Saturday, November 17, 2007


It's still early in the Christmas blipvert season, but I think right now my favorite has to be the new one from Zales. You know, with the guy who can't stop looking at the pendant necklace he got for his wife, and then she walks in behind him.

First off, it's because - like last year's ad, - it re-uses the piano intro from Vanessa Carlton's song "1000 Miles". I had never heard the song before last year's Zales blipvert and sought it out afterwards. I found it lived up to that instrumental intro. And I love the video as well, with her playing the piano as it crosses the country (especially when the owl joins her).

Okay, so bleep off; I like the song!

And then there's the fact that they went with a regular guy, kind of a schlub, to be the star of the commercial. It's almost like watching a new Mark Addy at work.

I'm sick of the ads out there starring the guy with the perfectly chiseled jawline always getting the girl with a smooth move. The Ralph Kramdens of the world can pull if off too, you know.

Kind of....

Anyway, that's the Christmas blipvert to beat this holiday season.

Toby OB


Last night the BBC hosted the annual "Children In Need" charity telethon, which fetched in a record 19 million pounds. (Don't ask me what that is in American currency. I only dabble in simoleons and quatloos.)
I suppose a lot of that money was generated by grateful fans of 'Doctor Who' because the special featured a seven minute "episode" of the series which fit in nicely between Martha's departure from the TARDIS and the collision with the Titanic (as seen in this season's final episode "The Last Of The Time Lords").

The scene - and I won't call it a sketch; this deserves to be included in the canon! - was entitled "Time Crash", and it featured the return of Peter Davison in the role of the Fifth Incarnation of the Doctor. Apparently, Number Ten forgot to raise the temporal shields of the TARDIS and that caused the ship to merge with itself in the time-stream when they crossed paths.

It was written by the fantastic Stephen Moffatt who must be a walking, breathing computer file on all things "whovian". With only seven minutes to play with, he touched on the Cloister Bell and other forms of TARDIS alarms, the changing styles of the TARDIS interior, past adventures from the era of Number Five (as well as 'Love & Monsters' for Ten), and of course, the celery boutonniere. Just splainin why Doctor Number Five looked so much older than he did when he regenerated would have taken more than that allotted seven minutes in lesser hands. But Moffatt tossed it off with a flippant observation by Number Ten which can now be used to provide the splainin for the same situation in 'The Three Doctors', 'The Five Doctors', and 'The Two Doctors' (and, I suppose, for 'Dimensions In Time').

Number Ten asked Five about where/when he was in their shared timeline. But as usual, he never stopped talking long enough to find out the answer. I'd be curious to know when this took place from the Fifth Doctor's perspective, as none of his companions were about.

But then again, the whole thing took only seven minutes. That might not have been enough time for Peri to step out of the shower, towel off the twins, get dressed and race back to the main console room.

Excuse me for a moment. My brain is apparently freeze-framed on the image of Peri in the shower......

Okay. I'm back.

If I was still running the feature, this would have certainly qualified to be the "Crossover Of The Week", even if it was with itself. (Because of the 'Children In Need' telethon being the showcase - sorry, 'Grim Adventures Of The Kids Next Door'.)

I just hope that when the next DVD collection is put together for 'Doctor Who', this scene is included as an extra!

Toby OB

"Time can take forever."
Olive Snooks
'Pushing Daisies'


Okay, I saw 'The Grim Adventures Of The Kids Next Door' and it made for a pleasant diversion while I had breakfast and waited for the computer to open up a 'Doctor Who' video from last night's "Children In Need" telethon.

But woof! When the Delightful Reaper split apart and all of the assimilated children spilled forth, it was nearly impossible to see all of the individual toon characters due to my MacDivver's limited capabilities (no slo-mo). I ran that scene back a few times and freeze-framed as best I could, but I'm just glad somebody else did the work of identifying them all for us.

Toby OB



The writers may not be out on the picket lines today, but that doesn't mean the strike doesn't go on!

The Monday following Thanksgiving, the studios & networks have agreed to come back to the bargaining table to meet with the Writers Guild of America. But even so, the writers are going to keep up the good fight and will still be walking the picket lines during next week.

Let them know - in your own blogs or websites, if you pass them picketing on the streets of Hollywood or New York, in emails to the Guild and to forums like NY Times - that you support them in their struggle to get what they deserve for their valuable contributions to the world of "new media".

Make it so.

Toby OB

Friday, November 16, 2007


BIG mistake with 'Journeyman', this week! But luckily it's within the online site from NBC and not within the show itself, so there's no real need to worry about de-Zonkifying it.
Check that graphic above. In their interactive timeline for the latest episode, "Winterland", they claim that the first episode of 'Saturday Night Live' aired in 1973 with George Carlin hosting. But actually, and I remember this because I KNOW I was in college at the time and NOT in high school!, that it happened in 1975. I just looked it up and it was October 11th, 1975.

But at least they got it right that George Carlin hosted.

I went to the NBC site to check if they really were in 1974 or not, since the hippies who were living in that time weren't even sure what year it was. And I was doing that because I was checking a website for Neil Young's gigs at the Winterland, and he didn't play there in 1974. He did in 1973, which is what year the hippies originally thought it was.

And yet supposedly they were on their way to the Winterland to see Neil in concert.

