Thursday, September 1, 2016


September is the traditional month in which the Television Crossover Hall of Fame salutes the people behind the scenes who are instrumental in expanding the TV Universe - producers and writers especially.

Being behind the scenes, I suppose we could have chosen anyone for this honor in the year during which we celebrate the League of Themselves.  But I finally went with a producer who also appeared as the fictional version of himself in Toobworld....

From Wikipedia:

Sheldon Leonard (born Sheldon Leonard Bershad; February 22, 1907 – January 11, 1997) was an American film and television producer, director, writer, and actor.

Later in the 1950s and 1960s, he established a reputation as a producer of successful television series, including 'The Danny Thomas Show' (aka 'Make Room For Daddy') (1953–64), 'The Andy Griffith Show' (1960–68), 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' (1961–66), and 'I Spy' (1965–68). Leonard also provided the voice of Linus the Lionhearted in a series of Post Crispy Critters cereal TV commercials in 1963-64, which led to a Linus cartoon series that aired on Saturday (and later, Sunday) mornings on CBS (1964–66) and ABC (1967–69). He also was briefly the star of his own television show 'Big Eddie' (1975), where he played the owner of a large sports arena. The show lasted for only ten episodes.

The character of Andy Taylor was introduced in a 1960 episode of 'The Danny Thomas Show', which led to the series 'The Andy Griffith Show'. Leonard is informally credited with developing the practice of using an episode of a series as a backdoor pilot episode for new series, in which a guest star is introduced as a new character with the intention of using this character as the basis for a new show.

So here are the two TV shows that establish Sheldon Leonard as a citizen of Toobworld:

'I Spy' 
- "Crusade to Limbo" (1966)

'The Lucy Show' 
- "Lucy Meets Sheldon Leonard" (1967) 

But he was also chosen for his work as a producer.  If he wasn't directly involved in the creation and production of some of these shows, he helped forge the blueprint that would lead to them connecting with each other:
  • 'Make Room For Daddy'
  • 'Make Room For Granddaddy'
  • Post Cereal commercial
  • 'I Love Lucy'
  • 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour'
  • 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
  • 'The Dick Van Dyke Show Reunion'
  • 'The Andy Griffith Show'
  • 'Gomer Pyle, USMC'
  • 'Mayberry RFD'
  • 'Herman's Head'
  • 'The New Andy Griffith Show'
  • 'Return To Mayberry'
  • 'Here's Lucy'
So here's to you, Sheldon Leonard.  Welcome to the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.


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