Friday, October 5, 2018

FRIDAY HALL OF FAMER - THE VIXEN


Back in September, the focus for the Friday Hall of Famers was on soap opera characters.  But while we do give the main TVXOHOF showcase induction a Halloween/horror theme, I’m not wedded to that for the Friday Hall of Famers… for the most part.


For example – our new member inducted today.  When I read of the death of Fenella Fielding some weeks ago, it didn’t register with me.  I read about it in a post by one of my British FB friends, and many of the comments mentioned her work as a vampish vampire in one of the “Carry On” films.  I’ve avoided that movie franchise, even with the appearance of the legendary Phil Silvers in one of them, because one of the main actors grated on me like Jerry Lewis does in his comedy movies.  (I like his dramatic work in TV and in the movies.)

But then I learned that she was the voice of the Village loudspeaker in ‘The Prisoner’, a show that has enthralled me since I first saw it that summer of 1968 when it had its American debut.  (If all works out, I’ll have my post about the “missing link” I cobbled together for her “character” in the show posted this week.)

I didn’t think I’d be able to find a way to honor her in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, but surprise!  There was the first Vixen of the greater TV Universe….


From Wikipedia:
‘Uncle Jack’ was a children's TV show which aired on BBC1 in the early 1990s. [1990-93]

The plot centres around Jack Green an environmentalist and undercover agent for MI5, who with his family are on a mission to save the planet. Jack's nemesis was a criminal known only as "the Vixen" who would come up with diabolical schemes to rule the world.

The Vixen (Fenella Fielding) - Jack's nemesis, a notorious international crook whose sole purpose is to rule the world and steal wealth for herself.


As with Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, it may seem as there was just the one series for the character, but ‘Uncle Jack’ was actually four series, each with its own self-contained storyline.  (The following summaries are from Wikipedia.)




‘Uncle Jack and Operation Green
Episodes:

1. How it all Began..
2. The Plot Thickens
3. Carrying the Can
4. Oil
5. Kidnapped
6. All Tied Up

Uncle Jack accidentally gets hold of a formula for a lethal new gas being developed by the GasChem company, but MI5, the Russians and the Americans are after it and all request help from the World's smartest criminal, known only as the Vixen.


Series 2 (1991)
‘Uncle Jack and the Loch Noch Monster
Episodes:

1. Sinister Happenings...
2. The Return of the Vixen
3. Operation Rescue
4. Terror In Edinburgh
5. Monsters Galore!
6. Countdown

Uncle Jack and his sister's family visit his cousin and his daughter, Tammy, in Scotland only to find that he has disappeared since he went fishing in his boat at Loch Noch and Tammy has been left at home on her own. Jack discovers that the marine base at the Loch is hiding something after also seeing a radioactive material that keeps appearing everywhere that ties in with the mystery of his cousin's disappearance. Meanwhile, the Vixen is up to her old tricks again and wants to use the radioactive material to terrorize the world.

Series 3 (1992)

Uncle Jack and the Dark Side of the Moon

Episodes:
1. Evil Weather
2. Kidnapped
3. The Vixen Strikes
4. Escape 
5. The Vixen Has Landed 
6. Off With His Head

When Uncle Jack visits Kate at her new school, he discovers the weather around Brimley Crompton is changing from one extreme to another with heat waves, sudden blustery winds and rain, as if someone is controlling the weather. That someone just happens to be the Vixen from her base on the moon using a standing stone in the school grounds with the help of the school headmistress, Miss Bones and her brother.

Series 4 (1993)
Uncle Jack and Cleopatra's Mummy

Episodes:
1. A Dig At El Ninny 
2. The Camel's Breath 
3. Meet The Mummy 
4. The Legend Comes Alive
5. The Tomb Of El Wadi Whant 
6. The Treasure Of Cleopatra!

Uncle Jack travels to Egypt with his niece Helen to find the lost treasure of Queen Cleopatra, but a mummy seems to be guarding it. The Vixen also wants the treasure and is determined to get to it first by any means necessary without anyone stopping her.


