Friday, September 26, 2014

THE HAT SQUAD: REMEMBERING THE ORKAN MAN......



When Robin Williams committed suicide a month ago, a lot of attention was paid to his film work and stand-up comedy, but his true contribution to the Arts may not have reached the heights had it not been for his breakout role as Mork from Ork on 'Mork And Mindy'.

And yet the special tribute to him by Billy Crystal on the Emmy Awards telecast didn't even show a picture of him as the lovable alien.  Let's face it - for many people around the world, Mork will always be the character they first think of when remembering Robin Williams.

Over the decades plenty of TV characters have been given a chance to return so that we could once more have the chance to see them in action:
  • Alan Brady in an episode of 'Mad About You'
  • The citizens of Hooterville in the TV movie "Return To Green Acres"
  • Cinnamon Carter in an episode of 'Diagnosis Murder'
  • Jim Rockford in about eight 'Rockford Files' TV movies
  • The castaways of 'Gilligan's Island' in several TV movies
  • Barnaby Jones showed up in the Cineverse in the recast "The Beverly Hillbillies"
  • Veterans of 'Star Trek' and 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' also found new life in the Cineverse
  • Bret Maverick got one last chance to play a hand in "Maverick"
  • And of course previous incarnations of the Doctor will always be showing up in 'Doctor Who'

But we could never have that same trip down memory lane for Mork.

With the birth of their half-alien son Mearth, 'Mork And Mindy' established that Orkan biology operates differently from that of the humans of Earth.  Orkans age backwards physically - they look old at birth and then get younger looking as they get older.

Here's how Robin Williams basically looked in real life leading up to his death:


But some thirty plus years since 'Mork And Mindy', Mork should look like this:


(That's Robin Williams as a boy, by the way.....)

If 'Mork And Mindy' had ever returned, any participation by Williams would have only occurred in flashback to his time as a boy on Ork.  And a present day Mork would have to be recast with a far younger actor; preferably one who looked like he was in his teens.

The same would have to be true of their son Mearth.  He would have to be played by someone In their thirties I'm thinking.....

I could see a running gag or full plotline for a TV movie in which Mindy gets in trouble for having "relations" with a young boy.......

We'll just have to be content with our memories of Mork as he once was.  And remember Robin Williams with the same fondness instead of dwelling on his personal darkness.

Good night and may God bless.  Nanoo nanoo!

(I had originally written this basic post a few days after his death, but stupidly erased it when transferring it to my Blogger dashboard.  Lazy bleep that I am, I just couldn't work up the enthusiasm to do it all over again.  But a character like Mork deserved to be saluted.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

O'BSERVATIONS - "MADAM SECRETARY"



It's established right away with the pilot episode of 'Madam Secretary' that the series takes place in an alternate Toobworld.  Former Senator John Kerry would probably have to be the default Secretary of State in Earth Prime-Time as he is on Earth Prime (even though I can't think of any shows that would mention him in that role as much as President Obama or even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be in the main Toobworld.)  

But besides Tea Leoni playing the new Secretary of State, we're introduced to the man who requested she take the job - President Conrad, as played by Keith Carradine.


I've lost track of how many alternate Presidents I've suggested for taking office after the Presidents depicted in other shows like 'The West Wing' and 'Commander In Chief'.  As long as she's not from the main Toobworld, it really doesn't matter for the focus of the Toobworld Dynamic.

But this may be a Toobworld in which Conrad is supposed to have succeeded Obama, or it's a world in which Earth Prime events have also taken place but with different outcomes and participants.  The second week episode is called "Another Bengazi" and reference is made to that administration's "own Snowden".  So there are televersions for Edward Snowden and the embassy attack, but the details may vary greatly.

I'm leaning towards the second theory - that 'Madam Secretary' takes place concurrently with the events of the real world and Toobworld.  We'll have to see if they mention any past POTUS from that world and see if they match up with the other men who have served in the Oval Office.  ('The West Wing' took its line of fictional presidents back to General Owen Lassiter - probably around the time of Ronald Reagan in the real world - but President Nixon did get at least one reference during the series' run.


