Saturday, September 22, 2012


Yesterday would have been Henry Gibson's birthday.....


As usual on our Video Weekend Saturdays (at least when 'Doctor Who' is airing), here are some teasers from tonight's episode "The Power Of Three":

Plus, here's a look back at a scene from last week's episode:



Just a side jaunt to the Cineverse as we celebrate Hobbit Day.......





"The Return Of The King"

J.R.R. Tolkien

Orson Bean (both)

The Tooniverse

From Wikipedia:
"Hobbit Day" is the birthday of the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, two fictional characters in J. R. R. Tolkien's popular set of books "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings". In the books both Bilbo and Frodo were said to be born on September 22, but of different years. Bilbo was born in the year of 2890 and Frodo in the year of 2968 in the Third Age (1290 and 1368 respectively in Shire-Reckoning.)


Friday, September 21, 2012


Our third entry for this month into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame is another member of the League of Themselves who passed away over the summer - the late, great Phyllis Diller.

She was a true pioneer in comedy, breaking down the walls so that women like Lisa Lampenelli, Susie Essman, Joan Rivers, etc. could follow. And she had to do it at a cost, making fun of her looks, her love life, dressing in garish outfits.....

Like Milton Berle and Bob Hope before her, Phyllis Diller was a larger-than-life personality. No matter if she played a fictional character, everybody saw her as Phyllis Diller. In fact, in an episode of 'Get Smart', secret agent Maxwell Smart underwent a spray-on plastic surgery technique that turned him into a carbon copy of Phyllis Diller. The Chief turned it down since she was so recognizable.

So why not appear as herself? And that is what she did in the following TV shows, which ensure her membership in the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame:
  • "Arli$$"
    As Others See Us (29 July 2001) 
  • "Diagnosis Murder"
    Talked to Death (26 February 1998)
  • "Cybill"
    Romancing the Crone (10 March 1996) 
  • "Blossom"
    Beach Blanket Blossom: Part 2 (21 February 1994)
  • "Full House"
     But Seriously Folks (5 February 1988) 
  • "The Jeffersons"
    You'll Never Get Rich (8 January 1985)
Phyllis Diller deserves far more plaudits for her contributions to the world of entertainment than I can supply, but I hope this will serve.....




'Tom Jones, A Foundling'

Henry Fielding himself

John Sessions

From the DVD:

The narrator provides that his purpose in the text will be to explore "human nature." As such, his story veers between several extremes - comedy and tragedy, low and high society, moral and base.

The god-like omniscience of the authorial narrator in Tom Jones needs to be taken with a grain of salt, however. The authorial narrator is portrayed as all-knowing and all-seeing, but a reader who relies exclusively on the expressed judgment calls of the narrator will be deceived: one of Fielding's techniques is to introduce important details that are given very little attention by the narrative voice, lulling the reader into ignoring them. The omnipotent role is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as is much of Tom Jones. Take for example one of the introductory chapters in which Fielding lays down the rules of the new genre:
Peradventure there may be no parts in this prodigious work which will give the reader less pleasure in perusing than those which have given the author the greatest pains in composing. Among these, probably, may be reckoned those initial essays which we have prefixed to the historical matter contained in every book, and which we have determined to be essentially necessary to this kind of writing, of which we have set ourselves at the head.
For this our determination we do not hold ourselves strictly bound to assign any reason, it being abundantly sufficient that we have laid it down as a rule necessary to be observed in all prosai-comi-epic writing. Who ever demanded the reasons of that nice unity of time or place which is now established as so essential to dramatic poetry? (V, 1)
Here the game Fielding is playing with his readers becomes obvious, especially when he compares his prefaces to the rule of dramatic unity; the comments following this passage make it abundantly clear that he scorns the convention.

The voice of the narrator in any novel - unless identified as one of the other characters (Nick Carraway of "The Great Gatsby" being a good example.) - should probably be considered to be the voice of the author.  In the case of "The History Of Tom Jones, A Foundling", that narrator's voice would be Henry Fielding and he often interrupts the narrative flow to interject his thoughts on morality, historical events, and the personal character of the characters.

