Saturday, April 9, 2005


Two new series have appeared in the TV Universe recently... but not in the main TV dimension. Both of them are remakes of shows that have already claimed their place in Earth Prime Time.

Usually, remakes are relegated to Earth Prime Time-Delay, but only one of these series will end up in that alternate dimension. We'll have to come up with a new classification for the other show's homeworld.

The shows? 'Little House On The Prairie' and 'Kojak'.

First, let's review the dimensional crap.....

Earth Prime - That's our Earth. The World We Live In. Reality. Some of you might be familiar with the concept. Earth Prime Time - The main TV Land. Here we call it Toobworld to give it our own brand. People from "Real Life" may appear in Toobworld, but you'll never see those fictional characters inhabiting our world. And if you do, seek help.

There are many off-shoots of Earth Prime Time; in fact, there are thousands. The premise is best splained by Quinn Mallory's prologue in every episode of 'Sliders':

"What if you could find brand new worlds right here on Earth where anything's possible? Same planet - different dimension."

Among the many dimensions we have to deal with in the Toobworld Dynamic (and the shows that are situated there) are:

The "Evil Mirror" Universe - featured in 'Star Trek', 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', and 'Blake's Seven' The

Tooniverse - For the most part, human cartoon characters are considered just the artistic representation of real human beings. Cartoon series like 'Futurama', 'The Critic', and 'Where's Huddles?' would be part of the main TV Universe.

But if the characters interact with talking humanoid animals, then they get tossed over to the Tooniverse. That's where you would find all the 'Scooby Doo' variations, 'Underdog', 'Wally Gator', 'Family Guy' and yes, even 'The Simpsons'. ('The Flintstones' would be an exception due to the fact that there were talking 'Dinosaurs!' on Earth Prime Time.)

Because of the difference as to who occupies the White House, shows like 'The West Wing', '24', and eventually 'Jack & Bobby' get their own TV dimensions. And at least on Earth Jed-Prime (for 'The West Wing'), there are other series which occupy the same dimension, among them 'Mr. Sterling' and 'Smallville'.

But for all of the many TV shows that are remakes of earlier series, they are placed in a dimension we have dubbed Earth Prime Time-Delay.. They are looked upon as being the same shows, but occurring later in the timeline than the originals over in the main TV Universe.

For example - 'Dark Shadows', 'The New Addams Family', '87th Precinct'.

Apparently, in quantum physics, there is no such thing as absolute time. There is only relative time which is relative to the location and the speed of the observer.

So, although the stories of the '87th Precinct' might have taken place in the early 1960s, new viewers in the 1990s saw the same characters - but as they now acted and looked for that time period. As the audience changed and the writing matured, so did the texture of the show, making it impossible to keep on the same world where once we saw it.

'Star Trek' has a term for this type of splainin, you know. Techno-babble.

Of course that rule could be absolved for shows set in the far past, like those about Zorro, Sherlock Holmes, and Robin Hood. And that's the situation in which we find ourselves with the first show under consideration, 'Little House
On The Prairie'.

[To Be Continued....]


Friday, April 8, 2005


I received some responses to my posts re: the Pope in TV Land.....

Two other Gene Greytak possibilities....

He was the Pope in one of the Naked Gun movies, which backtracks through the cineverse to Police Squad! (In Color).

Also, I remember an ad for Father Dowling Mysteries with Gretak in Papal garb, offering a silent thumbs up.

So the Pope hits the Adverse and Cineverse along with the Televerse.
- Hugh
If you're going to use that episode of "Just The Ten Of Us" in which the Pope appears only in a dream sequence, then you oughtta use the two-part "ALF" episode in which he dreamed about hosting the "Tonight" show.

The Pope shows up in that dream as one of ALF's guests on the couch. I think there's even a website out there that's got a picture of the two of them together....

"Tonight, Tonight (1+2)"
gs: Ed McMahon [ Himself ] ALF hosts "The Tonight Show", with Ed McMahon. b: 24 Oct 88 pc: 3006 w: Lisa A. Bannick, Steve Pepoon, Al Jean, Michael Reiss d: Burt Brinckerhoff
Okay, now with this one, I'm thinking you didn't go to the Or maybe you didn't use it right.

