Friday, October 5, 2007


Last week I received the Disney Treasures collection of the first five episodes of 'The Mickey Mouse Club', in their entirety, and decided to take them along with me on this week's vacation. That's because the first episode aired on Oct. 3rd, 1955. I thought it might be fun to watch an episode a day, on the 52nd anniversary of its first broadcast.

In the second episode, from October 4th, the American audience was introduced to a small, hand-puppet bear named Sooty. Sooty and his "friend" Harry Corbett. As this aired when I was just a few months old, I have no memories of it and so watching it yesterday was my first exposure to Sooty. (Pictured at right, Sooty and Harry with Sooty's new TV, a gift from Mickey Mouse.)

And so today, thanks to UK Rob of "The Medium Is Not Enough" TV blog (link to the left!), I find out that Sooty has made the news!

Toby OB

Thursday, October 4, 2007


'30 Rock', basically fresh from their victory at the 59th Emmy Awards as the Best Comedy Series of the year, kicked off the new season tonight. And they came out with guns blazing by having Jerry Seinfeld as the guest star.

Seinfeld is one of the ultimate League of Themselves members. He's been on other TV shows as other characters (like 'Benson'), but like George Burns, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, and Johnny Carson, his best character is himself. And his televersion connects a lot of shows to his base of operations, his show about nothing - 'Seinfeld'.

Here's the basic rundown:

"Seinfeld" .... Jerry Seinfeld / ... (175 episodes, 1989-1998)
"30 Rock"
- SeinfeldVision (2007)
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
- Opening Night (2004)
"Primetime Glick"
- Dennis Miller/Jerry Seinfeld (2001)
"Mad About You"
- Season Opener (1998)
"The Larry Sanders Show"
- Flip (1998)
- The Grand Opening (1993)
- The Real Deal (1997)
"The New WKRP in Cincinnati"
- Johnny Goes Hollywood (1993)

Most of those shows could probably be linked in other ways, but having a League of Themselves mega-star sure makes it easier.

Toby OB


I've mentioned in the past that I've got a kind of serendipiteevee, a knack for tuning into something on TV just in time for me to find something of value in my televisiology research.

When I was on vacation this past summer, I caught an episode of 'Bat Masterson' which featured a character named Soda Smith. It was apparent from the episode that Bat knew Soda Smith from an earlier encounter.

I'm back this week at the same place where I can get the Western Channel, and wouldn't you know it? They showed that earlier episode which featured Soda Smith.

They're also showing "3:10 To Yuma", a week after I saw the remake with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. For over thirty years, I've been meaning to see the film since my screenwriting teacher at UConn produced the original movie, David Heilweil. And this happens to be the day they're showing it!


Toby OB


Here are the episodes of 'Bat Masterson' in which Soda Smith appeared:

Hank Patterson (Soda Smith)
. . . "Bat Masterson" (1958) {Deadly Diamonds (#2.18)}
Hank Patterson (Soda Smith)
. . . "Bat Masterson" (1958) {Tempest at Tioga Pass (#3.14)}


Justin Timberlake was name-checked last night in the second episode of 'Dirty Sexy Money'. Apparently Jeremy Darling wrote a song with him and wanted Nick George, the Darling Family lawyer, to help him in getting it copyrighted. Later, he used Timberlake as an excuse to his twin sister Juliet to cover for a phone call from a girl he lusted after - who just happened to be Juliet's "frienemy".

References to famous people count when it comes to the League of Themselves. If a fictional character relates an anecdote about their interaction with a famous person, then that adds to that celebrity's televersion credentials.

But Justin Timberlake's existence in Toobworld doesn't hang by a reference on 'Dirty Sexy Money'. He appeared as himself in two different sitcoms, 'Clueless' and 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch'.

In 1999, Timberlake appeared with 'NSync at Cher Horowitz' birthday party which ended with Sean, Murry, and Adam in the hospital. That same year, 'NSync played a club in Massachusetts and Sabrina used her magic to whip up a fake ID card so that she and Valerie could get inside to see them.

All of those other appearances on TV by Justin Timberlake over the years - concerts, talk shows, variety programs, award presentations, - don't really count towards League of Themselves membership, but they do add flavoring to the life of his televersion.

