Saturday, July 21, 2007


Have you been watching 'The Bronx Is Burning' on ESPN? I think we have a lock on the Toobit award for the best blend of Toobworld and Real World History come the end of the year. I'm finding it fascinating, especially since 1977 was a big year for me as well - graduating from UConn, working summer stock at Thomaston Opera House, and moving to Manhattan on Halloween.

Oliver Platt is playing George Steinbrenner and even if he doesn't look like the Boss, he nails the voice and captures the attitude. Best of all is that the role doesn't clash with the other major portrayal of Steinbrenner in Toobworld - that by Larry David on 'Seinfeld'.

We never saw "Steingrabber" on that show about nothing from any other angle except from the back of the head. (There may have been several silhouettes in shadow.) So we don't have to go looking for recastaway splainins.

Trying to add in George Steinbrenner's gig as the host of 'Saturday Night Live' might have been a problem, but we can just ship that over to the sketch comedy TV dimension. (And the same holds true for Billy Martin - played by John Turturro in the mini-series - when he hosted a "cliffhanger" season finale, only to be fired during the show. He then set the studio on fire....)

Toby OB


According to the Daily Express newspaper, an offer has been made to former Prime Minister Tony Blair to make a cameo appearance in an episode of 'Doctor Who' during the upcoming fourth season.

Blair has already appeared in an episode of 'The Simpsons' (animated, natch), and in a sketch with once and future 'Who' Companion Catherine Tate.

However, from a Toobworld perspective, his participation in the series wouldn't make sense. Since RTD took over 'Doctor Who', it has been firmly established to be taking place in an alternate TV dimension. As the audience, it was our perspective that changed sometime between the 1996 TV movie and the re-launch of the series in 2005. (Perhaps due to the Time War?)

The adventures of the Doctor in the universe of Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld, would probably be the same as those we've been watching, except that the Slitheen never destroyed Big Ben, Harriet Jones never became Prime Minister, and (hopefully) Arnold Schwarzenegger never becomes the President of the United States.

Add another to that list: in the main Toobworld, Tony Blair is still alive. Over in the TV dimension where the "nu-Who" takes place, he's been dead since the "Aliens In London"/"World War Three" two-parter. As far as Toobworld Central is concerned, that was Tony Blair whose body tumbled out of the closet at Number 10 Downing Street.

So if Tony Blair was to appear as himself, the perspective of the show would have to switch back to the main TV universe. And I don't think that's about to happen while RTD is in charge. He's created his own little sandbox in which he can create whatever scenarios he chooses, even if his vision of Life today doesn't reflect the world in which we actually live.

If I was Tony Blair - well, first I'd probably roger Cherie before anybody got wise to the deception, just to say I did. But then I'd tell RTD that I'd be happy to appear on 'Doctor Who'... just as soon as he was no longer in charge of the production.

As good a revenge as any for killing off Blair's televersion on a show his own kids were sure to be watching.....

Just sayin', is all.....

Toby OB

Friday, July 20, 2007


Some items of interest for Toobworld in the last week, mostly from the TCA madness in California......

Snoop Dogg will be on the new episode of 'Monk' tonight. Last Sunday he met E and Vince in that night's episode of 'Entourage'. In the past he's appeared as himself on 'Las Vegas', 'Player$', 'Weeds', 'Martin', 'The Tracy Morgan Show', 'The Steve Harvey Show', and 'Just Shoot Me'.

Add to all of that his work in blipverts for Chrysler, T-Mobile, Orbit gum, AOL 9.0, and a Dutch cell phone company and you have somebody more than ready to kick it in the Hall.

It was announced during the CBS sessions at the TCA death march that there will be a crossover next season between 'CSI' and 'Without A Trace'.

As 'Without A Trace' operates in the general tri-state area around New York City, I'd rather see that show cross over with 'CSI: NY'.

But what do I know?

“CSI” and “CSI: NY” will have crossover episodes on the same night in which William Petersen and Gary Sinise visit each other’s hometowns.

This will make Gary Sinise's character Mac Taylor eligible for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

Amy Sedaris says that Jerri Blank and the other characters from Flatpoint High on 'Strangers With Candy' would take up temporary residence in Springfield is she got her way for the 500th episode of 'The Simpsons'.

"I think we might be talking about plotlines involving baby farms, crystal meth labs, a prostitution ring or two, a food poisoning epidemic caused by the sale of off-brand Girl Scout cookies made illegally in Manchuria... Fun stuff like that."

She claims that Groening woud be "moist as a snack cake" after he reads her draft proposal.

