Saturday, July 15, 2017



"Racing around like the Caped Crusader, 
you've turned this into a schoolroom brawl between you and him."
DC Ron Ludlow

First off, I just want to say how much I hate it when a TV show can't come up with a good title for an episode.  It's bad enough almost all of them use "Pilot" for the first episode (as if coming up with a title is too much of an effort if the show doesn't sell.)  But at least you know where that episode stands in the listings if you want to research it.  There's nothing about this episode title to give me a clue as to what the plot was about.

I don't want to give it away, but the best damn TV show episode of the year, any genre, didn't have an episode title either (although it seems most fans have come up with the perfect one anyway.)  All it had was a numerical demarcation, almost like a chapter listing.  It's only because that episode will wind up being one of the most talked-about TV shows of the year (and perhaps ever!) that I'll always know what the title stood for.

Okay, rant over....

This episode took place in May, 1995 - long after the career of the original Batman ended in the main Toobworld.  Afterwards, it became common knowledge that millionaire Bruce Wayne had been Batman; his ward Dick Grayson was his sidekick Robin, the Boy Wonder, and that the Batcave (with such accouterments as the Batphone, the Batmobile, and the Batpoles) had been hidden away under stately Wayne Manor.  It's doubtful that this information... information... information... had been released while Bruce's Aunt Harriet Cooper was still alive.  But after she passed away sometime around 1969, and after Bruce Wayne was forced into retirement, the shadowy arm of UNIT known as "UNReal" set to work on a project that was antithetical to their usual policy.

First another recap as we always have new visitors to Inner Toob.....

"UNReal" is my own creation regarding the name of the shadow organization.  They may be known by another designation established in another TV show of which I am not aware.    As I just mentioned, it is a division of UNIT engaged in keeping the general public clueless about certain people and events which might otherwise cause mass panic.  The origins of this shadowy organization could probably traced back to Shakespeare, who was a front for the organization using his talents as a playwright to chronicle real events - not just the History Plays, but also the presence of witches, fairies, and ghosts among the populace.  Believing such tales to be fictional entertainment, the great unwashed (back then, that was literal!) would think anything untoward which they might have seen was simply some kind of stunt or practical joke.  A company of players acting in the rough.  For alls I know, it goes back even farther than that.

The goals of the organization began to take shape during the Victorian period with the aid of Dr. John Watson, who informed his readers that many of the events described in his book had been altered slightly and that names had been changed.  The effect was pervasive, putting most of the general public into the mindset that everything about Sherlock Holmes was fictional, including the Great Detective himself.  This gave Holmes the freedom to work unimpeded by gawkers.

Watson was assisted in this endeavour by Dr. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who posed as Watson's literary agent (working out of the offices of Mr. Rodney Pringle.) But he was in fact a member of the governing board for UNReal's predecessor.  (That is until his obsession with the world of the Fae and his vocal arguments regarding its existence made him a liability to not only the work of the organization but to the existence of the magical folk and to the access into Fairyland.)

It is rumored that over the years, the UNReal Council has include Watchers, Librarians, Warehouse agents, Torchwood agents, Men of Letters, particular magickers, one of the aforementioned Fae or two, and even aliens (although not always known to be not of that Earth.)  As a matter of fact, a few years after the War To End All Wars, a Martian anthropologist named Exigius 12 served on the council without anyone knowing who he was.  (As far as they were concerned, he was Mark LeMartin, a former screen actor who made only one movie - at least until the timeline was revamped.)  

Another adviser down through the years was known to be of alien origin, a Time Lord. However, the Council of UNReal was usually involved in cleaning up the messes in which he was involved rather than accepting his advice (such as getting the public to believe the damage done to Big Ben was not an alien attack but due to maintenance repair.)  However there have been occasions when this alien has been drafted into 

Among those whose exploits were most obfuscated by UNReal were the aforementioned Time Lord, agents from another arm of the overall organization, UNCLE, plus Fringe Division, James Bond, superheroes, and attacks by Cylons, Cybermen, Daleks, Canamids, Terminators from the Future and various monsters like werewolves, reanimated humanoids, and the occasional vampire.

So Batman was eventually under the auspices of UNReal, but with a difference.  Once Batman was too severely injured to continue, UNReal stepped in to maintain the illusion that Bruce Wayne was still operating in Gotham City as the Caped Crusader.  Unlike the others, they didn't want the people to doubt the Batman's existence; instead they wanted them to continue believing it was Bruce Wayne under the cowl.  There was no use denying it anyway; after all, too many people had seen the Bat-signal in the sky above Gotham City over the years.

