Saturday, November 5, 2011


While doing research on this month's inductee into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, I discovered that a former November member had appeared in an episode of 'All My Children'. So that bumps up Mayor Mike Bloomberg's Hall credits, but unfortunately I couldn't find a video of that appearance.

But I do have one of him with the cast of 'All My Children' while on 'The View', as well as his televersion showing up in one of the best episodes of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' from this past season....

The newest member of the Hall of Fame will be inducted on Monday.



Apropos of nothing except that it's damned funny, here's some blipvert silliness with Chuck McCann and Tony Randall.....



With each Video Weekend, I like to toss in some 'Doctor Who' content, so these two musical numbers fill the bill nicely.....

By the way, I get kind of choked up when that last video reaches this point.....



There was a crossover on Halloween night, but I'm not sure how many people may have seen it in the tri-state area - what with Halloween festivities and the power being knocked out for thousands of homes by that freak October snowstorm.......

I don't know why, but TV wrestling is apparently pretty popular, so I'm sure the rest of the country more than made up the difference in ratings numbers.


My thanks to Ivan Ronald Schablotski and the rest of the gang in the TVCU Crossovers forum for this info.....



'The Devil's Whore'

Dominic West

From Wikipedia:

Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Cromwell was one of the commanders of the New Model Army which defeated the royalists in the English Civil War. After the execution of King Charles I in 1649, Cromwell dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England, conquered Ireland and Scotland, and ruled as Lord Protector from 1653 until he died in 1658.

Cromwell was born into the ranks of the middle gentry, and remained relatively obscure for the first 40 years of his life. Along with his brother, Henry, he kept a small holding of chickens and sheep, selling eggs and wool to support himself. His lifestyle resembled that of a yeoman farmer until he received an inheritance from his uncle. After undergoing a religious conversion during the same decade, Cromwell made an independent style of puritanism an essential part of his life. As a ruler he executed an aggressive and effective foreign policy and did as much as any English leader to shape the future of the land he governed. But his Commonwealth collapsed after his death and the royal family was restored in 1660. An intensely religious man—a self-styled Puritan Moses—he fervently believed God was guiding his victories. He was never identified with any one sect or position, however, and strongly favoured religious tolerance for all the various Protestant groups.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in 1628 and for Cambridge in the Short (1640) and Long (1640–49) Parliaments. He entered the English Civil War on the side of the "Roundheads" or Parliamentarians and became a key military leader. Nicknamed "Old Ironsides", he was quickly promoted from leading a single cavalry troop to command of the entire army. In 1649 he was one of the signatories of Charles I's death warrant and was a member of the Rump Parliament (1649–1653), which selected him to take command of the English campaign in Ireland during 1649–50. He led a campaign against the Scottish army between 1650 and 1651. On 20 April 1653 he dismissed the Rump Parliament by force, setting up a short-lived nominated assembly known as the Barebones Parliament, before being made Lord Protector of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland on 16 December 1653. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. After the Royalists returned to power, they had his corpse dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded.

Cromwell has been one of the most controversial figures in the history of the British Isles—considered a regicidal dictator by some historians such as David Hume and Christopher Hill as quoted by David Sharp, he was considered a hero of liberty by others such as Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Rawson Gardiner. In a 2002 BBC poll in Britain, Cromwell was elected as one of the Top 10 Britons of all time. His measures against Catholics in Scotland and Ireland have been characterised as genocidal or near-genocidal. In Ireland his record is harshly criticised.

He convinced the English soldiers that the Irish had six-inch tails, which made it easier to slaughter them, once they were dehumanized.

I spit on his memory.

But, since this is Video Weekend, I do have some video to illustrate this showcase....


Friday, November 4, 2011


What happened?” – Beckett
That’s it, that’s when all the camera signals cut out at once.” – Lulu
And what could explain the picture suddenly going out like that?” – Beckett
I don’t know. This has never happened before.” – Lulu
Well, there was that last episode of 'The 'Sopranos'.” – Castle

The same situation as mentioned in yesterday's post about 'Castle' and the TV doctors applies here - 'Castle' takes place in an alternate dimension for the time being so there's no problem with them having a TV show about a mob family that exists in the main TV dimension.

However, the day will hopefully come when 'Castle' can be absorbed back into Earth Prime-Time, so there should be a splainin ready should this snippet of dialogue survives the transition. (Like we'll actually see that happen.....)

'The Sopranos' was a TV series whose pop culture resonance had such magnitude (Pop! Pop!) that other TV shows were referring to it almost immediately. And because certain characters like Tony Soprano and his daughter Meadow were mentioned specifically, we can't pass off the 'Castle' mention as being about a reality series that centered around singers.

Here's a list of most of those shows in the main Toobworld which mentioned 'The Sopranos':

'Beverly Hills, 90210'

'The Ellen Show'

'Gilmore Girls'


'Peep Show'

'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

'The IT Crowd'

'Gilmore Girls'


'The Knight Of Prosperity'

'Sons Of Anarchy'




'As The World Turns'


'10 Things I Hate About You'

'Party Down'

'State Of Georgia'

('Dead Set' and 'Smallville' take place in alternate TV dimensions - the 'West Wing' universe and the Zombie Universe, respectively* - and so their mentions of 'The Sopranos' can be eliminated from consideration along with mentions from the Tooniverse, in game shows and talk shows.)

