Saturday, September 6, 2008


Don't you love the serendipiteevee of tuning into some TV show at the wrong moment, so that an out-of-context statement takes on a whole new meaning.....?

"It's always good to pleasure yourself once a week."
a deep-fried burger lover
Toby O'B


Within the 100th episode of 'Monk' which aired last night, there was a "true life" crime drama shown called 'In Focus'. As the 'In Focus' episode about Adrian Monk ended, the credit for the show's executive producer filled the screen. And David Hoberman holds that job title.

In the real world, Hoberman is the executive producer of 'Monk' itself. So even people behind the scenes of TV shows can have televersions in Toobworld!

Toby O'B


I caught a few of the older episodes of 'Eureka' while on vacation; Sci-Fi was showing them just before the repeat of the episode from the week before each Tuesday. One of these was about space junk being magnetically drawn from the skies to strike the town of Eureka, and Zoe didn't understand why her sabotage of a rival classmate's science project would cause an indoor magnetic storm: "I don't know why it went all Magneto in there."

For us viewing at home, she was referring to the character played by Ian McKellan in the three 'X-Men' movies, and probably to his original appearance in the comic book universe as well. The mutant with power of magnetism is also represented in the video game universe and in the animated TV universe we know as the Tooniverse.

Magneto's pretty well got it covered for being a citizen of the Multiverse. One could even claim he exists in the rock and roll universe because of the song about him (and the Titanium Man) by Paul McCartney. However, he has yet to make his presence known in Earth Prime-Time, or any variation of Toobworld, for that matter.

As it stands though, we can assume that he must exist in the TV Universe as a live action figure. Toobworld already is home to other characters from the super-powered stable of Marvel Comics. They include Spiderman, Daredevil, Thor, Dr. Strange, Captain America, and the Incredible Hulk. Why not assume the rest of their superheroes and villains exist there too?
There was a TV series about mutants - not a very good one - called 'Mutant X', and basically all of the hyper-powered characters from 'Heroes' are mutants. It'll probably be only a matter of time before Marvel Comics sees that the 'X-Men' movie franchise is tired and turns their attention instead to developing the property for the small screen.

Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, the Beast and Professor X - the basics of the original team - would probably work best, if just for the cost-saving simplicity of special effects. (Not sure whether or not Angel/Archangel should be included.....) But more popular, current members of the team could be used as well, like Rogue, Colossus, and of course, Wolverine (who looks to last longer in the movie franchise than the others).

To this mix, Magneto would be the obvious choice to bring in occasionally as one of their mutant antagonists. Not that Ian McKellan would be free to play the role (or willing to), but might I suggest that if John Noble has some time off from 'Fringe', he could do a guest turn?

At any rate, I'm going to stand by the claim that Magneto is part of Toobworld, and that Zoe Carter in 'Eureka' was referring to the mutant as a real person.

We just haven't met the metal master yet......

Toby O'B


While I was on vacation, one of those who enriched Toobworld by their presence in the early days of the medium passed away. Bill Stulla, known to millions of little kids back in the fifties as "Engineer Bill", died at the age of 97.

Engineer Bill was a character in children's television out on the West Coast, so it's not a show that was a part of my childhood. For me, it was Hap Richards, Ranger Andy, and Mr. Goober. And Captain Kangaroo, of course!

So I'm not one who could present a decent tribute to the man and what he meant to his audience back then. Instead, let me supply this link to
his obituary and one to an appreciation for his show. That way those who remember him can enjoy a nostalgic trip back to their pasts and the rest of us can enjoy what made him special to the kids at home watching Toobworld in its infancy.

[Bill Stulla is pictured here in 1990 with a frame grab of himself, and with his co-star Chucko the Clown.]

Toby O'B


"He's your Doctor WHO."

"That's my favorite show!"

Needless to say, Vincent misunderstood the remark; not surprisingly, since it was a poorly constructed sentence on her part. She was referring to her Aunt Lexie's boyfriend, who works as a doctor for the World Health Organization (WHO), which is part of the United Nations organization.
I'm not going to get into the whole Zonkiness of 'Doctor Who' being mentioned as a TV show within an episode of 'Eureka', when both shows should be sharing the same TV dimension.

