Saturday, July 17, 2010


I've written about the Wold Newton Universe before ("The Neverland of Toobworld", "Happy Wold Newton Day", as well as articles on "WNU" members like Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, Harry Flashman, Poirot, Nero Wolfe, and Ellery Queen).

So I'm going to do it again......

Over the last few weeks, I've been reading the "Crossovers" books by my blogging buddy Win Scott Evert. (Right now I'm on the second volume, in the 1970's. My online friends Sean Lee Levin and Robert Wronski have finished them already!)

"Crossovers" is a chronological account of the Wold Newton Universe, a shared multi-verse first proposed by Philip Jose Farmer which has been expanded by enthusiastic acolytes led by Win.

The Wold Newton Universe is based on the premise that when a meteor crashed near Wold Newton, England, in 1799, those who got near the still glowing crater just after impact were bathed in the cosmic radiation. The resultant mutations to the genetic structure led to their descendants becoming some of the greatest heroes (and villains!) ever seen in pulp fiction. There is the core group of related heroes put forth by Philip Jose Farmer - they into contact with expands the Wold Newton Universe.

It's a lot like Toobworld, but more majestic in scope. Whereas the Toobworld concept is all about the TV Universe (with a few movies and some online content added), the "WNU" encompasses all of the fictional universes - books, comic books, movies, comic strips, records, radio plays, and of course, TV.

Many members of the extended Wold Newton family can also be found in
Toobworld. (Television, like the English language, is a great maw that pulls everything in.) However, there are enough differences to keep Toobworld separate from the WNU - origins, time periods, physical appearances, etc. (Toobworld is a visual medium only, so it can't adopt the "all is one, one is all" philosophy enjoyed by the Wold Newton Crossover Universe. (For instance: if they wanted to, the "WNthusiasts" can claim that the Sherlock Holmes played by Jeremy Brett in the TV series is the same Great Detective played by Roger Moore in the "Sherlock Holmes IN New York" TV movie.

But Toobworld, as I said, is a visual medium, so they have to be two different men. Luckily, shows like 'Sliders' that deal with parallel dimensions (also seen in episodes of series like 'Star Trek' and its franchises, 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', and 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer') gives us plenty of variants on Earth Prime-Time in which all of the Holmes characters can reside.

We've dealt with the many Sherlock Holmes of the alternate TV dimensions in the past with the "Hi Honey, I'm Holmes" series:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

As well as a few others of the Great Detectives:

Lord Peter Wimsey

Miss Marple

Hercule Poirot

So we're going to start with another character in the WNU, another detective, when we begin our O'Bservations on the differences between Toobworld and the Wold Newton Universe. It's a series that will run sporadically, but hopefully that'll be good for keeping Win's books in the public eye.

Stay tuned......



As usual, I rushed off a post before it was fully ready. I don't like to hold off on them too long, for fear they never get seen. LOL - like I have enemies out to stop me from telling the truth about the TV Universe!

At the end of June, I wrote about the various characters played by Anthony Calf and how they could all trace their lineage back to a character he played in an episode of 'Doctor Who'.

One of those characters was Steven Cavendish in the 'Midsomer Murders' episode "Dead Man's Eleven". And I made the claim that Steven had a direct line through his father Robert to Lawrence Cavendish as his grandfather in the 'Poirot' story "The Mysterious Affair At Styles".

But I didn't have a picture of Anthony Calf as Steven and that irked me. So I published the story and then added that episode of 'Midsomer Murders' to my Netflix queue.

I just watched it today and can now present a visual for Steven Cavendish - not that there was much difference to the characters he played in other shows, like 'Foyle's War' and 'New Tricks'.... I've since added all available episodes of 'Midsomer Murders' to my Netflix queue; I rather liked it!



I could have run this over a week ago with the rest of the Royal subjects, but I decided I may as well save it for her birthday.......