In making the TV adaptation, the producers kept that aspect by having Henry Fielding actually appear as the narrator. (He's played by John Sessions, but within Toobworld's reality, he is Henry Fielding.)

And Fielding is given credit for both functions:

We know "Tom Jones" exists in Toobworld because it's referenced in an episode of 'Are You Being Served?':

When the staff are gathered in Mr. Rumbold's office and they discuss the different plot ideas they've sent in, Mr. Rumbold says there has been one suggestion "which had all the right ingredients, sort of 'Tom Jones' full of adventure and sex and excitement."

And the 1963 movie based on the novel is mentioned during an episode of 'Remington Steele':

Laura: "This stuff sounds more to me like 'Tom Jones'."
Steele: "'Tom Jones'? Albert Finney never had to work this hard."
Laura: "Albert Finney never had to play the part with me."

And yet the characters of the book exist in the same TV dimension as the man who wrote the book. That's because Fielding was the same kind of writer as were the televersions of Shakespeare, Dickens, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, and Dame Agatha Christie - he wasn't creating fictional characters, he was chronicling the lives of real people.

That he also appeared within their story as the narrator is why Fielding is treated as a member of the literary edition of the "ASOTV" showcase, rather than being saved for the traditional version of the gallery.

Because of his function as the narrator within the story, Henry Fielding is revealed to be a serlinguist, centuries before Rod Serling gave his name to the practice of talking to the Trueniverse audience.

Like Serling in the 'Twilight Zone' episode "A World Of His Own", Fielding gets involved in the action, but he's not always seen by those around him. There are several exceptions - he's served ale in a tavern, he falls off a cart, and young Tom Jones snatches away his wig.

And he's aware that he's in a TV production. When the camera cuts away from him, Fielding gripes, "Oh, it's like that, is it?" So that means he's also tele-cognizant, aware that there is a camera on him and that he exists in a world of television.


Thursday, September 20, 2012


'Tom Jones, A Foundling' was broadcast in 1997 and although there was a version in 1996, this is the official televersion of the Henry Fielding novel. The 1996 adaptation was an opera based on the book and thus belongs in an alternate dimension. It's probably a world in which the demon Mr. Sweet held sway with his musical powers.  If it was a staged production with a theatrical artificiality, then the TV dimension would be that of ToobStage.




'Tom Jones, A Foundling'

Henry Fielding

Brian Blessed

From Wikipedia:
Squire Western (Hunter/wealthy squire who owns neighbouring estate to Squire Allworthy, a simpleton who wants to marry his daughter Sophia to Squire Allworthy’s heir, first Blifil and then Jones, against her will, with quite violent, if not physically, means).

From the source:

MRS. WESTERN had been engaged abroad all that day. The squire met her at her return home; and when she enquired after Sophia, he acquainted her that he had secured her safe enough. “She is locked up in chamber,” cries he, “and Honour keeps the key.”

As his looks were full of prodigious wisdom and sagacity when he gave his sister this information, it is probable he expected much applause from her for what he had done; but how was he disappointed when, with a most disdainful aspect, she cried, “Sure, brother, you are the weakest of all men. Why will you not confide in me for the management of my niece? Why will you interpose? You have now undone all that I have been spending my breath in order to bring about. While I have been endeavouring to fill her mind with maxims of prudence, you have been provoking her to reject them. English women, brother, I thank heaven, are no slaves. We are not to be locked up like the Spanish and Italian wives. We have as good a right to liberty as yourselves. We are to be convinced by reason and persuasion only, and not governed by force. I have seen the world, brother, and know what arguments to make use of; and if your folly had not prevented me, should have prevailed with her to form her conduct by those rules of prudence and discretion which I formerly taught her.”

“To be sure,” said the squire, “I am always in the wrong.”

“Brother,” answered the lady, “you are not in the wrong, unless when you meddle with matters beyond your knowledge. You must agree that I have seen most of the world; and happy had it been for my niece if she had not been taken from under my care. It is by living at home with you that she hath learnt romantic notions of love and nonsense.”