Maybe you were too specific with the names you were looking for?

Cause I know Bob Hoskins played Pope John the 23rd once. "Papa Bono" I think was the name of the tv movie, you'll have to look it up. I remember seeing the soundtrack for it by Morricone.

Okay, maybe you should go back to the and just type in "Pope". I quick ran down the list on that first page and saw at least one more for Pope Paul the 6th, and for Pius the 12th as well.

And I'm talking the TV stuff only, not the movies. Looks like that's all you'r einterested in here or otherwise you'd of put in all the movies that Greytack made where he played the Pope.

So I seemed to have been remiss in listing Popes other than John Paul II who have been portrayed on TV. I had a listing or two for the others in the last half of the 20th Century, most notably John XXIII, but totally missed out on portrayals of Paul VI and Pius XII it seems.

Here then, is a list of all the Popes who have been portrayed in TV productions. This is a telecentric blog, so we do not mention here Rex Harrison in "The Agony And The Ecstasy" nor (especially!) Ringo Starr in "Lizstomania".

But there are two portrayals that do have links to movies so we included those as well......

F. Murray Abraham (Pope Julius II)
. . . Season of Giants, A (1991) (TV)
Ed Asner (John XXIII)
. . . Papa Giovanni - Ioannes XXIII (2002) (TV)
Christopher Benjamin (The Pope)
. . . Leonardo (2003) (TV)
José-Maria Berzosa (Le pope)
. . . Île bleue, L' (1983) (TV)
Raymond Burr (Angelo Roncanelle, Pope John XXIII)
. . . Portrait: A Man Whose Name Was John (1973) (TV)
Carlo Croccolo (Pope Gregory I)
. . . "Inside the Vatican" (1993) (mini) TV Series
Milorad Daljevic (Pope)
. . . List (2001) (TV)
Dom DeLuise (The Pope (This Is The Life))
. . . 'Weird Al' Yankovic Video Library: His Greatest Hits, The (1992) (V)
Dom DeLuise (The Pope)
. . . Johnny Dangerously (1984)
[Obviously this must be a fictional pope, but what the heck, we decided to keep him in!]
James Deuter (The Pope)
. . . Charley Hannah (1986) (TV)
Hans Dornbusch (Pope Alexander VII)
. . . Christina (1988) (TV)
Charles Durning (Pope John XXIII)
. . . I Would Be Called John: Pope John XXIII (1987) (TV)
Albert Finney (Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II))
. . . Pope John Paul II (1984) (TV)
Manfred Freyberger (Pope John Paul II)
. . . Papocchio, Il (1981)
Richard Gant (Pope)
. . . Men Don't Tell (1993) (TV)
John Gielgud (Pope Pius XII)
. . . Scarlet and the Black, The (1983) (TV)
John Glyn-Jones (Pope Paul)
. . . Malatesta (1964) (TV)
Eugene Greytak (The Pope)
. . . Hot Shots! (1991)
. . . Just the Ticket (1999)
. . . Miss Cast Away (2004)
. . . Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)
. . . Repossessed (1990)
. . . Sister Act (1992)
[Greytak is the actor most often called upon to portray John Paul II in TV shows. We listed those credits a few days ago.]
Norman Henry (Pope Pius VII)
. . . "Napoleon and Love" (1972) (mini) TV Series
Michael Hordern (Pope Urban VIII)
. . . Lamp at Midnight (1966) (TV)
Bob Hoskins (Angelo Roncalli/Pope John XXIII)
. . . Papa buono, Il (2003) (TV)
Eliasz Kuziemski (Pope)
. . . Aktorka (1971) (TV)
Henri Labussière (Le pope)
. . . Procès de Shamgorod, Le (1982) (TV)
Burt Lancaster (Teobaldo Visconti/Pope Gregory X)
. . . "Marco Polo" (1982) (mini) TV Series
Heinz Lyschik (Pope)
. . . "In aller Freundschaft" (1998) TV Series
T.P. McKenna (Pope Julius II)
. . . Raphael: A Mortal God (2004) (TV)
Cezary Morawski (Karol Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II)
. . . From a Far Country (1981)
Arnaldo Ninchi (Pope Pius IX)
. . . Don Bosco (2004) (TV)
Ferenc Némethy (Pope Paul the Sixth)
. . . Devictus Vincit (1994) (TV)
John Phillips (VI) (Pope Grigoris)
. . . "Christ Recrucified" (1969) (mini) TV Series
Anthony Quayle (The Pope)
. . . Confessional (1989) (TV)
Remo Remotti (Pope Julius II)
. . . "Inside the Vatican" (1993) (mini) TV Series
Andrew Schofield (I) (Pope)
. . . Sharpe's Mission (1996) (TV)
László Sinkó (I) (Pope Pius)
. . . Devictus Vincit (1994) (TV)
Yordan Spirov (Pope)
. . . Papa Giovanni - Ioannes XXIII (2002) (TV)
[Most likely he was portraying Pius XII.]
Rod Williams (I) (The Pope)
. . . Garbo (1992)
John Wood (I) (Pope Pius VII)
. . . "Napoléon" (2002) (mini) TV Series

