Friday, April 29, 2005


It's only my opinion, but I count this as Mason Adams last great scene in Toobworld.

The retiring Supreme Court Justice JOSEPH CROUCH is with President Bartlet.

You’re too young to retire, Joseph.

You’re an excellent liar, Mr. President.

Yes sir.

You’re gonna go with Harrison?

He’s on the short list.



With how many other names?

We’ll make our announcement on Thursday.

You’ve decided on Harrison.

I haven’t made a decision yet, Joseph.

You’ve made the call. [beat] Did you even consider Mendoza?

Mendoza was on the short list.

Mendoza was on the short list so you can show you had an Hispanic on the short list.

That’s not true, Joseph.

You ran great guns in the campaign. It was an insurgency, boy, a sight to see. And then you drove to the middle of the road the moment after you took the oath. Just the middle of the road. Nothing but a long line painted yellow.

Excuse me, sir...

I wanted to retire five years ago. But I waited for a Democrat. I wanted a Democrat. Hmm! And instead I got you.


Of his best-known role in Toobworld, that of Charlie Hume, the managing editor of the Los Angeles Tribune, the one moment that has stuck with me through all these years was from the first episode.

While presenting 'Lou Grant' to the imperious owner of the Trib, Mrs. Margaret Pynchon, Charlie started blowing air kisses to the little "yap-dogs" she kept by her side.




As a tip of the Hat Squad, here's a list of the work Mason Adams did in Toobworld.

"From the Earth to the Moon" (1998) (mini) TV Series .... Clinton Anderson
"Murder One: Diary of a Serial Killer" (1997) (mini) TV Series .... Sidney Pomerantz
Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker (1994) (TV) .... Henry Hyde
Jonathan: The Boy Nobody Wanted (1992) (TV) .... Judge Colbert
Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster (1991) (TV) .... Frank Halloran
"Knight & Daye" (1989) TV Series .... Everett Daye
"A Quiet Conspiracy" (1989) (mini) TV Series .... Gen. Luther Novack
Rage of Angels: The Story Continues (1986) (TV) .... Father Francis Ryan
Who Is Julia? (1986) (TV) .... Dr. Gordon
Northstar (1986) (TV) .... Dr. Karl Janss
"Morningstar/Eveningstar" (1986) TV Series .... Gordon Blair
Under Siege (1986) (TV) .... Geoffrey Wiggins
The Night They Saved Christmas (1984) (TV) .... Sumner Murdock
Passions (1984) (TV) .... Ron Sandler
Solomon Northup's Odyssey (1984) (TV) .... Ford
Adam (1983) (TV) .... Ray Mellette
The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982) (TV) (voice) .... The Cat in the Hat
The Kid with the Broken Halo (1982) (TV) .... Harry Tannenbaum
"Freedom to Speak" (1982) (mini) TV Series .... Samuel Adams/Hugo Black/Clarence Darrow/William O. Douglas/William Allen White/Woodrow Wilson
Peking Encounter (1981) (TV) .... Clyde
Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980) (TV) .... Wally
Murder Can Hurt You (1980) (TV) .... Willie the Wino
Flamingo Road (1980) (TV) .... Elmo Tyson
A Shining Season (1979) (TV) .... Dr. Ed Johnson
And Baby Makes Six (1979) (TV) .... Dr. Losen
"Lou Grant" (1977) TV Series .... Charles 'Charlie' Hume
The Deadliest Season (1977) (TV) .... Bill Cavins
"Another World" (1964) TV Series .... Dr. Frank Prescott (1976-1977)

American Drinks: History in a Glass (1999) (TV) (voice) .... Narrator
American Eats: History on a Bun (1998) (TV) (voice) .... Narrator
Norman Rockwell: An American Portrait (1987) (TV) .... Narrator
The Whimsical World of Oz (1985) (TV) (voice) .... Himself/Narrator

