Saturday, August 14, 2010


The 'Maverick' episode "Seed Of Deception" had several great actors - Myron Healey, Frank Ferguson, Adele Mara... and one of the most beautiful women from the late fifties/early sixties television: Joi Lansing.
Ms. Lansing played a resident of Bonita, Ca. named Mrs. Laura "Doll" Hayes. As she told Bret (whom she thought was Doc Holliday), her late husband used to call her "Doll", and even though she didn't much care for it, the name seemed to have stuck even after his death.

Hearing that her name was "Mrs. Hayes" and that she was a widow was a trigger for me as a caretaker of Toobworld - just whose widow was she?The knee-jerk reaction was, of course, Hannibal Heyes from my second favorite TV Western 'Alias Smith & Jones'. The difference in the spelling of the last name was not a problem - we never saw it printed in "Seed Of Deception" and as noted several times in the past here at Inner Toob, the spelling of names in the final credits has no bearing on any given character on TV.

So that wouldn't have been a problem. But the timeline would be.

"Seed Of Deception" takes place around 1872, and Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were in their prime in the mid 1880's. Otherwise, Laura Hayes was just the type of woman who could have enticed "Joshua Smith" into marriage.

But the idea did provide me with yet a new theory to splain away the recasting of Hannibal Heyes from Pete Duel to Roger Davis, which was caused in the real world by the death of Duel. As these Inner Toob posts are supposed to be about 'Maverick' during my two week vacation, we'll save that splainin for later in the month.

In the meantime, let's just use this opportunity as an excuse to celebrate the beauty of Joi Lansing. In Toob Rock terms, she serves as my "Pictures Of Lily".

TMI? Too bad.

Sadly, Joi Lansing passed away in the early 1970's from cancer.



Throughout this two-week look at Western historical figures, women have not been represented at all. Hopefully this can be rectified with more representation once I get back to Toobworld Central. After all, we still will be running the feature throughout the rest of August. (If I find enough pictures!)

But in the meantime, we have this one opportunity, so we're going to go all out with the pictures.....

"Poker Alice"

Elizabeth Taylor

From The Legends Of America site:
Alice Ivers Tubbs; aka: Poker Alice (1851-1930) – Perhaps the best known female poker player in the Old West, Alice Ivers actually hailed from England. Born on February 17, 1851 in Devonshire, she was the daughter of a conservative schoolmaster who moved the family to the United States when she was still a small girl. First settling in Virginia, Alice attended an elite boarding school for young women until the family moved again in her teenage years, to the silver rush in Leadville, Colorado.

While there, Alice met a mining engineer by the name of Frank Duffield and the two married when she was twenty. Gambling was a way of life in the many mining camps of the Old West and when Frank, an enthusiastic player, visited the many gambling halls in Leadville, young Alice went along with him rather than stay home alone. At first, the pretty young girl stood quietly behind her husband, simply watching the play. However, a quick study, it wasn’t long before she was sitting in on the games, quickly demonstrating proficiency for poker and faro.
Though she preferred the game of poker, she also learned to deal and play Faro, and was soon in high demand, both as a player and a dealer. At this time, Alice was a petite 5’4” beauty, with blue eyes and lush brown hair. A "lady” in a gambling hall that wasn’t of the "soiled dove” variety was rare in the Old West, and bedecked in the latest fashions, she was a sight for the sore eyes of many a miner.

Traveling from one mining camp to another, the talented young beauty (by this time a widow) soon acquired the nickname "Poker Alice."

At the age of 79 she underwent a gall bladder operation in Rapid City, but died of complications on February 27, 1930. She was buried at St. Aloysius Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota.

In her later years, Alice claimed to have won more than $250,000 at the gaming tables and never once cheated. In fact, one of her favorite sayings was: "Praise the Lord and place your bets. I'll take your money with no regrets."
The life of Poker Alice was heavily fictionalized (and her appearance highly idealized) in that TV movie, but then whose isn't? In fact, her last name in the movie was "Moffit" and the Toobworld Central splainin for that is that she must have had yet another husband we never learned about.


A big hand for the little lady!

(This was Inner Toob post #5300)

Friday, August 13, 2010


Back on July 15, I paid tribute to the late actress Adele Mara by posting a theory about the three characters she played on 'Maverick'. (And it is three characters - according to the book by Ed Robertson, a trusted source for all things 'Maverick', she was not in "You Can't Beat The Percentage".) Since then, I've seen "Seed Of Deception" at the Paley Center For Media and was able to correct some of my earlier statements. (Mainly, I had pegged Myron Healey's character of Jim Mundy as June Mundy's father. Instead, Jim Mundy was passing himself off asher cousin, but in fact Adele Mara's character was really named June Collins and she was Mundy's lover.)

