Tuesday, October 5, 2021

TVXOHOF, OCTOBER, 2021 - THING T. THING


For October, the Television Crossover Hall of Fame is returning to its 2021 theme after a short hiatus.  There are only three months left but we have five more inductions to make and three of them deal with the theme of ‘The Addams Family’.

The TVXOHOF has already welcomed Uncle Fester, Morticia, Puggsley and Wednesday into the Hall.  For this month, we’re adding an employee of the Addams Family, one who is fitting for the month of October….

THING

From Wikipedia:
Thing T. Thing, often referred to as just Thing, is a fictional character in ‘The Addams Family’ series. Thing was originally conceived as a whole creature (always seen in the background watching the family) that was too horrible to see in person. The only part of it that was tolerable was its human hand (this can be seen in the 1964 television series). The Addamses called it "Thing" because it was something that could not be identified. Thing was changed to a disembodied hand for the 1991 and 1993 Addams Family films, a depiction retained throughout subsequent adaptations.


In the 1960s television series, Thing—strictly speaking, a disembodied forearm, since it occasionally emerged from its box at near-elbow length—was usually played by Ted Cassidy, who also played the lugubrious butler Lurch. The two characters occasionally appeared in the same scene (in which case Thing would be played by a crew member, notably assistant director Jack Voglin). Thing customarily emerged from a series of boxes, one in each room in the Addams' mansion, and the mailbox outside. It occasionally emerged from behind a curtain, within a plant pot, the family wall safe, or elsewhere.


Since Cassidy was 6' 9" (2.06 m) tall, using him to depict Thing caused great technical difficulties on the set of ‘The Addams Family’. In many scenes he lay on his back on a wheeled trolley, below the line of sight of the cameras, and inserted his arm through the bottom of the box. Thing was usually a right hand, but Cassidy sometimes played it as left, simply to see if anyone would notice. Thing is credited as "Itself" at the end of each episode.


Thing's many useful roles included fetching the mail, handing cigars to Gomez Addams and then lighting them, changing the channel on the Addams TV set, holding Morticia Addams's wool while she knits, turning grapes into wine in under a single minute, and turning over records on the phonograph (particularly when Gomez and Morticia dance the tango). It accompanies the family on drives by riding in the glove compartment, and in one episode, where Gomez appears in court, it emerged from Gomez's briefcase. Thing and Grandmama are fond of arm-wrestling. In a flashback episode on how Gomez and Morticia met, it is revealed that Thing has been with the Addams family since Gomez himself was a child, suggesting Thing is the son of an earlier generation of hand-servants.


Morticia is always very appreciative of Thing's services, and her frequent "Thank you, Thing" is one of the best known lines of the series; Wednesday takes after her mother in courteously expressing gratitude for Thing's assistance, also. Thing cannot talk, but it does sometimes snap its fingers to attract attention, and is also able to communicate by signaling in Morse code, writing, or with the help of the manual alphabet. This can be very disconcerting to visitors to the Addams' mansion; in a running gag in some episodes, a visitor to the Addams home, profusely grateful for some kindness of the Addamses', enthusiastically shakes hands with everyone present—"Thank you, Mr. Addams! Thank you, Mrs. Addams!"—and is then offered a handshake by Thing. "And thank you..." begins the visitor, before realizing who and what he has been confronted with, recoiling in inarticulate shock, and fleeing the premises.


In one episode, Morticia gets goosed, and initially suspects Thing, who had been nearby moments earlier. However, Gomez immediately appears and admits responsibility, explaining: "Thing just likes to hold hands".

THING WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND, LADYFINGERS

Thing is a multiversal, appearing in three TV series, one of which was from the Tooniverse (The original is in the main Toobworld.), the Halloween reunion TV movie, an episode of ‘Scooby Doo, Where Are You?’, four movies (two each in two different Cineverses), and a Broadway play.




There’s another Thing out there, from a dimension in which there is only photographic evidence – the Photoshop Universe. I can’t show you one particular example, but we’re dealing with a living hand! However, I think you can figure out what Thing T. Thing is doing in that picture….


Welcome, Thing!


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

TVXOHOF: SEPTEMBER, 2021 - ALLAN BURNS, CO-CREATOR OF THE MTM EMPIRE



This year has been hard on the legacy of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’, with the loss of three cast members – Cloris Leachman in January, Gavin MacLeod in May, and Ed Asner in August.  Basically, it was one for every season so far – Winter, Spring, and Summer - and we still have Autumn to go. (NOT naming names!)

