Saturday, February 6, 2010
But for the TV Universe, he endeared himself over here in America with his portrayal of Dorothy L. Sayers' detective Lord Peter Wimsey. And he was playing Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster long before Hugh Laurie did. (Laurie's version must thus be relegated to the remakes dimension, as would Edward Petherbridge's portrayal of Lord Wimsey.)
Both Wooster and Wimsey play roles in the Wold Newton Universe; and although Toobworld isn't associated with those research endeavors, at least in the TV Universe we might make the claim that the two men could be related due to their similarity in appearance.
Here's a sampling of Lord Peter Wimsey putting his deductive powers to work. I believe this is from "The Unpleasantness At The Belladonna Club"......
Good night, Mr. Carmichael, and may God bless.
WHAT is a Danny Thomas?"
'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
Anyway, I was watching an old episode of 'Make Room For Daddy' and there was Danny Williams reading "Look" magazine, so I sprang into action. ("Sprang" being a matter of perspective for one so sedentary.)
Learning first that "The Visiting Englishman" was broadcast in 1953, I googled for 1953 "Look" covers. (What also helped in the search of course was the subject of the cover. Who couldn't recognize Marilyn Monroe?)
So it turned out to be easy enough to find, but that's when the real Toobworld fun began.
Check out the cover: One of the other stories in that issue was a profile of Danny Thomas, the comic who plays Danny Williams.
This is a classic in-joke that I'll be sending along to David Bianculli, who collects them. But for the televisiology of Toobworld, it's something more.
As with a lot of real life actors, we know their televersions exist in Toobworld alongside the characters they play. Their appearances on talk shows and game shows guarantee that. (Although we don't like to rely on those for Toobworld purposes unless the game show or talk show figures into a fictional plot. Like when George Wendt and Corbin Bernsen did the 'Tonight' show on an episode of 'Seinfeld', or when Betty White and Allen Ludden played 'Password' with 'The Odd Couple'.) We know that Danny Thomas has a bona-fide televersion without the crutch of game shows and talk shows (despite my fondness for his final appearance on the 'Tonight' show, doing the spit take with fellow guest Macauley Culkin), because of his appearances as himself in several shows:
- Those Friars (1971)
"The Lucy Show"
- Lucy Helps Danny Thomas (1965)
"The Joey Bishop Show"
- Weekend in the Mountains (1964)
"The Jack Benny Program"
- Jack Goes to Nightclub (1959)
- Johnnie Ray Show (1953)
In "It May Look Like A Walnut!", an episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', Danny Thomas appeared in Rob Petrie's dream as Kolac, leader of the Twiloites. Everyone remarked on the similarity of appearance between Kolac and Danny Thomas, so even Rob's sub-conscious acknowledged that Danny Thomas existed in the TV Universe.
Sometimes the TV characters got to meet the actors who played them: Mork and Robin Williams, Moesha and Brandy Norwood, and Lucille Carter and Lucille Ball. But in this case, Danny Williams only got to read about Danny Thomas. (He was probably checking out the competition. After all, how many big-nosed Lebanese comics named Danny were playing the clubs at that time?)
I started writing up this piece because I stumbled on a cache of 'Make Room For Daddy' episodes at VintageTV4U. It wasn't until I was finishing it up on Friday morning that I found out that today, February 6, marks the 19th anniversary of his death.
So in the end, this became a Hat Squad memorial to a very funny and a very good man......
With the sixth season premiere of 'Lost', we saw the return of the character Neil aka "Frogurt". He sat between Boone Carlysle and John Locke on Flight 815 in the new reality created by the detonation of the Jughead bomb. We saw him meet his death in the original timeline when a flaming arrow pierced his chest. And he was in one chapter of the online webisodes known collectively as "The Missing Pieces". So we may see his life continue on 'Lost' now, in an alternate reality. But what of his life in the main Toobworld before he boarded Flight 815 in Australia?
I think we've seen an earlier example of his life gone wrong......
WAS SEEN IN:
'Equal Justice Under The Law'
("United States vs. Aaron Burr")
AS PLAYED BY:
Aaron Burr, Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician, Revolutionary War participant, and adventurer. He served as the third Vice President of the United States (1801–1805), under Thomas Jefferson, and was the first vice president to never serve as president.
