Saturday, August 13, 2016

VIDEO WEEKEND - "TRACKDOWN"


Steve McQueen in a dual guest-starring role, neither of which is Josh Randall.....



Friday, August 12, 2016

SALOON GIRL SHOWCASE - UNHAPPILY EVERS AFTER


Here's another saloon girl who may be responsible for so many TV characters from the 20th Century......

FAN

'THE GUNS OF WILL SONNETT'
"TRAIL'S END"

Fan was working as a saloon girl in a small Western settlement when Will Sonnett and Jeff Sonnett rode into town looking for Jim Sonnett (Will's son and Jeff's father.)  Jim had been there a month earlier and Miss Fanny fell for him... hard.  She found him to be "decent" and "gentle".  I think that was her way of saying what kind of a lover he was.  And Miss Fanny knew how to keep the fact that she was pregnant by him a secret once the other Sonnetts rode out of town.


Fan killed a maniac named Wilk when he was about to gun down Jeff Sonnett.  She ended up in jail, but the sheriff thought it unlikely that she would serve any time or that the circuit judge would even allow her to stand trial, especially since everybody in town would swear that she did no more than put down a mad dog.


On their departure, Jeff Sonnett stopped into the sheriff's office to say goodbye to Fan and although she had earlier said that she really wanted to see his father once again (probably to tell him that she was pregnant), Fan decided it would be better for all concerned if Jim Sonnett focused his attentions as a "family man" on the son he already knew.  She didn't want him to come back to her.


Fan probably was released from jail soon after and I think she would have headed East to New York City or some other large metropolis in order to raise Jim Sonnett's child in an environment where she would have more opportunities in Life than Fan had.

And yes - I think Fan would have given birth to a girl, one who would have many children of her own.  And all of them would have many children who would eventually sire or give birth to Jim Sonnett's telegenetic lookalikes.

Among them:
  • Dr. Jim Lord ('Matlock')
  • Dr. Marshall McGill ('Murder, She Wrote')
  • Dr. Ralph Simpson ('The Bold Ones: The Doctors')
  • Jerry Perrine ('The Scarecrow & Mrs. King')
  • Warren Avery ('T.J. Hooker')
  • Lloyd Kohler* ('Vega$')
  • Fred Gesslin ('CHiPs')
  • Roland Merrill ('MacMillan')
  • Roger Sloan ('Banacek')
Many of them walked on the dark side, but Fan would have been most proud of Professor Joseph Howe of Channing University.  ('Channing')

And those are only just a few of the pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, descendants from Miss Fanny's liaison with Jim Sonnett.......

BCnU!

O'BSERVATIONS:

Jason Evers played Jim Sonnett in thirteen episodes of 'The Guns Of Will Sonnett' (and he starred as the 'Wrangler' Pitcairn whom I believe was Jim Sonnett using an alias), as well as all of those roles listed above.  Evers was one of the busiest guest stars in Toobworld throughout the 1960s & 70s, working until 1990.  (He died in 2005.)  

There were so many other characters of the late 20th Century whom I could have chosen for this post, but I decided to limit myself to just a handful of roles  And I avoided all of those shows in which he played more than one character over the course of the series run, like 'Cannon' and 'Mission: Impossible'.  (Evers played five different characters in 'Mannix' alone!)

O'Bviously, characters like Atar in 'Fantastic Journey' and Rael from a 'Star Trek' episode are right out of consideration!

* Lloyd Kohler may have been descended from a character in 'The Wild, Wild West' named Christopher Kohner.  Somewhere along that family tree, the surname was changed to "Kohler" in order to break ties with the Past......

Thursday, August 11, 2016

MAVERICK VS. REDJAC


'MAVERICK'
"THE CRUISE OF THE CYNTHIA B."



Near the end of the episode, Bret Maverick overwhelms the villain of the piece who ends up tumbling over the side of the riverboat. And as he falls, we hear the infamous Wilhelm Scream. It is the theory of the Toobworld Dynamic that the Wilhelm Scream is an indication of the departure of the murderous entity known as Redjac from its host. Although Redjac feeds on the fear from its victims, it also absorbs the fears of those who are afraid that they are to be the next to die. With nearly a dozen potential victims trapped on board the Cynthia B., Redjac was having a feast until Bret dispatched it to a watery death. (Well, the host anyway. Redjac itself fled either to the shore or into one of the remaining people on board. My guess would be one of the stokers who worked the boilers. In fact, I favor the stoker named Meachum. Why? Because he was played by an actor named Fred Kruger.)