It's always possible some of these characters only have the name of "Pope", or have it as a nickname. I apologize for any possible errors.


Monday, April 4, 2005



Ordinarily, a TV crossover is supposed to work as a team; one half of the crossover should be in support of the other, either beginning or finishing off a shared storyline.

Normally, one wouldn't expect the crossover to be at cross purposes with itself.

But that's what happened with the Crossover Of The Week on this past Thursday.......

The challenge for the two teams competing on 'The Apprentice', Net Worth and Magna, was to create a new pizza sensation for Domino's. Why? Probably because Domino's poured a ton of money into the show's production to get some product placement publicity out of the deal.

The episode also marked Donald Trump's debut as the commercial spokesman for Domino's, at least for two blipverts which would trumpet the new "American Classic Cheeseburger" pizza. (Whoop-ti-doo. It sounds like their Bacon Cheeseburger pizza but with added layers of tomatoes and onions and three cheeses.)

This occurs, by the way, nearly ten years after Trump sold himself out to be the spokesman for Pizza Hut's Stuffed Crust Pizza in an ad that he did with his wife at the time, Ivana. Ya gotta wonder if he'll be whoring himself out for yet another pizza company in a decade and with yet another trophy wife on his arm.

And now for the tasty extra: like a virus attacking the host body from within, the crossover occurred during the episode itself, in the form of a commercial from rival pizza-maker Papa John's. It reminded me of one of those trash-talking answer songs from back in the early sixties.....

The delivery chain aired a 30 second spot during the show which featured John Schnatter, founder and chairman of Papa John's, in a boardroom setting that was meant to evoke the image of Trump in his lair.

"Why eat a pizza made by apprentices when you can call the pros at Papa John's?" he asks. And considering the jerks that toady to curry favor with Trump, it's a valid question.

(Ewwwww. Now I can't get the image of a Domino pizza with the flavor of curried toad out of my head. Maybe a Crunchy Frog from the Whizzo Quality Assortment might get rid of the taste.)

I hope it was considered a big black eye for Trump. (Personally I think he should have been hawking a different flavor for his pizza - jerk sauce.) Although he kept harrumphing that they were doing a meatball pizza on his say-so - after all, as far as he's concerned, the show is still "the hottest show on television." Yeah, right. Peddle that paper to 'Desperate Housewives' or 'Lost'! - Domino's stuck to their guns and pushed the Classic Cheeseburger flavor instead. Apparently, their marketing meat-heads claimed that meatball pizzas aren't staggeringly popular in the manor, squire.

I'm sorry. Did I call them meat-heads? That was an insult... to Mike Stivic.

I meant yam-heads.


Sunday, April 3, 2005


It's been stated by the producers of 'Lost' since the beginning that somebody was going to die before the season ended. And with the plane "crash" last week, it's beginning to look a lot like it's Boone Carlisle who's going to buy the farm.

In the promos for next week's episode, Boone begs Jack to "let me go". When they first crashed on the island, Jack was totally against the idea of mercy killing, and only dispatched the federal agent because Sawyer botched it when he stepped in to do it.

