Saturday, January 26, 2008


Lance Rothstein, the head writer for the telenovela 'Explosion Gigantesca de Romance', used to write for 'Blossom'. When Shawn Spencer started describing that show, what with his mention of chimpanzees in trucks, it was obvious to his partner Gus that he was talking about 'BJ And The Bear'.

Those two references in the 'Psych' episode "Lights, Cameras, Homicidio" could have been Zonks, but I think we can disable them.

'Blossom' doesn't have to be about the teenaged girl Blossom Russo. For all we know, it was a sci-fi series about a horticulturist gone mad, or some kind of plant-based super-hero - half-man, half-rutabaga.

As for 'BJ And The Bear', that was specifically described. But it still is part of the main Toobworld, and what happened was an enterprising writer - maybe even Lance Rothstein! - realized the TV series potential in the life story of Billy Joe McKay and his primate partner BJ.

Yes, we have no Zonks today!

Toby OB


In "The Million Dollar Bond Robbery", we were introduced to Esmee Dalgliesh. She worked as Mr. Vavasour's secretary at the London & Scottish Bank. By the end of that 'Poirot' episode we learn that she would soon be known as Mrs. Philip Ridgeway.

As we never met any of her blood relations, we can make the assumption that she was also the dear old Auntie of Commander Adam Dalgliesh, as played by Roy Marsden... at least in Toobworld.

Toby OB


With the 'Poirot' episode about "The Kidnapping Of The Prime Minister", the series should have been tossed over into 'The West Wing' universe. That's because the Prime Minister was actually named - as McAdam.

Here is the list of Prime Ministers who served during the Toobworld timeline of Hercule Poirot's peak period of activity (give or take):

1908 Herbert H Asquith

1916 David Lloyd George
1922 Andrew Bonar Law
1923 Stanley Baldwin
1929 James Ramsay MacDonald
1931 James Ramsay MacDonald
1935 Stanley Baldwin
1937 Neville Chamberlain
1940 Winston Churchill
1945 Clement Attlee

Not a McAdam in sight.

From a synopsis I've seen about the original story by Agatha Christie, the producers probably had no choice - she identified the Prime Minister as David McAdam. But they could have avoided the problem altogether by just referring to him as the Prime Minister and leave it at that. We could have then thought of him as whomever we wanted him to be.

What's particularly odd is that the episode had no problem in mentioning Lord Asquith when it came to the history of Irish Home Rule in 1914.

In the Toobworld timeline, "The Kidnapping Of The Prime Minister" was shown before "The Plymouth Express", which has inner proof that it took place in September of 1935. But at the same time, "The Million Dollar Bond Robbery" was broadcast before "The Plymouth Express" as well, and the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary took place in May of 1936. So we can't depend on a chronology based on the series' televised order.

Therefore, this episode could have taken place years before those other two episodes.

The reason I bring that up is because I think the case can be made that Prime Minister McAdam was in fact one of the actual Prime Ministers from the Trueniverse. And since it was broadcast well in advance of those other two lynchpins in the Toobworld timeline - by a full season, almost - I think we can place the episode as occurring during James Ramsay MacDonald's term of office. Perhaps even in 1934 to keep it in close proximity to the episodes surrounding it.

And since we don't actually see the Prime Minister because his head is all bandaged up, then that helps support the argument. (Of course, in the end that doesn't turn out to be much of a problem anyway. See the episode.....)

But if it is supposed to be MacDonald, why the use of the name "McAdam"? My splainin would be that "McAdam" was a code name. In fact, what we're hearing is not "McAdam" but instead "Macadam". It's a word that means (according to the Hyper-Dictionary) "a paved surface having compressed layers of broken rocks held together with tar".

Code names usually have some connection to the designated subject. For a good example: CJ Cregg, Press Secretary for the Bartlet White House, was code-named "Flamingo" by the Secret Service. (According to Bernard Thatch in the "Noel" epsode of 'The West Wing', she was "a freakishly tall woman".)

So "Macadam" could have been a reference to the fact that the government put together by Prime Minister MacDonald was barely held together and subjected to a lot of pressure and yet saving face by being a reference to rock-like strength.

Well, that's my story and I'm sticking with it. Sure, it might have been easier to dump the series into the alternate dimension of 'The West Wing', but who wants to lose the little Belgie from the main Toobworld?
By the way, James Ramsay MacDonald has a televersion. He was portrayed by the late Ian Richardson in "Number 10", a mini-series that looked at the lives of seven Prime Ministers. It was kind of the UK version of "Backstairs At The White House". (Pictured here is Richardson as his most famous Toobworld character - albeit from an alternate dimension - Sir Francis Urquhart of 'House Of Cards' and its sequels.)

Toby OB


Sometimes an actor becomes indelible in one's memory for a lifetime body of work in Toobworld. And for others all it takes is one role, and only sixty seconds worth of it at that.

Jack Eagle has passed away. That in itself probably doesn't get your brain synapses firing up with recognition. But once I add that he played Brother Dominic, the second most famous monk in all of Toobworld (after Brother 'Cadfael'), perhaps that should make you remember him.

