Saturday, February 3, 2018

VIDEO SATURDAY SONGBOOK - LITTLE RICHARD



When a member of the League of Themselves is inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, usually their appearances on talk shows, variety programs, news reports, etc, usually don't count towards their membership.  

But - as is the case with this month's inductee, Little Richard - they sure can be a lot of fun.

(At least two of these appearances did count toward his tally due to special circumstances.)














And to cap it all off, here's Little Richard as a different TV character instead of as himself.


BCnU!

Friday, February 2, 2018

EXPLORING BLACK TOOBWORLD - ENA HARTMAN



The closest I’ve ever come to giving Black History Month more than lip service in the Inner Toob blog was 2013, the year in which Billy Dee Williams was inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame for playing his fictional televersion in so many TV shows.  (My overall theme in 2013 for the entire year was the League of Themselves, so I had enough to work with thanks to running one showcase a day for each of Billy Dee’s appearances as himself.)

So now that I’m retired, I hope to be able to run a televisiological essay each day centered around black characters, storylines, and issues in television.  And I’m not taking any chances – I’m writing this one back in October.  (Yesterday’s induction into the Hall of Fame was written and posted back in the summer!)

So today the spotlight is on this nurse from the first pilot for ‘Columbo’: “Prescription Murder”, which starred Gene Barry, Katherine Justice, William Windom, and Nina Foch.  Oh!  And Peter Falk of course.


However, my concern today is with the nurse at the reception desk, who got into a stubborn clash with Dr. Ray Flemming with neither one willing to concede.  Finally she got Dr. Lansbury on the phone and let Flemming talk to him.


And that’s all we saw of her in that episode.  But at least she got credit for her bit part.  The actress is named Ena Hartman and she would have a relatively short career in TV and movies (25 roles between 1964 and 1975.)  Her portrayal of this nurse came after she already made appearances in ‘Star Trek’, ‘Bonanza’, ‘The Farmer’s Daughter’, and ‘Tarzan’ as well as the movie “Our Man Flint”.  She would also go on to appear in such shows as ‘Ironside’, ‘Dragnet’, ‘Police Story’, ‘The Outsider’, ‘It Takes A Thief’, and ‘The Name Of The Game’.  Ms, Hartman also graced the movies “Airport” and “Terminal Island” before leaving the business in 1975.

But it could be said that her most famous role was as Katy Grant, the dispatcher working in the police department of Santa Luisa, California. There are 26 episodes of ‘Dan August’ to her credit as Katy Grant in the Internet Movie Database.


From Wikipedia:

'Dan August' is a Quinn Martin crime drama series which aired on ABC from September 23, 1970, to April 8, 1971. Burt Reynolds played the title character. Reruns of the series aired in prime time on CBS from May to October 1973 and from April to June 1975.

Reynolds stars as police lieutenant Dan August who investigates homicide cases in his (fictional) hometown of Santa Luisa, California. (The town is supposedly based on Santa Barbara but was filmed in Oxnard in Ventura County.) Other cast members include Norman Fell as August's partner, Sergeant Charles Wilentz; Richard Anderson as Police Chief Untermeyer; Ned Romero as Sergeant Joe Rivera; and Ena Hartman as Katie Grant.


‘Columbo’ took place in Los Angeles, and Santa Luisa is farther south, practically next door to Santa Barbara, upon which it was based.  So with my intent to create a theory of relateeveety between Katy Grant and that nurse, it’s nice to know they didn’t live more than a couple of hours away from each other.

As to a name for this nurse, I’m going to make the claim that she was married, so that whichever other character I choose to combine with her, I would then have a splainin for the difference in the last names with Katy being a Grant. 



I think she’s Ida Walters, whom Ena Hartman played in the ‘Dragnet ‘68’ episode “The Missing Realtor”.  She wasn’t a nurse in that; instead she was a secretary at a small real estate agency whose boss was reported missing.  (She was later found dead.)

The splainin is relatively simple: Mrs. Walter was a recent graduate of nursing school and her position as the reception desk nurse was new.  She worked her way through nursing school by taking that job with the Birnam Agency and was planning to resign soon.  As it turned out, with her boss Mrs. Birnam dead, the company was going to go out of business anyway.  So Ida Walters wouldn’t have to burn the candle at both ends for much longer.


BCnU!


