Tuesday, November 8, 2022


Dorothy Zbornak:
How do you do. I'm Dorothy Zbornak.
Laverne Todd:
Geriatrics is two doors down on the left.
“Empty Nest”

Continuing the Television Crossover Hall of Fame’s tribute to ‘The Golden Girls’ over this past year (with Rose Nylund and Sophia Petrillo already inducted), we’re O’Bserving the tradition of November being the month in which characters with political connections are inducted.

And of those “Golden Girls,” the one who came closest to that was….


From Wikipedia:
Dorothy Zbornak is a character from the sitcom television series 'The Golden Girls', portrayed by Bea Arthur. Sarcastic, introspective, compassionate, and fiercely protective of those she considers family, she is introduced as a substitute teacher, and mother. At the time, Dorothy was recently divorced from her ex-husband Stanley. She, her mother Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty), and housemate Rose Nylund (Betty White) all rent rooms in the Miami house of their friend Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan).

Dorothy often acted as den mother and voice of reason among the quartet, "the great leveler" according to Bea Arthur, though at times she also acted foolishly or negatively and would need her friends and family to help ground her again. Arthur also considered her the "great balloon pricker," someone who openly defied and called out hypocrisy, injustice, cruelty, delusion, short-sighted remarks, and behavior she simply found dull, ill-considered, rude, or unreasonable.

Bea Arthur portrayed Dorothy in every episode of 'The Golden Girls'. Arthur also portrayed Dorothy's maternal grandmother Eleanor Grisanti in flashback in the episode "Mother's Day". In the same episode and others that involve flashbacks, a younger version of Dorothy was portrayed by Lynnie Green. In the season 5 episode "Clinton Avenue Memoirs" (1990), Jandi Swanson portrayed Dorothy as a child in flashback.

Bea Arthur's departure from the show in the season 7 two-part finale "One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest" marked the end of the series as well. Outside of the series, Arthur also appeared as Dorothy in an episode of 'Empty Nest' (a spin-off series), in the episode "Dumped", and in a two-episode story "Seems Like Old Times" in ‘The Golden Palace’ (a sequel series to 'The Golden Girls'). In the 1000th issue of Entertainment Weekly, Dorothy Zbornak-Hollingsworth was selected as the Grandma for "The Perfect TV Family".

Okay.  O'Bviously photoshopped.

During the run of the show, Dorothy repeatedly expresses liberal views but never declares her party affiliation, though she does have a Michael Dukakis bumper sticker (covering a Walter Mondale bumper sticker) on her car. When then-President George H. W. Bush visits Miami, Dorothy intends to angrily confront him regarding education, only to be rendered mute at the shock of actually meeting him. Dorothy shared many of Bea Arthur's political views, who in a 2005 interview remarked "that's what makes Maude and Dorothy so believable: we have the same viewpoints on how our country should be handled."

Maude Findley would be a perfect candidate for membership in the Hall in November… if only she had appeared in more than just ‘All In The Family’ and her own eponymous sitcom.  (Wikipedia says that Maude was never mentioned in the series ‘Good Times’.  And the characters’ backstories were revamped.)

Here are the appearances by Dorothy Zbornak which qualified her for membership in the TVXOHOF:

THE GOLDEN GIRLS (1985-1992)
177 episodes
…. Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak

- Dumped (1989)
.... Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak

Barbara gets lessons from Carol about life as a "dumpee" after Dorothy Zbornak's nephew breaks up with her.

…. Dorothy Zbornak

.... Dorothy Zbornak Hollingsworth

- Seems Like Old Times: Part 1 (1992)
Dorothy visits her ex-roommates at the Golden Palace, hoping to convince Sophia to come and live with her and her husband in Atlanta.

Dorothy visits her friends. The next day, Chuy does not show up for work so the girls need to replace him and Dorothy helps as a waitress. She is concerned that Sophia looks tired and has to carry heavy trays. She calls her husband and tells him she decided her mother should move in with them. Dorothy gathers her friends and tells them about her plans about Sophia. Blanche and Rose want to keep Sophia with them. Sophia says she wants to decide herself where to live and goes up to her room. When Blanche goes to see her and find out about her decision, she finds a note saying Sophia does not want to choose between her friends and daughter and that she is running away.