Suffice it to say that the Toobworld version of 'Doctor Who' is slightly different, with different actors in the role (for the most part, but with a few exceptions - namely Pertwee, Baker, and Tennant). UNIT probably encourages its production - all the better to control what information is used so that the audience could be misled into thinking all of the Doctor's adventures on Earth are just episodes from the show which they haven't seen yet - a mass illusion.

Instead, here's a quick look at what the World Health Organization is for the daily TiddlyWinkyDink:

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

In the 21st century, health is a shared responsibility, involving equitable access to essential care and collective defence against transnational threats.

You can learn more
about WHO here. That page can then lead you to more information about the governance of WHO, its agenda, and the role of WHO in public health.

Toby O'B

Friday, September 5, 2008


Greg Berlanti ('Brothers & Sisters', 'Eli Stone') and Rene Echevarria ('Star Trek', 'The 4400') are teaming up to create 'The Return' for ABC. It's about the impact on the world when aliens land.

In Toobworld, that line should read "when aliens land... again."

Toobworld is being constantly invaded - I brought this up in a Deep Six post a few weeks ago! - and always seems to not only recover from them, but also forget they even happened.

Otherwise, why doesn't anybody on 'The Closer' mention the Tenctonese landing in 1995? For that matter, shouldn't George Francisco be a member of the Priority Homicide Squad?

The most disheartening element of the news item about 'The Return' is that it looks to be wide-ranging enough for them to bring the White House in on this. That means that they'll probably create a fictional President to add to the mix, and thus banish the series to an alternate TV dimension.

Maybe 'Commander-In-Chief' could use a little company in that TV dimension. It's about time for a change in administrations from Mackenzie Allen's. If she was voted out of office, that is.....

For now, we'll just have to take a wait and see attitude towards the project.

Toby O'B


The powers that be on 'The Closer' are working on a spin-off from the series, which was confirmed by TNT. No information on who would be leaving 'The Closer' to headline the new series, and in fact, it could be a brand new character introduced for the purpose of the spin-off. The main rumor is that the title for the new series would be 'The Fixer'.

That sounds a lot like the job description for "Michael Clayton", whom I think would make for an interesting TV character.....

In other spin-off news, we now know who will be moving on from the end of 'The L Word' on Showtime to their own series... eventually. Maybe.

"[W]e're doing this interesting thing: The storyline at the end of 'The L Word', the final episode in the final season, there will be an open-ended component to it," Showtime CEO Matt Blank explained. "And Ilene is going to carry that story along on the Internet, which we think is an interesting way to keep 'The L Word' experience going. Then if we decide to go ahead with the spinoff, that storyline will segue into the new series."

According to, "Hailey has played Alice Pieszecki since 'The L Word' premiered on Showtime in 2004. A journalist, Alice may be best remembered as the creator of The Chart, a graphic representation of the romantic entanglements and sexual escapades of her group of friends, loved ones and acquaintances."

Toby O'B


No... my brother need not worry!

While hanging out with Mark & Michael the other night, we watched some old episodes of 'Bullshit!' - one on sleep and the other a mixture of their shows from the past.

In that one, they acted as though they did a show back in 1584 called "Billycock!" It sounds like something one would shout for the same reason as one might say "Bullshit!"\

But according to several online sites for definitions, basically it's.....

"any of several round-crowned brimmed hats of felt, such as the bowler".

I suppose it could have been a curse substitute.....

Toby O'B


I went to the FOX premiere party for Paley Centre members last night in midtown. The line-up was:

The 2nd season premiere of 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles'

'Do Not Disturb'


FOX was smart to show them in this order. I think almost everybody there was interested in seeing 'Fringe'. (Although most of the "blue-hairs", as we call the Wednesday matinee-attending old ladies who infest our lobby each mid-week, were probably just there for the wine and cheese. I saw one old lady stuffing her pockets with snacks! Reminded me of that 'Sopranos' scene when Paulie went out to lunch with his Mom....)