One of the first measures taken by UNReal was to underwrite a television series about 'Batman' and they found the perfect actor to play the role because of his remarkable similarity to the real Bruce Wayne - the televersion of Adam West.

By the time of the injuries suffered by Mr. Wayne, Richard Grayson was ready to step into the role of Gotham City's protector.  He operated under a double secret identity - not only as Batman, but as Bruce Wayne as the Batman.  He still lived at the stately Wayne manor house, but it had now been outfitted to staff a small army of UNIT officers to maintain the security of the property.

One outcome of this was that none of the arch-villains (unfortunately unseen and therefore unknown by the audience of the Trueniverse) who faced off against this Batman ever bothered to unmask the Caped Crusader to reveal his true identity since it had become common knowledge.

As for the original Batman/Bruce Wayne, he retired to a hidden estate known as Silverstone once owned by a multi-millionaire named J. Beresford Tipton.  Tipton had passed away in the early 1950s and Wayne was able to procure the property from the estate thanks to the mediation by the Gotham Trust Bank and the coercion of Ms. Ferrett from the IRS, who convinced heir Wilfred Tipton it was in his best interests to sell in order to pay off the back alimony owed to several of his ex-wives.

At Silverstone, the former Batman took on a new name and continued the "hobby" of the original benefactor.  It is unknown by what name he was known, but it had no connection to the original Mr. Tipton.  His heirs, If he could no longer help the public in his guise as a superhero because of his debilitating injuries, then he figured he could use his personal fortune to help them in other ways.  

Sadly, the original Bruce Wayne passed away just this year and I don't have any further information on what happened to his philanthropic foundation.  As for Batman 2.0, Grayson eventually retired as well.  He wasn't forced into it as happened to his mentor, but instead he had fallen in love.  In order to safeguard his future bride, Grayson trained another to take his place - a young man who had started out in the role of Robin, following in the footsteps of the original.

Earth Prime-Time is not the same as the Earth of the comic books, and even then there are thousands of those in that particular multiverse.  There's no reason to believe the next Robin HAD to be Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, or Damien Wayne from the comic books.  But whoever they were, each in turn recruited their own Boy Wonder (perhaps even a Girl Wonder) to carry on the tradition in much the same way as practiced by the Walker Family over generations in the jungles of Africa.

As for Richard Grayson and his wife, they retired to Alaska, somewhere near Cicely, the Alaskan Riviera, to raise a family.  Their son became the founder of the family tree which would lead to Amanda Grayson, the mother of Star Fleet officer Spock from Vulcan.

Remember DC Ron Ludlow?  it was his statement to his partner, DC Marty Brazil, which got us off and running on the topic of the Caped Crusader....

As I stated, Ludlow mentioned Batman in May of 1995 during their investigation of the Neil Chettle case (Chettle was ripping off the life savings of pensioners.)  By that time, it's quite likely that Toobworld had its fourth Batman, with UNReal still maintaining the illusion that he was Bruce Wayne.  (Of course, by this point they may have been claiming he was Bruce Wayne Jr.  (After all, it had been forty years since the original Batman was at the apex of his career and you can only suspend the disbelief of the public for so long.)

Now that was over twenty years ago, so I would not be surprised by the presence of another hero in the guise of Batman since then.  Five heroes named Batman protecting Gotham City and getting world-wide recognition as all being the same man.

It wasn't just the coppers of Sheffield, the region from whence the ancestors of Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield originated, who knew about Batman.  British Toobworldlings from all over the Sceptr'd Isle knew of his existence and the resultant TV series, from Father Dougal and Del Boy to the living puppet Zippy! 

Since the 1960s there have been other incarnations of Batman across the greater Toobworld multiverse.  Most of them were in the Tooniverse (which had one crossover into the main Toobworld), and then there was the presence of Batman's identical counterpart, seen at a televised roast, as well as Wayne Enterprises in Charm City - but both of those are to be found in Doofus Toobworld.  A younger version of Bruce Wayne, still a boy and not yet the Batman, can be found in the Land O' Remakes, the dimension known as Toobworld2.  (For the time being 'Gotham' shares the same TV dimension as 'The Adventures of Lois and Clark'.)

But so far I have yet to see an actual portrayal of one of the succeeding Batmen in the main Toobworld, although I might have to look closer at some possibilities in the Bat-Blipvert department.....

