Saturday, April 5, 2008


This morning I mentioned "Horton Hears A Who" while discussing the idea that the world of 'The Young Ones' is contained on a microscope slide. The Dr. Seuss story, originally published in 1954, came easily to mind because of the recent release of a movie version. It was made with CGI and stars the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell.

But "Horton Hears A Who" exists also in the creative universe of musical theatre, as one of the main plots in "Seussical!". It was made into a very stylized short film in Russia using animation painted on glass. And it became part of the Tooniverse in 1970, thanks to the legendary Chuck Jones (who brought Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel's character of the Grinch to Television a few years earlier. Most of the voices were supplied by Hans Conreid (Waldo Wigglesworth!), June Foray (Rocket J. Squirrel!), Thurl Ravenscroft (Tony the Tiger!), and Chuck Jones himself.

In the Tooniverse, the world of the Whos is contained in a dandelion puff. In the movie version of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", it's contained in a snowflake. I'm not prepared to say that the characters in 'The Young Ones' could also be Whos, but it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that there could be thousands of Who-worlds to be found floating in our atmosphere among the dust and the pollen.....

The story of "Horton Hears A Who" may have been inspired by the McCarthy-Army hearings in the 1950s, and its basic moral of "A person's a person, no matter how small" has been hijacked by right-to-life groups over the years. (Something which Dr. Seuss wanted to fight in the courts, apparently.)

Here's a basic summation of the story, from my favorite source, Wikipedia:

The book tells the story of
Horton the Elephant who, on the fifteenth of May in the Jungle of Nool, hears a small speck of dust talking to him. It turns out the speck of dust is actually a tiny planet, home to a city called "Who-ville", inhabited by microscopic-sized inhabitants known as Whos.

The Whos ask Horton (who, though he cannot see them, is able to hear them quite well) to protect them from harm, to which Horton happily obliges, proclaiming throughout the book that "a person's a person, no matter how small". In doing so he is ridiculed and forced into a cage by the other animals in the jungle for believing in something that they are unable to see or hear.

His chief tormentors are Vlad Vladikoff, the Wickersham Brothers and the Sour Kangaroo, and the small kangaroo in her pouch. Horton tells the Whos that they need to make themselves heard to the other animals, lest they end up as part of "beezlenut stew", which they finally accomplish. The Whos finally make themselves heard by ensuring that all members of their society play their part.

In the end it is a "very small shirker named Jo-Jo" whose final addition to the volume creates enough lift for the jungle to hear the sound,thus reinforcing the moral of "a person's a person no matter how small."

Now convinced of the Whos' existence, Horton's neighbors vow to help him protect the tiny community.

As to whether or not the main Toobworld has its own version of Whoville, that hasn't been established yet so far as I can tell. 'The Young Ones', grotesque as they may look at times, hardly resemble the Whos of Dr. Seuss.....

Toby OB


'The Young Ones' was an anarchic sitcom (most of the time just sketches loosely tied together by a common plot thread) from Great Britain back in the 80s. The four main characters were Neil the hippie, Rick the effeminate and rather spotty revolutionary, Vyvyan the heavy metal punk, and Mike the cool guy. Plus Alexei Sayles would appear most weeks as yet another member of the Balowski Family.

If 'The Young Ones' existed in Earth Prime-Time, they broke most of the rules of physics and Zonked their way through the TV Land-scape with their references to other TV shows as TV shows. They were serlinguists who talked to the audience viewing at home in the Trueniverse, and were well aware that they were on TV.

(A good example - in the episode "Sick", the opening credits for 'The Good Life' - 'Good Neighbors' to American viewers - suddenly cropped up and Vyvyan burst his way through them and tore them down before he launched into a tirade against my beloved Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers.)

I watched two episodes of the series on Friday, and when I say I watched them, what I actually mean is that I mostly raced through them to get to the best bits and/or the guest stars. The show doesn't really hold up that well twenty years on: but then again, that's not really a topic for Inner Toob. It's not the quality that's ever of concern but whether or not it can fit into the TV Universe properly...

