Sunday, July 19, 2015


CBS: 1998

During the May Sweeps of that year, CBS celebrated its 50th anniversary on Television.  (I'm sure the actual anniversary for the whole corporation, including radio, would have been a higher figure.)

As part of the salute, certain CBS shows, both the dramas and the sitcoms, had moments in which cameos from the archives were blended into the present day narrative.  Here are two of the examples:

The agreement was that it would be a one-time thing - the reruns would not contain these scenes nor would they be included in future DVD sales.

Most of these mash-ups were going to be a nightmare for those of us who act as caretakers for the TV Universe, no matter which incarnation was supported by those crossoverists.  (For me, of course, it's the Toobworld Dynamic.  For my bloggin' buddy Robert Wronski, Jr., it's the TVCU, and so on.)

Here's a run-down of the "crossovers":
  • 'Murphy Brown' & Ed Murrow of 'Person To Person'
  • 'Cosby' & 'The Jack Benny Program'
  • 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman' & 'Gunsmoke'
  • 'Chicago Hope' & 'Medical Center'
  • 'Early Edition' & 'The Twilight Zone'
  • 'Walker, Texas Ranger' & 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive'
And as seen above:
  • 'The Nanny' & 'I Love Lucy'
  • 'Diagnosis Murder' & 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
For the Toobworld Dynamic, all of these have splainins and not all of them are dream sequences.  Some of them actually took place!

Here is how I made them work.....


'The Nanny' & 'I Love Lucy'
After 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour', the hour-long sequel to 'I Love Lucy', had ended, Lucy Ricardo finally did become so famous that ordinary people in Toobworld knew of her.  It wasn't for anything she had done, but instead it was because of her husband Ricky.  "Don Juan" would prove to be only the first movie in which he starred.  And those movies which followed would be huge blockbusters.  All of the magazines of the time would be covering his at-home lifestyle and people would learn about the crazy redhead who was his wife.  Eventually, it could be that Ricky and Lucy would split up just as Desi and Lucy did in the Trueniverse, perhaps in a very messy fashion that attracted a lot of attention from the tabloids.  It would have been the type of headline that Fran Fine's mother Sylvia followed with fanatic devotion.  And she would have made sure her daughter heard every juicy detail.  So eventually, when Fran dreamed of the fairy tale marriage she would have with someone in show business, her sub-conscience dredged up what she remembered of the happier days in Lucy and Ricky's marriage.

'Walker, Texas Ranger' & 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive'
The ghost of Josh Randall was not sitting across from Cordell Walker in Walker's office.  Cordell was simply day-dreaming about what it would have been like to actually meet the legendary bounty hunter from nearly a hundred years before.

'Chicago Hope' & 'Medical Center'
Dr. Kate Austin was in the Chicago Hope cafeteria and she saw Dr. Joe Gannon on TV.  For us, it was a clip from 'Medical Center'; but within the "reality" of Toobworld Gannon was probably being interviewed on a news show.  While she was watching it, Kate day-dreamed that she got a chance to talk with Dr. Gannon.  

'Early Edition' & 'The Twilight Zone'
After experiencing a trip through time back to the Chicago Fire of the 1870s, Gary Hobson crossed paths with Rod Serling's televersion.  In Toobworld, Serling may not have been the original serlinguist, able to talk to the audience viewing at home in the Trueniverse, but he loaned his name to the ability.  And as a serlinguist, Rod told the audience that they had just witnessed a tale from the Twilight Zone: that Gary Hobson had "lately returned from a place 'back there,' a journey into time with highly questionable results, proving on one hand that the threads of history are woven tightly, and the skein of events cannot be undone, but on the other hand, there are small fragments of tapestry that can be altered. Tonight's thesis to be taken, as you will - in The Twilight Zone."  It was a quote that was used originally in the episode "Back There", but Toobworld is full of repeats.

'Murphy Brown' & 'Person To Person'
In the show's final episode, Murphy was sedated before going into surgery because of her bout with cancer.  While under the drugs' influence, Murphy met God as well as Edward R. Murrow.  We know God exists in Toobworld so why couldn't it have been pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that he showed up looking like Alan King?  And Murrow, in the anteroom, could have been a ghost.

And speaking of ghosts......

'Cosby' & 'The Jack Benny Program'
In the middle of the night, Hilton Lucas was visited by the ghost of Jack Benny.  Although his TV persona (the first televersion of a celebrity to be inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame) was better known for living in California, Jack Benny would make regular visits back to New York City.  After all, he owned at least one apartment building in Bensonhurst, Queens, in which two of his tenants were the Nortons and the Kramdens.  And ghosts are prevalent in Toobworld, with CBS presenting such shows as 'Topper' and 'Ghost Whisperer' over the years.  But then again, it was late at night; Hilton Lucas may have dreamt the whole thing.


'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman' & 'Gunsmoke'
This show about a frontier female doctor took a scene with James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillon and digitally inserted him into a bar scene with Dr. Michaela Quinn.  For the time, I thought it was really well done and it felt the most natural of all of them.  That scene was a leading contributor to the induction of Matt Dillon into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.

And finally.....


'Diagnosis Murder' & 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
Walking through the hallways of a major communications building, Dr. Mark Sloan looked into an engineering booth and saw Rob Petrie spinning records for a radio station.  Dr. Sloan was in color outside the booth's window.  Everything inside the booth was in black & white.  Rob Petrie was also looking as young as he did more than thirty years before (even longer, considering that particular episode was a flashback to before his tenure on 'The Alan Brady Show'.)  It was also a scene that, unlike most of the others used in this project, didn't lend itself to being repeated dialogue.  It was the type of scene that should have played itself out that one times back in the late 1950s and that's it.  So I'm thinking it had to be something caused by some paranormal activity, perhaps a continuation of the radio transmission experiment carried out in 'The Galaxy Being', the first episode of 'The Outer Limits'.  But this time, instead of beaming an alien from its homeworld to Earth, the holographic image of Rob Petrie was trasmitted across the country.  (This could also have been achieved by some kind of meteorological phenomenon.)  And then there's always the more realistic splainin - poor old Dr. Sloan was hallucinating, perhaps the first sign of dementia in his old age.

It's a shame I've only been able to track down these two clips from the 50th anniversary project.  I think all of them should be made available to future audiences.....


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