'Out Of The Blue'
'The Millionaire'
'The Man From UNCLE'
'The Girl From UNCLE'
'Doctor Who'
'Sherlock Holmes'
'The Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes'
'Houdini & Doyle'
'Galactica 1980'
'The Adventures Of Lois & Clark'
"Legends Of The Super-Heroes: The Challenge"
"Legends Of The Super-Heroes: The Roast"
'My Favorite Martian'
'The Odd Couple'
'Northern Exposure'
'Star Trek'
'The Phantom'
'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'
'Warehouse 13'
'The Librarians'
'The Twilight Zone'
'The Odd Couple'
'The Suite Life of Zack and Cody'
'The Suite Life on Deck'
'Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles'
'The Magicians'
'The Nanny'
'Coronation Street'
'Only Fools And Horses'
'Doctor Who'
'Dempsey And Makepeace'
'Father Ted'
'The Thick Of It'
'Climax!' ("Casino Royale")

O'BSERVATIONS - All of this conjecture about Bruce Wayne and Batman only applies to Earth Prime-Time, and by that I mean only the main Toobworld in the greater TV Universe.  It certainly is NOT the position of DC Comics and I certainly don't expect it to meet the criteria of the shared universes which are shepherded by my colleagues in this past-time.

Friday, July 14, 2017



Screenwriter Alan Gebhardt was hoping for a second chance in Hollywood by writing the adaptation of Jessica Fletcher's first novel, "The Corpse Danced At Midnight".  However, he couldn't write a faithful treatment because the producer, Jerry Lydecker, wanted only the title of the book.  His plan was to make it a sex and blood-drenched horror movie starring his girl-friend, starlet Eve Crystal, and Steve Bennett, a young Hollywood hunk whose previous efforts were little better than soft porn.

Alan Gebhardt had been a wunderkind as a screenwriter - he had an Oscar nomination to his credit by the time he was twenty-five.  But drugs and alcohol left him washed up at the age of thirty.  

As is standard practice at Toobworld Central, since there was no indication of how old Gebhardt was, then he should be the same age as the actor who portrayed him, James MacArthur.

So that would mean that Gebhardt was born in 1937 and therefore he was nominated for Best Screenplay in 1962.

Toobworld has had plenty of fictional movies over the years, but it's tough to nail down specific dates for these movies and especially something that could have been nominated in 1962.  The only thing that came to mind was "The Monster That Devoured Cleveland" from 'The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis', but that came out by 1960.

Then again, so many movies of the real world can also be seen in Toobworld.  And we've seen how they can differ from the actual versions.  We saw the filming of a fake scene for "The War Wagon" ('The Lucy Show') and Mitchell was in "Casablanca", but couldn't be seen due to his vampiric nature ('Being Human'.)

But the differences don't have to be only on the screen; there could be a difference in the production of the film, perhaps in the credits.

So let's take a look at the screenplay nominations for the 1962 Oscars:

WRITING (Screenplay–based on material from another medium)

David and Lisa – Eleanor Perry
Lawrence of Arabia – Robert Bolt, Michael Wilson
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Miracle Worker – William Gibson
To Kill a Mockingbird – Horton Foote

WRITING (Story and Screenplay–written directly for the screen)

Divorce–Italian Style – Ennio de Concini, Alfredo Giannetti, Pietro Germi
Freud – Charles Kaufman, Wolfgang Reinhardt
Last Year at Marienbad – Alain Robbe-Grillet
That Touch of Mink – Stanley Shapiro, Nate Monaster
Through a Glass Darkly – Ingmar Bergman

With no viable candidate from 1962 to replace any one of these actual nominees, I think the simplest thing to do would be to add Alan Gebhardt to the writing credits for one of these films.  And my choice would be to the movie "That Touch Of Mink".  It's a bit of fluff even with the star power of Cary Grant, Doris Day, and Gig Young, and having a fictional character listed as a third writer along with Shapiro and Monaster isn't going to harm its fictional version in Toobworld.

Here's how the IMDb page for "That Touch of Mink" would look in Toobworld if Gebhardt's name was added to the credits.

Feel any seismic tremors?  Any disturbance in the Force?  Of course not!  Nothing was going to get Zonked in Toobworld just because Alan Gebhardt's name was added to that movie.

So that's going to be a change for the Toobworld Dynamic instigated by the Curator, Ye Old Monitaur, rather than being precipitated from within.  

So there!

(Thanks to Tay Mueller for help with this post!)

