To celebrate International Women's Day the other day, Fox 61 in my home
state of Connecticut showed this news item:
The station has since apologized for the perceived sleight and have claimed
that it was an accident. I still think it was intentional, those jerks. And I
feel sorry for that newswoman - you can hear the hesitancy in her voice once she
realized what was playing on the screen......
But it all reminded of this moment from one of my Super Six TV shows, 'The
Mary Tyler Moore Show':
Dagmar (born Virginia Ruth Egnor, November 29, 1921 – October 9, 2001) was
an American actress, model and television personality of the 1950s. As a
statuesque, busty blonde, she became the first major female star of television,
receiving much press coverage during that decade.
In 1950, when Lewis was
hired by Jerry Lester for NBC's first late-night show 'Broadway Open' House
(1950–52), he renamed her Dagmar. Lester devised the name as a satirical
reference following the huge success on television of the TV series 'Mama' (1949–57), in which the younger sister, Dagmar Hansen, was portrayed by Robin
Morgan. As Dagmar, Lewis was instructed to wear a low-cut gown, sit on a stool
and play the role of a stereotypical dumb blonde. With tight sweaters displaying
her curvy 5' 8" figure (measuring 42"-23"-39"), her dim-bulb character was an
immediate success, soon attracting much more attention than Lester. Lewis
quickly showed that regardless of appearances she was quite bright and
quick-witted. She appeared in sketches, and Lester made occasional jokes about
her "hidden talents." Her appearances created a sensation, leading to much press
coverage and a salary increase from $75 to $1,250. With Dagmar getting all the
attention, Lester walked off his own show in May 1951, and Dagmar carried on as
host. On July 16, 1951, she was featured on the front cover of Life, and the
show came to an end one month later.
Dagmar became one of the leading
personalities of early 1950s live television, doing sketch comedy on Milton
Berle's 'Texaco Star Theater', 'The Bob Hope Show' and other shows. On June 17,
1951, she appeared on the 'Colgate Comedy Hour' with host Eddie Cantor and guests
Milton Berle, Phil Foster and Jack Leonard. In 1951, she made a TV guest
appearance with Frank Sinatra, which prompted Columbia Records producer Mitch
Miller to record a novelty duet with Frank and Dagmar, "Mama Will Bark". That
same year, she was featured in a Life cover story with Alfred Eisenstaedt's
photo of her on the July 16, 1951 issue. For the interior photo essay, Life
photographers followed her to rehearsals and accompanied her on a vacation back
to her home town in West Virginia.
In 1952, she hosted the short-lived, prime
time 'Dagmar's Canteen', in which she sang, danced, interviewed servicemen and
performed comedy routines. The basic premise of the show was that servicemen
from the audience were given roles to act alongside Dagmar in sketches. One of
Dagmar's sisters, Jean, was a member of the cast of 'Dagmar's Canteen'. Jean, who
had previously worked as a chorus girl on Broadway, also served as Dagmar's
secretary, handling her sister's fan mail, which sometimes soared to 8000
letters a month. When her television show ended, Dagmar performed in Las Vegas
shows and summer stock theater. Liberace spoke glowingly of her in an interview,
stating that she had given him his big break as her accompanist early in his
In the 1950s, Dagmar was a regular panelist on the NBC game show, 'Who
Said That?', along with H. V. Kaltenborn, Deems Taylor, Frank Conniff, Peggy Ann
Garner, and Boris Karloff. She occasionally made guest appearances on such shows
as 'What's My Line?', 'The Mike Wallace Interview' and 'Masquerade Party' (disguised
as John L. Lewis) and during the 1960s she appeared on 'Hollywood Squares', 'The
Mike Douglas Show' and other shows.
AS SEEN IN:
'You'll Never Get Rich'
"Bilko's Television Idea"
In the closing moments of 'The Buddy Bickford Show', Dagmar appeared with the host to do a few sketches.....
According to Aunt Clara in the 'Bewitched' episode "The Corn Is As High
As A Guernsey's Eye", Endora, Enchantra, and Hagitha tried to convince her that
she should surrender her powers and transform herself into something useful.
Aunt Clara gave it a try as a potted plant (but started wilting) and Samantha
later thought she had turned herself into a cow.
