Saturday, August 30, 2008


Catching up on the shows I taped while I was on vacation, I saw the second episode of 'Primeval' today. This is the one about the giant centipede down in the London Underground tunnels.

Afterwards, I checked out the notes and trivia to be found at the 'Primeval' pages in and found this:

In the opening scene, you see a Jubilee Line train stuck in a tunnel - the driver announces that it's because of a delay at Parsons Green. The Jubilee Line doesn't go to Parsons Green, no tube line does, it's part of the District line "metropolitan" network. Actually Parsons Green is on a section where the line runs at rooftop level.

That may be so in the Real World, but in Toobworld, this is the kind of deviation that can be accepted and not cause any serious continuity damage in connection with other TV shows.
The same situation came up during an episode of 'The Clubhouse' in which a subway was mentioned as going somewhere that it doesn't in the Trueniverse. At the time, Linda Stasi gave the show's producers grief for such an error, which I hope didn't mean that she thought the New York Empires baseball team actually existed!

Toby O'B

This picture is of the NY Empires basketball court on an episode of 'CSI:NY'. It's the Toobworld contention that both teams were owned by the same corporation.


On those days when I can't find anything in particular to write about for the daily Tiddlywinkydink, I turn to the Toobworld timeline for inspiration. Today, I had nothing from my own collection for August 30th, so I decided to look into the history of the Real World instead.

And there I found out that today marks the anniversary of the birth of Mary Wollestonecraft Shelley, who - in the 1816 "Summer of Darkness" - wrote the novel which introduced the world to its most famous monster: the creature of Dr. Frankenstein.

In the novel "Frankenstein", Dr. Victor Frankenstein created only the one Monster. But in Toobworld, he was responsible for several different versions of the creature, and his counterparts in other TV dimensions made several more. The Frankenstein Monsters are members of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame because of the way they link the various TV productions in which they appear, including the sitcoms 'Struck By Lightning' and 'The Munsters'.

(From some background information on the novel found at the BBC: "It is frequently forgotten that the creature now thought of as Frankenstein – Boris Karloff's dumb, inarticulate beast – is massively removed from the sophisticated, sensitive creation of Mary Shelley, perfect in all but appearance.")

As for Mary Shelley, she belongs to a select group of authors who share their existence in Toobworld with their creations. Others in the same situation would include William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Stephen King. As far as the TV Universe is concerned, these writers share the same consideration as Conan Doyle by the fans of Sherlock Holmes - they didn't so much create their characters as they chronicled their "real-life" exploits".

Rather than going to Wikipedia as I usually do for information about a chosen topic, instead I have some factoids about Mary Shelley from the BBC:

Born in 1797, Mary was the daughter of William Godwin – a famous writer with
revolutionary ideas – and Mary Wollstonecraft, herself a writer and arguably the world's first feminist.

Her mother died days after giving birth to her – the first of many tragedies in Shelley's life. Some of these tragedies would later inspire events in "Frankenstein".

In 1812, Mary met the poet Percy Shelley. Percy and his wife Harriet were frequent visitors to the London home of Mary's father.

Mary ran off to France with Percy in 1814. She gave birth to his child in 1815 – but the baby died just 12 days later.

Harriet drowned herself in 1816, allowing Percy to marry Mary soon after. The general public was outraged.

After coming up with the idea for her novel in Switzerland, "Frankenstein" was published two years later in 1818 – Mary was still only 20.

Mary's second son, William, died aged three in 1821.

Percy drowned in 1822.

Mary and Percy's great friend, the writer and poet Lord Byron, died in 1824. Mary was devastated by this, and the loneliness caused by the death of so many of her friends and family. [Her sister also committed suicide.]

Mary died in 1851.

Although she wrote many other books, none matched the success of "Frankenstein".

Also from the BBC website:

Mary Shelley was born into a world of scientific, artistic and political
revolution. Her father and husband were famous radical thinkers and writers, and both of them (along with other important philosophers of the day) had a large influence on Mary and her novel.

One of her father's main ideas was that everyone should act only for the good of mankind; otherwise, selfishness would lead to the breakdown of society. This view influenced "Frankenstein" in that Victor largely thinks and acts only for himself, ignoring the wishes of the Monster (for example, by not creating a wife for it), thereby endangering mankind by giving it a reason to do harm. Victor is also a bad parent, deserving punishment for abandoning his creature.

Many people see this book as promoting the
revolutionary ideas that dominated the political world at the time, since Victor challenges authority (God) by creating life himself. The Monster is also revolutionary in its hostility towards authority (its 'father'). Yet both the Monster and Victor are punished with death – leading other people to conclude that Shelley is critical of political revolution.

When writing this book, Mary was influenced by the scientific revolution of the time. She had heard about one man, Galvani, who had supposedly re-animated dead tissue, and another, Aldini, who had wired up a criminal's corpse to a battery so that his jaw appeared to move and a fist to clench. Such discoveries were discussed at the holiday home of the Shelleys in the weeks before "Frankenstein" was written.