On August 6th, Alan Thicke will return to 'The Bold & The Beautiful' as talk-show host Rich Ginger. Any chance he changed his name from Dennis Dupree, the character played by Thicke on 'Hope & Gloria'?

Jerry Seinfeld will appear in the season opener of '30 Rock' as himself, making him another celebrity ready for membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

Any mentions of his hit TV show will not be a Zonk. He made a sitcom in Toobworld called 'Jerry' and it could be he made another one called 'Seinfeld' after being released from prison. Enough time has passed for the normal shelf life of any hit sitcom.....

Toby OB

*A title in remembrance of Connecticut radio/tv legend Bob Steele....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


In writing up my Hat Squad tribute to Charles Lane, I mentioned my surprise at all of the shows in which he never appeared. He was on 'Maude', but why not 'All In The Family'? He was in an episode of 'Rhoda' and two of 'Lou Grant', so how come they couldn't find a role for him on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'? (It will be a Toobworld contention from now on however that Charles Lane played Mayr's uncle, General Richards, on an episode of 'Gomer Pyle USMC'.)

I'm not saying that there were already established roles in other shows which would have been better served by the participation of Charles Lane. I don't want to second-guess the producers as to why they never hired him for their shows. I'm just pointing out the programs where he would have been at home. This will be a bit o' "wish-craft". In other Toobwords, I'm just sayin', is all....

Unfortunately for the late Mr. Lane, I'm a prisoner of preconceived perceptions. Even though I know he hated his typecasting, I see him only as those irascible skinflints and bureaucrats he portrayed over the years.

From the New York Times:
His bony physique, craggy face and the authoritarian or supercilious way he would peer through his spectacles at his fellow actors eventually led to his being typecast and locked into playing a succession of lawyers, judges, assorted lawmen and other abrasive roles. It was, he said in an interview, “stupid and unfair” to be called upon to play the same kinds of roles over and over again.

“It didn’t give me a chance,” he said. But, he added, “it made the casting easier for the studio.”

At the same time, that typecasting may have provided him with far more work than he otherwise might have had if he did not have such an enduring image. So even though these suggestions would have reinforced his typecasting, I for one would have been happy for the chance to see more of him.

These are two shows in which Mr. Lane could have been a regular bar patron. On 'Archie Bunker's Place', Bill Quinn probably already covered the bases as an elderly patron with his role as the blind Mr. Van Rensselear. And 'Cheers' had several elderly barflies in Al and Phil.

But Charles Lane could have added the bitters to the mix, and he would have given Carla as good as she gave out.

(By the way, Bill Quinn played Mary Richards' dad, Doctor Walter Reed Richards, so if I'm going to claim that Mr. Lane was her uncle as General Richards on 'Gomer Pyle, USMC', that means he and Quinn would have been playing brothers.)

Many actors played several roles on 'All In The Family' over the years, so if Mr. Lane played a role in the earlier series, he could have still gone on to play a patron at Archie's bar.

I find it hard to believe he never did appear on 'All In The Family'; I can almost picture him as having done so. He would have been perfect as some bureaucrat locking horns with Archie Bunker; perhaps as the HR director down at the warehouse.

If he had appeared on the original series, Mr. Lane might have been one of the sires of the council. But he would have fit in better on the sequel 'Galactica 1980', once they reached Earth. (Perhaps as a motel clerk who rents a room to Dillon and Troy.)

Had he appeared on the revamped version, a story reflecting the issues of the today on Earth could have involved him in a debate about age; whether it should be a factor in deciding who qualified for precious space during the evacuation.

He could have been in the nursing home mystery episode, hopefully as a witness rather than as the victim. But I could also see him as Monk's grandfather, with the same traits!

A little bit of forehead makeup and voila! An elderly alien on board either one of those space stations.

He could have been a medical colleague for Doctor Chegley, perhaps even a bigoted one who finally sees the error of his ways thanks to Julia.

This would have been an obvious one - they should have brought hm in to reprise his role as Uncle Abner, Great Uncle Abner to Zack Smart.

I see him as either a bank manager or maybe as the representative of the company that manufactured the Brooker 404 safe.

He would have worked well as an insurance investigator who tangled/worked with Alexander Mundy or Thomas Banacek in the past.

My Bat-idea? Charles Lane as the first criminal Batman ever collared in Gotham City.

A role here would be something similar to the eight he played on 'Bewitched': as a man Mr. Baxter is working for, whose acerbic nature is softened by the rough charms of Hazel.

I see him as a friend/adversary of Uncle Tonoose.

