Friday, June 27, 2014


I would say that the biggest source of Zonks (the 'Let's Make A Deal' term I use for TV discrepancies) would be the mention of actual TV shows in other TV shows when both of them share the same TV dimension.  Overall, I've just thrown up my hands in defeat and paraphrased Andy Warhol's dictum: In Toobworld, every TV character will eventually have a TV show about them.
The second most common source of Zonks at least is more interesting in that I can come up with a plethora* of splainins - Recastaways.  There are a variety of reasons why an actor is replaced in a specific role - death, contract disputes, better job offer, bad acting.  But we're not concerned with that at Toobworld Central.  We're more interested in why the character's facial features have changed.
The easiest splainin is plastic surgery.  Simple, and from a real world perspective, highly believable... unless we're talking abut George Schumway of Fernwood, Ohio.  (As played by Phil Bruns, Tab Hunter, and then Phil Bruns again.)

And then there is Magic, which caused the recastaways of Darrin Stephens, Gladys Kravitz, and Major Anthony Nelson.  Under this category would also be the changes in appearance for the pan-dimensional beings who would pass themselves off as gods and god-like immortals to the gullible humans of an earlier age in Earth Prime-Time - like Zeus, Thor, and Queen Hyppolita.
There are also quantum leaping time travelers (Dr. Sam Beckett but also the umbrella splainin for all the recasting on soap operas), alien and android replacements (Paul Forrester and the Ted Buchanan-bot respectively), and a total displacement to another TV dimension to be rid of the Zonk.  (Sadly, this was the case with Hannibal Heyes.)
And of course there's regeneration, usually reserved for the Time Lords of Gallifrey.
There's one recastaway that I've been avoiding for years, that happened in the TV show 'Batman'.  In other examples from that series, it was just a matter of different characters assuming the code name of the criminal.  For example, when Gomez Addams temporarily adopted the guise of the Riddler.  Or when Catwoman was the name taken by the cat burglar Tina Marie and then by Betty Jones.
But in the case of Mr. Freeze, the history of the villain was so specific that it should have only occurred to one version of the character, the first one.  And yet each succeeding actor also shared that same backstory.

George Sanders originated the role, but in the villain's next appearance Mr. Freeze was played by Otto Preminger (who was roundly despised by everybody who worked on the production.)  And then finally, Eli Wallach took on the role.
(It's because of Eli Wallach that I'm posting this today.  He just passed away the other day at the age of 98.  It was a good, full life and he was working to the very end, but as producer/screenwriter Ken Levine posted the other day on Facebook, it was far too soon.)
Here's the character description for each of the Mr. Freezes from the TV show, found at the Batman Wiki:

Dr. Shivel (first name unknown) was a criminal scientist who during a fight with Batman was exposed to a solution of instant freeze, which turned him in to the diabolical Mr. Freeze. Now unable to live in an environment warmer then fifty-degrees below zero without the aid of a refrigerated suit, he sought revenge on Batman for his condition. In keeping with his new theme, Mr. Freeze began stealing finest diamonds, "ice" to him, in the city. After two clashes with Batman and Robin he successfully used his Freeze Gun to freeze them solid. It was only quick emergency care that saved the pair.

After this attempt failed, he had baseball pitcher Paul Diamante kidnapped so he would have a valuable "diamond" to trade for Batman. While Batman cooperated, he didn't count on Robin following him to Freeze's hideout. After a quiet dinner, Freeze decided to slowly freeze them, starting with Batman. Batman quickly stopped him however, thank to a special thermal layering under his suit. After a quick battle with Freeze's henchmen, Batman sent them and Freeze to prison so they could cool off.


Dr. Schivel was a criminal mastermind residing in Gotham City until he met his match in Batman. During an attempted arrest, Batman accidentally spilled some 'instant freeze' solution on Schivel, freezing his molecular structure making him a being of pure cold. Thus, the criminal 'Mr. Freeze' was born.

In this appearance, Mr. Freeze sought revenge on the Caped Crusader once again for condeming him to live in sub-zero temperatures. He captured Miss Iceland from a beauty pageant as part of a plot to discredit Batman and make her a being of pure cold like himself. He later decided to ice Gotham City and hold it for ransom, but was thwarted by the Dynamic Duo and once again sent to prison.


