Saturday, September 9, 2017

VIDEO WEEKEND - THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF "LAUGH-IN" (ON ITS 50th ANNIVERSARY)


Summer's coming to an end.... Don't you think now is as good a time as any for a trip down memory lane with 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In'?  You bet your sweet bippy it is!

Besides, on this day in 1967 the pilot for the series was broadcast as a special in living color on NBC. Proving successful in the ratings, it returned as a full series in January the following year.



BCnU!


Friday, September 8, 2017

GAME OF THE NAME: MOTHER FACTOID


video

'DANGER MAN'
"COLONY THREE"

From the IMDb:
Drake takes the place of a defector and goes behind the iron curtain to find out what is happening when foreign agents reach England. When he gets there he finds a replica English village, which is a school where foreign agents are taught to 'be British'. Actual British subjects, such as Drake, are employed to teach the agents the finer points of the British way of life. Drake sets out to disrupt their education and stop the supply of agents from reaching England.

One of the other British subjects who arrived with Drake was Janet Wells, but she came there under false pretenses.  She was hoping to find out what happened to her co-worker (and possibly lover) Alan Bayliss who had been brought to Colony Three some time earlier.  But apparently Bayliss had tried to escape the village and allegedly died due to the exposure to the elements once outside the boundaries.

Sound familiar?  I'm fairly certain that - outside the Box - "Colony Three" was an inspiration for the TV series 'The Prisoner'.  Whether or not the "Other Side" operated The Village within the reality of Toobworld is unknown, but I think they may have been inspired by that model to create their own versions in Soviet Russian.


Janet Wells claimed that she didn't really want to be there, but only wanted information on Bayliss.  However, the administrators of Colony Three needed someone else to take his place as a British librarian to better train their agents in the workings of life in the United Kingdom as deep cover "sleeper" agents.  However, I think that Miss Wells, like Drake, was working for her branch of the intelligence community to infiltrate Colony Three.  And as one usually expects in these kinds of stories, their respective agencies were working at cross-purposes from each other.


Based on her intercepted message as read by Richardson, I believe Janet Wells happened to be a talented amateur working for the same secret agency as John Raleigh, the top professional who used the code name of "John Steed."  The letter was addressed to "Mother", which was the code name of the head of that agency, Colonel Alex Faraday.  Colonel Faraday had once worked on a case with John Drake (during which his code number was 1056.)  


After he had become head of the spy organization, Mother kept his rank and position in UNIT as his cover.  Years later he was unwittingly copied for an android duplicate by the Kraals. (Luckily a certain Time Lord put an end to that.)


Unfortunately for Janet, even if her message had not been intercepted (As one might expect, Drake escaped Colony Three successfully.), there was no help for getting her out.  As Richardson had pointed out, once a person entered Colony Three, they ceased to exist....

Because of that simple reference in Janet's letter, "Mother" will one day be inducted into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, probably as part of the Christmas Honors list.  One should always pay heed to the Fat Man at Christmas......


TRANSCRIPT FOR THE ABOVE SCENE:
John Drake is on a train leaving Russia with an enemy agent.

RICHARDSON:
So you're human, Fuller.  
Well, that's reassuring, I suppose.

DRAKE:
It is? What do you mean?

RICHARDSON:
The girl. It was… Very touching.

DRAKE:
You saw her give me the letter…?

RICHARDSON:
I was waiting for you to um, mention it…

Drake hands over the letter.
Richardson opens it and begins to read aloud.


RICHARDSON:

"Dear Mother, you must help me… I--#"

I would've thought that she would have realized by now....

DRAKE:
Realized what?

RICHARDSON:
That once people enter Colony Three, they... cease to exist.


OTHER SHOWS CITED:
  • 'Danger Man' - "The Battle Of The Cameras"
  • 'Doctor Who' - "The Android Invasion: Part Four"
  • 'The Avengers' (20 episodes):
  1. The Forget-Me-Knot
  2. You'll Catch Your Death
  3. All Done with Mirrors
  4. Super Secret Cypher Snatch
  5. False Witness
  6. Noon Doomsday
  7. They Keep Killing Steed
  8. Wish You Were Here
  9. Killer
  10. The Rotters
  11. The Interrogators
  12. Love All
  13. Take Me To Your Leader
  14. Stay Tuned
  15. Fog
  16. Who Was That Man I Saw You With?
  17. Pandora
  18. Homicide and Old Lace
  19. Requiem
  20. Bizarre
    BCnU!