Thursday, February 1, 2018

TVXOHOF: FEBRUARY, 2018 - LITTLE RICHARD



This month's entry into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame can be credited to the influence of one of my brothers.  It was AJ who pushed for this nominee a few years ago, when he never even had crossed my radar.  But a quick look at his credits at the IMDb made me realize he is a worthy candidate on a par with Jack Benny for being best known as himself.

Here's a quickie Wiki look at Little Richard......


From Wikipedia:
Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), known as Little Richard, is an American musician, singer and songwriter.




An influential figure in popular music and culture for more than six decades, Little Richard's most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his dynamic music and charismatic showmanship laid the foundation for rock and roll. His music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. Little Richard influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations to come, and his performances and headline-making thrust his career right into the mix of American popular music.

Little Richard has been honored by many institutions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" (1955) was included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010, which stated that his "unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music." In 2015, the National Museum of African American Music honored Little Richard with a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award for his pivotal role in the formation of popular music genres and in helping to shatter the color line on the music charts, changing American culture significantly.

For more, click here.


As a showman, Little Richard's style of holy roller/take-no-prisoners bravura didn't just open the door to the flashy pageantry of performers like Elton John and KISS, he smashed the door down.  He is the type of performer that Toobworld needed to heat up the cool medium.  And if he didn't exist, a TV scriptwriter would have had to create someone like him.

And some of them did - Maurice from 'Baywatch', Jubilee Jones from 'NightMan', and Marvelle Quinn from 'Miami Vice' were characters who could fit that Little Richard mold.  Of course, there was only one person who could play such men - Little Richard himself!  (Oddly, Jubilee Jones encountered NightMan two years after Little Richard himself did.  I wonder if NightMan even noticed the similarity in their appearance?)

Here are most of the Earth Prime-Time shows* in which Little Richard appeared as himself, serving as a connection between these shows.  (Something other Crossoverists tend to dismiss; but I see them as being just as fictional as the regular characters from those shows.)

'Women in Prison'
- The Hole Story (1987)
This comedy takes place in cell-bock J of the Bass Women's prison in Wisconsin. Some of the inmates are Vicki, a yuppie housewife framed for shop-lifting by her husband; Dawn, a black woman who murdered her husband; Bonnie, an English prostitute; Eve, the "old lady" who has been there for at least ten years; and Pam serving time for computer crimes. Meg was the guard and Blake the assistant warden.




'Blossom'
- Who's in Charge Here? (1991) 
When Blossom is in charge of the home for one night, when her father performs on a cruise ship, she sees Anthony's new girlfriend stealing a family heirloom.  (O'BSERVATION: Little Richard may have appeared in a dream sequence.  It wouldn't have been the first time such a thing happened.)





'Columbo'
- Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star (1991)
A successful lawyer learns that his companion has been having an affair and upon learning of this throws her out. She in turn threatens to reveal his illegal tactics unless she gets some compensation for the time that they were together. He in turn, kills her and frames her boyfriend. 

'Hearts Afire'
- Moonlighting (1993)
John and Georgie are having trouble getting work until they offered a job in the cafeteria of the local high school serving lunch. Reed offers to fund the newspaper with the money needed but they feel the price might be too high.




'Full House'
- Too Little Richard Too Late (1994)
To help try and save the art program at Michelle's school, Joey runs for president of the PTA. Little Richard guest stars as Denise's uncle and performs at Joey's pre-election rally.




'Sesame Street'
- Episode #26.44 (1995)
Little Richard sings to the Muppet Rosita....


'One Life to Live'
- Episode dated 2 June 1995
Little Richard officiated at the wedding of Bo and Nora.



'Muppets Tonight' 
- The Cameo Show (1997)

'NightMan' 
- Face to Face (1997)
A convict after being savagely beaten in prison is operated on by a plastic surgeon who's trying a new procedure but somehow it gives the man the ability to alter his face into anyone's. So he alters his face to look like the doctor and walks out the prison. He then sets out to go after the ones who placed him in prison and among them is Johnny's father.




'The Drew Carey Show' 
- Drewstock (1997)
After realizing there is no way to profit from Buzz Beer, the gang decides to shut down the brewery and throw a party with free beer to get rid of their supply. Drew meets a woman at the Warsaw and invites her to the party but can't remember her name or number. Mimi puts a flier about Drew's party in the Winfred-Louder newspaper as revenge for an earlier prank. Drew's hopes of finding his mystery woman dwindle when everyone in the city of Cleveland (including the mayor, Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, Little Richard, and Joe Walsh) shows up at his house for the party.