Thursday, July 13, 2017



The weekend of May 31 1991

Among the people staying at the Hotel Claudine to celebrate the 68th birthday of Prince Rainier II was unscrupulous financier and shipping magnate Earl Harper.  (Although never revealed during moment in prime time, his full name was J.W. Earl Harper, but he never used those first two names.)

Harper held a sizable IOU over the Hotel Claudine and threatened to take it away if hotelier Annie Floret, an old friend of author Jessica Fletcher, didn't pay off by Monday.

Annie was far from the only suspect when Earl Harper eventually ended up dead, stabbed through the chest by a pair of scissors he had taken from Annie's son Richie.  There were also some suspicious employees on the staff, as well as Harper's wife, his mistress, a jewel thief, and a rival businessman.  But working with Inspector Jean Morel, Mrs. Fletcher was able to solve the puzzle.

We really don't know more about Earl Harper other than that he was married to Cynthia Harper who was carrying on her own affair with her husband's bodyguard.  Oh yeah.  Forgot about him.  Add him to the list.....

But here's a theory of relateeveety, totally conjectural.

Earl Harper didn't build his own fortune from the ground up on his own.  Like a certain orange president, he inherited a fortune first.


Earl Harper's father was a judge from North Carolina by the name of J.W. Earl Harper.  (Although never spelled out in the minister's eulogy, the "J.W." stood for James Wilson.  He had been named after a signer of the Declaration of Independence from North Carolina who became a Supreme Court Justice.  The Judge passed down his name to his son.)  

Born and raised in Pitchfield Flats, North Carolina, (not far from Mayberry), at one time Judge Harper was destined for great things.  But a slew of allegations against him, of financial and political malfeasance, as well as claims of moral turpitude, put a great strain on his heart.  It eventually led to the Judge dying unexpectedly in the early Autumn of 1971*.  (There may have been rumors that he had taken his own life.)

Even though Justice J.W. Earl Harper, once rumored for the Supreme Court, lived below the Mason-Dixon line, his son arranged for the body to be shipped North so that he might find eternal rest in the premiere Tranquil Valley location just north of New York City.  Also of note buried there are Lola Ricardo, known to her fans as "The Peruvian Bombshell", and Morty Brustein, a campus radical who advocated peaceful protests - which didn't help him when he faced off against the police during his last demonstration.

[I get the feeling that Earl Harper didn't give a damn about his father's wishes but instead preferred to have the grave located closer to his business offices in New York City.  Whether he had his mother's grave moved to Tranquil Valley as well is unknown, but I don't see why not.]

J.W. Earl Harper and his son Earl died twenty years apart and are now buried together at Tranquil Valley (which experienced a shift to new management soon after the burial of the Judge......

Just a fluke, a case of serendipiteevee, that I should see these two episodes, which had characters named Earl Harper, within a 24-hour period.  

David Birney played Earl Harper the younger.  Judge J.W. Earl Harper was already dead by the time McCloud got involved in a smuggling case.


  • 'The Andy Griffith Show'
  • 'Mayberry RFD'
  • 'The Twilight Zone'
  • "Revolution: A History Of Us'

* Because several construction workers were seen shirtless as they toiled, I believe it had to be Indian Summer.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


"Monaco - a sunny place for shady people."
Inspector Jean Morel
'Murder, She Wrote'

"Miami is a sunny place for shady people."
Raylen Givens

Usually this is all I post when it comes to a Toobworld Echo.  But I felt that this deserved a bit more attention.

When Inspector Morel said the above quote to mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher, he was quoting the assessment of the French Riviera by author Somerset Maugham.  As is always the case when it came to Jessica Fletcher, there was a murder, two in fact, while she was visiting her old friend Annie Floret's Hotel Claudine.  And because Inspector Morel played a very large role in those proceedings, his roman a clef version appeared in a future novel by JB Fletcher and she gave that Maugham quote to the Inspector character.

The murders took place during the weekend of May 31, 1991.  That was a Friday and the birthday of Prince Rainier, who celebrated his 68th birthday at the Hotel Claudine.  At some point after the mystery novel about it was published*, but before March of 2010, US Marshal Raylen Givens read Jessica Fletcher's book.  And that particular phrase stuck with him.  

At the time, Marshal Givens was working drug enforcement out of Miami, until a controversial shooting (which he claimed was justified) caused him to be relocated back to his home district of Harlan, Kentucky.  But while he was in Miami, Givens saw that Somerset Maugham quote as being the perfect description of "The Magic City" he came to know.