Mary Shelley was portrayed on TV several times:

Jenny Agutter (Mary Shelley) . . . Shelley (1972)

Sarah Allen (Mary Shelley) . . . Mary Shelley (2004)

Lucy Davenport (Mary Shelley) . . . Frankenstein: Birth of a Monster (2003)

Anne Delbée (Mary Shelley) . . . Byron libérateur de la Grèce ou Le jardin des héros (1973)

Sally Hawkins (Mary Shelley) . . . Byron (2003)

Cara Horgan (Mary Shelley) . . . "Romantics, The" (2006)

Tracy Keating (Mary Shelley) . . . "Highlander" (1992)
{The Modern Prometheus (#5.19)}

Vickie Papavs (Mary Shelley & Tara) . . . "Time Warp Trio" (2006)
{Nightmare on Joe's Street (#1.21)}

Emily Perkins (I) (Mary Shelley) . . . "Mentors" (1998)
{Transition (#4.5)}

Mary Scott (I) (Mary Shelley) . . . "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1951)
{The Finest Gift}

[Note: The Mary Shelley who appeared in an episode of 'Alien Nation' was a Tenctonese refugee given that name by immigration officials who were havin' a laugh.]

One other show in which I would like to see Mary Shelley appear would be 'Doctor Who'. And if the current popularity of the series continues, that could be a possibility!

It seems as though the Doctor meets a famous English author in almost every season since the show's return in 2005 - Dickens, Shakespeare, Christie. I've always wanted to see the Doctor meet JRR Tolkien, who might find inspiration for the Ents after meeting Jabe's people from the Forests of Cheem; but Mary Shelley would be an excellent choice as well.

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

Pictured in this post as Mary Shelley is Lucy Davenport, from the BBC production "Frankenstein: Birth Of A Monster". But here's an additional treat from the Movie Universe:
Elsa Lanchester as Mary Shelley in "The Bride Of Frankenstein".

Toby O'B

Friday, August 29, 2008


Here's a line from a recent episode of 'The Middleman' which could have been a Zonk:

"that 'Saved By The Bell' episode where no one would tell Jessie how bad her music really was and she had a caffeine pill freakout"

But according to the Middleblog, an official online tangent of the series, this isn't quite the exact episode from the real world. Apparently, Jessie did get addicted to caffeine pills because her music career was too hectic. But there was never any direct connection between how bad her music was which would lead to the addiction. The creative team at 'The Middleman' "took a bit of poetic license there because, hey, her music really did suck."

So since this isn't an exact copy of the 'Saved By The Bell' show from the real world, we can dismiss it as a discrepancy. It could have either been a reality TV show about the characters we know - but treating them as being as real as the characters in 'The Middleman'. Or... It is a TV show, currently in production, which chronicles the past lives of those 'Saved By The Bell' characters.

I've only seen one episode of 'Saved By The Bell' - the one that linked to 'The Odd Couple' via geography (Lichtenberg). But I know this... it wasn't just the music......

Toby O'B


In order to spare myself a sprained arm from patting myself on the back, I'll keep this short.....

Back on Sunday I celebrated my 4th year blogging "Inner Toob", celebrating the alternate universe fantasy world known as Toobworld. The Toobworld concept treats just about everything we see on TV as though it actually existed in another dimension.

It's a Middle-Earth for Couch Potatoes.

And today, I'm marking my 3,000th post with this entry.

Before you ask, yes. It's true. I have no life.

Toby O'B


In 1965, the late George Furth took part in an episode of 'Profiles In Courage' that chronicled Senator Robert A. Taft's opposition to the Nuremburg trials. Here's the synopsis of that episode from Classic TV Archives (link to the left):

1.08 [08] Profiles in Courage:
03-Jan-1965 NBC Sun

guest cast:
Lee Tracy ............. Senator Robert A. Taft
David Opatoshu ........ Professor Goldman
Lou Frizzell .......... Jensen
Sue Randall ........... Joan
Loring Smith .......... Marsden
Louise Lorimer ........ Martha
George Furth

Dramatizes Senator Robert A. Taft's courage in condemning the Nuremburg war crimes
trials because of his belief that it was unjust to hold the trials under an ex post facto law.
Evaluates Taft's judgment in terms of equal justice under law and the concept of international law.
Synopsis 2:
In 1946, Sen. Robert A. Taft risks political suicide by taking a public stand against the Nuremberg Trials.

Here's a little background on the man and his stance from Wikipedia:

Robert Alphonso Taft (September 8, 1889 - July 31, 1953), of the Taft political family of Ohio, was a Republican United States Senator and as a prominent conservative spokesman was the leading opponent of the New Deal in the Senate from 1939 to 1953. He led the successful effort by the conservative coalition to curb the legal privileges of labor unions, and he was a major proponent of the foreign policy of non-interventionism. However, he failed in his quest to win the presidential nomination of the Republican Party in 1940, 1948 and 1952.