“You don’t imagine, I hope,” cries the squire, “that I have taught her any such things.”

“Your ignorance, brother,” returned she, “as the great Milton says, almost subdues my patience.”

“D—n Milton!” answered the squire: “if he had the impudence to say so to my face, I’d lend him a douse, thof he was never so great a man. Patience! An you come to that, sister, I have more occasion of patience, to be used like an overgrown schoolboy, as I am by you. Do you think no one hath any understanding, unless he hath been about at court? Pox! the world is come to a fine pass indeed, if we are all fools, except a parcel of roundheads and Hanover rats. Pox! I hope the times are a coming when we shall make fools of them, and every man shall enjoy his own. That’s all, sister; and every man shall enjoy his own. I hope to zee it, sister, before the Hanover rats have eat up all our corn, and left us nothing but turneps to feed upon.”

“I protest, brother,” cries she, “you are now got beyond my understanding. Your jargon of turneps and Hanover rats is to me perfectly unintelligible.”

“I believe,” cries he, “you don’t care to hear o’em; but the country interest may succeed one day or other for all that.”

“I wish,” answered the lady, “you would think a little of your daughter’s interest; for, believe me, she is in greater danger than the nation.”

“Just now,” said he, “you chid me for thinking on her, and would ha’ her left to you.”

“And if you will promise to interpose no more,” answered she, “I will, out of my regard to my niece, undertake the charge.”

“Well, do then,” said the squire, “for you know I always agreed, that women are the properest to manage women.”


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


From The Guardian:
Although perhaps best known as Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's moustache-twirling detective, on BBC radio, John Moffatt, who has died aged 89, was a devastatingly clinical and classical stage actor of irreproachable taste and valour. He seemed something of a throwback, but there are very few today who could rival his armour-plated technique, his almost uncanny empathy with comic style ranging from the Restoration to Rattigan – his trademark stillness and decorum on stage was at odds with false notions of flounce and frilliness – or his incisive articulation.
- Michael Coveney


Georges Simenon

John Moffatt


Land of Remakes

The character Coméliau had already appeared, in his function as judge, in novels preceding the Maigret cycle, and thus before Simenon's work signed "Simenon". We find the judge mentioned for the first time in "Mademoiselle X", a novel signed Christian Brulls.

Coméliau plays a part in four novels signed Georges Sim, "La femme qui tue" [The woman who kills], "En robe de mariée" [In a wedding dress], "L'homme qui tremble" [The man who shakes], and "L'épave" [The wreck].

We also note that Coméliau is present in the last of the "proto-Maigrets", The House of Anxiety. He is not yet the "private enemy" of Maigret that he will become later. On the contrary, he seems rather amiable toward the Chief Inspector... the only words he addresses to him at the beginning of the investigation are, "Of course, you will take charge of the case... I'll make the first reports and leave you free rein... What do you think?" and "Just let me know if there's anything new... With you on the case, I can relax!" Not yet any rivalry at all between the two men, the judge lets Maigret work as he pleases... even if this polite withdrawal of the judge doesn't seem to be appreciated at face value by the Chief Inspector, who "welcomes flattery with the amenity of a porcupine." Hmm! If Maigret had known what was coming in his future relations with the judge, perhaps he would have had a greater appreciation of Coméliau's amiability...

And finally, we see that this character of Coméliau is strongly enough present in Simenon's imagination for him to make him the recipient of the "Letter to my Judge" (a novel by Simenon written in 1946), that Dr. Alavoine, convicted for the murder of his mistress, writes to explain the motives that had pushed him to kill. And in this novel we learn that the judge's first name is Ernest, that he lives at 23 bis, Rue de Seine. A few other details are revealed as well... Coméliau was born in Caen, and married the daughter of a doctor; he's nearsighted and wears glasses, and in his chambers there's a cupboard containing an enamel basin (well, well...). And we learn that the first impression he gives to Alavoine is that of a man who is seeking to understand... Astonishing similarities between the judge and the image of Maigret....