- Seems Like Old Times: Part 2 (1992)

Sophia runs away to her old rest home. When the other girls try to get her, they find that it is no longer anywhere near as bad as she said it was.

Now that Sophia is away, the girls need to work more to replace her. Dorothy actively searches her mother and blames the girls for her disappearance. A cab driver brings back Sophia's handbag and reveals that he has driven her to Shady Pines. They call her but she says that she does not want them to pick her up. Dorothy is afraid she will be miserable there since she remembers the place was awful. Actually, it turns out Shady Pines is a great place where Sophia gets massages and tennis lessons. Also, she does not want the girls to fight over her. Dorothy apologizes to the girls for not trusting them more and decides to let her mother work in the Golden Palace.

All summaries are from the IMDb....

Welcome to the Hall, Dorothy!

As mentioned earlier, Rose and Sophia are already in there and Blanche will be joining you next month for some cheesecake.

Monday, October 31, 2022


In October, the Television Crossover Hall of Fame usually honors some TV character who not only has fulfilled the requirement of appearances in three different shows, TV movies, or commercials, but also is scary AF… some kind of monster.

I think we’ve got a good candidate this year….

Though she be but little, she is fierce.”

But if you need a stronger connection to Halloween, here she is in costume....

Because her stroke destroyed those mental circuit breakers, she does not hold back with what she says.  You do NOT want to be on the receiving end of her barbs.

The last time we had a character like this who could instill fear in those around them, I think it was Frank Barone of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’.

From Wikipedia:
Sophia Petrillo is a character from the sitcom television series 'The Golden Girls' and its spin-offs 'The Golden Palace' and 'Empty Nest'. She also appeared in episodes of the series 'Blossom' and 'Nurses'. Her character was played by the actress Estelle Getty for 10 years and 258 episodes.


Sophia Grisanti was born in Sicily to Angelo and Eleanor Grisanti. She had a sister Angela, a sister Regina and a brother Angelo. Although another brother was mentioned, he was unnamed and only spoken of a few times. Dorothy mentions an "Uncle Vito" in Season 2 but it is unclear whether he is Sophia's brother or the brother of her husband, Salvadore.

In the first episode of 'The Golden Palace' (1992) Sophia's was said to be an 87-year-old who experiences flashbacks to her younger life in Sicily, depicting herself as a young peasant girl having multiple romantic affairs earlier in life (1912 and 1922). However, in another Season 2 episode "And Then There Was One", Sophia claims she had been "walking since 1904." These discrepancies are likely due to age-related cognition errors or are possibly just dramatic licenses taken by the show producers.

She moved to New York which left her with no accent to show she had grown up speaking the Sicilian language. Instead, she sports a Brooklyn accent with a fast speaking pace which often contributed to the humor in her one-liners.

Sophia later married Salvadore "Sal" Petrillo (played by Sid Melton in flashback) and had three children with him: Dorothy, a divorced substitute teacher; Phil (an unseen character), a cross-dresser with a wife named Angela; a welder with several children who lived in a trailer park in Newark, New Jersey, but who later died of a heart attack during the series, and Gloria (played by Doris Belack and later Dena Dietrich), who lived in California and married into money but later lost her husband to an unknown cause. She remained with Salvadore until his death from a heart attack. In a 1985 episode, Sophia mentions that Sal died 30 years earlier. However, in a 1988 episode, it is stated that Sal died 27 years ago.

In her later years, Sophia suffered a stroke - the effects of which are said to be a partial explanation for Sophia's blunt, uncensored, and brazen remarks. She was subsequently placed in Shady Pines Retirement Home by her daughter, Dorothy.

However, after Shady Pines was damaged in a fire, Sophia moved in with Dorothy. Sophia didn't have many good things to say about "the home,” alluding to poor treatment by the staff many times. Dorothy sometimes threatened to send her back there if she was "behaving badly".