Taft condemned the postwar Nuremberg Trials as victor's justice in which the people who won the war were the prosecutors, the judges and the alleged victims, all at the same time. Taft condemned the trials as a violation of the most basic principles of American justice and internationally accepted standards of justice. Although his opposition to the trials was strongly condemned by many, other observers, such as Senator John F. Kennedy in his bestselling Profiles in Courage, applauded Taft's principled stand even in the face of great criticism.

Toby O'B


Another actor who passed away while I was on vacation was George Furth. As an actor, Furth may be best known as Van Johnson, a citizen of Rock Ridge in "Blazing Saddles" (which has a Toobworld counterpart in the aired pilot 'Black Bart').

But Furth's greatest triumph would be for writing the book to "Company", a Stephen Sondheim musical. There were two TV adaptations of this look at relationships in the 1970s, one of them for British television and directed by Sam Mendes.

Furth also wrote the play "Twigs", which was adapted for television as well with Carol Burnett playing the four women in each of the play's vignettes.

Here is a list of the characters George Furth gave life in Toobworld:

"The Dumplings" (1976) TV series .... Frederic Steele

"The Good Guys" (1968) TV series .... Hal Dawson

"Tammy" (1965) TV series .... Dwayne Whitt

"Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" .... Jedediah Bancroft
- The First Circle (1994)
- The Visitor (1993)

"Sisters" .... Mr. Rattner
- Crimes and Ms. Demeanors (1993)
- The Kindness of Stranglers (1991)

"Batman" .... Gallus
- Dizzoner the Penguin (1966)
- Hizzonner the Penguin (1966)

"Broadside" .... Ensign Beasley
- Lt. Morgan's Secret Marriage (1964)
- The Non-Permanent Wave (1964)
[Grandfather to Pam Beasley?]

"You Wish" .... Minister
- Bride and Prejudice (1998)

"The Nanny" .... Minister
- Freida Needa Man (1996)
[A 'Nanny' website lists this role as "Rabbi".]

"Murder, She Wrote"
- The Dead File (1992) .... Jerry Bozell
- Dead Letter (1989) .... Fred Owens
- No Laughing Murder (1987) .... Farley

"L.A. Law"
- Wine Knot (1992)

"Murphy Brown" .... Buzz Ramsey
- Night of Living News (1992)

"Wings" .... Frank
- A Terminal Christmas (1990)

"The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" .... Judge Binghampton
- The Man from ELF (1990)

"Life Goes On" .... Everett Spence
- The Banquet Room Renovation (1990)

"CBS Summer Playhouse" .... Rip
- Mickey and Nora (1987)

"Salvage 1" .... Bassett (1 episode, 1979)
- Up, Up and Away (1979) TV episode .... Bassett

"Little House on the Prairie" .... Hannibal Godfrey
- The Talking Machine (1976)

"All in the Family"
- Mike Faces Life (1975) .... Gordon Crenshaw
- Archie's Aching Back (1971) .... Whitney Fitzroy IV

"Ellery Queen" .... Albert Klinger
- The Adventure of the 12th Floor Express (1975)

"Happy Days" .... Mr. Pinney
- Goin' to Chicago (1975)

- Blood Money (1975)

"The New Dick Van Dyke Show" .... Tom Lassiter
- House Guests (1974)

"The Odd Couple"
- The Flying Felix (1974) .... Belkon Jr.
- I Do, I Don't (1970) .... Harvey

"Love, American Style"
- Love and the Well-Groomed Bride (1971)
- Love and the Intruder (1970)

- Rock-A-Bye Hoss (1971)
- Another Windmill to Go (1969) .... Horace Keylot

"Green Acres" .... Mark Allan
- The Ex-Secretary (1971)

"Adam-12" .... Tyler Finch
- Log 56: Vice Versa (1971)

"That Girl" .... Maury
- Stag Party (1971)

"Night Gallery" .... Gillings
- The Little Black Bag (1970)

"The Governor & J.J." .... Buddy Harbach
- Check the Check (1970)

"The Debbie Reynolds Show" .... Matthew Keller
- It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Debbie (1969)

"I Dream of Jeannie" .... Farnum
- Blackmail Order Bride (1969)

"Ironside" .... Ray Harrison
- The Man Who Believed (1967)

"The Monkees"
- A Coffin Too Frequent (1967) .... Henry Weatherspoon
- One Man Shy (1966) .... Ronnie Farnsworth

"Felony Squad" .... George Dunn
- The 30-Gram Kill (1967)

"Laredo" .... Carl Strade
- Walk Softly (1967)

"The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." .... Miklos
- The Carpathian Killer Affair (1967)

"F Troop" .... Captain Jonathan W. Blair
- Survival of the Fittest (1966)

"Run for Your Life"
- Grotenberg Mask (1966) .... Arthur Neely
- In Search of April (1966) .... Osborne Parquette III

"The Road West" .... Virgil Slaughter
- This Dry and Thirsty Land (1966)
[Ancestor for Murray Slaughter?]