I don't know if this a rule in the witches' handbook, but we have seen
witches and warlocks changed into objects - like an upholstered chair and a
Colonial bed-warmer. And outside that series, I think the home of Bartlett
Finchley, as seen in "A Thing About Machines" (an episode of 'The Twilight
Zone') was full of electrical devices that had once been witches and
Now, you've probably noticed that Buddy Hackett's mug graces the top of this post. Buddy Hackett never appeared on 'Bewitched', but somewhere out there
in TV Land he must have portrayed a warlock who got so old that his powers were on the
fritz. So he changed himself into a car.
The late comedian provided the voice for a sporty little vehicle in an
episode of 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch':
No splainin was given as to why the car could talk, but Sabrina did buy it
for five bucks over in the witches' dimension. So what else could be the reason as to why it could talk?
Don't bother answering; I'm sticking with this splainin...... Okay, fine!
Yes, it could have been reinCARnation a la Agatha Crabtree in 'My Mother The
Car', but I'm still sticking with my version!
If his warlock did dress in a Nehru jacket and love beads, it's a cinch that he was hanging around more with Serena than with Samantha.
His license plate was "530 V8C". It might be a clue to his identity.
"530" could be his age at transformation; the year of his birth; or the year of his death.
Had the second part been "VC8", we could claim that the letters were his initials and that he was the eighth to bear that name.
But "V8C"? No clue.
Unless.... Maybe it was supposed to be sounded together, as if his name had been "Vaetsi".
Ruta Lee (born May 30, 1936) is a Canadian-born actress and dancer who
appeared as one of the brides in the film "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". She
is remembered for her guest appearance in a 1963 episode of Rod Serling's 'The
Twilight Zone' and as a semi-regular on a number of game shows, including the
'Hollywood Squares', 'What's My Line?', and as Alex Trebek's co-host on 'High
AS SEEN IN:
'The Lucy Show'
"Lucy Meets The Berles"
Mrs. Carmichael overheard Milton Berle rehearse a love scene with Ruta Lee
in which their characters were plotting behind the wife's back. Lucy
immediately believed that it was actually happening and she decided to get
revenge for the sake of Mrs. Berle.
Since we gained a new Pope on Wednesday, I thought the League of Themselves
showcase should feature the greatest Catholic cleric in Toobworld.....
BISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN
Fulton John Sheen (born Peter John Sheen, May 8, 1895 – December 9, 1979)
was an American archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church known for his preaching
and especially his work on television and radio. His cause for canonization for
sainthood was officially opened in 2002. In June 2012, Pope Benedict XVI
officially recognized a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
stating that he lived a life of "heroic virtues" - a major step towards
beatification - so he is now referred to as "Venerable".
priest of the Diocese of Peoria in 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned
theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in
1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy as well as acting as a parish
priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in
1951. He held this position until 1966 when he was made the Bishop of Rochester
from October 21, 1966 to October 6, 1969, when he resigned and was made the
Archbishop of the Titular See of Newport, Wales.
For 20 years he hosted
the night-time radio program "The Catholic Hour" (1930–1950) before moving to
television and presenting 'Life Is Worth Living' (1951–1957). Sheen's final
presenting role was on the syndicated 'The Fulton Sheen Program' (1961–1968)
with a format very similar to that of the earlier 'Life is Worth Living' show.
For this work, Sheen twice won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television
Personality, the only personality appearing on the DuMont Network ever to win a
major Emmy award.
Starting in 2009, his shows were being re-broadcast on the
EWTN and the Trinity Broadcasting Network's Church Channel cable networks. Due
to his contribution to televised preaching Sheen is often referred to as one of
the first televangelists. In 1951 he began a weekly television program on
the DuMont Television Network titled 'Life Is Worth Living'. Filmed at the
Adelphi Theatre in New York City, the program consisted of the unpaid Sheen
simply speaking in front of a live audience without a script or cue cards,
occasionally using a chalkboard. The show, scheduled in a graveyard slot
on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m., was not expected to challenge the ratings giants
Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra, but did surprisingly well. Berle joked, "He uses
old material, too", and observed that "[i]f I'm going to be eased off the top by
anyone, it's better that I lose to the One for whom Bishop Sheen is speaking."