British TV works differently from American toob, so I do view these individual stories as being separate from each other.  The fact that each of them has a different title, rather than just an umbrella title like ‘Uncle Jack’, makes them feel as though they’re mini-series not one long series.

Anybody really could be inducted into the Hall then based on that, but we’re taking this chance to honor Ms. Fielding as the Vixen.  It’s a perfect fit for a Friday Hall of Famer since it doesn’t have the “oomph” needed to be a monthly showcase.  As such that’s how it will be should at least Uncle Jack gets inducted someday in the Future.


And because the Vixen is such a villain (with a secret base on the moon!), and because she was played by Fenella Fielding, I think she’s a perfect candidate for membership during October. 


Welcome to the Hall, Vixen!



Thursday, October 4, 2018

DATELINE TOOBWORLD - ROBERT GODDARD



136 years ago tomorrow, the father of America's rocket program was born.

From Wikipedia:

Robert Hutchings Goddard (October 5, 1882 – August 10, 1945) was an American engineer, professor, physicist, and inventor who is credited with creating and building the world's first liquid-fueled rocket. Goddard successfully launched his model on March 16, 1926, ushering in an era of space flight and innovation. He and his team launched 34 rockets between 1926 and 1941, achieving altitudes as high as 2.6 km (1.6 mi) and speeds as fast as 885 km/h (550 mph).

Goddard's work as both theorist and engineer anticipated many of the developments that were to make spaceflight possible. He has been called the man who ushered in the Space Age. Two of Goddard's 214 patented inventions—a multi-stage rocket (1914), and a liquid-fuel rocket (1914)—were important milestones toward spaceflight. His 1919 monograph A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes is considered one of the classic texts of 20th-century rocket science. Goddard successfully applied three-axis control, gyroscopes and steerable thrust to rockets to effectively control their flight.

Although his work in the field was revolutionary, Goddard received very little public support for his research and development work. The press sometimes ridiculed his theories of spaceflight. As a result, he became protective of his privacy and his work. Years after his death, at the dawn of the Space Age, he came to be recognized as one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry, along with Robert Esnault-Pelterie, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, and Hermann Oberth. He not only recognized the potential of rockets for atmospheric research, ballistic missiles and space travel but was the first to scientifically study, design and construct the rockets needed to implement those ideas. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center was named in Goddard's honor in 1959.


'MURDOCH MYSTERIES'
"F.L.A.S.H.!"

From the IMDb:
Murdoch investigates a death which may have been caused by a high speed travel device.



A few years into the 20th Century, Goddard was a member of James Pendrick's team working on that high speed travel vehicle which was being tested in an underwater tunnel between Toronto Island and the mainland.

For a short time he was a person of interest in the murder of another member of the team, but O'Bviously the life of his televersion hews closely to that of his Real World inspiration.  Once the case was solved, Goddard resigned from the team to focus his studies on rocketry.


His influence could be felt in the far future of the main Toobworld.  As mentioned in Wikipedia:

The television series 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' had a shuttlecraft named after Goddard.

From Memory Alpha:
The Goddard was a Federation Type 6 shuttlecraft that was in service with Starfleet in the mid-24th century, attached to the USS Enterprise-D. It was shuttle number 15, replacing the shuttlecraft Magellan lost in 2368.



Early in 2369, Captain Jean-Luc Picard "loaned" the Goddard to Captain Montgomery Scott, as thanks for his role in freeing the Enterprise from the interior of a Dyson sphere. Picard felt that since Scott lost his ship, the USS Jenolan, while rescuing the Enterprise-D, it was only fair the Enterprise return the favor. La Forge told him the craft was slightly slow, but it would be able to take him to the Norpin colony. However, Scott decided to postpone his trip there, and used the Goddard to depart for parts unknown. (TNG: "Relics")

That reference would serve as legitimate proof that Goddard had a "televersion", even if we didn't have the 'Murdoch Mysteries' episode.  Should he show up again in Earth Prime-Time, Robert Goddard will then be eligible for membership in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.