So O'Bviously, the world at large is aware of Tony Soprano and his crew and his family. (Three of those Zonks were in British shows - 'Hustle', 'Peep Show', and 'The IT Crowd'.) And they know of his sessions with Dr. Melfi, despite doctor/patient privileges.

The TV producers somehow found out what happened to Adrianna as well, because her name got used as a verb in 'Sons Of Anarchy'. So in Toobworld, that must have happened at the end of the Trueniverse series' timeline - probably once the Feds looked into the evidence left behind by the comatose Silvio and the dead "Christuphuh".

Most of those mentions can be attributed to a TV show made about that New Jersey crime family in Toobworld that is probably slightly different in tone from that found in the Trueniverse. But it definitely was shown on HBO, mentioned by several of these other TV shows, like 'Nip/Tuck' and 'State Of Georgia'.

Actually, I'd prefer to think that it was a one-shot TV movie, or at best (because some of the dialogue feels like 'The Sopranos' was an ongoing venture), it was a mini-series.

But no matter what kind of TV production came about, it still means that the secret life of the Soprano crime "family" was busted after we were no longer able to see them on our own TV screens. The TV version within Toobword had to be based on public records after Tony Soprano and his crew were busted, or after he was finally killed by some mob rival.

Because of mentions made when Jamie Lynn Sigler appeared on 'Entourage' as herself, we know that she was hired to play Meadow. So that means any escape clause regarding "reality" shows have to be discounted. "Surprisingly", Meadow and Jamie Lynn look exactly alike!

And that TV series has already gone to DVD, because that topic was brought up in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.

'State of Georgia' was the only other show that mentioned the infamous finale to the series, which consisted of an abrupt blackout. (I was so caught off-guard by what happened that I jumped up and tried to re-adjust my cable box!) It was deliberate in the real world, but what if it was caused by a disruption in the signal from HBO over in Toobworld?

It's a sadly accepted fact that many of the TV shows that make up the foundation of Toobworld also have fictional versions in the TV Universe. Making references to other TV shows has become a crutch to TV script-writers to get an easy punchline rather than work up something original. So we have no choice but to accept that these shows Zonk the bleep out of 'The Sopranos'.

If and when 'Castle' gets reassigned to the main Toobworld, at least this particular Zonk has been disabled.

I'm sure you'll sleep better at night, knowing that.


* Those two series must be kept separate, despite my Little Buddy Sean's desire to see 'The West Wing' invaded by Zombies.




"Stolen Babies"

Mary Tyler Moore

From Wikipedia:
Georgia Tann, born Beulah George Tann (1891 - September 1950), operated the Tennessee Children's Home Society, an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee. Tann used the unlicensed home as a front for her black market baby adoption scheme from the 1920s until a state investigation closed the institution in 1950. Tann died of cancer before the investigation made its findings public.

Tann used pressure tactics, threats of legal action and other methods to take children from their birth parents—mostly poor single mothers—and sell them to wealthy patrons. Tann also arranged for the taking of children born to inmates at Tennessee mental institutions and those born to wards of the state through her connections.

Tann also arranged for what her victims (now adult) refer to as kidnapping. In some cases, single parents would drop their children off at nursery schools, only to be told that welfare agents had taken the children. In others, children would be temporarily placed with the society because a family was experiencing illness or unemployment, only to find out later that the Society had either adopted them out, or had no record of the children ever being placed. Tann was also documented as taking children born to unwed mothers at birth, claiming that the newborns required medical care. When the mothers asked about the children, Tann told them that the babies had died, when they were actually placed in foster homes or adopted.

Tann's crimes were accomplished with the aid of Memphis Family Court Judge Camille Kelley, who used her position of authority to sanction Tann's tactics and activities. Tann would identify children as being from homes which could not provide for their care, and Kelley would push the matter through her dockets. Kelley also severed custody of divorced mothers, placing the children with Tann, who then arranged for adoption of the children into "homes better able to provide for the children's care". However, many of the children were placed into homes where they were used as child labor on farms, or with abusive families.

When an adoptive parent discovered that the information on the child was incorrect, such as in cases of falsified medical histories, Tann often threatened the adoptive parents with possible legal action that would force a surrender of their children (ordered by Judge Kelley) by demonstrating that they were unfit parents.

Tann destroyed records of the children that were processed through the Society, and conducted minimal background checks on the adoptive homes. Many of the files of the children were fictionalized before being presented to the adoptive parents, which covered up the child's circumstances prior to being placed with the society. As a result, the Child Welfare League of America dropped the Society from its list of qualifying institutions in 1941.

The Georgia Tann/Tennessee Children's Home Society scandal resulted in adoption reform laws in Tennessee in 1951.


Thursday, November 3, 2011


In the latest episode of 'Castle' ("Cops And Robbers"), the classic TV trope of the main character trapped in a bank heist found Richard Castle and his mother Martha Rodgers among the hostages. The four bank robbers, all mercenaries, were disguised in hospital scrubs and wearing surgical masks.

And their code names for each other were TV doctor names.

The black bank robber was "Dr. Huxtable". ('The Cosby Show')

The young guy was "Dr. Howser" ('Doogie Howser, M.D.')

