Thursday, January 20, 2005


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Lamont Bentley, who was a regular in the 1990s sitcom "Moesha" and appeared frequently in television and movies, was killed in a car crash, his manager said yesterday.

Bentley, 31, played Hakeem Campbell, the longtime friend of pop singer Brandy's character, Moesha Mitchell, in the UPN sitcom. He also played the role of Hakeem in three episodes of the 'Moesha' spin-off 'The Parkers'. (The episodes were "Road Trip", "Scary Kim", and "There's A Shag".)

And in the 'Clueless' crossover episode ("Prom Misses, Prom Misses"), he also made the leap as Hakeem.

Somewhere down the road, Hakeem Campbell will be inducted into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005


On a recent episode of 'Alias' (in fact, the one which had a crossover with 'Lost'), the villain was known by the name of "Martin Bishop".

For all I know, he was using an alias as well. And if so, it helps illustrate that there is a difference between the movie and TV universes.

Certain movies are connected to the TV Universe, - spin-off franchises and maybe MAYBE a few remakes, - but for the most part, the so-called "Cineverse" is a fragmented series of alternate dimensions that would be impossible to gel into a cohesive whole.

More than likely, the Martin Bishop of 'Alias' took his nom de espionage from either one movie which was inspired by another, or from them both:

In "Sneakers", Robert Redford played Martin Bishop. But that's just an alias he had gone by for the last 20 years, since running from the authorities. He was wanted for hacking into things he wasn't supposed to, causing quite a bit of mischief in the name of his bleeding-heart causes.

He and his team of security experts regularly broke into high-security establishments to check for security holes, so that these places can keep bad guys with the same means out.

In "Three Days Of The Condor" (1975) which also starred Robert Redford, a CIA building was hit. Subsequently, a list of the casualties was displayed.... The final two names on the list being Martin and Bishop, which was Redford's alias in "Sneakers".

It could be that the Redford character in "Sneakers" saw his resemblance to the character played by Redford in "Three Days Of The Condor". Who knows? Doesn't matter to me; I work for Toobworld.

But the Martin Bishop of 'Alias' must have liked the connection when he saw both movies; he must have been a big fan of the spy genre in films to have noticed it.

Unfortunately - but only for him, - the name's mojo didn't translate to his own success in the field.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Three actors passed away in the last two weeks that made their mark in Toobworld......

First, comic Gene Baylos died at the age of 98. He was known at the Friar's Club as the comic's comic, but was never able to translate that to major success or recognition from the public.

He appeared in a few movies and on several TV variety shows of the sixties, but he is remembered here for being one of the first people to whom I applied the "By Any Other Name" theory.

In 1961 and 1963, Baylos played "Backdoor" Benny Harper on 'Car 54, Where Are You?'. He was a bookie and an ex-con and never seemed to remain on the straight and narrow. On his last appearance on the sitcom, Toody and Muldoon tried to help Benny by setting him up with a candy store. But he soon lapsed into old habits and used the place as a front for illicit activities.

In 1965, Gene Baylos made an appearance on 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' as the hobo who found the script for the next week's episode of 'The Alan Brady Show' at Grand Central Terminal. But instead of returning it for a small reward, he decided to hold it for ransom in exchange for 2500 dollars.

The character had no name; he's just referred to as "The First Hobo" or as "The Bum".

When I was first poring over episode guides in search of such mundane trivialities, it occurred to me that there was nothing really preventing me from saying both the Bum and Benny the Bookie were the same character.

It's not hard to believe that in 1963, Benny Harper was sent back to prison for a year or so because of his criminal activities at the candy store. And after a short sentence, he might have been returned to the outside world where he soon fell on hard times and had to live on the street.

I made such a notation in my first Tubeworld notebook and didn't do anything else with it at the time. But I did go on to apply that same kind of thinking to other shows in which I wanted to make connections, most notably with characters played by Michael Dunn so that in actuality they ALL were Dr. Miguelito Loveless.

For those movie fans who are rabid in their love for the silver screen, "Citizen Kane" is the film which reduces them to the fervor of Trekkies. Ruth Warrick was the last surviving member of the main cast (she played Emily Norton, the President's niece and Kane's first wife) and she passed away Saturday at the age of 88.

But as Phoebe English Tyler Wallingford Matthews Wallingford on 'All My Children', Ruth Warrick gained her greatest acclaim and renown from TV fans. She was with the show from the very beginning in 1970 and was still relatively active with it. (Only two weeks ago, she taped a special appearance for the show's upcoming anniversary.)

She also crossed over and took the character to 'Loving' for a time.

Now, if it turned out that she had any scenes with characters from either 'One Life To Live' or 'General Hospital' who might have appeared on either of her two soap operas, then I'd say Phoebe Tyler Wallinford deserves an eventual place of honor in the Crossover Hall of Fame. But we'll see.