Sloppiness...... Sad, really..... Don't they have somebody fact-checking the online team?

Toby OB


Or something to that effect....

I received this anonymous comment in the blog the other day:

"good to see you back, were you aware that there was a cartoon crossover last Sunday on cartoon network between Kids next door and the grim adventures of billy and mandy, it was pretty good"

I wasn't aware of it and so I unfortunately missed it. But huzzah! It's on again tonight at 8:30 pm EST, so I'll make sure I "divver" it. (I'm sleeping at that time!)

I checked out its pages at and Wikipedia and found out the following information... information... information...

1] This crossover special between 'The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy' and 'Code Name: Kids Next Door' revolved around Billy being rescued from his dad's "lucky pants". ("When a scythe-related mishap gets Billy stuck in his Dad's lucky pants, only the Kids Next Door can save him from a grounding of a lifetime.")

2] When the Delightful Reaper blowed up real good, out popped the 'Powerpuff Girls', 'Ed, Edd n' Eddy', Adam from 'My Gym Partner's a Monkey', Goo and Mac from 'Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends', Dexter, Dee Dee, and Mandark, from 'Dexter's Laboratory' and Andy from 'Squirrel Boy' pop out.

3] There were references to other cartoons 'Camp Lazlo', 'Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends' and 'My Gym Partner's A Monkey' when Fred Fredburger said:

"I like shows with monkeys... monkeys that go to camp, and also imaginary friends..."

4] Another tooncentric quote that didn't Zonk:

Billy: "Hey, You're not the Powerpuff Girls!"

5] And there just HAD to be a Scooby reference!

Mandy: "And I would have gotten away with it if wasn't for you meddling Kids Next Door."

6] Dora from 'Pandora's Lunch Box' was seen arguing over which stuffed animal is better; it was her third appearance in the toon series.

Toby OB

"Um, can I come out of the TV?
I gotta poo-poo
Fred Fredburger
'The Grim Adventures Of The Kids Next Door'



You know I love you. I feel I've loved you forever.

Lately, I haven't been feeling very well. Truth be told, I'm tired. Out in the desert, under that car that night, I realized something, and I just can't take it. Since my father died, I've spent almost my entire life with ghosts. We've been like close friends, and out there in the desert, it occurred to me that it was time for me to bury them. I can't do that here. I'm so sorry. No matter how hard I try to fight it off, I'm left with the feeling that I have to go.

I have no idea where I'm going, but I know I have to do this. If I don't, I'm afraid I'll self destruct, and worse, you'll be there to see it happen.

Be safe. Know that I tried very hard to stay. Know that you're my one and only. I will miss you with every beat of my heart. Our life together was the only home I've ever really had. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love you. I always will.

Good bye."
And with that message, Sara Sidle left the Las Vegas world of forensics.

(For the sake of alliteration, I wanted to say she left forensics forever, but CBS has said that the door is open for her to return someday.)

CBS put up a video a few weeks ago that gave the character of Sara a farewell musical tribute and you can find it here. ("Breaking Down" by Jenni Alpert was the song.)

Where will Sara Sidle go now in Toobworld? Alls I know, as Stuart Best used to say on 'Murphy Brown', is that it probably won't be televised. We'll see women who look like her, I'm sure, but I don't see any reason now why Sara would be living under an alias. (One from the past, FBI Agent Gina Toscano, lives in an alternate TV dimension where Matt Santos is the President of the United States.)

Based on that goodbye note, she won't be pursuing the same life in forensics that she had in Las Vegas. So that means we can't assume Sara could be working on other cases unseen on TV for shows like:

'CSI: Miami'
'Law & Order'
'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'
'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
'The Closer'
'Saving Grace'
'Without A Trace'
'Cold Case'
'Criminal Minds'
'The Shield'
'Women's Murder Club'

Nor should we think that Sara is living within the realms of old shows like 'Homicide: Life On The Street' and 'The X-Files'. (Although I am charmed by the idea of her working with Lt. Columbo!)

I think she would pursue some other interest that still called on at least one of her talents - her skill with a camera. Perhaps she can take the time to clear her head, her heart and her soul by removing herself entirely from the general population. Sara could head back out into the wild to experiment with nature photography.

I think she has some past experience living in the great outdoors, before her life in the Las Vegas crime lab. Because if I'm not mistaken, it sure looks like Sara Sidle in this blipvert for Labatt's Beer.....

Wherever she ends up, Toobworld Central wishes her well. And the same goes for Jorja Fox - not that the two are related in Toobworld, of course.....

Toby OB


Zonks can be like a virus. They can be successfully treated in one show, only to reappear in another series, stronger than before.

Such is the case with the "Rerun" Zonk. One week ago, 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' made a reference to the character of "Rerun" from 'What's Happening!'. This was easy to fix because the only thing that was mentioned was "Rerun". So I was able to deflect that pretty easily.

But now it's resurfaced, this time on '30 Rock' and it's more virulent. This time, Liz Lemon mentioned not only "Rerun", but the name of the show, 'What's Happening!'.
So that means I have to do a bit more of that same riff as established before. For some reason, the real life of "Rerun" Stubbs and his friends was thought to be interesting enough to have a TV series produced about it. And it could be that Fred "Rerun" Berry, who in Toobworld could have been a "Rerun" Stubbs impersonator, was hired to play the role.