    Thursday, September 7, 2017

    LIFE AFTER PRIME-TIME: THE TRANSFIGURATION OF BETH CHADWICK



    I suppose what I do here at Toobworld Central could be considered fanfic.  I do write fanciful suppositions on the off-screen lives of TV characters, both before they first appeared on our television sets and after their final fade-out.  (And sometimes even after that, I might find a way to keep them around!)

    But usually it’s more a scholarly analysis in hopes of splainin away any discrepancies – what I call “Zonks” – that either crop up within a particular series, or in relation to other TV shows.

    And sometimes I just happen to see a picture of an actor out of character which offers me the chance to let my imagination wander.

    Take for example, Beth Chadwick…..



    ‘COLUMBO’
    “LADY IN WAITING”


    From the IMDb:
    A mousy heiress murders her brother, pretending she thought he was a burglar. Lt. Columbo unravels her alibi.

    Beth Chadwick has lived all her life controlled first by her father, then after his death, by her brother Bryce who manages the family business. Now she has fallen for Peter Hamilton, who works for Bryce. But, as usual, Bryce objects to her choice and threatens to fire Peter. So Beth decides to murder her brother and to do it in such a way to let it to appear like an accident. Lt. Columbo realizes at once the truth and starts looking for evidence.

    Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia


    For years I’ve had in mind a plot development for Beth Chadwick which would pick up soon after her prison sentence had begun.  I’ve been thinking about this since I was in college and an ardent fan of ‘Star Trek’ – Unbeknownst to Beth Chadwick when she murdered her brother, she was already a few months pregnant with Peter Hamilton’s child.  As a lawyer, Hamilton knew how to win custodial rights of the child after it was born while Beth remained in prison to serve out her full 20 year sentence. 


    By the time she got out, their love child was basically an adult and wanted nothing to do with her birth mother, having been raised by Peter Hamilton and the woman he eventually married.  Whoever Mrs. Hamilton was, she raised the child as if it had been her own.  That was the only mother she knew growing up.

    Here’s how ‘Star Trek’ comes into play: down through that bloodline the family continued until hundreds of years later Beth’s great-plus granddaughter was born.  Her given name was Janice Lester, and she had been in Starfleet Academy with James Kirk.  Janice had resented the fact that she never earned a captaincy for herself, probably never knowing that she had been found deficient psychologically to be given such responsibility.


    O'BSERVATION: I know they're not played by the same actress.  Sandra Smith was Janice Lester; Susan Clark was Beth Chadwick. Not all of my theories of relateeveety depend on double vision.....

    This really had nothing to do with Beth Chadwick herself, as she would be long dead by that point in time.  But it shows that I’ve been thinking about Beth Chadwick’s life after prime-time longer than was probably warranted without getting too creepy about it……

    Beth Chadwick served her full sentence of 20 years because she showed no remorse and was exceedingly cold during the court proceedings.  This means she was released from prison around the mid-1990s. 


    O’BSERVATION:
    The imposition of a twenty year sentence is not an original part of my flight of fancy.  For the “Ultimate Lt. Columbo Site”, Nathan Sikes of Birmingham, Alabama, devised a list of possible trial outcomes for each of the ‘Columbo’ killers during the series’ NBC run. 

    (The only conclusion by Mr. Sikes to which I take exception is for my favorite murderer from the show – Nelson Brenner AKA Steinmetz as played by Patrick McGoohan – from the episode “Identity Crisis”. 

    Here was Sikes’ decision:
    NEVER TRIED -- Brenner was sprung from LAPD custody and became a fugitive of justice.

    I had in mind a more fitting, televisual, conclusion to that case.  Black Ops agents killed Brenner before he could go to trial and spill damaging secrets about the Agency.)

    At any rate, I accept Mr. Sikes’ ruling of a 20 year sentence for Beth Chadwick.