Especially that Super Bowl appearance with Janet Jackson!

Toby OB

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I've already seen the pilot for 'Pushing Daisies' at the ABC Preview Party held at the Paley Center for Media, about a month ago. But I intend to watch it again tonight because I enjoyed it that much.

Within the context of Toobworld, just the look of the show alone seems to set it apart from the rest of the TV Universe. Its rich colors and surreal tone make it more of a fairy tale than part of the tele-reality we've come to expect from our TV shows. But live productions with their stage-bound atmosphere and dated shows in black and white from the early days of Television seem equally out of place and yet they are all embraced into the same universe.

I think there's a theoretical link that can be made for 'Pushing Daisies' already, even though everything about it seems to bar any chance for crossovers with other ABC shows. Part of the reasoning for my link idea stems from the fact that Bryan Fuller created the show - he also created 'Heroes', in which ordinary people discovered that they had extraordinary talents.

I think it's possible that Ned's ability to bring the dead back to life may be one of those powers. I wouldn't be surprised if some day Dr. Mohinder Suresh showed up at the Pie Hole restaurant to examine Ned. As he is the one character in 'Heroes' who moves about the world freely, he'd be the most likely candidate anyway. I don't think we're ever meant to find out exactly what big city is the location for the Pie Hole.

Bryan Fuller also created 'Wonderfalls', and should Ned and his untouchable love Chuck ever make it to Niagara Falls, perhaps they might make a stop in that magical emporium.

And he also was the guiding force behind 'Dead Like Me', which is where the idea for 'Pushing Daisies' was originally meant to flower. (Sorry about that, Chief.) There was supposed to be a sub-plot in which George would find out that one of the souls she reaped was put back into a dead body come back to life. Instead, the premise for that one episode has instead become an entire series of its own.

Like I said, I don't expect to see any crossovers with current ABC shows, but the appearance of a reaper, or a talking tchochke, would not be that odd to me.

Toby OB

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


On Monday, Phil Simms, now an NFL analyst for CBS, will be visiting Toobworld. He'll be showing up in the WOAK TV station in Oakdale on 'As The World Turns'.

This appearance on the soap opera will mark his fourth turn as his own tele-version - a fictional representation of one's own life.

Simms was also seen as himself in episodes of 'Buddy Faro', 'Criminal Minds', and 'Yes, Dear'. So as a member of the League of Themselves, the former quarterback links all four of those shows together.

"Criminal Minds"
- The Big Game (2007) .... Himself
"Yes, Dear"
- Jimmy's Jimmy (2001) .... Himself
"Buddy Faro"
- Ain't That a Kick in the Head (1998) .... Himself
"As The World Turns"
- Oct. 08, 2007 episode (2007) .... Himself

Toby OB


'Cane' returns tonight for its second episode, but I won't be. I'm not going back to Playa Azul, Florida, until such time - if any! - one of the Sweeps periods comes along and 'Cane' has a crossover with 'CSI: Miami'.

And I'm thinking they may have to do that before the season is through. Since network executives (May they be nibbled to death by ducks!) have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to the kill-switch for TV shows, I bet CBS may try to pull a crossover off for the November Sweeps.

And considering the events at the end of last week's episode of 'Cane' and what's promised for tonight, I think this is one crossover that would be a perfect fit. But until then, I'm outta town.

Toby OB


Back on May 5th of 1979, President Jimmy Carter was scheduled to speak to a Cinco de Mayo celebratory crowd in the civic center mall of Los Angeles. But less than fifteen minutes before the speech was about to begin, the Secret Service noticed and detained a suspicious man who then confessed to being part of a four-man plot to assassinate the President. The man's name was Raymond Lee Harvey and he claimed that he and another man named Osvaldo Espinosa-Ortiz were supposed to create a diversion so that two other men would have clear access to shoot Jimmy Carter from a different angle.

And yet even though he confessed to this plot, and incriminating evidence was discovered at the motel where the other two men were staying, Raymond Lee Harvey was released when the charges were dismissed.

Forget about the fact that his name was "Lee Harvey" and the other guy was named Osvaldo - Osvaldo/Oswald...... The fact that somebody confessed to being part of an assassination conspiracy substantiated by hard evidence.... Well, there must have been a conspiracy behind all of that.