"Sick" was one of those episodes, and that one was most notable for those points I mentioned earlier - the serlinguism, the tele-cognizance, and the many reality bends. The other was my favorite of the entire series, the one that showed them all to best advantage (if such a thing is possible): "Bambi".

First off, "Bambi" had fantastic guest stars - Robbie Coltrane, Ben Elton, Steven Fry, Hugh Laurie, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys-Jones, Tony Robinson, and Emma Thompson. It also had a great sight gag that showed how even appliances are alive in Toobworld (and best of all, it concerned the aforementioned and still beloved Felicity Kendal).

Most importantly, "Bambi" established a theoretical premise for the entire series - the world of 'The Young Ones' exists (or existed) in another TV dimension. This is not altogether novel; 'Sliders' made the idea of alternate TV dimensions... well, universal, while other shows explored that theme from 'Buffy' to 'The West Wing'. However, the dimension for 'The Young Ones' is unique in that it's microscopic; as Dr.Carlisle marvelled as he looked at their world on a slide, "Human beings the size of amoebas!"
It's all rather "Horton Hears A Who!", isn't it? Only the good Doctor wasn't quite as protective of them as the elephant. (Speaking of which, Dr. Carlisle met with a patient who was presented as an "elephant man" like John Merrick, but was in fact an actual pachyderm (albeit one who could speak English).

The dimension of 'The Young Ones' mirrors our own... for the most part. The history was similar (as seen in Rick's O-level exam books and the Daily Mirror Big Book o' Facts), so were the customs, and even the same people. However
, their timeline was more accelerated and did not match up with ours or that of Earth Prime-Time. Dr. Carlisle was living during the Victorian Age while 'The Young Ones' was definitely a product of Margaret Thatcher's England.
Getting back to the Doctor's protection of their world.... at the end of the episode, his sticky bun (more like an eclair) fell onto the microscope slide and nearly crushed the guys. Apparently amoeba-sized humans were stuck to the sticky bun and so the Doctor fed it to the elephant. Since Rick, Neil, Vyvyan, and Mike continued on with more episodes, they must have tossed off the eclair and let it fall on the studio audience at "Grenada TV". But they were Upper Class Twits from Footlights College, so bleep 'em.

So we can give 'The Young Ones' a pass when it comes to their many Zonks because they were in an alternate dimension where those other TV shows were no more than TV shows. (Another one "seen" was 'Grange Hill'.)

Does that microscopic world still exist? And if so, where is the slide it resides on? By now, they must be in their space age 22nd Century, if their timeline kept advancing at such a rapid rate. And
we could then add in a few sci-fi shows to their world which don't exactly fit in with the main Toobworld. Several episodes of 'The Twilight Zone' come to mind, especially "Number Twelve Looks Exactly Like You" - Rod Serling specifically states that it was taking place in the year 2000. Those advancements haven't taken place here yet - thankfully - where everybody is made to look exactly the same. But it could have happened on that microscope slide.

I just hope Viveca Scott didn't smash that slide when she killed Karl Lessing in the "Lovely But Lethal" episode of 'Columbo'!

Toby OB

Friday, April 4, 2008


'Spooks', the BBC series about British Intelligence (known over here in the USA as 'MI5'), will be getting a spin-off. Originally to be called 'Rogue Spooks', the title is now the rather bland 'Code 9'.

The series is set in 2013. London has been evacuated after a nuclear attack, which is why MI5 has to set up field offices all over the United Kingdom. 'Code 9' will focus on six young spies who have been recruited to help set up Field Office 19. Among the members of the team are a mathematics whiz, a former police officer, a criminal gone straight, a medical intern, and a psychology major.

Code 9... Field Office 19... I am not a number, I'm a free man!

The explosion has changed the political landscape and a lot of the upper echelon at MI5 must be gone. According to producer Chris Fry, "MI5 needed new officers with ability, dedication and potential on the streets as soon as possible. With the exception of their team leader, none of them have been in the field for more than four months and they will continually find themselves in situations beyond their experience and training - they'll only succeed through grit and determination."

I wonder if they will spell out when the nuclear event took place? My bet would be on the 2012 Olympics, at some point after the departure of the Doctor and Rose in the 'Doctor Who' episode "Fear Her".