"Whatever Love Means"

Olivia Poulet

Prince Charles: Laurence Fox
Princess Diana: Michelle Duncan
Andrew Parker-Bowles: Simon Wilson

From Wikipedia:
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (née Shand, formerly Parker Bowles, born 17 July 1947) is the second wife of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and is the current holder of the title Duchess of Cornwall and of Rothesay. A spokesman for the Department of Constitutional Affairs told the Sunday Times "[Camilla] automatically takes the title Princess of Wales and all the other titles that go with her marriage to the Prince of Wales" although she uses one of her other titles, Duchess of Cornwall, in all parts of the United Kingdom except Scotland, where she is titled as Duchess of Rothesay. This preference of title reflects a desire to avoid confusion with the title closely identified with the Prince of Wales's first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Friday, July 16, 2010

When Claudia thought she had found the 'Warehouse 13' artifact that was causing the manifestation of James MacPherson's spirit, she shouted to the others to join her.


This French phrase for "Let's go!" was often used by the Tenth incarnation of the Doctor during his tenure on 'Doctor Who'. But that doesn't mean there's any connection. At the same time, it can't be discounted that there was ever a crossover between both shows unseen by the Trueniverse audience.

After all, the Warehouse is the type of place that would draw the TARDIS, if not the Doctor as well.....



Another friend of mine has made his League of Themselves debut in Toobworld and once again, it's via the news......




'Anna And The King'

Keye Luke

"The Kralahome" was the Prime Minister of Siam at the time of events depicted in 'Anna And The King'. He was also the cousin to the King.

From the site for the Lyric Opera of San Diego:
His name was Chao Phya Si Suriyawongse. Anna had lived in his palace for several months when she first arrived in Bangkok and claimed to have been very friendly with his wife. The way in which he is portrayed varies from source to source, but he was very much the autocrat. He was instrumental in bringing Mongkut to the throne, served as his Prime Minister and then as regent for Chulalongkorn during his minority. As the latter, he effectively ruled the country, reportedly doing things in the new King's name but without his consent. It has been suggested he even wished to become the King himself. He made his son Prime Minister under Chulalongkorn and one of his half-brothers was the Foreign Secretary. When Chulalongkorn reached his majority, the Kralahome tried to keep control, but the new young King gradually managed to assert himself and rule the country.



Thursday, July 15, 2010


Adele Mara was an actress who hit her stride back in the 1950's, which included marrying 'Maverick' creator Roy Huggins. She passed away in May of this year.

She appeared in a lot of TV Westerns, and calling on her Spanish heritage, many of her characters in these shows were quite similar. So much so that I think an argument could be crafted that many of these women played by Ms. Mara could have been the same character.

At the very least, we can make this claim for the characters she played on 'Maverick' over a three year period.......

- The Marquessa

03 Jan 60
Guest Cast:
Adele Mara .................... Marquesa Luisa de Ruisenor
Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) wins title to the Lucky Lady Saloon in Santa Leora. But Santa Leora is confronted by the Marquesa de Ruisenor and her cohorts who claim they own the whole town.
[This was a popular confidence trick pulled back in those days. Somebody tried to fleece the Cartwrights with the same scam in an episode of 'Bonanza'.]

- The Spanish Dancer
14 Dec 58
Guest Cast:
Adele Mara .................... Elena Grande
Bart, Gentleman Jack, and a Spanish dancer go after a conman who did Bart out of a mine.

- Seed of Deception

13 Apr 58
Guest Cast:
Adele Mara .................... June Mundy
Bret and Bart attempt to thwart a bank robbery while the robbers keep the sheriff occupied with an attractive female.

You Can't Beat the Percentage
04 Oct 59
Guest Cast:
Adele Mara ?
Bart takes a job protecting a gambling hall owner from a vengeful young cowboy.

In each of those episodes, Bart was involved, so he must have recognized that June Mundy, Elena Grande, the Marquesa, and the unnamed woman all looked alike, if not suspected that they were all one and the same. The man who claimed to be June Munday's cousin in the "Seed of Deception" episode may have been an ancestor to Alexander Mundy, which adds to her grifter reputation.

I think Bart always knew who she was, each time that he met her. But it was part of their long con together to act as if it was the first time they met with each encounter.

Of course, this theory is all blown to Hell if it turns out one of these characters played by Adele Mara died before the episode was over.....


Neither of these pictures have anything to do with those 'Maverick' episodes. But the first one makes for a nice portrait. And as for the second... Homina Thrice!