Ms. Leachman made it into the Hall this year for playing Phyllis, and MacLeod joined for playing Captain Stuebing from ‘The Love Boat’.  (Just as Murray Slaughter never won a Teddy Award, MacLeod’s portrayal of Murray falls short of qualifying for TVXOHOF membership.)  And for playing Lou Grant, Ed Asner has been in the Hall since March of 2007.  (Also in the Hall already are Rhoda Morgenstern Girard, Ted Baxter, Georgette Franklin Baxter, and of course, Mary Richards.)


But they weren’t the only people connected to the series who passed away this year.  One of the two men who created the series, Allan Burns, also died in January.

In September, the TVXOHOF always inducts somebody from behind the scenes who has been responsible for expanding the TV Universe.  Mr. Burns was always in the running and came close last year as the Hall completed its inductions of ‘The Munsters’ cast because his role as one of the co-creators he helped to foment the show’s spread into other dimensions with new concept variants.  And with Burns having created that show as well….  But we went with Lorne Michaels for his contributions to Skitlandia.  So this year is more meaningful….

ALLAN BURNS

From Wikipedia:
Allan Pennington Burns (May 18, 1935 – January 30, 2021) was an American screenwriter and television producer. He was best known for creating and writing for the television sitcom ‘The Munsters’ as well as ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and ‘Rhoda’, both of which he created and wrote for alongside James L. Brooks.


Burns began a partnership with James L. Brooks in 1969 after being impressed with the television pilot for Brooks's show ‘Room 22’. Burns joined the ‘Room 222’ writing staff and later produced the series.


After ‘Room 222’, television executive Grant Tinker hired Brooks and Burns to develop a television series for CBS starring Mary Tyler Moore. In 1970, ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ premiered and became a critically acclaimed series, spawning spin-off series such as ‘Lou Grant’ and ‘Rhoda’. Brooks and Burns also created the 1974 situation comedy ‘Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers’. Burns also worked as a writer and producer on the shows ‘FM’, ‘The Duck Factory’, ‘Eisenhower and Lutz’, and ‘Cutters’.


These are the TV series connected to ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’  which made Allan Burns eligible for the award.

WRITER/CREATOR

Lou Grant
(created by - 114 episodes, 1977 - 1982)
(written by - 1 episode, 1980)
114 episodes

Rhoda
(created by - 109 episodes, 1974 - 1978)
(written by - 1 episode, 1974)
109 episodes

The Mary Tyler Moore Show
(created by - 168 episodes, 1970 - 1977)
(written by - 8 episodes, 1970 - 1977)
168 episodes

1975-1977
Phyllis  
(based on a character created by - 48 episodes)
48 episodes

PRODUCER

Lou Grant
(executive producer - 22 episodes)
22 episodes

The Mary Tyler Moore Show
(executive producer - 162 episodes, 1970 - 1977)
(producer - 6 episodes, 1970)
168 episodes

Rhoda
(executive producer - 72 episodes)
72 episodes

And he also expanded the MTM empire into the Tooniverse:

1980
Carlton Your Doorman
(1980 TV Movie)
(created the character)

If it weren’t for him and Brooks, Skitlandia wouldn’t have had their own versions of WJM-TV in that dimension.

Here’s a salute to you, Allan Burns, as you enter the Television Crossover Hall of Fame....



Monday, August 9, 2021

MONDAY MEMORIAL TVXOHOF TRIBUTE - DUSTY HILL, ZZ TOP, and ZZ TOP'S GHOSTLY TRIO


Thankfully, there haven’t been many memorial inductions into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame so far this year.  (I hope I haven’t jinxed things; we’ve still got 4½ months to go.)

But unfortunately, we have another entry, a member of the League of Themselves.  (There have been six other memorial tributes so far this year – three as their characters, and the other half who are also from the League of Themselves.

But today we honor a legendary Bassist, who had two incarnations in Toobworld….

DUSTY HILL
of ZZ Top
[who are also being inducted]

From Wikipedia:
Joe Michael "Dusty" Hill (May 19, 1949 – July 28, 2021) was an American musician who was the bassist of the rock band ZZ Top. He also sang lead and backing vocals, and played keyboards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of ZZ Top in 2004. Hill played with the band for over 50 years; after his death, he was replaced by the band's longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis, in line with Hill's wishes.




Hill's on-screen appearances include Back to the Future Part III, Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme, the July 20, 2009 episode of WWE Raw and Deadwood, and as himself in the 11th-season episode of King of the Hill, "Hank Gets Dusted", in which Hank Hill is said to be Dusty's cousin.  He also made an appearance on The Drew Carey Show as himself auditioning for a spot in Drew's band, but was rejected because of his attachment to his trademark beard which he refers to as a 'Texas Goatee'.

