Saturday, March 19, 2005


This is an email that was sent out by my Iddiot friend Brian-El, who tried out for 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' last year and invited me along to watch two of the tapings later that afternoon.

Here's a note I sent to a bunch of folks.

(Psssst...don't tellanyone...but Toby was in the audience, too--I couldn't see him from my seat, but I think he was sitting in the top row, just TV left of Meredith Viera's seat...)
Just a reminder (or notice) for those who may want one: the two shows of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire for which I was in the audience are due to be broadcast this Thursday and Friday, March 24 and 25. However, if it'syour local CBS affiliate that carries the show, it may be pre-empted or bumped to a late-late night slot by NCAA basketball.
I estimate the chance of actually being able to see me in the audience on anything less than a 60" TV as being about 35%.

Toby here, again. I'm thinking the chances of seeing me might be pretty good. I was directly behind Meredith, but up in the last row. I plan on taping it and checking it out and will let you know if I was able to see either me or Brian.

(For those in the NYC area, the show airs at 12:30 pm on WABC-7.)

77th 4 "6"

At 4:31 am on the morning of March 19th, 1928, (at least according to the files kept by "The Village"), a former secret agent was born. His captors had given him a number - Six - and taken
away his name, but reliable sources are convinced that his true identity was as NATO agent John Drake.

By an amazing "coincidence", an actor by the name of Patrick McGoohan was also born on that date; probably at that same time.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to say "Happy Birthday" both to my favorite TV character of all time, Number Six, and to one of my all-time favorite actors, Patrick McGoohan.

I'm sure they'll both understand if I wish them only "Happy Birthday", and NOT "Many Happy Returns"!


Friday, March 18, 2005


There's been a lot of online speculation as to who has been cast to play Catherine Willow's mom on an episode of 'CSI' to air during May Sweeps.

TV Guide said a deal was being worked out to get someone who has 2 Academy Award noms and five Golden Globes. Now, they probably thought that was vague enough for a blind item, but perhaps they forgot that sites like the contains such information as "awards & nominations". Then it's just a matter of searching through it for the right criteria.

And someone does pass muster for the information, and who does have enough of a resemblance to actress Marg Helgenberger to be accepted as being related to Catherine. (Not that such concerns ever were given priority in casting before, but it's nice that more often than not nowadays showrunners are thinking in terms of tele-genetics.)

So don't be surprised if they land Ann Margaret to assay the role.

While thinking upon this casting coup, I started wondering about family ties for other TV characters, and particularly for those I'm especially keen on.

One of these would be Dr. Gregory House, of 'House' on FOX.

Although the role is played by British comic actor Hugh Laurie, House is being presented as an American. Hugh Laurie has assumed a very convincing mid-Atlantic accent and to this untrained ear, it appears that he's pulling it off.

(Unlike poor Mark Addy on 'Standing Still'. His Brit roots slip through on occasion and to top it off, he's probably trying for a Queens, NY accent to boot.)

We don't know much yet about the background of Dr. House. He's hooked on Vicodin because of debilitating leg injury for which he needs the assistance of a cane. And from a recent snippet of dialogue, it's possible that he had been shot.

Otherwise we don't know much else. So in casting actors to play his father, we're left with a pretty empty canvas to fill.

That's not the case for the ex-husband of Kate Harper on 'The West Wing'. We've never met him, but we know he'll have to be tall, balding, and have a Dick Van Dyke nose. Pretty tall order for the casting agent, unless they already had somebody in mind for the role when the description of her ex-husband was written.

And speaking of Dick Van Dyke, that's my suggestion for the role of Dr. House's father, should ever the need for him to be presented on the show arises. He's of the right age to play the father of a man in his mid-forties, and both Van Dyke and Laurie share a long-faced lankiness, right down to the melted bob of a tip to the nose. Any differences that melt the complete similarity between the two can be splained away by the input of genetic junk from the mother.

And who might play Dr. House's mother? Actually, I'm not that all interested. I would just like to see Dick Van Dyke in the role of his father. And why? Because this is a blog dedicated to Toobworld, my students. What I actually want is more than just Dick Van Dyke playing House's father.....

I want Dick Van Dyke playing House's father as Dr. Mark Sloan!

That's right - I think a link can be made between the shows 'House' and 'Diagnosis Murder' by having Van Dyke reprise his role as Mark Sloan one last time. Crossing network borders shouldn't be a problem. Just last week Winslow High School Principal Steven Harper, formerly on FOX's 'Boston Public', showed up in a Boston courtroom on an episode of 'Boston Legal' on ABC. Alan Brady ('The Dick Van Dyke Show' - CBS) showed up in 'Mad About You' on NBC. Professor Kingsfield of 'The Paper Chase' (CBS and Showtime) appeared in an episode of 'The Associates' on ABC.