I posted this and THEN went to the Paley Center for Media to see the episodes. (I never was known for restraint.) They only had the "Seed Of Deception" episode and I've made some appropriate adjustments accordingly. But I will expand on this post and present it again during August, when we really celebrate the TV Western!



"Rasputin: Dark Servant Of Destiny"

Alan Rickman

From the "Forever Knight" wiki:
Rasputin's influence came to extend beyond the healing of Alexei. Both the Czar and Czarina considered him a religious prophet. Eventually, everyone who wanted an audience with the royal couple had to go through Rasputin, a situation bound to cause anger. He was not accepted, either by the nobility nor by the Orthodox Church. But the Czar referred to Rasputin as "our friend" and a "holy man", a sign of the trust that was placed in him.

It was into this court that Nick Knight came in 1916. As a friend of the Czar, he was perturbed by the influence he saw Rasputin have, especially over the Czarina. When he realized that the monk was a vampire, he understood why they were enthralled to him. However, concern turned to outrage when he discovered that it was LaCroix who had decided to bring Rasputin across.

From Wikipedia:
The legends surrounding the death of Rasputin are perhaps even more mysterious and bizarre than his life. According to Greg King's 1996 book The Man Who Killed Rasputin, a previous attempt on Rasputin's life had failed: Rasputin was visiting his wife and children in Pokrovskoye, his hometown along the Tura River in Siberia. On June 29, 1914, after either just receiving a telegram or exiting church, he was attacked suddenly by Khionia Guseva, a former prostitute who had become a disciple of the monk Iliodor. Iliodor, who once was a friend of Rasputin but had grown disgusted with his behaviour and disrespectful talk about the royal family, had appealed to women who had been harmed by Rasputin to form a mutual support group. Guseva thrust a knife into Rasputin's abdomen, and his entrails hung out of what seemed like a mortal wound. Convinced of her success, Guseva supposedly screamed, "I have killed the antichrist!"

After intensive surgery, however, Rasputin recovered. It was said of his survival that "the soul of this cursed muzhik was sewn on his body." His daughter, Maria, observed in her memoirs that he was never the same man after that: he seemed to tire more easily and frequently took opium for pain relief.
Was it opium? Or some turn of the century variant on "Tru-Blood"?

Back to the "Forever Knight" wiki:
There are legends surrounding the attempts on Rasputin's life. An attempt is alleged to have been made to poison him with cyanide; and, when it failed, he was shot four times, and then clubbed unconscious. His body was wrapped up and thrown in the river. The difficulty in killing him by such methods would, of course, be completely explained by LaCroix's bringing him over. As a vampire, Rasputin was not killed by any of these methods: he escaped the river and returned to the palace. There he was confronted by Nick, who staked him.

Meanwhile, back at 'Warehouse 13':Artie suggested that MacPherson's psychic residue may have trigged an artifact near the vault, which would account for his appearances as a spectre in the Warehouse. Claudia identified the possible artifact as Rasputin's prayer rope. (As Artie splained it, Rasputin did die from the first attempt on his life. It was the use of the prayer rope that re-animated his corpse.)

But when they tried to neutralize it, nothing happened. And that's because the reason behind Rasputin's survival from all those assassination attempts was vampirism, not the prayer rope.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

JULY 14, 1861


George Steinbrenner, with Elaine Benes

George Steinbrenner, a towering and intimidating figure who dominated the New York sports scene for 35 years, winning 11 American League pennants and seven world championships as owner of the Yankees, in and around two suspensions from baseball and multiple feuds and firings, died Tuesday morning in Tampa after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 80.

"The Boss" - as he was so aptly named by Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, his longtime antagonist - died at around 6:30 a.m. He had been suffering from failing health, the result of a series of strokes, for the past few years.
His family released a statement Tuesday morning. "It is with profound sadness that the family of George M. Steinbrenner III announces his passing," the statement said. "He was an incredible and charitable man. First and foremost he was devoted to his entire family - his beloved wife, Joan; his sisters, Susan Norpell and Judy Kamm, his children, Hank, Jennifer, Jessica and Hal; and all his grandchildren. He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again."
- Bill Madden
New York Daily News
'The Bronx Is Burning'
Oliver Platt

Larry David (voice)
Lee Bear (body)

Since my schedule for last week threw me off my game (I worked every night), I got confused as to what day it's been. So this is a Two for Tuesday on Wednesday in memory of the Yankees' "Boss". Or maybe I should just call it a Double-Header......