"Honey West" .... Sandy Corbin
- Pop Goes the Easel (1966)

"Profiles in Courage" (1 episode, 1965)
- Robert A. Taft (1965)

"McHale's Navy" .... Roger Whitfield, III
- The Dart Gun Wedding (1964)

"The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"
- Beast in View (1964) .... Jack Terola
- Nothing Ever Happens in Linvale (1963) .... Charlie

"The Farmer's Daughter"
- Katy and the Imagemaker (1964)

"The Defenders" .... Bradford III
- Claire Chevel Died in Boston (1964)

"Arrest and Trial" .... Melvin
- Call It a Lifetime (1963)

"Alcoa Premiere" .... Henry Blett
- The Way from Darkness (1962)

"Going My Way" .... Lester
- A Matter of Principle (1962)

The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980) (TV) .... George Cukor
Let's Switch! (1975) (TV) .... Sidney King
For the Use of the Hall (1975) (TV) .... Martin
What Are Best Friends For? (1973) (TV) .... Barry Chambers
The Third Girl from the Left (1973) (TV) .... Zimmy

Charlie Cobb: Nice Night For A Hanging (1977) (TV) .... Conroy
Sam Hill: Who Killed Mr. Foster? (1971) (TV) .... Fletcher
Fame Is the Name of the Game (1966) (TV) .... Morgue Attendant

The characters he played in the Westerns are dead now in the TV timeline. Gillings from the episode of 'The Night Gallery' has yet to be born. As for the others, unless they died within the course of the episode or perhaps were sentenced to death for any crimes they committed (won't say which show), then they may have outlived this man who played them.

Those series that are highlighted have featured pictures.

As Red Skelton would say, "And may God bless....."

Toby O'B

Thursday, August 28, 2008


In the 'Monk' episode "Mr. Monk Is Underwater", Monk knew that "the guy" (as he calls his chief suspects) was the commander of the submarine USS Seattle, Nathan Whitaker. During the investigation, Commander Whitaker revealed that his late father had once been the Secretary of the Navy.

Usually such Toobworld factoids can give me agita - or, since we're working with an undersea mystery, the bends - because it varies from an established fact in the Trueniverse. This is especially true with fictional Presidents of the United States - Toobworld should be almost a mirror image of the Real World in such aspects, since so many TV shows will refer to the current occupant of the real White House in their scripts. Once you introduce a Jed Bartlet, David Palmer, or a Mackenzie Allen, you've slid through 'The Twilight Zone' and into a new TV dimension.

Let's say, as is usual with Toobworld characters and the actors who play them, that Commander Nathan Whitaker was the same age as William Atherton. Then he'd be born in 1947, and would now be sixty-one years old.
And let's suppose we go for the average and say his dad was 30 when he was born. This would mean the Senior Whitaker was born in 1917.

Judging from the line of actual Secretaries of the Navy, the Senior Whitaker might have been 60 or older when he took the Cabinet post. So at any point from 1977 onwards, the Secretary of the Navy - at least in Toobworld - was Whitaker, Senior.

Here is a list of those who served as the Secretary of the Navy in the Real World in approximately that time frame:

13 John W. Warner May 4, 1972 - April 8, 1974

14 J. William Middendorf, II April 8, 1974 - January 20, 1977

15 W. Graham Claytor, Jr. February 14, 1977 - August 24, 1979
16 Edward Hidalgo October 24, 1979 - January 20, 1981

17 John Lehman February 5, 1981 - April 10, 1987
18 Jim Webb May 1, 1987 - February 23, 1988

19 William L. Ball March 28, 1988 - May 15, 1989

20 Henry L. Garrett III May 15, 1989 - June 26, 1992
Daniel Howard (acting) June 26, 1992 - July 7, 1992
21 Sean O'Keefe October 2, 1992 - January 20, 1993

I think after this, the age limit we're looking for has reached its cut-off point. Maybe some of those men could have been up in their seventies, but I tend to doubt it.

Now, as you can see, none of those men were named Whitaker. And even though fictional TV characters have been related to real-life people in the past (Megan Russert & Tim Russert, 'Homicide: Life On The Street'; Vera Gorman & Art Carney, 'Alice'), I don't think it likely that Nathan Whitaker was the illegitimate son of one of the established Navy Secretaries, bearing the surname of the mother. Not that it couldn't be alleged that one of them had fathered Nathan Whitaker as an illegitimate son, but I don't think any TV producer is about to suggest something like that and risk legal action.

Besides, it would also have to be a former Secretary of the Navy who has already passed away, and I'm not about to spend the time figuring out who that mght be!