For more on Aaron Burr:
Friday, February 5, 2010
AS SEEN IN:
"Swing Out, Sweet Land"
AS PLAYED BY:
Crispus Attucks (c. 1723 – March 5, 1770) was the first of five people killed in the Boston Massacre in Boston, Massachusetts. He has been frequently named as the first martyr of the American Revolution and is the only Boston Massacre victim whose name is commonly remembered. He is regarded as an important inspirational figure in American history.
Little is known for certain about Attucks beyond his death in the conflict. Two major sources of eyewitness testimony about the Boston Massacre, both published in 1770, did not refer to Attucks as a "Negro," or "black" man. The first was a report commissioned by the town of Boston, "A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre," which contained over one hundred depositions from locals about what they saw on March 5, 1770.
The second source, "The Trial of William Wemms," referred to Attucks more than a dozen times as a “mulatto” or “molatto,” and once as an “Indian,” another as a “tall man,” and yet another as a “stout,” or muscular man. While 19th-century anti-slavery advocates later focused on Attucks' African heritage, Bostonians in 1770 considered him mixed-race.
Crawford must have played the older boy who was supposed to take Terry to the school masquerade - until he got the mumps, that is.
I don't know if the scene took place, but wouldn't it have been neat to see the actors who played Wyatt Earp and Mark McCain together in a scene......?
But I already had 10% of it filled with programs that I can watch and easily erase afterwards. And I have three disks from Netflix of the TV series 'Callan' still to watch. But late last night I instead decided to visit VintageTV4U and see what they had to offer.
And I watched an old episode of 'Make Room For Daddy', one of the early ones with Jean Hagen as Danny Williams' first wife, Margaret. (Usually you see only the Marjorie Lord episodes where she plays Kathy, his second wife.) And this episode had one of the biggest Zonks of its time: a visit by actor Hugh O'Brian, playing himself - constantly referred to as the star of 'Wyatt Earp'. Actually, it may be a Zonk, but it's easily disarmed. The "real" Wyatt Earp of the TV Universe looked amazingly like Hugh O'Brian. So when it came time for casting the TV series in Toobworld, it was the tele-version of Hugh O'Brian who got the job because of his uncanny resemblance to the legendary lawman. And by coincidence, that TV show within a TV show also had the same theme song, which Danny, Rusty, and Margaret sang at the end of the show. BCnU!
And at least two members of the other team bore 'Lost' numbers as well on their red jersies - another #15 and a #8 which is partially obscured by #7...... BCnU!
To me it looks like out-takes from the adult version of 'Yo Gabba Gabba!', directed by Tarantino, but I'll be looking for the expanded version.....
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Here's the Wikipedia bio on Ray Langston:
Raymond was an Army brat born in Seoul, and consequently knows the sport of soccer as "football." His father, a decorated soldier and a veteran of the Korean War, was a violent man, often getting into brawls off the battlefield - this is something which disturbs Langston considerably. He eventually obtained a doctorate and became a physician.
A co-worker at his hospital was an "Angel of Death", murdering 27 patients - while Langston saw the evidence, he was never able to put it together. He ultimately wrote a book about the experiences, which was read by not only Gil Grissom but also Dr. Tom Loman (of CSI: Miami).
Afterwards, he became a college professor, but continued to do pro bono work as a surgeon. It was in this capacity that he came into contact with the CSI team, as they were investigating a series of murders connected to a serial killer being interviewed for the course. After the case's conclusion, Grissom encouraged Langston to join the Las Vegas Crime Lab as a Level-1 CSI.
In November of last year, Dr. Langston was called to Miami on a consult in a case which got him involved in the missing persons case of Madeline Briggs. This case took him from Miami to New York City and was finally resolved on his home turf of Las Vegas.
Langston isn't the first character in the 'CSI' franchise to appear on all three shows; that distinction belongs to Lt. Horatio Caine of 'CSI: Miami'. And because of this storyline arc, Madeline Briggs will also be a candidate for induction into the Hall.
Here are the episodes that made up this 'CSI Trilogy':
Congratulations, "Doctor Ray"!
So here are my choices for this year, with a decidedly pulp fiction slant to them.....
Here's a quick Wikipedia sketch of the "Man of Bronze", who may be the greatest of all pulp fiction heroes:
Doc Savage's real name was Clark Savage, Jr.. He was a physician, surgeon, scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer, researcher, and, as revealed in "The Devil Genghis", a musician. A team of scientists assembled by his father deliberately trained his mind and body to near-superhuman abilities almost from birth, giving him great strength and endurance, a photographic memory, a mastery of the martial arts, and vast knowledge of the sciences. Doc is also a master of disguise and an excellent imitator of voices. "He rights wrongs and punishes evildoers." [Author Lester] Dent described the hero as a mix of Sherlock Holmes' deductive abilities, Tarzan's outstanding physical abilities, Craig Kennedy's scientific education, and Abraham Lincoln's goodness.