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


George Steinbrenner was the worst possible thorn in the side (and elsewhere) of the Red Sox. And that's high praise from a Red Sox fan.

At least the Boss has Bob Sheppard already there to announce his arrival.*

Good night and my God bless.


*Thanks BruddahBob......


When I was a teenager, it was a great honor for me to take my "Nana" out to the movies one night. The movie I had chosen, which I thought would appeal to her, was "Murder On The Orient Express".

Before we saw the movie, I read the three newspaper reviews available at that time in my area of Connecticut, and between the three of them, I was able to figure out the plot. But that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the film, because I was a big star-gazer back in those days and the Orient Express was packed with them.

At the time, I thought Albert Finney's performance was perfection and I remember being antagonistic towards the idea of Peter Ustinov taking over the role afterwards. However, as Time has passed, I find Finney too stiff in the role and my appreciation for Ustinov has grown at the same time. But they both still pale to the work of David Suchet in the TV Universe.

I've waited a long time, ever since David Suchet first started playing Hercule Poirot 21 years ago, for the official TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Murder On The Orient Express". And I finally got my chance Monday morning when I returned home from work. Sadly, it wasn't perfect, but then I once thought the movie from the early 1970's was perfect - but looking back on it now, Albert Finney as Poirot is the big flaw.

Still, that was an incredible cast back in those days - with Richard Widmark, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, John Gielgud, and Jacqueline Bisset, among so many other top name stars. For this production, we got Barbara Hershey, as well as Toby Jones, David Morrissey, Eileen Atkins, and Hugh Bonneville. And at least the changes made to Poirot's own character and motivations - as well as the combination of two key supporting players into one - weren't as drastic as that horrible TV version that starred Alfred Molina a few years ago.

But when I first heard the news of this production, I had my own dream cast for the roles. I rounded up the usual suspects as it were, but then decided to wait until I saw this new version first.

So here are the actors I envisioned and for which roles:
David Suchet
Well, duh. O'Bviously, there's no sense tampering with perfection!

XAVIER BOUC, Wagon-Lit director
Sylvester McCoy

Graham Crowden

PRINCESS DRAGOMIROFF, Russian countess in exile
Phylidda Law

Lill Roughley

MARY DEBENHAM, governess
Joanna Page

Dame Judi Dench

Tony Selby

COLONEL JOHN ARBUTHNOT, military officer
Philip Glenister

Geoffrey Palmer

HECTOR MacQUEEN, personal assistant
Matt Smith or Ryan Carnes
(I had Smith on the list long before he became the Doctor. But now? Settle for Carnes.)

PIERRE MICHEL, conductor
Peter Davison

COUNT ANDRENYI, Hungarian diplomat
Jonathan Aris

Jaime Murray

CYRUS HARDMAN, private investigator
Corey Johnson

MRS. HUBBARD, abrasive American traveler
Jacqueline Bisset
This would have been a great source for publicity - to have the actress who played the Countess in the 1974 movie now playing the role of her mother.

SAMUEL RATCHETT, the murder victim
American actors have been in 'Poirot' mysteries before, most notably Elliott Gould. So for this role I thought of Paul Michael Glaser. I knew he could play the period after seeing him as Houdini (which of course is from a few decades earlier.)

So that's my dream cast. To me they are all name players, but I know many of them may be unknown to some in my audience. And maybe that's for the best.... After all, this production would have to be for TV, shown here in American on PBS. Gotta watch that budget! And Matt Smith alone would have probably cost as much as the production itself!

BCnU, my leetle gray selves!


Speaking of the Owens family bond images.....


"Anna And The King"

Eric Shea

From Wikipedia:
Louis Thomas Gunnis Leonowens (25 October 1856 – 17 February 1919) was a Briton who served as an officer with the Siamese royal cavalry and founded the trading company that bears his name.

