Saturday, March 1, 2014


Tomorrow is the Academy Awards presentation...

"Of Magic Shadow Shapes"

Cortland Evans had once been a famous movie director in Hollywood whose star faded away, leaving him broke and broken, with hardly any friends and very sick.  For Courtland Evans, the worst part was that he was practically forgotten.

As a boy, he traveled with his mother, who took pleasure in keeping company with rich and powerful men.  Even at a very young age, Evans probably knew what kind of woman his mother was, but it gave him the chance to see the world and rub elbows with the famous and the powerful.

His first big film was "Pleasure Domes" which he completed by the time he was thirty years of age.  The studio (Monolith, I'm claiming) took the film away from a director named Ronstadt and Cortland had no problem grabbing the reins for himself, never looking back.

After that, other big pictures came out bearing the screen legend: "Directed by Cortland Evans":
  • "Mansions In The Dust"
  • "Against The Gods"
  • "Pinnacle"
Evans married several times, but it was his first wife who inspired him the most, even though none of the characters in his films were ever based on her.  And he was good friends with other legends in Hollywood, like Otto Preminger.

And then, in 1941, Evans was directing what he hoped would be his masterpiece - "Flanders Fields".  It was to be a powerful statement against war which he hoped would strengthen the resolve of the American audiences to remain neutral in the current global conflict.

And then, on December 7th of that year... Pearl Harbor.

Evans never finished "Flanders Fields".  He bought the movie back from the studio with the hopes of one day going back to work on it, but it only gathered dust in his archives.  

He tried to move on to other work, but the pacifist nature of the movie put him in dutch with Congress and he was somewhat blacklisted.  After the war, he turned to TV where he directed episodes of 'Mosquito Man' and 'Tobor of Space Patrol', but his heart wasn't in it.

Eventually, Cort moved to Europe where he directed cheaply produced potboilers throughout the 1950s.  Mostly they were badly written noir films, a couple of sword and sandal pictures, and even some slightly licentious horror films with enough blood and cleavage to satisfy all tastes of the audience.

Among these movies were:
  • "Arrrrrrggghh!" (But the original)
  • "Bloodbath In Cell Block 11"
  • "The Creature From Another Planet"
  • "Dracula's Women"
  • "Eye Of The Mummy"
  • "Mohawk Over The Moon"
However, near the end of his life, suffering from an aneurysm that could burst at any time, Evans was spurred on by a film student to finish the movie.  Of course, it would mean postponing the surgery to save his life, but what was that when "Flanders Fields" promised him immortality?

Dr. Welby was able to get the student, Perry Archer, to see that his own ambitions would end up killing Cort Evans.  Archer finally convinced the old man to get the surgery and a few months later he was able to continue his work. 

"Flanders Fields" received great word of mouth from local critics and film historians when it received its world premiere at the actors' home in the Los Angeles area and it looked certain to burnish the legend of Cortland Evans to shine once more.

This is just supposition, but I think that when Cortland Evans was a small boy, he and his mother (and whoever her current amour was) were invited to stay at Downton Abbey in the Yorkshire region.  There he met Lord and Lady Grantham and many of the members of the Crawley family.  

But the one who must have made the strongest impression on a wide-eyed boy of 10 years so far from his home was the Dowager Countess, Lady Violet.  She must have filled him with fear with her imperious demeanor.  But he also was witness to the toll Life was taking on her as she was nearing the end of her days.

Cortland Evans never forgot Lady Violet in her indomitable infirmity and she came to mind when he was struggling with his own illness....

After collapsing in his home soon after checking himself out of the hospital, Cort waved off the concerns of Dr. Welby saying: 

"I just got dizzy;
Swooned like an old Victorian dowager."

O'Bviously it was a reference to Lady Violet.....

Cortland Evans knew when to make an exit.  He recognized "Flanders Fields" to be his crowning achievement, his legacy, and he felt no compunction to make another movie.  

But occasionally he would direct a TV commercial now and again, just to keep his hand in the game.  Several of those jobs were for an old friend, Larry Tate of McMann & Tate....

The first was back in the 1950s during one of his visits home to America, for Vitameatavegemin.  But he also made ads over the years for:
  • Carabonal
  • Schotz Beer
  • Crickly Wicklies Breakfast Cereal
  • Charlie Strayhorn's Breakfast Sausages
  • Denise Dumont Perfumes
  • Barker's Baby Food
  • Mint Brite Toothpaste
  • Gibbons Dog Burgers
  • Potomac Greeting Cards
  • Dozy Doodles sleeping pills
  • The Whizzo Chocolate Assortment (in the United Kingdom)
  • Churchill's Beer (in the United Kingdom, made by Feldspar Breweries)
  • The Phoenix automobile (commercial never completed when it was learned the car didn't really exist)
Cortland Evans died in 1994, but at least he died with his boots on.  He was filming a Binford Tools commercial at the time.......

