Thursday, April 26, 2018


We have a theory of relateeveety which connects 'M*A*S*H' to 'Columbo'.

From the Monster M*A*S*H wiki:

Captain "Ugly" John Black was portrayed by John Orchard in the TV series. The character on the television show was an anesthesiologist from Australia, often depicted wearing an Australian Slouch hat. [In the book, he was an American who had "trained in the States with McIntyre." In the film, he is an American (as he can be seen wearing the insignia of a U.S. Army Captain), but his background is not discussed.] 

In the TV series, Ugly John was present only in the first season. He began as a significant supporting member of the cast, often engaged in poker games with Hawkeye and Trapper, but by the end of the season he was rarely seen outside brief O.R. scenes. 

Ugly John was never seen living in "The Swamp" and there was no fifth bunk, though it was the only quarters for subordinate male officers ever seen. In the episode "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet", Hawkeye says that he shares a tent with three other doctors. The script was likely written before Spearchucker was dropped and the writers presumably overlooked editing that line of dialogue. However, Ugly John was still a recurring character, and may have been one of the "three other doctors."

For Toobworld purposes, we're following the usual practice - that a TV character would be the same age as the actor playing the role.  Therefore, Dr. John Black was born circa 1907 and was in his mid-40s when he served overseas during the Korean Conflict.

In 1928, the wife of "Ugly John" gave birth to his son, whom they named Charles Black.  While his father was serving as a doctor in South Korea, Charles emigrated to England to seek his future.  He may have gone there to attend university, but eventually he joined the Metropolitan Police.  He was assigned to be a constable in one of the outer suburbs of London, an area that was mostly countryside.


This was where Sir Roger Havisham made his home on a resplendent estate.  But on the night when Sir Roger was found dead at the foot of the staircase, Charlie Black was assigned to oversee the situation.  Detective Chief Superintendent Durk, distantly related to the  , theatrical impresario via marriage, arrived on the scene with his American guest, Lt. Columbo, and caught Constable Charlie Black in flagrante with Sir Roger's maid.

About a year after the Havisham murder investigation was solved by the American detective, Dr. John Black passed away back in Australia at the age of 66.  Charlie Black returned to his homeland in order to bury his father and settle the family's affairs. 

But he soon returned to Great Britain.  I like to think he married that maid and - despite his slack attitude towards his job - he advanced in the Met to his level of ability.  Granted, it may not have been too high up the chain of command, but he at least didn't screw things up too much.  Hopefully....

Eventually he retired, perhaps in the early 1990s, but didn't have long to enjoy his leisure years as he passed away in 1995.

Know of any current British TV characters by the last name of "Black" in their early 40s, whose parents are never mentioned or seen?  Then we might be able to claim Ol' Charlie Black might be known as "Daddy" to them.

Such a common surname, we might be able to expand the lineage of these characters in either direction.


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