The only other point of televisiological interest I picked up on in that first episode was the cameo appearance of Bob Schieffer as his televersion in that TV dimension.  He's seen on the TV, reporting the disappearance of the previous Secretary of State's plane, but it doesn't look as though he's working for CBS.  Why?  The CBS "bug", the network identity logo prominently displayed in the lower right corner of the screen for the main show, is not seen on the screen of the TV within the program.  

So WNKW is not a CBS affiliate in this world, but instead it probably carries on the theory that it is a "super-station" in this Toobworld as well as in Earth Prime-Time.

Past examples:
WNKW 1
WNKW 2

BCnU!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TRUE LIFE TRIVIA - SHERLOCK HOLMES & AGATHA CHRISTIE



"You're not Sherlock Holmes; 
You're an editor!"
Mrs. Hope Stinson
'Too Close For Comfort'

Here's another example of Sherlock Holmes' existence in Earth Prime-Time as a character as real as Mrs. Stinson and Henry Rush (whom she was addressing.)

There was no mention of books or movies or TV shows.  It would be just as if Mrs. Stinson was telling Henry he was no J. Edgar Hoover.

In that same episode, same scene, she said:

"Go to it, Agatha Christie!"

Dame Agatha Christie was a real person in the Trueniverse, but she also has several televersions, one of whom shared an adventure with the Doctor.

SHOWS CITED:
  • 'Doctor Who' - "The Unicorn And The Wasp"
  • 'Too Close For Comfort' - "Late, Great Herbert Maxwell"
BCnU!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

THE HAT SQUAD: REMEMBERING POLLY BERGEN



Actress Polly Bergen has passed away.  Her death had a resonance with me only because she shared the same birth year as my mother.  But she did have several roles in the greater TV Universe that I felt should be given special mention.....

POLLY BERGEN
'THE POLLY BERGEN SHOW'
As a member of the League of Themselves, Ms. Bergen displayed her serlinguistic skills in addressing the Trueniverse audience.  I would imagine this series also exists in Earth Prime-Time while elements from it would be collected in Skitlandia.


HELEN MORGAN
'PLAYHOUSE 90' - "THE HELEN MORGAN STORY"
Morgan was a torch singer and actress from the 1920's and 30's who was most famous for playing Julie LaVerne in two major theatrical productions of "Show Boat" as well as in two movie adaptations.  But her life was marred by alcoholism and she died of cirrhosis at the age of 41.  Ms. Bergen was the first to play her in TV (DInah Shore would do so in 1983, but that would be relegated to Skitlandia.)  The Cineverse portrayal of Helen Morgan's life would go to Ann Blyth in a biopic that would be her last role.

CLAIREE BELCHER
'STEEL MAGNOLIAS'
This was a failed TV pilot for a series based on the hit movie, but which CBS burned off as a TV movie during the summer of 1990.  Ms. Bergen played the role first assayed by Olympia Dukakis in the Cineverse.  This would be the first of two televersions for Clairee Belcher, who would also be played by Phylicia Rashad in Black Toobworld.  Ms. Bergen's version would be in Toobworld-MOTW and until such time as a full TV series is broadcast of "Steel Magnolias", this will also be found in the main Toobworld.


RHODA HENRY
'THE WINDS OF WAR'
'WAR AND REMEMBRANCE'
Even though Polly Bergen played the same role in these two mini-series based on the novels by Herman Wouk, Rhoda Henry was two different women - each the doppelganger of the other in two different dimensions.  Although many of the cast, like Ms. Bergen, carried over to the sequel, too many of the major players were recastaways.  It would be impozz'ble, just impozz'ble, to find a reasonable splainin and still keep it believable.  (For example: Ali McGraw to Jane Seymour as Natalie Jastrow; Jan-Michael Vincent to Hart Bochner as Byron Henry; Ben Murphy to Michael Woods as Warren Henry; and John Houseman to John Gielgud as Aaron Jastrow.  Even Adolph Hitler was recast!)