Still need help? Well, here's a visual aid.....
Jack Eagle was 71 when he passed away on the tenth of January, five days shy of his 72nd birthday. His first Xerox ad as Brother Dominic made its debut during the 1977 Super Bowl. Next Sunday's game would have marked the 31st anniversary of its first broadcast.

Rest in peace, Brother.....

Toby OB


Make way for the Bikini Cops!For the American readers of "Inner Toob", here's a reminder that 'Torchwood' returns tonight for Season 2 on BBC-America at 9 pm EST.

Of course, we'll be getting the distilled version - edited for content to placate the stupid FCC (which just handed down a fine on 'NYPD Blue' for a scene that aired over five years ago!), and for time constraints so that it will fit into an hour slot with plenty of room for blipverts.

Still, having seen the episode already, I have to say that those who gave up on the show last season for the juvenile way they tried to be "adult" and cutting edge should come back and give it a second chance. This first episode, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" should have you quoting the title of that Toobworld soap opera: "All Is Forgiven".

Toby OB


In last night's 'Psych' ("Lights, Cameras, Homicidio"), there is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment when Shawn and Gus split up to work the case from different angles. As they go their separate ways, an actor crosses the screen, dressed in some kind of armor and carrying a helmet with Viking-styled horns.

Perhaps Johnny Drama's old series, 'Viking Quest', was revived in Toobworld, with a complete recasting? Or - if upcoming events in 'Entourage' prove that to be impossible - maybe there was a sequel or spin-off series.

That'll be one screen grab that will prove tough to track down - at least until the DVD for the season comes out.

In other 'Psych' news, I received an anonymous email yesterday concerning my search for the pineapple references in each episode of 'Psych'. Apparently Shawn is munching on a slice while working on the dog house in "Spellingg Bee"

Next time I grab a copy of that episode, I'll have to snare that shot for my collection.

Thank you, Masked Man!

Toby OB


Yet another TV columnist/critic for a major newspaper has been let go. Like Ed Bark in Texas and David Bianculli of NYC before him, Doug Elfman of the Chicago Sun-Times is a victim of the staff layoffs at that paper.

It's probably just as well if the networks get rid of their upfronts altogether since pretty soon there won't be any more TV critics to cover the stories. Instead of a variety of opinions, angles, and voices, we'll be reduced to just getting press releases spoon-fed to us about upcoming shows.

A good example of why the latest season of 'The Wire' is so timely.....


Friday, January 25, 2008


I caught the BBC editions of the first two episodes from the second season of 'Torchwood' last night, courtesy of my Who-buddies Mark & Michael. (I could have waited until Saturday night, when BBC-America brings the second season to America, but that version will be edited for content and time constraints. I'll still be DVRing to check out those differences, but I want the full experience.)

The first episode, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", contained plenty to work with as far as Toobworld references, Zonks, and connections go. "Sleeper", the second episode, only contained a few, but at least both of them so far are well above the quality level of last year's first season.

So here's your word of spoiler warning to look away and come back after you've seen both episodes if you don't want it ruined for you.

And here we go.

First off, to delay just a wee bit longer, I just want to protest that opening tag line about the 21st Century being when everything changes. The same could have been said for the 20th Century, probably for every century as they approached.


We'll start off with the season premiere, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang".....

Captain John Hart told Jack that their former employers, the Agency, had been shut down. As he also said there were only seven agents left, it sounds like it had been destroyed. Perhaps this happened during the Time War? RTD has stated that he only wanted one time traveler about, and that would be the Doctor, which is why they decided to eliminate this important part of Jack's background.

Still, the previews and a final comment by Captain John hint at the probability that this history may be addressed during this season.

I'm thinking the Agency was the same group for whom Phineas Bogg worked in 'Voyagers!' And if most of the Agency was wiped out during the Time War, it would provide a pretty good splainin as to why we don't see Phineas and Jeffrey Jones anymore.

I kind of like the idea of Captain Jack Harkness and Phineas being VERY chummy when they were working together as Time Agents. Of course, with the death of John-Eric Hexum about twenty years ago or so, this will probably only come about through fanfic fever dreams.

If I remember correctly, Captain John Hart introduced himself to the others in Jack's Torchwood team (Not "Excalibur", not "Blizzard", not "Bikini Cops"). If that wasn't his real name, then Jack was willing to go along with the deception. After all, Captain John was going along with the fact that Jack's name was an alias - up to a point. But then, Team Torchwood already knew that.

If he took it as an alias, or even if it was his real name given him by his parents, it could be that it was chosen in tribute to the actor who played 'The Lone Ranger' on TV in Toobworld.

That's an important distinction. Back in the Antediluvian past of the Tubeworld Dynamic, I worked out this splainin in which the Lone Ranger looked like an actor named Clayton Moore. But within the "reality" of the TV Universe, Toobworld had its own TV series about this legendary, "historical" figure of the Wild Wild West. And he was played by the actor John Hart.

