Friday, July 29, 2005


Back in February, I wrote about the idea that there might be an alternate TV dimension in which characters we know of as being white are instead black. An Earth Prime-Time-BET.

And then, back in May, Suits made sure that it wouldn't become a standard practice.....

[Sun May 22,10:34 AM ET ]
A black Huck Finn and a white Jim might be OK for a high school production of Mark Twain's classic tale — but those performances had to be edited out of a C-Span talent show after the copyright holder objected to the cross-casting.

Jay Frisby, a black student who played Huck, and Nick Lehan, a white student who played Jim, taped their performance of the song "Muddy Water" for 'Close Up', a weekly show that highlights high school excellence.

When the program aired Friday, the two Glenelg Country School seniors were introduced, but viewers were told that 'Close Up' could not show their performance because of "copyright restrictions."

Lehan and Frisby had played the roles of Jim and Huck in the school's production of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" without complaint. But when the show's executive producer asked for the right to air the students' performance, permission was denied.

Bert Fink, a spokesman for R&H Theatricals — the Rodgers & Hammerstein organization, which holds the license to the play — said his organization is not against cross-casting in general.

"But when you're dealing with a theatrical work and race or ethnicity is a key factor, many authors or playwrights feel strongly that ethnicity has to be reflected in the actors who portray the characters," he said.

"In the books, Jim is a runaway slave. He is clearly in the novel an African-American man. And Huck is a free white man — that is central to the story. To ignore that component or to comment on it by switching is not faithful to the story."

Frisby's father, Washington attorney Russell Frisby, said he was appalled by the decision.

"The only rationale for it is that someone in New York believes Huck Finn can't be played by an African-American. I thought we were past the days of 'whites only' clauses," the elder Frisby said.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


We've seen with TV episodes like "Trials And Tribble-ations" on 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' that old clips inserted into new shows can become part of a new scenario.

I'm not sure this actually should be of any significance or not, but I did find it interesting. The following posts come from the excellent website which celebrates 'Columbo', The Ultimate Lieutenant Columbo Site:

Subject: Columbo/The Fugitive
Name: Headache2112
Date Posted: Apr 13, 05 - 4:09 PM
Message: This was pretty weird. This past Sunday, I decided to watch "A Friend In Deed". If you watch that episode, we first encounter the Commish at his "club". The establishing shot of the club is that of a spanish-style building (spanish type arches). The building has a circular drive in front of it and cars parked in front. This shot goes past very quickly.

After watching the episode, I decided to get my tapes of "The Fugitive" out of the bin they've been sitting in for the past six years. I have all the episodes on about 25 VHS tapes I taped off the A&E network about 14 years ago.
I chose a tape at random and popped it into my VCR. I can't recall the title of the episode right now, but it featured Jack Lord as a weasel who with some forced help, plans to kill his wheel-chair bound wealthy wife and frame Dr. Kimble for the murder.

Anywho, I pop in the tape and the episode begins. The first thing I see? The same spanish-style building with the spanish type arches and the circular driveway and cars parked out in front.

No, this isn't much of anything. I realize that. I just thought it was pretty weird that I just happened to choose these two episodes to watch, one after the other and both featured the exact same building. "The Fugitive" episode was a color episode, so that means it was from 1967. "A Friend In Deed" was long after that.

Of little more interest, Halperin's club seen in "Deed" was not the true interior of that spanish-style building. "The Fugitive" episode was actually filmed on location, and we follow David Janssen and Jack Lord from the outside of the building right into the lobby of the building.

I didn't see Columbo's car parked anywhere near the building though in the "Fugitive" episode!

Subject: Re: Columbo/The Fugitive
Name: Headache2112
Date Posted: Apr 13, 05 - 4:48 PM
Message: The title of the "Fugitive" episode was "Goodbye My Love".

Subject: Re: Columbo/The Fugitive
Name: Headache2112
Date Posted: Apr 15, 05 - 5:10 PM
Message: About those clips from "A Friend In Deed" and "The Fugitive". I checked it out thoroughly. It's somewhat interesting. The clip used in "Deed" (which goes by in about 4 seconds) is indeed from "The Fugitive". But interestingly enough, it's not the "exact" same clip.