The woman was "Dr. Quinn" ('Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman')

And their "ringleader" was "Trapper John" - a double whammy with that one! ('M*A*S*H' & 'Trapper John, M.D.')

Even though it's a Zonk, I have to admit it was a clever and humorous idea.

However, it's still a Zonk, yet not one I really had any concern over splainin away. That's because 'Castle' takes place in an alternate TV dimension, and will remain so until either the man holding the position of Mayor becomes the same man who holds the position in the real world and the main Toobworld, or the show is cancelled.

At that point, we can claim that the show was part of the universal reboot caused by Nick Cutter and his estranged wife in 'Primeval', bringing it back into line by removing all the Zonks which kept it out. (We did the same thing with 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' which had a President McNeill during the time of Nixon and Ford. But now - even though we can't see the new and improved version, McNeill's presidency never existed and it would be the true presidents who would interact with the crew of the Seaview.)

Once 'Castle' can be considered part of the Earth Prime-Time dimension*, the code names of those bank robbers would have to be addressed.

One option would be that they gave themselves new code names in that new timeline - TV doctors from the fictional TV shows within the TV Universe.

A few examples:

Dr. Drake Ramoray - the character played by Joey Tribbiani on the Toobworld version of 'Days Of Our Lives' ('Friends')

Dr. Brad Fairmont - the character played by Dick Preston in the fake soap opera 'Those Who Care' ('The New Dick Van Dyke Show')

You could even throw in Dr. John A. Zoidberg from the animated series 'Futurama', since most citizens of Toobworld erroneously think that the Tooniverse is not real. Even Dr. Bob, seen in the running sketch "Veterinarian's Hospital" at the Muppet theater, could be a candidate......

As for the woman, a femme fatale would make an excellent 'Dr. Danger', from some "Trash TV" seen in 'Diagnosis Murder'.

But if the timeline does hold fast to the names they chose in that alternate dimension, most of them could be splained away:

"Dr. Quinn" - Michaela Quinn was an historical figure of the Wild, Wild West and it would be logical to assume that there were books, movies and even a TV show about her.

"Dr. Howser" - There doesn't have to be a TV show about Doogie! As a 12 year old wunderkind who was a licensed, practicing doctor, he would have made headlines back in his day. And he'd definitely be a candidate for the biographical TV-movie.

"Trapper John" - Dr. McIntyre's career during the Korean War could have become the basis for a best-selling memoir by Trap after his second series ended.

"Dr. Huxtable" - This might be more difficult to explain; nothing about Cliff really was that remarkable - just a decent family man with a simple practice in one of the NYC boroughs. However, after the series ended for us as the viewers, maybe he starred in his own public access TV show about family medicine which led to a broader national spotlight as is currently given to those real-life medicos seen in 'The Doctors'. Or he could have ended up as an on-air commentator at a TV show like 'F.Y.I.' (from 'Murphy Brown') in much the same way Dr. Sanjay Gupta is at CNN.

Even though it would also have been a Zonk, you know what I would have liked to see? One of the characters referred to as "Dr. Bombay"......

As I mentioned earlier, 'Castle' is still in an alternate dimension, so that was more effort expended on those Zonks than was currently needed.


* I like to think that 'Castle' is part of the 'West Wing' dimension. But I'm not sure if Obama was ever mentioned as being the POTUS during one of the episodes......



'Edward The King'

Gareth Thomas

From Wikipedia:
Charles William de la Poer Beresford, 1st Baron Beresford GCB GCVO (10 February 1846 – 6 September 1919), styled Lord Charles Beresford between 1859 and 1916, was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament.

Beresford was the second son of John Beresford, 4th Marquess of Waterford, thus despite his honorary title as second son was still eligible to enter the House of Commons. He combined the two careers of the navy and a member of parliament, making a reputation as a hero in battle and champion of the navy in the House of Commons. He was a well-known and popular figure who courted publicity, widely known to the British public as "Charlie B".

In 1874, Beresford was one of thirty-two aides chosen to accompany the Prince of Wales on a tour of India. Victoria objected, on the grounds of his bad reputation, but he remained at the Prince's insistence. The tour was a lively mixture of social engagements and animal hunts. The Prince insisted on dressing for dinner, even in the jungle, but allowed the concession of cutting off the tails of their evening coats, creating the dinner jacket. He was aide-de-camp to the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, from 1875 until 1876.

During his service under Edward VII, he became involved in an affair with Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick (i.e., Frances Brooke), with whom Edward VII was also involved romantically. The affair strained his friendship with Edward VII, even though Edward himself was married to Alexandra of Denmark.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Spoilers ahead in this follow-up post to the Patricia Breslin tribute.....

Speaking of "Crooked Road", that episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' in which Patricia Breslin co-starred, she wasn't the only character who was using an alias.....

Richard Kiley played Harry Adams, the lead investigator in that case, but he wasn't married to Ms. Breslin's character. And his name wasn't "Harry Adams" either.....

