Saturday, July 2, 2011


I don't know what's going on......

All the icons for the 70 members of Team Toobworld no longer show up on my blog. And when I check the page elements in the design section of the blog's dashboard, all I get is a message saying that the page can't be displayed.

First my counter no longer appeared and its numbers remain frozen, and now this.

It's not like I tinkered with anything. I try to do as little as possible with the maintenance on the site. I post, and that's about it.....

Any suggestions?

Toby O'B


In the season finale for Matt Smith's first year playing the Doctor, he was sporting not only a Fez and he popped up in the distant past, but also a mop.

The Doctor made the look rock. After all, fezzes - and probably mops as well - are cool.

But he apparently already knew that, as he tried them both out back in his seventh incarnation......



As our true blipvert for the weekend, here's the latest commercial from DirecTV, featuring the voices of John Goodman and Steve Buscemi......



The Glastonbury music festival was held last weekend, and the big news out of it was that a friend of the Prime Minister was found dead in one of the port-O-potties. He may have committed suicide.

In the Tooniverse, this is what probably happened instead:



I know little else about this new series than what has been shown in these two trailers. I don't even know when it will premiere.  But as a big fan of that retro sci-fi look, I'm in!  (Once I find it, that is.....)

They're even supplying a commercial within a commercial for the show:



We covered the life of Harry Flashman as it appeared - and should have appeared - in Toobworld this past week. Here's the chapter of 'Tom Brown's School Days' which featured the introduction of his character into Earth Prime-Time:



Near the end of this month, the 59th anniversary of the death of Eva Peron will be marked in Argentina.......

"Evita Peron: The True Story"

Faye Dunaway

From Wikipedia:
María Eva Duarte de Perón (7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) was the second wife of President Juan Perón (1895–1974) and served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She is often referred to as simply Eva Perón, or by the affectionate Spanish language diminutive Evita.

She was born out of wedlock in the village of Los Toldos in rural Argentina in 1919, the fourth of five children. In 1934, at the age of 15, she went to the nation's capital of Buenos Aires, where she pursued a career as a stage, radio, and film actress. Eva met Colonel Juan Perón on January 22, 1944, in Buenos Aires during a charity event at the Luna Park Stadium to benefit the victims of an earthquake in San Juan, Argentina. The two were married the following year. In 1946, Juan Perón was elected President of Argentina. Over the course of the next six years, Eva Perón became powerful within the pro-Peronist trade unions, primarily for speaking on behalf of labor rights. She also ran the Ministries of Labor and Health, founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, championed women's suffrage in Argentina, and founded and ran the nation's first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party.

In 1951, Eva Perón renounced the Peronist nomination for the office of Vice President of Argentina. In this bid, she received great support from the Peronist political base, low-income and working class Argentines who were referred to as descamisados or "shirtless ones". However, opposition from the nation's military and bourgeoisie, coupled with her declining health, ultimately forced her to withdraw her candidacy. In 1952 shortly before her death from cancer at the age of 33, Eva Perón was given the official title of "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" by the Argentine Congress. Eva Perón was given an official state funeral despite the fact that she was not an elected head of state.

Eva Perón has become a part of international popular culture, most famously as the subject of the musical Evita. Cristina Alvarez Rodriguez, Evita's great niece, claims that Evita has never left the collective consciousness of Argentines. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the first female elected President of Argentina, claims that women of her generation owe a debt to Eva for "her example of passion and combativeness".

The entire movie can be seen in 20 segments on YouTube, but unfortunately embedding it here has been disabled by request. Nevertheless, if you're so inclined to view it, you can begin by clicking here.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes
On the left: his first appearance in "A Scandal in Bohemia"
On the right: in his last episode "The Cardboard Box"
The brilliance of Jeremy Brett's portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, the official version of the role for Toobworld, could blind a viewer to the deterioration of his physical health as the various series progressed.

From Wikipedia, here's the story of what was happening outside the box:
After the death of Joan Wilson, Brett struggled with filming the third Granada series, 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes' in late 1985. On the set it was noticed that his manic episodes, his excessive changes of mood, were getting worse and eventually grief and workload became too much; he had a breakdown, was hospitalised and diagnosed manic-depressive.

Brett was given lithium tablets to fight his manic depression. He knew that he would never be cured; he had to live with his condition, look for the signs of his disorder and then deal with it. He wanted to go back to work, to play Holmes again. The first episode to be produced after his discharge was a two-hour adaptation of "The Sign of the Four". From then on the difference in Brett's appearance slowly became more noticeable as the series developed. One of the side effects of the lithium tablets was fluid retention. Brett began to look and act differently. The drugs were slowing him down; he was putting on weight and retaining water. Brett also had heart troubles. His heart was twice the normal size, he would have difficulties breathing and would need an oxygen mask on the set. "But, darlings, the show must go on", was his only comment.

