Saturday, October 14, 2006


'Life On Mars' premiered this year, first in the UK and then here in America, telling the story of Manchester police detective Sam Tyler who was struck down by a car only to find himself back in 1973.

He didn't know whether he was actually back in Time, in a coma, or had gone mad. So he tried to adjust to his new surroundings (where modern police methods were unheard of, and un-PC behaviour ruled the day) while still struggling to get back to the world he knew in 2006.

The first season - excuse me, series - ran for eight episodes and concluded with him being able to unblock childhood memories from that time period, thanks to him supposedly being actually back there in person as an adult.

'Life On Mars' will return for a second series next year, but the creators of the show have decided that it will also be the last for this fantastic show in order to preserve the credulity of what they created. Executive producer Claire Parker said the story would reach a "natural and explosive climax" in which viewers like you will learn how Detective Inspector Sam Tyler, played by John Simm, became stuck in the '70s.

The producers said two endings to the second series had been filmed "to keep everyone guessing until the very end." Writer and co-creator Matthew Graham said: "We decided that Sam's journey should have a finite life span and a clear-cut ending and we feel that we have now reached that point after two series.

"Although it is sad that we have just finished filming Sam's final scenes, it's also been an incredibly exciting few days."

Personally, I hope it turns out that he really did go back in Time somehow. It's just more in keeping with the "Toobworld lifestyle". Mainly I just want to find out that characters like DCI Gene Hunt and Officer Annie Cartwright really did exist. It's selfish on my part, of course. I want to be able to say that "the Gene Genie" is the uncle of Ash Morgan of 'Hustle' (who's played by Philip Glenister's brother Robert), and that Annie is descended from Adam Cartwright of 'Bonanza' after he left the Ponderosa to sail to England.

Over here in America, David E Kelley is making a pilot based on the show for US audiences. It'll be interesting to see if he can craft his version of 'Life On Mars' to realistically run for at least five seasons, considering American TV is geared toward the profitable goal of syndication where 100 episodes is the magic number.....


Friday, October 13, 2006


I always enjoy getting the chance to tout the true global nature of Toobworld, beyond the shows produced in the United States and Great Britain. And now there's a new comedy show being broadcast in Iraq that helps expand one of the sub-universes.

That would be "Skitlandia", my term for the world in which comedy sketches form the basis of its existence.

The show is called "Hurry Up! He's Dead", which is a translation of an Iraqi slang term. It's a fake news broadcast, perhaps very similar in its way to 'The Daily Show', but I liken it more to an unsold pilot which was broadcast on CBS April 14, 1972, 'This Week In Nemtim'. (I still remember seeing that show, but had to refresh my memory thanks to Lee Goldberg's book, "Unsold Television Pilots".)

All of the main characters in the show are played by only one actor, Saaed Khalifa. The show takes place in the year 2017, when there's only one man still living in Iraq, and yet the Americans are still there!

As an example of its humor, the anchorman Saeed reports that American Secretary of Defense"Rums bin Feld said the American forces are leaving on 1-1," referring to Jan. 1.

For a little while, he's so happy to report that news, throwing his hands up in the air to do a little "Go Saeed! Go Saeed!" And then he realized that he read the report wrong - The soldiers are leaving one by one, not on 1-1. Figuring out the calculations in his head, he realized that the soldiers would finally be gone in 694 years.

And he begins to cry.

The Iraqi audience find that side-splitting for some reason......

The nightly newscast from the future also includes weather, sports and business segments which all lampoon various aspects of the Iraqi situation, including the Americans, the Iraqi government, the militias and the head of Iraq's state-owned media company.

I'm not sure if Iraqi-Americans will ever be able to see this show over here in the USA, but it doesn't matter to the fabric of Toobworld. Having been broadcast, it is officially a part of the TV Universe.



After reading about the upcoming ESPN miniseries showcasing the 1977 championship Yankees (which stars John Turturro and Oliver Platt), it revived my dream for an even better miniseries which could be made from the curse-busting season of the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

"They were down three games to none
Against the New York Yankees for the League championship,
And then they won eight straight
Benjamin Linus

And my "wish-craft" was answered this week with the report that HBO is in the initial stages of development for an eight episode miniseries about the Beantown Boys' year-long run to the World Series title.

(However, there’s no script yet, and the spokesfolk at HBO said that they don’t discuss projects that are “in development.” )

This miniseries would have everything! Curt Schilling's ankle; Pedro Martinez and his dwarf good luck charm; Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore filming their movie in the middle of the celebrations; Johnny Damon as Christ figure (although now he's a Judas).

Maybe even the musical stylings of Bronson Arroyo.