O'BSERVATION:
It appears that the televersion of Goddard may be older than the historical figure.  

BCnU!


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

O'BSERVATIONS - "MURPHY BROWN" 2.0



One of the trends in TV the last few years has been bringing old shows back from the dead.  Not as remakes which would be banished to the dimension of Toobworld2, but as continuations of the original series.  In the past, at best there would be a TV reunion movie.  But so far, NBC has brought back ‘Will & Grace’, ABC had ‘Roseanne’ – until it crashed and burned for outside reason which don’t have any bearing on Life in Toobworld.  (But the show has now been rebooted to be known as ‘The Conners’.)

Now it’s CBS’ turn, and they are reviving ‘Murphy Brown’ with most of the same cast.  (And boy do we need her back in these times!)

Pat Corley passed away so Phil the bartender has been replaced by his sister Phyllis, played by Tyne Daly.

Senior anchorman Jim Dial has retired to sail the world on his boat.  (But I’ve read that Charles Kimbrough might make occasional appearances.  We’ll see.)

Grant Shaud had left the series back in 1996, but he’s come back as the executive producer of the new show, ‘Murphy In The Morning’ – no long the young wunderkind, but just as anxiety-ridden.

Garry Marshall also passed away and so network head honcho Stan Lansing won’t be seen anymore.  (I just hope they don’t use some kind of Les Moonves exit variation to splain away why he’s no longer around.  That wouldn’t be respectful.)

Robert Pastorelli is also gone; he apparently killed himself after being suspected of murdering his girlfriend.  The debut episode acknowledged the passing of his character Eldon near the end as Murphy and her son Avery looked at the ceiling mural which he painted and toasted him with their drinks.  (Not sure they were looking in the right direction, but then that’s Pastorelli and not Eldon.)

Lily Tomlin is busy with her own show on Netflix, ‘Grace & Frankie’ with Jane Fonda, so she can’t reprise her role as Kay Carter-Shepley.  (Kay was brought in as the executive producer for ‘FYI’ after Miles Silverberg left.)  But with Miles back on board, I’d like to think Kay is enjoying her retirement.


And then the biggest change in the characters – Avery Brown is now all-growed up.  He’s of a more conservative bent, like his grandfather, newspaper publisher Bill Brown, but he bears the name of his grandmother, Avery.  As a newborn, Avery was played by two different babies, and then as a little boy by Haley Joel Osment.  He was recast yet again with this new series, played by Jake McDornan (formerly of ‘Limitless’.)  Avery got his own show as well, on the Wolf Network opposite his mother.  (And she shellacked him in the ratings.)

With the premiere, we got a call-back to the Wolf Network, which played a role in at least one episode in the original series (back when Fox News was just starting out.)  And that was just one of the Toobworthy points of interest in the first episode (entitled “Fake News”.  Thank the gods they didn’t toss it off as “Pilot”.)

Here’s my list of those points of interest:



During the first edition of the new show within a show, ‘Murphy In The Morning’, Trump tweeted his opinions of the show while they were on the air.  And the new social media director got them on the air right away.



Those two tweets serve as legit additions to Trump’s tally for membership in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  (He was inducted as the April Fool member back in 2009.  Prescient, huh?)


As an “Unseen on TV”, Trump also got a check mark when Murphy sent out her first tweet – she once went on a date with Donald Trump and he made them split the check.


Senator Elizabeth Warren retweeted that and so that “Unseen on TV” adds to her eventual inclusion in the TVXOHOF.  Being a fictional activity by her televersion, this marks her second qualification for membership for membership in the Hall of Fame.  She already appeared as herself in an episode of ‘Alpha House’.



I thought their network – CNC – had already appeared somewhere in Toobworld, but I haven’t found mention of it anywhere.  Anybody out there know of any sightings of it in other shows?


Murph set up her first Twitter account in the episode and her son suggested that her password be “Aretha4ever”.  By her reaction, I think it’s evident that the televersion of Aretha has passed away as she did in the Real World as well.