Since this would cause a seismic change in daily life in Great Britain (if not the rest of the world), then 'Code 9' would have to be shunted off to its own dimension as soon as the explosion takes place. Otherwise it would cause too many problems for other TV shows that should be sharing the same dimension. "Why is London a pile of devastated ruins and yet they're still serving drinks in the Queen Vic?" (Come on, you KNOW 'EastEnders' will still be running by then!)

The current series of 'Spooks' would remain in the world of Earth Prime-Time; there's no reason to move it. It stays abreast of current events that are happening in the real world without too much deviation that can't be absorbed or ignored in other shows. And the world of 'Code 9' will share that same timeline until the nuclear explosion when it branches off into its own world.

But 'Code 9' doesn't have to reside in that TV dimension all by its lonesome. I think it would work if it shared the space with the TV series 'Jack And Bobby' from a few years back. Just because none of the talking heads from their future timeline ever mentioned the nuclear explosion in London, that doesn't mean it didn't happen. By their point in Time, it was long over and had nothing to do with the Presidency of Robert McCallister.

Toby OB


The alternate dimensions of Earth Prime-Time did not come into existence at the same time. Each of them shared a common existence as one dimension until one event caused an off-shoot from the original plane of existence. It would then be in its own dimension and begin a new timeline of its unfolding history.

But before that point in Time where the divergence took place, the Event Hour, its timeline would be exactly the same as that of Earth Prime-Time. (The one exception may be that of the Evil Mirror Universe which is the most popular of the alternate TV dimensions, as seen in 'Star Trek', 'Deep Space Nine', 'Enterprise', 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', and 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' among others. That may have been inherently evil from the get-go.)

It doesn't have to take a catastrophic event to cause a dimensional divergence either; it can be something quite trivial. For instance, in an episode of 'Sliders', Quinn's Quartet thought they made it home to their own dimension's San Francisco - until they discovered that the Golden Gate Bridge was painted blue and called the Azure Gate Bridge instead. That's all it took.)

This all may be known already to faithful readers of Inner Toob, or just obvious to fans of science fiction and fantasy. But it's nice to get the basics down and locked in for future use....

Plus it's a good lead-in for the next story.....

Toby OB


When Lewis Black was preparing his HBO special "Red, White & Screwed", the original plan was to tape it at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

But then the Kennedy Center Poobahs saw his previous HBO special (which I believe was "Black On Broadway")......

So much for that opportunity!

Apparently, "Uncle Lew" uttered the word "fuck" 42 times during the special. And these guys actually counted them!

If only he had said "fuck" one more time, then the Numbers of 'Lost' would not have affected him so adversely!

Toby OB


"Dinosaurs and human beings lived on Earth at the same time."
"What? Like the Flintstones?"
'The Sopranos'

"These people are watching 'The Flintstones'
As if it was a fucking documentary!"
Lewis Black
'Red, White, and Screwed'


Tim O'Hara and Exigius 12½ (AKA "Uncle Martin") traveled back in Time to June 21st, 1925 in the 'My Favorite Martian' episode "Martin Of The Movies" (a play on "Merton Of The Movies"). While there, Uncle Martin mentions that the next solar eclipse would be in March of 1932.

This would be the annular solar eclipse of March 07, 1932, which was seen mostly in Southeast Asia, Australia, and Indonesia. (An annular eclipse is ring-shaped.)

Toby OB


According to the Register, Frank Jones of Great Britain has been getting text messages from his wife Sadie. Nothing odd in that...

Except for the fact that she's been dead for five years.

Dun dun DUNH!

Sadie Jones was buried with her cell phone, which apparently was quite dear to her.

There must be something about Jones' house that makes reception quite good from beyond the grave, as a spirit dubbed "The Thing" used to haunt the place until an exorcism by the Fleetwood Spiritualist Church released it from being "trapped between two worlds."

This is a great example of Life Imitating Toobworld.....

"Miss Elva Keene lives alone on the outskirts of London Flats, a tiny rural community in Maine. Up until now, the pattern of Miss Keene's existence has been that of lying in her bed or sitting in her wheelchair reading books, listening to a radio, eating, napping, taking medication—and waiting for something different to happen. Miss Keene doesn't know it yet, but her period of waiting has just ended, for something different is about to happen to her, has in fact already begun to happen, via two most unaccountable telephone calls in the middle of a stormy night, telephone calls routed directly through—the Twilight Zone."

