Friday, December 1, 2006


In the past, the first seasons of some great shows have been released on DVD, only to see future season releases scuttled because of poor sales on those initial releases.

I don't want to see that happen to 'St. Elsewhere', a show that truly reached the heights with each succeeding season instead of losing its quality as the years passed - which has been the fate of too many other great shows.

To that end, I'm breaking my sojourn in Hiatusport long enough to trumpet the release of 'St. Elsewhere' on DVD, in hopes that you'll all go out and grab a copy to insure that we'll see rest of the series released as well.

'St. Elsewhere' is key to the whole Toobworld experience as it is the hub for most of the links between TV series in the Television Universe. (If you don't believe me, check out the info to be found at "Crossovers Via Tommy Westphall, the third link down to the left!)

So in hopes that I might spur some sales spike for 'St. Elsewhere', allow me to offer up this press release about the first season DVD boxed set which was released on November 28th:

Press Release

CENTURY CITY , Calif. – Before ER and Chicago Hope , audiences were mesmerized by the dramatic triumphs and humorous failings of Doctors Craig, Westphall and Ehrlich of Boston's St. Eligius Hospital – an understaffed, underfunded and always chaotic teaching facility – better known as “St. Elsewhere.”

Now, the first season of this critically-acclaimed, one-of-a-kind series arrives on DVD November 28, 2006 from Fox Home Entertainment. Setting the standard for the socially relevant ensemble medical dramas of the future, “St. Elsewhere” offered viewers a gritty and realistic portrayal of the health care industry and the lives of those who work in it. While “St. Elsewhere” dealt with life and death issues on a daily basis, the doctors and staff were able to maintain balance – and viewer affection – with a healthy dose of quirky humor.

The first season of this compelling series introduced many notable actors including Academy Award®-winner Denzel Washington* ( Training Day, Man on Fire ), Howie Mandel (“Deal Or No Deal,” “The Outer Limits”), Ed Begley Jr . (“Arrested Development,” “Six Feet Under”), Ed Flanders ( Bye Bye Love ), David Morse ( The Green Mile , “Hack”) and Tim Robbins ( War of the Worlds, Mystic River ). Over its six seasons, the series was nominated for 63 Emmy Awards and won 13 .

The four-disc DVD collection includes all 22 first-season episodes, as well commentary on select episodes and multiple featurettes including “St. Elsewhere: The Place To Be.” The “ St. Elsewhere ” Season One DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $39 .98 U.S./$54.98 Canada .

Synopsis :
With its unique blend of intense medical drama, off-beat humor and imaginative storytelling, “St. Elsewhere” paved the way for later TV classics, while introducing America to future superstars Mark Harmon, Howie Mandel and Denzel Washington. Over its six-season run, the ground-breaking, critically acclaimed “St. Elsewhere ” won 13 Emmy Awards and was nominated for over 60. Eccentric, insightful, and intelligent, “St. Elsewhere” is considered to be one of the best dramas ever to air on broadcast television.

DVD Episodes and Special Features:
The “St. Elsewhere” Season One DVD set includes all 22 episodes of the first season and three unique featurettes including “ St. Elsewhere: The Place To Be,” a Tim Robbins featurette and a David Morse featurette. Additionally, commentary is available on selected episodes including “Cora & Arnie: An Outstanding Episode.”

Presented in full screen 1:33:1 aspect ratio, the set also features English Stereo and Spanish Mono and select episode commentary. Individual disc content is as follows:

Disc 1 – Side A
• Pilot
• Bypass
• Down's Syndrome
• Cora & Arnie
• “Cora & Arnie: An Outstanding Episode”

Disc 1 – Side B
• Samuels & The Kid
• Legionnaires (Part 1)

Disc 2 – Side A
• Legionnaires (Part 2)
• Tweety & Ralph
• Rain
• Hearts

Disc 2 – Side B
• Graveyard
• Release

Disc 3 – Side A
• Family History
• Remission
• Monday, Tuesday, Sven's Day
• The Count

Disc 3 – Side B
• Brothers
• Dog Day Hospital

Disc 4 – Side A
• Working
• Craig In Love

Disc 4 – Side B
• Baron Von Munchausen
• Addition
• “ St. Elsewhere: The Place To Be”
• Tim Robbins Featurette
• David Morse Featurette

# # #
Street Date: November 28, 2006
Pre-Book Date: November 1, 2006
DVD Price: $39.98 U.S. / $54.98 Canada
Total Running Time: 1078 minutes
DVD Catalog Number: 2236076
U.S. Rating: NR
Canadian Rating: NR
Closed Captioned: Yes

Take it from Toobworld - go out and buy it NOW!