Before coming back to work with Murphy, Frank, and Corky, Miles had been working behind the scenes for ‘The View’, which nearly broke him.  ‘The View’ has appeared in episodes of ‘SportsNight’, ‘Entourage’, and ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Bones’ appeared on an episode (but wasn’t seen.)  Plus there were plenty of “Unseen On TV” mentions of it by other fictional characters.  It also has a presence in Skitlandia, the Tooniverse, and the dimension of ‘The West Wing’.


Finally, the last running gag from the old series returned in the premiere.  Murphy had a horrible track record with secretaries - in the original series, she worked her way through 93 of them at least.  (The only two good ones were Carol Kester Bondurant and Andrew Lansing, Stan's nephew.  Thanks to nepotism, Andrew got kicked upstairs, while Carol felt too loyal to Dr. Bob Hartley and returned with him to Chicago.  (The appearance of Marcia Wallace and Bob Newhart in that episode was one of the few crossovers for 'Murphy Brown'.  The other one was with the sitcom 'Ink'.)


For this first episode back, Hilary Clendon applied for the job.  Not Hillary Clinton; Hilary Clendon.  But Hillary Clinton played the role! 


Murphy was sympathetic to Hilary's plight, looking so similar to Hillary, and let her down easy with basically a "We'll let you know" dimissal.  Ms. Clendon must have been used to that, but you could see she was hurt when she left.

So taken for all in all, I enjoyed the return and my fears that it had lost its edge were assuaged.

Looking forward to the rest of the new season!

BCnU!

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A BIRTHDAY MESSAGE TO (AND FROM) TIM O'BRIEN


It's also my brother Tim's birthday today, the "Obie" of the family.  And as he's provided me with a Zonk, I thought I'd give him a showcase today,

He texted this picture to all the siblings:


That's Nancy Travis and Tim Allen in a publicity picture from the now-resurrected sitcom 'Last Man Standing'.  (ABC cancelled it, but FOX picked it up.)

Here's what he had to say about it:

"He's holding a salt water fish; she's got a fresh water puppy.  ( Large-mouth bass, hers. Bunker, his)   BUSTED with the props."


(O'Bservation: Timmy calls everything either a tiger or a puppy.)

Her fish from Wikipedia:
The large-mouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a freshwater game fish in the Centrarchidae (sunfish) family, a species of black bass native to North America. It is known by a variety of regional names, such as the wide-mouth bass, big-mouth bass, black bass, bucket-mouth, largies, Potter's fish, Florida bass, Florida large-mouth, green bass, Green trout, gilsdorf bass, Oswego bass, southern large-mouth and (paradoxically) northern large-mouth, LMB. The large-mouth bass is the state fish of Georgia, Mississippi, and Indiana, the state freshwater fish of Florida and Alabama, and the state sport fish of Tennessee.  

His fish, from Wikipedia:
Menhaden, also known as mossbunker and bunker, are forage fish of the genera Brevoortia and Ethmidium, two genera of marine fish in the family Clupeidae. Menhaden is a blend of poghaden (pogy for short) and an Algonquian word akin to Narragansett munnawhattea├╗g, derived from munnohquohteau ‘he fertilizes’, referring to their use of the fish as fertilizer.  It is generally thought that Pilgrims were advised by Tisquantum (also known as Squanto) to plant menhaden with their crops.

I'm taking my brother's word for this.  He's the fisherman in the family, now that Dad is gone.  (And Tim has always been the one I thought was most like Dad.)

So thanks for bringing that up, Tim.  However, I think the creatives in the publicity department may have been going for an even more subtle joke than just that hers is bigger than his.

I think they knew it was from a different ecosystem.  Maybe Mike Baxter bought it from the store, just to have it on standby in case he didn't catch anything.  But he probably only was shopping for size and didn't consider its origin.  But even if it was a fresh-water fish that he bought, his wife Vanessa still showed him up with the size of her catch.

So there's Tim's contribution to my vision of the TV Universe.  I'm sure there'll be more someday....