At the beginning of the "Fugitive" episode, we see a Cadillac pulling around the circular drive and stopping in front of the entrance to the spanish-style-arched building. And that's it. The scene changes to the interior of the building.
Interestingly enough, the clip from "Columbo/Deed" follows on immediately from the point the "Fugitive" scene ended!

The Cadillac is stopped in front of the spanish-style-arched building. A guy wearing a light blue jacket gets out of the Cadillac and walks around the front of the car to the passenger side. That is where the "Columbo" scene ends.

But get this, that guy wearing the light blue jacket? Guess who that is? DAVID JANSSEN!

I know this, because back in the "Fugitive" episode, even though we didn't see the driver get out of the Cadillac, when the action switches to the interior of the spanish building, Janssen (as Dr. Richard Kimble) enters the building and is wearing that light blue jacket. The character is employed at that club (a golf course club) and one of his jobs is to valet park the golfer's cars.

So isn't that interesting? Now we can indeed say that David Janssen did in fact appear in an episode of "Columbo"! (But no, he's too far from the camera to be seen clearly. And because he is, it could just be a stand-in.)

Subject: Re: Columbo/The Fugitive
Name: cassavetes45
Date Posted: Apr 15, 05 - 5:27 PM
And as far as the clips are concerned...Wow! that is something of course I had to go to the video tape!! And this time I wasn't standing in the kitchen, I put the tape on in my living room, because we have a 51 incher and I wanted to see it better...and there was the guy with the light blue jacket!! Amazing! I would tend to think that it was a stand-in..only for the reason that the guy had a bit of a spring to his step...and Janssen never really revealed that side of himself to me. For me, he has always followed the motto.."Slow and Steady, Wins The Race."

As for me, I was all set to whip up a few hypotheticals to deal with this trivial information. Perhaps, after "the running stopped", Dr. Kimble and his new wife retired to the sunny climes of California. Perhaps he then became a member of the same club to which Police Commissioner Mark Halperin belonged.

But then I figured, ah, let it go. I've already got Dr. Kimble linked to the TV Universe through one of his last episodes, in which he passed the U.N.C.L.E. headquarters located in Seattle. Lt. Columbo's connections include a hypothetical concerning the robot Double-M7 ("Mind Over Mayhem") and tele-versions of certain celebrities playing themselves.

And yet... it would be nice to have that direct link as well........

At any rate, that bit of trivial info adds another layer of interest for the 'Columbo' episode, which would probably be found in my top five faves.


For those who are interested in visiting The Ultimate Lieutenant Columbo Site, here's the URL:

It's a fantastic site!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Kevin Whately is to reprise his Inspector Morse role in a new spin-off show for ITV.

Filming on 'Lewis' is due to begin this month - three years after the death of actor John Thaw who played Morse.
In the two-hour film, Whately reprises his role of Robbie Lewis, with his very own sidekick, Det Sgt James Hathaway.

Whately said it would be "very strange" returning to the role. He appeared alongside Thaw in the popular drama for 13 years.

He said: "I know it's going to be strange returning to the character of Lewis without John, but Morse's spirit pervades a great new script and I am looking forward to filming it and to seeing what has happened in Lewis' life and career."

Michele Buck, controller of Granada Drama, London, said Inspector Morse was a "television institution" that came to a natural end with the death of Morse in 2000.

He said: "I am delighted that Kevin has agreed to return as Lewis in a terrific story, which will re-unite many of the team behind Morse, and which will have the same high production values."

Five years after the death of Morse, Lewis - who is now an inspector - returns to the Thames Valley police and the university city of Oxford.

Lewis is joined by Cambridge graduate Det Sgt James Hathaway, played by Laurence Fox, and reporting to new boss Chief Supt Jean Innocent.

Also reprising her Morse role in the drama will be Clare Holman, who was introduced as pathologist Laura Hobson in the 1995 film "The Way Through The Woods" and subsequently appeared in four Morse films.

The last 'Inspector Morse' - "The Remorseful Day" - was broadcast in November 2000.

In the episode, Morse collapsed in an Oxford college quad and later died in hospital.

John Thaw died in February 2002 at the age of 60 after suffering from cancer.

So both Inspector Lewis and Laura Hobson will be two-thirds of the way towards qualifying for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.



Currently working on 'Smallville' as the latest incarnation for "Brainiac", James Marsters may yet fulfill the minimal requirement to gain entry into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame as his most famous character, the vampire Spike.