And at least in Toobworld, apparently there was.

A lot of buzz will probably be generated over Monday night's episode of 'Chuck' when he started spouting some of the secrets he had downloaded into his brain. That's because he started talking about who shot down Oceanic Flight 815, the infamous flight of the TV series 'Lost'.

But he also mentioned an assassination attempt against Jimmy Carter. I had never heard about Raymond Lee Harvey and the events of May 5, 1979, so I thought I might look around TV programming which ran during the Carter administration. I thought I might find something that could be spun into a connection to an assassination attempt against Carter.

However, now it looks like the secret file in Chuck Bartowski's brain may have been referring to the real-world events from May 5, 1979, and that there was probably more to the story than the general populace will ever know.

The general populace in Toobworld, that is. The same is probably true for the real world as well, but that's not of concern here at Toobworld Central. I try to steer clear of that place!

Toby OB


There are many candidates for membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, quite a list that's backing up since on average there is only one new inclusion each month. (In June, there are also the inductees of the Birthday Honors List.) Many of them are kept on hold until a time that is fitting and appropriate to salute them.

Or, as is the case this month, to honor their memory.....
On December 12th of last year, Peter Boyle passed away. His best-known contribution to the pantheon of Toobworld characters will be Frank Barone, whom he portrayed in over 200 episodes of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. But he also played Frank Barone in episodes of 'Cosby' and 'The King Of Queens'. So having fulfilled the requirements of playing the same role in three different TV series (or TV movies or commercials), Frank Barone could have been installed at any time in the Hall of Fame.

I chose this month, however, because October is the traditional month in which TV characters with a connection to horror are inducted. And within the context of the Barone family, Frank was something of a monster.

Ken Levine, a writer, producer, and director, worked with Boyle on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. And he had this to say about the actor: "Depending on the project, truly one of the funniest or scariest actors on the planet."

And let's face it, it may be the TV Universe that's of concern around these parts, but who can forget Peter Boyle's monstrous performances in 'Young Frankenstein' and 'Joe'.

It's a small honor, but 'twill serve. For the month of October, 2007, Frank Barone has been granted entry into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

As Frank would say, "Holy crap!"

'Everybody Loves Raymond'
'Cosby' - "Lucas Raymondicus"
'The King Of Queens' - "Road Rayge"

And as the year draws closer to its end, here is the list of other inductees for the year of 2007:

January - Johnny Carson `
February - Florence Johnston
March - Lou Grant
April - The Doctor
May - Sarah Jane Smith
June - Charlie Pace & Oceanic Airways
B'Day - Brigadier Alister Lethbridge-Stewart
July - Bret Maverick
August - K9 & TARDIS
September - Russell T. Davies

Toby OB


That should be a slightly obscure Toobworld reference.....

Stanford University got quite a spotlight for itself during the first (official) week of the new TV season with mentions in two series debuts and a season premiere, but I'm not sure any of it was good for the school's reputation.

'Boston Legal' - For the returning series, Shirley Schmidt rescinded her hefty donation to the school once she found out that one of the major oil companies was making a similar donation which could have tainted the results of the school's exploration into alternative fuel resources. And so Stanford ended up taking Shirley to court to force her to make the donation.

'Reaper' - An application to Stanford made by Sam Oliver's brother was rejected by the school. They had their chance to get the brother of the Devil's Reaper as an undergrad and they blew it. (I wonder if the Devil might intervene to get him in so that Sam will remain a happy "employee"?)

'Chuck' - Chuck Bartowski had been a student at Stanford, but his roommate Bryce Larkin did something to get Chuck expelled. Plus he stole Chuck's college girl-friend. And I think of the two, Chuck was more upset about the latter.

Over the years I've collected fictional references to Yale University, just because it's a Connecticut school. But it does seem like Harvard and Yale have had more than their fair share of alumni from Toobworld. So maybe it's time schools like Stanford get a piece of the action.

And where's the love for my alma mater, UConn? The only Toobworld character I know of who attended the school would be Rebecca Howe of 'Cheers'.

Toby OB
Class of '77

Monday, October 1, 2007


I'm watching "Chuck" right this minute and they just linked to "Lost"!