And that would splain why Tracy Jordan was seen pre-credits on this week's episode of '30 Rock' dancing like "Rerun" from 'What's Happening!'.

By next week, if a "Rerun" Zonk pops up on 'Face The Nation', I'm packing it in!

Toby OB




Thursday, November 15, 2007


Looking through the IMDb section about character names, one might come to the conclusion that "Mei Ling" is about as common a Chinese name as "Susan" or "Mary". (Not really sure what would be the most common/popular names in Toobworld, actually. No matter how many times you say it, I don't think it would be "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia".)

And just as I wouldn't claim that Mary Richards of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' was related to Mary Ingalls of 'Little House On The Prairie', just because they share the same first name, I'm not making any claim that all of the Mei Lings I have listed here are related.

(Hrmmmm..... that idea about Mary Ingalls and Mary Richards though..... Both women living in Minnesota.....)

Where was I? Oh yeah. The name "Mei Ling".

TV series episodes
Ling Bai (Mei Ling) . . . "Jake 2.0" (2003)

{Cater Waiter (#1.3)}

Tina Chen (I) (Mei Ling) . . . "Delphi Bureau, The" (1972)

{The Deadly Little Errand (#1.1)}

Judy Dan (Mei Ling) . . . "Adventures in Paradise" (1959)

{Queens Back to Back (#3.4)}
Inspector Bouchard needs a judge for the "Miss Tahiti" beauty contest. The job is a little hard to fill since the citizens of Tahiti generally turn the annual beauty contest into an annual Donnybrook.

Lorna Ho (Mei-Ling Wan) . . . "Hawaii Five-O" (1968)

{Twenty-Four Karat Kill (#1.6)}

Mia Korf (Mei Ling) . . . "Loving" (1983) {(1988-01-15)}

Michelle Krusiec (Mei Ling Hwa Darling) . . . "Dirty Sexy Money" (2007)
Mei-Ling Hwa Darling is one of the Darling family's daughters-in-law of Tripp and Letitia Darling. (Mei Ling Hwa Darling is pictured to the left.)

Ankie Lau (Mei-Ling) . . . "Eurocops" (1988)
{Doppelleben (#1.34)} TV Series

Carol Lawrence (I) (Princes Mei Ling, The Widow O'Rourke) . . . "Wagon Train" (1957)
{The Widow O'Rourke Story (#7.4)}
Coop sets out to find Duke and Charlie who are being held prisoner by Princess Ling, the matriarch of a hidden Chinese empire which is guarded by Oriental men and worked by slaves. Princess Ling takes a liking to Coop because he bears an uncanny resemblence to her late husband, Terence O'Rourke an Irish sea Captain. She offers to adopt him, provide him with a chinese bride and bequeath him all her riches. (Robert Fuller in a dual role as Cooper Smith & Terence O'Rourke, the Irish sea Capt).

Lisa Lu (Mei Ling) . . . "COronado 9" (1959)
{Four and Twenty Buddhas (#1.9)}
A United States Customs badge, whose owner is dead, and a beautifuloriental girl, who is the custodian of a certain solid gold Buddha, are part of the intrigue in which Dan Adams is involved.

Lisa Lu (Mei Ling) . . . "Cimarron City" (1958)
{Chinese Invasion (#1.24)}
A foreman in charge of a Chinese work gang has terrorized the workers, who are building a railroad spur near Cimarron City. Mayor Matt Rockford and Sheriff Lane Temple look into the foreman's activities.

Lisa Lu (Mei Ling) . . . "Tightrope" (1959)
{The Chinese Pendant (#1.28)}
The Undercover Agent enters the jewelry-robbery game in order tocrack Ben Verlaine's mob.

It could be that the Mei Ling played by Lisa Lu in both 'Tightrope' and 'COronado 9' are the same woman. And the Mei Ling of the Old West in 'Cimarron City' could be her ancestress.

Christina Ma (I) (Mei Ling) . . . "Martial Law" (1998)
{Diamond Fever (#1.2)}
{Shanghai Express (#1.1)}

Taayla Markell (Mei Ling) . . . "Twilight Zone, The" (2002)
{Time Lapse (#1.7)}

Nobu McCarthy (Mei Ling) . . . "Mister Ed" (1961)
{Coldfinger (#6.3)}
{Ed Breaks the Hip Code (#6.4)}

Pilar Seurat (Mei Ling) . . . "Islanders, The" (1960)
{The Strange Courtship of Danny Koo (#1.19)}

Irene Tsu (Mei Ling) . . . "Wonder Woman" (1976)
{The Man Who Made Volcanoes (#2.9)}

Teo-Wa Vuong (Mei Ling) . . . "Bill, The" (1984)
{Too Many Cooks (#14.110)}

But wait! There's more!

TV Movies
Natalie Au (Mei Ling) . . . Walking Shadow (2001)

Susan Egan (Mei Ling) . . . Aladdin (1990)

Hannah Ho (Mei Ling) . . . Crooked Man, The (2003)

Helena Li (Mei Ling Kwong) . . . Border Line (1999)

Victoria Mallory (Princess Mei Ling) . . . Aladdin (1967)

Julia Nickson-Soul (Mei Ling) . . . Harry's Hong Kong (1987)

And as an added bonus.....