At the Television Critics Association press tour, the Big Kahuna for The WB, David Janollari, said he would "gladly" do a TV movie featuring the Spike character... if Marsters and "Buffy"/"Angel" creator Joss Whedon want to do one.



'Doctor Who' is back on Earth!

Fifteen years after the last regular episode, six years after the one TV movie for the Eighth Doctor, we've had a full series of thirteen episodes featuring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Incarnation.

The final episode for this year has aired, signaling the end of Eccleston's tenure and marking the debut of David Tennant in the role.

And so to celebrate, most of my essays and all of the Crossovers will be dedicated to the Doctor for the rest of the summer.

Be forewarned: In my essays during this summer salute to 'Doctor Who', there will be spoilers for each of the episodes, especially in regard to summaries.....

First off, here's a recap of the episode:

Location: Beneath the Utah Desert
Date: 2012
Enemy: Dalek soldier

The Doctor and Rose find themselves in an underground museum in Utah in the year 2012. The museum houses all kinds of extraterrestrial artifacts; the only living exhibit being one of the Doctor's oldest enemies - a Dalek!
[Thanks to]

Beneath the Salt Plains of Utah, the billionaire collector Henry Van Statten holds the last relic of an alien race. When the Doctor and Rose investigate, they discover that the Doctor’s oldest and most deadly enemy is about to break free. It’s a fight to the death, with Rose caught in the middle.
[Thanks to The Doctor Who Reference Guide]


We owe the quartet of connections to this week's episode to the fact that the "Owner of the Internet", Henry Van Statten, is a collector of alien artifacts and relics.

In his collection there was the mileometer from the alien spacecraft that crashed at Roswell back in 1947. And these four shows touched on that crash without risking being banished to an alternate TV dimension for mucking about with an established timeline.

This is why 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' is not included for its episode that touched on the Roswell incident. By sending three Ferengi back in Time to alter the original chain of events, a new timeline was created. With the other four series, a bit of finagling and dancing with logic can keep them tied together to the same event, in the same TV Land.

Because it was the crustacean Dr. Zoidberg who was the alien back in time, 'Futurama' also creates an alternate timeline. But then again, that series could be set in the Tooniverse.....

Anyway, the ship that contained the three alien pods (who would grow up to become Max, Michael, and Isabel) crashed in Roswell in 1947. The cover-up was instigated by the clandestine group known as Majestic 12, many of whose members would one day become famous in the world of politics.

Probably among the later staff members (quickly to become one of the most powerful) was known as the Cigarette Smoking Man. He would have been brought into the cabal during the 1960s, and probably after the death of Major Frank Bach.

The aliens that were known about initially from the crash were probably just guards-for-hire for the three alien embryo pods. Those guards probably served as meta-McGuffins, whose deaths and alien autopsies drew attention away while the embryos were secreted away to a hidden cave to develop in secrecy.

Luckily they were removed before they could be discovered, as the wreckage was combed over for any technological advances that might have helped Mankind. Van Statten mentions in "Dalek" that broadband was one of the benefits which derived from the Roswell debris.

But another marvel retrieved from Roswell was the ability to go back in Time seven days, which Operation Backstep used for a covert government project to rewrite History (but of course for only the most dire of emergencies).

Van Statten also made mention of the medical find his researchers recovered from the mysterious crater that had been created by some sort of seismic blast in 1908 Russia - the cure for the common cold. (Of course, his corporation decided to keep that a secret for fear of ruining the cold & flu medicinal industry.)

Scientists are still baffled as to what may have caused that crater, but some sort of extraterrestrial blast has always been a popular theory. And according to FBI Agent Fox Mulder's personal experiences, the alien black oil could be traced back to the site.

(It's also one of the Toobworld hypotheticals that another alien involved in that blast {and survived} had been a Conehead from Remulac. This Conehead, whether it was a male or a female somehow fit into the human society during the early stages of Soviet Russia and even fathered a half-human hybrid child who grew up to become an arch-villain in Gotham City.... Egghead.)

So that's where we find the links for this episode of 'Doctor Who'. It was set in Utah, but we had to travel to Roswell, New Mexico.

Shows cited:
'Doctor Who'
'Dark Skies'
'7 Days'
'The X-Files'
'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'
'Saturday Night Live'


Tuesday, July 26, 2005


"With Milton Hershey's success came a profound sense of moral responsibility and benevolence. His ambitions were not limited to producing chocolate: Hershey envisioned a complete new community around his factory.