From Wikipedia:

An elderly, wheelchair-bound lady named Elva Keene receives strange anonymous phone calls. At first the caller says nothing, and all that can be heard is static. In subsequent calls, he can be heard moaning. After several calls, Elva says repeatedly, "Hello? Hello?" The caller finally says slowly, garbled, and weakly, "Hello?". Elva demands to know who is calling, but the only response is "Hello?" Finally the caller manages to get out the words, “Where are you? I want to talk to you.”

Elva has had enough and screams at the man to leave her alone. There are no more calls and the phone company traces the source to a fallen telephone line.

Elva and her housekeeper visit the location of the line given by the telephone operator. To the astonishment of both, they find themselves at a cemetery, and they find that the line is resting on the grave of Elva’s fiancĂ©, Brian Douglas. Elva says that she always insisted upon having her own way, and Brian always did what she said. A week before they were to be married, she insisted upon driving, and lost control of the car. The accident left Brian dead, and she, a lonely cripple. Now she can talk to him again, she won't have to be alone.

At home, she picks up the phone and calls out to Brian. She pleads with him to answer so that she can talk to him. He replies that she has told him to leave her alone, and that he always does what she says. Then the line goes dead, leaving Elva alone and crying in her bed.

In the original short story by Richard Matheson, the operator gave away Elva's address to the caller. Later, Brian calls Eva to tell her that he's coming right over........

I'm glad they changed it. As a little kid watching this, I was scared enough by the concept without thinking the Undead were coming!

"According to the Bible, God created the heavens and the Earth. It is man's perogative—and woman's—to create their own particular and private hell. Case in point, Miss Elva Keene, who in every sense has made her own bed and now must lie in it; sadder, but wiser, by dint of a rather painful lesson in responsibility, transmitted from the Twilight Zone."

Toby OB
[My thanks to NYMarky for the info!]

Thursday, April 3, 2008


With the latest 'Torchwood' episode to be shown in America, "From Out Of The Rain", at least three new movies were added to the pantheon of film classics which can only be seen in Toobworld:

1) "Smoke On The Railways"
2) "Walking In The Orchard"
3) "Moonlight Waterfall"

These movies can probably be found in the Toobworld Netflix along with "The Monster That Devoured Cleveland" ('Dobie Gillis'), "Hansel And Regrettal" and "First-Born of Godzilla" (both from 'M*A*S*H'), Ginger Grant's "Sing A Song Of Sing Sing" ('Gilligan's Island'), and "Veil Of The Desert" which originally starred Mark LeMartin ('My Favorite Martian'). (I would have included "Rambo 6" from 'Alien Nation', but the way things are going, Stallone might get around to making that one!)

References are made to real movies in Toobworld, like "The English Patient" and "Schindler's List" in 'Seinfeld'. Just recently, 'How I Met Your Mother' had a very funny and ultimately sweet debate over which was the worst movie of all time: "Plan Nine From Outer Space" or "Manos: The Hands Of Fate".

I've seen "Manos". Trust me, not even the MST3K treatment could make that worth your time!

Sometimes those real movies are absorbed into the TV Universe - like the 'Star Trek' franchise and the 1966 'Batman'. Other times they can be a hindrance, like with 'Star Wars' - it's a movie to most Toobworld denizens, but it's also part of the TV Universe in which they live. And still other times they can provide the splainin needed to wipe away such problems (as with the Peter Cushing versions of "Doctor Who".)

Toby OB

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


We're very late in mentioning this, and if it weren't for just now checking Andy Edelstein at the New York Newsday TV blog, this would be a belated message....

Today marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Buddy Ebsen. As Jed Clampett of 'The Beverly Hillbillies', Ebsen is a member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame from 2002 when he was inducted along with Daisy Moses, aka Granny (played by the late great Irene Ryan).