Jane Perry (I) (Mei-Ling (Lin-lin)) . . . Vampire Hunter: The Animated Series (1997)

Moira Quirk (Mei Ling) . . . "What's New, Scooby-Doo?" (2002)
{Block-Long Hong Kong Terror (#3.9)} TV Series

Ultimately, it's just a first name; there are no ramifications - except perhaps in the case of those characters played by Lisa Lu - to be found in the women listed above sharing the same name.

But then again....

Toby OB


In an early episode of 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea', Edgar Bergen gave a very powerful and, quite frankly, surprising performance as Dr. Arthur Kenner, a renowned psychiatric researcher. Dr. Kenner's expertise lay in the study of Fear, and he was called upon to study the Seaview crew as they traveled deeper into the ocean than ever before.

In a similar situation to that of the two Mary McKinnons, Dr. Kenner may have been related to an Arthur Kenner who became involved in a case being investigated by private eye Jim Rockford. The case revolved around "The House On Willis Street" and can be seen in the TV show 'The Rockford Files'.

Perhaps both Arthur Kenners were, like the two Mary McKinnons, cousins who share the same name.

And Dr. Kenner may have had a grandson who grew up hearing the story about how his grandfather had sailed with the Seaview. And that grandson, if his name was Albert, grew up to become a Lt. Commander in the US Navy and served on either the nuclear submarine Lansing, or the Mako. Both of those subs engaged each other in a potentially deadly game of cat and mouse during a crisis, as seen in the TV movie "Danger Beneath The Sea".

Just a poss'bility.....

Toby OB


Amy Amatangelo is known as "TV Gal" over in the Zap2It site, and she had a great entry yesterday about TV crossovers, both those that actually happened and those we'd all like to see. Check out the long roll of comments, (mine included!) that follow to find more great ideas for fantasy crossovers!

Toby OB


Mary McKinnon was a famous actress in Toobworld, who starred in 'The Mary McKinnon Show' on TV. It was a variety show which featured appearances by such stars playing themselves as:

Dick Van Dyke*
Lucille Ball
Beatrice Arthur
Nancy Walker
Linda Lavin
Bonnie Franklin
Ken Howard
Hal Linden
Paul Williams
Mike Douglas
Gene Kelly
Johnny Mathis

There was also a Mary McKinnon who lived in Bay City, whose life was in constant turmoil. Five years after leaving Bay City, Mary came back to reunite with her children and move the whole family to Minneapolis.

By an odd coincidence for which Toobworld is well-known, another woman who lived in Minneapolis was Mary Richards, formerly a producer of the WJM-TV news. She may have already moved away by the time Mary McKinnon moved there, however. After being fired from WJM in 1977, she married a politician and raised a daughter, eventually moving to New York.

I said it was an odd coincidence because Mary Richards looked exactly like the Mary McKinnon who was the big Hollywood TV star.

Whether or not the two Mary McKinnons were related, I don't know. It could be that they were cousins whose parents both insisted on using the name of "Mary" for their daughter. (I've seen the same situation happen in my family, so I know it can happen.)

Now, it could be that Mary McKinnon the actress, being the cousin of Mary McKinnon of Bay City, originally came from Minneapolis as well, or perhaps from nearby... say, Roseberg, perhaps. If so, it might be interesting to have Mary Richards Cronin and Mary McKinnon take blood tests, just to see if Dr. Walter Reed Richards was a "rambling man"......

Just sayin', is all.....

Toby OB

*We know there's no fear of a Zonk in regards to Mr. Van Dyke ever thinking Mary McKinnon looked like his co-star Mary Tyler Moore. That's because 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' in Toobworld is not the same series as in the real world. Our 'Dick Van Dyke Show' was part of the same TV universe as 'The Mary Tyler Moore Hour'. However, the tele-version of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' probably dramatized the "real life" of comedy writer Rob Petrie. This would negate the Zonks to be found in shows like 'The Jackie Thomas Show'.....


"Well, it's been a crazy fi'ty years. After I got back to the States, I had a juicy Porterhouse steak cooked medium rare, just the way I likes 'em. Then I knocked around a bit. Eventually I got tired of working for jackasses, and decided to make an honest living installing asbestos in schools and hospitals. Got married twice, one ugly, one hot, and had two sons: Hank, and my baby Good Hank."
- Cotton Hill
'King Of The Hill'

But now Cotton Hill's run is over (not that he could do much running without any shins).

In a rare move for the Tooniverse, a cartoon character has passed away. Cotton Hill was the cantankerous old WWII vet who was the father of the main character on 'King Of The Hill', Hank Hill. While having a flashback to the War at a Japanese restaurant, Cotton accidentally swallowed a shrimp, to which he was deathly allergic.

There have been a couple of minor characters who have passed away on 'The Simpsons', and there was a murder of a one-shot bimbo in 'KOTH'. But for the most part, the residents of the Tooniverse basically can live forever. (Although we haven't seen any of the Flintstones walking around in the modern age.) And in the cases of some, like the Simpsons kids, they never age.