So when we saw Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger, we were watching the actual events of history. When we saw John Hart as the Masked Man, we were watching TV show episodes from Toobworld. And that's why John Hart showed up in episodes of 'Happy Days' and 'The Fall Guy' as the actor who played the Lone Ranger.

So it could be that Captain John Hart was named after him. Hey, we don't know what era that escapee from the Lonely Hearts Club Band actually came from! He could have been recruited into the Time Agents from the 1970s or 80s....

It turned out that Captain John Hart's true mission was recovering an Arcadian diamond for which he killed a woman in some other galaxy. We never saw the word spelled out, so it could have been "Arcadian" or "Arkadian".

Here's a Wikipedia entry for a connection to parent series 'Doctor Who': "In the 2006 Doctor Who episode 'Doomsday', the Doctor mentions being 'there at the fall of Arcadia', where Arcadia is insinuated to be an unspecified area of possible strategic importance in the Time War, unlikely to be the Arcadia of Greece."

And we can make a connection to 'Star Trek' as well. Here's an entry from a great Trek research site, Memory Alpha: "The Arcadian system is a star system that contains at least one inhabited planet, Motherlode. It is possible that the Arcadians have some connection to this star system. The USS Enterprise visited the system in 2269 while attempting to locate Harry Mudd. (TAS: "Mudd's Passion")"

The fact that this entry is from the Tooniverse is only a minor stumbling block. I think it's a given that everything that happened in the animated series also happened in the live action main Toobworld; we just weren't privy to seeing it.

As for those pesky Arcadians: "Arcadians are a humanoid species and members of the United Federation of Planets. Arcadians are distinguished from most humanoid species by the large, broad heads with two parallel lines of hair running front to back on the top outer edges of the cranium. In contrast, the bodies of Arcadians are slim and delicate. Their nose protrudes very little from the face and their ears are large and pointed. They have wide-set eyes that are particularly brightly colored, and do not have eyebrows. Arcadians were represented on the Federation Council in 2285 by two ambassadors. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) The name for this species comes from the FASA Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update book, however, this information has never been mentioned on-screen."

The first case we saw the Jack-less Torchwood team tacking upon their return for the second season concerned a "blowfish" driving a sports car. Okay.....

His species and planet of origin were not named, so allow me the opportunity to place him in the firmament of the Toobworld galaxy. He was a different species that developed on the Antedean planet, whose ambassadors were seen in the 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' episode of "Manhunt". The planet Antedes III must be a water-world in which several species of fish evolved to humanoid form.

Captain John Hart sent a holographic message to Captain Jack to meet up with him and ended it with "Help me, Obi-Wan; you're my only hope".
The movie franchise of "Star Wars" is accepted as such in Toobworld; Seth even got to meet with George Lucas in an episode of 'The O.C.' However, at the same time it's an established part of Toobworld. Luke Skywalker and friends have appeared at 'The Muppet Show' theatre; the droids have gone on to have a very pervasive presence in blipverts and PSAs; and then of course there's that infamous holiday special from 1977. (Deny it all you want, Mr. Lucas, but once broadcast, forever a part of Toobworld!)

The dichotomy between these two standpoints can probably be chalked up to a similar situation as with 'Star Trek'. The far, far away galaxy in which "Star Wars" takes place actually exists in Toobworld. Somehow George Lucas learned of it and created his movie empire based on it.

When Jack and Ianto searched an office for the missing third component to Captain John's "treasure", all of the computers featured the symbol for Starfleet as their wallpaper.

Again, 'Star Trek' actually will take place in the main Toobworld centuries from now, and at the same time it's considered a TV show by the citizens of Toobworld today. Somebody from the Future must have come back in Time to give the televersion of Gene Roddenberry all of the details so that he could create the TV show (including images of the personnel involved so that casting could be as accurate as possible).

Now, as for the second episode, "Sleeper".....

The Torchwood motto is "If it's alien, it's ours." But not everything that Torchwood has access to fell through the temporal rift in Cardiff. Some of it came from confiscated technology that was developed right there on TV Earth.

And I think the mind probe used on Beth can be included in that inventory.

I don't know specifically from which TV show that device came, but two leading candidates would be 'The Avengers' and 'The Prisoner'. I'm leaning towards 'The Prisoner' of course, but then - it is my all-time favorite TV show!

Owen's sarcastic remark to Gwen can't be considered a Zonk, even though 'Murder, She Wrote' exists in the same TV Universe as does 'Torchwood'. That's because by this point in the Toobworld timeline, Jessica Baines Fletcher is an internationally known, well-established author of mystery novels. (Her most famous would be "The Corpse Danced At Midnight".)

So when Owen cites her, he knows Gwen will pick up the reference to the author, and not to any TV show.

Well, that just about does it for these first new episodes of 'Torchwood'. If you read this far without having seen them, then I hope you'll find them still to be interesting when BBC-America airs them beginning this Saturday.