Quite a scandal was engendered once the town of Robertsville was busted for their illegal schemes.  (The justice of the peace, the police department, and at least the local mechanic plotted to fill the town's coffers from outsiders driving through.)  The case made national headlines, which brought fame and attention to Kiley's character and plenty of job offers in law enforcement from all over the country. He was able to pick and choose his destiny and he eventually decided on accepting the offer to become the police commissioner in Los Angeles.
How the mighty eventually fall, because it's the contention of Toobworld Central that the true identity of "Mr. Adams" was that of Mark Halperin, one of the murderers investigated in a case that would be known as "A Friend In Deed".

Once out in Los Angeles, Halperin soaked in the social circuit where he eventually met and married a millionairess named Margaret. (Maiden name unknown) The love in that marriage soon faded yet neither one of them wanted a divorce. For Margaret, it was probably out of pride and concern for her standing among her friends. But for Mark, it was because he had become desirous of her money.

So when the opportunity presented itself, he murdered her and tried to make it look like a notorious burglar had committed the deed.

What he didn't count on was that the homicide detective running the investigation was a lieutenant by the name of 'Columbo'......
The same argument could be made for Richard Kiley as was made for Ms. Breslin - any one of his "present day" guest star roles that occurred between these two appearances could have been Mark Halperin, still working undercover and using an alias.

But after the 'Columbo'?  I think his dance card was full......



Earlier this month, the actress Patricia Breslin passed away. I only knew of her from an episode of 'The Twilight Zone', but she starred in the series 'The People's Choice' as Amanda Peoples, the love interest for Sock Miller (Jackie Cooper). She also had long-running roles in 'Peyton Place' and 'General Hospital', plus a slew of guest-starring roles.

At the time of her death, I didn't have the proper hook to pay her credit with a Hat Squad tribute. (The days when I had the time to post the full TV output from a recently departed contributor to Toobworld are gone, I'm afraid.) I've only seen clips from 'The People's Choice' as it was a series before my time.

However, Monday was Halloween, and Antenna TV celebrated by hosting a marathon of episodes from 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'. One of those was "Crooked Road" and the stars were Richard Kiley, Walter Matthau, and Ms. Breslin.

It's my intention to link her two characters from 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' and 'The Twilight Zone' together to become the same individual. Upon first consideration, this may seem like it would be violating the rule of Occam's Razor (the simplest splainin is the best) when it would mean finding a reason why/how a woman could change her name, lose one husband, and gain another in the space of two years. But it's the twist ending to that "Crooked Road" episode that makes it pozz'ble, just pozz'ble.....

In October of 1958, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Adams were on the outskirts of Robertsville, a town in the deep South. This would be a fictional town in Toobworld. There is a Robertsville in Missouri, but that would then make it more a part of the Midwest....
Because of the machinations of Sheriff Chandler, the Adamses found themselves caught in a rigged speed trap which led to Mr. Adams being beaten and to his paying out a lot of money in court fees and repair charges.

After escaping their ordeal in Robertsville, it turned out that things couldn't have gone better for Mr. and Mrs. Harry Adams.


From this point on, there will be spoilers. Be so advised: if you're planning on one day watching this episode, you may want to return after you've done so.

So! On with the show, this is it!

It turns out that Mr. and Mrs. Adams were not from New York. They were not actually married. And "Adams" was not their true surname.
They were two agents from that state's transportation department who were working undercover to expose the level of corruption in Robertsville.

"Mrs. Adams" was actually named Pat, and she was enaged to be married to a young man named Don Carter.

Again, there be spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution. (Although I think it more likely the majority of my audience has seen this episode.)

The Toobworld timeline jumps ahead two years - it's November of 1960 and Don and Pat Carter are in the town of Ridgeview, Ohio, during their honeymoon. This is not their intended destination in which to celebrate their nuptials, but it's just a temporary stopover while their car gets repaired after a blow-out.
But they almost end up never leaving Ridgeview because their booth at the local diner has one of those "Mystic Seer" fortune-telling machines. And it's ambivalent answers soon grip Don's superstitions to the point where he's racked with insecurities and afraid to ever leave until he gets the okay from the Devil's Head predictions.

It takes the full force of Pat's love to finally break Don free of the hold that Mystic Seer has on him and they finally leave the diner to begin their new life together. But after they leave we see that another couple in their later years never did break free of that fortune-teller's power over them as they once again try to get a definitive answer on their fate from the machine......
If someone had seen that 'Alfred Hitchcock' episode first and remembered Pat Breslin's role once they then saw the 'Twilight Zone', maybe they might have thought the opening of "Nick Of Time" was a continuation of her investigations in "Crooked Road". But Ridgeview is no Robertsville - it's a small town of decent people who aren't to blame when a simple novelty penny-waster plays hob with people's lives.

Once the Carters drove out of Ridgeview, their lives could have continued in a long span of wedded bliss.... Or they could have had a fatal car accident that killed them just fifty miles outside of town. Who's to say what happens in the Toobworld timeline once characters exit the view of the audience in Trueniverse?
Maybe Don eventually died, or he and Pat got a divorce. And then one of her other TV characters who appeared after that T-Zone episode was the representative of her new life. It would mean that her name of "Pat" must have just been a nickname. And that new last name? Maybe she reverted to her maiden name after the divorce. Or maybe she remarried after the death of Don Carter and this would be her new last name.