Hill is a multidimensional member of the League of Themselves, having appeared in the main Toobworld and in the Tooniverse.

THE MAIN TOOBWORLD




The Drew Carey Show
- In Ramada Da Vida (1998)
... Dusty Hill



From the IMDb:
Drew is in charge of entertaining a group of investors from Vietnam. When Drew's band plays for the investors at a local hotel, the manager asks them to replace the regular hotel band. Drew is torn whether to focus on his career at the store or become a full-time musician.

The musicians that audition for "lounge" band "The Horn Dogs" are (not necessarily in order): Slash (GUNS & ROSES, etc.); Rick Nielsen (CHEAP TRICK, etc.); Matthew Sweet (solo, etc.); Joey Ramone (The RAMONES); Dave Mustaine (MEGADEATH, etc.); Dusty Hill (ZZ TOP); the legendary Roy Clark; Lisa Loeb (solo); Michael Stanley (solo); Johnny Laing (solo); and of course Joe Walsh (JAMES GANG, solo, The EAGLES, Ringo Starr All Star Revue, etc.)


As part of ZZ Top, Hill appeared in the following videos as themselves:


  • Sleeping Bag  
  • TV Dinners
  • I Gotsta Get Paid
  • Antenna Head
  • World of Swirl
  • Breakaway
  • Pincushion
  • Viva Las Vegas
  • Burger Man
  • My Head’s In Mississippi
  • Give It Up
  • Doubleback
  • Velcro Fly
  • Rough Boy
  • Stages
Each of those counts as a separate production, so they more than fulfill the quota needed for membership.

THE TOONIVERSE



King of the Hill
- Hank Gets Dusted (2007)
... Dusty Hill (voice)


From the IMDb:
Hank's cousin, ZZ Top's Dusty Hill, comes to Arlen and makes Hank the butt of all his jokes for his new reality television program.

Dale Gribble:
Remember how they tricked you into thinking that Tom Landry died?
Hank Hill:
Yeah, and then when he finally did die, I didn't believe it and I went to work anyway. I'm still mortified.

All three members of ZZ Top are also being inducted as the Ghosts who look like ZZ Top, who are seen in 3 videos and in a sitcom, all of which are in the main Toobworld:






The Videos:
  • Gimme All Your Lovin'
  • Sharp Dressed Man
  • Legs


Two and a Half Men
- Gumby with a Pokey (2010)
... Dusty Hill


From the IMDb:
Even insensitive Jake now commiserates with Charlie's post-Chelsea-gloom. Charlie wants tranquilizers, but the pharmacist arranges a prescription for pot. Judith's late grandpa left a valuable clock to Alan. Alan decides to go pick it up in Sacramento by car and taking Jake enables father-son quality time, but they have hardly anything in common except no future.


It is unclear right now as to whether or not Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard will be inducted as individuals or not.  I didn't want to do the research because I wanted to give Dusty his due.  But it didn't make sense not to pay tribute to the full band at this time, since Dusty Hill was being inducted for the same appearances.  It just happened that he had one extra....

Welcome to the Hall, Dusty Hill!  And the same goes for ZZ top as a whole and as a haunted trio....



Tuesday, August 3, 2021

TVXOHOF, JULY, 2021 - BRONCO LAYNE

 
In August, the Television Crossover Hall of Fame celebrates the TV Western, so the Addams Family theme is on hiatus for this month.

The TVXOHOF has had Bronco Layne in its sights for awhile, especially since he was involved in the first two most populated TV crossovers.  [More on that later.]

But interest in Bronco’s membership ramped up with the passing of Ty Hardin on August 3, 2017.  Even that date seemed like Destiny.  But for one reason or another, he kept missing the cut in the following years.  We’re not holding off any longer, however.  (It was tempting to wait another year to mark the 5th anniversary of his passing.  But the 4th anniversary works as a connection to The Numbers of ‘Lost’.)

And so, today the TVXOHOF welcomes its latest inductee…

BRONCO LAYNE

Wikipedia:
When Clint Walker walked out on his ABC series ‘Cheyenne’ in 1958 during a contract dispute with Warner Bros., Hardin got his big break. Warner bought out Hardin's contract from Paramount Studios and installed him into ‘Cheyenne’ for the remainder of the season, as the country cousin "Bronco Layne".