In Toobworld he's also well known as Barnaby Jones, private eye, and for many one-shot appearances like villainous sheriff Scratch Madden in a 'Maverick' episode, and as 'Heroes'-like mutant Jimbo Cobb on 'The Twilight Zone'.

And he was the original Tin Man for the movie "The Wizard Of Oz", but had to drop out because he was nearly poisoned to death by the silver make-up. (That incident became a test case on an episode of 'House'.

Toobworld Central salutes the memory of Buddy Ebsen. And as Red Skelton would say, "May God Bless".....

Toby OB

"Any TV schedule without Buddy Ebsen sucks eggs."
George Utley


It's only April, and already so many of the categories for the Toobits Awards at the end of the year have leading candidates.

A new category has been added to reflect how integrated Television has become with cyberspace - "Best Online Crossover", and we got a nominee for that already as well:

It was a website mentioned in Monday night's episode of 'How I Met Your Mother' ("The Bracket"), and of course it turns out to be a real site supposedly created by the character Wendy the Waitress (who returned as one of Barney's many spurned and vengeful girlfriends).

With the 20 minute screed/song by Wendy (woof! Listen to it!) available on the site, this can almost be counted as an episode in itself.

It also has a backwards masking Zonk, in that Barney is supposedly revealed to be the Fifth Cylon of the new 'Battlestar Galactica'. But as that takes place in an alternate dimension, which could be seen as Toobworld's interpretation of events in the history of the "real" 'Battlestar Galactica' which does take place in Earth Prime-Time, maybe we can dismiss its Zonkiness.....

Toby OB


In a recent episode of 'Two And A Half Men', Allan was seen reading the Los Angeles Ledger. I'm assuming it's a fictional newspaper in Toobworld.

(I did a Google image search, but the combination of "Los Angeles" with "Ledger" kept bringing up pictures of Heath Ledger.)

So if it is a newspaper only to be found in the TV Universe, can we make the assumption that the Ledger belongs to the same publishing conglomerate that owns the New York Ledger, so often seen in Dick Wolf's patch o' Tooboworld?

Toby OB


After two years, the headstone on my mother's grave was finally taken down so that an error made by the engraver could be fixed.

Originally it was chiseled to read that she died on May 22nd, 2006, when in actuality she passed away on March 22nd. If we had left it that way, people who had been to the funeral would have thought we put her in the ground two months early! (Which would not be surprising - my family can be that thick and I do have a... morbid repuation....)

Mom was the biggest fan of the soap opera 'The Young & The Restless'. In the last years, she'd be hard-pressed to tell you what was happening in Genoa City, but she'd be damned if she was going to miss an episode, no matter what. (One of the best gifts I ever got her was a framed and autographed photograph of Peter Bergman, who plays Jack Abbott on 'Y&R'. And through our mutual friend, it was nice to hear how much it meant to him that she was such a fan.)

Anyhoo, the stone will now be fixed to read "Mar 22" rather than "May 22". As my brother said in his email about it:

"They are pulling the stone off its pedestal this week and taking it into the shop to fix Mom,s date of death. It will be noticeable but it's better than having [the] wrong month on there. (That Y will become an R - hey! Y+R! Get it?) -b"

Just thought I'd share; not really comfortable with the idea of the blog being used for personal stuff too, unless it had a TV connection like this....

Toby OB


Anthony Anderson has begun work on NBC's 'Law & Order' as Detective Kevin Bernard, who will be partnered with Jeremy Sisto's Detective Cyrus Lupo.

In an interview with the New York Post, Anderson said that Bernard is "a former IAB [internal affairs] officer who didn't sign up for that job - they recruited him right out of the academy and told him he could become a homicide detective in two years. It's what he really wants to do. Bernard feels he can really make a difference as a homicide detective."

His first day on the job will be in the April 23rd episode, which is also the last one for Detective Ed Green, a member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame played by Jesse L. Martin.

"He's not a hard-ass," Anderson said in describing his character. "He's a fair guy trying to find his way in a new station house - and trying to get away from the stench of the 'rat squad' of internal affairs."

That may be how he's brought in to the show and Detective Green is taken out. It's been awhile since one of the cops left the 2-7 in disgrace. (That would be Detective Tony Profaci in the related TV movie, "Exiled".)