And the master of the border crossings is Detective John Munch of 'Homicide: Life On The Street' and 'Law & Order: SVU'. Not only is he the heir presumptive to the throne of Crossover King, but two of his appearances have been on other networks - in an episode of 'The X-Files' on FOX, and in the second episode of the very short-lived 'The Beat' on UPN.

And the fact that both shows came from different production companies shouldn't be much of a hassle. The NYC cops of 'Law & Order' never had that type of interference from the Powers That Be when working with the Baltimore cops of 'Homicide: Life On The Street'. Who writes out their checks never was a concern when Jessica Fletcher teamed up with Thomas Magnum to solve a murder in Hawaii during a crossover between 'Murder, She Wrote' and 'Magnum, P.I.'.

And once again we go to Detective Munch as an example for this as well with all of his crossovers.

So from a production viewpoint, obstacles could be smoothed over. It's from the inner reality of the plotline that we might face a few arguments.

Most of all, it's the fact that there was never any mention of a second son for Dr. Mark Sloan in all the years 'Diagnosis Murder' was on the air. He had two children - Steve Sloan, a Los Angeles police detective who often worked with his dad in solving cases; and a daughter who was tragically murdered.

Added to this is the obvious difference in their last names - Sloan and House.

I'm not the only one who can see the obvious answer, right?

Greg House is the illegitimate son of Mark Sloan.

The days when our TV heroes were cast as exemplars of virtue are long gone. Nowadays they have flaws, and foibles, and failings - they are the F Troop. They make mistakes in Life, but eventually they admit to them and they rise above them. (Unless of course we're talking about Detective Vic Mackey of 'The Shield'.) That's what makes them human, what makes them real. And what makes them interesting to watch week after week.

Having been the bastard son of a noted crime-solving doctor on the West Coast might be a great splainin for some of Dr. House's acerbic attitude towards the rest of the world at large. And a chance to rectify that situation with a renewed relationship with the father he never knew might provide for as many episodes as they wanted to run with it; perhaps a once-a-year type of reunion.

And nothing says they HAVE to iron out all their differences. After all, we don't want House becoming all sweetness and light - that's not why he's become such an interesting character for the audience.

So that's my idea. Cast Dick Van Dyke as the father of Dr. Greg House on 'House'. And pull a few strings with Lee Goldberg to get him cast to play the role as Dr. Mark Sloan. And in doing so, we can then add 'House' to 'Jake And The Fatman', 'Mannix', 'Matlock', and 'Mission: Impossible' as shows with links to 'Diagnosis Murder'.

I'm throwing it out there free of charge; putting it into print that I wouldn't be looking for any monetary remuneration for the idea, O Powers That Be. I'll be happy with just getting the crossover link to add to the TV Universe.


Thursday, March 17, 2005


Zonks should be self-explanatory by now, but I realize not everybody who stumbles across this site are familiar with it at all.

Zonks are scenes, statements, actual TV clips from other shows which poke holes in the integrity of the TV Universe by referring to other TV shows as being TV shows, rather than as part of the same world.

Every time a TV character makes mention of something that once happened on 'Star Trek', I want to set my phaser on "kill"! The entire 'Star Trek' franchise should be about four hundred years into the future time-line of that other show.

So anyway, that's a Zonk - when one show mentions another show as a TV show when in fact they should be sharing the same dimension.

In my opinion, the shows most cited in Zonks would be 'Star Trek', 'The Twilight Zone', and 'Gilligan's Island'. And it's from that last example we get our latest, best example for this week's Zonk:

"Do you ever watch 'Gilligan's Island' reruns and really really believe they're going to get off the island THIS time?"
- Dr. Eric Foreman


Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Last week we looked at the (possible) genealogical link between 'Boston Legal' and 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' - that two characters played by Candice Bergen were in fact twin sisters.

This week, we're riding that same theme train. This time, the current character whose roots we're researching is "Clown", the dying funnyman who has an ironclad lease to live in the closet of Marni Fliss on 'Committed'.

But his twin isn't on any current show. In fact, his twin no longer resides anywhere in Toobworld. Unlike his lookalike, this Poston role has moved beyond "dying".

Back in 1993, a book editor named Martin Tupper was making a videotape of his son Jeremy. But he didn't realize at the time that he was also recording an oral sex transaction in an alley between a prostitute and and an older man named Sidney Barish.