"Oz" playing "Mr. Hoyt" in episode: "Exeunt Omnes" (episode # 6.8) 23 February 2003
"The West Wing" playing "Justice Joseph Crouch" in episode: "The Short List" (episode # 1.9) 24 November 1999
"Murder One" playing "Sidney Pomerantz" in episode: "Chapter Thirteen, Year Two" (episode # 2.13) 25 May 1997
"Class of '96" playing "President Harris" in episode: "Pilot" (episode # 1.1) 19 January 1993
"Civil Wars" in episode: "Chute First, Ask Questions Later" (episode # 1.14) 24 March 1992
"Family Matters" playing "Judge Vance" in episode: "Citizen's Court" (episode # 3.6) 25 October 1991
"Monsters" in episode: "A New Woman" (episode # 3.12) 16 December 1990
"Murder, She Wrote" playing "Roger Philby" in episode: "The Search for Peter Kerry" (episode # 5.11) 5 February 1989
"Matlock" playing "Bob Ranier" in episode: "The Heiress" (episode # 2.23) 3 May 1988
"Family Ties" playing "Professor Lloyd Rhodes" in episode: "Paper Lion" (episode # 5.11) 11 December 1986
"The Love Boat" playing "Richard Simmons" in episode: "Country Cousin Blues/Daddy's Little Girl/Jackpot" (episode # 5.5) 31 October 1981
"Robert Montgomery Presents" playing "Mr. Watkins" in episode: "A Matter of Dignity" (episode # 6.25) 7 March 1955
"The Man Behind the Badge" playing "Conrad" in episode: "The Case of the Phantom Fire" (episode # 1.42) 25 July 1954

TV commercial for Mattel Aquarius Home Computer (limited test markets). (1980s)
TV commercials for Nuprin pain reliever (late 1980s)
Radio and TV commercials for Smuckers products (voice) for decades
Has been the voice of the Cadbury Egg commericals for years.

Charlie Hume, 'Lou Grant'. Justice Crouch, 'The West Wing'.....

Personally, my connection to him is from a TV movie in 1977, 'The Deadliest Season'. I was one of the hordes shipped over from UConn's drama department to be hockey fans for all of the game scenes.

It's a movie that puts me one step away from Kevin Bacon.

But his work for Smucker's over the years will forever echo in my mind. I can't summon the voices of departed family, but I'll always hear Mason Adams.

I know. I'm a sad case.....


Wednesday, April 27, 2005


A consortium of high-profile European producers involved in the CBS miniseries 'Jesus' five years ago put out feelers to the network regarding a pope project (The Robins Report, April 18). The project has been well-received at CBS and is a likely go.

Insiders caution that nothing has been signed yet, but there’s already talk about casting. (The European producers have already reached out to Liam Neeson and Paul Newman, but nobody has been signed yet to play the pontiff.)
The producer of "Sahara" is turning 'The Equalizer', which starred Edward Woodward on CBS in the mid-80s, into a big screen adventure. The big fear online is that they will cast somebody too young for the role.
"Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" director George Lucas drops in on "The O.C." May 12th, a week before the movie opens.

Lucas will guest star as himself on the episode, in which Summer makes Zach and Seth decide which one of them gets to take her to Harbor High's prom. But when Lucas expresses interest in Seth's graphic novel, Seth is forced to choose between taking Summer to the prom and dinner with Lucas.

In a way, this will put George Lucas in the same class as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Arthur Conan Doyle - existing as a character in Toobworld alongside the characters he created, since the world of "Star Wars" is already a part of the TV Universe.

And it will become even more ingrained into the fabric of that universe as Lucas plans two TV series in the coming years. One will be animated and in 3D, probably continuing the Clone Wars theme. And the other will be live action, similar in concept to 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles'.
Tamzin Outhwaite is set to take a sexy leading role in a new BBC drama. The former 'EastEnders' star will play the manager of the five-star London hotel called 'Hotel Babylon'. It will be an eight part series due out next year. That will add another prime piece of real estate to TV Land!
Crossover alert!According to "Ask Ausiello" in TV Guide's online site, "ADA Novak ('Special Victims Unit') gets assaulted in the line of duty on May 3. The drama will then spill over onto 'Trial By Jury' on May 6.
The planned follow-up to Inspector Morse may not go ahead, according to The Mirror.

Kevin Whately, who played Morse's sidekick Lewis, has revealed that the series has been discussed over the past year, but he remains undecided about whether to appear.

"There is no commitment on my part yet, but if this drama happened, it would have to be very different from Morse," Whately told the newspaper.

"My problem is that it would have to be good enough to succeed in its own right. If the script isn't good enough - and in this case different enough from what has gone before then forget it, don't do it."

He added, "It wouldn't be called After Morse - definitely not."

If it's about life after Inspector Morse's death, we can consider it a sequel and belonging on Earth Prime Time. If they recast Morse, then it will be shunted off to Earth Prime Time-Delay.
More sequel news.....BBC comedy 'Blackadder' will return for its fifth series next year.

Seventeen years after 'Blackadder Goes Forth', Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson will reprise their roles as Blackadder and Baldrick. Writer Richard Curtis told the Daily Express of the show's return: "We'd always said we'd do it, and yes we definitely still want to."