'Las Vegas'
- New Orleans (2004)
Big Ed has a problem. The casino's accountant is going to check the books, but one customer, J.R. Mihalyo, still hasn't paid his debt of 4,5 million dollars. Sam tells he lost a poker game to a big criminal and Ed is able to connect the pieces. Mihalyo is on the run. The surveillance team is able to track him down to the Montecito in New Orleans and Ed, Sam and Danny follow him. At New Orleans it's the time of the Mardi Gras festival and the casino personnel seem a bit strange. Back in Las Vegas Mary and Mike have their hands full with a wet t-shirt contest and a violent family reunion.




'The Young and the Restless'
- Episode #1.8926 (2008) 
Over ten years after the last time he married two TV characters, Little Richard officiated in Jeffrey and Gloria Bardwell's renewal of their vows which was totaly a surprise.

As you might expect, Little Richard could not be contained by just one TV dimension.  Here are some of his manifestations in other Toobworlds:

TOOBWORLD-TOOBWORLD
This is the TV dimension for all of those TV movies which chronicle the behind the scenes productions of various real world TV shows.



"The Late Shift" (1996 TV Movie) 
This is the story about the battle for Johnny Carson's throne as the King of Late Night.  Little Richard was seen as the last guest on the 'Tonight Show' with Jay Leno after Leno had fired his manager Jean Doumanian.

THE TOONIVERSE




'The Simpsons' 
- Special Edna (2003) ... Himself (voice)
After Skinner once again has let Mrs. Krabappel down, Bart takes her to the cinema. To cheer her up, Bart nominates Krabappel for the 'teacher of the year' award. The nominations is accepted, and soon the Simpsons family and Mrs. Krabappel are going to the award ceremony in Orlando, Florida, where Skinner tries to get back Krabappel by asking her to marry him.  (O'BSERVATION: Little Richard may have been either the Emcee or a presenter at the awards ceremony.)



'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures' 
- The Birth of Rock 'N Roll or Too Hip for the Womb (1990)
- One Sweet and Sour Chinese Adventure to Go (1990)

It's a big ol' Toobworld.  Who knows where else Little Richard's televersion might show up?

My thanks go out to my brother AJ for suggesting Little Richard as a nominee.  I'm sure I would have eventually thought of him.  Destiny has a way of making me aware....  But especially because I have this fear I won't find new candidates to represent during Black History Month.


BCnU!

O'BSERVATION: This list was compiled on my birthday last year.  (No better present than being given the opportunity to just wallow in my televisiological studies!) Hopefully if Little Richard does add a few more League of Themselves appearances between then and now, I'll be on top of that information... information... information and add them to this list.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

FRENCH PHANTOM FARGAS



Rob Buckley, my British blogging buddy who maintains "The Medium Is Not Enough" (link to the left) brought this to my attention:


Apparently, Cherif got conked on the head and suddenly he could see Antonio Fargas as Huggy Bear. 


The hallucination was telecognizant, meaning that he knew he was living in a TV world (hence the mention of 'Mannix'), but that doesn't mean the real Huggy Bear was aware of that as well.

Forgive my translation of the original news story:


A cult character from the 'Starsky and Hutc' series, the informer Huggy Bear was played by American comedian Antonio Fargas.


This Friday, the viewers of France 2 will be surprised to see him in the episode of the Cherif series broadcast at 8:55 pm: When Cherif meets Huggy. A real role and not just an appearance.

Directed by Karim Ouaret. Scenario of Lionel Olenga and Nicolas Robert.


While investigating the death of a man found stabbed in his car, Cherif gets hit on the head and finds himself facing Huggy. A good genius that he is the only one to see and hear Huggy Bear and who will help Kader in his investigation.

Asked by the daily Le Parisien, Antonio Fargas reports that when the creator of Cherif came to see him in Beverly Hills, he told him about this cop fan series. "I was amused by the idea that Huggy appears in his mind, only Cherif can see him. It's also a way to get closer to the French fans who grew up with" 'Starsky and Hutch'. 


"Here, too, police told me they chose this profession after seeing the series! For me, it's wonderful to be invited to act in a French creation, to see the actor Abdelhafid Metalsi work, as I could see working with David Soul (Hutch) and Paul Michaël Glaser (Starsky) for years.  It feels like coming home!"