And then there are those characters who do die, but then come back to life. The classic example is Wile E. Coyote. (You can't tell me that he could fall down into the canyon and have the rock ledge and an anvil land on top of him and NOT die!) Others include Hans Moleman on 'The Simpsons' and of course, Kenny from 'South Park' - who died just last night on the show after many episodes in which that classic bit seemed to have been retired.

So Cotton Hill finally got his marching orders, or in his case, his waddling orders. For the most part, 'King Of The Hill' goes for realism in its stories, so it's not likely we'll be seeing that old coot again unless it's in a flashback or a dream sequence.

Here was his online obituary:
Cotton Hill, age 80, World War II veteran, died Sunday in a Texas VA hospital. Hill suffered from several injuries ranging from four rusty bullets lodged in his heart from his military service, a broken hip and torn ligaments in his ankle-knees, to an infection in his esophagus and severe burns caused by a freak shrimp accident that occurred earlier this week at Tokyaki’s Japanese restaurant. Hill leaves behind sons Hank Hill and G.H. (short for “Good Hank”); daughter-in-law Peggy Hill; grandson Bobby Hill; ex-wife Tilly; second wife Didi; first love and former Japanese lover Michiko; an illegitimate Japanese son, Junichiro; and nephew Dusty Hill (of band ZZ Top).

Drinks are on Peggy Hill.....

Toby OB


The following is an edited letter from Michael Winship, President of the WGA, East:

Dear Fellow Members of the Writers Guild, East:


Over the last week you have demonstrated your overwhelming support for our strike against the studios and networks with a passion, commitment and solidarity that have been inspiring.
Last week, hundreds of you participated in our pickets at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Silver Cup Studios in Long Island City, the Chelsea Piers Studios on the West Side Highway, the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and NewsCorp's headquarters on Sixth Avenue. The high visibility and publicity generated have been remarkable, sending a message loud and clear to the media conglomerates: we cannot, will not, be ignored.

I thank you so much for your efforts. I thank our dedicated staff for their hard work and long hours. And I thank the many other unions who have joined us on the line, including the New York City Central Labor Council and members of SAG, AFTRA, Actors Equity, IATSE Local One, the American Federation of Musicians, Teamsters Local 817, Laborers Local 79 and many others.

But of course we've just begun. The hard work continues. For this effort to succeed, all of us are going to have to stay involved and pull together. Thus far, the other side refuses to come back to the table, even though we know there's a fair deal waiting to be made, a deal that can be accomplished quickly and simply if they will merely recognize that they must share a small part of future revenues from the Internet and new media. If they get paid, we must get paid.

In areas like streaming video, despite the fact that it earns studios and networks significant advertising revenue, we get exactly nothing, because they claim its use is simply promotional. According to writer Greg Daniels, executive producer of "The Office," their show "has received seven million downloads. It generates the most traffic at We received a daytime Emmy for webisodes that no one was paid for."

By way of comparison, for the first three quarters of 2007, NBC Universal earned $2.2 BILLION, 5% more than the profit it recorded in the same period a year ago. Over the same period, the overall profit of its parent company, General Electric, expanded 9%. GE's revenues in the third quarter alone were $42.5 BILLON.

The package we're asking for - from ALL the studios, from ALL the networks, from ALL the massive, global media conglomerates that own them - is less than $200 MILLION. That's MILLION. With an "M." Over a period of three years.

A lot of you have asked what more you can do. Right now, the primary thing is to show up for the picket lines. We'll let you know where and when and you always can check on the Guild's website.

Another thing is to keep an eye out for movies and television shows being shot in your neighborhood. If you see camera equipment and vehicles or the police permit signs posted in advance of a location shoot, let us know so we can plan potential pickets. Call Chris Aikin, the Guild's organizing coordinator, at (212) 767-7808.

What's more, you, your family and friends can write or call the studio and network heads to voice your support of the Guild and the fair contract we seek. Those names, addresses and phone numbers can be found on the website, too.

Let us know your ideas for activities, voice your concerns, ask questions, and most important, be a part of this historic moment in Guild history.

Among his other wondrous strengths and abilities, Mahatma Gandhi was a hell of a labor organizer. He characterized the arc of a protest against power in a way that may feel familiar to anyone who has been involved in our battle.
First, they ignore you, he said. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

We're in the thick of the fight, not just for ourselves but for future generations, not just for writers but for everyone who labors in the entertainment industry. And we will win.

In solidarity,
Michael Winship
Writers Guild of America, East

[Toobnote: the only paragraph excised was about upcoming events that have already happened.]


After decades of "Britcoms" being adapted for the American TV market, there may be a reversal with a new version of 'Bewitched' being developed for Beeb viewers.

The man who created 'My Hero' and 'May To December', Paul Mendelson, has completed a pilot script, with hopes of working with the BBC on a full series. The rights to the original series are held by Sony and they apparently have agreed to the idea of the adaptation.

Hopefully the names will be changed, so that we can say that both series exist in the same TV dimension. And there'd be nothing Zonkish about the idea - each couple would have no impact on the other, being from different countries and from different decades.

The situation in which a witch would marry a mortal has probably played out several times over in Toobworld; we just never got the chance to see it happen but the one time.

And being the crossover dreamer that I am, maybe it would lead to an appearance by Thermoman...