So it would have to be a fictional Secretary of the Navy named Whitaker, one who can be squeezed into the above list somewhere. And as we can see with the example of Daniel Howard above, there could have been an acting Secretary of the Navy in Toobworld who isn't counted among the official holders of the title.

I took this list from Wikipedia, so it might not be official. However, if it holds true then there is a space of several months between the terms of service by W. Graham Claytor, Jr. and Edward Hidalgo in 1979 during the Carter administration. An acting Secretary of the Navy could easily be inserted there for Toobworld's purposes.

And I think I've found the perfect candidate for the role.....

Here's the description of an episode of 'The Debbie Reynolds Show', courtesy of Classic TV Archive (link to the left):

1.01 [--] The Debbie Reynolds Show:
16Sep69 NBC, Tuesday 8:00pm
Guest cast:
Roland Winters ......... Governor Bartholomew
Harold Gould ........... Whitaker
Roy Roberts ............ General Arbuckle
Synopsis: Debbie sees a way to launch herself with a scoop: finding out if Governor Bartholomew is going to run for the Senate.

I'm not sure what capacity Harold Gould's Whitaker had in that episode, but I would assume it was political in nature. So it could be that a decade later, this Whitaker was given the responsibility of acting Secretary of the Navy. Now, Harold Gould is about a decade younger than my projected age for the Senior Whitaker, but that's still okay. Then he would have been 24 or so when Nathan Whitaker was born. And besides, Harold Gould has always played characters older than he really was.

So there's a theory of relateeveety that can link 'Monk' to 'The Debbie Reynolds Show'!

Toby O'B


Around 8:20 or so, a track from the group Sugarland was played at the Democratic National Convention, just before Stevie Wonder was introduced.

And this telecentric line jumped out at me:

"I was a gypsy lost in the Twilight Zone."

I'm always amazed by how pervasive the inluence of Rod Serling's classic is!

I'm watching the convention on CSPAN, of course. Any member of the tele-cognoscenti should be in order to get the full effect. The talking heads of CNN (for me) can wait until tomorrow - they'll only be spouting the same stuff then anyway. After the convention is over, I'll flip over to 'The Daily Show' for their take on last night's coverage.

Toby O'B


With the episode "Mr. Monk Is Underwater", 'Monk' had several mentions of NCIS during the investigation into a suicide aboard a submarine that turned out to be murder. O'Bviously none of the actors from the CBS series 'NCIS' were on hand, and more than likely none of those characters played any role in the investigation - except for maybe those in the lab who would have tested the gun, etc.

Nevertheless, although it may not be a crossover and is kind of fuzzy around the edges, it does serve to point out that both shows do share the same universe.

Toby O'B

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Coming next week to ITV2 in the United Kingdom:

It looks to be a comedy about the off-duty lives of superheroes in Toobworld. The focus is on four friends - The Hotness (heat powers), ElectroClash (power over machines), TimeBomb (can see a minute into the future), and She-Force (super-strength). And then there's Exelsior, the rock star of super-heroes with an ego as big as his super-powers.

Toobworld absorbs just about every TV show and 'No Heroics' will fit in nicely, I hope. I don't know whether or not I'll be able to see the series (by conventional means, that is - ahem!), but I'll try to keep track of the episode summaries to see if there will be any Zonks or any other kind of discrepancies to splain away. (By the way, t's nice to see in the beginning of the trailer that "the Gherkin" has been restored after the Battle of Canary Wharf in 'Doctor Who'!)
But this is a universe that has already given us 'Captain Nice', Captain Justice ('Once A Hero'), Thermo-Man ('My Hero') and 'The Tick', as well as televersions for 'Wonder Woman', Superman ('The Adventures of Superman'), 'The Flash', 'The Amazing Spiderman', and 'Batman' & Robin. And those are just the costumed super-heroes. There are also 'The 4400', the 'Misfits of Science' and 'Heroes' in general.

I think Earth Prime-Time can handle these misfits.

Toby O'B


AMC has had a change of heart and allowed Twitter to restore accounts which bear the names of various characters from 'Mad Men', like Don Draper, Peggy Olson, and Salvatore Romano. According to (the link is to the left), "Deep Focus, the Web marketing group hired by AMC to promote 'Mad Men' on the Web, tells Silicon Valley Insider that it gently nudged AMC to rescind a takedown notice sent to Twitter. 'Better to embrace the community than negate their efforts,' says a Deep Focus spokesman, who finds the fake Twitter feeds to be 'brand ambassadors.'"

The reason I didn't like the idea of these Twitter accounts is because it acts as though Twitter existed over forty years ago. Now, if these accounts were by Don and Peggy and the others as they now are, forty-five or so years later, okay. That would be interesting. But this just doesn't make sense within the concept of Toobworld.
But I may be wrong. What do you think?

