Saturday, January 31, 2009


I don't know what the Fates have in store for the American version of 'Life On Mars'. I saw a headline at that the ratings upon its return this past week were not good. Alls I know is that, as much as I LOVED the original British version (which is in my top TV shows), I am enjoying this adaptation for its own merits.

And a leading factor in that is the 70s soundtrack that infuses the world in which Detective Sam Tyler has found himself.

This week had a great example near the end of the episode. As the social worker Maria Belanger entered the bar to greet Sam, B.W. Stevenson could be heard singing "My Maria", which closed out the show. Oh mayun! I have not heard that song probably since 1973, and what a rush it brought back!

a link to a youtube version of it. The video is just of the 45 record spinning on its turntable because I didn't want to ruin whatever imagery you may already have for that song in your head. (Don't you hate it when TV commercials do that? Although I do give a free pass to Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" for VW's Cabrio.)

Toby O'B


After a short hiatus from spending money on the Toobworld Central DVD library, I had a few deliveries today:

1) "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"
It just didn't seem right that I wouldn't have my own copy of this big winner from the 2008 Toobits Awards.

2) 'Studio One' - "A Bolt Of Lightning"
Charlton Heston portrays James Otis, a colonial Boston revolutionary (based on the true story of Otis, who traveled in the same circles as Samuel Adams).

3) "Captains And The Kings"
Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this! I haven't seen this since it first aired back in the 1970s on NBC. And what a cast - Richard Jordan, Vic Morrow, Charles Durning, Blair Brown (I think she and Jordan met on this mini-series?), Patty Duke, Perry King, Ray Bolger, John Houseman, Burl Ives, John Carradine, Barbara Parkins, Joanna Pettet, Ann Sothern, Jane Seymour, Neville Brand, Robert Vaugh, Pernell Roberts, Peter Donat, Beverly D'Angelo, Clifton James, Cliff De Young, more character actors than you can shake a ham at, and Henry Fonda (in a role that's very reminiscent of one in "All The King's Men").

I also picked up a few "Wall-E" items, but those are for my nephew.....

Toby O'B


This year, for the tenth anniversary of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame here at Toobworld Central, we're inducting new members every week, rather than just once a month. And one of the scheduled inductees for March gained an added bonus to his resume of qualifying appearances in the TV Universe. And he probably didn't even know about it until the episode aired.

In the 'Eleventh Hour' episode "Eternal", Dr. Jacob Hood saw a picture of the late Lowell Parks (who was discovered to have two fully formed hearts) with three beautiful women... and Hugh Hefner.

Something not too different from this. I bet he must get bored posing with so many loverlies all the time......

Even though the founder of Playboy didn't actually appear in the episode, the photograph confirms his presence in this corner of the TV Universe. And since it shows him with a fictional character, that means he's Hef's tele-version and thus connects 'Eleventh Hour' to other shows like 'Entourage' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.

Toby O'B


Usually there's no rhyme nor reason to the daily choices I make for the "As Seen On TV" feature. Leading up to Obama's inauguration, I did have a short run of the former presidents. And I may get to most of the others (if available) later in the year. I will have a theme for next week, of famous people as seen on 'Liberty's Kids', if only to use the various profile pictures I grabbed from their website.

But for now, it's mostly a slapdash collection of pics. And for today we have the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa as he looked in "And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself". Antonio Banderas played Pancho Villa and the HBO movie was written by Larry Gelbart.
That in itself makes this a worthy choice for the Inner Toob spotlight.

Toby O'B

Friday, January 30, 2009


One of the 'Secret Agent' episodes I saw yesterday was "Battle Of The Cameras" in which I may have found a theoretical link to 'The Avengers'; one that I'm sure must have occurred to fans of both series long before. Patrick Newell portrayed Alex, AKA Agent 1056, who was assigned to assist John Drake in Cote D'Azure. Although he was competent in his duties, he was a bumbler who had an over-inflated sense of his own capabilities. Just the sort of middle-management fellow to find himself kicked upstairs with a promotion. So it will be the Toobworld Central contention that Alex would later be chosen to head the undisclosed branch of British Intelligence, the same place where John Steed worked as a "top professional" agent. As his code name in his new position, Agent 1056 would now be known as "Mother".

And as you've realized by now, Mother was played by Patrick Newell in 20 episodes of 'The Avengers' during the Tara King years.