Who knows? Maybe Dr. Jack Shepherd will get off the 'Lost' island in time to see it, and relive what he missed because of the plane crash.

However, I've got my doubts that he's even getting out of this current six episode mini-season alive......



.... can also contain spoilers......

I saw "The Departed" last night. Through most of the movie I could see it being the basis for a TV series.

Dropped that notion by the end though.


Thursday, October 12, 2006


In "The Glass Ballerina", Ben told Jack that he would ask him to do them a favor someday, in much the same way that the Godfather would tell those asking him to do something that he would expect something from them in return some day.

And I think Ben will have to cash in that favor sooner than expected - I'll bet they insist on Jack helping to save Colleen's life. We don't know if she died yet from that gut-shot.

It looks like this idea may be correct. A "spy" named "SecretAgentMan" gave out this info about Colleen:

"Will recur. 'Colleen', late 30's, tough, obvious military training. Doesn't flinch when a gun is shoved in her face. Trusts few people on the island and only allows herself to be emotionally vulnerable in front of her significant other."

However, sometimes "SecretAgentMan" gets it wrong. As an example, here's what he also had to say about last night's episode:

"Sun has a dream of her future, featuring her 9-year-old daughter."

it was odd to think that as he watched that footage of the Red Sox, Jack would see Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon in amongst the players as they celebrated on the field.

He'd have no way of knowing that they were there to incorporate the footage into the movie "Fever Pitch"; I didn't know why they were there when I saw the celebrations. So it's too bad the producers of 'Lost' didn't use that to further Jack's insistence that the footage must have been staged.

I guess it would have taken too much splainin on Ben's part and would've slowed down the scene's impact.

Someone named SmackFu at the Ain't It Cool News Coaxial boards made this observation:

"[Did anyone else] Get an odd feeling when the kid who was busting out Sawyer said 'What are the people like...from your plane?'

I wonder if this wasn't a slick attempt by the producers to drop a double-entrendre hint? As in we the viewers and Sawyer automatically assume he meant 'airplane' instead of 'existence'."

It's a very intriguing possibility. It would splain why the island is invisible to the outside world.

According to Ben, and he could be lying, the plane crash happened 69 days before; that it was now November 29, 2004. He told Jack about three things of import that happened in that time: the Red Sox win, the re-election of George W. Bush, and the death of Christopher Reeve. All three events are placed within the fictional reality of Toobworld.

I've said this before - if the show runs long enough, another month will have passed in their timeline. And on the day after Christmas in 2004, the killer tsunami devastated Southeast Asia, especially Phukhet, where Jack had once visited.

I wonder if that's a real-life event that will be eventually incorporated into the reports of the outside world?

Did anybody get a good look at the others who were working that "chain gang" which Sawyer and Kate were forced to join? It looked to me as though the black woman who had been on the beach in "The Other 48 Days" was one of those prisoners.

Perhaps this is what became of those kidnapped Tailies. I've seen online a picture of Jack sprawled out on that table in his cell and the little girl saved by Ana Lucia (Emma?) is standing in the background.

Finally, another poster at the AICN "Lost" board had his own fantasy crossover because of the casting of Paula Malcolmson from 'Deadwood' as Colleen:

"Sun better find Wu in Chink's Alley...
by Mr. Nice Gaius
Oct 11th, 2006
09:00:10 PM
...she just shot Trixie tonight. Swearengen is going to be [BLEEP]in' pissed."


Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have teamed with writer-producers Jan Nash and Jennifer Levin for a medical drama set at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to be produced for CBS.

Based on an idea by Smith and Pinkett Smith, the untitled drama is described as a mix of mysterious and emotional stories. It chronicles the medical adventures of the CDC doctors who fight the diseases and viruses that threaten people worldwide.

Just as part of the overall theme, this show will automatically be linked to 'Medical Investigations', an NBC series from two years ago. That had a crossover with 'Third Watch', which had a crossover with 'ER'. 'Third Watch' had its own thematic link with 'Rescue Me', which would probably have Denis Leary cursing me up a bleep streak if he found out I forced that connection.



I don't read the comments by readers for all the shows reviewed at various online forums; only those for shows I'm particularly interested in, like 'Lost'. And then only at TVSquad, Tim Goodman's Bastard Machine, Alan Sepinwall's blog, and TVGasm.

So this O'Bservation may have come up already in some other forum, but I haven't seen it......

One of the shows for which I read the comments is 'Studio 60'. So far I'm right down the middle on this show - two episodes I liked (the pilot and this week's, "The West Coast Delay") and the other two I hated with a passion.