Coméliau is present from the beginning of the official cycle... in "The Engimatic Lett", it's to him that Maigret shows the photos of young Pietr, and to him that he tells the story of Pietr's origins that he has reconstructed. Coméliau, in this novel, plays in a way "without intending to" the role of Maigret's confidante. Not yet a trace of any particular animosity between the two men, and Maigret not only smokes his pipe in the judge's chambers (which the judge would hardly have tolerated later on), but the Chief Inspector even feels "at home there". It must be mentioned that the judge's chambers included a stove, a more than attractive object for Maigret.... We note further that we learn in this novel that Coméliau wears gold-rimmed glasses, whose lenses he has a habit of endlessly polishing.

Coméliau returns in "Maigret And The War Of Nerves", where he takes a more important place in the novel. Little touches are added to his portrait... he has a carefully trimmed narrow mustache, he smokes cigarettes, he is thin, nervous, and hates complications. His relationship with Maigret becomes more complex... he oscillates between the trust he shows to the Chief Inspector, the irritation when he sees that the experiment of Heurtin's escape fails, and finally a certain contrition in the face of the "success" of Maigret, who has in spite of everything has discovered the truth. We also note that Coméliau's chambers have already lost the stove, replaced by the central heating that Maigret hates... which does not improve the relations between the two men....

For more by Murielle Wenger on his many other appearances in the massive Maigret cycles, click here.

Here's a scene from 'Maigret' showcasing John Moffatt as Magistrate Coméliau:


Tuesday, September 18, 2012



When Kurt Wallander arrived in Riga to help in the investigation of a Latvian policeman's murder, he was met by Sgt. Zids at the doors leading to gates 15 and 16 in the Riga airport......



While I was on vacation, I had to endure watching 'Victorious' with my nephew. I tried to convince him it was for girls, but he stuck with it.

I worry about that boy........


Here's part of the plot summary for this 'Victorious' "movie" (basically just a two-part plot combined into one episode.)

From the 'Victorious' wiki:
Jade and Cat show up while Hayley and Tara are singing "Hate Me Love Me" by Ginger Fox. They bet Hayley and Tara that anyone in the place could impress the audience more, so Hayley and Tara picks a hideous girl named Louise Nordoff to compete against (who is actually Tori in disguise), thinking that this "Ugly Betty" will lose easily.

I don't know whether it was Hayley or Tara, but one of them called over Tori in her disguise by shouting "Hey, Ugly Betty!"

For us viewing at home, 'Ugly Betty' was the name of an ABC "dramady" based on a South American telenovela (which spawned a lot of imitators all over the world, all of which share Earth Prime-Time.)

But within the reality of Toobworld, it was no more than an insult in which the name of "Betty" could just as easily have been changed to any other name.

"Hey, Ugly Norma!" "Ugly Sue!" "Ugly Nancy!"

So I don't see it as being an actual reference to the TV show.




Dashiell Hammett

James Coburn

'The Dain Curse'

Recastaway (original)

Earth Prime-Time

Christopher Lloyd

'Fallen Angels'
["Fly Paper"]



(Possibly they could share Earth Prime-Time.)

From Wikipedia:
The Continental Op is a fictional character created by Dashiell Hammett. A private investigator employed as an operative of the Continental Detective Agency's San Francisco office, he never gives his name and so is known only by his job description.

The Continental Op is a master of deceit in the exercise of his profession. In "$106,000 Blood Money", for instance, the Op is confronted with two dilemmas: shall he expose a corrupt fellow detective, thereby hurting the reputation of his agency; and shall he also allow an informant to collect the $106,000 reward in a big case even though he is morally certain — but cannot prove — that the informant has murdered one of his agency's clients? The Op resolves his two problems neatly by manipulating events so that the corrupt detective and the informant get into an armed confrontation in which both are killed.

Decades of witnessing human cruelty, misery, and ruin, as well as being instrumental in sending hundreds of people to jail, or to the gallows, have greatly weakened the Op's natural sympathy with his fellow men. He fears becoming like his boss, "The Old Man", whom he describes as "a shell, without any human feelings whatsoever".