There would be so many candidates for this Patricia Breslin character to continue existence in Toobworld: guest star roles in shows like 'Perry Mason', 'The New Breed', 'Saints And Sinners', 'The Greatest Show On Earth'... even 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour'.

Shows like 'Doctor Kildare', 'The Donna Reed Show' and another episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' would make for good candidates because the characters were only addressed by their first names - Marion, Millie, and Margo, respectively. (She must give off an "M"-name vibe.....)

If there had only been a TV show in which she appeared as just "Mrs. Somebody", we could fall back on the excuse that this was her new last name after remarrying and that her first name must till be "Pat".

It could even be a role she played that would fall between her other two roles on the Toobworld timeline. If it played out right, she could have been on another undercover assignment somewhere in the country before she married Don.

But I haven't seen any of these episodes - or did so in the distant past and I just don't remember the details. I'd rather see the episodes again rather than rely on episode guides, no matter how detailed, to see if any of Ms. Breslin's other roles had the right feel to continue the legacy of Pat Carter/Mrs. Adams.

I don't want to take any chances, no matter how much the Mystic Seer encourages me......
But in the meantime, there's this: two-thirds of her requirements completed for entry into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. And there are so many TV characters, like Jose Chung* of 'Millennium' and 'The X-Files', who may never see their induction become reality.

It's not like winning an Emmy, true. But it would be nice if I could help contribute to her TV immortality in a very small way.

But in the meantime, there is her oeuvre of work that will keep her "alive" to the viewers who discover her long after her passing.

Good night and may God bless.

* An open plea to some enterprising TV producer out there: Please put a copy of Jose Chung's book "From Outer Space" in plain sight in an episode of your TV series so that we can finally get this great character played by Charles Nelson Reilly into the Hall!



'Edward The King'

Clive Morton

From Wikipedia:
Owen Lewis Cope Williams (13 July 1836 - 15 January 1913) was a British army officer and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1880 to 1885.

Williams was the son of Thomas Peers Williams MP for Great Marlow, and his wife Emily Bacon, daughter of Anthony Bacon of Benham Park in Berkshire. He was educated at Eton College and joined the Royal Horse Guards in 1854. He became lieutenant in 1856, captain in 1858, Major and Lieutenant Colonle in 1866 and Colonel in 1871. He was a J.P. for Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Anglesey Carnarvonshire and Flintshire.

At the 1880 general election Williams was elected Member of Parliament for Great Marlow. He held the seat until 1885, when it was abolished.

Williams lived at Temple House at Bisham in Berkshire, not far from Marlow. He became a major-general on half-pay in 1882 and retired as Lieutenant General in 1887. He died at the age of 76.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


On 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', Sally Rogers often mentioned the mother of her boyfriend, Herman Glimsher. But the woman only appeared once, in the episode "Uncle George".

She was a domineering woman who cowed her son into submission and often came between him and Sally - she'd even go on dates with them! (And to make matters worse, she'd sit between them.)
Mrs. Glimsher's husband died many years before, something which he must have seen in his final moments as truly a "blessed release". And so Mrs. Glimsher must have needed a job to make enough money to raise her Mama's Boy.

A woman so overwhelmingly strong-willed would easily be hired for a supervisory position in the workforce.

And I think we got the chance to see Mrs. Glimsher in action.......



On October 3rd, Ivan Shreve of "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" hosted a blogathon in celebration of the 50th anniversary of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'. I did my part, and probably overdid that, by posting every hour - with about 29 posts published by the time I was done.

And even then, I still had so many ideas for other posts of a Toobworld nature about the show.

So I decided that an event of such magnitude ("Pop Pop!") - after all, 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' is the platinum standard by which all other TV sitcoms must be judged - should not be limited to just one day, or even a week. Therefore, I'm going to be coming back to the topic on the first day of the month throughout the year until the 51st anniversary comes around.

To kick things off, there will be a post today about a woman who was spoken of many times in the series, but only appeared once - Mrs. Glimsher, mother of Sally's boyfriend Herman. But first up, here's a quick trivia question:

'The Dick Van Dyke Show' has two somewhat tenuous connections to Andy Warhol. One was "outside the box" - one of those six degrees of separation situations on the production side. The other was within the "reality" of the show - one of Andy Warhol's works of art actually appeared in an episode.  (I'm thinking Team Toobworld will figure out the answer to the first one easily enough.....)

Can you tell me what these two connections were?

I'm going to let that trivia question just hang out there in the Ethernet for the year until an answer comes up. Hopefully I'll remember to answer it myself (if nobody else does first) when October 3, 2012 rolls around.....




'Edward The King'

Dennis Lill

From Wikipedia:
Frederick Edward Grey Ponsonby, 1st Baron Sysonby GCB GCVO PC (16 September 1867 – 20 October 1935), was a British soldier and courtier.

Ponsonby was the second son of General Sir Henry Ponsonby and his wife the Hon. Mary Elizabeth (née Bulteel). A member of a junior branch of the Ponsonby family, he was the grandson of General Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby and the great-grandson of Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd Earl of Bessborough. Arthur Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede, was his younger brother. Ponsonby was a Major and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel in the Grenadier Guards and served in the Second Boer War and in the First World War.