This week, aside from the delight I find in the trashing of Sorkin's vision of the Funny, I was looking for comments regarding the plot line about plagiarism.

Mention was made in the past few weeks about Sorkin reusing plot ideas and even lines of dialogue from his other shows, 'The West Wing' and 'SportsNight'. But the basics for the plagiarism story can be found in a classic show of the sixties, the "Camelot" of sitcoms.

Consider the specifics:

Head writer Matt Albie accepts a comedy bit from the writers' room which goes on the air.

Later they find out that the joke was plagiarized from a standup comic.

And then it turns out that the comic stole the joke as well.

Ultimately they discover that they owned the rights to the joke after all.

Now here's the description for "When A Bowling Pin Talks, Listen", an episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show':

"Hoping to help his dad through a temporary bout of writer's block, Richie inadvertently inspires Rob to plagiarize a sketch idea from a TV kid's show."
May 8th, 1963

[The description is from "The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book" by Vince Waldron.]

And here's from

Rob needs an idea for the show for the week; Richie helps his dad by giving him an idea for talking bowling pin. (Rob has no idea that the bowling pin idea has been used for three years on The Uncle Spunky Show!) Now Alan will be sued by The Uncle Spunky Show.

Rob tells Alan to cut the joke, Alan wants to buy the joke and appear on "The Uncle Spunky Show" free and get a pie in the face!

There was also this note:

Carl Reiner - reprising the character of Alan Brady in the 1995 'Mad About You' episode "The Alan Brady Show" - references 'The Bowling Pin Sketch' from this episode.

The specifics are obviously different. Rob Petrie got the comedy bit from his son. Alan Brady later revealed that he did the monologue back in his Catskills days, and that "Uncle Spunky" stole it from him.

I always hear this line about there being only seven basic plots, and Sorkin did dress it up with a LOT of detail. (More than needed, actually - breaking in to the West Coast feed three times was one time too many. By then it was just confusing.)

Did all the basics have to be the same? Couldn't they have found a different way to end it; perhaps find out that each succeeding comic they tracked down had stolen the joke from somebody else, until its origin was lost in the prehistory of standup?

As a TV series about what goes on backstage in making a TV series, 'Studio 60' probably doesn't have many original plotlines available to them. So we'll probably see Danny forget the 44 tickets he was supposed to reserve for the PTA, and the starlet guest star who falls for Matt Albie, and the toy spaceship hovering around the studio which has the recorded message "Uhny Uftz". Sure, just the stuff that always happens backstage at comedy variety shows.

I'll bet there will be a few weeks this season when 'Studio 60' and '30 Rock' have the exact same plotline.

But that's..... okay. So long as Matthew Perry doesn't trip over an ottoman, it should be okay.

Of course, since Matt Albie has back problems, Sorkin may yet resort to the pratfall for some dramatic - and original! - subplot.

Just before he strikes Jordan McDeere down with MS........


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Back in May, I wrote about how the word "frak" was used in 'Gilmore Girls'. The splainin does not contradict what I posted here today about its use in 'Veronica Mars'. In fact, it bolsters that splainin in showing that having a cover story like the show-within-a-show version of 'Battlestar Galactica' helps hide the fact that the Gilmores may have actually met a real Galactican in Stars Hollow, or somewhere else in Connecticut.

Here's the fantasy crossover possibility for 'Gilmore Girls' and 'Veronica Mars', now that they're sharing the same network, as Veronica tries to uncover the identity of the Galactican in Stars Hollow.

Of course, we have to get her to Connecticut from Neptune, California, first.....



With the new TV season comes a new crop of Zonks, those pesky references to other TV shows which should be sharing the same TV Universe.

Here are a couple courtesy of TV Gal over at (link to the left):

"I know just how to kick off our first night as roomies. 'Saved By The Bell' marathon starts in 5."
Marco to Ellie on 'Degrassi: The Next Generation'.

"We're like the Cleavers; except we're religious, and we like to fool around."
Eric to Kevin on '7th Heaven'.

Let's start with that second one since it's the easiest to splain away.

Within the reference, there is no mention that the Cleavers are the nuclear family in 'Leave It To Beaver'.

Now, to the audience viewing at home, they know that this is what the reference is all about. But within the reality of '7th Heaven', there is no guarantee for that.

It could be that Eric was referring to a family that lives right there in their own town; a reference that Kevin would understand as he would probably know the family as well.

But it could also be that Eric was referring to the theatrical movie version of 'Leave It To Beaver'. In the TV Universe, the rationale for this movie would be that the actual lives of the Cleaver family was adapted for the cinema with some minor revisions - like updating their story to the present day.