But they've been on the island now for a few months now. Such a hardship could change a man's way of thinking. Maybe Jack would ease Boone's suffering and help him cross over to the other side.

Or it could be that Jack will stick to his Hyppocratic oath - isn't the title for next week, "Do No Harm"?

So someone else has to step up to the plate and relieve Boone's slow suffering death, and there are three possibilities:

Shannon - out of her too-late realization of how much she really did love her step-brother, she kills him.

Sayid - because of his feelings for Shannon, he agrees to her request to do it using the skills he gained in the Republican Guard.

or my personal favorite because it's kind of out of left field.....

Sun - with her knowledge of the various plants on the island, she must know of something Boone could chew on that would kill him and end his suffering. And I think she has the "compassion" to help him....

Hrmmm..... the three "S"'s

But then again....... what if the promos are misleading? What if we're only being led to believe that it's going to be Boone and we're being set up for a bigger shock of a surprise?



Except for the two TV movies bracketing this list, Gene Greytak portrayed Pope John Paul II in all of these TV shows. Perhaps there were other actors who played him in a fictional setting; maybe there are TV shows in which he played a part but was not seen in doing so. If so, I'm hoping someone out there reading this might let me know about these additions to his onscreen "presence"......

Bio-drama tracing the life and career of Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla from his days as a young activist in Poland, witnessing the havoc and intense nationalism wreaked on humanity in World War II, to his rise and installation in 1978 as Pope of the Catholic world.

The highly-acclaimed English actor Albert Finney stars as the Pope in this film that begins in his youth, and covers his love for the theater, devotion to his father, Poland's sufferings during World War II and after, his ordination, rise to the episcopacy and great influence on the Polish church, and climaxing with his surprising election as Pope. An excellent film on this great spiritual leader.

Starring Albert Finney as Pope John Paul II and Michael Crompton as the young Karol Wojtyla.

95. Another Day in the Life
gs: Pat Corley (Otis Edwards) Brian Stokes Mitchell (Morley) Hennen Chambers (Mr. Sanders) Marcia Wallace (Miss Phillips) Boyd Bodwell (Roper) Dennis A. Pratt (Murdock) Sandy Martin (Sister Mo) Cathy Cahn (Sister Laurie) Marji Martin (Sister Carla) Gary Grossman (Shouting Man) Lou Hancock (Mrs. Klemper) Karl Johnson (Dave Costanza) Molly David (Martha) Lenore Woodward (Velma) David Garlile (Harris) Ron Boussom (Mr. DeYoung) Steve Devorkin (Mr. Shafer) Eugene Greytak (The Pope) Steven R. Bannister (Reilly) Gayle Woods (Hooker) Larry Wright (Quartet) Peter Neushul (Quartet) Doug Anderson (Quartet) James Kline (Quartet) Steffanie Siebrand (Cheerleader)

Panic grips the courtroom as the gang races to clear 207 cases in one session so a millionaire will donate money to save an orphanage and so Dan can win an office pool for the most convictions.

b: 18-Feb-1988 pc: 186217 w: Larry Strawther and Gary Murphy d: Jeff Melman

24. Rock-n-roll Fantasy
gs: Evan Arnold (Gavin "Jacques" Doosler) Johnny Dark (Danny/Dani/Larry) Rich Reinhart (Writer) Kevin Thompson (Toulouse) Michael Gilbert Lewis (Priest) Eugene Greytak (Pope) Holly Haber (Doctor) Lawrence H. Toffler (Bridegroom)

After 8 weeks of performing at Danny's, the Lubbock Babes each fantasize about being rich and famous. Marie dreams of singing for the Pope; Wendy dreams of working on a sitcom; Cindy dreams of finding the man of her dreams; and Connie dreams of singing in Paris.

b: 27-Apr-1989 pc: 186550 w: Dan Guntzelman , Mike Sullivan

"The Pope's Ring"
gs: Steven Gilborn [ Priest ], Fred McCarren [ Detective ], Gene Greytak [ The Pope ] rc: Miles

Sophia is off to see the Pope's Mass and has exchanged two bad tickets for one good ticket "way up front." Dorothy was looking forward to seeing the Pope, but Sophia explains that she had to trade in Dorothy's ticket to get close enough to the Pontiff to request a special blessing for her friend Agnes in the hospital.