I've always wanted to see a modern-day descendant of Edward Blackadder show up in some American sitcom, just as a guest star. Maybe some day.....
Finally......Will Ferrell will be making another TV-based theatrical film, this time derived from the Sid & Marty Krofft Saturday morning adventure show 'The Land Of The Lost'. He'll play the ranger role, but in this "Cineversal" version, there'll be no kids.

(To me, that's a big mistake. They could increase their audience if they gave kids somebody to identify with.)

At any rate, it won't have any effect on 'The Land Of The Lost' in Toobworld (where we believe the Sleestaks are related to the Gorn of 'Star Trek').


Tuesday, April 26, 2005


If you look to the left hand side of this page, you'll see two websites listed near the top: "Crossovers & Spinoffs" and "Crossovers via Tommy Westphall". These two sites are the best when it comes to listing the official links between various series in the TV Universe.

The one that supports Tom Fontana's contention that ALL TV shows are to be found within Tommy's autistic mind on 'St. Elsewhere' appears to list more shows, but Thom Holbrooke's page goes into greater detail about many of them.

But neither of them deal with the connections between the shows where real-life people appear as fictional versions of themselves, or between shows that use real game shows and reality series as their settings, that sort of thing. So that's where I come in. With Inner Toob, I fill in the blanks, the cracks in the unified whole. With those theoretical crossovers and "missing links", I supply the cosmic caulking.

But it just might be that Thom's finally viewing things my way!

At that page, you'll find an excellent splainin as to why 'Magnum P.I.' and 'Hawaii Five-0' should be considered as being in the same TV dimension. It's the type of logic we would have used over here.

It's just a shame his theory about a connection between 'Magnum P.I.' and 'Quantum Leap' couldn't work out.

Anyway, check it out. His articles about crossovers are always entertaining.


Monday, April 25, 2005



The Future is fluid, ever-changing. This is why those prophecies of Nostradamus and St. Malachy retained their believability over the centuries. They were so couched in mystical, ambiguous symbolism that they could be interpreted to mean anything. Had those prophecies been nailed down to be something specific, the jig would be up.

Once somebody is made aware of a specific future, that future will change because of that knowledge. Either efforts would be undertaken to change it, or to ensure that it comes to pass. And that would send off ripples in the time-stream.

That's why the appearance of Bender Bending Rodriguez of 'Futurama' in last Sunday's episode of 'The Simpsons' can't be considered as actually having occurred.

Of course, mainly this is because it hasn 't happened yet - he appeared in a vision broadcast by Professor Frink on a machine that supposedly showed the future. By showing that future to Bart and Lisa Simpson, Frink caused it to be invalid, because both Bart and Lisa were determined to change the outcome.

During that vision of the future, Homer and Bart were driving along in the very first hovercar and they phased through the "Quantum Tunnel" - right through the side of the mountain as if it was a scene straight out of "Buckaroo Banzai". When they popped out the other side, they were joined by the robot Bender in the front seat... but only for a few seconds as Homer tossed him out onto the roadway to become so much scrap metal.

Ordinarily ths might be a problem for ol' Bender, as far as what his own future held 1000 years from now, but like I said, that future was null and void as soon as the characters involved became aware of it.

Still and all, even if it was a scene that would never happen once we saw it happen (ow! My head!), it was just great to be able to see Bender again in prime time and not relegated to the time loop of repeats on Adult Swim. And as such, this crossover between 'The Simpsons' and 'Futurama' (which also included a giant, aged "Blinky" the three-eyed fish) is the Crossover of the Week.

And who knows? Perhaps "eight years from Tuesday" it will once again be the Crossover of the Week!

If you've got complaints about that, you know what you can do (especially if you're a fan of 'Futurama').....




As part of the job which keeps the roof over my head (It's the study of "televisiology" which feeds my soul.), I come into contact with actors who have strong links in Toobworld. And today I met another, Richard Riehle.

Mr. Riehle's best-known role is that of Walt Finnerty, the grandfather on 'Grounded For Life'. This was the Staten Island-based sitcom that started out on FOX and finished up on The WB. I enjoyed this show a lot, especially its use of flashbacks to illustrate what led up to their current predicaments, and it was my... admiration for Megyn Price that first brought me to the show.

But after Mr. Riehle was dropped to recurring status and then one of the grandsons was practically "disappeared", the show lost much of its original appeal for me. And I let Mr. Riehle know he was a big part of why I liked that show.

I also mentioned where I first became aware of him as an actor - his role in the episode "Inner Light" of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation', which seemed to surprise him that I should remember that.

