Saturday, April 11, 2015



In order to help his "partner" out of a serious jam, Detective Joe Broadhurst agreed to take Marshal Sam McCloud's place on a stakeout even though it was the night of his wedding anniversary. When he showed up at the site still in his tux, Detective O'Hara (a nephew of Chief Clancy O'Hara of Gotham City) quipped:

"Hey, are those new work clothes
or are you trying to catch a penguin?"

Sure, the obvious splainin for this is simple: the correlation between a tuxedo and the basic look for the flightless bird from the Antarctic. "Mary Poppins" played this up with the cartoon waiters in the world created from Bert's chalk drawings.

But I veer from the obvious and look for the O'Bvious. In other words, I make my own reality.

I think that when we see O'Hara's question in print, the word "penguin" should be capitalized. Being the son of Clancy O'Hara's older brother, Detective O'Hara would have been familiar with Oswald Cobblepot, AKA P.N. Gwynne, the avaricious avian villain who often tangled with Batman in Gotham City. So I think he could have been referring to the Penguin.

But there's the problem - "the Penguin". Detective O'Hara could clearly be heard saying "a penguin", which should bring us back to just a general reference to the bird and not the jail bird.

However, so much of Life in Toobworld passes by without the chance for the Trueniverse audience to witness it. A show could be canceled, and then there's the events leading up to a show's debut - those characters had lives before it was finally broadcast. And there's the time spent upstaged by blipverts and between weekly episodes. Prime-Time marches on, as it were.

Once 'Batman' was canceled after its third season, we lost track of the many criminals who plagued Gotham City during its "glory days" of lawless behavior. Some were obvious recidivists, like the Joker - driven mad by the mutations to his body caused by his immersion into the vat of statuary plaster liquid. Others, like the Riddler and Catwoman, were merely nom de crimes which could have been assumed by anyone. (We actually saw this happen during the course of the series - the Riddler is best associated with Frank Gorshin's Lou Rydell*, but at one point while Rydell the Riddler was in prison, the alias of "The Riddler" was assumed by Gomez Addams after a bonk on the head temporarily turned him evil. As for Catwoman, Selena Kyle was the first to take on that identity. But after her death, she was followed in succession by either a Fallen Angel or the goddess Bastet and then by cat burglar/IMF agent Tina Mara and finally by a woman named Betty who would wind up marrying the detective who officially handled her case for the GCPD, a cop named Jones.

As for the Penguin, it's likely that Cobblepot moved away from Gotham City to try his luck elsewhere - we know he was spotted in the Los Angeles area when he went to a supper club performance by a group who called themselves the Monkees. He also could have retired from the crime biz, leaving his alias free and clear for someone else to come along as a new version of the Penguin.


So when Detective O'Hara referred to Broadhurst trying to "catch a penguin", he may have meant one of several criminals who could have taken on the Penguin alias.

Sure, it's a stretch. But we've built biographies for characters out of far less. Take TV Crossover Hall of Famer Ellie Swire, who was never seen in any TV show, nor was never even mentioned by name in 'Downton Abbey'!
But I feel good with this, almost as if it was destined.  I mean - a cop named O'Hara mentioning penguins?  It's Kismet!


* Thanks to 'Gotham', we now accept that stupid name of Oswald Cobblepot as the Penguin's true name, although we prefer the alias he used back in the 1966 movie "P.N. Gwynne". The reason I'm okay with it now is because of his East European background and the family name originally being "Kappelputz".   However, I still reject the even stupider name of Edward Nygma - E. Nygma, "Enigma" - from the comic books and from 'Gotham' for the Riddler. Instead, we claim that the Frank Gorshin character began life in another TV series - 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' - as a psychopath named Lou Rydell.  Rydell to Riddler is a more believable origin for his alias.

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