Sunday, June 19, 2016


In memory of Ann Morgan Guilbert, here is her full appearance as a character who never actually existed in the TV Universe, not in Earth Prime-Time, nor any of the many alternate Toobworlds.

"Aunt Bess" was a figment of Dr. Bob Hartley's imagination.  During a night in which he suffered through what must have felt like an endless nightmare, Dr. Bob dreamt that he was a Vermont innkeeper named Dick Loudon.  Several people from his waking life were incorporated into this dream.  Chief among them was Cliff Murdock, Bob's old college buddy best known as "The Peeper."  (He appeared in the dream as the inn's handyman, George Utley.)

Some of the people who populated Bob's dream were actually lifted from TV shows he had watched, perhaps even that night before he went to bed.  (In fact, the format of the dream may have been inspired by the TV show which was adapted from the life of lawyer turned farmer Oliver Wendell Douglas.)

Such a character could have been "Aunt" Bess.  We know 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' (officially known as 'Head Of The Family') was adapted from the autobiographical novel by Rob Petrie as a future sitcom vehicle for Alan Brady.  However, even he admitted that ultimately he wasn't right for the part.  So a young Broadway star named Dick Van Dyke (whose fictional televersion is acknowledged to exist in 'Supernatural', 'Community', 'Pushing Daisies', and 'Designing Women') was hired for the lead role instead.  

Among the other actors in that dream was Ann Morgan Guilbert, who played Millie Helper, the Petries' next-door neighbor.  I believe she was the inspiration for "Aunt" Bess - Not Millie, but Ms. Guilbert playing Millie.  Just because there was a TV show about the life of Rob Petrie, that doesn't mean there couldn't be a TV show about him.  You have to admit the premise of a family man who worked as the head writer for a TV show would have made for a great behind-the-scenes series on Toobworld TV.  (This may be what separates the 'Dick Van Dyke Show' of the real world from that of Toobworld: ours was a sitcom; the one watched by TV characters could have been a very funny real life documentary show.

I'll have more about Ann Morgan Guilbert and her place in Toobworld tomorrow.

Good night and may God bless.....

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