During the last decade of his life, Brett was treated in hospital several times for his mental illness, and his health and appearance visibly deteriorated by the time he completed the later episodes of the Sherlock Holmes series. During his later years, he discussed the illness candidly, encouraging people to recognise its symptoms and seek help.

That certainly answers the questions about Jeremy Brett. But within the reality of Toobworld, what was happening to the state of Holmes' health?

My intent is not to make light of the situation; instead I wish to provide a splainin for the changes to Holmes' appearance by thinking inside the box. Hopefully this would also be in keeping with the "Canon", since he is the televisual embodiment of the original stories.

Although we didn't see it happen on screen, Holmes had begun conducting his experiments into the longevity benefits from the royal jelly of bees long before his retirement to Sussex.

Many Sherlockians believe he was ultimately successful and was able to extend his own life-span (to the point where some claim that Holmes is still alive today!) As with any scientific experiment, there would be many trials and errors during research. And heedless of his own physical well-being (which we know he was wont to do with the use of cocaine and morphine when bored), Holmes would have had no qualms about using himself as the test subject in his royal jelly experiments. He may have been convinced that his physical stamina (as demonstrated in "The Speckled Band") was enough to withstand any detrimental effects caused by his experimental serums.

But each new test caused physical alterations to his body - the bloating, the softening of his once finely honed features.....

Based on what we saw in those last episodes, Holmes never gave a splainin, and Dr. Watson was probably too polite to enquire. And then again, it may have happened in a scene were not privy to.

For Jeremy Brett, that physical deterioration was permanent and he died not long after completing his final story as Holmes. But for Sherlock himself, life continued after the series finale. Eventually he hit upon the right combination of the serum and probably returned to his old self again... with the guarantee of a longer life to boot.



Today we celebrate the 207th birthday of a "Notorious Woman" from France.....

'Notorious Woman'

Rosemary Harris

From Wikipedia:
Amantine (also "Amandine") Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness (French: baronne) Dudevant (Paris, 1 July 1804 – 8 June 1876), best known by her pseudonym George Sand, was a French novelist and memoirist.

A liaison with the writer Jules Sandeau heralded her literary debut. They published a few stories in collaboration, signing them "Jules Sand." Her first published novel, "Rose et Blanche" (1831), was written in collaboration with Sandeau. She subsequently adopted, for her first independent novel, "Indiana" (1832), the pen name that made her famous – George Sand.

Drawing from her childhood experiences of the countryside, she wrote the rural novels "La Mare au Diable" (1846), "François le Champi" (1847–1848), "La Petite Fadette" (1849), and "Les Beaux Messieurs Bois-Doré" (1857). "A Winter in Majorca" described the period that she and Chopin spent on that island in 1838-9.

Her other novels include "Indiana" (1832), "Lélia" (1833), "Mauprat" (1837), "Le Compagnon du Tour de France" (1840), "Consuelo" (1842–1843), and "Le Meunier d'Angibault" (1845).

Further theatre pieces and autobiographical pieces include "Histoire de ma vie" (1855), "Elle et Lui" (1859) (about her affair with Musset), "Journal Intime" (posthumously published in 1926), and "Correspondence". Sand often performed her theatrical works in her small private theatre at the Nohant estate.

Sand's reputation came into question when she began sporting men's clothing in public — which she justified by the clothes being far sturdier and less expensive than the typical dress of a noblewoman at the time. In addition to being comfortable, Sand's male dress enabled her to circulate more freely in Paris than most of her female contemporaries, and gave her increased access to venues from which women were often barred — even women of her social standing.

Also scandalous was Sand's smoking tobacco in public; neither peerage nor gentry had yet sanctioned the free indulgence of women in such a habit, especially in public (though Franz Liszt's paramour Marie d'Agoult affected this as well, smoking large cigars). These and other behaviors were exceptional for a woman of the early and mid-19th century, when social codes—especially in the upper classes—were of the utmost importance.

As a consequence of many unorthodox aspects of her lifestyle, Sand was obliged to relinquish some of the privileges appertaining to a baroness — though, interestingly, the mores of the period did permit upper-class wives to live physically separated from their husbands, without losing face, provided the estranged couple exhibited no blatant irregularity to the outside world.

Toobworld Note: When RTD was in charge of 'Doctor Who', the 9th and 10th incarnations of the Doctor met several writers from Great Britain - Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Dame Agatha Christie.  So far, the 11th incarnation of the Doctor has crossed the Channel and entered the life of French artiste supreme Vincent Van Gogh.