Having now seen all three episodes, I can now firm up my thoughts on their connections through her......

It's only been in the last thirty years, since 'Hill Street Blues' at least, that TV series have become less episodic and instead installed storylines that carried throughout the season, perhaps even through the whole series. And that means those series need to be seen in sequence in order for their overall arcs to make sense.

In the old days, there was just a general premise, and so it didn't matter if you showed episodes out of sequence once a series made it to syndication. And that holds true for 'Maverick'.

The three episodes in which Adele Mara appeared were broadcast in this order:

Seed of Deception
April 13, 1958

The Spanish Dancer
December 14, 1958

The Marquessa
January 3, 1960

But it's my contention that they are to be placed on the Toobworld timeline in the opposite order. When she was passing herself off as the Marquesa Luisa (which as it turned out, she really was - “Ruisenor” is Spanish for “Nightingale”), she was under the sway of the con man Manuel Ortiz. (He and his partners found her working as Lily Nightingale at the Silver Lode Saloon in Tombstone.) But thanks to Bart, she was able to break free of his influence and be herself - whoever that may have been. And she was a quick study of the con - she was able to get $5,000.00 out of Bart just before the cantina in contention burned down. Lily/Luisa planned to go back to Tombstone and use that $5,000.00 to buy into the Silver Lode Saloon. And although it seemed as though she and Bart were kind of sweet on each other when they parted at the end of ‘The Marquesa’, it looks as though they lost contact with each other - if we’re to assume Lily/Luisa and Elena Grande were the same person. (Bart would next meet Elena in the episode “The Spanish Dancer”.) There was a major change in the personality of Elena, if we are to believe that she was Lily/Luisa. And I think the episode gives us the basics to build a splainin not only for why she was now known as Elena Grande, why she was so angry, and why she had a new backstory, but also why she didn’t recognize Bart at first.

When she finally told Bart her story as to why she hated the “gringo”, Elena revealed her true background - her real name was Elena de Galindas and her family’s lands had been stolen by the Americanos. Her father and her older brother had been killed, and they weren’t even given the decency of burial on their own property. Bart guessed that this all happened when she was about ten years old, but I’m thinking it was even earlier - when she was four, about the same age as Luisa Ruisenor when she was supposedly left an orphan after the burning of her hacienda.

As Rod Roddy used to say in the opening narration for ‘Soap’, “Confused?” Hopefully you won’t be, once we take a look at the backstory of Adele Mara’s character of Luisa.

Luisa Ruisenor’s family had been given a land grant for that area near the border many generations ago, granted to the original Marquesa (who bore an amazing likeness to Luisa). It remained in the family, parcelled out to second sons and the like, to keep it all in the family. And one of those neighboring ranches belonged to such cousins, the de Galindas family.

The de Galindas family was driven off their lands and the father killed; the Ruisenors died in the fire that destroyed their hacienda.... It had to be a naked land grab by unscrupulous Texan ranchers.

So now to resolve the question of her identity: was she Luisa or Elena? Toobworld Central is going to claim a little of both.

Luisa Ruisenor and Elena de Galindas were cousins - identical cousins. They looked alike, they walked alike, they even laughed and talked alike. And they were best friends, often staying over at each other’s home. And that’s what happened the night of the fire - Elena was enjoying a sleep-over at the Ruisenor ranch. But if the attack on the de Galindas ranch happened that same night, then there was no one left alive who knew the truth. Save for the old nurse, but she must have come to the wrong conclusion when the horrible truth was learned - the only survivor of the fire was one small toddler, a girl. And everybody assumed it was Luisa Ruisenor.

According to the episode, that little girl was then raised in an orphanage run by nuns until she ran off to become a dancer under the name of Lily Nightingale. And all of her memories from when she was a little girl, which were already overshadowed by the spectre of the fire, were buried deeply in her subconscious. When they finally came back to the surface, coached along by Manuel Ortiz and Bufemia the nurse and, under the threats from Pepe, she came to believe that she was Luisa.But she was Elena de Galindas. She grew up knowing the same nursery rhymes, the same fairy stories as her identical cousin. It wouldn’t be so unbelievable, after the trauma of the fire and the guilt because she survived, that she would come to think that she was Luisa.

Somehow she must have learned the truth when she returned to Tombstone. Perhaps one of the patrons of the Silver Lode Saloon, someone who knew both girls when they were toddlers, recognized some physical feature that could only be found on Elena, and not Luisa.