    During those twenty years of her incarceration, Ms. Chadwick had plenty of time for soul-searching.  She embraced Catholicism and sought absolution through confession of her sins.  




    It could be - in keeping with this post trying to stay focused on 'Columbo' episodes only - that Beth was greatly influenced by the prison visits from a Sister of Mercy who had met the Lieutenant on a later case.  It could be that he recommended that she visit Beth in prison and offer her spiritual guidance. Inspired by this nun, Beth also took courses while in prison to become a spiritual counselor.  Maybe.


    Once she was had served her sentence and was released from prison, Beth continued her counseling as a lay person in connection with the Church in Los Angeles.  She had no interest in returning to her old life, and even had she wanted to, what was there left to it?  Her mother was dead; Peter Hamilton had remarried; and their love child had grown up not even knowing her.  The business was probably sold off to another agency, perhaps to Winston Advertising, if we’re to keep this all within the “Columboverse”.  (The Winston Advertising Agency appeared in the previously mentioned “Identity Crisis”.)

    And so now we come to the jump-off point for this fanfic inspiration.  Here to the right is a picture of Susan Clark, who played Beth Chadwick, the “Lady In Waiting”, as she addressed the CBG’s 40th Anniversary Gala.

    But what if we look at this picture as being one of the reformed Beth Chadwick giving a lecture as part of her lay work in rehabilitation, perhaps at a fundraiser for the organization she works for.

    This has all been conjecture on my part.


    What say you, Team Toobworld?  If you’re a fanficcer, would this be something that might interest you?

    If you do write it up as a story, make sure you send me a link to wherever you post it so that I might read it.

    BCnU!


    O'BSERVATION:
    My thanks to Sister Georgeann Vumbaco for being a sounding board for this idea.....

    Wednesday, September 6, 2017

    THE HAT SQUAD - REMEMBERING WALTER BECKER




    From the LA Times:
    Walter Becker, the cofounder of Steely Dan who was known for his acerbic wit and his proficient work with the guitar, has died. He was 67.

    As one of the key architects of Steely Dan, Becker and longtime musical partner Donald Fagen were responsible for numerous hit songs and albums throughout the band’s 1970s heyday. Often low-key and influenced by jazz or R&B, Steely Dan’s patiently calm arrangements contrasted with the band’s dark sense of humor and heavily poetic lyrics — word puzzles that were often caked in cynicism and subtle perversity.

    No cause of death was given, and Becker’s death was first announced by the artist’s official website early Sunday. Shortly after, Fagen released a statement through a publicist in which he pledged to keep Steely Dan’s music alive and praised his collaborator as “smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter.”
    Todd Martens
    September 3, 2017


    As Steely Dan, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker saw their songs used in plenty of TV shows to provide the proper mood for the scenes.  From animated shows to gangster dramas, here are some of those songs listed (minus any actual appearances by the band.)

    The Simpsons 
    - Dad Behavior (2016) ... (writer: "Dirty Work")
    - Treehouse of Horror XXVII (2016) ... (writer: "Babylon Sisters")
     

    Royal Pains
    - Good Air/Bad Air (2014) ... (writer: "Pretzel Logic")

    True Blood
    - Fire in the Hole (2014) ... (writer: "Fire in the Hole")

    The Footy Show
    - The Grand Final Footy Show (2011) ... (writer: "The Horses")

    Parenthood 
    - I Don't Want to Do This Without You (2011) ... (writer: "Only a Fool Would Say")

    One Night Stand
    - Kid Went Nuts! (2010) ... (writer: "Rikki Don't Lose That Number")
    - Paul's Birthday Present (2010) ... (writer: "Rikki Don't Lose That Number")

    Ugly Betty
    - The Sex Issue (2009) ... (writer: "Black Cow")

    Life on Mars 
    - The Man Who Sold the World (2008) ... (writer: "Reeling In The Years")

    Cold Case
    - Glory Days (2008) ... (writer: "Do It Again", "Reelin' In The Years")

    Max & Paddy's Road to Nowhere
    - Episode #1.6 (2004) ... (writer: "Do It Again")