Maybe he should revisit France and this time get caught up in some kind of adventure with George Sand.  She certainly is quite radical for her times and would have no problem in keeping up with the strange things that occur with the Doctor.......

Here's a suggestion....  He should give her the suit worn by the 8th incarnation of the Doctor as a parting gift......


Thursday, June 30, 2011


Actress Alice Playten passed away last Saturday from complications of pancreatic cancer at the age of 63.

She was mostly known for her work in the theatre - "Gypsy", "Henry, Sweet Henry", "Caroline, Or Change", "National Lampoon's Lemmings", among many others. Buried under heavy prosthetic makeup, she played the demon Blix, an underling to Tim Curry's Devil in the movie "Legend". And she had a Toobworld presence with roles in 'The Lost Saucer' and the HBO presentation of National Lampoon's "Disco Beavers From Outer Space".

But it's for a sweet, small role in a TV commercial for which she'll be best remembered in Toobworld. For an Alka-Seltzer blipvert back in the advertising heyday of the early 1970's called "Groom's First Meal", Ms. Playten played a young newlywed eager to try out some recipes on her new husband - among them, poached oysters and my favorite, marshmallow meatloaf. (That's Terry Kiser of "Weekend At Bernie's" fame in the background as her loving test subject......)

Sadly, of all those famous commercials from that time period for Alka Seltzer, "Groom's First Meal" doesn't seem to be available for viewing on the internet. But thanks to my copy of "Mighty Minutes" (and a technical assist from my co-worker Tony Ebadi), I'm able to present to you this still from the commercial:
Good night, Alice Playten, and may God bless.



CBS finally started burning off the last episodes of 'CHAO' this past week. Two aired on Friday and the schedule shows three more to come in the next three weeks. And then that will be it for this CIA-based series (much better than 'Covert Affairs' in my opinion), making eight episodes in all.

The action-adventure series was about a division in the CIA called the ODS, and it had a great cast - the four team members were Freddie Rodriguez, Eric Close, James Murray, and Tim Blake Nelson, with Kurtwood Smith as their slow-burn boss and Carmen Ejogo and Christina Cole providing support.

In the episode "Glory Days", a theoretical connection could be made to 'In Plain Sight', which is definitely connected to the greater TV Universe by a crossover with 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'.

Bruce Boxleitner played Ray Bishop, the legendary spy who created the ODS. In trying to get evidence on the head of Global Intel (a rogue spy corporation), Ray ended up in the hospital. (He thought he was poisoned, but it was an angina attack brought on by the excitement of being back in the "game".)
Michael Dorset, the current head of ODS, told his mentor that two U.S. Marshals were outside his hospital room; they were ready to whisk him away into protective custody just as soon as he was discharged from the hospital.

We never got to see the two U.S. Marshals; they never got involved in the defense against the assassin sent by Global Intel. And that's why I think we can make the claim that they were Marshals Mary Shannon and Marshall Mann, stationed in Albuquerque.
Looks like they're staking out the hospital reception desk
And because the 'CHAOS' episode was broadcast months past the time it should have aired, we can place it on the Toobworld timeline before this season's premiere of 'In Plain Sight'. Long before Mary started showing signs that she had been knocked up by her ex-husband.

So once Ray Bishop got out of Washington, DC, Mary and Marshall flew him to New Mexico where he would get a new identity in the WITSEC program.

It'll be interesting to see if any future one-shot roles played by Boxleitner could be considered to be Ray Bishop in his new identity.....
Ray Bishop:
New location, new identity?



We close out the first half of the year with a sad reason for the day's "As Seen On TV" showcase.....


'I, Claudius'

Margaret Tyzack

From Wikipedia:
Antonia Minor (PIR2 A 885), also known as Antonia the Younger or simply Antonia (31 January 36 BC - September/October AD 37) was the younger of two daughters of Roman politician Mark Antony and Octavia Minor.

Antonia is one of the most prominent Roman women. She is celebrated for her virtue and beauty. She was the youngest daughter to Octavia Minor and Mark Antony and was also the favorite niece of her mother’s younger brother, Rome’s first Emperor Augustus.

She was born in Athens, Greece and after 36 BC was brought to Rome by her mother and her siblings. Antonia never had the chance to know her father, Mark Antony, who divorced her mother in 32 BC and committed suicide in 30 BC. She was raised by her mother, her uncle and her aunt, Livia Drusilla. Due to inheritances, she owned properties in Italy, Greece and Egypt. She was a wealthy and influential woman who often received people, who were visiting Rome. Antonia had many male friends and they included wealthy Jew Alexander the Alabarch and Lucius Vitellius, a consul and father of future Emperor Aulus Vitellius.