KATE ALLEN
'COMMANDER IN CHIEF'
This role was something of an in-joke for Ms. Bergen.  In an alternate Toobworld in which Geena Davis played the President of the United States, Kate Allen was the mother of the President. (The POTUS of Toobworld must always be the same as that in the Trueniverse.)  Decades earlier over in the Cinverse, Ms. Bergen herself was the President in "Kisses For My President" (which is probably one of two movies she is best known for; the other being the original "Cape Fear".)  


STELLA WINGFIELD
'DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES'
Another from the "Mom" stage of Ms. Bergen's career, in which she played Lynette's over-bearing mother in one of the most popular TV series from the middle of the new millennium's first decade.

DORIS CAMPBELL
'BABY TALK'
The first of her recurring roles as the main character's Mom.  This was a series based on the movie in which Life was observed by a "talking" baby.  (Okay, his inner thoughts.....)


JANICE GRAHAM & CATHY BRANDON
'DR. KILDARE' - "THE DARK SIDE OF THE MIRROR"
From the IMDb:
A woman will die unless she receives a kidney from her estranged twin sister, but the sister, a model, is unwilling to undergo the surgery to donate it.

I only bring this one-shot (technically a two-shot?) appearance to show that "twins" of Ms. Bergen's characters exist in Toobworld because.....


FRAN FELSTEIN
'THE SOPRANOS' - "IN CAMELOT"
Fran was the mistress of Tony's late father and she regaled him with stories about her relationship with him and with anecdotes from her own life (including a liaison with JFK, but that could have been a tall tale). 

I'm thinking "Felstein" was her married name and that she might even be the twin sister to any number of her guest star roles in other shows:
  • EMMA JULIEN: 'JAKE & THE FATMAN' - "BY MYSELF"
  • DR. JOCELYN LAIRD: 'MURDER, SHE WROTE' - "SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL"
  • EVELYN TAYLOR: 'MY TWO DADS' - "JOEY'S MOTHER-IN-LAW"
  • ELIZABETH HASTINGS: 'HOTEL' - "IMAGES"
  • ESTHER BRANDELL: 'FANTASY ISLAND' - "LADY OF THE HOUSE/MRS. BRANDELL'S FAVORITES"
  • CRYSTAL COE: 'ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS' - "YOU CAN'T TRUST A MAN" 
  • BARBARA FOX: "PERRY MASON - THE CASE OF THE SKIN-DEEP SCANDAL"
Among others.....

About the only roles she played as one-shot guest appearances who could not have been a twin sister to Fran Felstein would be in those shows from a different time period like 'Wagon Train' and 'Ellery Queen'.  And Judge Deborah in two episodes of 'Twice In A Lifetime' was (is) some kind of angelic being.....

As for her other TV roles, I think most of the TV movies would remain in Toobworld-MOTW and her appearances on shows like 'The Red Skelton Hour' would be in Skitlandia.

Here's one more theory of relateeveety - Could it be that her roles as Dana Pierce in a two-part 'The Love Boat' ("The Spoonmaker Diamond/Papa Doc/The Role Model/Julie's Tycoon") and as Dana Greenberg in the TV movie "How To Pick Up Girls!" be the same woman?  At best, I think we could say that they are the same woman in two different TV dimensions (Earth Prime-Time & Toobworld-MOTW) whose lives took different paths, based on the difference in their last names.

Good night and may God bless Polly Bergen.....


Monday, September 22, 2014

IN THE LAND OF MORDERA, WHERE THE SHADOWS USED TO LIE



Has a book ever changed your life?