He also held several court positions, notably as Equerry-in-Ordinary to Queen Victoria from 1894 to 1901, as Assistant Keeper of the Privy Purse and Assistant Private Secretary to Queen Victoria from 1897 to 1901 and to Edward VII from 1901 to 1910; as Keeper of the Privy Purse for George V from 1914 to 1935, and as Lieutenant-Governor of Windsor Castle from 1928 to 1935. Already a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) and a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO), he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in the 1921 New Year Honours. In 1935 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Sysonby, of Wonersh in the County of Surrey.

Lord Sysonby married Victoria Lily, daughter of Colonel Edmund Hegan Kennard, on 17 May 1899. They had three children:

Victor Alexander Henry Desmond Ponsonby (19 June 1900–24 November 1900)

Hon. Loelia Mary Ponsonby (1902–1993), married 1st, as his third wife, the 2nd Duke of Westminster, and 2nd, as his second wife, the explorer Sir Martin Lindsay of Dowhill, 1st Bt., M.P.

Hon. Edward Gaspard Ponsonby (1903–1956)

Lord Sysonby died in October 1935, aged 68, only four months after his elevation to the peerage. He was succeeded in the barony by his surviving son Edward. Lady Sysonby died in 1955.

His autobiography "Recollections of Three Reigns" is full, frank and entertaining. Nancy Mitford wrote to Evelyn Waugh that there was "a shriek on every page".


Monday, October 31, 2011


One last post for All Hallow's Eve....

I just wanted to share a more personal Halloween story, even though it still has TV connections.

My god-daughter Rhiannon and her family live in Taiwan; they've been there for at least six years, I believe. (I tend to lose track of time, prime or otherwise.) And she makes her godfather proud when I see that she'll be ready for the coming Zombie apocalypse.....

Here's what her father, my Little Buddy Sean, wrote in Facebook back in June:

Rhiannon: "Daddy, why do they say 'rest in peace' when someone dies?"

Me: "Well, it's because you hope they won't come back as a zombie and you'll have to hack them to lots of pieces..."

Rhiannon: "You have to get the zombies in the head, right? In the brain?"

... first she's holding her air pistol with just one hand, now this. Makes a daddy proud...
And yeah, that is TV-related. 'The Walking Dead' has returned to huge ratings (although I don't watch it - it takes place on Earth Prime-Time/Z.) And zombies are supposedly the number one costume choice this season.



Since it's Halloween, I thought we should take a more expanded look at one of the members of the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame - Grandpa of 'The Munsters', inducted in October of 2008.

There are those who think he's "Grandpa Munster", in much the same way they think that Daisy Moses is "Granny Clampett", but both those last names belong to their sons-in-law, Herman and Jed, respectively. Grandpa's name is now Sam Dracula, but some people consider him to be Count Dracula - Herman's boss even addressed him as such once. And although Grandpa might accept that honorific out of egotism, he is NOT Count Dracula. Grandpa was embraced into the Kindred of the Dracule, and so now bears the family name in honor of his sire.

But he's not Vlad Tepes. We met Vlad the Impaler in his mortal form in the TV movie "Dark Prince" and as his vampiric Majesty in the "Buffy vs. Dracula" episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'.

All of the other Draculas seen in TV would fall into the same category - they are "Dracula" because they have been "sired" by the Vampire Lord. (As much as I admire the "soul clones" theory of the Wold Newton Universe, I think my splainin works best for the Drac Pack of Toobworld.)

Grandpa may be a Dracula, but he's pure New York, with his accent and his attitude - more Brooklyn and the Bowery than Bavaria.

And yet the gravestone he keeps in his car says he was "born" in 1367. None but the Amerinds were in the New York area back then, so how could he be in such a New York State of Mind?

Easy splainin: Time Travel.

We know Grandpa was a crackpot inventor. He may have developed a time machine during his mortal life back in the New York City of the 1950's. Perhaps he was working off the designs first developed by previous scientists, perhaps even going back to the steampunk time machine helmet created by Professor Gilbert in upstate New York back in the 1890's. (As seen in the 'Twilight Zone' episode "Once Upon A Time".)
The mortal Grandpa (not yet a true family man) used his time machine to go back in Time, where he met such historical figures as Nero, King Arthur, and Richard the Lionhearted. (As for his encounter with Jack the Ripper, Grandpa could have eventually met the man named Sebastian while Grandpa was living out his undead life... O'Bviously at some point before the Vorlons drove the Redjac entity out of the serial killer.)

Eventually his travels - both temporally as well as geographically - landed him in the Transylvania area before 1367. There he fell in love and settled down, eventually fathering a daughter who was named "Lily".

And then his path crossed that of Count Dracula in 1367.
From that point on, Sam Dracula's life would be as it was recounted in the many episodes of 'The Munsters' - with his daughter Lily being embraced as a vampire as well.

But who was Sam Dracula in his mortal life before he was embraced?

I've looked at the roles played by Al Lewis before he was cast as Grandpa, and I think the best candidate for Grandpa's mortal life would be Mr. Carrari from the 'Naked City' episode of "No Naked Ladies In Front Of Giovanni's House!"
Mr. Carrari
'Naked City'
Mr. Carrari was one of Ben Giovanni's neighbors and he complained - often! - about Ben Giovanni's escapades. It could be that Carrari wanted Giovanni reined in because he didn't want that spotlight to fall on him and his activities (like various potions, spells, and that time machine.....)