'Terminator' picked up right where the first season finale left off. And it introduced a new terminator to the present day storyline. She's played by Shirley Manson of the band Garbage, which is all I know about her. (I'm always more interested in the characters, but I would hazard a guess that she's Irish..... Addendum: And I'm wrong! Thanks to a commenter, I found out my ear for dialects has been too long in disuse. [Sorry, Mrs. Schor.] Manson is Scottish.)

It can't all be non-stop action for the full hour, I suppose, which was why the episode was padded out with moments of soul-searching (The church setting helped.) and a bit of soap opera. There were suggestions last season that John was romantically interested in his cyborg protector, but it was full-bore out in the open now and not handled very subtly.

I like Summer Glau very much as Cameron the cyborg, but I'm not sure if she can pull of that aspect convincingly. A scene where she had to bare actual (or faked) emotions didn't really work for me.

At any rate, it promises more of the same from last season, and those who made it the most highly rated mid-season new show will be back for more, no doubt. (That ratings claim is from the FOX spokeswoman who was there.)
I was tempted to just write "Do not watch" and leave it at that, inspired by my favorite movie critique by the late Stewart Klein. ("Won Ton Ton is a dog. This is Stewart Klein.")

But because of my own connection to the subject matter, I should say more......

'Do Not Disturb' is basically an over the top, over-acted sex farce with caricatures, not characters. This would be fine, I guess, if you're the audience for that. But I think such characters should be anchored in reality. If the world in which they interact doesn't feel real, neither will they.

Okay, so I work in the industry myself, and while our hotel is not trendy and hip like this place, at least it's appeared as itself in about four different series at least. (Off the top of my head: 'The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show', 'Becker', 'Seinfeld', and 'The Incredible Hulk'.) And there was nothing about the jobs these people were doing that felt real. I know that actual TV news rooms are nothing like that shown in 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'Murphy Brown', magazine publishing was probably ill-served by 'Just Shoot Me', and the drivers spent more time in the garage than driving on 'Taxi'. But because many of their plot lines grew out of their work environments, I could suspend my disbelief.

In 'Do Not Disturb', these people all seem to be lumped into the basement of their building for no identifiable reason if you didn't already know they worked for a hotel. Two of them you couldn't even tell what their job was. I saw clips from the show, a different episode, via Rob's "The Medium Is Not Enough" site (link to the left) and courtesy of YouTube, and I still don't can't figure out what Jesse Tyler Ferguson's position is. (The official site says he's head of housekeeping, but he never once interacted with maids - shouldn't he be situated near the laundry room?)

Speaking of which, I think the bellman character has either been recast or his character and look modified, but even then, we only see one bellman?

There are just too many characters, with not enough for them all to do, and most of them are trying to hard to sell the funny. Even though my interests lie in the trivial when it comes to TV, I was spending way too much time reading Rhonda's diplomas on the wall. (She went to Howard University, by the way; but also got a degree from the online school Walden University. At first my Toobworld-lovin' heart skipped a beat thinking this could have been a manifestation of the "Doonesbury" comic in the live action TV world, but noooooo. (The Trudeau comic does exist in the Tooniverse, however.)

Anyway, I've wasted too many keystrokes on this show as it is. Don't check in.
By this point in the posting, I'm a bit pooped, so I'll make this quick. Besides, I think this is the most highly-anticipated new show of the coming season, so it doesn't need me to sell it. So I'm just going to post what I wrote at Joe Bua's "I Am A TV Junkie" website last night. (Again, links to the left.)

I said:

It really worked well on the "big screen" at the Paley Centre....

Loved the visual joke re: the "inscreen" location caption for Baghdad as the jet flew overhead.

John Noble is going to be one of the most fascinating characters on TV this coming season. And Jean has excellent comic timing!

Excellent twist at the end which I did not see coming. I was following along, thinking that the basic set-up was one we had seen so many times, only to have it veer so wildly off-course (in more ways than one!)

Mark Valley should still be on our TV screens as Eddie Arlette in 'Keen Eddie'. (He was wasted on 'Boston Legal'!) I had quite a nostalgic kick watching him in this pilot because it reminded me of the good old days when you brought in a special guest star to help sell the pilot to series, with no intention of having that character continue with the show.