To see how much info was downloaded into Chuck Bartowski's mind, the CIA and NSA triggered him to spill some of those secrets - one of which was who shot down Oceanic Flight 815!

I think this makes five TV shows with a connection to Oceanic Airways - 'Lost', 'Alias', 'Diagnosis Murder', 'The War At Home', and now 'Chuck'.

Toby OB


"Gentlemen, we can review her....."

Just as an afterthought on Friday, I programmed "MacDivver" to record 'The Bionic Woman' on Sci-Fi. Figured that even though it has no bearing on Earth Prime-Time, I may as well check out the pilot episode; get a feeling for what they're going for with the new show.

And I gotta say, I liked it. Yeah, I know, I'm easy to please; I'm a tele-gourmand. But the action was fast-moving, the effects and fight sequences were well-executed, and the show can only benefit for getting Katee Sackhoff to appear as often as possible.

Still, the show must be sent off to that alternate TV dimension in which all remakes reside. (For want of a better term, I call that world Earth Prime-Time Delayed because most of the "residents" take place many years after the original versions, set in their own "current" time periods.)

The main Toobworld already has its own version of 'The Bionic Woman' from the mid 1970s, which was a spin-off from 'The Six Million Dollar Man'. The original Jamie Sommers came back, along with Colonel Steve Austin, in at least one TV movie reunion. It was a product of its time and as such belongs in that past of the Toobworld timeline.

Now the new version of 'The Bionic Woman' could have worked in the main Toobworld as well if the producers only acknowledged that their show was an extension of the original's world; that the passage of Time brought about incredible upgrades to the technology as well as bringing in new personnel to work on the project.

This is what always bugs me about TV show remakes (and certain movies as well): Why is it that the names of the characters have to be re-used? Had Michelle Ryan's character for the new show been given any other name, we could have made the assumption that she was the latest to receive the bio-tech upgrades. And perhaps at some point down the road - let's say, during February Sweeps? - Lindsay Wagner could have guest-starred in an episode as the original bionic woman, Jamie Sommers.

But no, the producers had to hit the magic reset button and give the show a complete do-over. And so off it must go to the world of TV remakes.

Still the basic premise of the new technology could be considered part of the main Toobworld. Even the reason for it - spurred on because of injuries resulting from the first Gulf War - works in conjunction with the established TV timeline. It's the prospect of having yet another bionic woman with the name of Jamie Sommers that can't be incorporated.

That alternate TV dimension is still like the main Toobworld in that it would share common fictional locations found only in other TV shows that still remain on Earth Prime-Time. And the new version of 'The Bionic Woman' had a major one show up in its pilot.

The top secret installation where Jamie Sommers was rebuilt is the Wolf Creek Bio-Tech Facility, which looked to be located deep in the Pacific Northwest.

It's my contention that Wolf Creek feeds into Wolf Lake.
Back in 2001, 'Wolf Lake' was a short-lived CBS series about a secluded small town north of Seattle which was populated by wolfen - highly evolved werewolves. Nothing about the series violated the premise of Toobworld and so it remains located on Earth Prime-Time.

Wolf Lake can probably be found in the world of 'The Bionic Woman', but that's not to say the general populace of the area has to be wolfen in nature there. And even if they were, I wouldn't be surprised if the powers that be running the bio-tech facility didn't learn about them in the course of their investigations into the area's viability as a research site. And they seem to be ruthless enough to have "neutralized" the indigent wolfen population so they wouldn't ever be a threat to their compound.

I've programmed MacDivver to pick up this week's episode of 'The Bionic Woman', but I know it's not going to be 'Must See TV' for little old me. Eventually another show will come along in that time slot to be of more interest to me.

I'm thinking that'll happen around February of 2008.....

Toby OB

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Reincarnation in Toobworld is an accepted fact of the afterlife, thanks to the theme song of 'My Mother The Car'. In the past, I posited my theory that country squire Ross 'Poldark' and his gypsy wife Demelza were reborn to meet once again in the 20th Century as Greg Montgomery and his hippie bride Dharma Finkelstein. Also, it's my belief that Roman Emperor Claudius was reborn as Dr. Bob Hartley of Chicago.

