'THE NAME OF THE GAME'
The Toobworld globe and atlas got a boost in February when I saw this episode on COZI-TV. Vietnam's understudy, Bhasa, was in turmoil and publisher Glenn Howard traveled there to "observe" the overthrow of the legally elected government by a military junta jointly headed by Colonels Mara & Bandar (with Bandar entertaining notions about going solo....)
Like I said, Bhasa was a Vietnam understudy. Taking place in 1970, its former president Ben Kaliman had led the people in throwing off the yoke of French occupation seventeen years earlier, in 1953. There were rice paddies, and a Buddhist monk named Anartha (favorably compared to Ghandi) was installed as the country's new ruler. (But the Colonels planned on ruling through him.)
But the thing was, all of the principle guest stars who were Bhasa citizens were (for the most part) played by Caucasian actors:
- H.M. Wynant - Colonel Mara
- David Sheiner - Colonel Bandar
- Gloria Grahame - Madame Noh
- David Opatoshu - Anartha
- Lebanese-born Michael Ansara played deposed president Ben Kaliman.
Madame Noh, as the widow of the Bhasarian minister of the treasury, is easy enough to splain away. She could have been a Westerner who married Huan Noh* and moved to his country.
As for the others, perhaps this stand-in for Vietnam was indeed in the East, but farther north - in the land of the steppes. The terrain that we saw when Glenn Howard visited the rebel camp suggested the rough mountainous area one would expect from a Mongolian neighbor.
But I think the answer is simpler - with the French occupying the country for so long, many of those in powerful positions in Bhasa were descended from French forebears, with some having "bred out" any of their once dominant native traits.
Bhasa has not been seen in Toobworld since 1970, so it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that it changed its name once the junta was removed from power - in order to start fresh. That way we can choose from any one of the other fictional Asian countries from Toobworld.
Or maybe it was annexed by the North Asian People's Republic (found in 'Mission: Impossible' - "Amnesiac").
* I could have sworn I heard the name as Guan Noh and thought to myself: "If they really did get away with that, well played!"