But there's no use speculating, since we'll have the answer in a couple of weeks....

[Detective Bernard is pictured here with Lt. Anita Van Buren, another Hall of Fame member who is in charge of that shift at the 27th Precinct.]

Toby OB


For this month's edition of the Fanficcer's Friend, we've got a picture of a couple of witches from 'Bewitched', Aunt Clara (as played by Marion Lorne) and Esmerelda (played by Alice Ghostley).
But here's the thing - they never appeared in 'Bewitched' together!

After Marion Lorne left the sitcom, her role of a slightly klutzy witch, whose magic was somewhat ineffective, was revamped instead of just recasting the part entirely. And as such, it gave the producers the chance to remake entire episodes of 'Bewitched' to tell the same stories again, but this time with Esmerelda instead of Aunt Clara.

The best example of this would be the episodes "Aunt Clara's Old Flame" from the second season of 'Bewitched' and from the seventh episode, "Samantha's Magic Mirror". In both, the witches needed Samantha's help to hide the fact about their malfunctioning magic from their old warlock boyfriends. (For Aunt Clara, that boyfriend was played by the great Charlie Ruggles; Tom Bosley had the honor for Esmerelda.)

As it turned out, both of the boyfriends also had problems with their magical abilities as well, so they all had something in common.

So this picture could never be from 'Bewitched', but it could be used to illustrate a story in which both Clara and Esmerelda appeared.

Where does it come from? Well, this is a scene from "The Graduate"!

Toby OB


I can't tell you how much fun it was to do the April Fool's posts yesterday. I would have been happy just to do the Smoke Monster interview and leave it at that. But since the beginning of the year I've been posting a daily Tiddlywinkydinks, so I had to have one of those so as not to arouse suspicions. (As if!) And I figured I might as well post eight of them since on average, I do tend to post a lot here at Inner Toob.

With those first seven, they were all dictated by the discovery of the pictures since late last year once I got the new computer. So as I found a funny TV pic, I'd squirrel it away for this occasion. But the Smoke Monster interview, that was in development for years. Even before 'Lost' came around! Of course, when I first came up with the idea, I was going to use it for an interview with Jabba the Hut. The only thing that remains from the original idea - not that much was planned out before - was the idea that the Smoke Monster played Madame Arcati in "Blithe Spirit". (And I still think Jabba as Madame Arcati is a funnier visual.) I was also going to have the Smoke Monster playing Lady Bracknell, but figured that was pushing it......

In a way, once it was over, I kind of regretted that it's not possible to have such a conversation with the Smoke Monster.

But let's face it; that idea is silly.

The Smoke Monster is all the way out in Hawaii, after all......

Toby OB

And each of those posts had a tip-off that they weren't for real. My "last name" was Zero-B in each of them, not the usual "O-B".....

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


During the writers' strike, I had the good fortune to interview the Smoke Monster of 'Lost', who was back in New York City while production was halted on the show in Hawaii. The interview was arranged by a mutual friend that we have, Webster "The Web" Endrst, and we met at one of its favorite haunts here in the City (which it asked me to keep confidential, as it's getting hard to find a place where it can relax and just be itself. Especially with these stringent no smoking rules in effect!)

INNER TOOB: Thanks for the chance to do this interview.

SMOKE MONSTER: My pleasure. Happy to be here. But then, what with the strike, I wasn't doing much of anything else.

INNER TOOB: So, um... what should I call you? I know "Smoke Monster" is basically your character. Do they call you "Smokey" on the set?

SMOKE MONSTER: Josh [Holloway] does. All the time. You know how he is with nicknames. But I think it's because he can't remember my name to save his life, dumb redneck.

INNER TOOB: What about 'Cerberus'? I've seen that used to describe you in one of the show's Easter Eggs.

SMOKE MONSTER: Again, that's just for the character; it's a code name. My name is Nichts Aber-Rauch; my parents were German. They were in the camps, but I don't want to talk about that.

INNER TOOB: I understand.....

SMOKE MONSTER: You can call me Nick.

INNER TOOB: Thanks, Nick!

SMOKE MONSTER: Aren't you going to order us anything?