After the Mass, Sophia tells the girls how she snuck into the "crippled and lame" section to "cop a blessing," and just as she bent down to kiss the Pope's ring, security whisked him away, leaving the jewel encrusted ring in Sophia's hand! Dorothy demands that the ring be returned immediately, but Sophia feels that "this is a sign" and is "supposed to make a miracle."

She eventually gives in and agrees to give it back. There's only one problem. Sophia lost the ring!

Dorothy helps Sophia retrace her steps, and figures out the ring isn't lost. Sophia had the ring in her possession the whole time and was using it as leverage to get the Pope to pick up the ring in person. But when one of the Pontiff's priestly entourage picks up the ring in proxy, Sophia's plans to get him to personally bless Agnes is extinguished.

At the hospital, Rose finds out that Miles is having cosmetic surgery for his eyes. He's tired of looking old while working in a youthful environment. Rose is relieved that it's nothing serious, and knowing this means a lot to Miles, supports him.

After visiting Agnes, Sophia stops by Miles' room to use his bathroom. Unfortunately, she misses the Pope walking down the hospital corridor blessing patients. Sophia's miracle came true!

b: 14 Dec 91 pc: 167 w: Kevin Abbott d: Lex Passaris

119. The World According to Avery
gs: John Hostetter (John) Gene Graytak (Pope John Paul II) Jane Leeves (Audrey Cohen) Brenda Lilly (Didi)

When Eldin becomes sick, Murphy brings Avery to work. While Murphy is out searching for an interview for that night's show, everyone takes turns baby-sitting and sharing their most personal feelings with him.

b: 15-Feb-1993 pc: 187418 w: Lee Aronsohn d: Lee Shallat-Chemel

75. Witness for the Prosecution
gs: Cully Fredericksen (Special Agent Johnston) Robert Foxworth (Attorney General Lane) Eugene Greytak (Pope John Paul II) Geoffrey Nauffts (Ben Speers) Lisa Chess (Rebecca) Madison Mason (Bishop Cole) Karen Landry (Gloria Borth) Cully Fredricksen (Special Agent Johnston) Mary-Pat Green (Forewoman) Mel Hampton (Bailiff) Harry Smith (Himself)

Rome is in a flutter when Mayor Bey announces that the Pope himself is coming to visit the town. It's a day of celebration as His Holiness arrives, but the walk down main street ends in chaos when someone in the crowd opens fire, killing a man. The resulting investigation reveals the death was suicide, according to the dead man's gay lover... until the Pope announces he saw the whole thing and that it was, in fact, murder. The court case that follows threatens to end Judge Bone and Wambaugh's tempestuous friendship for good.

b: 15-Dec-1995 pc: 3K09 w: David E. Kelley d: Dennie Gordon

"Recipe for Success"
gs: Joel Brooks [ Archibald Frost ], Eugene Greytak [ Pope ], Brett Miller [ Guard ]
Shawn and Marlon try to warn an enthusiastic Pops that the chili he is entering in a high-class food festival has one "un-gourmet" ingredient -- dog food.

b: 15 May 98 pc: 466421 w: Maiya Williams d: Fred Parker

Late last year, Italian producers made a television film about the life of Pope John Paul II in southern Poland, where the pontiff grew up and began his church career.

The film crew shot scenes of a young and athletic Karol Wojtyla kayaking in Lake Dobczyce near Krakow, where he served as bishop from the 1950s, said Marcin Marcinkiewicz, a spokesman for the producers.

"Karol, the story of a man who became pope" is to be broadcast in two 90-minute segments on Italian television sometime this spring.

The film is adapted from a historical account by Italian writer Gian Franco Svidercoschi, with the first part set during World War II and the second in postwar Poland. While most of the movie was filmed in Poland, some scenes were shot at the Vatican.