The Op can be regarded as a protoype for the hardboiled detective exemplified in such characters as Hammett's Sam Spade, Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer, and others.

In 1978, "The Dain Curse" was made into a six-hour CBS television miniseries starring James Coburn. For the miniseries, the Op was named Hamilton Nash (his creator's name spelled "sideways.")


From the source:

"You came in just now, and then I saw -#"

She stopped.
"A monster. A nice one, an especially nice one to have around when you're in trouble, but a monster just the same, without any human foolishness like love in him, and - What's the matter? Have I said something I shouldn't?"

I've written about aspects of the mini-series in the past, having seen the mini-series only last year:

Christopher Lloyd played the Continental Op in an episode of the anthology series 'Fallen Angels' ("Fly Paper"). As Hammett intended, his name is never mentioned, so it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that this Op exists in Earth Prime-Time as well, working for the same agency as Hamilton Nash. (But for a different branch, as the Op's "Old Man" is different from that of Hamilton Nash.)  I haven't seen this production, but if it did conflict, we can always send it another TV dimension, even though he might better fit Hammett's intent by having no name.....


Monday, September 17, 2012


I have to admit that when Tony Martin died, I didn't know much more about him than that he was a crooner who had been married to Cyd Charisse. I even thought he was of Italian descent, but since his death I've learned that his background is Polish.

Still, even though he was outside my notice, Tony Martin parlayed his career into television and appeared on plenty of variety shows as well as hosting his own program. But he also appeared as a member of the League of Themselves in several TV series, enough so that he is eligible for membership in the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame:
  • 'The Donna Reed Show' 
    "Tony Martin Visits" (1961)
  • 'The George Burns Show'
    "Tony Martin Visits" (1958) 
  • 'The Jack Benny Program'
    "The Jam Session Show" (1954)
  • 'The Name of the Game'
    "I Love You, Billy Baker: Parts 1 & 2" (1970)

So with his passing two months ago, I want to make sure he received this small honor from Toobworld Central.....




David was amazed that his husband Bryan knew what rubella was.

"Little House On The Prairie," was Bryan's splainin.

He didn't say he saw it on the TV show 'Little House On The Prairie'. So I'm going to presume that he read about it in the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which were based on her televised life in Earth Prime-Time.

Zonk averted!

(It was this reference that gave me the idea to feature Laura Ingalls in the Saturday "ASOTV" showcase.....)


Over the Labor Day weekend, while I was on vacation, A&E broadcast a two-part TV adaptation of Robin Cook's novel "Coma", bringing the characters into Earth Prime-Time......



Robin Cook

Lauren Ambrose


Earth Prime-Time

From Wikipedia:
Susan Wheeler (Lauren Ambrose) is a medical student starting her first year of training at the Peach Tree Memorial Hospital, built by her deceased grandfather. There she meets Dr. Mark Bellows (Steven Pasquale), Chief Surgical Resident, an doctor currently in a relationship with Head of Psychiatry Dr. Agnetta Lindquist (Geena Davis). Susan discovers an unusual amount of surgeries at the hospital have been ending in comas, much higher than the normal rate. These coma patients are being transferred to the mysterious Jefferson Institute, a hospital designed to take care of coma patients, run by Mrs. Emerson (Ellen Burstyn), who refers to the patients as "her babies". With the help of Dr. Bellows (and soon Dr. Theodore Stark (James Woods), Chief of Surgery), Susan begins to investigate the comas, and soon strange things begin to happen seemingly to stop her investigation - her roommate who works at the hospital and who helped her access confidential files is suddenly fired, the hospital board tries to have her expelled from school, and she discovers cameras in her house.

If you want to know how it ends, you'll have to click here.

'Coma' is an American television mini-series based on the 1977 novel of the same title by Robin Cook and from the 1978 movie by the same name. The four-hour medical thriller was originally broadcast on A&E on September 3–4, 2012.