He built a model town for his employees that included comfortable homes, an inexpensive public transportation system, a quality public school system and extensive recreational and cultural opportunities. Unlike other industrialists of his time, Hershey avoided building a faceless company town with row houses. He wanted a "real home town" with tree-lined streets, single- and two-family brick houses, and manicured lawns.

He was concerned about providing adequate recreation and diversions, so he built a park that opened on April 24, 1907, and expanded rapidly over the next several years. Amusement rides, a swimming pool, and a ballroom were added. Soon, trolley cars and trains were bringing thousands of out-of-town visitors to the park.

Many of the town's impressive structures were built during the Great Depression, as part of Milton Hershey's "Great Building Campaign," to provide jobs. It was then that monumental structures such as the community center, theatre, sports arena and stadium were constructed, transforming the town into a major tourist attraction that continues to grow in popularity each year.

The town of Hershey continues to be a special place for its residents and a popular attraction for millions of visitors annually."

- from the Hershey website

Here endeth the history lesson.

With the 'Monk' episode "Mr. Monk Goes Home Again", the producers had no trouble using the name of a real trash bag company; they even showed a close-up of the product. Since that scene was followed immediately by a commercial for that same trash bag, it was obviously a very overt case of product placement.

But God forbid the candy bar that played a pivotal role in the episode be a real chocolate bar! The fact that the chocolate was poisoned probably played a prime role in the decision.

(Ya think?)

So a fictitious one was created - the Neptune bar.

The first connection would be to think of the Mars Bar which is no longer officially on the shelves in this country.

But I started thinking in terms of the Hershey Company as well, and that they had a whole town with the name of the chocolate bar named after it.

Could something similar have happened with the fictitious Neptune bar?

Instead of the town being named after the chocolate, perhaps the chocolate took its name from the town in which it was first produced.

Neptune, California, 90909.

And that's the town where 'Veronica Mars' has hung her shingle to be a high schoolin' private eye.

Like many of the crossovers I bring up here in the Inner Toob, it's just a hypothetical link. Nothing to confirm it.

But I gotta figure Neptune's a big enough suburb of Los Angeles that we'd never learn that there WASN'T a Neptune Chocolate Bar Company in town.....



The set for 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' has not been struck, even though the show itself was struck down. It's getting a new lease on life now that the network is developing a new series from Dick Wolf about assistant district attorneys in New York.

The 'Trial By Jury' set will remain standing for at least a year in New York to be used in the production on the planned ADA series, which was pitched to NBC brass late last week.

"I fully expect to be in production within the time period" of the agreement on keeping the sets up, Wolf said.

Wolf said the new show would be much more character-driven with closed-end story lines and less of the procedural format of Wolf's 'Law & Order', and its offshoots 'Law & Order: SVU' and 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'. He said the show also would be part of a youth movement at the franchise, with the average age of Manhattan assistant district attorneys being 28.

"It will be much more of an ensemble than the other shows, with time spent not necessarily on their personal lives but how they're driven, what made them, who they will become," Wolf said. "It's a very transitional age."

Yeah, not necessarily personal.... but maybe there'll still be some sex in the offices. Hey, it's time to bring back that 'L.A. Law' licentiousness!

But still, just having the set alone works for me in making a crossover for this un-named show. And what I'd like to see would be the return of Amy Carlson as ADA Kelly Gaffney.

I suppose at - what? 38 by then? - the other ADAs would be calling her Granny......



Once again, a murder with Boston and Las Vegas connections will bring together the casts of NBC's 'Crossing Jordan' and 'Las Vegas'. NBC has announced that the popular Sunday and Monday dramas will reprise their successful crossover collaboration this October.

Jill Hennessy and Jerry O'Connell from 'Crossing Jordan' and Josh Duhamel and Vanessa Marcil from 'Las Vegas' will appear in both episodes.

According to, the crime begins when a Las Vegas showgirl appears in the morgue in Boston. The only clue is an employee ID from the Montecito Casino, leading Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh to call Danny McCoy for an assist. Danny comes to Boston to help Jordan as Detective Woody Hoyt goes to Las Vegas to work with Sam Marquez.

So there is some slight variation in where the characters go, but not in which characters are used. Personally, I'd have used at least one of the other women from the show to interact with Woody, particularly Big Ed's daughter. It might have led to a fun interaction between O'Connell and James Caan as a very protective father.