Toby O'B

I'll have to re-watch the 'Doctor Who' episode "The Android Invasion" to see if I can make some kind of connection to Newell's character of Colonel Faraday. Not that he has to be Alex/Mother, even though we never learned his last name on 'Secret Agent'. But they could be identical cousins.....


In the 'Danger Man' episode that I watched yesterday at the Paley Center for Media ("The Key"), suspected double agent Harry Logan had an apartment in Vienna. He lived there with his wife, Maria.

The apartment number was "16", one of the key numbers from 'Lost'.....

Toby O'B


I went to the Paley Center for Media on Thursday, hoping to see "Best Of Friends", in which Patrick McGoohan played George Bernard Shaw. Unfortunately, the program, although in the library, has yet to be catalogued and so was unavailable.

I still made it a day of McGoohan, however, with an episode of 'Danger Man' and two episodes of 'Secret Agent', including "The Battle Of The Cameras". I thought that was the pilot; it had all the earmarks of being the first episode, but instead it aired during the second season.

Nevertheless, even though I didn't get to see "Best Of Friends", I still wanted to feature Patrick McGoohan as George Bernard Shaw today in the "As Seen On TV" feature.
Toby O'B

Thursday, January 29, 2009


John Updike passed away the other day at the age of 76. His stories of suburban angst could probably be best represented by his four novels about "Rabbit" Angstrom, of which at least one was made into a movie. But others of his works were adapted for television as well, including "The Witches Of Eastwick" which was turned into a pilot for a proposed series twice - once in 1992 and again a decade later.

His short stories were the basis for "Too Far To Go" in 1979, and he contributed the story for "Pigeon Feathers" in 1987. His novel "The Christian Roommate" was adapted in 1985 as "The Roommate".

The two "Eastwick" pilots would end up in two different TV dimensions, with the first adaptation (starring Julia Campbell, Catherine Mary Stuart, and Ally Walker, with Michael Siberry as the Devil) taking precedence in Earth Prime-Time. (The other version starred Marcia Cross of
'Desperate Housewives', Lori Loughlin and Kelly Rutherford with Jason O'Mara, now on 'Life On Mars', as Daryl Van Horne.)

But John Updike also appeared as himself, albeit over in the Tooniverse, when he appeared in 'The Simpsons' episode "Insane Clown Poppy". Like other literary figures of our time, Updike appeared at the Springfield Festival of Books. But he was there as the ghost writer of Krusty the Clown's book, "Your Shoes Too Big To Kickbox God"

The following conversation is paraphrased: Krusty the Clown:
Ahhh, book writing! What a scam! Just twenty pages and they eat it up.... and this guy did all the writing for me! What's your name again?
John Updike:
John Updike.
Hey, I didn't ask for your life story!

A minute later, after a little girl (Drew Barrymore) surprised the clown by claiming that he was her father, Krusty muttered that he seltzered himself which caused John Updike to laugh. Krusty:
Hey, shut up, Updike!

Toby O'B

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


From a Weight-Watchers' blipvert
From a Bugs Bunny cartoon

The former could be the Toobworld doppelganger of the latter from the Tooniverse. Or at least one of its descendants.

Just sayin', is all.....

Toby O'B


'The American Experience' is presenting "The Trial of J. Robert Oppenheimer" this week on PBS. David Straithairn stars as the "father" of the atom bomb..... Check your local listings to see when it will air or be repeated.

Toby O'B


January's the slow month in my business, so to pass the time of night, I put together a little list of TV crossovers that I'd like to see.

Toobworld tries to be all-inclusive, to the best of its ability so long as there are no contradictions to other TV shows. That means our wish-list of crossovers would ignore such usual obstacles as different TV networks and concerns like the quality of a show. I'd have no problem with making a theoretical link between 'Lost', one of the greatest TV shows ever (already in my top 5), and 'My Mother The Car', reviled by many as one of the worst, so long as the argument for such a link was valid.

Just stating that up front. Remember that as you check out some of these crossovers I'd like to see.....

'Torchwood' - 'Primeval'

One's on the BBC, the other on ITV. But it would spell a ratings bonanza for both, I think.

'The Shield' - 'The Closer'
Even though 'The Shield' has now concluded, we could still see some of the fallout from the actions of Vic Mackey and his crew be dumped in the laps of the Major Crime Squad.

'Entourage' - '30 Rock'
Vincent Chase is brought on 'TGS with Tracy Jordan' as that week's guest performer.

'Cold Case' - 'New Tricks'
The old pros from Dover aka the UCOS squad could find their reopened investigation takes them to Philadelphia. Bonding between Lily Rush and Sandra Pullman ensues.