Toby OB


The marketing division for ABC (I'm not sure what their place in line will be when the revolution comes.) is putting references to 'Lost' in a variety of Marvel comic books this month.

It doesn't sound like it's anything you HAVE to get in order to keep up with the show, however. There will be a copy of the Season 4 poster, a strategically placed numeral "6" (which can be seen in the water's reflection on the Season 4 poster), and the slogan "Find Yourself". It's more like product placement advertising rather than true synergy.

I was a big comic book geek once upon a time and I can tell you this doesn't spark any compunction to rush out and get copies.

The show starts in about a week. I can wait it out.

Toby OB

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Somebody call PJ and the gang from 'My Boys' STAT! Because John Gibson of FOX News needs a douchebag intervention.

Hours after the death of actor Heath Ledger, Gibson was on the radio making snide comments about the unfortunate event. He claimed that Ledger was a suicidal weirdo who probably offed himself because of the downturn in the stock market, or because he had seen the Obama-Clinton debate the night before.

(Apparently, it's looking as if Ledger's death was accidental, but I'm not up on the story yet.)

He's been called out for being an insensitive boob (and I'm being polite) by Keith Olbermann (who crowned him the World's Worst for the day), Joe Scarborough ( "This is about as callous and harsh as anything I've ever heard. It is unspeakably rude."), and Mika Brzezinski ("That makes me nauseous.") so far, and I'm sure there'll be more to come.

I'm sure there's a nasty Toobits Award for his Christmas stocking by the end of the year.....

Toby OB


Property Genie is the largest property portal in South Africa and this ad, called "Trimming The Hedge", is how their kicking off their campaign to get more hits on their site:
There's something you don't see in America... and a good thing too!

Toby OB


Here's a classic example of talking food in Toobworld, just begging for you to eat it.

The Tootsie Pops, shown here in an embedded blipvert during 'Howdy Doody', couldn't be happier if you suddenly decided to bite their heads off.
I think if I was given a lollipop that had eyes and a mouth and could speak, I'd probably have sworn off candy far sooner than I had to! As usual I over-think these things - if they have the power of speech, then they must have brains. And that must be what the Tootsie Roll center really is!

Toby OB


Geraldine McEwan announced that she would be retiring from the role of Miss Jane Marple, whom she has portrayed on ITV since 2003 in 12 TV movies. The network and Chorion (which owns the rights to the character created by Agatha Christie) will now look for a new actress to carry on the role.

Ms. McEwan was not the first actress to play the role on Television; that honor would go to Gracie Fields in a 1951 episode of 'The Goodyear Playhouse'. As "A Murder Is Announced" was a one-shot, I'm making the judgement call that it should be relegated to some alternate TV dimension, even though it was the first version of the character.
The Miss Marple for the main Toobworld should be that of Joan Hickson, who did a series of adaptations beginning in the 1980s. Many consider her version to be the definitive portrayal, and Dame Agatha herself once expressed hope that Ms. Hickson would one day play her "dear Miss Marple".

In the 1980s, Helen Hayes also portrayed Miss Marple in two TV movies. I'm thinking that these would fit in nicely in the alternate dimension of Earth Prime-Time/MOTW. That's the universe of the Movies of the Week which have a different line of succession for the President of the United States than is generally accepted in the many Toobworlds.

Ms. McEwan's performances as Miss Marple (which seem to number the same as Ms. Hickson's - a dozen in all) can take their place in the mirror universe which is sometime called the Evil Toobworld. Nothing says that the counterparts to established characters had to be evil themselves, merely the world in which they lived.

As for Gracie Fields' single outing as Miss Marple, I always have a soft spot for populating the alternate dimension of 'The West Wing' with other shows, so I may as well keep that tradition going.....

Whoever lands the role of Miss Jane Marple for the next series of mysteries on ITV, they will be inhabiting still another alternate dimension of Toobworld.

Toby OB


AOL's "Videologist" pointed out a blossoming news story from Thailand dealing with the clash between the real world and Toobworld. According to a report in "The Guardian":

Trade unions representing flight attendants from the national carrier, Thai Airways International, and the private operator Bangkok Airlines are to make a formal complaint to the culture ministry about the show 'The Air Hostess Wars', the broadcast of which began last week.

The programme shows flight attendants scheming for the affections of a suave married airline captain, who embarks on an affair with one of them.

What the show needs is a special guest appearance by Patrick Stewart as himself, in which he's a passenger on a flight from Thailand. During the flight, he uses his mental powers to make the flight attendant's clothes fall off. She tries to cover it up, but it's too late: he's seen everything.

Noppadol Thaungthong is a flight attendant who is acting as a spokesperson for their union. And she said, "This soap opera is insulting and damaging to the reputation of flight attendants. It's all about sex and air hostesses beating each other up in the cabin because of love and jealousy. This kind of thing never happens."

I know I come off as the Ugly American here, but I don't think it helps the cause when your spokesperson has the last name of "Thaungthong".

She also claims that the series will dissuade people from flying or from entering into the profession. Both assertions don't seem likely to my way of thinking, but then I'm an optimist - I'm always hoping to see a good cat-fight while airborne.