For me, it was J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit".  It put me on the path that led me to the wonders of Fantasy.  (Although I think to be absolutely correct, perhaps Edith Hamilton's classic work on Greek Mythology would be more accurate as the kick-off.  But it was "The Hobbit" which sent me into overdrive towards a mania.

From there it was anything to do with the Fantasy genre - the classics, modern outlooks, and then to sub-genres like Urban Fantasy and Shared World Universes.  That category began with "The Incompleat Enchanter" and led to my own exploration into the shared universe of the Toobworld Dynamic.

Where was I going with this?  Oh yeah!

But Tolkien has been the apex in my sorry excuse for a mind and I always hoped that one day I could legitimately place his Middle Earth saga into the world of Earth Prime-Time.

That world of Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits exist in two of the major fictional universes - BookWorld (coined by Jasper Fforde) and the Cineverse (coined by Craig Shaw Gardiner).  And for the TV Universe, it has become part of several alternate dimensions - specifically the Tooniverse and Skitlandia.  But as for the main Toobworld?  Sadly nothing.

And yet there's been a hint that the world of Middle Earth once existed in Toobworld.  A mere slip of a hint, and it needed some tweaking from Yours Truly, but it took 44 years for me to finally notice it.

'IT TAKES A THIEF'
"AN EVENING WITH ALISTER MUNDY"

King Armand of Mordera asked his old friend, gentleman thief Alister Mundy, to steal the King's most precious possession - his eleven year old daughter Carlotta.  Armand wanted her spirited out of the country to save her life, fearing an inevitable coup staged by power-mad General Contell.

With the assistance of his son Alexander and SIA official Wally Powers (plus Italian crook Funello), Alister took it a step further - they arranged it so that the military's coup d'etat was derailed. (As Barney Fife would say, they nipped it; they nipped it in the bud.)  The Morderian monarchy was secured.  It could very well be that Carlotta is now the Queen of that country.

Take a look at these frame grabs of King Armand and General Contell:

 

Putting aside that General Contell must be the evil twin of Captain Stuebing, these uniforms make me think of those Victorian/Edwardian wardrobes in fictional locations like Hentzau and Caronia - stereotypical Balkan costumes.

Because of its location so close to the Russian borders, the Balkan territory is the home for many of the fictional European monarchies and republics under threat of Soviet domination in such Cold War series as 'Mission Impossible'.  And I see no reason why another small portion can't be sliced out of some pre-existing Balkan nation in the Trueniverse to be the homeland of Mordera.

So.....

There are many fans of "The Lord Of The Rings" who have dabbled in cartography in order to fit the world of Middle Earth into modern day maps of the world.  I would suppose they used the Shire as a starting point - where else but to be found in the cozy rural England of Tolkien's youth - and then branched out from there.  Working with the materials provided by Tolkien with his own maps regarding distances, a lot of theories center on the Balkans as being the general location for Sauron's stronghold - Mordor.

 

So let's say that back in the early ages of the world, the Age of Legend, Mordor did indeed exist in that region, encompassing all of the countries to be found in the Balkans today, both real and tele-fictional.  With the passage of Time, the topography was radically changed and the evil of Sauron faded from memory along with the Elves and other supernatural beings who once inhabited the world.  Yet still traces of that Age survived, and one might be the name of Mordor itself.  Only it had become diminished, perhaps to rob the name of its power over the minds of men.  Over the eons, the only remnant of Mordor to survive could have been found in the kingdom's name of Mordera.

Perhaps it means "Little Mordor".....

Well, for now, it's just an idea.  But one day, the world of Middle Earth as envisioned by Tolkien might be adapted for television - perhaps stories from "The Silmarillion".  And when that happens, not only could we hopefully absorb Peter Jackson's six movies into Earth Prime-Time, but we could accept the Mordor/Mordera connection as being legitimate.

BCnU!

Published on the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins.....

Sunday, September 21, 2014

TELEVISION: TEACHING TOOL


Sage advice from Louis CK:



BCnU!