As promised, I'm breaking my hiatus for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

It's December, and the last month in our year-long salute to the characters of 'Law & Order' for the Hall.

Usually for December, we choose a character with some kind of tie-in to the season or the holidays - Santa Claus, Ebenezer Scrooge, Mrs. Claus, Bob Hope, Dick Clark.....

There's no such character from the world of 'Law & Order', of course. But instead of Jack Frost, we have Jack McCoy - the Executive ADA and one of the most important characters ever to have toiled in this corner of the TV Universe.

He's also one of the longest-lasting. McCoy took on the job of Executive ADA after the departure of Ben Stone in 1994, and there are no signs (so far) that he's ready to move on.

Jack comes with some baggage - two ex-wives, a daughter he never sees, and a reputation for relationships with his assistants that led to an harrassment charge at least once.

He's also not above twisting the letter of the Law to his advantage in order to win a case and that has put him in hot water numerous times. In fact, as things stand now, he may have disbarrment proceedings still hovering over him.

As played by Sam Waterston, Jack McCoy has appeared in nearly 300 episodes of 'Law & Order' and has guest starred in almost all of the other shows in the 'Law & Order' franchise'. He also made several crossovers with NBC sister show 'Homicide: Life On The Street' back in the 1990s and showed up in the TV movie "Exiled" which gave an update on Detective Mike Logan after his departure from the main series.

So instead of tipping our hat or raising a glass, we arch an eyebrow (as he is wont to do) in salute to Jack McCoy for capping off our tribute to 'Law & Order' and its place in the TV Universe.

'Law & Order'


'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'
'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
'Homicide: Life On The Street'

I do have a dream crossover for ADA Jack McCoy. I'd love to see him cross networks and appear in an episode of 'Boston Legal', crossing paths with Alan Shore from Boston's law firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. As it is rumored that Nia Long will be playing a lawyer from the New York branch of CP&S in three upcoming episodes, that hope lives! At the very least, should Alan have to go to NYC for a case, they should at least refer to the character of Jack McCoy.

You hear me, DEK?

And since we've now concluded the year's inductions, here is the complete list of the 2006 honorees:

January - Lennie Brisco
February - Anita Van Buren
March - Donald Cragen
April - Mike Logan
May - Jamie Ross
June - Elizabeth Olivet
B'day Honors - Faith Yokas of 'Third Watch'
[For my birthday, I was being contrarian in choosing her; making sort of an anti-'L&O' statement.]
July - Rey Curtis
August - Ed Green
September - Dick Wolf
October - Emil Skoda
November - Arthur Branch
December - Jack McCoy


Monday, November 27, 2006


With the post "Doctor Bombay & The Lazarus Man", I'll be taking a short break from posting to "Inner Toob".

Thanks to my brother Bill, the technical glitches between my computer and my Toobworld novel have been resolved, and I'm ready to take another crack at editing the fershlugginer.

I've already blue-penciled the manuscript, which was easy enough to do while at work during the slow hours in the middle of the night. But this stage will have to be done here at Toobworld Central.

It shouldn't take too long - not that I expect too many people going through withdrawal until my return! It may only be a week; we'll see. (I will have the December edition of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame induction up at the beginning of the month, however.)

I'm sure I'll be back in plenty of time to begin posting Christmas related essays about Toobworld.

Like why Dr. Bombay decided to impersonate Santa Claus, once upon a time......



The TV Crossover Hall of Fame, part of the Toobworld experience, officially began in 1999. Of the first twelve honorees that year, the October inductee was Dr. Bombay, the witch doctor played by Bernard Fox. Best known for his 18 appearances on 'Bewitched', he also guest starred on an episode of the spinoff, 'Tabitha'. And then on September 17, 1999, he appeared in an episode of the soap opera, 'Passions'.

There are a lot of TV characters who have been seen in three different TV shows (the minimum requirement for inclusion to the Hall), but what made that 'Passions' guest spot extra special (and which gave Bombay the fast track) was that it happened on the 35th anniversary of the 'Bewitched' premiere.

So those were the three "official" appearances in Toobworld for the prestidigitatin' practitioner. (He showed up in another episode of 'Passions' a few months later.) But this week, I may have found a fourth appearance by Dr. Bombay - earlier than the others in both the timelines for the Real World and Toobworld.

Sadly, it took the death of Robert Altman for me to have stumbled upon it......