Walker and Warner Bros. came to terms after the season ended, but Hardin had made such a big hit on the show that Jack L. Warner gave him his own series, ‘Bronco’, under the ‘Cheyenne’ title. ‘Bronco’ alternated weeks with ‘Sugarfoot’ starring Will Hutchins, and ‘Cheyenne’ for four years. The series ran from 1958 to 1962.


‘Bronco’ is a Western series on ABC from 1958 through 1962. It was shown by the BBC in the United Kingdom. The program starred Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne, a former Confederate officer who wandered the Old West, meeting such well-known individuals as Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Theodore Roosevelt, Belle Starr, Cole Younger, [General William Tecumseh Sherman], and John Wesley Hardin.

At one point, Bronco & The Sugarfoot
even met Wyatt Earp!


According to the theme song, Bronco came from the Texas Panhandle, but episodes of the series are set throughout the West.


(I’m assuming his actual first name was never revealed.  If anyone in Team Toobworld knows otherwise, let me in on the secret.)

Apparently, Bronco Layne is the one cowpoke in the WB stable who had the most episodes in which he was shirtless.  I read through the IMDb episode summaries and somebody was keeping a tally of those episodes!


Here are the appearance which qualified Bronco Layne for membership in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame:


‘Bronco’
[Officially entitled ‘Cheyenne: Bronco’ or ‘The Cheyenne Show: Bronco.’ Only season 2 was called ‘Bronco’.]
68 episodes


Bronco Layne, Captain Christopher Colt,
and Tom Brewster's identical cousin, The Canary Kid

Sugarfoot
- Trial of the Canary Kid (1959)

Tom's Aunt Nancy begs him to defend his cousin---Abram Thomas, aka The Canary Kid, who's been charged with murder. Tom is reluctant, considering his past experiences with the Canary, until Aunt Nancy tells him that Canary's gang is holding a judge hostage and threatening to kill him if their leader isn't freed. Tom agrees to defend Canary, despite the judge's bias---and Canary's further shenanigans.



Warner Brothers loved doing crossovers between their shows. In addition to Hutchins, also appearing were Ty Hardin from 'Bronco' (1958), Peter Brown from 'Lawman' (1958), and Wayde Preston from 'Colt .45' (1957). This was second only to the "Hadley's Hunters" episode of 'Maverick' (1957) for most crossovers at one time.


O'Bservation - They even worked in a crossover with 'Maverick', when the Sheriff of Blanchard was seen putting up this Wanted poster....


O'Bservation - Also appearing in this episode was Adam West as Doc Holliday.  He played Holliday in episodes of two other WB TV series, 'Lawman' and 'Colt .45'.  Connecting three different TV series in the role should make Adam West's visage the official face of Doc Holliday in Toobworld.  This helps with a casting conundrum which I'll get to soon.  




Maverick
- Hadley's Hunters (1960)

A vainglorious sheriff gives Bart five days to track down a supposed stagecoach robber, Cherokee Dan Evans. Evans is innocent, and Bart has to figure out a way to avoid the bounty on his head if he fails.



Bart runs into nearly every major star on the Warner Brothers lot. He meets Will Hutchins from 'Sugarfoot' (1957), Clint Walker from 'Cheyenne' (1955), John Russell and Peter Brown from 'Lawman' (1958), Ty Hardin from 'Bronco' (1958) and Edd Byrnes from '77 Sunset Strip' (1958) (under a sign at the livery stable reading 77 Cherokee Strip). There is also a scene where Bart walks into an office. He finds a satchel on the desk, and a gunbelt hanging on the wall. This was a reference to 'Colt .45' (1957), which had just recently been canceled. Bits of their own TV themes play as they're shown on screen.


Sugarfoot
- Angel (1961)

Riding through Leadville, where a ruthless group of thugs has been forcing out or killing anyone who stakes out rival mine claims, Tom comes across a deaf-mute girl who's father has just been murdered by them. The killers think she can't identify them, but Toothy Thompson, who knows sign language, can communicate with her and finds out she can. Toothy and Tom are both deputized by the local sheriff, and Bronco Layne also arrives in town to help out.



Cheyenne
- Duel at Judas Basin (1961)

Cheyenne, Bronco Layne and Sugarfoot battle a trader suspected of selling guns to the Indians. Cheyenne and Sugarfoot work for Ian Stewart who buys an option for 10,000 acres but the trader wants to kill the sale due to its location.

Bronco Layne met plenty of historical figures, many of whom appeared in other TV shows.  This creates degrees of separation to connect Bronco to those other series.  Many of them were played by other actors in those other shows, especially Jesse James, Belle Starr, General Wallace, and even Edwin Booth.  The difference in their physical appearances could be attributed to a change in perspective, as they were being seen by other characters than Bronco Layne.