But after that, my brain was in meltdown and I couldn't think of any other credits. Well, there was one other one, but it wasn't a very good movie and I didn't want to embarrass him (or me, for having seen it!) by mentioning it.

My security officer on duty did remember him from 'The Fugitive' as the older guard, and we went to the to check out all of his credits. And that's where I realized I'm building up quite a specialized collection of contacts - police detectives from 'Columbo'.

Last year, I got to meet John Finnegan at the job and that was quite a big thrill. He's played a variety of roles on 'Columbo' - as the foreman at the construction site ("Blueprint For Murder"), a trash compacter engineer ("Most Crucial Match"), and the police commissioner ("Columbo Cries Wolf"). His best role was that of Lt. Duffy in the episode of "A Friend In Deed".

He called me a few weeks ago and asked me to help set up a favor for Bruce Kirby, who played Sgt. Kramer in a good chunk of 'Columbo' episodes starting with "By Dawn's Early Light".

Kirby will be celebrating his 80th birthday at the end of May, God bless him!, and I was happy to do what little I could. But two weeks ago, Mr. Kirby himself called to say that he had to cancel out for personal reasons. I offered to cancel out the preparations already done, but he said there was no need - he had already done so and was just calling to thank me for that (very) little that I had done. I thought that was a classy move.

And now I got to meet Richard Riehle who played Columbo's fellow investigator Sgt. Degarmo in two episodes: "Ashes To Ashes" (with the my second favorite actor Patrick McGoohan in his last of four outings as a murderer on 'Columbo'), and "Murder With Too Many Notes".

Who knows? Maybe during the course of the job I may still meet other actors who played 'Columbo' sergeants, like Warren Berlinger.

I know for sure I'll never be meeting "Dog", though!


Sunday, April 24, 2005


Today Pope Benedict XVI was officially installed as the Pontiff for the Catholic Church. And I'm still not ready to let the topic fade away.

(Although I suppose there are a couple of essays I can put aside for now. It's not like I'll have to wait another 26 years before I get the chance to use them. Sorry, Benny.....)


It's one of the main tenets of Toobworld that the characters from a TV show continue to exist in the TV Universe even after the show that housed them is canceled. They could even long outlive the actors who played them: Jeff Miller most likely still lives in Capital City even though Tommy Rettig passed away; Ted Baxter possibly still does commentary and specials on WJM news nearly twenty years after we lost the great Ted Knight.

And not only do they still exist, but their lives continue to evolve; they don't remain static and unchanged. For instance, during the intervening years between the last episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and the TV movie 'Mary and Rhoda', Mary Richards had married a congressman named Cronin, moved to New York, had a daughter named Rose, and became widowed. Meanwhile, her friend Rhoda moved to Paris after marrying a Frenchman (whom she later divorced) where she had a daughter, Meredith.

In 1971, a former San Diego cop named Samuel Cavanaugh was now a priest at St. Aloysius Church. He was known as 'Sarge' by his friends and his parishioners, who often called upon him for spiritual advice and for secular help because of his nine years experience as a homicide detective.

That was over thirty years ago. And while Father Cavanaugh might have lived out his career as a parish priest, as is the case with so many men of the cloth, Sarge might also have found advancement within the Church hierarchy. It seems the fate of established TV characters that they are marked for greatness or singled out for notice in some way.

And that's why we think Sarge eventually rose to the position of Monsignor, and then to a bishopric, and finally he would have been elevated to membership within the College of Cardinals.

Over his 26 years as the Pope, John Paul II called many to don the red cap; so many that of the 118 or so who were eligible to elect his successor, only two had not been chosen by His Holiness.

TV shows are always creating new Congressmen, knowing that there can't be too many nutjobs out there (like me) who might check to see if they actually have a counterpart in the House of Representatives of the Real World.

And so it would be with the College of Cardinals. Who's to say that the Pope John Paul of TV Land didn't elevate Samuel "Sarge" Cavanaugh to the position of Cardinal?

There were a lot of old men with white hair among the princes of the Church in those scenes we saw on TV from Rome. It wouldn't be hard to blend Father Cavanaugh into the mix with the latest CGI technology.

And that's the other thing - George Kennedy, who played 'Sarge', is still alive; still active as an actor. Just last year I saw him on 'The Young & The Restless' as Victor Newman's father. If called upon, he conceivably would have been able to portray this priest who once was a cop one more time.

Perhaps he could even help out the Roman polizia with their investigation into a related murder just before the Conclave......

At the very least, he could always help clear the runway for the Pope's plane - oops, wrong character!