It will be about another fifteen to twenty days from now before the Conclave of Cardinals is sequestered to choose a new spiritual leader for the 1.1 billion Catholics around the world. But I'm sure the politicking for the position began years ago.

Whoever is chosen to lead the Flock, only (prime) Time will tell if he has as much presence in the TV Universe as did Pope John Paul II......



In the past thirty years or so of Toobworld's reflection of the events and people in the Real World, we've come to expect to see the current world leaders portrayed within various TV shows.

President and Mrs. Clinton met Fran Fine at a ski lodge. ('The Nanny')

Premier Gorbachev corresponded with Rose Nylund, thinking she was a little girl. ('The Golden Girls')

Prime Minister Tony Blair greeted 'The Simpsons' at Heathrow Airport.

Even over in his own splinter dimension, Leo McGarry held clandestine meetings with Fidel Castro in Cuba. ('The West Wing')

And George W. Bush even had his own sitcom. ('That's My Bush!')

But before Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became the Shepherd of Rome, it would have been hard to imagine the Holy Father as being considered a viable candidate for any storyline in a TV show.

So far as I can determine, Pope Pius XII only figured as a secondary figure in the TV movie 'The Scarlet And The Black' (which was about a priest's determined effort to rescue Jews from the Nazis).

Had Television been as "progressive" as it was in the 1970s, post Archie Bunker, perhaps Pope John XXIII might have been utilized in a few TV shows During his short tenure as the Pontiff, (only five years), the former Angelo Roncalle seemed ready-made to be a TV character: affable, personable, downright cuddly. In a way, he was reminiscent of 'Columbo', but as played by Al Molinaro - he was a simple man of the people, yet crafty enough to stand his ground with those who moved in the circles of power and of high society.

John XXIII was portrayed at least twice on TV - first, by Raymond Burr in 'Portrait: A Man Called John', and most recently in a movie made for Czech Television with Ed Asner as the Pope.

Pope Paul VI seemed to be the exact opposite of John. He seemed to be cold, aloof, austere, stern; an aesthete. I could find no example of anyone actually portraying him in any TV show or TV movie. But then those were turbulent times (the late 60s through most of the 70s), and it seemed at least to me that his time as pope was defined by the debate over birth control. I doubt any network would have wanted to risk dealing with that and bring the Pope into the plotline as well.

There is only one instance I can remember seeing Pope Paul VII outside of news coverage of his mass at Shea Stadium and the like. His image was seen scurrying about in blackout sketches during the only episode ever broadcast of the comedy disaster 'Turn On'.

And then there was John Paul I...... The head of the Church for only 33 days, John Paul I made no more of an impact on the fictional universes than as part of dark conspiracies like in the movie "The Godfather III". (Actually, I'm surprised we never saw the Cigarette Smoking Man take credit for the Pope's sudden death on an episode of 'The X Files'!)

Which brings us to Pope John Paul II.......

It was a combination of factors that made the former Karol Wojtyla so popular a figure in TV shows. He showed up (usually as played by actor Gene Greytak) in shows as varied as 'Picket Fences' and 'The Wayans Brothers' because he made so many visits to the United States; eight in all - more than any other pope ever, - and so it never seemed outlandish that he might show in the tele-version of our country at any point. If 'Green Acres' was still on the air, we might have seen John Paul II clambering up the telephone pole in order to make a call back to the Vatican.

And he was a vital man of action, as could be seen in films of him skiing. And growing up and becoming a priest under both Nazi and Communist regimes, his life seemed perfect for dramatization in TV movies. And so it was with two films that bracket his "life" in Toobworld. First up was the eponymous movie starring Albert Finney as the Pope and Michael Crompton as the young Wojtyla.

And then just last year, a Polish/Italian production began filming in November with Piotr Adamczyk as the young man who would become the most travelled pope in history and the first non-Italian chosen to lead the Church in nearly 500 years. As mentioned in the last blog entry, the Pope himself told Adamczyk that he was crazy for taking on the role.

If he needed proof, he should probably talk to Gene Greytak who's made a career out of the role for the last twenty years or so.

Greytak must know by now how Vaughn Meader must have felt.....

(Coming up next.... John Paul II's "life" in Toobworld)