But I'd also have liked to have seen Garrett Macy in Las Vegas, and the chance to see Miguel Ferrer get a piece of the crossover pie with a few scenes with new cast member Lara Flynn Boyle.



'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' has been sold to TF1's Alma Productions to launch a localized French version of the popular NBC drama. This begins the expansion of the 'Law & Order' brand into the world market, making it truly Toobworldian.

The French version of 'Criminal Intent', which will get its own native tongue title, should go into production with an eye toward a 2006 premiere on TF1. The scripts will be adapted from the original U.S. stories, though they will be transplanted to Paris and adjusted for language, culture and considerations of the Napoleonic Code. Producer Dick Wolf said that the absence of courtroom emphasis in 'Criminal Intent' made it ideal for this translation.

"For many years, 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent,' as well as 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,' has been a huge success for TF1,' says the French network's head of drama Takis Candilis. "Taking these unique characters created by Dick Wolf and adapting them for French viewers in primetime will enable a whole new, and much larger, audience to enjoy this great drama. We're sure that it's the beginning of a long story."

So here's the thing......

The French know Detectives Goren and Eames from watching the originals (either dubbed or sub-titled). Therefore, why not a crossover episode once the TF1 version is up and running? At the very least, actors Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe should appear on the new show for the benefit of the Parisian audience.

We may never get to see it over here, but knowing it had been broadcast, I'd still be able to declare the show an official part of the TV Universe.

And who knows? Maybe a show like this might be just the thing to help launch a Franco channel on cable over here, in much the same way the Beeb did with BBC-America. Sure, there are stumbling blocks, not least among them the language barrier and of course there's always that anti-French attitude out there.

But there are lots of original productions broadcast in France, many of them of literary classics. And there are other versions of the great Inspector Maigret by Simenon as well, not just the British production which starred Michael Gambon.

So here's to a successful launch of the French version of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent', in the hopes of making Toobworld even more international.



Geraldine Fitzgerald was better known for her work in the movies, but she made her mark in Toobworld as well, especially with such connecter shows like 'The Golden Girls' and the great hub, 'St. Elsewhere'. And along with her participation in many tele-versions of classic theater, Ms. Fitzgerald also portrayed the Kennedy Matriarch, Rose Kennedy.

Night of Courage (1987) (TV) .... Abby Abelsen
Circle of Violence: A Family Drama (1986) (TV) .... Charlotte Kessling
Do You Remember Love (1985) (TV) .... Lorraine Wyatt
"Kennedy" (1983) (mini) TV Series .... Rose Kennedy
Dixie: Changing Habits (1983) (TV) .... Sister Agnes
The Jilting of Granny Weatherall (1980) (TV) .... Granny Weatherall
Tartuffe (1978) (TV) .... Madame Pernelle
The Quinns (1977) (TV) .... Peggy Quinn
Yesterday's Child (1977) (TV) .... Emma Talbot
Ah, Wilderness! (1976) (TV) .... Essie Miller
Beyond the Horizon (1975) (TV) .... Mrs. Atkins
Forget-Me-Not-Lane (1975) (TV) .... Amy Bisley
The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (1974/I) (TV) .... Grandmother
Untold Damage (1971) (TV)
"The Best of Everything" (1970) TV Series .... Violet Jordan (1970)
The Moon and Sixpence (1959) (TV) .... Amy Strickland