'Air Hostess Wars' sounds like a Thai version of 'Mile High', a British series about Fresh! Airlines which ran a few years ago and which was shown here in America on BBC-America last year. I think some enterprising TV exec should get the rights to 'Air Hostess Wars' (That must be a catchier title in the native language!) and broadcast it here.

The best venue? Comedy Central - especially if they tweak it and re-dub it with totally different and outlandish dialogue a la "What's Up, Tiger Lily?"

Just sayin', is all.

(Two Thai sisters I know, Tippimart and Yupai, will probably hunt me down for posting this and do serious damage. One can only hope.....)

Toby OB

My alternate post headings were:
"Mile High Thai"
"Come Thai With Me"
"Fly Thai"

- CNN had a story on this topic and they said the translation of the title is "Battle of Angels", which is much better! [01/26/08]


I watched the series finale of 'Life On Mars' Wednesday morning, once I got home from work....

And I'm still puzzling over it.

I don't want to say too much about it, for those who DVR'd it, but I think it's one of those shows you don't leave lingering too long before watching it. You just HAD to know what was really going on with Sam Tyler.

Personally, I think that ending really could be open to interpretation. I think it all comes down to what was actually said over the car's radio at the end, and whether you're more prone to optimism or pessimism. (Although as seen in Ian Wylie's blog about the show, the creator of the show feels there was a definitive finale for the story, while star John Simm felt differently. Choose your guru wisely.)

The one thing I always wanted from the series was to find out that DCI Gene Hunt had been real, and that he was a definite "living" character in Toobworld. Even that could still be possible, despite how the show ended, but now it will have to wait until the sequel 'Ashes To Ashes' has completed its run before such theories can be bandied about.

Probably said too much there....... Sorry, Guv.

Anyway, I liked the series a lot. And at the same time, I'm glad it ended when it did. Sixteen episodes was enough to complete a fantastic story and not have its impact and wonder frittered away by stretching it out over several more seasons. (Sorry - over several more series!)

I'm going to miss the gang in A Division, and I'm thankful they haunted Toobworld while they could.....

Now somebody get off of their arse and get the DVD released here in the USA!

Toby OB


My favorite regular character created by Edward D. Hoch was the professional thief Nick Velvet, whom I think would have made a great character for a TV series. (Hey, it worked for Alexander Mundy!)

And I'm not alone in that opinion, I think. Here's what Hoch's obituary in the New York Times had to say about Nick Velvet:

Perhaps Mr. Hoch’s most popular sleuth was Nick Velvet, a professional thief engaged to steal a bewildering array of things for his clients. These included an ashtray, a cobweb, a canceled stamp, a dead houseplant, a used tea bag, a sliver of soap, a ball of twine, a bingo card, an empty paint can, a Thanksgiving turkey, a blue-ribbon pie, a bathroom scale, a bald man’s comb, an ostrich, a skunk, a major-league baseball team and — in perhaps the most blatantly criminal act of all — an overdue library book.

And here's the Wikipedia entry about Nick:

Nick Velvet is a professional thief for hire, with a peculiar specialty: For a flat fee, he steals only objects of negligible apparent value. Since his first appearance in EQMM in September 1966, he has stolen such things as an old spiderweb (which he was then obliged to replace), a day-old newspaper, and a used teabag. His original fee for a theft was $20,000. In 1980 he raised it to $25,000 at the urging of his long-time girlfriend Gloria (who met Nick in 1965 when he was burgling her New York apartment); in the 21st century his fee has risen to $50,000. Unlike many fictional thieves, Nick usually works alone on his thefts—in fact, until 1979 Gloria believed that Nick worked for the U.S. government.

The Nick Velvet caper stories generally combine a near-impossible theft with the mystery of why someone would pay $20,000 to have an apparently valueless item stolen. Although Nick often appears as devoid of curiosity as his targets are of value, circumstances usually force him to identify his clients' true motives, making him as much of a detective as Hoch's more conventional characters. Most of the Nick Velvet stories have a light and humorous tone reminiscent of Leslie Charteris' early stories of the Saint. The fundamental immorality of Nick's chosen profession is frequently offset by the larger justice resulting from his detective work.

A Nick Velvet story, "The Theft of the Circus Poster" in May 1973, began Hoch's unbroken string of monthly appearances in EQMM. Another story, "The Theft of the Rusty Bookmark" in January 1998 featured the real-life Mysterious Bookshop of New York City, and its real-life owner (and Edgar-winning publisher and editor), Otto Penzler. "The Theft of Gloria's Greatcoat" (May 1998), which describes the first meeting of Nick and Gloria, is unusual in that it is told in the first person by Gloria; all of the other Nick Velvet stories (and indeed the majority of Hoch's stories) are third-person narratives.

I'm not sure whom I'd cast to play Nick and Gloria, but the stories are timeless and could be set in the modern day, so you wouldn't have to worry about hiring an actor who could play a certain time period (a tricky skill!).