Happy trails to you!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

THE LONE RANGER IN THE SWINGIN' SIXTIES


or most of his life, a man named Reid, better known to the world as wild, wild West hero "The Lone Ranger", lived in the 19th Century.  After the Civil War, he and his faithful Indian companion Tonto roamed the frontier making sure that Justice held sway and that the defenseless innocents were protected by the scourges who plagued the prairies.


But at one point the Lone Ranger and Tonto were catapulted through Time into the Future - at some point before 1968, as a matter of fact.


In 1968, we saw the Lone Ranger and Tonto attending a swanky party in a toney Manhattan townhouse apartment, where they discovered the pleasures of pizza rolls.  (They must have arrived from the days of the Old West early enough before that party to have built up a reputation, perhaps even as a novelty, to get invited to that party.  I'm thinking they arrived in the early 1960s, before the Man of Steel died.  And at some point after his arrival, the Lone Ranger teamed up with Superman, which would have brought the Masked Man some notoriety.)

How did they get there in the Future of 1968?

In the real world, there is only one set of rock formations known as the Vazquez Rocks.  But in Toobworld, that out-cropping was mass-produced by one of the Magratheans who built Earth Prime-Time.  It pops up all over the Western frontier, and that lazy Magrathean even used it again when building a planet commissioned by the Metrons.  It would be where Captain James T. Kirk would one day do battle with an alien known as the Gorn.  (It looks like that Magrathean architect even used the design on six other artificial planets, including Vulcan!)


All of those iterations of the Vazquez Rocks served as touchstones for the Lone Ranger - he would journey to those formations and make camp, knowing them so intimately that he had memorized all of their defensible areas.


But one of them turned out to be an illusion, a temporary "rock" formation that was in fact a TARDIS.  I believe it was used by the Meddling Monk and it would be just like that interfering Time Lord to trick the Lone Ranger into riding his horse up to the summit and then shooting him and Tonto forward in Time in the hopes it would change history.


But the future excursion proved to be beneficial to the populace of the 1960s as the Lone Ranger and Tonto teamed up with not only Superman, but also the Green Hornet and Robin the Boy Wonder (who by this point in Time was flying solo), saving the country from the likes of Lex Luthor, Dr. Mabuse, and Shame.  


Perhaps they even tangled with the immortal Dr. Miguelito Loveless.  (In the Tooniverse we know they did cross paths in the old West.  But in that TV dimension, Miquelito Quixote Loveless was known as Tiny Tom.)


Eventually the Lone Ranger and Tonto made it back to their own Time and continued their crusade for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

So how did they get back to that point in Time?

I hate over-using the concept, but I think the TARDIS of the Doctor's was temporarily a stable, as the Masked Man and his faithful Indian Companion took along their horses Silver and Scout.  It's the simplest splainin and Toobworld is always looking to employ Occam's Razor.....



BCnU!

[The Lone Ranger in the TARDIS at Vasquez Rocks was created especially for this article by the amazing Caeric J. ArcLight. Caeric is also a televisiologist who studies the fictional books, movies, TV shows, and locations of the TV Universe.]




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

TWO FOR TUESDAY - "TATE"




For "Two for Tuesday" this week, I thought I'd share a couple of episodes of the little-known TV Western 'Tate', which starred David McLean as titular bounty hunter & gunfighter.  There was a twist to the series - Tate was the first TV character with a disability to star in his own TV series.

From Wikipedia:

Tate is an American Western television series starring David McLean that aired on NBC from June 8 until September 14, 1960. It was created by Harry Julian Fink, who wrote most of the scripts, and produced by Perry Como's Roncom Video Films, Inc., as a summer replacement for The Perry Como Show. Richard Whorf guest starred once on the series and directed the majority of the episodes. Ida Lupino directed one segment.

David McLean starred as Tate, who lost the use of his left arm during the American Civil War. Because he was injured at the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi, Tate's arm is covered in black leather and a glove and supported by a sling. Tate is a widower, but the cause of the death of his wife, Mary, is not specified in the series, although a gunfight seems likely. Tate had left his hometown as a teenager because of such a fight. At the urging of Marshal Morty Taw, whom viewers meet in the pilot episode, "Home Town", Tate arrives to help Taw hang an old childhood friend, played by James Coburn ,who has murdered four people.

Tate roams the Old West as a bounty hunter-gunfighter. True to the nature of most hired guns on television western series, Tate was discriminating as to whom he worked for and would change sides if he found himself misled by his employers. As a gunman, he is wickedly fast on the draw. He also carries a shotgun, in his words, "to help even the odds." His reputation precedes him, and other men often seek him out in a gunfight...often to their regret. The fact that Tate is physically disabled made him the first handicapped lead character in television history and paved the way for future programs like Ironside with Raymond Burr andLongstreet, starring James Franciscus.