And this person would have also been able to tell her the truth about her family, and how they died. From that point, Elena was filled with hatred for the “gringos” and with a desire to reclaim what was rightfully hers. Perhaps subconsciously she wanted nothing to do with the claim on the Ruisenor land grant because she knew she was not Luisa. But as Elena, she had a God-given right to the de Galindas estates.

So full of the rage and desire for revenge was she, and with her newly restored memories as Elena, everything she knew from her brief “life” as Luisa was overwhelmed and forgotten - including knowledge of Bart Maverick. This is why she didn’t remember him when she met him again on the road to the Riverhead mining camp in the Sacramento mountains of New Mexico. As to why Bart didn’t remember her at first? Those Maverick boys worked their way through a lot of the women in the wild wild West. If they were going to remember the details when they counted cards, something had to give - like memories of past conquests.....

I imagine that in one of those scenes which the Trueniverse audience never gets to see, Bart and Elena realized that they knew each other during their trip to the mining camp of Riverhead. For whatever reason, they decided to play it as if they had just met and so Bart always addressed her as Elena. Not that it mattered - Elena's anger towards the Americanos now spilled over to Bart as well.

(If you ever get the chance, check out the episode "The Spanish Dancer"; it's the best of the three for Adele Mara. The highlight is the dance in which her anger seethes through her choreography.)

But she decided to throw in with his plan, along with Gentleman Jack Darby, to fleece Riverhead camp boss John Wilson into draining the Blue Rock Mine for them, a flooded mine he lost to Maverick in a poker game. Elena would get an equal third in any profits after their ruse worked. But when Wilson tried to turn the tables on them, it only made them richer - his detonation of the dam brought quartz gold to the surface, which was supposedly worth far more. Now Elena was rich enough to buy back her family's ranchlands and re-establish the de Galindas family name. And once again, Bart lost touch with her, even though their attraction to each other was now more pronounced. And with Bart out of her love life, Elena turned to a rancher near Bonita, California, for her needs.

Since he lost contact with her, there was no way for Bart to know that somehow Elena didn't have enough to get that ranch back, and therefore she had to go along with Jim Mundy's scheme to rob the bank in Bonita - and just her luck, she ran into Bart Maverick a third time. And to make matters worse - his brother Bret was in town as well. When Bart saw "June Mundy" arrive on the stage in the town of Bonita, he introduced himself to her in such a way as to suggest there was no history between them... just in case she wanted to play it on the "down-low". Referring to her careers as a dancer, Bart told her that he thought he saw her perform in Abilene. "Abilene" may have been a pre-arranged code word between them, since that's where her former partner's brother shared a jail cell with Maverick's "friend" Nobby Ned Wingate.

But as I said, some time had passed since the last time they saw each other. Now going by the name June Collins (perhaps because it was more socially acceptable among the mostly white population in those border towns), the dancer understood the sub-text of Bart's greeting/warning. But Elena still decided the gamble was worth it. In that intervening time period, she may have become more jaded, more hardened, and saw that Jim Mundy's plan to rob the bank was her only way to achieve her goal of reclaiming the de Galindas' ranch.

Even though she carried through with her part of the plan (by dancing in the bar across the street in such a way that the hootin' and hollerin' of the cowboys would drown out the sounds of the bank break-in) "June" wasn't so cold-hearted that she would allow anything to happen to Bart. She even tried to warn him away, as well as plead with her co-conspirators not to hurt him when they thought he heard what was going on from his hotel room next door.

After that misadventure in Bonita, we never saw any characters in 'Maverick' who looked like Adele Mara, even though she was the boss' wife (married to the series producer/creator Roy Huggins), and that's because June Collins - the former Elena de Galindas, the former Elena Grande, the former Doña Luisa de Ruisenor, the former Lily Nightingale - was serving a prison sentence in California.....

As to the roles played by Adele Mara in other Westerns, it may well be that June/Elena/Luis had identical cousins. If I can ever track down those episodes*, I'll see if they can fit into this general theory. The idea I'm toying with now is that she was offered a pardon by the Governor - maybe even the President! - if in return she worked for the government as an undercover agent. I'd even bring in Artemus Gordon as her tutor!

But like I said, it will depend on other episodes I find.......

BCnU! * And after writing that in the morning, I saw two of her 'Cheyenne' episodes in the afternoon, courtesy of Netflix online. Although I could make the case for both of them being part of this same scenario, acting as bookends as a matter of fact, I think I'll save that for another post.......


