Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I've long had a fascination for names. I think it goes back to my introduction to "The Hobbit" which served as a gateway to a lifetime love of Fantasy. Even now I'm always on the lookout for the interesting names that leap up to my notice during the course of my job - Christian Beers, Cricket Hunter, Cliff Walker.....

Television is a world of Fantasy; that's always been the basis for the Toobworld Dynamic. And there have been names over the decades that sometimes sound as though they originated in some alternate realm: "Horatio Caine", "Bret Maverick", "Theo Kojak", "Beaver Cleaver", "Fox Mulder", "Simka Gravas", "Endora".....

But for the most part, the names in the registry of Toobworld are plain and simple, much like those to be found in a small town phone book in the Midwest of the real world. People with names like Richards, Taylor, Williams, Rockford, Campbell.

Even so, a common name will summon great TV memories which later writers might want to invoke by using that name again in a different show. So here's a Super Six List of "Recycled TV Character Names"....

('The Andy Griffith Show' > 'The X-Files' - "Home") The name just wasn't enough; Andy Taylor had the same occupation as the original in Mayberry, North Carolina. He even had a deputy named Barney, although his last name was Paster. (But when Agent Mulder was introduced to the deputy, he jumped in with "Fife" as his guess for Barney's last name.)

That Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife might be known in another TV show isn't a Zonk. Whenever it happens, it's never a reference to 'The Andy Griffith Show', but to the movie that was made in Mayberry back in 1961, which brought fame to all of the townfolk.

('Bewitched' > 'thirtySOMETHING' - "Closing The Circle") If I remember this correctly, the second Larry Tate himself pointed out how strange was it that he should be in advertising with a name like "Larry Tate". I'm hoping the show "Bewitched" wasn't mentioned, so that instead we can make the claim that everybody in the advertising game knew the legend from McMann & Tate......

('Jack & Bobby' > 'Brothers & Sisters') In this case, one or even both of these TV series belong in an alternate TV dimension. While it was set in the present day, 'Jack & Bobby' could exist in the main Toobworld. But eventually there was a rift which sent its timeline off on its own.

The late Robert McCallister of 'Brothers & Sisters' in its contemporary timeline was far older than the boy in 'Jack & Bobby', but he had aspirations for the White House as well. Not that it mattered - not only did his character die between these last two seasons, but a female governor in California when most shows in Earth Prime-Time acknowledge Schwarzenegger as holding that office sends 'Brothers & Sisters' off to an alternate timeline - at least until cancellation when we can invoke the 'Primeval' reboot.

('F Troop' > 'The New Gidget') It might have been nice to claim that the Wilton Parmenter played by Richard Paul was descended from "The Scourge Of The West" (and of course, from his eventual wife, Jane Angelica Thrift). But because it's the original 'Gidget' series that belongs in Earth Prime-Time, 'The New Gidget' resides in the TV dimension for TV remakes. That theory of relateeveety could still be valid, however - why shouldn't that TV dimension have its own 'F Troop'?

('Tom Corbett, Space Cadet' > 'The Courtship Of Eddie's Father') Technically, the listing of these two shows should be reversed, if looked at from the perspective of the Toobworld timeline. 'The Courtship Of Eddie's Father" was contemporary to its broadcast - the 1960's - while 'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet' took place at some point in the far future (but probably before the classic 'Star Trek' series took place, but after 'Enterprise'.)

It's a Toobworld Central theory of relateeveety that magazine publisher Tom Corbett's son Eddie was the progenitor of the family tree that led to his father's namesake at the Space Academy.

There was another Tom Corbett in an episode of the Australian soap opera 'Neighbours', by the way.....

('The Prisoner' > 'Battlestar Galactica') There's no connection between these two. 'Battlestar Galactica' belongs in the remake universe, or even - because it took place so long before the true development of humankind on Earth - even in some alternate TV dimension like those that house 'The West Wing', or '24', or maybe even the new 'Sherlock'.

As for 'The Prisoner', that was his designation within "The Village". Toobworld Central will always argue that his real name was John Drake (of 'Danger Man').

But what better choice to fill the Number 6 spot on the list?

Still, we have just one more that we couldn't resist sharing.....

('Lassie' > 'Psych') "Lassie" is the nickname foisted upon Santa Barbara police detective Carlton Lassiter by "psychic" consultant Shawn Spencer. Yes, I think it's meant to be a reference to the famous dog, but it's not a Zonk. Instead, it's a reference to the classic movie of the 1940's.

Do you know of any other TV character names that have been recycled? If so, send them along my way!


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