Happy birthday, Timothy Ticklepepper!


MISSING LINKS - "COLUMBO" & "SEINFELD"


October 2 - Today is my brother Tim's birthday.  This being a Tuesday (I'm writing this post back in June.), maybe I'll have a special TV-related post better suited specifically for him to make it "Two for Tuesday".  But in the meantime, we'll take a look at somebody else whose birthday was on this date....


1931, October 2

Independent Labour Party, Indian National Congress, and the Gandhi society arranged a birthday luncheon for Gandhi at Westminster palace rooms.  Spoke at women’s reception arranged by Women’s Indian Association at Central Y.M.C.A., London.


'COLUMBO'
"TRY AND CATCH ME"

MARTIN HAMMOND:
Lieutenant, I trust you realize 
that Miss Mitchell is a rather influential lady. 

LIEUTENANT COLUMBO:
Oh, I'm aware of that, sir. 
I saw all those pictures of her 
signed by Eisenhower, and Truman, 
and Kennedy, and Mahatma Gandhi. 
How did she know Mahatma Gandhi

MARTIN HAMMOND:
Perhaps from her travels.



If there are any 'Columbo' fanficcers out there, there is a lot of material to work with in that exchange.  We'll be coming back to that tele-quote again in future posts as we deal with each figure,  But the reference to Gandhi is the most intriguing based on the information given.  (We can extrapolate on the others but those can go anywhere.)

G.D. Spradlin's delivery of his dialogue, perhaps based more on how he normally speaks, has  terse quality to it which is not quite evident in plain text.  But it could be that he was being curt with Columbo in that reply, not wanting to go any further into it.


And as such, it could be that he didn't know the answer himself.  Abigail did tell Edmund that she had sneaked around her lawyer's prying eyes in the past.  So if Martin didn't know how Abigail knew Mahatma Gandhi, then maybe Abigail had a good reason for that.

People who know me know that I have a reputation for going there.  So yes, I am going to make the suggestion - when she was much younger, Abigail might have had an affair with the much older Mohandas Gandhi while she was on a publicity tour for the novel which was published in 1931.

At this point, I feel as though I should share the Toobworld position on Abigail Mitchell's life: 
Assuming she was the same age as Ruth Gordon (who played her), Miss Mitchell was born in 1896.



She grew up in Massachusetts, perhaps in Quincy like Ms. Gordon, but perhaps in a Massachusetts town found only in television.  She would spend her summers on the Cape and since her family was poor they must have lived close by..



She published her first book at the age of 20.  So that happened in 1916.  With her first royalties advance, she bought her father a new car.


As of 1977, she had written 32 books and "Murder Of The Year" - a play which ran on Broadway for 19 years and would be opening in Warsaw later that year.  She had given the rights to the play to her (great?) niece Phyllis on her fifth birthday.  But Phyllis died in 1977.



Of those 32 books by Abigail Mitchell, we know of only these titles:

  • MURDER MOST FOUL (likely her first and perhaps most famous novel)
  • DEATH IN HAVANA
  • DEATH WITHOUT TAXES
  • THE NIGHT I WAS MURDERED (not yet published at that time)


Pretty much all of that information... information... information... comes from the 'Columbo' episode.  These next few details are pure conjecture on my part:

All of the 32 murder mystery books (mostly novels, but I think there would be at least two compilations of short stories), featured a main character - it was Abigail Mitchell who created the detective Inspector Lucerne.  



'Inspector Lucerne' would become a popular television series starring Ward Fowler, but the franchise would come to a halt after Fowler murdered the show's producer.  ('Columbo' - "Fade In To Murder")

Here's my fanficcerish outline for Miss Mitchell in London in the Fall of 1931.

Her 1931 book was probably set in London, which is why her publishers decided to build on that with a trip to the British Isles.  While there, she met with Charlie Chaplin, who expressed interest in playing Inspector Lucerne in a talking picture (an industry in its infancy.)