Toby OB




Over in the blog by Alan Sepinwall, "What's Alan Watching?" (links to the left), a comment was left by "Big Sweet", which I felt had Toobworldian merit:

"But here's a question that's been bugging me for a while now. So the world's best sitcom is shot as a documentary, right? While the Brits were probably more adept at keeping true to form (think the mics coming off when Tim lays it out there to Dawn versus the camera shots like Michael and Jan's feet a few episodes back), the Americans have stayed pretty true to that concept as well.

My question is this: the British version definitely 'aired,' at least by the time of the special. Remember D. Brent, always explaining he wasn't the doofus boss from the BBC2 show? Is there a corollary on the US side? It's not clear to me that there is, which seems strange. Why are they filming?"

This was my response:

"Since the US version has been running for several seasons now, I'm thinking that they must be filming enough material for a documentary series, rather than just for a one-time-only special.Something similar to that series on A&E about the Southwestern airline terminal, I'm thinking...."

We could actually be seeing the finished product of that Toobworld series, instead of just the raw footage caught that particular day. And I still like that idea that within Toobworld, 'According To Jim' is a spin-off centering around Jim Halpert.

Toby OB


My buddy NYMark is an ardent fan of 'Doctor Who' - and I'm not just talking a Captain Jack Come-Lately for the revival; I'm talking "knows his Silurians from his Sea Devils" kind of guy. And he sent me this note from the underground yesterday:

"So I was in the 8th St. & Broadway N and R subway station, and they have these mosaic wall pictures, and this one looked familiar - so I took some pictures. Comparing them at home, I can only assume that the Gods of Ragnarok (from Doctor Who Greatest Show in the Galaxy) made it to New York. Pay particular attention to the shape of the skull, the seating position and the robes. A little freaky, no?"

- Mark

Maybe those who designed the subway system were members of some kind of Whovian cult, sort of like the Freemasons behind all the clues in "National Treasure"!

Toby OB

"I can't stand burnt toast.
I loathe bus stations -
Terrible places, full of lost luggage and lost souls.
And then there's unrequited love, and tyranny, and cruelty.
We all have a world of our own terrors to face
The Seventh Doctor
'Doctor Who'

You know, there's a great 'Twilight Zone' connection in that quote Mark sent me......

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


A suggestion was posted at United Hollywood to send four pennies to each of the CEOs for the major networks who are holding firm against bargaining with the WGA in good faith.

My bestest of friends "I.V." picked up on the idea and ran with it:

"I sent letters to the top six network heads today:

It's a surprise to learn that you're going broke and that the death knell for your enterprise will be a small payment to the writers who create nearly all the content that you air.

That would be terrible.

So I'm chipping in my $.04.

Ordinarily an opinion is worth $.02 cents, but since you're having such difficulty making ends meet, I'll splurge.

Here's my opinion: Use the money to pay your writers for DVD and internet content.

And taped four pennies to the bottom of each letter.

Reminds me of Nuts for Jericho.

Good luck, everyone -- I hope you get everything you want!"



Yesterday was November 13th, a significant day in TV history.

First off, it was the day when Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife.

But it was also the day TV fans used their blogs to rally for the WGA.

Yesterday a lot of TV-oriented blogs, including this one, went "dark" for the day to show support for the Writers Guild of America.The folks at Glowy Box crafted a statement which sums up the cause quite well:

"As fellow writers and as TV fans, we [came] together to express our strong support for the writers and their goals. We believe that when a writer's work makes money for a company, that writer deserves to be paid. Many writers depend on residuals for a stable income, and that income shouldn't be based on an outdated formula which ignores the existence of new media and all but a tiny percentage of DVD sales.

The talented writers responsible for so much of what we love about television should and must be paid fairly and equitably, and we will stand with them until they reach that goal. For everyone's sake, and for the sake of television, we hope both sides can come to an agreement quickly."

And all of the other bloggers in on the original plan (I came to the party late...) posted the following addresses of the networks who won't bargain in good faith:

ABC 500 South Buena Vista Street Burbank, CA 91521 (818) 460-7777

FOX 10201 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035 (310) 369-1000

CBS 7800 Beverly Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 575-2345

NBC / Universal 100 Universal City Plaza Universal City, CA 91608 (818) 777-1000

I was planning on going to the strike being held today at 5th and 55th to see if I could help out by marching or whatever. However, I was struck by what I can only call Rupert Murdoch's Revenge during my overnight shift at work. Only got home by the seat of my pants.

As Robin would say on 'HIMYM', "Literally."

I will get out there, and soon. As this strike drags on, I'm sure they'll really need the added support down the line.

The last writers' strike was mostly a blur for me; I barely remember a song parody by the Smothers Brothers about it. But the introduction of the blogs and fan-based websites of news and opinion will help change that, perhaps even shape the debate. Bouncing around the internet, I can see that the writers have public opinion heavily on their side, which may bring the strike to an end far sooner than the last one.

One can only hope.

Toby OB


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007


"You writers!
You live in a dream world
Gomez Addams
'The Addams Family'

Even if that was true, the networks and the studios are turning it into a nightmare.....

As the WGA strike enters its second week, I want to provide you with two links which can keep you up to date on the strike's progress, and give you plenty of suggestions as to how we, as fans, can help out.