BRONCO WITH EDWIN BOOTH
GENERAL WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN
SITTING BULL

Among the historical characters he met:
  • Belle Starr in “Shadow of Jesse James” (Jeanne Cooper)
  • Jesse James in “Shadow of Jesse James” (James Coburn)
  • Cole Younger in “Shadow of Jesse James” (Richard Coogan)
  • Jim Younger in “Shadow of Jesse James” (James Westmoreland)
  • Bob Younger in “Shadow of Jesse James” (Bill Tennant)
  • John Wesley Hardin in “The Turning Point” (Scott Marlowe)
  • Edwin Booth in “Prince of Darkness” (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.)
  • Butch Cassidy in “The Equalizer” (Steve Brodie)
  • Billy Doolin in “The Equalizer” (Sheldon Allman)
  • General William Tecumseh Sherman (Frank Ferguson)
  • General George Meade in “Burning Springs” (Morris Ankrum)
  • Sitting Bull in “Payroll of the Dead” (Francis MacDonald)
  • John Tunstall in “Death of an Outlaw” (Alan Caillou)
  • Pat Garrett in “Death of an Outlaw” (Rhodes Reason)
  • General Lew Wallace in “Death of an Outlaw” (Forrest Lewis)
  • Billy the Kid in “Death of an Outlaw” (Stephen Joyce)
  • Billy the Kid in “The Soft Answer” (Ray Stricklyn)
  • Wild Bill Hickock in “Montana Passage” (Charles Cooper)
  • Wild Bill Hickock in “One Evening in Abilene” (Jack Cassidy)
With Billy the Kid and Wild Bill, the perspective of how they looked remained Bronco’s, but with them both being recastaways, another reason must be found to splain away why they looked so different from one episode to the next.  (ESPECIALLY with Wild Bill Hickock!)




For Hickock, it has to be that Bronco’s opinion of the man changed since the last time they met.  After the legendary lawman saved Bronco’s life, Bronco’s estimation of him improved significantly.


As for Billy the Kid, it could be that enough time had passed so that Bronco was hazy on precise details as to what he looked like.  (Not that there was much difference between the two actors playing the role.  It could be a matter of weight gain....)


Here’s another historical figure with some Toobworldian questions about him due to the actor cast:

O’Bservations:


1] Breck also played Teddy Roosevelt in an episode of ‘Sugarfoot’. Tom “Sugarfoot” Brewster is also in this episode.  I’m tempted to claim that both men were snookered by a man who made a living in impersonating famous people.  (He also passed himself off several times to Bart Maverick as Doc Holliday.)  


But I would have to see both of these Teddy episodes first, just in case there are other factors (aides from Washington, etc.) which confirm that he really was Roosevelt.  If that is the case, then this could be another case in which an historical figure’s appearance depends on the point of view of whoever is looking at him.  In which case, Bronco and the Sugarfoot were in agreement as to what Teddy Roosevelt looked like.  (I think it would be pushing credulity to claim that if Peter Breck was an imposter in all three shows, then he could have actually been Nick Barkley of ‘The Big Valley’.)


2] In “The Immovable Object”, Bronco is taking two wagons of Army supplies to the U.S. Army Engineering camp plus transporting the reporter Emmett Dawson, from the New York Chronicle.  As the New York Chronicle is in the TVXOHOF, that leads to a lot of other connections to Bronco Layne, with a few degrees of separation.


3] Gary Vinson played Jamie Ringgold in “Four Guns and a Prayer” and claimed that he was the son of Johnny Ringo.  I’ve read that in the Trueniverse, Ringo had no offspring.  But things can always be different in Toobworld regarding theories of relateeveety.  At any rate, more degrees of separation connect Bronco to other shows which featured Ringo.


4] Speaking of theories of relateeveety, it could be that Bronco was related to fellow Confederate veteran ‘Hondo’ Lane, despite the difference in the spellings of their surnames.


5] If Bronco Layne's age was comparable to Ty Hardin's, the actor who played him, then he must have been one of those teen boys who joined up with the Confederacy when they were underage.  Bronco was probably at best 21 years of age when the war ended in 1865.  That means that when the Northfield, Minnesota, bank robbery attempt took place, Bronco was about thirty.  If he lived as long as Ty Hardin himself, he died anywhere between 1929 and 1933....


At any rate, welcome to the Hall, Bronco Layne.  Try to keep your shirt on....


Whoa!  Just kidding!