She also played Hannah Cord, the Mrs. Danvers-like housekeeper for Martin on 'Peyton Place'. She returned to the role in the 1985 TV movie reunion. Again, she falls short of the minimum requirements for entry into the Hall, but she does have a distinction of playing two different roles in two different sets of shows.

So who knows? Maybe one day she'll be inducted in the birthday honors.....

A classic beauty from Hollywood's Golden Age, Ms. Mayo passed away at the age of 84. She starred in one of my favorite Bob Hope flicks, "The Princess And The Pirate" - now THERE'S a movie that would make a fine B'way musical!

On the soap opera 'Santa Barbara', she played a character named "Peaches DeLight". Man, how can you resist a great name like that? For me, that's right up there with "Pinky Likewise" from an episode of 'Burke's Law'.

But she made her mark in the framework of Toobworld more for playing herself. She did so twice in fictional settings: once on 'The Naked Truth' and then a few years earlier in 'Remington Steele'.

Teaming with Lloyd Nolan and Dorothy Lamour, who were also playing themselves, Ms. Mayo hired Remington and Laura to find out who was threatening them with bizarre fan mail. And when Nora Wilde's ex-husband announced that he was getting remarried, Ms. Mayo somehow got involved because Nora was convinced she had seen the future bride's face before.....

Thanks to her membership in the League of Themselves, 'Remington Steele' thus has a firm connection to the TV Universe. ('The Naked Truth' had plenty of connections to lock them both in.)

On a technicality, she also appeared as herself on the forerunner of 'The Ed Sullivan Show' - 'The Toast Of The Town'. More than likely she would have been one of those celebs who would be sitting in the audience and saluted by Ed from the stage.

Still, as 'The Ed Sullivan Show' served as an inspiration for many a plot point or joke in plenty of sixties sitcoms, I think the original should then be included as a legit thread in the Toobworld fabric.

They all played their parts on the world's stage, and now that they have made their exits, we salute them.

Be seeing you.


Monday, January 17, 2005


When two of the leading theorists of Toobworld discuss great matters of import, the cohesion of the TV Universe only becomes that much stronger.

Here's an email conversation I had with Hugh D regarding 'Star Trek' fandom within the "reality" of Toobworld:

Lost didn't zonk this time. In the very Friends episode you are thinking of, you'll remember that the reason they knew you had to pee on someone was because Chandler and Joey had seen a special on the Discovery Channel (as had Ross, who realized where the anecdote was going and exclaimed the ever intellectual "ewwww") which revealed this fact. I'm sure Joey Tribbiani and Hurley saw the same special.

And speaking of Joey, Brent Spiner was on last night's episode playing himself (which did prompt Star Trek references, of course).

Thanks for the input, can you tell me who got stung and who did the peeing?

Monica got stung. Joey was going to pee on her, but he was nervous and couldn't perform under pressure. Chandler stepped up. Part of the ongoing punchline for that episode was that Chandler kept asking Monica if she'd ever date him. She told him "you'll always be the guy who peed on me."

Do you remember the Night Court in which some Trekkies were taken to court after starting a fight at a convention over which was better, classic or Next Generation? They left the courtroom by energizing out of there on the transporter. I've tried to figure a way that could be used to cover the Trek zonks. They've got transporter technology, so perhaps they've travelled back in time and sold the stories of the 23rd/24th century to producers, so contemporary people know (of) it, but it also will occur in the future? Okay, just rambling.

I do remember the episode of "Nurses" in which a passel of Trekkies (they must have their own grouping name!) got food poisoning and ended up creating havoc around the nurses' station.

The Wonder Years dream, etc.

It could be those Trekkies on Night Court were fellow Saturnians, like the two old men (one of them the legendary Phil Leeds!) who took Bull with them back to their home planet.....

Little known fact, but Judge Stone's courtroom is one of the "nexus" points for crossovers. Back when DC Comics had their multiverse, there were certain points in the multiverse which seemed more fertile for interactions among different series, such as the Rock of Eternity. Some cities seemed to be strong for these interactions as well. In the televerse, one finds certain places are stronger than others, such as the corridors of St. Eligius Hospital, the alleyways of Sesame Street, or the world of the Electric Company. The halls of night justice are like this too. Even though only one legitimate crossover comes from Night Court (the pseudo-spinoff with My Two Dads), there are lots of small connections that can be made. Wile E. Coyote was once a defendant in a blackout, opening up a myriad of animated links, and another blackout gag featured Eugene Greytak as the Pope, a role he's also played in Naked Gun 33 1/3 (the cineverse take on Police Squad!), and on The Wayans Bros., Picket Fences, Golden Girls, Murphy Brown, and Just the Ten of Us, and I have a memory of an ad for Father Dowling Mysteries with him in it as well.

Final thought:
For the 'Trek' zonk/transporter conundrum, those particular 'Night Court' Trekkies might have had access to the matter transmitter technology which Dr. Westin was working on before it transformed him into 'The Invisible Man'.

And what do YOU think?