During World War II (after D-Day), a baseball "superstar" was assigned to Sgt. Saunders' squad. Most of the unit was in awe of Del Packer, especially Private Billy Nelson. And Private Kelly hoped to make some quick cash by using Packer as a ringer in a pickup game with a rival platoon.

As it turned out, Packer was fearful of damage to his "golden arm", and was determined to do whatever it took to protect it and his future career in the big leagues - even at the expense of the other members of his platoon.

It turned out to be 19 year old Billy who paid that ultimate price when Del Packer froze in battle.

And yet, Billy Nelson - as played by Tom Lowell, - returned for nearly thirty more episodes of 'Combat!' before the series ended.

How did Billy come back from the dead? I think the answer lies in his medical treatment.

If you ever get the chance to see this episode of 'Combat!' ("The Celebrity"), check out who was the doctor treating Billy. No, not 'Doctor Who' - it's an uncredited turn by Bernard Fox. (I have to say, though, having rewatched the episode, I'd never assume it was Mr. Fox just based on his appearance. There's something... 'off' about his look. And without the opportunity to hear him speak...... Three different sources credit Bernard Fox with the role, so it could be that Dr. Bombay just modified his appearance to better fit in to his surroundings.)

Bernard Fox, as an unnamed doctor, whose patient dies and yet comes back to life.....

Who else could it be but Bombay the witch doctor?

One has to wonder why Dr. Bombay chose Billy Nelson to bring back from the dead of all the soldiers lost in WWII. I don't think Billy was a brother warlock; there's no evidence in any of the other episodes to support the idea that he had magical powers.

I think it could be that Dr. Bombay needed Billy to die in order to have an impact on Del Packer.

Other times when we saw Dr. Bombay during 'Bewitched', he had been called away from one sporting event or another - polo matches, ostrich races, that sort of thing.

I'd hate to think that Dr. Bombay wanted to meddle in the lives of mortals just to affect the outcome of a sporting event. But we've seen from the in-laws of Darrin Stephens that witches and warlocks can be capricious and cruel.

Perhaps Dr. Bombay had an interest in Del Packer's future baseball career, either for or against him. (Bombay had been around long enough to probably even know Abner Doubleday!)

After Dr. Bombay achieved his intended effect, he brought Billy Nelson back to life. However, it's also my belief that having died once, Billy lost the ability to ever die again. The proof of this can be found in "Gomer Maneuvers", an episode of 'Gomer Pyle, USMC' from 1969.

While engaged in war games, Private Pyle met Corporal Nelson, looking no more than two years older than he did when last seen back in 1944-45, a quarter of a century before.

After years of watching the adventures of FBI agents Mulder and Scully, I'm inclined to believe the government understood what a secret weapon they had in Billy Nelson They kept him in the army as a special ops agent for all of that time. Billy would have gone along with the arrangement because, as Littlejohn pointed out*, Billy was the type of guy who wanted to be in the army; he wouldn't be happy anyplace else. (Whether he still works for the government now is unclear. If I was Billy Nelson, I'd have finally bolted to lead my own life. And that's probably what would have happened in this post-"X Files" era of Television.)

Billy Nelson's situation is similar to that of Captain Jack Harkness, renegade Time Agent from the 52nd Century, as seen in 'Doctor Who'. In the year 200,100 AD, Jack was killed during yet another Dalek invasion of Earth. But thanks to the intervention of the "Bad Wolf", Rose Tyler (who had absorbed the Timestream), Jack was brought back to life.

However, now that he's back in present day Cardiff as the leader of 'Torchwood', Captain Jack has found that he can't die - even when shot in the forehead at point blank range.

Although I hold fast to my belief that it is Dr. Bombay who appears in that episode of 'Combat!', it could be that the witch doctor had no connection to the resurrection of Billy Nelson. It could be that it was automatically triggered so that he became immortal... until somebody cuts off his head after his encounter with Gomer Pyle. (It would certainly help splain away why we never see Billy Nelson again. Even if we did find some other character who could be him under an alias, Tom Lowell has continued to age over the years.)

After all, as 'The Highlander' reminded us, "There can be only one......"

Shows cited:
'Gomer Pyle, USMC'
'Doctor Who'
'The Highlander'
'The X-Files'
'Law & Order'


*This type of insight by Littlejohn is a trait that might have been passed down to his own son. It's a Toobworld Theory of Relateeveety that Littlejohn had a bastard son in 1955, who grew up to assist the New York District Attorney's office as a forensic psychologist. That character? Dr. Emil Skoda of 'Law & Order'.......