At this point in the creation of a unified back-story for the late Adele Mara's characters in TV Westerns, we can also insert an episode of 'Bat Masterson', "The Double Showdown". Bat rode into a town in Arizona to help out his friend Shorty. It seems Shorty's casino, the Alhambra, was being attacked daily by thugs who worked for the Oriental saloon. Bat rode into town alongside the Overland stage in the company of a beautiful young woman named Maria Costa. He escorted her to the theater that first night and when it was apparent that she was in deadly danger from the man who ran the other casino, Bat made sure that she got out of town safely. As expected, this lady was portrayed by Adele Mara, this time using the alias of "Maria Costa" as her traveling name.
We didn't see every moment of their time spent together, but at some point Masterson must have told her about the town of Tombstone, singing its praises. So when she rode out of town on the stage the next day (for her protection), it was probably taking her to Tombstone, which is where she would find work at the Silver Lode Saloon as Lily Nightingale....
The Toobworld timeline then takes a five year jump* - the next time we catch up to her, she had been living in Tombstone all that time, but is now known by the name of Thelma Callum. (In its way, this seems to confirm that "Lily Nightingale" was just a stage name.) "Thelma" may have been the name she was given (or took for herself) in the orphanage. As for "Callum"? During those five years, she married a gunslinger named Jimmy Callum, and at the point in time when we rejoin her story, Jimmy had only recently beem released from prison in Huntsville, Texas. (He had been sent up originally for ten years - for a murder which for - once! - he wasn't guilty. "Thelma" knew that eventually he was going to return to Tombstone for his "Thelma", and probably wouldn't take kindly to finding out she was carrying on an affair with corrupt sheriff Johnny Behan.
Doc Holliday took advantage of that situation - he blackmailed "Thelma" into luring Behan into a trap that he would set with the assistance of Morgan and Virgil Earp. She did so, but she wasn't able to hide that fact from Marshall Wyatt Earp for very long. As soon as she spilled the beans, she packed up and left town. It must have been fortuitous for her to be found by Manuel Ortiz just as she was leaving - his plan to reclaim the land grant once belonging to the Marquesa Ruisenor would be just the ticket to hide in plain sight should anyone come looking for her.

And a few months later, she would become involved with Bart Maverick.....

If Toobworld Central operated more like our friends in the Wold Newton Universe, we would have added yet another source to the legend of Lily Nightingale - Bob Dylan's classic ballad "Lily, Rosemary, And The Jack Of Hearts".......

Lily was a princess she was fair-skinned and precious as a child
She did whatever she had to do she had that certain flash every time she smiled
She'd come away from a broken home had lots of strange affairs
With men in every walk of life which took her everywhere
But she's never met anyone quite like the Jack of Hearts.

Other lyrics in the song share aspects from that 'Maverick' episode "Seed of Deception", especially about the guys down the hall drilling into the bank safe.


Having gone through all of Adele Mara's appearances on 'Maverick' and provided a reasonable splainin (in my opinion, anyhoo) for all three characters to be the same person, I turned my attention to the list of other TV Westerns she made - in order to see if they could be added to the mix as well.

I found two of her guest roles on 'Cheyenne' at Netflix and was able to watch them online: "Star In The Dust" and "Border Showdown". Both of them not only could be splained away to be the same woman she played in the three 'Maverick' episodes (using an alias, of course), but they could serve as bookends to 'Maverick', and to her life story....

In 'Star In The Dust', Ms. Mara played Claire Du Pas, originally from New Orleans where she grew up in the paper shacks in the poorest quarter of the city. At least that's what she told Cheyenne Bodie. To fit the Toobworld scenario, she was in New Orleans when John Clements came to town in search of a bride. She assumed the name of Claire Du Pas in order to sell the vision of a New Orleans beauty, but she may have already been known by the name of Lily Nightingale. Once back in Clements' hometown out West, she refused to marry him, instead turning her attentions to Clements' ne'er-do-well son Jimmy.
The town sheriff, Wes Garth (who may have been related to Judge Garth, seen in 'The Virginian' and who was an unseen major player in 'Alias Smith & Jones') also had fallen for "Claire" and was bound to make her his own. Although it was proven to be justified, Sheriff Garth's shooting of Jimmy Clements in a showdown - where it was three to one against the sheriff - was the first step towards his downward spiral over that woman.

When the town's bank was robbed of $55,000, Garth was able to catch up to the robber who was carrying the money. As they slugged it out, the robber fell and cracked his head on a rock. Giving in to temptation, Garth decided to keep the money for himself, figuring it was the only way he could make Claire his woman.
"Miss Du Pas" was willing to go along with the idea at first, but she still didn't have any feelings for the stolid and rather dull lawman. Instead, no sooner was Jimmy Clements dead, but she had already turned her attentions to Cheyenne, who was now the deputy to Sheriff Garth. (It was hinted that Cheyenne did sleep with her, not the first time that's happened with the women in this show - even with the married ones!)