Sheen responded in jest that people should start calling him "Uncle Fultie".
Life and Time magazine ran feature stories on Bishop Sheen. The number of
stations carrying Life Is Worth Living jumped from three to fifteen in less than
two months. There was fan mail that flowed in at a rate of 8,500 letters per
week. There were four times as many requests for tickets than could be
fulfilled. Admiral, the sponsor, paid the production costs in return for a one
minute commercial at the opening of the show and another minute at the close. In
1952, Sheen won an Emmy Award for his efforts, accepting the acknowledgment by
saying, "I feel it is time I pay tribute to my four writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke
and John." Time called him "the first 'televangelist'", and the Archdiocese of
New York could not meet the demand for tickets.
One of his
best-remembered presentations came in February 1953, when he forcefully
denounced the Soviet regime of Joseph Stalin. Sheen gave a dramatic reading of
the burial scene from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, substituting the names of
Caesar, Cassius, Mark Antony, and Brutus with those of prominent Soviet leaders
Stalin, Lavrenty Beria, Georgy Malenkov, and Andrey Vyshinsky. He concluded by
saying, "Stalin must one day meet his judgment." The dictator suffered a stroke
a few days later and died within a week.
The show ran until 1957, drawing
as many as 30 million people on a weekly basis. In 1958, Sheen became national
director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, serving for eight
years before being appointed Bishop of Rochester, New York, on October 26, 1966.
He also hosted a nationally-syndicated series, 'The Fulton Sheen Program', from
1961 to 1968 (first in black and white and then in color). The format of this
series was essentially the same as 'Life Is Worth Living'.
The televersion of Buddy Hackett must have been a very influential comedian
and right from the very start of his career. So much so that other young
comedians of that era who bore a passing resemblance to Hackett not only
patterned their acts after him, but they apparently underwent plastic surgery to
enhance their resemblance to Buddy.
It must have been worth it, because each of them became very
But it wasn't just comedians who wanted to look like Buddy Hackett. There
were two others who had their own reasons to be mistaken for the former
Here's a rundown of those TV characters:
SIX TV CHARACTERS
WHO LOOKED LIKE BUDDY HACKETT
1] BUDDY BRUNO
'Make Room For Daddy'
Buddy Bruno took his emulation of Buddy Hackett even further, by adopting
the comic's nickname as well. This bordered on identity theft, but it looks
like the show biz hierarchy of the early 1960's accepted the practice since
Buddy Bruno was a good friend of Danny Williams, the nightclub entertainer. In
fact, Danny arranged for Buddy, a recent widower who was on the road most of the
year, to headline at the club for two weeks while the Williams family took a
vacation. But this made Buddy a target for the NYC child welfare services
because his life on the road was not considered to be in the best interests of
his little daughter, Barbara.
2] RONNY FLETCHER
"Snake Eyes" Parts 1 & 2
Ronnie Fletcher was playing a mountain resort near Reno during a coroners'
convention back in the 1970's. But a contagious outbreak left the resort
quarantined and Fletcher did not take that at all well. Several times he tried
to break free and escape. As it turned out, his panic was unfounded as the
crisis was proven to be a deliberate man-made hoax and there was no threat that
the contagion would spread.
3] MURRAY GRUEN
'Murder, She Wrote'
"No Laughing Murder"
Murray Gruen was one half of the comedy team Gruen & Howard, partnered
with the suave singer-comedian Mack Howard. But their partnership ended when
their friendship soured over accusations of theft between the two. Over the
next twenty years, Howard became the host of 'WeekNight', a successful late
night talk show, while Gruen scrounged to reclaim his former glory as a
nightclub comic. He bought himself a mountain lodge in the Catskills which he
hoped to transform into a venue for himself and that's where an unwelcome
reunion between the two former partners was held. (Their children, who had
grown up together, were going to marry.) But it turned to tragedy when Murray
was stabbed in the back (not fatally) and then his agent was found hanged in the
pantry. Novelist Jessica Fletcher, who knew both families somehow, determined
that the agent's death was murder, not suicide.