It would be sad if it took Hoch's death to bring Nick Velvet to the attention of some TV producer as a possible TV project, but if that's what it takes......

BCnU and May God Bless.....
Toby OB


Edward D. Hoch has passed away at the age of 77. He was a master of the mystery short story, whose work most frequently appeared in the "Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine". A story by him appeared in that digest every month since 1973.

He wrote a few things for Television, not much, but his talent would have best translated for the anthology series and there never was many of those around.

'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour' - "Off Season"

'Night Gallery' - "The Ring With The Red Velvet Ropes"

'Tales Of The Unexpected' - "The Man At The Top" & "The Vorpal Blade"

And a mini-series: "Nick Verlaine ou Comment voler la Tour Eiffel" (which, brilliant genius that I am, I'm guessing was made in France)

There was a period of time back in the 1980s where I read the EQ magazine every month; couldn't get enough of the stories. And it was the stories by Hoch and those by George Baxt which I liked the most.

BCnU, and May God Bless.....

Toby OB

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I've stated this several times in the recent past - it doesn't matter what a character's name may be in the credits, it's what is stated within the show that ultimately matters in Toobworld.

For research on a piece I'm writing about 'Journeyman', I re-watched the pilot and several episodes of 'The Adventures Of Brisco County, Jr.'

One of the five "robber barons" who basically held the reins of power from within the Westerfield Club in San Francisco back in 1893 was Francis Kilbridge, who made his fortune in shipping.

As played by Paul Brinegar, I've seen his name listed as "Francis Kilbride" in just about everything except a very nice
'Brisco County' website at "The Oasis".

But Kilbridge himself pronounces it with that "g" sound, as do other characters throughout the series. And that's what matters within the reality of the TV Universe, not some mis-spelled credits or information sites like

Toby OB


Arrived in the mail today:

The complete second season

I gotta say I was surprised when I got word that it was available - I didn't think the first season sold well enough to warrant another release.

But, here it is and I hope it does big business so that we can at least get Season Three out - that's when Steve Landesburg joined the cast as Arthur Dietrich!

Toby OB

By the way..... The cover of the box has this picture - but with Gregory Sierra photoshopped in!


It will be the Toobworld contention that bounty hunter Crystal Hawkes, seen in her eponymous episode of 'The Adventures Of Brisco County, Jr.', is first cousin to Brady Hawkes, the legendary gambler of the Old West (as seen in several movies based on the Kenny Rogers song "The Gambler").

No surprise in the fact that neither one mentioned the other in the time spent with them on screen - how often do any of us mention our relatives in the course of our daily lives?

Toby OB


In this week's episode of 'Terminator: TSCC' ('The Turk'), Sarah Connor's opening narration told the story of former baseball player Moe Berg, who became a spy for the OSS during World War II. She only covered a science conference in Zurich, in which Berg was ordered to listen to a speech given by Werner Heisenberg in order to determine if it sounded as if Germany was close to developing their own atomic weapons. If so, Berg was ordered to shoot Heisenberg.

Berg was featured in a Nova series on
"Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies" and the PBS page about the ball player had this to say:

Moe Berg played a total of 15 major league baseball seasons with the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox, and the Washington Senators, yet he made few accomplishments as a batter or on the field. Berg never advanced beyond playing backup catcher and substitute shortstop, and he always sat on the bench more than he played. Nevertheless, in 1934, five years before he retired from baseball, Berg was picked to join the traveling American All-Star baseball team on a trip to Japan. Fellow teammates and baseball fans wondered why a player with a lifetime average of only .243 was chosen for the All-Star team with the likes of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.

Why he was chosen was never disclosed, yet significantly, while the All-Star team was in Tokyo, Berg, who spoke Japanese, slipped away and took covert movies of the Tokyo skyline, Tokyo harbor, and munitions facilities from the top of the city's tallest building. The movies were later used in the planning of U.S. bombing raids over Tokyo in 1942. Whether or not this event marked the beginning of Berg's involvement in espionage, the Tokyo story forever labeled Berg as the most shadowy player in baseball history.

Here are some highlights from the Wikipedia entry on Moe Berg:

Morris "Moe" Berg (March 2, 1902, New York, New York – May 29, 1972, Belleville, New Jersey) was an American professional baseball player who later served as a spy for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Although he spent 15 seasons in Major League Baseball, Berg was never more than an average player, and was better known for being "the brainiest guy in baseball" than for anything he accomplished in the game. The Bergs were never religiously observant, although being Jewish did contribute to Moe's sense of being an outsider in mid- twentieth century America. Casey Stengel once described Berg as "the strangest man ever to play baseball."

A graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Law School, Berg spoke several languages and regularly read 10 newspapers a day. His reputation was fueled by his successful appearances as a contestant on the radio quiz show "Information, Please!". Berg answered questions about the derivation of words and names from Greek and Latin, historical events in Europe and the Far East, and ongoing international conferences.