"The Golden Girls" playing "Martha Lamont" in episode: "Not Another Monday" (episode # 5.7) 2 November 1989
"The Golden Girls" playing "Anna" in episode: "Mother's Day" (episode # 3.25) 7 May 1988
"Vacation Playhouse" playing "Mabel Oberdine" in episode: "Mabel and Max" (episode # 1.1) 31 July 1987
"St. Elsewhere" playing "Margaret Ryan" in episode: "Jose, Can You See?" (episode # 5.16) 4 February 1987
"Cagney & Lacey" playing "Grace McAffe" in episode: "Con Games" (episode # 4.20) 11 March 1985
"Trapper John, M.D." in episode: "High Time" (episode # 6.17) 3 March 1985
"St. Elsewhere" playing "Margaret Ryan" in episode: "Attack" (episode # 2.15) 22 February 1984
"Oh Madeline" playing "Madeline's Mother" in episode: "My Mother the Carnal" (episode # 1.16) 31 January 1984
"Lou Grant" playing "Peggy Donovan" in episode: "Dying" (episode # 2.6) 6 November 1978
"The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" playing "Agatha" in episode: "Power of Attorney" (episode # 3.24) 5 April 1965
"The Defenders" playing "Lila Windell" in episode: "A Voice Loud and Clear" (episode # 4.12) 17 December 1964
"The Nurses" playing "Nurse Carrie Bruno" in episode: "For the Mice and the Rabbits" (episode # 2.23) 27 February 1964
"Naked City" playing "Lillian" in episode: "Today the Man Who Kills Ants Is Coming" (episode # 3.21) 7 March 1962
"Naked City" playing "Brigid Delito" in episode: "Take Off Your Hat When a Funeral Passes" (episode # 3.1) 27 September 1961
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" playing "Elizabeth Burton" in episode: "A Woman's Help" (episode # 6.24) 28 March 1961
"Shirley Temple's Storybook" playing "Aunt Rosa" in episode: "The Black Sheep" (episode # 2.13) 18 December 1960
"Producers' Showcase" in episode: "Dodsworth" (episode # 2.9) 30 April 1956
"Studio One" playing "Duchess" in episode: "Flower of Pride" (episode # 8.26) 12 March 1956
"Robert Montgomery Presents" in episode: "Isobel" (episode # 7.11) 21 November 1955
"Studio One" playing "Marian McNeill" in episode: "Like Father, Like Son" (episode # 8.1) 19 September 1955
"Climax!" playing "Miriam Lambert" in episode: "The Healer" (episode # 1.33) 21 July 1955
"Front Row Center" in episode: "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" (episode # 1.2) 8 June 1955
"Armstrong Circle Theatre" in episode: "The Secret of Emily du Vane" (episode # 5.32) 19 April 1955
"Robert Montgomery Presents" in episode: "The Iron Cobweb" (episode # 6.28) 28 March 1955
"Justice" in episode: "The Frightened Clown" (episode # 2.3) 30 September 1954
"Goodyear Television Playhouse" in episode: "The Lawn Party" (episode # 3.18) 23 May 1954
"Robert Montgomery Presents" in episode: "Love Story" (episode # 5.35) 26 April 1954
"Studio One" playing "Charlotte Bell Wheeler" in episode: "Dark Possession" (episode # 6.22) 15 February 1954
"Suspense" in episode: "The Others" (episode # 6.5) 27 October 1953
"ABC Album" in episode: "The Split Second" (episode # 1.9) 7 June 1953
"Robert Montgomery Presents" in episode: "Summer Tempest" (episode # 4.35) 27 April 1953
"Lux Video Theatre" playing "Doraleen Perkins" in episode: "The Orchard" (episode # 2.51) 11 August 1952
"Suspense" in episode: "Home of Masks" (episode # 4.38) 10 June 1952
"Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" in episode: "Fear" (episode # 1.30) 25 April 1952
"Studio One" playing "Procula - Wife of Pilate" in episode: "Pontius Pilate" (episode # 4.30) 7 April 1952
"CBS Television Workshop" in episode: "The Gallows Tree" (episode # 1.11) 23 March 1952
"Robert Montgomery Presents" in episode: "Sheppy" (episode # 3.16) 18 February 1952
"Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" playing "Mary Todd Lincoln" in episode: "The Daughter" (episode # 1.19) 8 February 1952
"Somerset Maugham TV Theatre" in episode: "Before the Party" (episode # 3.5) 12 November 1951
"Armstrong Circle Theatre" in episode: "Night Song" (episode # 2.7) 30 October 1951
"Robert Montgomery Presents" in episode: "To Walk the Night" (episode # 3.3) 8 October 1951



My fellow Iddiot Nora Lee, who's also very vocal in support of quality Television (unlike me who thinks it's all good!), had a Toobworldian moment while brushing up her Shakespeare....

We saw free "As You Like It" at the Delacorte last night after a rain delay - and I didn't even have to look at the credits to realize that Orlando was Sam Waterston's son (not that it says that in the Playbill, other than his name).

He sure looks like a taller, rangier version of his dad when he was young, though with a higher voice. They could do a good 'Cold Case' episode of young/old murderer or witness.