In 16 BC, she married the Roman general and consul Nero Claudius Drusus. Drusus was the stepson of her uncle Augustus, second son of Livia Drusilla and brother of future Emperor Tiberius. They had several children, but only three survived: the famous general Germanicus, Livilla and the Roman Emperor Claudius.
Antonia was the grandmother of the Emperor Caligula, the Empress Agrippina the Younger and through Agrippina, great-grandmother and great-aunt of the Emperor Nero. Drusus died in June 9 BC in Germany, due to complications from injuries he sustained after falling from a horse. After his death, although pressured by her uncle to remarry, she never did.

Antonia would often offer Caligula advice, but he once told her, "I can treat anyone exactly as I please!". Caligula was rumored to have had his young cousin Gemellus beheaded, to remove him as a rival to the throne. This act was said to have outraged Antonia, who was grandmother to Gemellus as well as to Caligula.

Having had enough of Caligula’s anger at her criticisms and of his behavior, she committed suicide. Suetonius’s Caligula, clause 23, mentions how he might have poisoned her.

When his grandmother Antonia asked for a private interview, he refused it except in the presence of the prefect Macro, and by such indignities and annoyances he caused her death; although some think that he also gave her poison. After she was dead, he paid her no honour, but viewed her burning pyre from his dining-room.
When Claudius became emperor after his nephew’s assassination in 41 AD, he gave his mother the title of Augusta. Her birthday became a public holiday, which had yearly games and public sacrifices held. An image of her was paraded in a carriage.

We're featuring Antonia today because the actress who portrayed her in 'I, Claudius', Dame Margaret Tyzack, has passed away.....
Good night and may God bless.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


With its penultimate episode (of a much too short life of five episodes before cancellation), 'CHAOS' gave Toobworld a parting gift: the nation of Rukovia was added to the atlas.

Rukovia appears to be Eastern European, slowly and painfully throwing off the chains of tyranny with free elections. It may have once been under Soviet domination and can probably be counted among the satellite nations in the UCR.

It was never stated as to what "UCR" stood for in "The Play", an episode of 'Mission: Impossible', but it could have been "United Communist Republics", a small off-shoot of the USSR.

Here are a few other nations that could have been part of such a confederation:

Argonia ('The Adventures Of Superman')

Boldavia ('Night Court')

Boravia ('Danger Man')

Drublegratz ('The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.')

Povia ('Mission: Impossible')

Tavilia ('The Amazing Spiderman')

Zemenia ('Monk')

Adding Zemenia as one of the possibilities is like waving a red cape at a charging bull. I have a reader who is incensed by the whole idea of the fictional country of Zemenia as seen on TV. Somehow she (at least I think the commenter is female) sees that episode of 'Monk' as an insult to her own people.....
I'm glad I can keep Toobworld separate from the real world.

Well, I have to go now. I need to clean out the tray in my talking toaster-oven.....



What keeps a televisiologist from getting a good night's sleep?

What would happen if a Weeping Angel touched Dr. Sam Beckett while he was living the life of a "leapee"? Would he be sent back further in Time or would that happen to the leapee? What if the Angel touched him as he was leaping out?
'Doctor Who'
'Quantum Leap'



The series finale of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent" ended on a nebulous note - would Detective Robert Goren be able to reconcile himself to a career which he loved but which was driving him crazy? Would he see his partner, Detective Alexandra Eames, as a romantic interest? (When he saw her on the street, he called her "Alex" for the first time in the show's history.)

I couldn't bring myself to think about that as I watched them drive away in the show's conclusion, however. I was too busy screaming at the screen: "Buckle up, you fools! It's the Law!"




"The Pied Piper"

Jim Backus

Although not named in the production, the king had to be Rudolph I because the story took place in 1284......

From Wikipedia:
Rudolph I (also known as Rudolph of Habsburg) (German: Rudolf von Habsburg, Latin: Rudolphus) (1 May 1218(1218-05-01) – 15 July 1291(1291-07-15)) was King of the Romans from 1273 until his death. He played a vital role in raising the Habsburg dynasty to a leading position among the Imperial feudal dynasties. Originally a Swabian count, he was the first Habsburg to acquire the duchies of Austria and Styria, territories that would remain under Habsburg rule for more than 600 years and would form the core of the Habsburg Monarchy and the present-day country of Austria.

For More

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I'm sending this out to a fellow crossover enthusiast named Gordon. He's seen several of the ABC TV movies about 'Columbo', but he apparently is too young to have seen the original run of the series from NBC. So to help him get started (Netflix online, Gordon!), here is a Super-Six list of my favorite episodes from the series as a whole.