4] JOEY GERMAINE
'McMillan & Wife'
"Reunion In Terror"
Police Commissioner Stuart McMillan's college football team held its
reunion in San Francisco but it turned to tragedy when somebody started killing
off the members of the team. Comic Joey Germaine had been the
waterboy/equipment manager for the team and while he was in town, he volunteered
his time to help Sally McMillan's charity by performing his act.
And now for those two TV characters who were not comedians, but still
wanted to look like Buddy Hackett......
5] HARRY BARTON 'Here's Lucy' "Lucy And The Stolen Stole"
is one citizen of Toobworld who did not get a Buddy Hackett facelift in order to
further his own career as a comedian. Barton was a fence who figured that if
his similarity to Hackett could be enhanced, then victims would be describing
the star of "The Love Bug" to police sketch artists instead of to him. Eventually it didn't matter. No amount of cunning and deception could have
protected him from the primal force that was Lucille Carmichael....
6] ZEUS 'The Danny Thomas Hour' "It's Greek To Me"
We know that
the pan-dimensional beings who passed themselves off as the demi-gods of ancient
Greece were capable of altering their appearances. This was proven by the God
of Lightning, Zeus himself, within the framework of 'Hercules: The Legendary
Journeys' and 'Young Hercules'. Thanks to that recasting, we can apply that
rule to all the appearances of the demi-gods in other TV shows, movies, and
commercials - thus keeping them all together in Earth Prime-Time.
Zeus would want to look like Buddy Hackett....? Here's the plotline for this
special episode, courtesy of the Three Stooges fan site:
the wishes of her father Zeus (Buddy Hackett), Aphrodite (Juliet Prowse) has no
wish to marry Apollo (Vic Damone) and is bored with life on Mt. Olympus. Wishing
to romance a mortal, she travels to Earth and becomes enamoured of Danny Thomas.
Whisking him to the mount of the gods, Zeus is angered and places Danny on
trial. In order to prove his worth to Aphrodite, Danny is sent on a quest for
the Golden Fleece, and if unsuccessful, he will be put to death. Aphrodite
snatched Danny out of an airplane, and when the adventure was over he discovered
it had all been a dream. Or was it? I think it really happened, with the
musical numbers due to intervention by Mr. Sweet the demon from 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' (and member of the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame), and that Danny was led to
believe it was just a dream.
Nothing in any of these shows mentioned the use of plastic surgery, but it
does make for a nice splainin as to why so many TV characters resembled Buddy
Hackett. Of course, it doesn't take into account at least three men from the
wild, wild West who looked like the comic, nor why a dinosaur and a car sounded
like him. Just a fluke of tele-genetics I'd say.......
Roxanne helps out her ex-husband, Dave Meyer, with financial backing and a
celebrity, Buddy Hackett, for his new "Fetal Phone," product he's mailing out
for a spot on a shopping channel.
Roxanne convinces comedian Buddy Hackett to appear in an infomercial about
a device that allows a pregnant woman to communicate with her unborn
The picture is from the issue of USA Today which announced Hackett's
death. It's attributed to 'L.A. Law', but I can't verify that. (However, the teddy bears in the background seem to suggest that it is.....)
This episode (7.22) marked the departure of cast members Sheila Kelley and
Toobworld Central asserts that Agent 99's real name is Mandy Stephenson
(from an episode of 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.') and that she used the alias of
Lauren Holden while she was a United States senator and having a once-a-year
fling with a former Red Sox player (as seen in an episode of 'Cheers').
Just an O'Bservation - It was nice that 99 was empowered with the role of
senator when the series was revived, but it didn't make any sense. Nobody gets
elected to such a major office without being thoroughly vetted by the press and
by their opponents. Everything in her past would have come out - her career as
a spy, her affair with Sam Malone.
What they should have done was made her a National Security Advisor
Today is the 80th birthday of Barbara Feldon, the actress best known for
playing Agent 99 in 'Get Smart', two sequel TV movies, and in the 1990s TV show
sequel. (99 and her husband Maxwell Smart were inducted into the TV Crossover
Hall of Fame in April of 2002, the year of the duos.)
I wanted to make sure I marked the occasion on the actual day... because I would hate to have "missed it by thismuch".......