United Hollywood

Fans 4 Writers

Also, here are a couple of YouTube videos to check out:

Why We Fight

The Voices Of Uncertainty

This may be the only place to see "The Voices of Uncertainty" now. According to YouTube, it's been pulled from the site....

Toby OB


And now, a cautionary tale of a life gone wrong in Toobworld.....
Back in the early sixties, there was a high-priced escort working in Hollywood who catered to the eccentric desires of rich men like I.A. Bugg. We don't know what her real name was, but she told Captain Amos Burke of the LAPD that she was simply "Girl Girl".

Even though she was guilty of prostitution - Captain Burke did catch her in the act (even if it wasn't strictly sexual) with Mr. Bugg, one of his suspects in a murder case - Burke turned a blind eye to her activities because he was more concerned with catching the murderer of a sorceress named Purity Mathers.

Girl Girl probably spent a few more years in the trade, but with an eye to finding a different yet still lucrative profession. (After all, there's only a short time-frame for that lifestyle before you have to drop the prestigious clientele, as well as your price....)

It could be that one of her clients was a suave ciminal mastermind who offered his services to both THRUSH and KAOS. His name was Victor Gervais, but as a KAOS turncoat informer he was known as Kinsey Krispin. During the years after his wife ran off and left him, Krispin might have found comfort with Girl Girl. And after the toxic accident that turned his skin chalky white and his hair green, he could have sought Girl Girl out to be his "moll".
That's right - Victor Gervais, aka Kinsey Krispin, became the Clown Prince Of Crime (at least in Toobworld).

Reviewing her options, Girl Girl saw that the Joker's offer as a chance to provide not only an escape from her fate in prostitution, but also as an opportunity to gain the ultimate rush of an adventurous lifestyle. Since he was to be known as The Joker, he gave Girl Girl the nom de crime of "Queenie".

When we first met the Joker and Queenie, the Joker was in prison. (O'Bviously he had already been nabbed by the Dynamic Duo in Gotham City before the series began.) Queenie escaped capture that time, but was ready to be reunited with him once he escaped. They returned to Gotham City for revenge against Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, intent on unmasking them on live TV.

Unfortunately for them both, the Caped Crusaders triumphed and this time both of them went to prison. And it appears that when the Joker escaped yet again, this time he severed his relationship with Queenie/Girl Girl and left her behind in jail in favor of new delights in feminine pulchritude.

Whether we ever saw Girl Girl again in Toobworld, either using her true name or an alias, or even if we ever saw her before she became Girl Girl, it would require more research into the TV roles played by Nancy Kovack.

One thing is for certain: Girl Girl did NOT live long enough to become Nona of the planet Neural. (But she may have been reincarnated as that mystical cu-# er, Kahn-ut-tu woman......)

'Burke's Law' - "Who Killed Purity Mather?"
'Batman' - "The Joker Is Wild"/"Batman Gets Riled"
'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' - "The Never Never Affair"
'Get Smart' - "The Reluctant Redhead"
'Star Trek' - "A Private Little War"

Toby OB

Sunday, November 11, 2007


We all know Elliott Carlin had problems. We saw it on 'The Bob Newhart Show'; we saw it in an episode of 'St. Elsewhere'; we even saw this in an episode of 'Alf'.

But how bad were his problems? Could he have been so depressed that he would try to rob a bank?
If so, he at least had enough sanity to not do it in Chicago, where people would recognize him. From this scene in 'Too Close For Comfort', it looks like he flew all the way out to San Francisco in order to pull off a bank job. (Not that he was successful at it; he finally left the bank with nothing.)

It also looks like he changed his toupee for the occasion......

Toby OB


Am I the only one who sees the inspiration for Drew Carey as host of 'The Price Is Right'?

They weren't going for a new Bob Barker, but for a more historical model.....
I'm avoiding the temptation to say that's Drew getting tips from his mentor.....

Oops. Too late!

Toby OB

[Pictured: Bill Cullen on 'I've Got A Secret']


Over in Skitlandia, the alternate dimension in which sketch comedy rules, 'The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams' has a new, ultra-cool opening:

[Thanks to 'Saturday Night Live']

Maybe they really should use it in the real world. Especially during Sweeps!

Toby OB


New York City has plenty of neighborhoods which are known by acronyms:

DUMBO - Down Under Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass
TRIBECA - Triangle Below Canal
SOHO - South of Houston
NOHO - North of Houston

And now - at least in Toobworld - there's a new neighborhood known by its acronym:

In a recent episode of 'How I Met Your Mother', Marshall and Lily moved into the Dowisetrepla area without really knowing what the acronym stood for. But of course, not wanting to look out of it or square, they acted as if they did.

The whole transaction was done on a weekend and it wasn't until the business week started did they learn the true meaning of the name:

Down Wind of the Sewage Treatment Plant.

For our sakes, it's a good thing we don't have smell-0-vision!

Toby OB


Today is Veterans' Day. We remember and pay tribute to the men and women in the military who risk all to protect us and our freedoms back home, here in the United States. Far too many make the ultimate sacrifice in defending us.