My all-time favorite TV series is 'The Prisoner', so just for the opportunity to see Patrick McGoohan as the guest star would have been enough. But the episode (directed by McGoohan) is full of allusions to 'The Prisoner' - visual imagery referring to "#1", the design of McGoohan's windbreaker, the phrase "Be Seeing You".... Plus McGoohan's line readings are brilliantly off-kilter - just the way he says "I know!" is a pleasure.

This mostly has to do with Ruth Gordon as a sweet but crafty Agatha Christie type. But it also has an ingenious solution to the murder, worthy of the grande dame of mysteries.

This is the first - and best - of several episodes that played with the show's formula - Columbo in London! (There would also be Columbo on a cruise and Columbo in Mexico.) Now he was in Christie country, complete with a country manor setting, a wax museum, pubs, theatre in the West End, and a gentlemen's club which I've decided was the famed Diogenes Club from the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Peter Falk did some location shooting in London, but most of the episode was shot in California with excellent British ex-pats providing support for Richard Basehart and Honor Blackman as the hammy Shakespearean murderers - Bernard Fox, John Williams, Ronald Long, Arthur Malet, and Wilfred Hyde-White.

(Having now seen John Fraser in an episode of 'The Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes', I'll have to watch "Dagger Of The Mind" again to spot him. He's prominently listed in the end credits, but I just don't remember him in the episode.)

The relationship that grows between Columbo and the murderer, Adrian Carsini, culminating in that last visit to the winery is probably the best in the series. And Donald Pleasance as Adrian is so... well, endearing, that it took me many viewings to realize just how ruthless his crime was.

Again, an episode with Patrick McGoohan as the muderer, and the first of his four appearances. The great thing about his murderers is that each of them looked so different from each other. A problem I always had with the repeat performances by Robert Culp and Jack Cassidy, among others, is that - great as the actors were - how come Columbo never noticed their similarities? Also, this was a nice spin on the formula in which the murderer was undone by that for which he committed the crime. In this case, it was the traditions of the school and subsequent infractions.....

I'd say this was absolutely brilliant, but one thing mars it - that awful title.

This had the best capper of a revelation at the end since early episodes like "Short Fuse" and "Suitable For Framing". But best of all was the shout-out to the past - a mention of Chief Superintendent Inspector Dirk of Scotland Yard from "Dagger Of The Mind", and an uncredited appearance by Bruce Kirby. He was probably appearing as Sgt. Kramer, now promoted.

This is the only episode of the ABC run to make the list and it mostly had to do with the very inventive script by William Read Woodfield.

'Columbo' is in my top five TV series of all time*, so it was tough to limit this list to my self-proscribed "Super Six". But here's a Top Ten list of runners-up:

"Requiem For A Falling Star"
"Forgotten Lady"
"Uneasy Lies The Crown"
"Prescription: Murder"
"Negative Reaction"
"Etude In Black"
"A Stitch In Crime"
"Candidate For Crime"
"Mind Over Mayhem"
"Lovely But Lethal"

Just one more thing......

I'd watch any 'Columbo' episode over and over again, but I will admit some of them are not that strong. These would be at the bottom of the collection:

"Dead Weight"
"An Old-Fashioned Murder"
"Make Me A Perfect Murder"
"Lady In Waiting"
"Ransom For A Dead Man"
"No Time To Die"
"Columbo And The Murder Of A Rock Star"
"Murder In Malibu"
"Columbo Likes The Night Life"

Sadly, that was Columbo's swan song.

* Okay, just in case you were interested in my Top Five TV series:
'The Prisoner'
'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'
'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
'Doctor Who'


AMSTERDAM [AP] -- The Van Gogh Museum said its experts now believe one of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings previously thought to be a self-portrait from 1887 actually depicts his brother, Theo.

Though the brothers resembled each other physically, scholars determined the painting represents Theo by a number of factors.

Head researcher Louis van Tilborgh compared two paintings from 1887 with similar-looking men in suits set against a blue background.

The portrait of Theo [seen on the left] shows he had rounder ears than Vincent. The other portrait shows Vincent with long, angular ears, consistent with other artists’ paintings of Vincent. That’s before he famously self-mutilated one of his ears in December 1888.

In addition, Theo’s goatee is more yellow-brown than Vincent’s dark red beard, and Theo has shaven cheeks, consistent with photographs of him from the same period, while Vincent painted himself sporting mutton-chop sideburns.
In Toobworld, however, Van Gogh presented the painting as a portrait of himself to the Doctor and Amy. There was no mention of Theo.

There are two ways this can be splained away.......

ONE - It is not Theo.

Toobworld is NOT the real world. There are so many differences - aliens, androids, and talking animals living among us; the moon has been secretly colonized for decades; countries that don't exist in the Trueniverse crowd the map; historical figures took part in adventures which never even happened here.