Due to Sophia's Sicilian descent, there were regular hints in the series that she and her family have some mafia connections. She made reference to several vendettas and it is even hinted that Sophia herself has done mob work; she once stated that no one in her family had "ever left a body to be found". Sophia also claimed to have been present at the 1929 St. Valentines Day Massacre, to which she then took back stating, "Oh yeah, I was at the movies that day. All day." It was revealed that she was present at a St. Valentines Day Massacre but not the St. Valentines Day Massacre.

Sophia believed strongly in ancient Sicilian custom and traditions, and in the power of a "Sicilian curse." The list of people she claims to have "cursed" include Shelley Long, the Baltimore Colts, the New York Jets, Giuseppe Mangiacavallo (the boy who stood her up at the altar), and Leonard Barton (the girls' next-door neighbor who expressed disdain for Italians, played by Gordon Jump). She has threatened to cast a curse on Dorothy (before she found that it was prohibited by another arcane custom), and on Stan Zbornak. In the final season, Sophia spent two episodes doing odd tasks in order to save Dorothy from an ancient curse from a Sicilian Strega, or witch.

In the series finale of 'The Golden Girls', Sophia, after initially deciding to follow the now-married Dorothy out of the house, turns back and decides to stay with Rose and Blanche, which sets up the transition to 'The Golden Palace'. When Rose, Blanche, and Sophia invest in a hotel, Sophia is installed as one of the two chefs, specializing in Italian cuisine while the hotel's previous chef, Chuy Castillos (Cheech Marin), handles Mexican food.

Sophia begins to show signs of senile dementia, usually in comical situations (for instance, she is shown to be standing still and apparently unconscious while attempting to operate a vacuum cleaner), and her bluntness is toned down to a certain extent. In the episode "One Angry Stan" she is the only one to witness Stanley Zbornak after he fakes his death to avoid tax troubles; the fact that no one else sees Stan in these episodes (he ducks out of sight whenever someone else enters the room), coupled with Sophia's increased senility, make it unclear whether or not Stan is really alive or if Sophia is hallucinating Stan's appearance.

After the events of 'The Golden Palace' (which ended without a series finale), Sophia returns to the Shady Pines nursing home, joining the cast of 'Empty Nest'.

Outside 'The Golden Girls', Sophia appears on two episodes of 'Empty Nest' ("Libby's Gift" and "Windy") before becoming a regular for the final two seasons. She also appears on the 'Blossom' episode "I Ain't Got No Buddy" and the 'Nurses' episode "Temporary Setbacks".

Here are the shows which qualifies Sophia to be in the TVXOHOF:

The Golden Girls
Sophia Petrillo
177 episodes

Empty Nest
Sophia Petrillo
52 episodes

The Earth Day Special
Sophia Petrillo

- I Ain't Got No Buddy (1991)
Sophia Petrillo

This might have been a dream sequence.

- Temporary Setbacks (1993)
Sophia Petrillo

The Golden Palace
Sophia Petrillo
24 episodes

Ladies Man
- Romance (2000) 
Sophia Gates

In the last episode of the first season, Estelle Getty showed up as "Sophia Gates". 

According to the IMDb:
Reunites former 'The Golden Girls' (1985)/ 'The Golden Palace' (1992) co-stars: Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty. Only Getty portrays her old "Golden" character, however.

It had been seven years since she was seen in Toobworld.  Her second husband, Max Weinstock, probably died a decade earlier.  So "it's poss'ble, just poss'ble", that she remarried... to a man named Gates.  (Betty White played Alfred Molina's mother throughout the series.  And Rue McClanahan played Aunt Lou in this episode.)

But the gigolo played by George Hamilton thought she was Bill Gates' mother.  Passing herself off as such could have been a sign of her growing dementia.  Or she could be a totally different character, a con artist. (The show was taking place in Los Angeles, after all, the other side of the country from Miami.)

For now, I'll leave it as a possibility that she was Sophia Petrillo.  It's not like this episode is necessary for her inclusion in the Hall.

Welcome aboard, Sophia!  And Happy Halloween!