Barish was better known to the public as "Uncle Bouncy", a beloved kiddie TV show host.
Tupper tried to do the right thing and give the tape to Barish, but the low-rung celebrity treated him like dirt, spewing him with a foul-mouthed tirade.

Understandably, Martin decided to get even by selling the tape to his best friend, talk show host Eddie Charles who eagerly featured it on his program. But on the day that the show aired, Sidney jumped to his death.

You can pretty much guess the "IRONY": Uncle Bouncy didn't bounce. It probably made a great 'Deadline' headline for the New York Ledger.
['Dream On']

Now, crackpot conspiracy nuts 'The Lone Gunmen' might have claimed at this point that "Uncle Bouncy" wasn't dead; that in fact he had faked his suicide.

But there was a body, you say. The daughter of Sidney Barish showed up and identified it, and then sued Martin Tupper for causing her father's death. But if he did fake it and then went into hiding, it would certainly explain why he was now living in a closet.

Even so, where did he get the body? Well, let's say he had a twin brother...... Okay, that's about enough of the "Dead Ringer" rip-off.

Let's say he did have a twin brother; someone who also became a clown for a living and even had his own TV show. But his twin brother's name was Fred Tobolowsky. ('The Lone Gunmen')

Famous siblings with different last names? We have Real World precedent: James Arness and Peter Graves, and Olivia DeHavilland and Joan Fontaine.

The original family name most likely was Tobalowsky. And Fred probably found fame first, adapting the family name for his moniker of "Cap'n Toby". Sidney, not wanting to reside in his brother's shadow, changed his name to Barish.

(Perhaps it was their mother's maiden name; and then perhaps a family tie to the Barishes of 'Flying Blind'?)

Fred Tobalowsky had his own run-in with the law; being accused by the government to be a spy for the Chinese. (It didn't help that his wife was of Chinese descent.) But thanks to the perseverance of long-time fan Langley, his innocence was proven. ('The Lone Gunmen')

It could be that the incident caused a decided strain on his marriage and so he and his Chinese wife soon after divorced in 2001. Still bearing the pain of his twin brother committing suicide nearly a decade before, it could be that Fred Tobalowsky decided to turn away from the world at large after his divorce.

Dropping all mementos of his former life - including his own name, - he now became only known as "Clown" and took up the hermitic life in the closet of Marni Fliss.

There are a lot of other Tom Poston characters in the TV Universe, but the rest of them would most likely be victims of "urichosis" - they just happen to look alike to us, but not to each other (as a juror once said on 'All In The Family').

One of these would be Cliff "The Peeper" Murdoch who was an old college buddy of Dr. Bob Hartley of Chicago. ('The Bob Newhart Show') He turned out to be the inspiration for a character (George Utley) in a very extended dream sequence that Dr. Hartley had after eating Japanese food. ('Newhart')

But there is one other Toobworld character of Tom Poston's we should mention: The Capital City Goofball. He was a minor league baseball team mascot found in the Tooniverse.

It just might be that when we met the Goofball in an episode of 'The Simpsons' back in 1990, he was in fact either Fred Tobalowsky or Sidney Barish, making a few extra bucks as an anonymous team mascot who ended up in a scuffle with Homer Simpson.

It might seem like I put waaaaay too much thought into all of this, but then... I'm a big fan of Tom Poston. One might say I'm even a disciple of Tom Poston, a description for which a "sniglet" has been coined:


If I made a movie of my life as of right now, I'd like Tom Poston to play my Dad. Of course, sadly, it would have to be a fantasy, as my Dad's been gone from the Real World since 1993.

But then in the TV Universe, everybody's life is a fantasy, so why not mine?


Tuesday, March 15, 2005



David E. Kelley has done it again!

Just last night he had a character from one of his shows appear on one of the other ones.

Big deal, you might say. Dick Wolf does that all the time with the shows in the 'Law & Order' franchise. ('Law & Order', 'L&O: SVU', 'L&O: Criminal Intent', and the latest, 'L&O: Trial By Jury') He even imported one of his regular characters, John Munch, from another production company's show - 'Homicide: Life On The Street'.

If only he had one of those characters pop in to the newspaper offices on 'Deadline', perhaps that show might have succeeded.

But there's a major difference between DEK and Dick in that all of the 'Law & Order' shows are on the same network. Kelley has had crossovers between his shows on competing networks. The most famous example is that of the 'Ally McBeal' (FOX)/'The Practice' (ABC) crossover. That really jump-started the ABC drama which had been struggling a bit before that. And then there was the crossover between 'The Practice' and the other FOX DEK drama, 'Boston Public'.