The series was directed by Mikael Salomon and executive produced by Ridley Scott and his brother Tony Scott, the same group of men who adapted 'The Andromeda Strain' as a miniseries for A&E in 2008. The film is dedicated to Tony Scott, who died in August 2012, only weeks before its broadcast premiere.

Since the book was also adapted into a theatrically released movie with Genevieve Bujold in the lead role, this makes Susan Wheeler a true multiversal. All she needs now is a Broadway musical adaptation!

There was a Korean mini-series called 'Coma' which was about the nefarious events going on at a hospital, but I'm not sure if that was also based on the novel. (Robin Cook's name is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article nor in the IMDb listing.) If so, all of the characters' names were changed so each version could have happened in Earth Prime-Time. But I have a feeling the producers of that five part mini-series just took advantage of the title's familiarity.


Sunday, September 16, 2012


Time to pay the bills......

TV characters who exist within the "Tron"-like world of computers are called "e-mortals" in the Toobworld Central lexicon. Sometimes they can escape to the "real" world of Earth Prime-Time, but even if they don't they are aware of that outside world's existence....


Because the Friday "ASOTV" showcase put me in the mood for some Leo McKern, here he is as Gloucester from "King Lear".

This production can be found in the alternate TV dimension of ToobStage, where the world has a look and feel of artificiality. Every moment in the timeline is a fixed point in Time which is relived over and over again, but with physical alterations to the people involved.


Here's the full episode of 'Barney Miller' in which William Windom was the guest star. Even in a simple one-shot for a sitcom, Windom gave it everything he had......


William Windom passed away a few days before I left on vacation and I didn't have enough time to post more for his Hat Squad tribute than a gallery of this Toobworld/Tooniverse characters. So today we have a couple of videos to add to the salute to his memory.

Here's the wedding between Congressman Glenn Morley and his former nanny/governess, Katy Holstrum.....


I used to be so addicted to this show back in college....


I've got this song stuck in my head now.......



"The White Seal"

Rudyard Kipling

Roddy McDowall

From Wikipedia:
Kotick, a rare white-furred Northern Fur Seal, searches for a new home for his people, where they will not be hunted by humans. The "animal language" words and names in this story are a phonetic spelling of Russian spoken with an Aleut accent, for example "Stareek!" (= Старик!) = "old man!", "Ochen scoochnie" (said by Kotick) = "I am very lonesome" = Очень скучный (correctly means "very boring"), holluschick (plural -ie) (= холостяк, pl. -и = "bachelor") (used in the story for "unmarried" young adult seals).

A young white seal pup named Kotick is born. The cute little seal is a bit of an outcast to his peers, but is definitely not inferior. Kotick is the kind-hearted son of the great seal leader who witness the cruelties of seal hunters and is determined to find a safe place for his seal tribe. Because of his solitude, Kotick notices more of what's going on than the other seals, and must try to save them from seal hunters. As he grows up, he learns of the deadly threat that human hunters pose to his herd. While Kotick is able to save the herd on one occasion, he is aware that the threat will never end. While suitable for the whole family, this film does not skimp on the scary images with club-bearing humans, killer sharks and menacing hammerheads as Kotick searches for the great Sea Cow who can lead him to a place where seals can live in peace.

From the source:
[Kotick] was always learning. Matkah taught him to follow the cod and the halibut along the under-sea banks and wrench the rockling out of his hole among the weeds; how to skirt the wrecks lying a hundred fathoms below water and dart like a rifle bullet in at one porthole and out at another as the fishes ran; how to dance on the top of the waves when the lightning was racing all over the sky, and wave his flipper politely to the stumpy-tailed Albatross and the Man-of-war Hawk as they went down the wind; how to jump three or four feet clear of the water like a dolphin, flippers close to the side and tail curved; to leave the flying fish alone because they are all bony; to take the shoulder-piece out of a cod at full speed ten fathoms deep, and never to stop and look at a boat or a ship, but particularly a row-boat. At the end of six months what Kotick did not know about deep-sea fishing was not worth the knowing.

If you'd like to read the original story by Kipling......