. He was talking about the success of the 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' experiment, and mentioned the leader of the Evil League of Evil:

"There's so much speculation about Bad Horse. Actually, the costumer who read it threw out some Bad Horse costume ideas. I was like, Ah, okay. It's a horse."

He was probably talking about all the rumors that Penny would turn out to be Bad Horse. But who knows? Maybe some nutjob making connections to 'Gulliver's Travels' and 'Mr. Ed' might have come to his attention as well!

Toby OB


For fans of TV in-jokes, 'The Middleman' is proving to be a rich source for those little insider references which TV columnist David Bianculli calls "Extras". And on top of that, the episodes seem to have themes when it comes to these in-jokes. One week they did a plethora (Mike Silletti's Word For The Day) of "Back To The Future" references; last week, the in-jokes mostly revolved around the classic rock group The Zombies (because that was the basic subject of the episode).

In this week's episode, "The Boy Band Superfan Interrogation", it was "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" which held supreme with the in-jokes. For the most part, these in-jokes took the form of aliases: the magician Rene and his lovely assistant Marion, Brody and Forrestal, and Ravenwood and Jones.

These can be eliminated as Zonks, which can be death-blows to the integrity of the Toobworld mosaic's inner reality, by the splainin that they were just random names served up from their massive supply of identi-cards for any given situation.

But then there was the visit to a professor at Henry Jones University......

Actually, my first reaction was to dredge up the late great character actor in my memory banks. And then I remembered that this is the true name for Indiana Jones, and as such is an established character not only in the movie universe (and novels and comic books), but also in Toobworld as well with 'The Indiana Jones Chronicles'.

And even so, there's no need to worry about Zonks.

Why not have an entire university named after such a preeminent archaeologist? Why should just the religious leaders get schools named after them? Especially after all the artifacts Professor Jones brought back which could justify such an honor should he choose to house them there. They would certainly garner quite a bit of publicity for the school.

So I think not only is there no Zonk involved in visiting the Henry Jones University, but it makes for a valid, yet unofficial, link to 'The Indiana Jones Chronicles'!

Toby OB


For those who didn't tune in yesterday, this is a multi-part examination of "Turn Left", the latest episode of 'Doctor Who' to air in America. (I saw the two-part finale weeks ago, but I'm respecting the US broadcasting schedule so as not to spoil it for the majority of Inner Toob visitors.)

Don't worry - I won't be going over every last detail like I did with "The Unicorn And The Wasp"!
Due to some sort of time-munching beetle, part of the brigade following the Trickster (from an episode of 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'), Donna Noble was forced to make a decision in the past which kept her from ever meeting the Doctor. As a result, the Doctor died and the Earth was thrown into chaos. Throughout "Turn Left", situations from past episodes since the Christmas special "The Runaway Bride" were revisited so that we could see how the absence of the Doctor would have affected them.

Here's a rundown for most of those events depicted:
The Doctor was able to destroy the Racnoss Queen and her brood, but without Donna there to bring him out of his blood-craze, the Time Lord drowned underneath the Thames before he had the chance to regenerate. ("The Runaway Bride")

The British Army, perhaps UNIT, was still able to shoot down the star-shaped spaceship of the Racnoss.
When the Royal Hope Hospital was teleported to the Moon by the Judoon, Martha Jones gave her life making sure a young intern was able to survive. ("Smith & Jones")

Sarah Jane Smith and her three young assistants - her son Luke, neighbor Maria, and their schoolmate Clyde - also died in the Royal Hope Hospital due to lack of oxygen. ('The Sarah Jane Adventures')
Without the Doctor to correct the problem, the spaceship recreation of the Titanic crashed into Buckingham Palace and destroyed most of southern England. ("Voyage Of The Damned")

The United States pledged 150 billion dollars in aid, but couldn't deliver when 160 million of the population was destroyed by the "birth" of the Adipose babies. ("Partners In Crime")

Because of the destruction, France closed its borders and the seas around Great Britain were under blockade. Britain's emergency government declared "Britain for Britons" and set up labor camps to imprison those who were not of "British stock". (More details about what was happening during this time were lost to the American audience by the butchering of the episode by Sci-Fi channel in order to squeeze in plenty of commercials.)
The ATMOS devices that were attached to nearly everyone's cars didn't affect the UK so much since they didn't have much petrol anymore to begin with. But the rest of the world was being suffocated by poisonous fumes until Ianto Jones and Gwen Cooper of 'Torchwood' were able to get on board the Sontaran troopship and destroy it to save the atmosphere. They lost their lives in the process however, and their leader, Captain Jack Harkness, was teleported to the Sontaran homeworld. ("The Sontaran Stratagem"/"Poison Sky")
Of course, the American audience wouldn't know this. All they knew was that a small band of rebel fighters gave their lives to destroy the Sontaran ship. All mention of Ianto, Gwen, and Jack were snipped. Bastids.

And then the stars were winking out because Davros had put his plan to wipe out reality into effect. That's when Donna agreed to "make right what once went wrong."

So those are the re-imagined events from the parallel universe created by Donna's decision to turn right instead of left on the fateful day as seen in "Turn Left".

That doesn't address every episode of 'Doctor Who' which aired after 'The Runaway Bride', however. Tomorrow I'll list those events in Earth's recent history which would have resolved themselves in some way without the Doctor's interference.

And then after that? The fun begins as I take a look at those situations which lacked the Doctor's help and which needed some kind of intercession. And in typical Toobworld fashion, I have a few suggestions as to who would come to the Earth's aid....

Toby OB

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I made a note to myself to mark the occasion, and still I forgot to post about it. But anyhoo......


Diana Rigg turned 70 on Sunday. And although she has no time to waste on those of us who still love her as Mrs. Emma Peel in 'The Avengers' and seems to be dismissive of the medium of Television in general, still she was a defining icon for many of us coming into our own back when the show was on the air.

(Yeah, okay. Take that line for what you will.)

For some reason, however, I missed out on the whole 'Avengers' deal when it first aired in America. In my family, we didn't watch many shows on ABC; I don't know why. We seemed to be a strictly CBS family. And I think I had Scouts the night it aired as well. I only caught a few episodes whenever I could at a friends' house and was captivated by that leather jumpsuit. Let's face it - back then a guy's imagination was ruled by Emma Peel, Catwoman, and Jeannie. (Next tier would start with Judy Robinson.....)

But years later when 'The Avengers' was run on A&E, I drank it all in and felt like a teenager all over again. Emma Peel is definitely one of the best characters to ever inhabit Toobworld, definitely one to be found in my personal pantheon.

So, a belated happy birthday to Diana Rigg, and thank you!

Toby OB