'Psych' - 'The Mentalist'
Patrick Jane admits that his "psychic" skills are all based on his observational skills. Could he find a way to expose Shawn Spencer as being the same?

'Robin Hood' - 'Merlin'
A little time travel spell by Merlin could put him in the same era as Robin Hood. And they could then use some kind of transformation magic to splain away the proposed recasting of Robin Hood and several of the key supporting players.

'Bones' - 'Bonekickers'
Here's where the question of quality would come up. 'Bones' has traveled to the United Kingdom in the past; next time they should cross over into 'Bonekickers'.

'Fringe' - 'The Eleventh Hour'
I'd love to see Dr. Jacob Hood interact with Dr. Walter Bishop! And Peter could schmooze FBI agent Rachel Young - who could be Agent Olivia Dunham's old classmate at Quantico.

'Fringe' - 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles'
The technology developed by Massive Dynamics to build the robotic arm for Blair Brown's character in 'Fringe' will certainly be wanted by Skynet (of 'Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles') when they take over, so that their army of robots and cyborgs can be built.

Those are just some examples. I'd love to hear what ones you'd like to see!

Toby O'B

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Even with the holiday hiatus, I didn't put much of a dent in my DVR queue; I always seemed to find something to record and watch even during the so-called down-time. But today I finally watched the Muppets' Christmas special, "Letters To Santa"..... I don't know, there just seems to be some spark missing from their heyday. Maybe it's the sense of anarchy you could feel in the syndicated show from the mid 70's?

At any rate, the Muppets, like all puppets who interact with humans on Television, are citizens of the main Toobworld. And as such, there were two connections made within the special that had ramifications on the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.
First up, the Kermit and his friends met Mayor Mike Bloomberg outside of a NYC post office, and that marks his required third appearance in different TV shows. (He must have some kind of deal with NBC - his other two appearances as himself were in episodes of 'Law & Order' and '30 Rock'.)

And then we saw Jesse L. Martin playing a postal worker. Martin used to play Detective Ed Green of the 27th Precinct on 'Law & Order' (already a Hall of Famer), but he left during last season. So we could make the assumption that this mailroom employee was Ed Green pursuing a new line of work.
Now some new to my version of "a rough whimper of insanity" might think it strange that I mix such a realistic police procedural like 'Law & Order' with the Muppets, but that's what Toobworld is all about. On occasion, even cartoon characters cross over from the Tooniverse and interact with live-action characters.

And the fact that no living puppets were ever seen on any of Dick Wolf's shows in the 'L&O' franchise is not an obstacle. There's a prejudice against puppets among humans in the TV Universe, so that's why we don't see any of the cops or prosecutors dealing with them. And if any puppets were involved in a case prosecuted by Ben Stone or Jack McCoy, it was one of the many cases that we never see taken care of in front of the camera.

See? Easy splainin!

Toby O'B


On this date in 1595, Sir Francis Drake died of dysentery and was buried outside of Portabello. On television, he had a TV series about his exploits in which he was portrayed by Terence Morgan. Even though most of the stories presented in the show were totally fictional, it would be Morgan's portrayal which would stand as the official Toobworld version of Drake. (Toobworld is biased towards those versions of historical figures who are played by the same actor for at least three episodes, and the first one out of the gate usually gets the nod to be the official standard bearer. Usually.)

Sir Francis Drake is pictured here with Queen Elizabeth I. Although Glenda Jackson gets the nod for her official portrayal in Toobworld, thanks to 'Elizabeth R', we can say this is her as well. The difference in the looks could be attributed to a variation in the makeup that was used to disguise her blemishes and ravages of age.

Better than saying this was yet another quantum leaper....

Toby O'B

Monday, January 26, 2009


From the "Doctor Who News Page:

The 'fast-tracked' The Next Doctor has debuted in Australia to disappointing ratings.
The 2008 Christmas Special averaged only 738,000 in the five major capital cities, compared to the 1 million plus viewers who regularly watched Series Four in 2008. The lower ratings are probably explained by the summer 'non-ratings' period, the Australia Day long weekend and the 1.745 million viewers who watched Australian Jelena Dokic's remarkable progress to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Channel 7.

I've got another possible reason: anybody who REALLY wanted to see the special badly enough viewed it already via bit torrent. I bet the ratings for its American debut will not be as high as expected either... whenever THAT will be!