Gandhi was in London in 1931 from September 12 to December 5.  During that time, he advocated strongly with the representatives of the British government for full independence for India.  He made plenty of speeches and met celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw.  Gandhi tired of the non-progress in the talks and sought a form of escape by traveling to Darwen and Lancashire to meet with the textile mill workers whose livelihoods were on the verge of collapse because of India's boycott of English cloth.


As to where the meeting between Miss Mitchell and Chaplin took place during the overlap with Gandhi's visit, I don't know whether Chaplin met with Gandhi first and then told Abigail about it, or if he met with the authoress first and then enthused about her to Gandhi.

There was one speech which Gandhi gave where I think his televersion could have met Abigail Mitchell:

1931, October 2
Spoke at women’s reception arranged by Women’s Indian Association at Central Y.M.C.A., London.

So I think it could be suggested that Abigail Mitchell went to that women's reception and was introduced to Gandhi.  Her original intent may have been to use him as the inspiration for a character in her next Lucerne novel, and he may have been curious to meet the woman who seemed to have made a fortune from having one of the most limited minds in the world.*

But that afternoon encounter at the luncheon would prove to be the spark to a tempestuous affair that would last for more than a month, until he finally returned to India where he would continue his quest for independence and his bizarre sexual practices.

Don't believe me about his sex obsession?  It's an easy Google search.  I'll be here when you get back.

And it's not like we don't have confirmation within Toobworld of the possibility of Gandhi being a playa....

'SEINFELD'
"THE OLD MAN"


From The Sunday Guardian:
In an attempt to be a better person, Elaine, one of the lead characters of this iconic TV sitcom, decides to spend time with the elderly, assist them, give them company. The old lady she visits has a frightening goiter that freaks the s**t out of the not-very-evolved Elaine. She also discovers that, back in the day, the old lady had had an affair with “Mohandas”, and there are photos to prove it. We can say with some amount of certainty that it’s a fictitious account on a fictional show with very little grounding in reality, but the left-of-field appearance of Gandhi on the "No Hugs, No Learning Seinfeld" is hilarious in its absurdity, and also symbolic of the overarching influence of the man — even Nietzschean sitcoms aren’t spared. 



From the IMDb:
The old lady (whom Elaine visits) mentions her romantic affair with Mohandas K. Gandhi. It is true that Gandhi had several adulterous relationships with many women, as revealed in the book "Gandhi Behind the Mask of Divinity" by Col. G.B. Singh.

So it's a fanfic possibility which could serve as a conjectural connection between 'Columbo' and 'Seinfeld'.

I know a fan of both who might find that idea funny.  Then again, that 'Seinfeld' episode dissed Journey, so maybe not.

BCnU!

O'Bservation: *  In the text of a speech she gave to a women's group in 1977, Abigail Mitchell said, "I come before you as the author of 32 books on the same subject. In other words, I have one of the most limited minds in the world."  I could see that being a mild jest made to her by Gandhi and she never forgot it nor her time spent with the "Great Soul".....

BCnU!

Monday, October 1, 2018

TVXOHOF, OCTOBER 2018 - CARL KOLCHAK





As October is the month in which we traditionally celebrate Halloween by choosing new members with some connection to Horror, it has taken Toobworld Central far too long to bring our new inductee into our midst….

CARL KOLCHAK

From Wikipedia:

‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’ is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974–1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak, played by Darren McGavin—who investigated mysterious crimes with unlikely causes, particularly those that law enforcement authorities would not follow up. These often involved the supernatural or science fiction, including fantastic creatures.

The series was preceded by two television movies, “The Night Stalker” (1972) and “The Night Strangler” (1973). Although the series lasted only a single season, it remains popular in syndication. In 2018, it aired late Saturday nights on Me-TV. It is often cited as the inspiration for the popular series ‘The X-Files’.



The series features Kolchak as a reporter for the Chicago branch of the Independent News Service (INS), a small wire service.  

Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) is a talented but outspoken investigative reporter with an affinity for bizarre and supernatural occurrences, obtaining information driving around Chicago in his yellow Ford Mustang convertible and snatching exclusives armed with his camera and portable cassette recorder.  Using only limited information, Kolchak has cracked several cases relying on gut instinct and often prevailing through sheer dumb luck. More often than not, Kolchak's prospects are hampered by the destruction of evidence to prove his claims, advancing the sheer implausibility of his stories where his peers, particularly his editor, are concerned. On other occasions his investigations have led to demotion or relocation of varying authority figures, though reasons for these actions are never truthfully disclosed.


More on Carl Kolchak



Kolchak is certainly an iconic figure in Toobworld, especially thanks to that outfit he always wore – the dingy, ill-fitting white suit and the floppy straw porkpie hat.  I think he’s one of a handful of Toobworld characters you know just by the clothes they wear.  (And I say “handful” because I count the Doctor as one person.)  I’ve often wished I could have seen a photo of Darren McGavin in character with Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo – what a sartorial disaster they would have been together!

So, a TV series and two TV movies – that covers the necessary requirements for membership in the TVXOHOF without resorting to theories and hypotheticals.  But wait, there’s more!

From Wikipedia:
‘Night Stalker’ is a television series that ran for six weeks in fall 2005 on ABC in America. The series starred Stuart Townsend as Carl Kolchak, an investigative reporter whose wife was murdered. Kolchak spends his time investigating other strange murders, believing they are linked in some way to his wife's murder. He is helped along the way by a fellow crime reporter Perri Reed (Gabrielle Union), photographer Jain McManus (Eric Jungmann) and editor Anthony Vincenzo (Cotter Smith).

‘Night Stalker’ was a remake of the 1974 series ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’. ABC owned the rights to the original television movies, but not the Universal television series, and was limited to using only characters that had appeared in those movies.

‘Night Stalker’ was canceled after six episodes due to low ratings. However, the Sci-Fi Channel (now known as Syfy), which frequently shows canceled network genre shows, showed all ten filmed episodes during summer 2006. The ratings were poor on SciFi Channel as well.  

The last episode to be broadcast was the first of a multi-part episode, so viewers never saw the end of the sixth story. However, some time after the cancellation, the seventh episode appeared on Apple's iTunes Music Store for download. On February 7, 2006, the final three episodes were released on iTunes.


This O’Bviously takes place in the TV dimension of Toobworld2, the Land o’ Remakes.  The time period was now later; Kolchak’s DNA was altered; and the events in his personal background had been rewritten.  (I don’t remember, but I think his taste in wardrobe was changed to the point of being nondescript.)


So normally it would have no bearing on the induction of Carl Kolchak as played by McGavin into the Hall of Fame.  But here’s the thing – in the first episode when "Kolchak2" returns to the L.A. Beacon newsroom, the original Kolchak, the One and Nearly Only, can be seen leaning against one of the desks in the foreground.



(That second picture reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh 
hearing his praises sung in the future.)

Nothing more is made of his presence there.  But it happened, and even if behind the scenes it was just a tip of the hat cameo using old footage reinserted into the new scene, it still showed up on our TV screens and that makes it canon.


But how did it happen within the reality of the story? 

I've got some splainin to do.  We’re entering the realm of fanfic now, kids; better put on your galoshes.

I would not be surprised if there are at least a thousand fans of the original 'Kolchak' who have come up with their own ideas, and probably even fleshed out those theories with fan fiction.  I’m no arbiter on what should be deemed the official splainin; I can only go with what I think works best for Toobworld. 

“Kolchak1” is of course in a different dimension, parallel to his own.  However, it also is about thirty years into his own future – he looks as he did back in the mid-1970s, certainly not old and fat as he described himself in an interview about his guest star role as Arthur Dales in two episodes of ‘The X-Files’.

Somehow, that “younger” version of "Kolchak1" had to be transported into that other world.  There are several crossovers that come to mind – ‘Sliders’ perhaps, or one of those episodes of ‘The Twilight Zone’ in which a guy wakes up to find himself inexplicably in another world.  But that’s too nebulous a splainin for a modern audience, and Quinn Mallory wouldn’t be inventing the sliding device until the 1990s.