Eric could be familiar with that movie and perhaps not even realize that it was based on a "real" family from the 1950s. And no mention of a TV show needs be brought up.

As for the reference to 'Saved By The Bell' marathon on 'DeGrassi: The Next Generation', that is harder to deal with. Thanks to actual crossovers as well as mentions of a fictional nation and special guest appearances by members of the League of Themselves, both series share the same TV Universe.

There's only way to play this: the 'Saved By The Bell' mentioned by Marco is not the same TV show as we know here in the Trueniverse. 'Saved By The Bell' is a classic phrase, even a cliche. Eventually it would have been chosen as the title of a TV series within the Toobworld universe; perhaps a fictional show by some Miller-Boyett clones.

It's not even a given within this context that 'Saved By The Bell' is about high school students, nor does it mention who the actors or characters might be. For all we know, it's a TV series about a boxer. Maybe "The Bell" is the name for a super-hero who comes to the rescue in each episode. (I picture his look to be similar to a super-villain long ago in the pages of "Howard The Duck", with a 'Ding Dong School' bell for his helmet to disguise his identity.)

So taking this view, hopefully we can avoid the Zonk.

I came across another Zonk in the 3rd season premiere of 'Veronica Mars', now on The CW. When the young investigator met the R.A. for Piz and Wallace's dorm, he introduced her to the pejorative of "frak". And he specifically mentioned that it came from the TV show 'Battlestar Galactica'.

The original version of 'Battlestar Galactica' is the one that takes place in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time. The celebrated new version had to be relegated to an alternate dimension (so will the spin-off 'Caprica', as well as 'Firefly' because of an in-joke reference).

But the R.A. shouldn't be referring to that version, even though it's not in the same dimension. Only a "slide" through the dimensional vortex separates the two series, so for all intents and purposes they exist in the same overall universe, just different dimensions.

Here's my splainin, and this could change at any time if something better comes along. (That's what's great about the Toobworld concept - like TV itself, it's always subject to rewrites.)

After the Galactican fleet arrived in the solar system in the TV series 'Galactica 1980', the refugees on board the space ships that survived the journey were gradually integrated into Terran society without the Earthlings being any the wiser.

Of course, some of these Galacticans used their superior qualities in an attempt to wrest control of the planet for themselves. This triggered the Eugenics Wars nearly two decades later, as described in the various shows of the 'Star Trek' franchise. (Although most of the "historical records" consider the participants to be genetically engineered humans of Terran origins.)

Some of the others that now lived among the Earthlings infiltrated all strata of society in an attempt to help cover up the presence of the Galacticans among the native humans. Politics, journalism, scientific and medical research, education positions.... And they even became involved in the entertainment industry.

It could be that in Toobworld, a TV series was developed which was based on the actual truth about the "battlestar" named "Galactica". By practically trumpeting their presence through a fictional TV show, the Galacticans would provide themselves with plausible deniability should anybody try to blow the whistle on their actual existence. "The ravings of a lunatic too caught up in a TV show" they could claim.

This same line of thinking has happened in Toobworld before as we've seen in 'Stargate SG-1'. The TV series 'Wormhole Extreme' and its cinematic spin-off were given a green light by the government (albeit the government of yet another alternate dimension) in order to mask the actual existence of the Stargate project.

Actual details from the lives of the Galacticans would be incorporated into the TV show to help splain away anything that might crop up inadvertently in conversation between humans and Galacticans.

And that would include swear words like "frak".

It's obviously a ploy that works, as Veronica saw the whole thing as a geek-fest obsession on the part of the dorm's R.A. And she dismissed it from any further consideration.

Which is a good thing, since one thing the Galacticans wouldn't want would be a hot shot private eye like 'Veronica Mars' uncovering their existence!



Veteran British actor Tom Bell has died at the age 73 after a short illness, his agent said.

Bell was best known as Helen Mirren’s old adversary Detective Sergeant Bill Otley, a sexist officer who clashed with Dame Helen's character Jane Tennison, in the hit ITV series 'Prime Suspect'. He appeared in the first three series of the mystery drama, and returns in the seventh being shown on ITV1 next month. [Note: the does not list Tom Bell among the actors in 'Prime Suspect 2', but they've been known to make mistakes in the past.]

Bell, who appeared in the seventies TV drama 'Out', shot 'Prime Suspect 7' just a few months ago and it was one of the last projects he worked on. In his return to the show after a 13-year gap, his character makes peace with DCI Tennison.

An ITV1 spokeswoman said: “We are greatly saddened by the news of Tom’s death and extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”

His long stage, film and TV career saw him on BBC1 just last week in "Ancient Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire", in which he played the consul Nasica. Bell was twice nominated for a BAFTA - for the first series of 'Prime Suspect' in 1991 and for the 1978 miniseries 'Out', in which he played a robber.