I'll have to check the other networks, but I can't think of any rivalry for that 9 pm slot on Tuesday save for the remainder of the 'Eureka' season. (And I thought of 'Eureka' as Dr. Bishop moved back into his old lab.)

Good thing for DVR to get rid of head-to-head competition!

Being a FOX show, I hope it lasts long enough that they can finagle a cameo from Gillian Anderson or David Duchovny; Mitch Pileggi even, as their characters from 'The X-Files'!

Thank God I saw it on a Thursday - no butterscotch pudding to contend with!

You'll understand that pudding line later....

Now, I suppose you could argue that I got hyped up for it because I saw it on the big screen and might have been overwhelmed by the stuff being so magnified. But Joe watched the episode from the comfort of his bedroom thanks to a screener - lucky bastid! - and he's even more hyped for 'Fringe' than I am!

Let me add this about John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop - it's not just that he's an incredible actor, but he looks like a man who spent the last 17 years in a mental institution. He shows signs of serious Life damage, and I'm impressed that the network didn't try to get his role recast with either someone more famous or photogenic. John Noble is real!

And getting back to one of the lesser characters, Jean. I don't think she'd qualify for an Emmy, but it's a shame she wasn't included in the cast picture.

Anyhoo, that's my report.

Toby O'B

Thursday, September 4, 2008


In the triumvirate of couch potatoes known as the Bit Torrent Rebel Alliance, Michael is only now catching up on 'Life On Mars'. Overnight, we watched the episode in which Sam Tyler sought to bring down a corrupt crime lord who used his nightclub as a front.

During the investigation, DCI Gene Hunt warned Sam off, saying that he was "Living in Cloud Cuckoo Land" if he thought he could put an end to Stephen Warren's criminal activities.

From Wikipedia:

Cloud Cuckoo Land refers to an (unrealistically) idealistic state where everything is perfect. ("You're living in Cloud-cuckoo-land.") It hints that the person referred to is naïve, unaware of reality or deranged in holding such an optimistic belief.

The reference is to the play, "The Birds" by the Athenian playwright Aristophanes, in which Pisthetairos (which can be translated to mean "Mr. Trusting") and Euelpides (which can be translated to mean "Mr. Hopeful") with the help of Tereus, tired of the Earth and Olympus, decide to erect a perfect city between the clouds, to be named Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.

Toby O'B


It's become tradition that the month of September would be the time for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame to honor those creative forces behind the scenes, here in the Real World. Past honorees have included Dick Wolf, Russell T. Davies, Norman Lear, and Brandon Tartikoff.

This year, a woman joins their ranks in that club - Jamie Tarses, who used to be in charge of the comedy division at NBC. There, she orchestrated the crossovers between several of the Peacock Network's big sitcoms (with a few of lesser quality getting a ride on their coat-tails).

Here's a quick biography of Jamie Tarses:

At age 32, Tarses became the youngest person and the first woman to preside over a network entertainment division. As President of ABC Entertainment, she reported to division Chairman Ted Harbert, who held her job before being promoted. This personal triumph followed an exceedingly eventful year at NBC Entertainment where she had spent the better part of a decade climbing swiftly up the corporate ladder.

The daughter of celebrated sitcom producer, writer and director Jay Tarses ("The Bob Newhart Show", "Buffalo Bill", "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd"), Tarses used her not insignificant connections--then NBC Entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff got her first network job--to get her foot in the door. But once inside, her meteoric rise was a testament to her own drive and talent.

Tarses has pointed to her ease with writers, finding script flaws and suggesting improvements, as her strong suit. She also gained a reputation for tough decisiveness; in 1991, as a junior programming executive, Tarses (then using her married name, McDermott) even declined to recommend that NBC pick up "Baltimore", a sitcom pilot about jazz musicians, produced by her own father.

Born in Pittsburgh, Tarses was raised in Los Angeles' less than trendy San Fernando Valley. After graduating with a theater degree from Williams College, she entered showbiz as a glorified production assistant, more specifically, the Assistant to the Talent Executive on NBC's "Saturday Night Live". This valuable experience helped Tarses land a job as a casting director at Lorimar Productions. She joined NBC in September 1987 as manager of Creative Affairs for NBC Productions segueing to the more high-powered Entertainment division in December as manager of Current Comedy Programs. In this capacity, Tarses served as NBC's program executive on such sitcoms as "Cheers", "Amen", "A Different World" and "227".