Toby O'B


Catching up on the shows I DVR'd while on vacation, I finally saw one of my crossover Holy Grails - "Who Killed The Jackpot?", the episode of 'Burke's Law' which introduced Toobworld to the luscious Honey West (played by Anne Francis).

I'm also on a Louis Hayward kick right now, catching two episodes of 'The Lone Wolf' from 1955 every weekend. So it was cool to see him as one of the murder suspects in this as well. His besotted Stacy Blackwell was a far cry from tough guy Michael Lanyard, especially when it came to handling dames.

Toby O'B


Sebastian Marx, author of the book "Show Me The Mummy", was going to open the tomb of Queen Niota at Global Dynamics in 'Eureka'. Hoping to cash in on the event as if it was the King Tut exhibit back in the 1970s, Vincent staged "Pharaohpalooza" at Cafe Diem.

To complete the ambience, Vincent dressed up as though he too were an Egyptian.

But within the reality of Toobworld, I think there was more to his costume......

I think Vincent was paying tribute to a costumed criminal who terrorized Gotham City on five
separate occasions back in the 1960s. I think he was trying to pass himself off as "King Tut", the alter ego persona of William Omaha McElroy. Professor McElroy held the Chair of Egyptology at Yale University and was a decent fellow, perhaps a bit of a milquetoast. But after suffering a blow to the head during a student riot, McElroy believed that he was the reincarnation of the Boy King Tutenkhamen.

Knowing what would happen to him whenever he was struck on the head, Professor McElroy tried in vain to prevent it from happening. But it was no use - he'd be bonked on the noggin and find himself in Gotham City as King Tut, where he would do battle with the Dynamic Duo, Batman & Robin.

The tale of such a wayward genius might well attract the attention of a young man of similar girth as that of Professor McElroy. Which is why I think Vincent might have patterned his costume to be similar, if not exact, to that worn by Professor McElroy in his guise as King Tut.

William Omaha McElroy was portrayed by Victor Buono, who died too soon at the age of 43, back in the early 1980s. But that's not to say that the same holds true for any TV characters that he played. So it could be that Professor McElroy is still alive in Toobworld, and that he even still holds the Chair of Egyptology at Yale University.

Considering that Vincent is something of a genius himself - or else he'd never be in the town of Eureka! - perhaps he might even be related to McElroy himself......
Toby O'B


Besides 'Doctor Who', the other major theme for the pop culture references in the latest episode of 'The Middleman' ("The Clotharian Contamination Protocol") was the movie "Die Hard". There were mentions of Hans Gruber (complete with a wire hanger dispatching), allusions to Nakatomi Plaza, and even an alien citing "Yippee Yi Yo Kai Yai, Mother[Bleeper]!"

But that's all "Die Hard" is in the TV Universe - a movie.

Whoever was the Middleman before the current Sexy Bossman must have been a big fan of John McCrane, which is why the air duct and ventilator shaft principles were assigned the Nakatomi moniker. After that, all other references were because of previous (and perhaps coincidental) knowledge of the film by Dub-Dub and the Maximum Aldwin.

The same holds true for the movie "Speed" when Wendy Watson exclaimed that they had been "jack-travened".

Toby O'B

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I got an anonymous comment (perhaps from Hugh?) regarding my piece on the country of Zemenia in last week's episode of 'Monk'. It ended with this:

You didn't mention that Jaime Gomez, who played Inspector Evan Cortez on "Nash Bridges," played a San Francisco Police Inspector named Sanchez. Maybe they're related like Pullman and Braithwaite?

("Pullman and Braithwaite" refers to a post I did on Sandra Pullman of 'New Tricks' and Alison Braithwaite of 'At Home With The Braithwaites', both of whom are portrayed by Amanda Redman.)

I'm not familiar with Jaime Gomez, so the connection eluded me. I did recognize John D'Aquino, however, whom I know best from 'Shades Of L.A.'. (In cases like this, I will now quote Brian Lane from the "Bank Robbery" episode of 'New Tricks': "Unlike the universe, my memory isn’t constantly expanding. I have to draw the line somewhere.")

But it's a great catch and a theory of "relateeveety" can easily be concocted to splain their resemblance to each other in "tele-Frisco" within the reality of Toobworld.

They're half-brothers.

Sanchez and Cortez share the same mother, but they have different fathers. It's the genetic contribution of their mother that held the dominant genes in determining their looks.

Whoever sent in that suggestion, my thanks!

Toby O'B


'The Middleman' has proven to be a high-point for summer TV viewing here at Toobworld Central, and you should expect it to win a few prizes at this year's Toobits Awards. Sadly, unless there's some miracle - like the show moving to where it belonged in the first place, at Sci-Fi - it looks as though next week's episode will be its last. "One and Done" series make for a nice boxed set collection, but 'The Middleman' had the range for story ideas to carry it through several seasons.