During a fight in his secret laboratory some years ago, a Doctor Schimmel was covered in an experimental chemical he had been working with. Batman tried to save him, but the damage had already been done. The freezing chemical had somehow bonded with his body, and he could no longer survive in any temperature higher than fifty degrees below zero. From then on, he referred to himself only as Mister Freeze. His condition requires him to wear a cooling suit whenever he leaves his icy lair. Freeze's warped mind blamed Batman for all that had happened to him, and immediately vowed revenge.

Ever since he escaped from prison, Freeze has been trying to destroy Batman. He also often tries to freeze other people, or sometimes all of Gotham City. Though whether this is because he wants others to suffer as he suffers, or if he is only looking for companionship, is unknown. The mental damage has also caused him to go through extreme changes in his temperament.
If each of the actors who played Mr. Freeze were similar in appearance, we could claim that it was the permanent exposure to sub-zero temperatures that caused the slight modification to their physical features.  But for Mr. Freeze, the changes were drastic when it came to the recastaways.
I'm toying with the idea that Otto Preminger's villain was an alien who came to Earth from his own sub-zero planet and absorbed the memories of the original Mr. Freeze after tracking down his hidden laboratory.

As for Eli Wallach's version?  I think he looks like a member of the Harkonnen family from Frank Herbert's "Dune" franchise in BookWorld (and there is a version adapted for Toobworld.)  Perhaps he was a future visitor from the era of "Dune" who "quantum leaped" his way back and took up residence in Mr. Freeze's aura, living out his life.

There is also the fact that the real name of Mr. Freeze changes between the three versions.  (The identity of "Victor Fries" is now the official version but not in the main Toobworld.  Only in the Tooniverse and the Comic Book World.)

But all of that is rather complicated and demands that there were many further adventures between recastaways so that the other characters were aware of the physical changes.  And that's why they don't act surprised to see a totally different person with each reappearance.

As a televisiologist, I do want to be able to invoke Occam's Razor.

From Wikipedia:

Occam's razor (also written as Ockham's razor and in Latin lex parsimoniae) is a principle of parsimony, economy, or succinctness used in problem-solving devised by William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347). It states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.

So here is what I'm going with......

We know there are at least five TV dimensions which have a Miss Jane Marple, all of them looking different from the other.

Gracie Fields' portrayal was a one-shot which I now believe belongs in the TV dimension of Prequel Toobworld.  And I will stick with Helen Hayes being the Miss Marple of the MOTW Toobworld.

But the other three - Dame Joan Hickson, Geraldine McEwan, and Julia McKenzie - have had long runs as Miss Marple.  And each of them have had their own versions of several of the original stories, especially "The Body In The Library".

So the same story played out by three different recastaways of the same character.  The same situation we found with Mr. Freeze.

Therefore, what we witnessed with each of the 'Batman' stories about the ice-cold villain was a shift in viewpoint to alternate dimensions.  Although they were broadcast at different times, they probably occupy the same space as each other on their respective Toobworld timelines.  They just played out with certain alterations, perhaps due to the physical differences.

As such, the Mr. Freeze portrayed by George Sanders remains the official version for Toobworld.  Otto Preminger's version is relegated to the Land O' Remakes.  And last but definitely not least (because Wallach imprinted the role with such eccentricities), the last Mr. Freeze is probably the one from Evil Toobworld.

That should simplify matters.  And I owe it all to Eli Wallach.

Good night and may God bless.....

  • 'Batman' (and the animated versions)
  • 'Marple' (all televersions)
  • 'Doctor Who'
  • 'Bewitched'
  • 'I Dream Of Jeannie'
  • 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'
  • 'Forever Fernwood'
  • 'Wonder Woman'
  • 'The Incredible Hulk'
  • 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'
  • 'Starman'
  • 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'
  • 'Quantum Leap'
  • 'Mission Impossible'
  • 'Barnaby Jones'
  • 'The Addams Family'
  • 'Alias Smith And Jones'
  • 'Kojak'
  • "Dune"

A fourth televersion of Mr. Freeze is a member of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame as of last December: the Mr. Freeze of the Tooniverse, as voiced by Michael Ansara across several animated 'Batman' series.
* Detective Crocker: What's a plethora?
  Lt. Kojak: Get in the car; we'll swing by the library.

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