By July of the following year, she was named manager of Comedy Development for NBC Entertainment. February 1989 found Tarses as the director of Comedy Development. In this capacity, she participated in the development of such ratings winners as "Wings", "Blossom" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". (Her brother Matt Tarses served as a writer and story editor on the latter sitcom late in its run.)

As senior vice president of Primetime Series for NBC Entertainment, a position she assumed in 1994, Tarses reported directly to her mentor Warren Littlefield, president of the division. She was credited with playing a major role in the development of such hits as "Friends" and "Frasier" while supervising existing shows.

Jamie Tarses was responsible for those theme nights that NBC used to have to unite their various sitcoms on any given night. The umbrella themes would be "full moon" (probably the weakest of the batch), "hurricane" (for the Miami-based shows 'Nurses', 'Empty Nest', and 'The Golden Girls'), and "NYC blackout" (which turned out to be prescient).

She may have had something to do with the similar themes over at ABC once they joined them - a Vegas night that gave Jerry Van Dyke his unique standing in the Hall of Fame, and one about snow storms which was used to trumpet an upcoming Stephen King mini-series, "The Storm Of The Century".

Is she wasn't involved, then ABC was inspired by the idea.

And so Toobworld Central is saluting Ms. Tarses this month with her induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, Creators' Wing.

Toby O'B

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Centraal Beheer is the Netherlands insurance company who had that commercial about an alternate TV dimension where Adam and Eve ran into a huge problem right out of the starting gate. And now they have a new ad about an alien invasion of Earth that can easily be inserted into the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time.

With this UFO, the blipvert could also tie into 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' and to an episode of 'The Twilight Zone' - "The Little People". None of them have to be of the same planetary species, but they could come from the same solar system where the dimensional dynamics would be uniform.
Toby O'B


Cambridge University is actively seeking better representation in Toobworld, and has approached the three leading British soap operas about including its televersion in their plotlines.
The official stance of the university is that they wish to correct the perception that Cambridge was "not for young people from ordinary backgrounds".

Its rival Oxford must have it made in the eyes of prospective students - that's where all the cool murders are happening, thanks to 'Morse' and 'Lewis'.

Both universities are government-funded and with the mandate from the government that half of all young people should be attending college by 2010, Cambridge is using this tactic to attract more from lower economic backgrounds than usually attend the school.
And so 'Coronation Street', 'EastEnders', and 'Emmerdale' have been requested to play up the university in their storylines to attract the kinds of kids that could be found in less posh areas of London and Manchester and in farming villages like Emmerdale.

There's a storyline running right now in 'EastEnders' in which Tamwar Masood and Libby Fox are thinking about applying to both Cambridge and Oxford - "Oxbridge". But that was already in development when Cambridge came up with this initiative.
Oxford has taken notice of the storyline, but they're currently not actively pursuing it like Cambridge. Still, the university has made sure the producers of 'EastEnders' know about their bursary scheme in case a character like Libby wanted to look into whatever assistance might be available.

Tamwar and Libby still had a year of high school to complete on the show, so it was too soon to tell if they even keep up the storyline. It could be that audience ennui might dictate that the producers drop it.
But that's not the only option for Cambridge, which celebrates its 800th anniversary next year. They've also approached the new production team of 'Doctor Who' about including the university in a future show.

Wasn't St. Cedd's college located at Cambridge? Maybe they could find a way to resurrect Professor Chronotis from his Time War doom to rejoin his Gallifreyan brethren.

Toby O'B

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Until the last few years, Don LaFontaine was "That Voice". We as the audience didn't know what he looked like, nor what his name was. To get that kind of image across in print, just growl the following line:

"In a world where....."

Yeah. That guy. You know him from countless movie trailers and TV commercials.

Yesterday, Don LaFontaine passed away at the age of 68.