INNER TOOB: Oh yeah. Sorry. [drinks and bar appetizers are ordered] So, Nick, I guess 'Lost' could be considered your big break, right?

SMOKE MONSTER: Definitely. I mean, I was working pretty regular; mostly as an extra. Although we don't like to call ourselves that. We prefer the term "atmosphere people".

INNER TOOB: I guess that's appropriate....

SMOKE MONSTER: But that can get frustrating for an actor. I was hoping to work my way up to a few "under-fives"; you know, those roles that have a couple lines?

INNER TOOB: Sure. [appetizers are brought. Nick takes them all.] Um... I ordered the -#

SMOKE MONSTER: Anyway, those roles are tough to come by when you're made of smoke. It's not like I can play a hospital patient or the foreman of a jury in a courtroom drama.

INNER TOOB: So you found yourself typecast.

SMOKE MONSTER: Exactly! Sure, I was getting roles in movies like "Backdraft" and "Ladder 49", but it wasn't very satisfying in the long run.

INNER TOOB: Any of those roles stand out though?

SMOKE MONSTER: Oh, certainly. "Always". You know, that remake of "A Guy Named Joe"? With Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter and John Goodman? I played the smoke of the doused forest fires.

INNER TOOB: What made that so special? Working on location like that?

SMOKE MONSTER: Audrey Hepburn. It was her last movie, you know. But it was my first and she was such a help to me. I was so nervous! Kept missing my marks. What a sweet lady she was. Very sad when she died. I didn't even know she was ill. I tried to make it to the funeral, but couldn't get out of a job I was doing at the time.

INNER TOOB: Which one was that?

SMOKE MONSTER [shrugs]: I don't remember; some TV production up in Vancouver. Might have been a horror flick, for all I know. I used to do a lot of those.

INNER TOOB: What were you doing when you got cast for 'Lost'?

SMOKE MONSTER: Summer stock in Culver City, actually. I was playing Madame Arcati in "Blithe Spirit" and JJ [Abrams] came to see the show. I think he was going to go in a different direction for the Island's monster, but luckily for me.....

INNER TOOB: It's been a big role for you.

SMOKE MONSTER: I'll say! I'm hoping it will lead to something bigger and better, but at the same time I don't want to get typecast all over again, you know? I'd hate to be up on stage doing a soliloquy from Shakespeare and some punk kids start yelling crap about the Numbers at me.

INNER TOOB: Have you ever performed Shakespeare?

SMOKE MONSTER: LOVE Shakespeare! I played the lead in "The Tempest" here in the Park. Did you see that?

INNER TOOB: Yeah.... but didn't Patrick Stewart play Prospero?

SMOKE MONSTER: Yeah, but I meant the Tempest itself! I guess I should have said I played the title role.....

INNER TOOB: That's pretty cool, though. Working with Captain Picard as it were....

SMOKE MONSTER: Oh, sure! We've worked together in the past, though. I was in a couple of episodes of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'; usually as a cloud nebula or a poisonous atmosphere, that sort of thing. I was hoping to play the monster that killed Tasha Yar, that was a speaking part. But that went to my old room-mate Norman, so I can't complain too much.

INNER TOOB: Any other interesting items on your resume?

SMOKE MONSTER: Well, let's see... I was the artist's model for that smoke creature in "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest"... Oh! And did you see "Enchanted" last year? I shared a scene with Susan Sarandon when she came out of the sewer grate. I filmed that during the 'Lost' hiatus.

INNER TOOB: Kind of a step back though, wasn't it?

SMOKE MONSTER: What can you do, am I right? It's not like I was going to be offered Foxie's role in "We Are Marshall", was I? [Foxie is 'Lost' co-star Matthew Fox.] Me and Foxie were up for the same role in "Vantage Point", but the producer said that being a big black cloud of smoke made the title "Vantage Point" something of a joke. I did get to be in the movie as a cabbie, but my scenes were cut....

[awkward silence]

INNER TOOB: So um, tell me about 'Lost'. Have they clued you in as to what you're supposed to be in the show?

SMOKE MONSTER: My glass has been empty for a couple minutes now....