  • 'Downton Abbey'
  • 'DaVinci's Inquest'
  • 'Laverne & Shirley'
  • 'The Rockford Files'
  • 'Green Acres'
  • 'Bewitched'
  • 'Get Smart'
  • 'EastEnders'
  • 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'
  • 'Banacek'
  • 'The Saint'
  • 'Gilligan's Island'
  • 'Drake & Josh'
  • 'Frasier'
  • 'Last Of The Summer Wine'
  • 'The A-Team'
  • 'The Kenny Everett Television Show'
  • 'iCarly'
  • 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
  • 'New Tricks'
  • 'Home Improvement'

Friday, February 28, 2014


Unlike her celebrity gossip-monger rival Hedda Hopper, Louella Parsons never established a televersion for herself in a fictional setting for Toobworld.  (Ms. Hopper had appearances in 'I Love Lucy', 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour', and 'The Beverly Hillbillies' to her credit, making her eligible for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.)

But Ms. Parsons was portrayed several times in TV movies of the 1980s:
  • "Malice in Wonderland" (1985) Played by Elizabeth Taylor
  • "The Hearst and Davies Affair" (1985) Played by Doris Belack
  • "Marilyn: The Untold Story" (1980) Played by Priscilla Morrill
  • "The Scarlett O'Hara War" (1980) Played by Jane Kean 
  • "Bogie" (1980) Played by Anne Bellamy
All of these would be relegated to alternate TV dimensions, so five other Toobworlds would be "richer" for this contribution.  (Your pont of view may vary.)

Louella Parsons did appear as herself on several TV game shows, variety programs, and talk shows.  While these are accepted as part of the TV on TV aspect of Toobworld (especially if - like 'The Ed Sullivan Show', one of her credits in this category - it gets mentioned in other TV shows), they just don't give the alternate universe aspect any "oomph".  So their value to the quality of the Toobworld Dyanmic isn't counted for much.  

So for Earth Prime-Time, the televersion of Louella Parsons is portrayed by Teresa Wright in the 'Cimax!' episode "The Louella Parsons Story".  The reason why this should gain prominence over the other vehicles is simple - the overwhelming presence of celebrities appearing as members of the League of Themselves.

Also appearing in this episode of the anthology series listed alphabetically:
  • Gracie Allen
  • Eve Arden
  • Jean-Pierre Aumont
  • Lex Barker
  • Joan Bennett
  • Jack Benny
  • Charles Boyer
  • George Burns
  • Eddie Cantor
  • Dan Dailey
  • Howard Duff
  • Joan Fontaine
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • Susan Hayward
  • Ida Lupino
  • Fred MacMurray
  • Robert Mitchum
  • Kim Novak
  • Maureen O'Sullivan
  • Merle Oberon
  • Ginger Rogers
  • Gilbert Roland
  • Robert Stack
  • Lana Turner
  • Robert Wagner
  • John Wayne
Some of them have appeared as themselves in other TV shows.  In fact, three of them are members of the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame (Jack Benny, George Burns, and John Wayne.) All together, they make a powerful argument for this televersion of Louella Parsons to be left in the main TV Land, Earth Prime-Time.

Outside of the Box:
Teresa Wright & Louella Parsons in a publicity picture


Thursday, February 27, 2014


Adonis "Sonny" Drysdale was a dissipated playboy and the stepson of Beverly Hills banker Milburn Drysdale.  But Sonny didn't spend all of his time in Beverly Hills....  After all, he was a Yale man!  He was also a frequent visitor to New York City and called its many bars, saloons, and cocktail lounges "home".

Sonny was in the Big Apple in May of 1959 when Detectives Jimmy Halloran and Frank Arcaro recovered two missing bloodhounds near Central Park.  Sonny was so drunk that he mistook the dogs for rather small carriage horses.

And so he was brought in to the 65th station house to be booked on a drunk & disorderly charge.

'Naked City' - "Bloodhounds"
'The Beverly Hillbillies' - "Elly's First Date"
                                       - "Pygmalion And Elly"
                                       - "Elly Races Jethrine"
                                       - "Sonny Drysdale Returns"
"The Legend Of The Beverly Hillbillies"


Wednesday, February 26, 2014


While doing research on 'Mork And Mindy', I learned about a Brazilian remake entitled 'Superbronco' and starring Ronald Golias.  I was hoping to learn more about the show than that, but at least from the USA POV of the Internet, that's about all there is to find out.  However, it was Golias' one unsuccessful TV show.

But based just on this, I'd say that his character is also from Ork, sent on a similar mission to Earth.  I see this more as a spin-off than an international remake.

If his name turned out to be also Mork, that's okay.  Think how many Earthlings share the same name.  There were two Thomases in 'Downton Abbey', two Henrys in 'Picket Fences', and there were two Petes in 'The Adventures Of Pete And Pete', for Pete's sake!

He was probably named "Bronco", according to IMDb, but I haven't been able to verify that.