Once Bodie's suspicions were raised as to what happened to the money, Claire told him the truth ... and that she was willing to betray Wes Garth in order for Cheyenne to be the one to run away with her and the money.

Cheyenne confronted the sheriff with his suspicions and offered him the chance to give the money back and it could all be forgotten. But Garth never accepted the truth of this situation and he died trying to draw against Cheyenne.

That's where the episode ended, but we can assume that Claire didn't stay much longer in town. First off, knowing that she was partially connected to Garth's plan, the townsfolk would have shunned her. So she may have moved on to Tombstone where she began her dancing career as Lily Nightingale.
That would lead us first into the 'Bat Masterson' episode "Double Showdown" and then into the trio of 'Maverick' episodes in which Adele Mara appeared. And after that run of shows, we could then go back to 'Cheyenne' for the episode "Border Showdown" which would serve as the other, final, bookend.
Adele Mara played a saloon girl named Sarita in a small Mexican village, which was dominated by a bank robber and gang leader named Carl Thompson. Thompson had earlier killed a friend of Cheyenne Bodie's, which is why the cowboy and his pardner Smitty had come south of the border - to bring Thompson back to the States to face justice.
Sarita had thrown her lot in with Thompson, but she soon realized that he had no plans to run off with her as she wanted. If he was going to run, his only concern was that it would be with the bank money he and his gang had stolen. So Sarita switched sides and betrayed Thompson to Cheyenne; she also helped stir up the men in the town to finally take up arms against the intruders.

Now on the run, Thompson tried to find shelter at Sarita's home where he demanded that she get the hidden money for him. Instead she tried to stab him in the heart with a knife. But he got the better of her and tried to use her as a shield in his attempt to escape the angry mob outside. Instead, Sarita tried to wrest the gun from his grasp and ended up getting shot in the stomach. She fell back into the arms of the villagers and with a plea to the padre, she died.

So what we're O'Bviously claiming is that Sarita was really Lily Nightingale, aka Luisa Ruisenor, Elena Grande, Elena de Galindas, Claire Du Pas, and June Collins/Mundy. And she was probably using the alias of Sarita in order to get close to Carl Thompson and bring him down - on orders from the government. This is why she kept urging him to run away with her; the plan was to entice him back over the border so that waiting government agents could arrest him.
Cheyenne may not have recognized "Sarita" because it had been years since he had seen "Claire Du Pas". As Sarita, she was wearing heavy make-up for her disguise as the saloon girl, with a heavy accent to boot.

I mentioned in the previous post about her 'Maverick' episodes that we could squeeze in more of Adele Mara's TV Western characters if we build a history for her in which the government put "June Collins" to work as an undercover agent. But it would have to be on a case by case basis dependent on the script's demands. In such a scenario, "Border Showdown" would always have to be the last one......
It could be that she was sent to spy on Carl Thompson because she was already familiar with the situation - Thompson must have been the identical half-brother to her former lover and bank robbing partner Jim Mundy. (This claim is based on the fact that Myron Healey played both roles.)

Mundy had a ranch near the border to Mexico, which could be why Thompson set up his operations just over the border - he could always use his half-brother's property as a relay stop or as a short-cut back to the safety of Mexico.
And this doesn't necessarily mean the end of this character. The shooting of Sarita was definitely terminal; it wasn't as though she'd recuperate off-screen. But it was only final in this timeline....
A major premise of Toobworld is that whatever happens in any given show, it affects every other TV series since they should be (for the most part) sharing the same dimension. Usually, this doesn't come into play; they all operate safely within their own boundaries.

But then you get a show like 'Primeval', in which somehow Nick Cutter and his estranged wife Helen altered history back in prehistoric times. And Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent got involved in the lives of the cavemen and they altered history as well (as seen in 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'). For one thing, they corrupted the programming of the super-computer known as Earth, rendering it "mostly harmless" and thus not to be destroyed by the Vogon Constructor Fleet under the excuse of a hyperspace bypass.

It may seem strange that such sci-fi fare should be blended with a classic TV Western, but that's the Toobworld concept for you! And in the rebooted timeline, maybe "Sarita" didn't get killed by Carl Thompson and Cheyenne still got his man. So we can keep the 'Cheyenne' episode in the original timeline and some new scenario from another Western guest-starring Adele Mara in the new one.

But until I get a chance to see those shows, this will have to stand as the official arc for those Adele Mara aliases.