Since his character name was simply "Mr. Carrari", it could have been that his first name was "Sam".....

Realizing that the heat was on because of the Giovanni investigation, Sam Carrari may have panicked and utilized that time machine to escape into the past.

Al Lewis played other roles in 'Naked City' and I was tempted to choose Harry McGoglan from "A Corpse Ran Down Mulberry Street". The basic plotline sounded perfect - a truck crashed into a hearse and then the body inside got up and walked away from the accident.

It turned out to be part of an illegal immigrant scheme - this was a fairly realistic cop show, after all. But wouldn't it have been the type of situation which could have involved the future Grandpa - reanimating the dead perhaps?

As for those other roles on 'Naked City', maybe they were "identical cousins" to Mr. Carrari. Maybe they were all Sam in disguise. Who knows? Maybe Carrari whipped up a "Multiplicity" potion which created those five doppelgangers? But whoever those five other Al Lewis characters were on 'Naked City', there had to be something about them that differentiated them to the detectives, if not to the TV audience.

As Sam Carrari, here are some Toobworld citizens he may have met in the New York area:

Ellery Queen
Nero Wolfe
Archie Bunker
Alan Brady
Buddy Sorrell
Patrolman Columbo
Jose Jimenez
Martin and Ida Morgenstern
Alexander Waverly
Felix Unger
Oscar Madison
George & Weezie Jefferson
Ricky and Lucy Ricardo
Fred & Ethel Mertz
Daniel J. O'Brien
Martin Kane
Martin Lane
Richard Diamond
Johnny Staccato
Adam Schiff
Phil Fish
Theo Kojak
and even Leo Schnauzer!

(Some of those he may have met later, as Grandpa. during his trips into the City from the suburb of Mockingbird Heights.)
As long as that list was, as Sam Dracula he must have met thousands of TV characters throughout History since 1367, both famous and non-famous. Far too long a list to compile even the usual suspects, but I think he must have at least encountered the Time Lord known as the Doctor - if only to guide Grandpa away from any potential cataclysm to the time-stream should he meet himself as Sam Carrari.

Then there's his life after 'The Munsters'.

There were a few TV movies and even a theatrical release that has been absorbed into the TV Universe. But I think we also saw Grandpa working as a security guard in an episode of 'Taxi'. (Maybe Grandpa needed some extra cash for one of his experiments.....)
Because the Munster family had no qualms about venturing into the world around them, eventually the whole world had to know that there was a family of monsters out there who looked just like the creatures from the Universal movies. There would have been news stories, reports on television.... Eventually the covert organization I've created for splainins such as this - "UNReel" - must have stepped in and created a TV show about them to put off any further intrusion into their lives... for the sake of the Munsters as well as the general public.  (He may also have received protection from a certain government intelligence agency... and loving it!)
And that's why there would be mentions of Grandpa and the other Munsters - and of that TV show within a TV show about their lives - in such shows as:

'Wizards Of Waverly Place'
'The Nanny'
'Everybody Hates Chris'
'The Sopranos'
''Til Death'
'Six Feet Under'
'Fresh Prince of Bel Air'
'Caroline In The City'
'Red Dwarf'
'Full House'

It could be that Grandpa wanted a return to the anonymity of his past life; that could be the reason he took that night watchman job. There, he could use an alias (Alex called him "Henry") and not be bothered by fangbangers when the next wave of vampire fandom swept the nation.
Alex met "Henry" in 1981, and Henry said that he had been on the job for twenty years. This was either a lie to protect Grandpa's cover story, or it just felt like twenty years by that point.

(By the way, I think Judd Hirsch, who played Alex Reiger, would be the perfect choice to play Grandpa when they finally get around to recasting it once again.)







Did you catch the Halloween episode of 'Community' this year?



A new episode of 'Bored To Death' airs on HBO Halloween night. Here are a couple of clips:




When I watched the first episode for the fifth and final season of 'Chuck', I had no clue who this actor was in the opening sequence before the credits. I didn't even get that feeling of "I've seen this guy before." And if I'm not mistaken, he must have received no billing for the part - I watched the guest star credits and the names of Richard Burgi, Craig Kilborn and Ethan Philips jumped out at me, but not this guy's.

Because of the accent, I assumed he was a German-born actor. And thinking back on what he looked like without visual aids, at best I thought he could have been William Forsythe. (Seeing a picture of him, however, dispels that notion. It's all in the nose.)

It wasn't until I read the review of the episode by Alan Sepinwall that I learned who it was.

Have you figured it out?
It's Mark Hamill, cousin to Luke Skywalker (according to 'The Muppet Show'.)

Confession time: I immediately fell back on my old standby of insult humor - posting to Facebook that if he should ever appear in a "Star Wars" movie again, Hamill will probably have to play Tattooine. Several friends joined in with Jabba jokes and a 'Simpsons' quote about playing the role of the Death Star.

To be fair, I did acknowledge that I certainly have no right to point out how heavy somebody else is, but still......
I also posted that maybe he could play the role of Oliver Reed in a videography someday.

But once I got over the shock of how he's aged during these years when he's mostly dedicated himself to voice-over work, my mind then thought of ways to expand the "life during prime time" for his 'Chuck' character, Jean-Claude.