Probably he'd work best as an official at the bus company, one that could put the fear of God into Ralph, but the show already had George O. Petrie to fill similar roles over the years.

Building off that image of him as Farmer Frisby on 'The Andy Griffith Show', Mr. Lane could have been some reclusive hermit who learns to open up and be friendly again thanks to the collie.

As either a senator, or admiral or perhaps a paper-pusher from the Nelson Oceanographic Institute.

There were plenty of episodes in which the story was padded out by Columbo's diversions for bureaucratic details - getting permits, having his driving skills rated, stalling a gun practice test. Mr. Lane could have been a bureaucratic functionary in any one of those types of scenes - so long as Vito Scotti didn't grab it first!

Here are a few other shows I'd have enjoyed seeing him in:


Finally, with this show there could have been an actual crossover! Mr. Lane could have played one of his many roles from 'Bewitched' here, where he would have been the new advertiser for 'The Alan Brady Show' and the writing staff needed to impress him.

It's all wishful thinking now, and Charles Lane has such a substantive body of work already to enjoy. But it's like eating peanuts - no matter how many you have, you always want more when they're gone.

Once again, thanks for all that you contributed to TV and the movies, Mr. Lane. May God bless......

Toby OB

[My 1900th post to this blog]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Following the death of character actor Charles Lane last week, I discovered that I could use one of his characters to further strengthen the theoretical link I made between 'The Andy Griffith Show' and an episode of 'The Twilight Zone'.

Mr. Lane played Farmer Frisby in the eleventy-first episode of 'The Andy Griffith Show', "Aunt Bee The Crusader". Frisby was the butter-and-eggs man for the Taylor household, who often made his rounds with his pet rooster, Beauregard. When he let on to Aunt Bee that his farm was being taken away from him in order to make room for a new highway, Aunt Bee led a protest march to block construction.

During his attempts to restore the peace, Andy discovered that Farmer Frisby had about six moonshine stills in operation under his henhouse! (Frisby was betrayed by a drunk chicken.) Once Aunt Bee got wind of what was going on, she dropped the crusade and the highway went through.

Having no place left to go, Farmer Frisby probably moved in with his brother. It's my contention that Frisby had an older brother (by one year) who lived over in Pitchville Flats, North Carolina. Somerset Frisby ran the local gas station, but he was more at home around the cracker barrel in the general store, telling his tall tales.

Unfortunately for Frisby, alien visitors who had no conception of falsehoods heard his stories as well, and they believed them to be true. Recognizing Frisby as perhaps the greatest intellect of the planet Earth, they decided to take him back with them to their home planet. Had it not been for Frisby's trusty harmonica, which delivered a noise unbearable to the aliens, Frisby might have ended up yet another UFO abductee from Toobworld.

Also living in Pitchville Flats was a man named Mitchell, who apparently was the identical cousin of the Mayberry barber, Floyd Lawson. (It could be that they were identical half-brothers, if Floyd's father was a "ramblin' man".)

By the way, one of those aliens took such a liking to the architecture of Mayberry, North Carolina, that he reconstructed the entire town on a Class M planet inhabited by humanoids. (Evidence of this can be seen in the 'Star Trek' episode "Miri".)

'The Andy Griffith Show': "Aunt Bee The Crusader"
'The Twilight Zone': "Hocus Pocus And Frisby"

Toby OB

Monday, July 16, 2007


Inspired by Brent, my blogging buddy to the North (and fellow child of Television), I did some TV-landscaping to my blogroll of links. As I'm just a few posts away from my 1900th entry, I figured it was time to add to my list of co-conspirators.

One of these days I will have to do some pruning. I know there must be a few that are inactive or no longer available, but that's for another time. Right now I re-ordered the line-up for a few of them; moved a few closer to the top of the pile for easier access for my own personal use. I'm selfish that way. And I added nearly twenty more links to the line-up.

Six of these were Wikis for some of my favorite shows or for TV in general:

The 4400 Wiki
Heroes Wiki
and Wiktionary

And then I added a dozen or so new TV-oriented blogs based on the recommendations of others:

Media Obsessed
Give Me My Remote
Digital Spy TV
I Am A TV Junkie
TV Fodder
TV Cocktail
TV Deuce
TV Tan Line
Too Much Free Time

There's a new TV transcript site:


And a few new personal blogs of general interest:

Begging To Differ
Check The Fein Print
A List Of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago
and Mark Evanier's News From ME

If I end up depending on any of these more, you'll probably find them moving up in the queue. In the meantime, you'll find them all to the left with my other fine links and I hope you'll give them a look-see.