Can we trust you in making a speech without getting nasty?

I guess not....

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


From the Associated Press:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Loretta Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner’s daughter whose frank songs about life and love as a woman in Appalachia pulled her out of poverty and made her a pillar of country music, has died. She was 90.

In a statement provided to The Associated Press, Lynn’s family said she died Tuesday at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” the family said in a statement. They asked for privacy as they grieve and said a memorial will be announced later.

Lynn already had four children before launching her career in the early 1960s, and her songs reflected her pride in her rural Kentucky background.

From Wikipedia:
Loretta Lynn (née Webb; April 14, 1932 – October 4, 2022) was an American singer-songwriter. In a career which spanned six decades in country music, Lynn released multiple gold albums. She had hits such as "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)", "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)", "One's on the Way", "Fist City", and "Coal Miner's Daughter". In 1980, the film Coal Miner's Daughter was made based on her life.

Lynn received many awards and other accolades for her groundbreaking role in country music, including awards from both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music as a duet partner and an individual artist. She was nominated 18 times for a Grammy Award, and won three times. As of 2022, Lynn was the most awarded female country recording artist, and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade (1970s). Lynn scored 24 No. 1 hit singles and 11 number one albums. She ended 57 years of touring on the road after she suffered a stroke in 2017 and then broke her hip in 2018.

If the Television Crossover Hall of Fame had looser standards (than it already has), she could make it into the Hall on just appearances on talk shows and variety programs alone.  And that wouldn’t even be on a national level; there would be so many from regional television centered around Nashville.

But Ms. Lynn’s “televersion”, the Loretta Lynn who existed in Earth Prime-Time rather than just Earth Prime, qualifies for membership thanks to appearances on a game show whose televersion is already a member of the TVXOHOF and for her association with the Muppets, as well as trips through Lanford, Ohio and Hazzard County….


Here are the credits which gained her access into the Hall of Fame:

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
17 episodes (1973-1989)
Self - Musical Guest

From Yahoo! Entertainment:
Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment in 2018, [Sissy] Spacek discussed how she nearly turned down the opportunity to play Lynn in Michael Apted's much-loved film, which also starred Tommy Lee Jones and Beverly D'Angelo. "Loretta would go on Johnny Carson all the time saying, 'Sissy Spacek is gonna play me!'" recalled the actress.

1] Johnny Carson’s televersion, as well as his televersion of ‘The Tonight Show’ are members of the TVXOHOF.

2] I don't know why, but I can't find any pictures of Ms. Lynn with Carson....

The Muppet Show
- Loretta Lynn (1978)
... Self - Special Guest Star

With the regular theater being fumigated, Kermit and the gang have to stage the show at an active train station.

The Hollywood Squares (Daytime)
1976, 1978
At least six episodes
Self – Panelist

George Burns In Nashville?

This variety special gets a mention because of the legendary headliner’s standing as one of the original inductees into the TVXOHOF.

The Dukes of Hazzard
- Find Loretta Lynn (1980)
... Self

While stopped at the Boar's Nest, Loretta Lynn is kidnapped by a trio who want her to offer tips about breaking into the music business.

Sesame Street
- Big Bird and the Stop Sign (1985)
... Self

For Sesame Street, she sang "Count on Me" with the Count, which was also separately recorded for the 1981 album Sesame Country. She also appeared on the show performing "Songs Are For Singing" with the kids.

The New Hollywood Squares
April 1988, May 1989
Self - Panelist

- Lanford Daze (1993)
... Self

The Conners prepare for the 'Founding Fathers Day' celebration in Lanford. Roseanne sets up a food booth, where she meets the one and only, Loretta Lynn.

All of the synopses shared above are from the IMDb, except for the Yahoo! Entertainment excerpt and the 'Sesame Street' information which is from the Muppet Fandom wiki.

Here are two other members of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame with Loretta Lynn....

with Dean Martin

with Frank Sinatra

Good night and may God bless Loretta Lynn.  I’m sorry it was under these circumstances, but welcome to the Hall….