He was the son of Anna Leonowens of Anna and the King of Siam fame and Thomas Leon Owens, a civilian clerk, whom she married in India in 1849. He was born at Lynton near Port Gregory in Western Australia and went to Siam (now Thailand) with his mother in 1862].

He was raised in the Siamese royal palace and was schooled by his mother alongside the royal children until he returned to Europe to complete his education. In 1881, at the age of 27, he returned to Siam and was granted a commission of Captain in the Royal Cavalry by King Chulalongkorn.

In the TV version, his name is Louis Owens and he and his mother are American, not Welsh.

BCnU, et cetera et cetera et cetera!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Some time ago, I posted the theory of relateeveety that the former Janet Smith of Runcorn, Cheshire, in the UK (as seen in 'Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps') was the "identical cousin" to Ruthie Smith of Billericay, Essex (seen on occasion in 'Gavin & Stacey'). Why? Because they were played by the same actress, Sheridan Smith. (Of course, first I tried to claim that they were the same person and then that they were half-sisters. But I think the tried-and-true splainin from 'The Patty Duke Show' does work the best.)

And now we have a new theory of relateeveety to add to the Smith Family of Essex. Ruthie's older brother Neil "Smithy" Smith was a major part of 'Gavin & Stacey'. So much so that I think the show was more about him than it was about Gavin!
And as it happens, he also has an identical twin, right there in Essex. His name is Craig Owens, and as was seen in the 'Doctor Who' episode "The Lodger" (FINALLY telecast in the States Saturday night!), he lived in the town of Colchester. (Wikipedia info on Colchester: Colchester is a historical, army town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England. As the oldest recorded Roman town in Britain, Colchester claims to be the oldest town in Britain.)

Neil "Smithy" Smith with Nessa
Craig Owens with Sophie
But unlike the situation with Ruthie and Janet, I don't think this is a case of identical cousins. I think Craig and Smithy are actually half-brothers. It's the Toobworld Central theory of relateeveety that Smithy's dad, the late Mr. Smith, did a bit of tom-catting throughout Essex; and in this instance, he fathered another son around the same time as his legal heir was born.

In Craig's case, his mother either never married and was already named Owens, or she married a man named Owens who raised Craig as his own. The matter of his parentage never came up in that 'Doctor Who' episode, unlike the situation with Smithy, so we can easily choose from either scenario. (Should I ever get bored at work, I can always troll the IMDb for female characters with the last name "Owens" who might be of a previous generation from Craig and thus find his mommy.*)

Because Smithy's Dad is deceased, it's simpler to lay the blame of an extra-marital affair on him. And since Smithy's Mom was a narcoleptic, maybe he felt the need to find attention elsewhere. (Craig may have been a one-shot and so anything to do with his father could be made up out of whole cloth as well. But I'd like to think James Corden might one day come back and play the role again in 'Doctor Who'. After all, we saw so many other characters from this season come back in "The Pandorica Opens"! And should that happen, I better leave the options open regarding his Mum and Dad.)
It's only 32 miles between the two towns.
Not too far to go for a bit o' tail....

So that brings in another theoretical connection for 'Gavin & Stacey', along with 'Two Pints'. And I'll have to go through the trivia of the show to see if there are any others to be made. I think any of those claims about the famous people she knew which were made by Nessa were probably fabricated; otherwise they could have made for some excellent connections via the League of Themselves.


*It turns out I had plenty of time this shift to do a bit of a search, and was surprised to find that nobody fit the requirements I was looking for. However it could be theorized that Craig Owens' grandfather was Dr. Thomas Owens (of 'Owens, MD'), and his great uncle (Dr. Owens' brother) might have been Detective Inspector Owens of 'Crown Court'. For that matter, Louis Owens might be one of Craig's ancestors. Louis' mother was Anna Owens or Leonowens, who was a teacher in Siam, as seen in the sitcom 'Anna And The King. (Yes - the sitcom. This is Toobworld, remember.....)

"Humans.... Even the cleverer ones are stupid!"
Mr. Blakeman
'The Sarah Jane Adventures'