Some references cite that Tate was recorded on videotape; at the time most non-live programs were shot on film. In fact, the series was filmed, as evidenced by quality of DVD copies of episodes. The misconception seems to come from the name of Como's production company; in this case, the "Video" in Roncom Video Films, Inc. meant they made films for television.

Sponsored by Kraft Foods, Tate was a summer replacement show, filling in for the second half-hour of Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall as part of the Kraft Summer Theater. Airing after the sitcom 'Happy', with Ronnie Burns, Tate did not develop the popularity in its short run to be extended thereafter as a regular series.

At the time, McLean was already well known as the Marlboro Man, one of the more famous spots in advertising history. McLean died in 1995 of lung cancer, brought on by many years of smoking.

Robert Redford was cast in two episodes some six weeks apart: as John Torsett in "The Bounty Hunter" and as Tad Dundee in "Comanche Scalps", the latter segment withLeonard Nimoy as The Comanche and veteran character actor Lane Bradford as William Essey.

Others cast on Tate were:

Julie Adams
Chris Alcaide
Patricia Breslin
James Coburn
Robert Culp
Royal Dano
Ted de Corsia
Louise Fletcher
Peggy Ann Garner
Jock Gaynor
Marianna Hill
Martin Landau
Mort Mills
Warren Oates
Paul Richards
Bing Russell
Robert F. Simon
Vaughn Taylor
Warren Vanders
Peter Whitney
Don Wilbanks


"COMANCHE SCALPS"

August 10, 1960
Tate attempts to convince a man not to kill his brother, but is thwarted by an Indian raiding party.

(This is the episode with Robert Redford and Leonard Nimoy)


"THE MARY HARDIN STORY"
June 29, 1960
A widow engages Tate's services to protect her and her son from a pair of greedy land grabbers.

(The always loverly Julie Adams is the title character, but the woman behind the camera  merits notice as well - Ida Lupino.)


Only thirteen episodes in all, so without so much baggage attached to the character, I might be able to work up a few theories which could fill in the blankity blanks.....

Happy trails to you!

Monday, August 8, 2016

VIDEO MONDAY - SWITZER-LAND IN THE WILD WILD WEST



Well....  usually I share an episode of a TV show on the weekends.  But I only just found out that yesterday, August 7th, marked the 89th anniversary of Carl Switzer's birth.  [He died in 1959.]  This being the month in which we celebrate the TV Western, I thought we might celebrate this iconic actor's birth with one of the six episodes of 'The Roy Rogers Show' in which he appeared.

Name doesn't ring any bells?  Then I find your lack of pop culture awareness disturbing.  I thought everybody would have recognized "Switzer" as the last name for Alfalfa of the "Our Gang"/"Little Rascals" shorts!

Switzer appeared in three episodes of 'The Roy Rogers Show' during 1952, and in 1955 he acted in three more episodes as well.  With each one, he played a different character:

- And Sudden Death (1955) ... Mike Moore (as Alfy Switzer)
- Quick Draw (1955) ... Dunc Wright (as Alfalfa Switzer)
- Dead End Trail (1955) ... Timmy Horton (as Alfalfa Switzer)
- Go for Your Gun (1952) ... Bob, Dale's Nephew (as Alfalfa Switzer)
- Shoot to Kill (1952) ... Elmer Kirby
- The Treasure of Howling Dog Canyon (1952) ... Clyde Stockton (as Alfalfa Switzer)


Ordinarily, I'd say that there was a cowpoke who was poking more than cows in the area of Mineral City about a quarter century before the series began.  At least a half dozen women could have fallen for his charms and eventually gave birth to his illegitimate sons.  And that would have included either Dale Evans or Dale Evans' sister-in-law.

But there's something odd about the series, which I will address during the "Who's On First" blogathon New Year's Day......

Today, we're going to showcase an episode out of sequence.  "Go For Your Gun" was the third episode of 'The Roy Rogers Show" in which Switzer appeared.  In it, he played Bob, the nephew of Dale Evans.  (Since no last name is mentioned, we don't know if he was the son of Dale's brother or her sister.)

Normally I would find it strange that she never noticed the facial similarity her nephew Bob had to the five other characters who came to Mineral City over those years.  I might have offered the splainin that Dale was a lady, and such topics as extramarital affairs were simply not discussed... even when they involved family members.

But again, the splainin I did come up with will have to wait until New Year's Day.......

So in the meantime, here's "Go For Your Gun"........

GO FOR YOUR GUNS

Happy trails to you!

And good night and may God bless Carl Switzer......


Sunday, August 7, 2016