It also seems to have an inexhaustible well of pop culture references, which could have been a headache for the Splainin Department here at TCi. (Not "Incorporated"; "Inebriated", perhaps?) But it's been fun trying to find them all, even if I fall far short (based on the wrap-ups to be found in the "MiddleBlog" on Live Journal).

There have been so many pop culture references within each episode that I could likely make it through to the end of the year tackling each one separately. But for today, I think a cluster of five from last night's episode ("The Clotharian Contamination Protocol") should be addressed together, as they all dealt with the same theme near and dear to my heart: 'Doctor Who'.

Generally, each episode of 'The Middleman' has a running theme in their pop culture references. And as the season progressed, some of them contained several. This episode was no exception, with the majority of shout-outs going to the movie "Die Hard" (which is still a movie only in Toobworld). But then there were these five references to 'Doctor Who':
- "commander benton and specialist heriot" - homage by namecheck to sgt. benton of UNIT, companion to the second and third regenerations of doctor who and to zoe herriott, companion to the second Doctor

- "mister lethbridge-stuart, if that is your name!" - homage by namecheck to brigadier lethbridge stuart, companion to the third and fourth doctor who

- "zygon-rated quarantine facility" - homage by namecheck to the alien race first encountered by the fourth doctor who

- "mccrimmon college" - homage by namecheck to another one of the second doctor who's companions

- "the treaty of periperpegilliam" - homage by namecheck to another doctor who character, this one a companion to the fifth and sixth doctor

Those descriptions came directly from the "MiddleBlog" today. (Spelling and punctuation are theirs.)

I only picked up on two - "Lethbridge-Stewart" and "the treaty of periperpegilliam". (Although I think they spelled the name wrong. Peri Brown's full name should be: Perpugilliam Brown. But maybe the writers changed it to get the intent but not be an exact replica.)

I might have picked up on the reference to McCrimmon College, but they speak so quickly on this show! I only heard "Crimmon" and my mind didn't work fast enough to think of any permutations before it was on to the next shout-out.


Let's start with that one first. McCrimmon College could be named after a descendant of Jamie McCrimmon. So, no Zonk there.

"The Treaty of Periperpegilliam"
If that's the way they want to spell it on the show, all the better for Toobworld. No Zonk.

"Commander Benton and Specialist Heriot"
Toobworld is filled with coincidence. There should be a Greek god of Coincidence! The Middleman organization uses so many fake I.D.s that this could have been just a random selection, with no special knowledge of the two characters from 'Doctor Who'. So long as the first names of "John" and "Zoe" weren't cited, there's no need to worry about the use of these monikers. No Zonk.

"zygon-rated quarantine facility"
The alien race of Zygons first came to Earth in the 12th Century. In the late 20th Century, those that survived from the crash-landing in Scotland attempted to take over the Earth in order to adapt it for their race. However, as recounted in the serial "Terror Of The Zygons", the Doctor and UNIT were able to crush their plans. Most of the Zygons perished when the Doctor triggered their ship's self-destruct mechanism, and their leader Broton was shot dead by the Brigadier later. However, it would appear from this reference that perhaps one or more of the Zygons survived and have been most likely kept locked away in some UNIT prison engineered for their incarceration. The quarantine facility at Middleman headquarter is probably based on that design. This would make the reference an actual link, so no Zonk, Zygon scum!

And finally, speaking of the Brigadier.....

"Mister Lethbridge-Stuart, if that is your name!"
I think it was. The spelling in the MiddleBlog could be in error, that it should be the same as that of Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. When it comes to what was presented to us within the reality of the TV Universe, we never saw the I.D. card for that agent from the NASA listening station. We only heard his name spoken by the Middleman.

I think Agent Lethbridge-Stewart could be an American cousin to the Brigadier, perhaps the grandson of an older brother who emigrated to the United States after World War II. I don't want to go too far back with the "theory of relateeveety" in this case, because I think their relationship would be close enough for the American to know of his great uncle once removed (or whatever) and his career in UNIT. And inspired by the heroics that he heard about, he followed the Brigadier's example and found his own career in NASA.

If that doesn't work for you, just think of "Lethbridge-Stewart" as merely a last name that's hardly unique in the TV Universe... like Smith, or Jones, or Tyler.....

And therefore.....? No Zonk, either way.

Toby O'B


Person, place, or thing.

We're not getting all 'Electric Company' here about nouns. Just that those are the basic ways to link one TV show to another. People and places are the most common, but things can be links as well - Morley cigarettes, Oceanic Airlines, the New York Ledger..... right down to the atomic level.

And sometimes such an element can link the TV Universe to a particular corner of the Movie Universe!

In the "Obsolescent Cryogenic Meltdown" episode of 'The Middleman', a shipment of balthorium-g was in play during their adventure. Balthorium-g was the element used in the Russian doomsday device in "Dr. Strangelove Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Bomb". So even though the events of the movie can't ever come into play in Toobworld - not in Earth Prime-Time, at any rate! - we know there is some common ground at least.