He was part of a new wave of working-class British acting talent in the 1960s, and his TV credits include Adolf Eichmann in the Emmy award-winning TV mini-series 'Holocaust' in 1978.

Tom Bell is survived by a son and two daughters.

Prime Suspect 7 (2006) (TV) .... Bill Otley
Prime Suspect 3 (1993) (TV) .... Sgt. Bill Otley
... aka Prime Suspect 3: The Keeper of Souls
"Hope It Rains" (1991) TV Series .... Harry Nash
Prime Suspect (1991) (TV) .... DS Bill Otley
... aka Prime Suspect 1: A Price to Pay
"Chancer" (1990) TV Series .... Mr Love, Derek's father
"King's Royal" (1982) TV Series .... Fergus King

"No Bananas" (1996) (mini) TV Series .... Thomas Slater
"The Detective" (1985) (mini) TV Series .... Commander Kenneth Crocker
"Reilly: The Ace of Spies" (1983) (mini) TV Series .... Felix Dzerzhinsky
"Sons and Lovers" (1981) (mini) TV Series .... Walter Morel
"Out" (1978) (mini) TV Series .... Frank Ross
"Holocaust" (1978) (mini) TV Series .... Adolf Eichmann

Pollyanna (2003) (TV) .... Old Tom
My Kingdom (2001) (TV) .... Quick
Four Fathers (1999) (TV) .... Frank Yallop
Tube Tales (1999) (TV) .... City Gent (Segment Horny)
The Great Kandinsky (1995) (TV) .... The Professor
The Cinder Path (1994) (TV) .... Edward MacFell
Dark River (1990) (TV) .... Johnny Deacon
Red King, White Knight (1989) (TV) .... Tulayev
Words of Love (1989/I) (TV) .... Mr. Seaford-Warwick
The Rainbow (1988) (TV) .... Old Tom Brangwen
Sweet Nothings (1980) (TV) .... Tom Fearon

"Spender" .... Tommy Thornton
- Christmas Special - The French Collection (1993)
- Puck (1993)

"Waking the Dead"
- Breaking Glass (2003) TV Episode .... Prof Hugh Cullen
"Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible"
- Voodoo Feet of Death (2001) TV Episode .... CI Ellis
"Dalziel and Pascoe"
- Recalled to Life (1999) TV Episode .... Oliver Fisher
"The Grand"
- Episode #2.6 (1998) TV Episode .... Clive's Dad
- Eden (1996) TV Episode .... John Rust
"The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"
- Young Indiana Jones and the Phantom Train of Doom (1993) TV Episode .... Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck
"Van der Valk"
- Doctor Hoffmann's Children (1991) TV Episode .... Freddie Brugmans
"Unnatural Causes"
- Hidden Talents (1986) TV Episode .... Harold
"Play for Today"
- Desert of Lies (1984) TV Episode
- Stronger Than the Sun (1977) TV Episode .... Alan
- Angels Are So Few (1970) TV Episode .... Michael Biddle
"Une maison, une histoire"
- Wellington (1980) TV Episode .... Duke Of Wellington
"The Protectors"
- Shadbolt (1974) TV Episode .... Shadbolt
"Play of the Month"
- Hedda Gabler (1972) TV Episode .... Eilert Lovborg
"The Virginian"
- Johnny Moon (1967) TV Episode .... Cpl. Johnny Moon
"Armchair Theatre"
- A Night Out (1960) TV Episode .... Albert Stokes
- No Trams to Lime Street (1959) TV Episode
"Dial 999"
- Extradition (1959) TV Episode .... The Boxer


Monday, October 9, 2006


Tamara Dobson, 59, the stunning Amazonian model-turned-actress who portrayed a strong female as Cleopatra Jones in two so-called blaxploitation films, died Oct. 1 of complications from pneumonia and multiple sclerosis at the Keswick Multi-Care Center in Baltimore, where she had lived for the past two years.

Ms. Dobson was born in Baltimore, one of four children, and graduated from Western High School. She began her modeling career in fashion shows at the Maryland Institute College of Art before moving to New York. She appeared in many magazines, including Vogue and Essence, and television commercials for Faberge, Chanel and Revlon.

With a traffic-stopping, 6-foot-2 hourglass figure, Ms. Dobson was striking as the kung-fu fighting, huge-Afro-wearing government agent Cleopatra Jones in 1973. She reprised the role in 1975's "Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold."