Here's his obituary from 'Entertainment Tonight':

[Don] LaFontaine, known as the "King of Voiceovers," died Monday afternoon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. LaFontaine's agent, Vanessa Gilbert, tells ET that he passed away following complications from Pneumothorax, the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity, the result of a collapsed lung. The official cause of death has not yet been released.

Over the past 25 years, LaFontaine cemented his position as the "King of Voiceovers." Aside from being the preeminent voice in the movie trailer industry, Don also worked as the voice of Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, as well as for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and UPN, in addition to TNT, TBS and the Cartoon Network. By conservative estimates, he voiced hundreds of thousands of television and radio spots, including commercials for Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford, Budweiser, McDonalds, Coke, and many other corporate sponsors.

He recently parodied himself on a series of national television commercials for Geico. At last count, he has worked on nearly 5000 films, including appearances as the in-show announcer for the Screen Actors Guild and Academy Awards. Based on contracts signed, he has the distinction of being perhaps the single busiest actor in the history of SAG.

In a Toobworld where the Voice-overs could be a separate race of beings, Don LaFontaine is going to be missed very much. I'm just glad the people viewing at home were finally able to put a face to that incredible voice......

Toby O'B

"When you die and go to heaven, the voice you hear is not Don's.
It's God trying to sound like Don."
Ashton Smith


Whenever there's a hurricane threatening the Gulf Coast states which could affect their counterparts in the TV Universe, these would be the shows that would be affected. Just about all of these shows are no longer on the air, but in Toobworld that doesn't mean the characters don't go on living their lives.

'Malcolm in the Middle'
We don't know where the show actually took place, but Marlin Academy was located there, which is where Francis was going to school when the series began.

'In The Heat Of The Night'
Town of Sparta

'The Long Hot Summer'
Frenchman's Bend

'The Mississippi'
Mississippi River

'Private Benjamin'
Fort Bradley, Biloxi
Of these, I think 'Private Benjamin' was the only one nearest the coastline. But the others were probably very close to the Big Muddy or whatever they call the river......
'Pensacola: Wings of Gold'
'Maximum Bob'

'Down Home'
Hadley Cove
They would have been particularly hard hit by Katrina.

'The Big Easy'
'Bourbon Street Beat'
'Frank's Place'
'13 Bourbon Street'
All of these shows took place in New Orleans. Especially when it comes to some of the charactes from 'Frank's Place', many of them could have perished in Katrina. Of course, some of the shows, like 'Bourbon Street Beat' and 'Longstreet', are old enough so that most of their characters were probably long gone anyway.

'Swamp Thing'
Bayou Swamps Near Town Of Houma

Hurricane Katrina would have even affected a Western series called 'Yancy Derringer'. There were reports of coffins being forced up out of the ground by the storm and the resultant flooding, and Derringer's final resting place could have been disturbed......
Toby O'B

[Thanks to TV Acres for the location info.]

Monday, September 1, 2008


New month, new Fanficcer's Friend.....

If you haven't picked up on FF yet this year here at Inner Toob, it's a monthly installment in which I supply a picture that could inspire those of you out there who like to write fan fiction. (And if you want to make it slash fiction, that's up to you.....)

This month I'm showcasing a couple of pics from the 1960s private eye flick "Marlowe", with James Garner taking on the updated role of Chandler's iconic detective Philip Marlowe. It's a great movie for TV lovers, with appearances by Carroll O'Connor, Jackie Coogan, and a character named Sonny Steelgrave (later made more famous in Toobworld by Ray Sharkey in 'Wiseguy').

But the movie probably gets more attention nowadays for two scenes in which Rockfish -er, Marlowe is menaced by a martial arts thug named Winslow Wong. And that's because Wong is played by Bruce Lee.
But that's in the movie universe. If these two men were to meet in the TV Universe, we'd be seeing them as private eye Jim Rockford and as Kato, the sidekick to 'The Green Hornet'.

Of course, both men are supposed to be heroes in Toobworld, and yet here they're seen at odds with each other. And as you probably guessed, I've got a splainin!

It's like a classic issue of "Marvel Team-Up" comic book: two heroes meet in a case of mistaken circumstance - each thinking the other is guilty of some crime. They battle for awhile and then they team up to overpower the real villain of the story.