As you're probably aware, the following is pure conjecture on the part of Toobworld Central.....
Ian Keefer was a troubled teen who grew up in Elm Ridge. There he witnessed the death of an FBI agent, burned alive in a barn by a woman conducting experiments to stop the aging process.

Two weeks later, Ian was in the local mental institution where he got the chance to see 'The Magician', Anthony Blake, perform a magic act in which a woman disappeared in a ball of fire. This triggered the awful memories and left him hysterical. But with the help of the local sheriff, Anthony Blake was able to uncover the truth of Ian's trauma and bring the mad woman scientist to justice.

Ian Keefer's doctors were convinced that they could get him the help he needed for a full recovery now that they knew the truth about the root cause to his mental anguish.
As it turned out, Ian's mind was still a dark morass and he turned to a life of crime, operating under a multitude of guises - as a doctor in Seattle, a lawyer in Des Moines..... He almost won election as Mayor of San Antoine in 1988. Under six different names, he was wanted for murder in six different states.

And in Willow Haven, he was wanted for crimes committed while he was posing as a magician......
Having seen Anthony Blake in action inspired Ian to pursue his own career in magic once he was cured - or believed to be cured, at any rate - and released from the sanitarium. After decades of practice, he performed his own stage act as a cover for the crimes he committed.
But he also assumed the alias of James Jesse and became known as the costumed villain (or if you prefer, freak) Trickster. In Center City, California, the Trickster became the nemesis of the superhero known as 'The Flash' and engaged him in battle at least twice. (At one point, he confronted Barry Allen while in disguise as an FBI agent - using the very identity of that FBI agent he saw burned alive back in the 1970's.)
Although he was ultimately captured, "James Jesse" eventually escaped incarceration

As such, he was one of three headliners invited to a weekend charity event to fight world hunger - along with Alexander the Great and Maurice Gillette.
Simon the Sorcerer & Maurice Gillette
When Alexander the Great was murdered - shot to death while in a coffin that had been underwater for two hours - Simon the Sorcerer was one of the leading suspects. However, he was cleared of suspicion by the Chief of the L.A. Homicide Department Amos Burke and his son Detective Peter Burke. The Burkes were so focused in figuring out "Who Killed Alexander The Great", that they never even considered that another crime could be happening right under their noses.
The so-called Simon The Sorcerer was at that charity event more for a heist than for hocus pocus: he was going to abscond with the money raised to fight world hunger. And if Amos Burke didn't follow his own rule (known as a 'Burke's Law') - "Never call your captain unless it's murder" - maybe they would have been able to stop Simon's scheme (which all took place after the episode ended, by the way.)
But then, Amos Burke wasn't at the top of his game anymore. At his age, the signs of Alzheimer's were already beginning to show themselves. After all, had his memory been sharp enough, surely he would have remembered that he solved the exact same style of murder thirty years before. Only the victim's name had changed - back then Burke was trying to figure out "Who Killed Merlin The Great". But it was the same scenario and the second murderer, in a similar situation, must have studied the details of that original case. (As did another copycat killer who was eventually done in by Harry 'Blacke's Magic'.)

Simon the Sorcerer continued through the 1990's using his magic act as a cover for his crimes until circumstances eventually pointed him out as the culprit. Feeling the heat, Ian fled the country to a nation without an extradition treaty with the United States. (I'm sure we could find a suitable country to use from the list of candidates in 'Mission: Impossible' that would fill the bill.....)

And from there he would have finally landed in another country where he adopted yet another persona - that of Jean Claude, an international playboy and leader of a vast criminal organization. There he grew heavier and even developed a slight accent as he enjoyed his indolent life-style.  He even changed his ways - as far as his criminal modus operandi was concerned - to become more of a dealer in stolen items rather than pulling off his heists as a one-man show.  He built up his criminal empire so that he had a cadre of henchmen working for him.
As Jean Claude, he slipped back into the United States to conduct his nefarious schemes, such as stealing a priceless vase which had a microchip imbedded within it.

And that's how Ian Keefer - AKA James Jesse, AKA Agent Bob Bondicott, AKA Simon The Sorcerer, and AKA Jean Claude - soon crossed paths with 'Chuck' Bartowski and the rest of the Carmichael Industries team of spies for hire........
'The Magician'
'The Flash'
'Burke's Law' I
'Burke's Law' II
'Blacke's Magic'
'Mission: Impossible'
'The Muppet Show'
Trick or Treat!




Peter Ciuffa

From Wikipedia:
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937)--often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction.

Lovecraft's guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed "cosmicism" or "cosmic horror", the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind. As such, his stories express a profound indifference to human beliefs and affairs. Lovecraft is best known for his Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore.
Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. According to Joyce Carol Oates, Lovecraft — as with Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century — has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction". Stephen King called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." King has even made it clear in his semi-autobiographical non-fiction book Danse Macabre that Lovecraft was responsible for his own fascination with horror and the macabre, and was the single largest figure to influence his fiction writing. His stories have also been adapted into theater, film, and have inspired an award-winning role-playing game.

The life - or rather, the death - of H.P. Lovecraft differed in Toobworld from that in our own reality.  He was killed by a demon in his study......Happy Halloween....