I think we have to accept that every character in Toobworld will eventually have a TV show about them. I've known that for years. And the cops Starsky and Hutchinson were the perfect choices for such a show. And Huggy Bear was colorful enough to be included as well. 


I would have loved for any references to a fictional Starsky and Hutch to be due to the movie that came out in 2004. But as you can see from the examples of references I share here, 'Starsky & Hutch' was a TV series by the mid-1970s.


But they were already getting well-known as themselves in the "reality" of Toobworld:

'SANFORD AND SON'
"LAMONT IN LOVE"
(1976) 
Mrs. Hopkins says every crimefighter has a sidekick, noting "Starsky has his Hutch."

They even got their own merchandising:

'CHARLIE'S ANGELS'
"TO KILL AN ANGEL"
(1976) 
Cathy, the surfer girl, is wearing a "Starsky and Hutch" T-shirt

TV's Hollywood took notice and a year later:

'GOOD TIMES'
"A STORMY RELATIONSHIP"
(1977) 
Mr. Barnes mentions TV series by name. 

'LAW & ORDER'
"CASTOFF"
Eddie Chandler: When I was a kid and I'd come home from school, I'd watch TV for hours on end, straight through till bedtime. 
Neil Pressman: What kind of shows did you watch? 
Eddie Chandler: Cop shows, action shows: The Mod Squad, The A-Team, Starsky and Hutch.

So far I've found proof that David Soul and Antonio Vargas played those roles in the fictional televersion of the show:

'MARTIN'
"ALL THE PLAYERS CAME"
(1995)
Antonio Fargas appeared as himself and is referred to by his character Huggy.

'LITTLE BRITAIN'
"TALLEST MAN"
(2003) 
Some characters meet David Soul who starred in 'Starsky and Hutch' and they talk about the character of Huggy Bear.

'THE ENFIELD HAUNTING'
EPISODE #1.2
(2015) 
Posters of David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser as their characters hang in Margaret and Janet's bedroom.

'MARRIED WITH CHILDREN'
"PSYCHIC AVENGERS"
(1992) 
Because of his old TV Guide, Al Bundy thinks the show is on again.

'SLIDERS'
"A THOUSAND DEATHS" 
(1999)
Quinn Mallory refers to Rembrandt Brown as "Huggy Bear". 


In this case, there's no Zonk in a hallucination based on a TV character AND the actor who played him. 

BCnU!



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

MY "FRIENDS" IN TOOBWORLD = TV'S FRANK (NOT THAT ONE)




Every so often I put the spotlight on my friends, or the reasonable facsimiles of those friends, and what their "televersions" might be up to in Toobworld.

Recently, the WFSB/Liberty Bank Surprise Squad went to a supermarket in Meriden, Connecticut, to surprise shoppers with gift cards to ease the cost of their shopping.  And one of those shoppers was a man named Frank Vumbaco.  (Click on his name there and you'll see the news report.)  He not only got his groceries paid for, but they also gave him a gift card to help in his volunteer work at the Church of the Resurrection.

Frank Vumbaco isn't a friend of mine; we've never met.  But his sister Georgeanne is a friend.  And she is truly Sister Georgeanne, once the principal of St. Joe's in my hometown.  And she's one very lucky nun because she didn't come to that parish until long after I could have been a threat to her sanity.  But I'll always be grateful to her for giving me the tour of a fabled place that was nothing more than myth, a legend - the third floor of St. Joseph's School.  (It had been sealed off for decades and we weren't even allowed on the stairwell which led to it.)

But I don't know her brother Frank.  Still, that doesn't stop the voices in my head from coming up with possible scenarios for his televersion, now that he officially exists in Toobworld.  (As far as I know - he could have appeared on television in the past; I’ll have to check with Sister Georgeanne about that….)

Let’s take a look at what we have to work with just from this special interest story on the WFSB3 evening news.  First off, and it may be O’Bvious, but this report locks him in as his League of Themselves member.  He is the TV Frank Vumbaco.  He lives in Wallingford, was shopping in Meriden… so it’s pozz’ble, just pozz’ble, that his televersion has interacted with fictional characters from TV shows which took place in Connecticut. 