Sounds a lot like Buckaroo Banzai, doesn't it? I'm fairly certain that Doc Savage was the inspiration for Banzai.
A movie was made about Doc Savage with Ron Ely, but funding ran out and the final product was not well-received. And there had been talk back in the late sixties of an adaptation with Chuck Connors. (At the time, he would have been a perfect candidate to play Doc Savage in Toobworld.) This could be a great vehicle for a syndicated series or on Sci-Fi, and could cover a wide range of genres considering Doc's background.
To play any of these characters? That's not my call......
So those are my three choices this year for characters from other media who should find a home in Toobworld....
A few examples:
Dr. Bob Hartley & Carol Kester ('The Bob Newhart Show') - 'Murphy Brown'
Elliot Carlin ('The Bob Newhart Show') - 'St. Elsewhere'
Warren Coolidge ('The White Shadow') - 'St. Elsewhere'
Alan Brady ('The Dick Van Dyke Show') - 'Mad About You'
Cinnamon Carter ('Mission: Impossible') - 'Diagnosis Murder'
Here is the list of characters I've suggested in the past whom I'd like to see return for one more turn in the Toobworld spotlight:
Zoe Heriot, 'Doctor Who'
Gotham City, 'Batman'
Dr. Joel Fleischman, 'Northern Exposure'
Agent Dale Cooper, 'Twin Peaks'
James West, 'The Wild, Wild West'
Ford Prefect, 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'
'The Time Tunnel'
Dr. Sam Beckett, 'Quantum Leap'
Ann Marie (Hollinger), 'That Girl'
Dr. Miguelito Loveless, 'The Wild, Wild West'
And here are last year's additions:
Adam Cartwright, 'Bonanza'
Kevin Arnold, 'The Wonder Years'
Andromeda, 'My Favorite Martian'
The Tenctonese, 'Alien Nation'
Alicia, 'Flying Blind'
Sadly, two of those characters from last year have to be removed from the permanent list. Andy Halleck, who played the green-skinned demon Lorne in 'Angel' died last year, and Pernell Roberts, the last of the Cartwright clan on 'Bonanza', passed away recently.
It looks like the Tenctonese could be coming back, as an updated version of 'Alien Nation' is in the works. However, the project sounds like it would have to be relegated to an alternate dimension.
You'll note that Dr. Loveless is still on the list, even though Michael Dunn has been dead for over thirty years. But it's the Toobworld Central contention that Dr. Loveless was part Gallifreyan and that he could regenerate. Although most of the time when he did so on 'The Wild, Wild West' he kept the same body, eventually he could transfer his intelligence to another person, or regenerate his own body to a new form. (I think Warwick Davis would make for an excellent new incarnation of the not-so-good doctor. And it could be claimed he underwent plastic surgery.)
This year, I've only got one suggestion. So here is the TV character I'd like to see make a return appearance on our screens:
THE MINBARI Okay, so it's a whole planet full of characters! J. Michael Straczynski's world of 'Bablyon 5' haven't been heard from since the 2007 release of "The Lost Tales". I think it's time to bring back that corner of the TV Universe, but with a focus on the Minbari. With the popularity of "Avatar" at the box office, I think the time is right to explore an alien world, with maybe just one or two human characters for the audience to identify with. But the center of attention should be the Minbari and their caste system and the planet of Minbar itself. (A great description of the Minbari and their world and their lives can be found here.)
Failing that, I'd just like to see a Minbari cameo, even if only in the background, of some other sci-fi series. I miss those boneys.
Just based on the examples we saw in the Season Six premiere, they turned out better with the crash - even if they ultimately died there.
A fellow member of the Idiot's Delight Digest, an online group centered around the radio shows of Vin Scelsa, told me where "Cuselof" may have found that phrase:
That's from the movie "Funny Farm" where Chevy's wife is describing his novel... "In the first twenty pages alone, I counted three flashbacks, one flash forward, and on page eighteen I think you have a flash sideways!" - Ray
I can always count on a fellow Iddiot for trivia like that!