"The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit."
W. Somerset Maugham


Whatever the title of Ms. Fletcher's book about the Monte Carlo murders, it was probably published on May 31, 1993, to coincide with the 70th birthday of Prince Rainier - sort of a tacky publicity stunt.  I'm sure Jessica did not approve.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


- Columbo Goes to the Guillotine

... Clergyman

I'm Dying Up Here- Sugar and Spice (2017) 
... Enrico

As always, these are conjectural O'Bservations......

Enrico was a tailor in Los Angeles who had such a gift - not only in exceeding the wishes of his clients in how to bring old clothing to new life, but in allaying their fears and bolstering their self-confidence.  At the very least, he was able to make comedian Cassie feel better about herself back in 1973... and too sexy for that dress at the same time.

Enrico was born around 1907 in Italy and emigrated to the United States just before the Great Depression  After eking out a living in New York by using his skill as a tailor (perhaps a trade he learned from his father back in the old country), he moved to Los Angeles.  Enrico knew there would be great demand for his talent in the movie business, working in the studios' costuming departments.  Most of his career he spent at Monolith and at Mammoth Studios, and he also got to work with the legendary Edith Head on a Nora Chandler movie.

Eventually Enrico decided to go into business for himself and opened his tailor shop.  It was an unassuming storefront, but it was his and he took great pride in it.  And he had his fair share of luminaries as clientele - those who knew him when he was working at the studios and appreciated his deft expertise with a needle.

One reason Enrico started his own business was because he had married and was raising a family.  He had at least one son and it was his dream that his boy should follow him in the trade and one day take over the shop.  But after a childhood spent behind the scenes in the magical world of the movies, that heady experience left Enrico's son hungry for a taste of that same allure.

He had always been fascinated by magic, having met some of the great magicians of the time while hanging out at the studios - everyone from Anthony Blake to Alexander Blacke and even Orson Welles.

But Enrico's son heard another calling as well.  Although he had Faith as did his father, he didn't share his old man's religion.  He sought his own spiritual path and eventually was ordained with a very unorthodox ministry, catering to the needs of fellow performers in the world of illusion and others on the outskirts of show business.

It was in this capacity when we met Enrico's son as he officiated at the 1989 memorial service for the late Max Dyson, better known in their world as "Max The Magnificent."  (Max had been the victim of a gruesome accident while working on a trick guillotine and through an error on his part, he beheaded himself.  At least that's what the gathered mourners at the graveside service believed at the time....)

Enrico passed away around 1980, but his son lives on, only just recently turning 66 years old.

  • 'The Magician'
  • 'Blacke's Magic'
  • 'I Love Lucy'
and another 'Columbo' episode as well:
"Requiem For A Falling Star"

[Tony Amendola played both Enrico and the magician-minister.  Two for Tuesday!]


Monday, July 10, 2017

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Review by Paul Corupe:

After SCTV ended, Dave Thomas helmed this obscure sci-fi serial spoof in which he also stars as a mild-mannered TV repair & video rental store clerk who moonlights as intergalactic hero Rocketboy. He drives his ride through a gas station car wash that transforms it into a rocket ship so he can travel the galaxy under direction from supreme leader Palimon (Canadian TV fixture Gillie Fenwick). With his pal Buddy (Ken James) he battles Hawkhead (character actor Robert Donner), who is stealing Earth's supply of hair to line a nest with eggs containing his offspring. While slight on actual gags (despite a hyperactive laughtrack), it's often quite funny conceptually--there's sidekick Mr. Pim, a fuzzy but incompetent creature that Rocketboy must put up with because "the merchandising possibilities are limitless," and a helmet that gives Rocketboy superpowers but never gets used because when he puts it on an annoying, too-loud voice describes how to use it ad nauseum. Later, when he complains he's too old to be called "Rocketboy," Palimon offers to promote him to Rocketlad, which entails trading in his Rocketboy leather jacket for a foppish, Peter Pan costume. Fellow SCTVers pop up including director John Blanchard, and John Candy and Rick Moranis have cameos. James Hong is also good as Rocketboy's uptight video store boss. The production values are surprisingly decent, with a charming handmade aesthetic reminiscent of later miniature work for MST3K crossed with Canadian 70s cult TV hit THE STARLOST. Made in Canada (Toronto, I think) around 1984 for financially troubled Orion TV and intended for syndication, just five episodes aired and were later edited into this 90-minute TV movie that aired years later. It probably wouldn't have worked as a long-term series, but it's one of the more interesting SCTV alumni works to pop up in the 1980s that, like THE CANADIAN CONSPIRACY, doesn't rely on established characters.