Two years ago we paid tribute to the memory of Emil Peterson from 'The Bob Newhart Show'. "The Hostile Mouse" had been a Marine at Iwo Jima and had been portrayed by John Fielder, who passed away earlier in 2005.

In 2006, we honored Leroy Jethro Gibbs of 'NCIS' and Mac Taylor of 'CSI: NY', both of whom survived the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut back in 1983.

This year our salute honors Admiral Harriman Nelson, who left a brilliant career in the Navy at the beginning of the 1970s to focus his attentions on his own oceanographic pursuits at his center, the Nelson Institute of Marine Research. (If only it was the Nelson Institute of Marine Observation.... Then its acronym would have been "NIMO"!)

However, Nelson and his employees still worked for the US government with a top-secret base under the Institute from which the nuclear powered submarine Seaview would set sail on he missions.

I've seen it said that 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' took place around 1973, even though it was broadcast in the early 1960s. Taking that into account, it's quite possible that Admiral Nelson is still alive in his 80s, maybe in his 90s even, but probably not very active in the daily workings of his own research institute.

I wrote about Admiral Nelson the other day, charting the genetic link between him and one of his ancestors, Captain Aron Sligo (as seen in 'Gunsmoke'). But I know far less than I should about the man who designed the Seaview, so I am bowing to others more knowledgeable than myself.

Writers and fans of 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' have crafted several excellent biographies, character sketches and pictorial portfolios of this seafarer. And you'll find those links below.

But first, this is from the Special Archives Library at UCLA. It's a selection from Irwin Allen's Writers' Guide for 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'.

– the head of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research in Santa Barbara. A brilliant engineer-scientist of mature middle age, he resigned his position as Dean of the Department of Science at Annapolis to form the Research Institute which bears his name.

His imaginative and creative mind conceived the design for Seaview and his driving, forceful personality made it possible to bring the dream to reality. Even to those who know him best, it came as a distinct surprise when this dedicated and gifted officer gave up his Naval career to devote the rest of this life to science. But only a handful of people know that Nelson’s retirement was in name only. Actually he and his Institute of Marine Research serve as a powerful and secret intelligence force, ranging the world under cover of scientific research on missions of vital importance to the security of their country.(My thanks to the Daffron and Delaney site for unearthing that.)

For more on Harriman Nelson, check these sites:

From the "Richard Basehart" fan site

A Character Sketch by Roger Thompson

"Biography" from Daffron and Delaney

And click on Basehart's name for more on Richard Basehart and his feelings about Harriman Nelson

[From all of those links, you can go further in exploring more about 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'.]

On this Veteran's Day, we salute you, Admiral Harriman Nelson.

Toby OB

"A man learns a great deal from sitting on top of an armed nuclear bomb for 24 hours."
Admiral Harriman Nelson
'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'


Kermit the Frog added to his wealth of appearances in Toobworld this past Friday night by appearing on 'Deal Or No Deal'. This may have been the weakest rationale for inclusion into the mandatory "Green is Universal" theme week on NBC, what with Howie Mandel claiming he rode his bike in to work when he probably never set foot to the pedal until just a second before the cameras started rolling.

Having Kermit as a guest star on the game show does tie into the theme in more than just the fact that his felt pelt is green. Kermit is linked to that Ford Hybrid which promotes its own boon to the environment.

But I think mostly he was on to somehow push the fact that he's appearing in the new Dustin Hoffman movie, "Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium".....

Toby OB


When Dee Reynolds and Mac put on the outfits that Mac picked out for their duties as quasi-Guardian Angels, Sweet Dee thought he looked more like Rerun than Curtis Sliwa.

For us at home, this was an allusion to the character from 'What's Happening' and 'What's Happening Now!'. But within the context of the scene, Dee's reference could have gone either way - she might have meant Frederick "Rerun" Stubbs, or the actor who played him, Fred Rerun Berry. (Fred Rerun Berry legally changed his middle name to Rerun.)

TV actors are known in Toobworld just as much as their characters, but usually we consider them to be famous for something else entirely in order to preserve the divide between character and actor.

For instance, thanks to 'The Larry Sanders Show', Peter Falk is just as much a citizen of Toobworld as Lt. Columbo, Daniel J. O'Brien, and the Latin American dictator he portrayed in an episode of 'The Twilight Zone'. So when Falk appeared on Sanders' talk show, he couldn't be there to promote 'Columbo'; he would have had to have been there to plug a movie appearance, real or fictional.

Fred Rerun Berry had enough TV appearances as himself to qualify as a character in Toobworld (and for membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame). He was seen backstage in a weird green room bacchanaalia (but I can't remember what show it was!), and he was famous enough to "star" in one of JD's daydreams in an episode of 'Scrubs'. His televersion also showed up in episodes of 'Martin' and 'Linc's'.

Perhaps he made his name in show business by being a "Rerun" Stubbs impersonator. In several episodes of both 'What's Happening' series, Rerun's quest for stardom was well-documented. And o'bviously he finally made it to the Big Time - as evidenced by his appearance on a variety program hosted by the guy who used to be Johnny Bravo and his Brady siblings. ("Rerun" Stubbs definitely qualifies for the Hall of Fame.)

So whether you go with her reference being about either Fred Rerun Berry or Fred "Rerun" Stubbs, the Zonks don't apply.

Toby OB