As an agent of the United States government, Berg traveled to Yugoslavia to gather intelligence on resistance groups the government was considering supporting. He was then sent on a mission to Italy, where he interviewed various physicists concerning the German nuclear program.

At the beginning of December [1943] news about Heisenberg giving a lecture in Zurich, Switzerland reached the OSS, and Berg was assigned the task of attending the lecture and determining "if anything Heisenberg said convinced him the Germans were close to a bomb." If Berg came to the conclusion that the Germans were close, he had orders to shoot Heisenberg; Berg determined that the Germans were not close.

Berg returned to the United States on April 25, 1945, and resigned from the Strategic Services Unit, the successor to the OSS, in August. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on October 10, but he rejected the award on December 2. His sister later accepted it on his behalf after he died.

For more on Moe Berg, check out the full
Wikipedia article.

I found his story interesting enough that somebody should make a TV-movie about the guy! I'm not sure who would be right for the role today, but there's one picture in which a young MacDonald Carey might have been suitable.......

Toby OB


Got an email from Brian-El, the Kryptonian Iddiot:

1. Finally, there is some progress in the writers' strike--and it could be over soon. Let's hope so, especially since several sources inside Lost (including Jorge Garcia) think that if the strike ends within a week or two, the last eight episodes of the season could be written and produced in time to actually be broadcast this season.

2. Reviews of the first new episode are starting to appear--and they're raves. People are saying that the show is going in a completely unexpected direction, and one review says that after you watch this episode, you'll feel like you've just seen three or four episodes go by at a slam-bang pace. Eight more days...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Two more actors have passed away who made their presence known in Toobworld. And although the two of them couldn't have been more different, one thing they might have in common is that their best known characters in the TV Universe have predeceased them.

Lois Nettleton was 80 years old when she passed away from cancer. She had been a regular on 'In The Heat Of The Night', 'General Hospital', and had a recurring role in 'Crossing Jordan'. She made memorable appearances on many other TV shows including (for me) 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', 'Seinfeld', 'Murder, She Wrote', and 'The Golden Girls'.

But it was her role as Norma in the 'Twilight Zone' episode "The Midnight Sun" which I think was her best known role. Throughout most of the episode, the Earth was being drawn closer to the Sun, and Norma and the other last inhabitants of New York were facing a brutal death from the heat. By the end of "The Midnight Sun" we learned the truth and it was no less disturbing.

"The Midnight Sun" took place in an alternate dimension, on a Toobworld that probably no longer houses human life at this point in Time.

The big shocker was the news this afternoon that Heath Ledger was found dead in a SoHo apartment. He was only 28.

Ledger was best known as a movie actor, with an Oscar nomination for playing one of the two leads in "Brokeback Mountain"; he was soon to be seen in the next "Batman" film as The Joker. But he first made his mark as Conor in the fantasy/historical epic 'Roar', which was created by Shaun Cassidy for the FOX network back in the mid-1990s.

Conor was a warrior/prince who lived in Ireland during the Fifth Century, and unlike his nemesis in that series, Longinus, there was no way he might still be alive today.

January of 2008 has certainly been taking its toll on the acting community, hasn't it?

Toby OB


"Last TV Show" was the first episode of the second season for 'The Bob Newhart Show'. In it, Dr. Hartley turned down an opportunity to conduct one of his group sessions live on Television, only to find out that his group wanted to do it.

Of course, once the red light of the cameras was on, they all clammed up and Bob was left to fend for himself during the next half hour........

"You don’t have to be polite. It was horrible.
It was probably the worst program ever on television."
"No it wasn’t!
The fourth episode of 'My Mother The Car'

If the characters in 'The Bob Newhart Show' watched the same show called 'My Mother The Car' as we do here in the real world, then Howard was making reference to "Lassie, I Mean Mother, Come Home".

Here's a description from

When Dave neglects to set the parking break after parking on a hill, Mother rolls into an open van that is bound for Mexico.

But in Toobworld, 'The Bob Newhart Show' and 'My Mother The Car' share the same TV dimension, as unlikely as it is that there should ever be a crossover. (Dave Crabtree lived in California; otherwise, I think he would have made a very interesting patient for Dr. Hartley.... A guy who thinks his mother has been reincarnated as a car?)

The TV show found in Toobworld by the name of 'My Mother The Car' is not the same show we had in the real world. It could have been based on the life of Dave Crabtree and his deceased mother. A story like that would have made great fodder for a TV series - except for the one that was made here.

Or "Mother" could have been a code name for a car that was similar to KITT of 'Knight Rider' - a computerized vehicle that had artifical intelligence. Or it could have been a derogatory term used by the hero of the show to describe the wreck he had to drive, and the show would have been about the wacky misadventures he had each week as something else broke down. Of course, then the show really should have been called 'My Car, The Mother'. Hilarity would ensue.

Nothing says the televersion of 'My Mother The Car' had to have aired during the same time period as it did in the Trueniverse; only that it had to have occurred before September 15th, 1973 - the date "Last TV Show" aired for the first time.