Madame de Pompadour, once one of the most powerful women in all of France, was visited throughout her life by a mysterious protector who was not exactly human. I think it's possible that "Reinette" was reborn, not only her soul but her physical appearance. And even in her new life as Buzzwire reporter Beth Turner, she is being protected yet again by a mysterious stranger who's not exactly human.
However, it's not a dual reincarnation as was the case with Poldark and Demelza. I don't think it will ever be possible that Mick St. John is the Doctor reborn.....

'Doctor Who'
'I, Claudius'
'The Bob Newhart Show'
'Dharma & Greg'
'My Mother The Car'

Toby OB


I had the identity of the killer in the pilot episode of 'Moonlight' sussed out before the characters left the cemetary scene. The purpose of the pilot was to establish the characters, so I could give it a pass on delivering a decent mystery. I'm an easy guy. But they better come up with more complex mysteries in future episodes.

One of the suspects was Christian Ellis, a mythological anthropology professor at Hearst College. Professor Ellis claimed to be a vampire, but one whiff of his scent was all that private eye Mick St. John, a real vampire, needed to debunk Ellis' claim. Which is a shame, because had he been a real vampire, Christian Ellis theoretically could have completed a Toobworld trifecta for the greatest of all vampires - Dracula!

Christian Ellis was portrayed by Rudolf Martin, and there's just something about Martin that screams "Dracula" to casting directors. For a TV movie, he played Vlad Tepes, the Romanian warlord who, according to legend, would become the undead Dracul after his death. And in an episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', Martin embodied the legend, updated in manner and style for the 21st Century.
Christian Ellis wasn't a vampire, but with the Toobworld science of telegenetics, we can still make a theoretical link to Rudolf Martin's appearances as Dracula. It's not out of the realm of likelihood that Vlad Tepes sired bastard offspring before he died. (As a vampire, Dracula shouldn't have been able to produce an heir, if my understanding of vampire lore is correct. 'Moonlight' seemed to suggest as much when Coraline kidnapped little Beth Turner to be embraced as a child vampire for her and Mick to raise as their own child. 'Angel' had a son, but I think a lot of technobabble went into splainin how that occurred.)

Christian Ellis could be the latest in a long line of direct descendants to Dracula. And with tele-genetics, an exact duplicate of his DNA could have been reproduced, even hundreds of generations later. Daughters as well as sons could have been in that direct line of descent, so the family name of Tepe - or even of Dracula - would never have survived. But even if it had, there could be a good reason as to why he bore the name of "Ellis": one Romanian ancestor arrived in America around 1900 or so and decided to cut off ties to his Romanian past and embrace his new life in America. To do so, he might have cast off the name Tepes or Dracula or Jipa, whatever, and took as his new name that of the island which was his port of entry into the new world.

The best part of this Toobworld theory? It can't be proven but since it's unlikely to ever come up again in 'Moonlight', it can't be debunked either!

Toby OB


With its debut episode, 'Moonlight' linked itself to 'Veronica Mars'. The new series is about a vampire in Los Angeles working as a private investigator - true, a combination of 'Angel' and 'Forever Knight', but I think the premise could stand another in the field. And vampire Mick St. John's case in the premiere was that of a murdered coed from Hearst College.

This is the same college which Veronica and her friends attended in the final scene of 'Veronica Mars'.

For that show, Hearst College was located not far outside the environs of Neptune, California. In 'Moonlight', I suppose it was to be assumed that Hearst was in Los Angeles. But there was nothing I noticed that nailed that down. It could be that the victim, Kelly Foster, commuted down to Neptune for classes.

Or it could be that Hearst College had several campuses. I went to the University of Connecticut - my first year at the Hartford branch, the next three in Storrs. UConn also has campuses in Waterbury, down near Groton and at least two others (I think). The same situation could have applied here.

"Buzzwire" reporter Beth Turner went undercover at Hearst to learn more about the victim and her connection to Professor Christian Ellis, whose specialty was in mythological anthropology and who taught a course on vampire lore. That's a picture of her wearing a Hearst College cap.......

I liked the show, not that it matters. There had been a lot of troubles in reshooting the pilot to accommodate a new cast, so I won't judge it on that. I think it will shake out the glitches as the season progresses. But in the meantime, it's already found itself a home in the TV Universe by using Hearst College.

Toby OB