The same thing could be happening here as Kato confronts Rockford, first in somebody else's office (because we know Jimbo worked out of his beachfront trailer), and then on a high-rise rooftop in Los Angeles.
And we're just dealing with frame grabs here. No need to give any consideration to how that rooftop scene ends. (For Winslow Wong, it's not good.....)

So have at it, fanficcers! Here's your chance to conjure up a crossover story in which 'The Rockford Files' intersects with 'The Green Hornet'....

Toby O'B


Hurricane Gustav has now hit the Louisiana coast, and I hope and pray that N'Awlins withstands the assault and survives, showing that the work done since the failures from the Katrina disaster of three years ago have been successful.

But my concerns are in Biloxi, Mississippi, where my cousin Justin is stationed at the base, a newly minted Marine. He told me in a Facebook note a week ago that if Gustav turned out to be a Category 4 hurricane, then they'd be evacuated. I haven't heard from him since, so I'm assuming his unit was transferred elsewhere.

No idea yet how deadly and destructive Gustav will turn out to be, but it will be measured up against Katrina. Before that meteorological bitch nearly destroyed the Big Easy and before Hurricane Andrew rampaged across Florida, I think you have to go back to August of 1969 to find a comparable storm of such magnitude - Camille.

And that's just what Dr. Sam Beckett did in an episode of 'Quantum Leap' from October 2nd, 1991.. In "Hurricane - August 17, 1969". Here's a plot summary from the book "The Complete 'Quantum Leap' Book" by Louis Chunovic:

"Sam becomes Deputy Sheriff Archie Necaise. He finds himself in Jackson Point, Mississippi, with nurse girlfriend Cissy Davis.

Hurricane Camille is about to hit with deadly force. Archie and Cissy are trying to convince the local residents to flee the storm, but the locals are having a hurricane party and refuse to leave.
Sam learns he must return to the party and evacuate the tenants or they will be killed. He also must prevent Cissy from returning to her own house, where she, too, will die. Complications arise when Cissy's ex-boyfriend shows up with his family."

I've left off the last two sentences of the summary, just in case you someday want to check out the episode for yourself. And those are pictures from the episode.

The episode was written by Chris Ruppenthal and directed by Michael Watkins.

Here is a recap of what happened in the Biloxi area beginning on August 17th, 1969:

On the night of August 17, 1969 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Many had scoffed at the forecast of unprecedented high winds and expected a rising tide, but in the early morning hours of August 18th [they] were firm believers. Final data on the storm reported wind velocity in excess of 210 miles per hour and a tidal surge in excess of 24 feet topped with at least a 10 foot sea. Many of those who refused to believe the forecast and stayed at home to ride out the storm lived to regret it.
Some did not live through it.

The latest survey reveals 134 deaths; 27 missing; 8,931 injured; 5,662 homes destroyed and 13,915 suffering major losses. This is not counting the loss of businesses, other structures, and much of the natural beauty of the Mississippi Coast. The total destruction area of Harrison County alone was 68 square miles. Because of ample warning the death toll was not as high as in some previous hurricanes, but the destruction was unprecedented in United States history to that time.

Hurricane Camille is a bench mark in the American hurricane experience. Although Camille hit an area that had a relatively small population by today's standards - it still provided a horrific firsthand lesson of what a hurricane of maximum intensity can do to the man-made environment. Hurricane Andrew (1992) destroyed more property, and Hurricane Katrina resulted in many more fatalities - but Hurricane Camille remains the strongest storm to ever enter the United States mainland on record. As Camille marched toward the Mississippi coast in darkness, brick by brick, civilization from near Ansley to Biloxi, was erased. Homes, motels, apartments, restaurants, and other buildings were swept off their foundations, and deposited in mountains of rubble together with trees and automobiles. The local effect resembled an atomic bombing. Camille's 200 mph wind gusts and 25 foot storm surge, destroyed 100 years of growth and progress along the Mississippi coast in only three hours. Survivors near the eye reported a deafening roar of wind, that was by itself truly terrifying, often compared to speeding freight train. Although the damage in all of southern Mississippi was appalling, within about 1/2 mile from the ocean, most of the structures seemed to have just vanished. Only footings and slabs remained. Even plumbing systems had been removed.
After Camille moved inland, the storm weakened, but not before triggering catastrophic flash flooding and landslides over the mountains of the southeastern United States. Torrential rains poured over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, with 27 inches measured in one location. The cascading flood waters rushed down the mountain slopes, sweeping away roads, bridges, and buildings. More than 100 were killed in Virginia and Tennessee alone.