    Nip/Tuck
    - Rose and Raven Rosenberg (2004) ... (writer: "Deacon Blue")

    Six Feet Under
    - Nobody Sleeps (2003) ... (writer: "Peg")

    "The One"
    (TV Movie) (writer: "Rikki Don't Lose That Number")

    The Dead Zone 
    - Wheel of Fortune (2002) ... (writer: "Do It Again")

    Ed
    - Power of the Person (2002) ... (writer: "Reelin' In The Years")

    The Sopranos
    - Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood (2001) ... (writer: "Dirty Work")

    Chicago Hope
    - Wild Cards (1995) ... (writer: "Doctor Wu")

    Baywatch
    - Game of Chance (1992) ... (writer: "The Horses")

    Sjans
    - Geld (1992) ... (writer: "Do It Again")

    Reasonable Doubts 
    - Aftermath (1991) ... (writer: "Dirty Work")
    - Daddy's Little Girl (1991) ... (writer: "Black Cow")

    Knight Rider
    - Deadly Maneuvers (1982) ... (writer: "Rikki Don't Lose That Number")

    WKRP in Cincinnati
    - Real Families (1980) ... (writer: "Peg", "Deacon Blues")

    Pauline's Quirkes
    - Episode #1.2 (1976) ... (writer: "Rikki Don't Lose That Number")

    Good night and may God bless, Mr. Becker.  Steely Dan had been my favorite band since I was at UConn in the mid-1970s.  I'll still have the music, but I'm greedy.  I would have liked more to come my way.....

    BCnU!

    Tuesday, September 5, 2017

    TWO FOR TUESDAY - PERT ALERT



    Telegenetics are very strong in the greater TV Universe, stronger than even in the Trueniverse.  The exact same combination of chromosomes can echo down through a family tree several times over and now we have seen that they can be duplicated in alternate TV dimensions.


    ‘The Honeymooners’ exist in several TV dimensions.  The “Classic 39” episodes are located in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time.  But there was an earlier version of Ralph and Alice Kramden in which Alice was played the flinty Pert Kelton rather than Audrey Meadows.

    Because the Classic 39 will be better remembered and repeated, that gives it preeminence in Toobworld.  Those original sketches have been relegated to Prequel Toobworld.  That DNA combination provided by Pert Kelton for Alice were not lost, however; they resurfaced in another TV dimension in Alice’s family – as Alice’s mother, Mrs. Gibson. 


    During the mid-sixties 'The Honeymooners' returned to prime-time as part of a variety show hosted by Jackie Gleason.  In this incarnation, Alice was now played by Sheila MacRae and there's Pert Kelton as Mama Gibson.

    BCnU!


    Monday, September 4, 2017

    A LABOR DAY REMEMBRANCE OF JERRY LEWIS



    It’s Labor Day, so in order to rest from my own “labors”, it’s a quick post today.  And as it is Labor Day, I thought I would offer up links to past posts about Jerry Lewis who passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 91. 

    Lewis is closely associated with this day as he hosted the annual marathon to raise money to fight muscular dystrophy.  I don’t know what the grand total was over the years, but it was hundreds of millions.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it reached a billion!

    Enjoy…..




    BCnU!



    Sunday, September 3, 2017

    VIDEO SUNDAY - "SPECIAL BULLETIN"


    As I set up this post on August 12th, the news is filled with the march by Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and other hate-spewing "alt-right" bigots in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I suppose it was the name of the city that triggered my memories of this 1983 TV movie.

    "Special Bulletin" took place in Charleston, South Carolina, and I don't want to reveal anything more about it.  But in the last decade of the official "Cold War", this served as a modern version of Orson Welles' radio production of HG Wells' novel "The War Of The Worlds".

    From the perspective of the greater Toobworld multiverse, this movie takes place in the TV dimension known as Disaster Toobworld.  (And I just realized that by saying that, it's a bit of a giveaway.  Sorry about that, Chief.)

    That's the world of those "Sharknado" movies, but "Special Bulletin" was a well-made, thought-provoking, and disturbing production that raises the quality of the viewing experience for that dimension.  


    BCnU!