Toby OB

Sunday, July 15, 2007


On the season opener for 'Psych', Gina Gershon played a boozy, pill-popping ex-singing star named Emiline Saffron who now was a judge on a musical talent show called 'American Duos'.

I don't think she was based on anybody in the real world......

At one point, she had come out of her stupor, waking up in the interrogation room at the police station and in need of a fix from her handbag. When Detective Lassiter walked into "the Box" in his ill-fitting brown suit, Emiline took one look at him and exclaimed:

"Mr. Bean, thank God it's you! I really need my bag!"

I don't often laugh out loud while watching TV anymore. This was one of those times.

But of course, it also presents us with a Toobworld Zonk. For the audience watching at home, it was a joke reference to the cult character developed by Rowan Atkinson. Mr. Bean has gone from a series of sketch/sitcom episodes to having his second movie soon to premiere in theaters. But within Toobworld, Mr. Bean and Emiline Saffron should be sharing the same reality. His overly-complicated attempts to lead a simple life in England shouldn't have ever had any crossover with the jet-setting, hard-partying lifestyle that Emiline must lead in La-La Land.

To find the connection, we probably have to step outside the usual boundaries for Toobworld and cross over into the "Cineverse".

Toobworld has strayed into the world of movies in the past and laid claim to certain films as being part of the TV Universe. The 'Star Trek' franchise, the 1966 version (only) of 'Batman', 'Maverick', 'Buck Rogers In The 25th Century', the original 'McHale's Navy' movies.... But NOT the remake of 'McHale's Navy' with Tom Arnold, even with the participation of Ernest Borgnine, nor the remakes of 'Doctor Who', 'Bilko', 'The Addams Family', 'Leave It To Beaver', and especially not the aberrations of 'The Wild, Wild West' and 'Mission: Impossible'!

"Bean" from 1997 (Hard to believe it's been ten years!) would qualify as being accepted into the TV Universe because there is nothing in the movie that contradicts what was established in the TV series. And so it provides us with the best opportunity for Mr. Bean's path to cross with that of Emiline Saffron.

The best chance would be at the celebration in the Grierson Gallery for the return of "Whistler's Mother" back to America. Celebrities and other notables would have been invited for their ability to attract the attention of the press, and the resultant publicity - even from a scandal-plagued boozy bimbo like Emiline - could only help bring attention to the art gallery.

So as Mr. Bean was on hand at the Grierson Gallery, supposedly as an art expert overseeing the installation of "Whistler's Mother", it's quite possible that he made the acquaintance of Emiline Saffron. We just never got a chance to see it happen within the movie itself.

What surprised me more was that she would have remembered the encounter!

Toby OB



Until 1990, Winston Newquay was a giant in the recording business as the owner of Radiance Records. But when the OCB took an interest in his business practices - how he ripped off his own artists by selling clean dubs of their recordings overseas - his influence and power began to wane. But even the threat of jail and financial losses from the government couldn't have hurt him as much as had the death of his arch-rival and perhaps only friend, Isaac Twine. (Isaac once owned Shakala Records, but lost it, as well as Dead Dog Records, to Winston in a poker game.)

"Winston Newquay" was as phony as his name. He was born Sammy Fishbine to a working class family in the East End of London, perhaps not far from Walford Square. His air of English civility and superiority barely masked the vindictive streak of his sadistic nature, treating everyone, including and especially his late wife Claudia, with sneering contempt.

When his fortunes were lost due to the government investigation into his business practices, Winston Newquay decided to reinvent himself yet again. In the last twenty years, he took on a new persona, that of "Nigel St. Nigel". He remained in the business that he knew best, that of music and the recording industry, by utilizing the one talent that he actually mastered. With his skill at sarcasm, Nigel St. Nigel became a critic.

As his fame and notoriety grew, Nigel was offered the opportunity to be one of the judges on a TV "reality" show called 'American Duos'. (This was a rip-off of a copy of a copy of another show that was on the air, and even that was a rip-off of some other TV series.)

The other two judges on the program were Zapato Dulce, a former Latino heart-throb, and a substance-abusing bimbo named Emilina Saffron. But it was Nigel St. Nigel who got all the attention because of his withering, blistering, caustic comments to the contestants on the show.

And that was probably why somebody was trying to kill him......

Winston Newquay/Sammy Fishbine appeared on 'Wiseguy'.
Nigel St. Nigel was on the recent season opener for 'Psych'.
Both were played by Tim Curry.

Toby OB

"I feel like an angel baby swaddled in a cocoon of cloud candy."
Nigel St. Nigel