-- from 'The Idiot's Delight Digest'

I think it was Fred Allen who once said the sincerest form of flattery is Television. So even though it's not likely we'll ever see Nora Lee's suggestion come to pass on CBS' 'Cold Case', perhaps Dick Wolf should steal that little conceit from the show and use it on 'Law & Order'.

In the past, we never dealt very much with the histories of the characters on the original show in the franchise. (It's obviously different with the 'Criminal Intent' and 'Special Victims Unit'.) But as the years have gone by, we have learned little bits and pieces of the long-term characters' pasts. Briscoe's failed marriages and the loss of his daughter, the illness of Curtis' wife, and Jack McCoy's indiscretions and the accusations against him of sexual harrassment.

After fifteen years, 'Law & Order' might be facing danger from calcification and fosselization. It had its first major threat from a competitor at the beginning of the season from 'CSI: NY' on CBS. An episode in which Jack McCoy's past comes back to haunt him, and which is acted out with Waterston's son as the younger version of his father's role, might be just the thing to make old-time viewers take notice and come back to the show.

Just an idea, and my thanks to Nora Lee for inspiring it.


Monday, July 25, 2005


Marisa Guthrie reports in the NY Daily News that Cybill Shepherd would welcome the opportunity to play Martha Stewart again for a third TV movie.

Her latest portrayal of the "domestic goddess", 'Martha Behind Bars', will air on CBS in September. Apparently it's not as "campy" as the first tele-flick, 'Martha, Inc.: The Story Of Martha Stewart'.

And what of the third attempt?

"I could do 'Martha: The Musical.' I'm thinking about that."

Well, even as goofy as that idea may be, it would certainly qualify her tele-version of Martha for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

But I'd much rather see her complete her trifecta by doing the TV-movie version of that 'Saturday Night Live' sketch about the Martha Stewart Topless Holiday Special!



The world of 'Gunsmoke' was pretty much self-contained, and even after twenty years, there was only the one true spin-off from the series, 'Dirty Sally'.

But even though the residents of Dodge City, TV-style, were isolated from the outside world for the most part, that world still found its way into their lives.

A good example came up a few weekends ago as I was watching an episode during the TV Land mini-marathon. "The Fires Of Ignorance" featured three of my favorite stalwarts among Toobworld players - dependable heavy John Vernon, who passed away earlier this year, Allen Garfield, a roly-poly actor not normally known for western roles, and one of my character actor legends, Herb Vigran as the Judge.

At one point during the episode, Doctor Galen Adams mentioned that when Dodge City came into being, there was nobody practicing medicine there until he came along. And he said it was pretty much a lawless place until Matt Dillon showed up to be Marshall.

I knew right away that was a clash with the history of the Real World. (Not that such a problem has ever been a major stumbling block for Toobworld!) But the conflict butted heads with a major legend of the Old West, not only on Earth Prime but also Earth Prime-Time: Bat Masterson.

By 1877, Bat Masterson was the Deputy Sheriff of Dodge City but he soon ascended to be the top law enforcer in town. However, he lost the election two years later and then moved to Kansas City. He didn't return to Dodge until 1883.

During the episode "The Fires of Ignorance", much of the action took place in the Dodge City court-house. And there hanging over the head of the Judge was a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States.

Anybody who watches 'Law & Order' on a regular basis knows that a timeline for the series could be established based on the portraits of the country's Chief Executives in the D.A.'s office. And the same could be done with this example, even from over 130 years ago.

Grant was the eighteenth President of the United States, serving from 1869 to 1877, the same year when Bat Masterson became Sheriff in Dodge City.

So the twenty year reign of 'Gunsmoke' at the top of the ratings should be squeezed in before Masterson became Sheriff.

As we know from 'M*A*S*H' and 'LOST', real time and TV seasons have no real bearing on the time that passes within the show itself. So even though 'Gunsmoke' was on our screens for twenty seasons, its timeline can be condensed. (Of course when it comes to 'That 70s Show', the timeline could also be expanded... and twisted around.)

But there's another train of thought. If I'm not mistaken, the position of Marshall is a federal posting, whereas the job of Sheriff is one elected by the populace of the town. So it's possible that Matt Dillon and Bat Masterson were co-existing in Dodge City long after 'The Fires Of Ignorance', and President Grant's term of office, had come to their conclusions.

Just seems strange that neither one of them ever ran into the other......