(played by Nasim Pedrad)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
(played by Kristen Wiig)
Congressman Barney Frank
(played by Fred Armisen)
Senator Robert Byrd
And as mentioned the other day, Senator-Elect Brown was played by Jon Hamm.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Not that it actually matters, however. Nantz already has enough appearances as himself in TV shows to qualify for membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. And (not so) suprisingly, they're almost all CBS shows: 'Arli$$' (the one ringer in the bunch), 'Yes, Dear', 'Criminal Minds' and three episodes of 'Clubhouse'
It also puts Nantz into a category in which celebrities appear as themselves in visions, dreams, and fantasies of TV characters - Oprah, Sinbad, Rob Thomas......
Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees was also in the episode last night, but he was actually there in McLaren's Bar. (That's him in the booth to the far left. He apparently stole Astro Boy's haircut....)
This is a great example of how something from the TV Universe can exist in other fictional universes born of Mankind's creative spark. Only the EM-50 in the "Cineverse" (a term coined by Craig Shaw Gardner) has a different function and look from the one in "Chuck vs. The Nacho Sampler". BCnU!
But a moment near the end of the latest episode, "Embassy Row", gave me hope that both versions can exist in the main Toobworld.
FBI Agent Emma Barnes ran Christopher Chance's prints through the database and learned that he had a slew of alias identities, including that of Christopher Chance: So I'm thinking that this super bodyguard picked up where the last one left off, even taking over the first one's identity - or maybe even all of his identities. (We never saw that Christopher Chance again after August of 1992.) And none of the supporting cast from that previous show have the same names as those of Winston and Guerrero. So we don't have to worry about splainin why they might have picked up those identities as well. (Nevertheless, "Guerrero" is an alias. I'll have a theory on that soon.....)
So this is one time when both versions of a TV show can share the same universe without driving each other crazy....
'Saturday Night Live' played up that sex symbol image last Saturday.......
AS SEEN ON:
'Saturday Night Live'
AS PLAYED BY:
Senator-Elect Brown saw the impression. As he told the "National Review Online":
"Thank goodness I like a good laugh. That was pretty funny. I wish I could host 'SNL' some day. I’ve been watching it since I was young. Jon Hamm is great.”
As for Jon Hamm's accent: “He did a great job. He doesn’t really sound like me, but it was very funny.”
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
There was a phrase that David Letterman once tried to make into a popular catch-phrase, and which I think best sums up my excitement for this final visit to the Island....
And that included the Masturbating Bear.
Now that Conan is out as the host, NBC has claimed a lot of his material to be the intellectual property of the Peacock Network. And it looks like the Masturbating Bear's cousin showed up on '30 Rock' just to prove that point: Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he was just a random actor (perhaps even Josh!) who plays a bear on 'TGS with Tracy Jordan'. But I don't trust network suits - may they be nibbled to death by ducks! I think it was a way to lay claim to the bear's ownership, even if it was a different costume.
At least he wasn't getting one off the wrist.......
So along with the show-within-a-show version of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' as mentioned in the previous post, there's also a Toobworld version of 'Gossip Girl' - thanks to a recent episode of '30 Rock'. Since the real TV show is based on a series of novels, we can make that same claim for the fictional version.
In the scene pictured, a young girl named Tartine has a tearful goodbye with her mother, who's dying of old age - at 41. (Damn! I wish it had been "42"!) Jenna Maroney of 'TGS with Tracy Jordan' guest-starred as the ill-fated Mom.
This could be a Zonk. However, in the real world Nina the werewolf actually featured on the 'Buffy' spin-off show 'Angel'. The character never appeared or was even referred to on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'.
And that could help deflate the Zonk.
'Buffy' has been off the air since May of 2003. She and her Scooby gang apparently went to Cleveland to take care of another Hellmouth after the cataclysmic events in that last 'Buffy' episode.
So in the next seven years, anything could have happened. And the events depicted in the 'Buffy' comic books have no effect on the TV Universe. That's only the Buffy to be found in the Comic Book Universe. Therefore, in that time period Buffy's work could have become exposed to the notice of the general public.
And as happened in the TV Universe with such characters as the Brady family, the crew of the starship Enterprise, and the Time Lord known as The Doctor, maybe an unscrupulous producer decided to take advanatage of the situation and create a TV show about Buffy Somers. (In some of those other cases, their stories would have been turned into a movie. But Annie said "on 'Buffy'", a phrase used for TV show references. With movies, most people would say "in 'Buffy'".)
For the TV show within a TV show that is 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', there could have been a "fictional" werewolf named Nina - one who had no connection to the "real" Nina as seen in 'Angel'.