So maybe over in Toobworld Van Gogh always intended the painting to be of himself. And if the televersions of those art critics still tried to make the assertion that it was Theo Van Gogh, they'd just be wrong.

TWO - It is Theo.

Van Gogh was testing the Doctor and Amy; if they were such big fans of his work as they appeared, they would surely recognize it was not a self-portrait. But even though they didn't, Van Gogh seems to have let the matter drop.

Either way, both sides of the issue are covered.



The holiday weekend is approaching and that means the public will be taking to the roads to reach their vacation spots......

Rolls-Royce Limited was a renowned British car and, from 1914 on, aero-engine manufacturing company founded by Charles Stewart Rolls and Henry Royce on 15 March 1906 as the result of a partnership formed in 1904.


'The Edwardians'

Mr. Royce - Michael Jayston

Mr. Rolls - Robert Powell

Charles Stewart Rolls (27 August 1877 - 12 July 1910) was a motoring and aviation pioneer. Together with Frederick Henry Royce he co-founded the Rolls-Royce car manufacturing firm. He was the first Briton to be killed in a flying accident, when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during a flying display near Bournemouth, England. He was aged 32.

Sir Frederick Henry Royce, 1st Baronet, OBE (27 March 1863 – 22 April 1933) was a pioneering car manufacturer, who with Charles Stewart Rolls founded the Rolls-Royce company.

From Wikipedia:
Following a decline in trade after the Second Boer War, and the arrival of increasing competition in cranes and dynamos from Germany and the United States, Royce began considering the motor car as a potential new product for the company. With his fascination for all things mechanical he became increasingly focused on motor cars and bought first, in 1901, a small De Dion and in 1902 or 1903 a 1901 model two cylinder Decauville. This did not meet his high standards and so he first improved it and then decided to manufacture a car of his own which he did in a corner of the workshop in 1904.

Two more cars were made. Of the three, which were called Royces and had two cylinder engines, one was given to Ernest Claremont and the other sold to one of the other directors, Henry Edmunds. Edmunds was a friend of Charles Rolls who had a car showroom in London selling imported models. He showed Rolls his car and arranged the historic meeting between Rolls and Royce at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, on 4 May 1904. In spite of his preference for three or four cylinder cars, Rolls was impressed with the two-cylinder Royce 10 and in a subsequent agreement of 23 December 1904 agreed to take all the cars Royce could make.

These would be of two, three, four and six cylinders and would be badged as Rolls-Royces.

The first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904. In 1906 Rolls and Royce formalised their partnership by creating Rolls-Royce Limited, with Royce appointed chief engineer and works director on a salary of £1,250 per annum plus 4% of the profits in excess of £10,000. Royce thus provided the technical expertise to complement Rolls's financial backing and business acumen. By 1907 the company was winning awards for the engineering reliability of its cars.

The partnership ended when Rolls died in 1910 in a crash of his Wright flyer.


Monday, June 27, 2011


Dr. Cal Lightman may have sown his own wild oats while at university, to such an extent that he might not even have realized that Emily is not his only child.

It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that while Cal was studying for his doctorate, he used his abilities to read people's body language and micro-expressions in order to score with women. Lots of women. And if Harry Flashman was his ancestor, it could be that Lightman followed in his footsteps and had sex with even the willing married women he met in the pubs.

One of these women may have been Mrs. Cartwright. And as one would expect in Toobworld, so redolent in soap opera conventions, she may have become pregnant by Lightman. Rather than cause trouble for herself, however, she probably passed the child off as being her husband Terry's.

As the boy, whom they named Jay, grew older, his resemblance to Lightman (diffused by the genetic additions of his Mum) became noticeable. They shared similar facial expressions - there was a time when Dr. Lightman was on the stand in a court case, and his snarky grin looked just like Jay's.

Terry Cartwright may have suspected that Jay was not his own, but it doesn't seem likely that he confronted Mrs. Cartwright about it. However, it may splain why he treated Jay so horribly in front of his friends, making fun of his deficiencies in the lower realms of anatomy, as it were.....

With Jay Cartwright's obsession with sex, it could be that the trait was a dominant one in the Flashman-Lightman family tree.......
'Lie To Me'
'The In-Betweeners'
'Tom Brown's School Days'



In writing about Boilerplate, the latest fictional character whom I'd like to see get a televersion, I mentioned a previous candidate - Harry Flashman. Flashman was the school bully in "Ton Brown's School Days", a Victorian novel by Thomas Hughes. The book has been filmed several times, and twice for television, so Harry Flashman has had his day in the cathode sun, but there was more to his life than his school days.