Ms. Dobson also had TV roles in the early 1980s in "Jason of Star Command" and "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century."

Her role as Cleopatra Jones was the inspiration for Foxxy Cleopatra in the third Austin Powers movie ("Goldmember"), as well as for Cleopatra Schwartz in the spoof "Kentucky Fried Movie".

She may even have been the inspiration for the main character in Toobworld's 'Get Christie Love'.

"Jason of Star Command" (1979) TV Series .... Samantha (1980-1981)

"Buck Rogers in the 25th Century"
- Happy Birthday, Buck (1980) TV Episode .... Dr. Delora Bayliss

Murder at the World Series (1977) (TV) .... Lisa

A Toobworld note......
It's hard to resist the temptation to consider the character of Dr. Delora Bayliss as a direct descendent of former Baltimore detective Tim Bayliss of 'Homicide: Life On The Street'. What makes the idea particularly tempting is that in real life, Tamara Dobson grew up in Baltimore and that's where she passed away.

Perhaps somewhere down the line in the next four hundred years, a descendent of Tim Bayliss marries a descendent of his former partner, Frank Pembleton.....



Frances Bergen was one of those people better known for her relationships to other people than she was for her own accomplishments.

Widow of Edgar Bergen. Mother of Candice Bergen.

But the former model made her mark in Toobworld, and not always due to her role as wife and mother.

Once the face of the “Chesterfield Girl,” the “Ipana Girl,” Mrs. Bergen died at age 84 at a Los Angeles hospital after a prolonged illness. , Heidi Schaeffer, a publicist for Candice Bergen's publicist, Heidi Schaeffer, declined to specify the illness.

Born Frances Westerman in Birmingham, Ala., the future Mrs. Bergen moved to Los Angeles with her mother after her father died of tuberculosis.

When she was 19, Frances attended a recording of the wildly popular “The Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy Show” and caught the attention of the 39-year-old vaudevillian, marrying him after a year of courtship.

Her glamorous marriage to one of America’s most famous celebrities was closely watched. When she gave birth in 1946 to their first child, Candice, it made headline news. The infant made her first public appearance in a magazine advertisement with her parents.

The Bergens had a son, Kris, in 1962. Edgar Bergen died in 1978 at age 75.

Like her husband, Frances Bergen appeared in several movies, playing small roles in the 1953 rendition of “Titanic,” “American Gigolo” and “The Muppets Take Manhattan.” She also appeared on her daughter’s hit sitcom “Murphy Brown.”

Besides her son and daughter, Bergen was survived by granddaughter Chloe Malle, 20, who is the child of Candice Bergen and the late film director Louis Malle.

Bare Essence (1982) (TV)

"Nutcracker: Money, Madness & Murder" (1987) (mini) TV Series
"Hollywood Wives" (1985) (mini) TV Series .... Pamela Lancaster

"Yancy Derringer" ..... Madame Francine
- Outlaw at Liberty (1959)
- Panic in Town (1959)
- Mayhem at the Market (1959)
- Nightmare on Bourbon Street (1959)

"Murphy Brown"
- Never Can Say Goodbye: Part 1 (1998) TV Episode .... Mrs. Payton
- Goin' to the Chapel: Part 2 (1990) TV Episode .... Claire Forrest
"Murder, She Wrote"
- A Little Night Work (1988) TV Episode (uncredited) .... Janice Darrow
"Out of This World"
- Till Then (1987) TV Episode (as Francis Bergen) .... Janet Hunter
- Slow Death (1986) TV Episode .... Eleanor Kingman
"Barnaby Jones"
- Testament of Power (1977) TV Episode .... Margaret Jason
"The Dick Powell Show"
- Special Assignment (1962) TV Episode .... Hilda Swanson
"Shirley Temple's Storybook"
- The Land of Oz (1960) TV Episode .... Glinda the Good
"The Millionaire"
- Millionaire Whitney Ames (1960) TV Episode .... Eva
"Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre"
- The Doctor Was a Lady (1958) TV Episode .... Dr. Fran Mitchell
"Four Star Playhouse"
- High Stakes (1956) TV Episode .... Rita Raymond

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) .... Leonard Winesop's receptionist

A few Toobworld notes.....
Madame Francine is listed in the Classic TV Archive's episode guide for 'Yancy Derringer' as Yancy's "special friend".

That "Madame" title has me wondering if, like Miss Kitty of 'Gunsmoke', she had a profession that just couldn't be mentioned outright back in those days.

If so, what if she didn't take the proper precautions - as she would have insisted from her "girls" - and became pregnant?

Perhaps she and Yancy were the beginnings of several family trees. It could be that "Nick Derringer, P.I." (as seen in the same-titled episode/unsold pilot from 'Hooperman') was their direct descendant.