I compiled that report from several sources. These are the links for more information and pictures:

I'm not sure if Hurricane Andrew ever figured in a TV plotline, although it was mentioned in one of the 'Police Squad' movie sequels in the "Naked Gun" franchise. Katrina has figured in a few shows like 'Bones', 'Friday Night Lights', 'Guiding Light', and 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'. (A running plotline from 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' was due to a fictional hurricane from the same season.) And then there's 'K-Ville', a New Orleans police procedural as the city rebuilt.

O'Bviously there's no way to tell now if Gustav will also have a presence in Toobworld, but that's hardly important at the moment. Let's just hope its destructive powers are kept to a minimum.

Toby O'B

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Later today, Jerry Lewis will kick off his latest telethon to battle Muscular Dystrophy. If I'm doing the math correctly in my head, it should be his 42nd since he first began hosting it in 1966.

I took a look at Jerry's credits to see if he had an established televersion in Toobworld, besides his many appearances on talks shows and variety programs. And I was surprised to find that there were only three series episodes in which he appeared as the fictional version of himself over the decades. He's been in other TV shows as other characters, - like 'Wiseguy', 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit', and 'The Simpsons' - but they have their own lives separate from Jerry Lewis in Toobworld.

Here are his three appearances as his own televersion:

"Good Grief" .... Himself
- The Bear (1991)
When the town is terrorized by a bear, Ernie and his family must spend a Saturday night at home with no TV.

"Brothers" .... Himself
- Las Vegas Serenade: Part 2 (1987)
The urn with Aunt Billie's ashes has been presented to Jerry Lewis as a decoration, and Donald and Lou must retrieve it. Meanwhile, Sam tries stand-up comedy, and Penny and Jim contemplate a Vegas wedding.

"Batman" .... Himself
- The Bookworm Turns (1966)
The Bookworm stages a phoney assassination on the Commissioner and leaves a clue for them to solve. With the help of Lydia, the Bookworm captures Robin who is tied to the Wayne Memorial Tower.

Jerry was the first cameo star to pop out of a window during one of the Batclimbs. Batman and Robin were climbing the building in order to foil the misdeeds of the Bookworm (played by the late Roddy McDowall). As the decription for "Las Vegas Serenade: Part 2" notes, he figured into the storyline for a 'Brothers' storyline. But I have no clue how he got involved with the characters from 'Good Grief', unless he was disguised in a bear suit? Anybody out there have any idea?

The nature of the business has changed and the showrunners do aim for a younger demographic; so if they are going to have an episode in which celebrities appear as themselves, it would probably be somebody currently in vogue, like a singer or an athlete. Even if they were still alive, guys like Jack Benny and Milton Berle wouldn't find much call for their services as a quick cameo on most sitcoms today. And the same probably holds true for Jerry Lewis as one of the last of that era. But that still doesn't splain why he made so few appearances as himself in shows of the past.

Could it have been that they wanted to spoof the telethon and he wanted to protect its image? Who knows. But 'Las Vegas' would have been a natural!

Here are a few suggestions I had for shows in which Jerry Lewis could still show up as himself in an episode. Some of them have the perfect setting for him to make an appearance; others would be a stretch, but that's never stopped writers from working in a cameo before!

'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
'Two And A Half Men'
'30 Rock'
'Samantha Who' - His cry of "Nice Lady!" could be used ironically here....
'Dirty Sexy Money'
'Pushing Daisies'
'Knight Rider'
'How I Met Your Mother'
'Brothers & Sisters'
'Desperate Housewives'
'Burn Notice' - Maybe some scheme going down at that hotel where he filmed "The Bellboy"? (If it even exists anymore....)
'Lost' - Hey, Billy Dee Williams showed up in a flashback!

Good luck on breaking last year's tally total!

Toby O'B