To celebrate this milestone of a birthday, here are a few clips celebrating
Ms. Feldon's career in television:
All the best for many more years to come from all of us - er, me - at
prank phone call in the middle of the night alerts Joey and Ellie that Buddy
Hackett is lurking. He's also in town, arriving at the Barnes' front door the
next morning with jokes in his heart, and mischief on his mind. After Hackett
appears on Joey's show wearing long underwear, Joey launches a revenge joke that
backfires, with Danny Thomas arrested for car theft.
Joey Bishop (Joey Barnes), Abby Dalton (Ellie Barnes), Joe Besser (Mr. Jillson),
Corbett Monica (Larry Corbett), Buddy Hackett (Himself), Danny Thomas (Himself),
Milton Frome, Mel Bishop (Policemen)
"Joey And Buddy Hackett Have A
visit from Buddy Hackett means a new round of practical jokes. The Barnes'
dinner party for Joey's sponsor goes awry when they discover that Buddy hired
movers to clear out the apartment, and arranged to have it redecorated as a
Cast: Joey Bishop (Joey Barnes), Abby Dalton
(Ellie Barnes), Joe Besser (Mr. Jillson), Mary Treen (Hilda), Corbett Monica
(Larry Corbett), Matthew David Dalton-Smith (Joey Jr.), Buddy Hackett (Himself),
Mel Bishop, Karl Redcoff (Movers), Peter Leeds (Mr. Montgomery), Laura Gile,
Mary Benoit, Myrna Ross, Allan Ray, Paul Power (Luau guests)
Today's League of
Themselves post served as the lead-in to the March induction into the TV
Crossover Hall of Fame. In the last couple of years, we've tried to maintain
March as the month in which the entrant is a member of the League of Themselves,
and we promised back in January that this would be our inductee:
Here's a list of the TV shows in which he portrayed himself:
'Just Shoot Me'
'Sword Of Justice'
'The Joey Bishop Show'
Plus, he hosted the revamp of 'You Bet Your Life' and served as the
spokesman in the Tuscan Pudding Pops blipverts. And this doesn't even take into
account his many appearances on talk shows, variety programs, and awards shows.
(Of course, his starring role as 'Stanley' and his many guest star roles in
dramas and sitcoms as other characters don't count toward his requirements. Not
that it mattered, since we had more than was needed.
So here's a tip of the hat from Toobworld Central to Buddy Hackett!
(We'll be featuring more Buddy Hackett material over the next couple of days.....)
I was lucky enough to have Chuck McCann (who plays Oliver Hardy in this
blipvert) accept my friend request on Facebook. I realize plenty of celebrities
do so to expand their fan base, but Mr. McCann has either contacted me or
responded to my comments on several occasions, so it's not just a publicity
machine to him.
I'm also the proud owner of his book, the "Let's Have Fun Scrapbook", and
an autographed copy to boot! It has a forward by Billy Crystal and may still
contain a DVD as well. (You better check the details from Tally Productions.)
It's available at Amazon and you can check it out at this link.
As to the content of the commercial? The only TV that Laurel and Hardy
actually did themselves would be their appearance on 'This Is Your Life'. So
should these two avatars be considered part of the main Toobworld as well?
Personally, I'm thinking Skitlandia is an honorable home for
Laurel and Hardy were one of the most popular and critically acclaimed
comedy double acts of the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema.
Composed of thin Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and large American Oliver
Hardy (1892–1957), they became well known during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s
for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend
of the pompous Hardy. They made over 100 films together, initially two-reelers
(short films) before expanding into feature length films in the 1930s. Their
films include "Sons of the Desert" (1933), the Academy Award-winning short film
"The Music Box" (1932), "Babes in Toyland" (1934), and "Way Out West" (1937).
Hardy's catchphrase, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me
into!", is still widely recognized.
AS SEEN ON:
'This Is Your Life'
"Stan Laurel And Oliver Hardy"
This marked the only true TV appearance for the duo of comedy legend.
As the Trickster once said, "Reality is boring, that's why I change it whenever I can."
I'm just "The Man Who Viewed Too Much", and "Inner Toob" is a blog exploring and celebrating the 'reality' of an alternate universe in which everything that ever happened on TV actually takes place.
Most of my theories about the TV Universe come from thinking inside the box and thus can't be proven. But I've never been one to shy away from a tall tale.....
Remember: "The more you watch, the more you've seen!"