INNER TOOB: Sorry! [another round is ordered. Nick drains his glass.]

SMOKE MONSTER: I have no clue what's going to happen.

INNER TOOB: Aw, come on!

SMOKE MONSTER: No, really! I'm only told enough by Lindelof and Cuse to get my motivation for the scene. None of us have been given the inside scoop on the show. But I've got a few ideas of what may happen.......

INNER TOOB: Such as?

SMOKE MONSTER: Well, I'm thinking I'll eventually have a big scene with Elizabeth [Mitchell]. She plays Juliet. Remember that scene she and I had where the sonic fence kept me from attacking her? Yeah, well, I think she's not going to survive the end of the series - after all, we know she's not one of the Oceanic Six. So I think there's a pretty good chance that I'll be responsible for taking her out of the picture.

INNER TOOB: In the same way you killed Mr. Eko?

SMOKE MONSTER [laughing]: Except that I won't enjoy doing it this time around.

INNER TOOB: You didn't get along with Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje? [name added later - no way I'd ever remember that!]

SMOKE MONSTER [after a slight pause to consider its words carefully]: Let's just say I was more than happy to film that last scene we had together and leave it at that.....

INNER TOOB: Who do you get along with on the show then?

SMOKE MONSTER: Well, he's not on the show anymore, but I was best buds with Dom [Dominic Monaghan]. We both got into surfing in a big way once we got out to Hawaii. And there's Jorge [Garcia] of course. I don't care what the episode title was, everybody does love Hugo. How can you not love Hurley? And then there's this girl, you see her in the background among the Others every so often.....

[a reddish hue imbues his smoke form]

INNER TOOB: Are you blushing?

SMOKE MONSTER: Well, I'm not exactly sure where the two of us stand right now, you know? I mean, I THOUGHT we were on a break and -# I don't really want to get into that......

INNER TOOB: Okay.... Any roles you wish you had a chance to do?

SMOKE MONSTER: Yeah, that water-based alien thingie in "Abyss". I like to kid myself into thinking it's because I was just starting out in the business, that's why I lost out on the role. But let's face it - I just wasn't right for the part.
INNER TOOB: What did you do before you got into acting?

SMOKE MONSTER: The usual - grunt jobs like factory work, construction... even served in the military, laying down cover for the men. I got called back in for the first Gulf War, and ended up meeting a lot of distant relatives in the Iraqi oil fields.....

INNER TOOB: What else is new in your life? Any projects coming up? Or any role that you're hoping to get?

SMOKE MONSTER: Well, I just got back from the White House, where I was invited as a special guest at a State Dinner. That was pretty cool. But as far as new projects... I keep hearing that they'll be making a new version of Patrick McGoohan's TV show, 'The Prisoner'. Ever see it?

INNER TOOB: My all-time favorite series!

SMOKE MONSTER: Well, I hope they'll consider me when it comes time to recasting Rover.

INNER TOOB: I think that would be cool! Well, except for the remaking 'The Prisoner' part.... I don't want my memories of the show sullied.

SMOKE MONSTER: Ha! Too bad! I need the work. Otherwise, I'm just hoping to ride out the 'Lost' wave until it's all over in 2010. And to do that, I have to make sure I don't get caught in a DUI! One good thing about being back in New York City, I can drink all I want and then just take a taxi! Speaking of which... Another round?

INNER TOOB: Um, I really have to wrap this up, Nick. Thanks again for the chance to do this interview.

SMOKE MONSTER: My pleasure. You are picking up the tab, right? Then it really was great talking to you! Be seeing you! Hahahahaha!

Toby 0B


David Milch has announced his new project for HBO: his own interpretation of Roald Dahl's classic children's tale, "Willie Wonka", which will be renamed "Willy Wanker".
"Wait'll you see the new Oompa Loompas!" he said in a statement to the press. "Those little cocksuckers are fuckin' A, man!"

Toby 0B


Congratulations are in order for Vincent D'Onofrio, the star of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'. According to Pam Golum, the spokeswoman for the series, his wife Carin delivered a baby boy named Luca D'Onofrio on Feb. 14th.

Ms. Golum then added, "The baby is preciousssssssss......."

Toby 0B