Not only because it was the first production broadcast, but also because its episodic form as a TV series provided the opportunity to add as much detail from the novel as possible, the 1971 TV version is the one established in Earth Prime-Time. (The later version from 2005 does boast the presence of Stephen Fry as Dr. Thomas Arnold, though. Tempting as that is, that version has to remain in the Land of Remakes.) 
Harry Flashman attacks Tom Brown

In 1969, George MacDonald Fraser published "Flashman", an historical novel purportedly based on the recently discovered papers of Harry Flashman. Over the course of twelve novels, Fraser recounted Flashman's exploits from his early twenties to advanced old age. And along the way, Flashman had adventures in which he crossed paths with many historical figures.

(As a side note, I highly recommend these books, especially if you enjoy salacious depictions of Victorian ribaldry - a lot of "rogering" goes on, which was an excellent source of... shall we say, "inspiration" to a lad in his teens. That is, so I've heard.....)

So far, none of the "Flashman" novels have been adapted for television, although the second novel, "Royal Flash", does have a home in the Cineverse as a movie starring Malcolm McDowall as Harry, with Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in support.
I think the Fraser series of novels about Harry Flashman would make for a great TV series on HBO or Showtime or even Starz, especially with the freedom provided by a premium channel to portray prurient content. (Ah, alliteration!) With the success of 'Game Of Thrones' on HBO and 'The Borgias' and 'The Tudors' on Showtime, perhaps its time to give old Flash a shot.....

I'd like to think that, even without a television series or made for TV movie already established, Harry Flashman's life in Toobworld at least follows the basic guidelines set down by Fraser for a thoroughly debauched life led by Flashman. After all, even though we might not see it take place on our TV screens, Harry Flashman's life did continue after the events of the "Tom Brown's School Days" TV series had ended. 
Harry Flashman
with Tom Brown & Scud East
So let's assume that the Rugby School bully grew up to become a lecherous, immoral coward at least similar to, if not exactly like, the Flashman depicted by Fraser. This TV Flashman would end up rogering his way through the ladies of his times, perhaps even with fictional females from other TV series. (Let's say a parlor maid or two in the Bellamy household a decade or two before we met them on screen?)
Being a bounder and a cad, Flashman would not have been morally constrained from any dalliances with married women; and he would have no qualms in leading a young lady on with false promises of betrothal, in order to bed her and rob her of her virtue. And in the course of such a pursuit, he might have proferred a false identity in order to elude being sued for breach of promise. 
From the movie "Royal Flash"
But the Toobworld Flashman would find himself in a similar situation

Let's say he did pluck a young lovely's virginity and with such skill that she acquiesced without even learning his name. But as Flashman made ready to flee the following morning, suddenly the deflowered miss might have inquired as to who he was. Caught off-guard, he may have concocted a fake name on the spot.

But what name might he have used?

The Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was faced with such a situation while investigating a murder aboard a particular train.
"'I claim no credit this time. It was not a guess. Countess Andrenyi practically told me.'

'Comment? Surely not?'

'You remember I asked her about her governess or companion? I had already decided in my mind that if Mary Debenham were mixed up in the matter, she must have figured in the household in some such capacity.'

'Yes, but the Countess Andrenyi described a totally different person.'

'Exactly. A tall, middle-aged woman with red hair - in fact, the exact opposite in every respect of Miss Debenham, so much so as to be quite remarkable. But then she had to invent a name quickly, and there it was that the unconscious association of ideas gave her away. She said Miss Freebody, you remember.'


'Eh bien, you may not know it, but there is a shop in London that was called, until recently, Debenham & Freebody. With the name Debenham running in her head, the Countess clutches at another name quickly, and the first that comes is Freebody. Naturally I understood immediately.'"

Oftentimes, false identities are similar enough to the original to make them easier to remember. (This is probably why almost everybody in the Albuquerque WITSEC program usually keeps their first names - unless it's something strange and/or Amish like Yonni - and gets a last name with the same initial as their original last name.)

A similar situation may have arisen for Harry Flashman when pressed by a romantic conquest to reveal his identity.
There are two ways in which he may have gone with his reasoning to choose the name I have in mind.

ONE - thinking of other uses for his particular variation on his name, he might have thought of the phrase "Flash of lightning".

TWO - This coital quandary may have taken place after his return from the Crimean War. (Again, only if Harry Flashman's TV existence followed the same pattern as that established in the literary universe.) Thinking back on his alleged involvement in the most infamous battle, which took place in late October of 1854, Flashman might have drawn inspiration from the regiment immortalized in the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

So whether it was "lightning" or the "Light Brigade", Flashman might have combined the key word with the last part of his own name right there on the spot and convinced her that his name was Lightman. 
An older Harry Flashman
And off he would have absconded, assured that he would never see her again.