So maybe he met, or had been friends with, the members of the Tate and Campbell families down near the New York border in Dunn’s River.  (‘Soap’)  Or maybe at one point he had to serve on a jury for a court case presided over by Judge Amy Gray.  (‘Judging Amy’)  Perhaps he watched the evening news from a New Haven TV station which employed a dragon puppet to help in the daily weather forecasts, never realizing that it was an actual fire-breathing dragon. (‘Scorch’)

And plenty of other shows created fictional Connecticut towns which TV’s Frank may have visited – Cedar Heights (‘Murder, She Wrote’), Westbourne (‘The Fugitive’), and Joyville from ‘The Hap Richards Show’ – I still have my certificate of citizenship!  (But then, I am a member of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame….)

Looking beyond the Nutmeg State….

As mentioned in the news story, Frank Vumbaco served in Vietnam.  That serves up a lot of TV characters with whom he could have interacted, either during or after the war.

Three TV shows stand out for being set in Nam (or at least for part of their series’ run):
  • ‘China Beach’
  • ‘Tour Of Duty’
  • ‘Call To Glory’
Even ‘The Twilight Zone’ had two episodes set in Vietnam.

Sister Georgeanne later added more information in a comment:

He was in the Air Force. He served as a medic in the Philippines. 

So we don't have to think about his televersion being in Nam itself.  The Philippines is an interesting angle for finding Toobworld connections.  I decided to utilize the "world" in Toobworld and research a few possibilities to be found in actual shows from the Phillipines in the 1960s to the 1970s.
TV's Frank may have visited Wanbol University, to be found in the 1970s sitcom 'Iskul Bukol'.  Or he may have met members of the family who lived in the Magic Stone House ('
Hiwaga sa Bahay na Bato' - the first Pinoy soap opera.)  Or he knew the Puruntóng family, headed by 'John en Marsha'.

I trust it was a safer environment than actually being "in country" at least.....

Luckily the True Frank and TV's Frank made it back to the United States.  And from them, a new subset of TV characters emerged - to be found in so many TV shows which had characters who had served in Vietnam:
  • ‘Then Came Bronson’
  • ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’
  • ‘The Young And The Restless’
  • ‘The A-Team’
  • ‘Bosch’
  • ‘Law & Order’
  • ‘Alias’
  • ‘Sons of Anarchy’
  • ‘Dallas’
  • ‘Magnum P.I.’
  • ‘Scrubs’
  • ‘Miami Vice’
  • ‘Stargate SG-1’
  • ‘Longmire’
  • ‘McGyver’
  • ‘The X-Files’
  • ‘Highlander’
  • ‘Breaking Bad’/’Better Call Saul’

And I’m sure there are plenty more!

I’m partial to those characters who were already veterans of the War and returned home.  Even though we don’t see every detail in any TV character’s life, the actual service details for fictional Nam vets is usually kept vague.  Having served in Vietnam was enough to know.  And so there are so many other fellow vets who might know Mr. Vumbaco.

These are all theoretical of course, and have no bearing on Frank Vumbaco’s actual life.  Hey – I’m not so far gone in managing my fictional realm to confuse both worlds.  (Not like those people who rant about some detail they see on TV which contradicts how it really is in the Trueniverse.  It’s not real, you nutjobs!)

But for a TV character, so much of their lives are never seen on TV.  They were in Toobworld from the moment they're born through their TV series and hopefully long after the shows are cancelled.  They just don’t freeze in place during the commercials!

So even though we never see it happen, those TV characters could have come into contact with characters from other TV shows.  And that’s what could have happened with TV’s Frank Vumbaco.

Congrats on that visit from the WFSB Surprise Squad, Mr. Vumbaco.  And all the best in Life – both here and in Toobworld!  Thank you for your service, to the country and as a volunteer at the Church of the Resurrection.....


BCnU!


Monday, January 29, 2018

MONDAY MINUTIAE - BULLISH IN-JOKES


Here are two trivia tidbits from the IMDb:

'BULL'
Dr. Bull (Michael Weatherly), says "I like Boss, call me Boss" when telling someone how to refer to him. Michael Weatherly played Special Agent Anthony Dinozzo in the long running crime drama NCIS. On that show the team agents referred to their leader as boss.

'NCIS'
McGee says Tony (Michael Weatherly) "mess(ed) with the bull," alluding to the series Weatherly left NCIS to join.


Neither of those two in-jokes serve as any kind of connection between those two shows.  That's not always the case with in-jokes; a lot of times we can make theoretical connections based on them.

But who knows?  Maybe one day Dr. Jason Bull will have to deal with the NY branch of the NCIS.  There would be no official crossover to the characters from any of the 'NCIS' shows, but that won't stop me from making that suggeston....

BCnU!


Sunday, January 28, 2018