I think there’s only one way to go here.  Who ya gonna call when you’re traveling through both Space and Time?

The Doctor, of course.


I’ll just offer up the bare bones of a premise – the Doctor (any incarnation) and his companion (relevant to that incarnation) arrive in Chicago in late 1975 (after ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’ has been canceled) and quickly become involved in a supernatural investigation which Kolchak was pursuing.  

Take your pick

In keeping with a basic rule from ‘Doctor Who’, there will be a rational, not supernatural*, “splainin” behind the entity Kolchak has been tracking down – perhaps an interdimensional alien.  And when that alien tries to escape through a dimensional portal, the Doctor gives chase in the TARDIS.  But Kolchak quickly rushed inside the police box to go along for the ride.


That would bring them to the Los Angeles of Toobworld2 and the resolution of the case.  Kolchak would get to see the future (one that he wouldn’t live to see in his own dimension), and even see his doppelganger from that world.

Any more details than that would go beyond splainin and into true fan fiction.

Carl Kolchak is thus a multidimensional in Toobworld, but he’s also a multiversal – he began “Life” as a character in BookWorld… technically.  The novel upon which the first TV movie was based had not yet been published when the premise was optioned.  Author Jeff Rice got it published after the movie was broadcast to monster ratings. (Not sorry for that, Chief.)  Rice would go on to write the novelization of the second movie, based on the script by Richard Matheson.

Matheson wrote up a script for a third TV movie installment of the franchise, but by then the suits were more interested in developing the property into a series and so that third movie was scrapped.

It’s a shame too, because the premise sounded intriguing.  After they got their tails booted out of Seattle, Kolchak and Vincenzo went their separate ways.  However, while working as a newspaper editor in Honolulu, Vincenzo called for Kolchak’s help in uncovering a mystery that would involve UFOs and rich, influential people being murdered and replaced by android duplicates.

How Tony Vincenzo would have looked in Hawaii

Man, I wish that saw the light of day!


As it didn’t actually appear on TV, it can’t be used for Toobworld.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t keep it in the back of my mind as a missing adventure for Kolchak which would lead to the series set in Chicago.  (Similarly, Jeff Rice revealed in his original novel that Carl’s first name was actually “Karel”, to me suggesting that he was the first generation son of immigrants.  But again, that has to be just a detail tucked away in the Toobfiles.)


I was speaking earlier of my desire to have seen a crossover between Lt. Columbo and Carl Kolchak.  There once was a great site for ‘Columbo’ fan fiction called “Just One More Paragraph”, maintained by Martin Ross.  At least one story involved Columbo being “helped” by Kolchak on a case.  Wish I saved a copy of that one.  (Again not that it could be considered canon.  It was just a very fun read.)

There have been other suggestions for 'Kolchak' crossovers, in fan fiction and in art.  Here are just a few of them, from the logical to the ridiculous:


I do have an idea for a fanfic crossover with Kolchak, based on a one-shot guest appearance by my all-time favorite character actor, Phil Leeds.



As seen here, Leeds played Howard Gough in the episode "They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be...."  And in the series finale of 'Night Court', he played an extraterrestrial allegedly from Jupiter who had taken the name of Norm.  (It's an alias perfect for those places where everybody knows your name.)



Norm and the other Jovian, Angelo, took court bailiff Bull Shannon back to their home planet in the final scene of the series.  So... what if Norm had been using the alias of Howard Gough when he met Carl Kolchak?  (Based on the episode, apprently the alien's alias held and Kolchak never investigated him,  Come to think of it, Norm could be part of that storyline which got Kolchak mixed up with the Doctor.)

So here’s to our Halloween 2018 member of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  Welcome to the Hall, Carl.  I hope you get along with our monstrous members like Jack the Ripper, Hitler, the Frankenstein creatures, and Orange45….

Image result for carl kolchak gif

BCnU!

* O'BSERVATION:
The Doctor can deny the existence of magic in Toobworld all he likes, but it does exist.