But he may have left a little something to remember him by....

Again, this is all speculation, so why stop now?

What if some woman he rogered found herself pregnant, by this fellow named "Lightman"? O'Bviously she was never going to track him down to do right by her. But she might still have given the child the last name of its father, never knowing how false it was.

And so the family tree of Dr. Carl Lightman might have been established.........
'Tom Brown's School Days'
'Lie To Me'
'Agatha Christie's Poirot'
'Upstairs, Downstairs'
'In Plain Sight'

"Murder On The Orient Express"
"Tom Brown's School Days"
"Royal Flash"
"Flashman At The Charge"




"The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers"

Michael Brandon

Earth Prime-Time

Click here to see how Bill Pullman looked in the role of this Diamond Jim, Jamie Dimon.....


Sunday, June 26, 2011


The Big Man has left the band - On June 18th, having suffered a massive stroke a few days earlier, Clarence Clemons passed away. After Bruce Springsteen himself, the saxonphone player was probably the musician most identified with the E Street Band.

With appearances on talk shows, variety programs, award presentations, and the news magazines '60 Minutes' and 'TV Nation', Clarence Clemons created his televersion as a member of the E Street Band. But he truly immersed himself in Toobworld with these appearances in fictional storylines as a member of the League of Themselves:

'Brothers' - "Meet Mike Trainor, Assistant Coach"

'Til Death' - "Eddie's Book"
'That's Life' - "Sex In The Suburbs"

And with those three, Clarence Clemons is eligible for induction into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame.
But the Big Man wasn't done making an impact - Clemons also contributed several other citizens to the Toobworld Registry:
'The Wire' - Roman (in two episodes)

'My Wife And Kids' - Johnny Watson

'Viper' - Leo Duquesne

'The Weird Al Show' - A Miner

'The Sentinel' - A Workman

'Nash Bridges' - Big Barry (in three episodes)

'The Flash' - Darrell Hennings

'Jake And The Fatman' - Blue Danny Boyd

'Diff'rent Strokes' - Mr. Kingsley

The void he left behind may prove to be immeasurable. My condolences go out not only to his family and the other members of the E Street Band, but to all of his fans as well.

Good night and May God bless.


We interrupt the look at the major figures involved in "The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers" for this Sunday edition of the Video Weekend ASOTV showcase.

On this date in 1284, the Pied Piper led 130 children out of Hamelin, Germany.....


"The Pied Piper Of Hamelin"

Van Johnson

From Wikipedia:
In 1284, while the town of Hamelin was suffering from a rat infestation, a man dressed in pied clothing appeared, claiming to be a rat-catcher. He promised the townsmen a solution for their problem with the rats. The townsmen in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted, and played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all but one drowned. Despite his success, the people reneged on their promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher the full amount of money. The man left the town angrily, but vowed to return some time later, seeking revenge.

On Saint John and Paul's day while the inhabitants were in church, he played his pipe yet again, dressed in green, like a hunter, this time attracting the children of Hamelin. One hundred and thirty boys and girls followed him out of the town, where they were lured into a cave and never seen again. Depending on the version, at most three children remained behind. One of the children was lame and could not follow quickly enough, the second was deaf and followed the other children out of curiosity, and the last was blind and unable to see where they were going. These three informed the villagers of what had happened when they came out of church.

Other versions, but not the traditional ones, claim that the Piper lured the children into the river and let them drown like the rats, or led the children to a cave on Köppen Hill or Koppelberg Hill, outside of Hamelin, then killed them.

Another version relates that the Pied Piper hypnotized the children into following him to the top of Koppelberg Hill, where he took them to a mysterious land and had his wicked way, or a place called Koppenberg Mountain. This version states that the Piper returned the children after payment, or that he returned the children after the villagers paid several times the original amount of gold.

The story may reflect an historical event in which Hamelin lost its children. Theories have been proposed suggesting that the Pied Piper is a symbol of the children's death by plague or catastrophe. Other theories liken him to figures like Nicholas of Cologne, who lured away a great number of children on a disastrous Children's Crusade. A recent theory ties the departure of Hamelin's children to the Ostsiedlung, in which a number of Germans left their homes to colonize Eastern Europe.

The fact that the characters sing and speak in rhyme could mean that the town of Hamelin was under the sway of Mr. Sweet the demon at that time. (Mr. Sweet was seen in an episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' and was a 2005 inductee into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame.)


I remember seeing this TV movie when I was a kid, years after its original presentation on the old Dumont Network.  And I remember being disturbed that the crippled kid got left behind.....