And if I wanted to make some kind of connetion to her real-life daughter, it might also come to pass that Avery Brown, Murphy's Mom, could trace her lineage back to New Orleans....

It's a shame that it took the death of Mrs. Bergen for me to find out that the live-action Toobworld had its own version of 'The Wizard Of Oz'. Being a collector of "Ozbits" - those mentions of Oz and quotes from the classic movie in various TV shows, - there's a topic I'll have to investigate further.



Elizabeth Allen, a leading actress on Broadway and in movies who got her start as the “Away we go!” girl on “The Jackie Gleason Show” in the 1950’s, died Sept. 19 in Fishkill, N.Y. She was 77.

The cause was kidney failure, her sister-in-law, Marion Gillease, said.

Ms. Allen played major roles in five Broadway shows and in six movies, appeared on numerous television shows, including “Kojak” and “Mannix,” and sang at the Stork Club in New York. She was twice nominated for Tony Awards: in 1962 for best featured actress in a musical in “The Gay Life,” and in 1965 for best actress in a musical in “Do I Hear a Waltz?”

In 1953, she tried out for a bit part on the Gleason show and was chosen instead to introduce the program with what became its trademark proclamation, “And away we go!”

Ms. Allen also portrayed the strange department store saleswoman in "The Twilight Zone" (1959) episode featuring Anne Francis as a mannequin who became a live woman for a month.

“I hated being remembered as the ‘Away we go!’ girl,” Ms. Allen once said. “Now I love it, because so many people liked it. It’s flattering.”

"The Guiding Light" (1952) TV Series .... Dr. Gwen Harding (1983)
"Texas" (1980) TV Series .... Victoria Bellman (1980-1982)
"Another World" (1964) TV Series .... Victoria Bellman (1980)
"C.P.O. Sharkey" (1976) TV Series .... Capt. Quinlan
"The Paul Lynde Show" (1972) TV Series .... Martha Simms
"Bracken's World" (1969) TV Series .... Laura Deane
"The Jackie Gleason Show"..... The "Away We Go" Girl

"Dr. Kildare"..... Katherine West
- No Other Road (1966)
- I Can Hear the Ice Melting (1966)
- Some Tales for Halloween (1966)
- A Few Hearts, a Few Flowers

"Buck Rogers in the 25th Century"
- Return of the Fighting 69th (1979) TV Episode .... Roxanne Trent
- Nightmare (1975) TV Episode .... Arlene Thompson Richards
- Therapy in Dynamite (1974) TV Episode .... Louise Linden
"The ABC Afternoon Playbreak"
- Mother of the Bride (1974) TV Episode .... Amy Whitman
"Faraday and Company"
- Fire and Ice (1973) TV Episode .... Ms.
- Days Beyond Recall (1971) TV Episode .... Westy Westcott
"The Young Lawyers"
- Conrad and the Taxi Squad (1971) TV Episode .... Doris Pierce
"The High Chaparral"
- The Glory Soldiers (1969) TV Episode .... Sister Ellie Strong
"The Fugitive"
- The Evil Men Do (1966) TV Episode .... Sharon
- Detour on a Road Going Nowhere (1964) TV Episode .... Louanne Crowell
- Terror at High Point (1963) TV Episode .... Ruth Harmon
"The F.B.I."
- The Death Wind (1966) TV Episode .... Gloria Jennerson
"The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
- The Waverly Ring Affair (1966) TV Episode .... Carla Drosten
"The Reporter"
- The Lost Lady Blues (1964) TV Episode .... Belle Sommers
"Slattery's People"
- Question: What Is Truth? (1964) TV Episode .... Pat Russell
"Burke's Law"
- Who Killed What's His Name? (1964) TV Episode .... Miss Elizabeth Dunwoody
- Who Killed Holly Howard? (1963) TV Episode .... Sophia, Burke's Girlfriend
"Naked City"
- Barefoot on a Bed of Coals (1963) TV Episode .... Ola
- Golden Lads and Girls (1963) TV Episode .... Laura
- The Man Who Bit a Diamond in Half (1960) TV Episode .... Emily Kanopolis
"Stoney Burke"
- Kelly's Place (1963) TV Episode .... Kelly
- No Hallelujahs for Glory (1963) TV Episode .... Eleanora Hunt
"Ben Casey"
- Suffer the Little Children (1963) TV Episode .... Dr. Alison Blake
"Alcoa Premiere"
- The Fugitive Eye (1961) TV Episode .... Nurse
- The Grim Reaper (1961) TV Episode .... Dorothy Lyndon
- The Hungry Glass (1961) TV Episode .... Liz Talmadge
- The Murder Game (1960) TV Episode .... Cora
"The Twilight Zone"
- The After Hours (1960) TV Episode .... Saleswoman
"Tales of Wells Fargo"
- Threat of Death (1960) TV Episode .... Ilona

No Other Love (1979) (TV) .... Jean Michaels
The Carey Treatment (1972) .... Evelyn Randall
Star Spangled Girl (1971) .... Landlady

A few Toobworld notes...
If only she appeared on just one more soap opera as her character of Victoria Bellman, then she would have been eligible for membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame......