What if there were other Orkans who visited Earth Prime-Time around the same time as Mork and Bronco, eve they never got their own sitcoms in our world?  Could some "middle-aged" humans on TV right now, who don't seem "normal" by human standards, be actually Orkans hiding in plain sight?

If so, I think the Orkan who landed in Soviet Russia back in the late 1970s probably never survived once the Soviets got hold of him.......

In a border raid into the Cineverse, maybe this 1949 publicity shot of Jean Kent for "Trottie True" was of a woman from the planet Ork arriving on Earth.....


Tuesday, February 25, 2014


When the CW unveils its spin-off from 'Arrow' - 'The Flash' - the first televersion of the Scarlet Speedster will be on board the project as well.

John Wesley Shipp played Barry Allen and his alter-ego the Flash in the CBS series back in the 1990s.  But this time around, we don't know whom he will be playing; it's all a big mystery.  But it won't be a one-shot guest appearance to give the show some sort of blessing with the passing of the torch.  (Not The Torch.)

Shipp will be a recurring guest star should the series gets an official pick-up to a full run.  

I've seen suggestions online that he'll be playing Jay Garrick from the comic books who was the first Flash during the WWII era and considered a citizen of "Earth 2".  

For Toobworld, the new Flash will already be in an alternate TV dimension.  So if Shipp is playing Garrick, then he's from an extension of that dimension more than from an off-shoot from Earth Prime-Time.  

Well, the casting news did serve its purpose - I can't be the only one who will now be watching after all, just to find out the secret behind John Wesley Shipp's character....


Monday, February 24, 2014


With the introduction of Barry Allen in the latest episode of 'Arrow', Toobworld Central says good-bye to any further adventures from the CW superhero series.  From that point on, nothing that happens on 'Arrow' will be taking place on Earth Prime-Time.

Earth Prime-Time already has its own version of Barry Allen, who is better known in the comic book universe as the Flash.  As far as being seen in the main Toobworld, Barry Allen first appeared in 1990 when a chemical explosion in his lab transformed him into the Scarlet Speedster.

The Trueniverse audience only saw him in action that one season, but Life goes on even after cancellation.  I see no reason why Barry Allen should not be still alive in Toobworld.  

But as for still being the Flash?  If the Flash still existed as was capable of such high speeds, why isn't he being mentioned as foiling crimes in Central City still, or somewhere in the country?

Here's what I think happened - the high metabolic rate of his body eventually drained off all of the ability for Barry Allen to travel at high speeds.  (Such a situation could also have gone unchecked until it finally killed him, but why do superhero stories always have to have such morbid endings nowadays?)  I prefer to think that once he was bereft of his powers as the Flash, Barry Allen returned to his civilian life as a forensic scientist for the Central City police department.

He may even have opted to cash in on his former popularity by writing his autobiography, selling the rights to his story to the televersion of DC Comics, and making some coin off the merchandizing rights to his logo and costume.

Something along those lines must have happened.  On 'The Big Bang Theory', Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj all owned Flash costumes.  Sheldon also owned at least one T-shirt with the Flash logo, as did Screech in 'Saved By The Bell'.  And in the "Lion's Den" episode of 'The Outer Limits', Brae referrred to Morris as the Flash.  Also on TBBT, the Flash comic book can sometimes be seen in Stuart's comic book store.  

In fact, in the pilot episode of 'The Middleman', Wendy Watson told her new boss that "The Flash" was her favorite comic book.  The Middleman responded, "Barry Allen or Wally West?"  From this we could make the conjecture that DC Comics created Wally West as a fictional successor to Barry Allen, or perhaps Wally West also exists in Earth Prime-Time but we just haven't seen him yet.  (I prefer to think he was fictional; otherwise DC would have had to deal with Wally to secure the rights to his story.)

Getting back to 'Arrow', it's not a total write-off for the series as far as Earth Prime-Time is concerned.  As was the case with 'Heroes', 'Stargate SG-1', 'The Dead Zone' and even 'Alias Smith And Jones' before it, the preceding episodes of 'Arrow' before Barry Allen makes his appearance can still be considered part of the main Toobworld.  So that would mean thirty episodes of 'Arrow' do exist in Earth Prime-Time, and that's not such a bad legacy, is it?

But from "The Scientist" onwards, the series is following the Oliver Queen of an alternate TV dimension.

Perhaps even the same dimension currently occupied by 'Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D'.....?


Sunday, February 23, 2014


When a million dollars was stolen from the middle of a Las Vegas casino in plain view, insurance investigator Thomas Banacek was called in to take over the case.  We never learned the name of the casino, only that it was owned by reclusive billionaire Jonathan Jackson (a Howard Hughes type).

So I'm going to claim that the casino would later become known as the Montecito, once it was sold after the death of Jackson.  O'Bviously there was forty years of renovation to turn it into the sleek casino seen in the later TV show.

'Banacek' - "A Million The Hard Way"
'Las Vegas'