But last night Mr. Kelley topped himself with the appearance of Winslow High School Principal Steven Harper of 'Boston Public' on ABC's 'Boston Legal'.

Since 'Boston Legal' is a spin-off from 'The Practice', one might have thought this to be a case of "been there done that" rather than a "Shore Thing". However, there was a difference - 'Boston Public' is no longer on the air; it was cancelled last season by FOX.

From a lot of the online speculation which I read before the episode aired, people were hoping that the crossover would bring some kind of closure to 'Boston Public'. But instead, the show followed a basic tenet of Toobworld - there IS life after prime time. Just because 'Boston Public' was cancelled, that doesn't mean everyday life at Winslow High School came to a complete stop.

And such was the case here. A high school student - who looked like a potential member of the Log Cabin Republicans, (Sorry, kid.) - sued the school for violating his First Amendment rights by blocking access to the FOX news channel on the school's TVs.

(FOX wasn't mentioned by name, but it was obviously the target - the network's laughable slogan of "Fair and Balanced" was cited and clips from the documentary "OutFOXed" were shown in court, featuring interviews with several former members of the FOX News staff. So in a way, this could be considered a three-way crossover.)

I think Kelley's a genius and he knows how to play to a plotline's strengths. This wasn't even the main thrust of the episode - another case involving an aged lawyer wanting to be cryogenically preserved got the top spot - and it didn't get showcased during the critical February sweeps period. Like I said, it was a case of Life Goes On in Toobworld, and perhaps someday another regular from 'Boston Public' might make an appearance on 'Boston Legal'.

In fact, here's hoping that one day we'll see characters from 'The Practice' come back home (as it were) to tangle once again with Alan Shore. And why not 'Ally McBeal' herself? In fact, I'd like to see Kelley and Robert Downey Jr. reconcile so that Larry Paul might one day come face to face with Alan as his courtroom antagonist.

And it doesn't have to stop there. DEK could thumb his nose at his critics and have a trio of brothers come down to Beantown from Poland, New Hampshire, for an episode. Maybe there's a doctor who used to work for Chicago Hope now practicing medicine at St. Eligius? (We already know there were at least two crossover references between 'Chicago Hope' and 'St. Elsewhere'.)

And why can't Denny Crane mention as a former mentor Judge Henry Bone of Rome, Wisconsin, perhaps in a salute to his passing? ('Picket Fences')

As a Toobworld Caretaker, I could probably make the connections already. But I'm greedy. I'd like to see them played out for all the Real World to see!


Monday, March 14, 2005


In the great fan forum for this 'Columbo' fansite - - a regular poster by the screen name of Headache2112 had this to say about the new DVD release of the Lieutenant's second season:

Subject: UFO in TMCG

Name: Headache2112

Date Posted: Mar 10, 05 - 4:05 PM


Get out those new Columbo Season 2 DVDs and check this out!Something which can be seen quite clearly that I've not seen before on my old VHS copies. It happens in the episode, "The Most Crucial Game". Columbo and the private investigator, Ralph Dobbs are standing on the pier at the oceanside hot dog stand. The ocean is behind them. Ralph is on the left of the screen, Columbo is on the right. As the two talk, way out in the distance, up in the sky, a UFO SUDDENLY APPEARS!I
ain't kidding! Right smack in the middle of the frame, up at the top of the picture. One moment, there's nothing there. The next, a silver UFO appears and slowly moves to the right of the screen, over Columbo's head. As it moves it suddenly grows much brighter and then VANISHES!

The UFO doesn't "enter" the frame from the left, or "exit" the frame to the right. It suddenly appears in the middle of the frame, moves to the right of the frame, but completely and utterly disappears before getting all the way to the right.

The crisp and clear pictures of these new DVDs has brought forth a most CHILLING and possibly HORRIFIC extraterrestrial siting unknown up to now! Where are Mulder and Scully when they're most needed!
I like that last bit; Headache2112 is a Toobworlder at heart!

Others in the group have backed up the claim, and some of them have pointed out that you don't even need the DVD's clarity to see it. Videotapes recorded from broadcast also show the UFO.

So is it a case worthy of an X-File investigation by Arthur Dales, Mulder's predecessor in the department?

As it happened back in the early seventies, THEN at the very least Dales' lookalike, Carl Kolchak should have been checking it out for a newspaper story!!!!!