However, there are those who think actor Peter Bull, as the Russian Ambassador in "Dr. Strangelove", mispronounced the line. It's suggested that he was saying "Cobalt-Thorium G". Both of those elements are real and can be used in atomic weapons to increase the amount of dangerous nuclear fallout.
Still, it's now been used as an in-joke reference on 'The Middleman' and even so, it becomes reality in the TV Universe. So, "balthorium-g" it remains!

Toby O'B

Monday, August 25, 2008


Using the theories of "relateeveety" in order to create possible links between shows, I may have found an off-shoot from the family tree of Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Enterprise on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. And it has to be an off-shoot, not a direct line of descent, as the character was a priest. (I realize that's not set in stone, but that's reality. In Toobworld - in the 1950s! - it may as well be.....)

Father Picard worked with the French underground during World War II, during which he met Michael Lanyard. (Lanyard recounted this in the "Skid Row" episode of 'The Lone Wolf', which American Life Network showed over the weekend.)

After the war, Father Picard moved to Los Angeles and began his missionary work among the downtrodden of Skid Row. There he asked for Lanyard's help in 1955 to save a troubled young man who was to be executed in a few days for a murder he didn't commit.

That's about all that we know about Father Picard; and since he wouldn't be the starship captain's great-great-whatever grandfather, why not make the assumption that he was the brother of that distant ancestor of Jean-Luc Picard?
Just sayin', is all......

Toby O'B


In the previously mentioned blipvert for Norfolk Southern, a family of gas cans make a perilous trek through the Shenandoah Valley to rendezvous with the train - only to be left behind because they're just not needed. The gas cans make it to the highway, where they know they'll be wanted and accepted.

But you can see it in the way they tip their hoses that it's just not the same as being accepted by the railroad.

As for why the gas cans can travel across the country as if they were alive? 'My Mother The Car' set the "standard" for the deceased who are reborn as inanimate objects. In TV-Connecticut, there's a soul haunting the Geisler supermarket who happens to enjoy his new "life" as a Geisler shopping cart.

So these gas cans could be reincarnated.

For the most part, these gas cans are made of plastic. (One of them looks to be an old canister made of metal; probably the uncle of the family?) So it's pozz'ble, jes' pozz'ble, that they're not technically alive - but instead they're possessed to become Autons. There could be a Nestene Consciousness hiding out in the Shenandoah Valley!

Any other ideas as to why they're alive?

Toby O'B


My latest favorite blipvert is for the Norfolk Southern Railroad. "Lonely Gallon" features a family of gas cans as they make a perilous trek through the Shenandoah Valley to rendezvous with the train.

It's a given that I would love this commercial because it is so Toobworld - inanimate objects coming to life and giving me, as the Televisiologist and caretaker of Toobworld, the opportunity to provide a splainin as to why gas cans can come to life in the TV Universe.

But it also has to do with that sweet, sweet song that backs up the blipvert, "You Don't Need Me".

The 3 minutes and 45 second full version of the song is available for download at this Norfolk-Southern website page. It was written by Ravi Krishnaswami of Sacred Music and Steve Kolander of the J. Walter Thompson Agency in Atlanta. It was composed specifically for this commercial.

Even so, it's as good as any of the Americana songs I hear on WFUV out of Fordham University. And I wouldn't be surprised if someday the song is released as a single. For alls I know (as Stuart Best would say on 'Murphy Brown'), it already has.

Ravi Krishnaswami has a great
blog/website in which you can learn more about him and his music for TV commercials as well as for the groups he works with here. (I think he goes by the name of Ravi Marr when performing with the group Charming.)

Working with Sacred Noise, Krishnaswami has scored commercials for clients like Pontiac, the Army, Burger King, Coca-Cola, and Sears. (Most of the music for those ads are of a movie soundtrack style. Very few are actually songs like the one used for Norfolk Southern.)
He's also been composing music for documentaries like "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq", which aired on HBO last year. You can also hear his scores for two feature-length documentaries, "Oracles & Demons Of Ladakh" and "American Zeitgeist".

He's a bit of a scholar as well. At a conference for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Krishnaswami presented work on music used in advertising.

Every so often a commercial comes along which introduces me to a great song. The best example is
"Pink Moon" used for the VW Cabrio. Had it not been for that blipvert, I might never have discovered the late Nick Drake.
Earlier this year there was a great blipvert from Australia for Honda. The ad is called "Whooosh!", and featured a guy flying through the skies under his own power. That commercial had a very addictive bluegrass tune. (A frame grab from it now serves as one of my computer wallpapers!)

I downloaded "You Don't Need Me", and I'm listening to it now. I'll probably be listening to it off and on all day. I may never have need personally for the services of Norfolk Southern Railroad, but I'll always be appreciative to them for clueing me in to this music.....

Toby O'B