Networks suits - may they be nibbled to death by ducks - have got to accept that the world is too small nowadays thanks to the internet; that they can't hold back anticipated programming to fit their schedules, because people will search it out if they want it badly enough.

I'll still DVR it when it finally shows up here in the States, but it won't be the eagerly anticipated show it could have been had they worked it out with the BBC to semi-simulcast the damn thing on Christmas Day, when it should be seen.

Just sayin', is all....

Toby O'B


The mantra for the fourth week of TV Crossover Hall Of Fame inductees is Location, Location, Location!

For this week's Classic TV entry into the anniversary class of the Hall Of Fame for January, 2009, we're celebrating what could be the greatest TV location of all - St. Eligius Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, as seen in 'St. Elsewhere'.

Actually, 'St. Elsewhere' is just the starting point for this teaching hospital. If there is such a thing as a center of the TV Universe, it just may be this building. So many TV shows can be linked to it directly, or through varied degrees of separation.

My crossover compadres, the Westphallians, have mapped it all out on a grid as to how almost all shows lead to St. Eligius. I don't agree with the premise that the TV Universe exists only in Tommy Westphall's head, thus making 'St. Elsewhere' the only true TV show in their version of Toobworld. But if you toss that aside, all of their descriptions of how the shows all connect is invaluable.

Here's just a partial list of TV shows that are linked to 'St. Elsewhere' directly:

'The White Shadow'
'Homicide: Life On The Street'
'Chicago Hope'
'Tattinger's'/'Nick And Hillary'
'The Bob Newhart Show'

I set myself a time limit of a minute to come up with connections off the top of my head; I'm sure there are more to be found if I put some serious thought into it. And that's just a list of the direct connections. Spreading out from there we could list so many more, several hundred in fact!

Check out their graph and the key that accompanies it; you should be lost in there for a while.....

Toby O'B


On Sunday, I finally watched the third installment in the "Librarian" franchise, "Curse Of The Judas Chalice". And it had some interesting bits o' trivia which played into the overall picture for Toobworld, while there was also a huge Zonk that needed splainin.

The female lead, played by Stana Katic, was a vampire named Simone Renoir. She told Finn Carsen that she was 403 years old, and that she had been born in France in 1603. So, even though this tele-flick wasn't broadcast until December of 2008, it was taking place in 2006.

This is perfect for the Toobworld timeline! Finn was gobsmacked that there could really be such a thing as vampires - even though he would brag that he had faced off against 35 known monstrous threats. (As well as dealing with such things as Excalibur and ghosts.)

In the series 'True Blood', it's been two years since Tru-Blood was introduced on the market, giving vampires an alternative to snacking on humans. So "Curse Of The Judas Chalice" must have taken place just before vampires finally revealed themselves to the world and "lived" openly among humans.

But there was another revelation in the TV-movie that is a contradiction to an established Toobworld premise - the one true Dracula, man and vampire, as played by Rudolf Martin in a TV movie and in an episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', respectively. And yet Professor Lazlo revealed himself to be Vlad Dracul near the end of the two hours.

Of course, lots of other TV shows and TV movies, and even TV commercials, which all are written and produced as if they exist in their own private world (which is their right), have presented their own versions of Count Dracula or of Vlad Tepes the Impaler. But they're either situated in alternate TV dimensions, the best way to dispose of such Zonks if they're from TV movies, or they are simply imposters; at best they are related to the original Dracul and carry the family name.

I want to keep "The Librarian" franchise in the main Toobworld, so there has to be a way to work around this. And it's my contention that as a man, Vlad Dracul sired a lot of illegitimate bastards. Being the self-centered egomaniac dictator that he was, he named them all after himself. Not all of them became vampires like their old man, but Lazlo Vlad could be counted among those of his off-spring.

(There's another way in which a vampire can claim the name of Dracula - as the sign by which their lineage can be traced to the vampire who "sired" [or embraced] them. This is why Grandpa on 'The Munsters' bore the name of "Dracula". But Toobworld Central doesn't believe he was born a Dracula. It's the Toobworld conceit that he traveled back in Time from Brooklyn in the 1930's/40's using Woodrow Mulligan's time helmet from 'The Twilight Zone' or some other temporal device. He was then embraced into vampirism by Count Dracula himself and lived out his life through the centuries again.)

Following this theory, you can then surmise from the look in Lazlo "Vlad" Dracule's eyes that he relished the idea that these humans thought of him as THE Vlad Dracul.

So that takes the bite out of that Zonk....

Owoooooooo! Real scary, kids!