Because of the age of the actor who played Amos Burke's son in the 1990s return of 'Burke's Law', none of the police commissioner's girlfriends seen on the original show could ever have been Peter Burke's mother. So Ms. Allen's character of Sophia, like all the other women (including Mary Ann Summers of 'Gilligan's Island'!), dated Burke after his wife passed away.

Back on February 4th, I mentioned Miss Allen's episode of 'Combat!' here in the blog. "No Hallelujiahs For Glory" contribued two pieces of trivia to the TV Universe: World Magazine, a nice generic title that should show up elsewhere in other shows, and the title for Eleanora Hunt's article, "Trois Anges (The Life And Death Of A French Village").


Sunday, October 8, 2006


In the TV Universe, it's a given that every TV character has counterparts in all of the alternate dimensions which are accessible via "sliding". This is a concept realized in such shows as the 'Star Trek' franchise, 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', the two 'Stargate' series, 'Doctor Who', and of course, 'Sliders'.

But there are also some TV characters who have doppelgangers living in the same dimension as they are, but in different countries in TV Land.

Their counterparts aren't lookalikes, nor do they always have the same names. But their lives are eerily similar, right down to the types of children they have, the jobs where they work, and the friends that they hang around with.

Here in the Real World, this is due to a TV show concept being adapted for a foreign market. It used to be that the majority of these shows were between the United States and Great Britain, with the emphasis on "Britcoms" being adapted for the American audience - 'All In The Family' (from 'Til Death Us Do Part'), 'Sanford & Son' (from 'Steptoe And Son'), and 'Amanda's' (from 'Fawlty Towers').

But the trend is truly global now. Ricky Gervais' nightmare of corporate drones, 'The Office', is a success in its American incarnation, but it's also found now in France, Germany, and Canada (perhaps even India), with the necessary adjustments to suit the target audience.

I'm not sure if they're all set in offices for paper products companies, but if so, it could one day turn out that they're all subsidiaries of the same world-wide corporation. (In the British version, they work at Wertham-Hogg in Slough; Scranton's Dunder-Mifflin in the American remake.)

Another character that has twins of spirit through Latin America and now in the United States as well is 'Ugly Betty'. In her original country of Colombia, the telenovela was called 'Betty De La Fea' and now it has been adapted to fit an American audience with America Ferrara as Betty Suarez of Queens.

One TV character who has had about a dozen remakes in various countries might have to see each of those incarnations shipped off to alternate dimensions. That's because in each case, 'Inspector Maigret' doesn't undergo any significant changes to fit the various countries broadcasting his adventures. He is still the same French detective as described in the books by Georges Simenon.

Which one should remain in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld? I must admit that I'd be partial to it being the English version which starred Michel Gambon. However, I might have to bow to arguments made in favor of which version was first produced, and which one was actually filmed in France.

Two weeks ago, Russia began airing its own version of 'Perfect Strangers', that ABC sitcom which starred Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot. Only this time, the strange cousin is from a former republic of the USSR, rather than a transplanted shepherd from the Isle of Mypos. Ivan and Andrei instead of Larry and Balki.

The show is being produced by Warner Bros. who are looking for foreign markets in which they could adapt other old sitcoms. For Russia, they're also working on new versions of 'Suddenly, Susan', 'Full House', and 'Step By Step'. A couple of years ago, Latin American markets were sought for Spanish versions of such shows as 'Desperate Housewives' and 'It Takes A Thief' and 'Charlie's Angels'.

With a version of 'Perfect Strangers' already underway in Russia, it's only a matter of time before they also have a spin-off with a Russian version of Urkel.

And should that happen, would the Russians view that as an act of war?



Hello poetry lovers,

Figured it was about time to add some culture to this burg, so here's a poetic recitation perfect for this time of year.......

"We are quicksilver,
A fleeting shadow,
A distant sound.
Our home has no boundaries
Beyond which we cannot pass.
We live in music,
In a flash of color.
We live on the wind
And in the sparkle of a star."

Now watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.....