Just so long as we never learned any more about the show or that particular episode from it, we aren't straddled with a Zonk. There's always a loophole to drive out.

Toby OB


I have nothing to support this claim (not that I've been stopped by such a detail in the past), but it's my contention that Liz Lemon, producer of 'TGS with Tracy Jordan' as seen on '30 Rock' is related to Miss Lemon, the secretary for Hercule 'Poirot' back in the 1930s.

Of course, one would have to go pretty far back along the Lemon line to find exactly where the juncture is where they are connected. As such, this assertion may seem weak, based as it is on only the same last name. However, just as it can't really be defended, it can't really be shot down either.

So let's have a Lemon party!

Um... then again, maybe not......

Toby OB


There are times when the needs of a Toobworld splainin must take a contrary position to the intentions of the original source. This is especially true when dealing with characters originally created in literature. An upcoming example I have to deal with is that of Undersheriff Hugh Beringer in the 'Cadfael' mysteries - for Ellis Peters (Edith Parteger), he is the same man throughout the run of her twenty novels, and the idea that science fiction would play a role in her historical mysteries would surely have been anathema to her. But because the role was recast twice over after Sean Pertwee played it in four episodes, then a splainin must be found as to why he looks different and yet nobody else in Shrewsbury takes notice.

Throughout the run of short stories and novels about Hercule Poirot in which Captain Arthur Hastings appeared, Dame Agatha Christie established his history and family relations. I'm only just now beginning my run through the DVDs of the series starring David Suchet as 'Poirot', so I'm not sure if the episodes will follow Christie's lead. However, I think there is just enough wiggle room - based on what I've read in Christie-centric sites - to make this theory of "relateeveety" plausible.

According to the stories, Captain Arthur Hastings eventually marries a woman named Dulcie and moves to South America to run his own ranch. He has two daughters, the eldest of whom marries an Army officer.

Based on the impression actor Hugh Fraser has made on me while I watch the series, I'm going to suggest that his portrayal of Captain Arthur Hastings is the maternal grandfather for one Arthur Dent - as seen in the TV series 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'. Arthur Dent was once upon a time the last human survivor of Earth - before he went back in Time and caused the timeline to be changed so that the Earth never was destroyed in the first place.

As I watch Fraser's performance, there are certain mannerisms and even exclamations that put me in mind of Simon Jones' portrayal of Arthur Dent. And allowing for the dilution of DNA (something that doesn't always happen in Toobworld), it looks feasible that the two of them could be related, separated by a generation.

And it could be argued that Arthur Dent was named after his grandfather!

Of course, this could all be invalidated as I get deeper into the series. But for the time being, I think the theory works and it's mostly harmless, so I'm going to stand by it.

There is a need for that splainin about Hugh Beringer. There was no need for this theory of "relateeveety", but I liked it and wanted to use it to tie the two series together.

Hopefully the ghosts of Agatha Christie and Douglas Adams will leave me be.....

Toby OB

Monday, January 21, 2008


In an episode of 'Burke's Law', we were introduced to Whitman Saunders, a Hollywood gossip columnist with an acid-tipped pen. He was in love with no one more than he was with himself and treated the entire world with contempt, with little regard as to whom he might destroy with his words.

Whitman Saunders was the kind of character we'd see get their divine comeuppance in 'The Twilight Zone'.

According to Milo Morgan, his downbeaten assistant and former peer, Saunders first got his big break because he... knew people. And he happened to "know" a certain newspaper publisher's wife.

As the murder case into "Who Killed Annie Foran?" continued, several newspapers carried banner headlines (and stories) supplied Whitman Saunders which now savaged his protege, a young baseball player named Eddie Dineen. Saunders' gossip column was carried in about 300 papers across the country, and one of these was The Daily Tribune.

The Daily Tribune was a Los Angeles paper, however, as Captain Amos Burke was seen carrying a copy of it. So with a bit of tweaking, we can make the claim that the Daily Trib is the same newspaper as the Los Angeles Trib, most famously known from 'Lou Grant' among other TV appearances. A name change would be such a simple thing to splain away; perhaps the owner of the paper wanted the Tribune to better reflect its base of coverage - the sprawling metropolis. A name like "The Daily Tribune" sounded far too provincial and quaint.

So if that is the case, then we should go back to what Milo Morgan said about Saunders and how he landed his own column..... Can we then assume that the newspaper publisher's wife with whom Saunders was so... friendly was Margaret Pynchon?

As Mushrat would say in those 'Deputy Dawg' cartoons, "It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble."

However, even if he had dallied with Mrs. Pynchon, I think we saw evidence in the episode that Whitman Saunders played both sides of the fence. Early on, before Eddie Dineen became a suspect in the murder of Annie Foran, there was such a predatory look in Saunders' eyes as he watched over Eddie.

Then again, I think that if Eddie ever figured out how Saunders felt about him exactly (The ball player wasn't exactly the sharpest.), he would've taken his baseball bat to the columnist. And then "Who Killed Whitman Saunders?" would be the next week's episode.

Toby OB