Toby O'B


Although we're leaving behind the Tooniverse with yesterday's portrait of James Madison "As Seen On TV", we're not yet done with our Founding Fathers. Today's historical figure in Toobworld is Ben Franklin, as played by Richard Easton in the PBS mini-series 'Benjamin Franklin'. Ben Franklin may very well be America's first celebrity who was "made for television". If he was alive today, Franklin would be making the rounds of sitcoms and dramas, in high demand to appear as himself.

Toby O'B

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I don't know if this would make for a better sub-plot on 'Caerdydd' or 'Torchwood'.....

Toby O'B


Our final piece celebrating the TV work of Ricardo Montalban.....

With the passing of Ricardo Montalban two weeks ago, I thought I'd revisit a Toobworld premise that I once put forth in the old website of The Tubeworld Dynamic.

Namely, that Mr. Roarke of 'Fantasy Island' was a Gallifreyan Time Lord, as seen on 'Doctor Who'!

Within the original series, it was established that Mr. Roarke was over 300 years old; certainly not a trait shared with many Terrans. He also made contact with aliens like the Doctor, but not in the conventional sense of BEMs from other worlds. He knew a mermaid, a humanoid species native to this planet, and he clashed with the Devil in one episode. (This means that we can link 'Fantasy Island' to 'Reaper', since the Devil can take on many guises.)

When the series was revived many years later, a new actor was now playing the role of Mr. Roarke. With any other show, this would have damned the remake to an alternate dimension shared by new versions of 'The Addams Family', '87th Precinct', and 'The Fugitive'. But with having already established that Roarke was long-lived like the Gallifreyans, we could then postulate that with Malcolm McDowell now in the role, Mr. Roarke had gone through regeneration at some point between the two series.

Not only did he have new physical features, but a new personality (somewhat darker and more menacing), new quirks, and a new taste in wardrobe. And haven't we seen that happen after each regeneration?

The new series gave us another clue that he was a Gallifreyan. On the island there was an old shed which his two manservants, Harry and Cal, used to store all of the garbage that had accumulated on the Island. And there was never any danger of it filling up because it was so very much larger on the inside than it was on the outside. O'Bviously this shed was a disguised TARDIS.

The new Mr. Roarke also associated with aliens, as evidenced by his assistant Ariel. She was able to morph her appearance to be anybody or even any animal. However, we can't link her to the Founders of the Dominion like Odo from 'Deep Space Nine' - because she could make a proper human nose. And we can't link her to the race Maya belonged to on 'Space: 1999' because she just an imaginary construct (as DCI Alex Drake would call her on 'Ashes To Ashes'). Maya only existed in the coma dreamworld of Commander Koenig after he nearly died in that nuclear waste dump explosion on the far side of the Moon.

Both versions of the show are off the air now, so there's no way to disprove my theory as to how they continued off-screen. And where's the harm in it anyway? Of course, if we follow the Gallifreyan connection to its logical conclusion, then we have to assume that Mr. Roarke died in the Time War, following the story established in 'Doctor Who'. But knowing how the network suits "think", I'm sure we'll see another incarnation of Mr. Roarke within a decade or so.

It would be nice to think he survived to continue granting wishes on his 'Fantasy Island'.....

Toby O'B


As the week of Barack Obama's inauguration draws to a close, we're wrapping up this run of the presidents. "As Seen On TV" will still continue as a daily feature, and we still have plenty of pics of presidents available to share for this theme. But ye olde Toobmeister is getting a bit bored and wants to move on to other famous people as they look in the TV Universe.

So for this last POTUS entry we're crossing over into a major sub-dimension of the TV Universe known as the Tooniverse. (Where the District of Columbia might also have been known as 'Washingtoon', if only as the title to an old TV series.)

The temptation was to look for a good candidate from the Hall of Presidents as seen on 'Futurama'. But I think I'll save them to be introduced next month on their special day.

Instead, we turn to 'Liberty's Kids' for this portrait of our 4th president, James Madison.

Here's a thumbnail biography of Madison, provided by the website for 'Liberty's Kids':

He entered politics in 1774 when he was elected to the Committee of Safety in Virginia. These committees were formed to provide local government when the British colonial government was failing in the years before independence was declared.

He represented Virginia at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and kept better records than anyone else of the debates that were conducted in drafting the constitution.

He is often called the Father of the Constitution, and is credited with drafting the first ten amendments, called the Bill of Rights.

He was the 4th President of the United States, serving two terms from 1809-1817.

Toby O'B