Saturday, November 1, 2008


November 1, 1960 - While campaigning for President of the United States, John F. Kennedy announces his idea of the Peace Corps.

Here's the scoop from Wikipedia:

The Peace Corps is an independent United States federal agency. The Peace Corps was established by Executive Order 10924 on March 1, 1961, and authorized by Congress on September 22, 1961, with passage of the Peace Corps Act (Public Law 87-293). The Peace Corps Act declares the purpose of the Peace Corps to be:

“to promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.”

Since 1960, more than 190,000 people have served as Peace Corps volunteers in 139 countries.

There have been a few in Toobworld as well, not that all of them made it.......
As Thanksgiving approached in 1963, Elizabeth Walton of Walton's Mountain, Virginia, was inspired by President John F. Kennedy to join the Peace Corps. ("The Waltons: Thanksgiving Reunion")

The following year, Patty Lane also considered joining the Peace Corps. She lied about her age on the application and was accepted to work in Africa. ('The Patty Duke Show')

After marrying Dr. Bruce Gaines in 1986, Edna Garrett turned over the management of her shop Peekskill gourmet shop to her sister so that she could go to Africa to work with the Peace Corps. ('The Facts of Life')

In the early 1990s, Harrison Mills met his future wife Celia, a former Olympic cyclist, while they were both working in the Peace Corps. ('Beverly Hills 90210' - new version)

In the late 1990s, an idealistic hippie named Barney Stinson was planning to go to Nigeria to work for the Peace Corps with his girl-friend Shannon. But when she dumped him on the eve of their journey, the experience transformed him into the heartless, soul-less, but very funny womanizer he is today. ('How I Met Your Mother')

Anybody know of any other Peace Corps volunteers in Toobworld?

Toby O'B


"I watched 'Boston Legal' nine times
before I realized it wasn't a new 'Star Trek
Tracy Jordan
'30 Rock'
I watched my DVR-tifact of the season premiere of '30 Rock' today, and quite frankly? I don't even remember that line.

I'm getting old.

At any rate, we can always count on '30 Rock' to Zonk the hell out of the TV Universe. What can you expect from a TV show about TV shows?

For us viewing at home in the Trueniverse, it's obvious what this Zonk implied - Tracy couldn't tell the difference between both shows because William Shatner starred in both. (I guess I have to get used to talking about 'Boston Legal' in the past tense.)

But the writers of '30 Rock' are not only brilliant, they also respect their audience. Some sitcom scribblin' hack might have overburdened that joke with splainins as to why Tracy made that mistake. The '30 Rock' writers know that we'll get it.

And that makes it easier to de-Zonk it!

Although we know the common factor between 'Boston Legal' and 'Star Trek' is Shatner, he was never mentioned; so we don't have to worry about getting around the fact that he plays Denny Crane on the former and James T. Kirk on the latter. As for the shows themselves, we've dealt with 'Star Trek' in the past. It has been mentioned and lampooned so often in the past on other TV shows (Halloween costumes, dream sequences, etc.), that it's almost tempting to just throw up my chubby meat-sticks in defeat. However, Toobworld Central has an all-encompassing splainin - somebody from the future, with knowledge of the "real" Starfleet came back to the 1960s and gave the televersion of Gene Roddenberry all of the information necessary for him to recreate the actual future of Earth Prime-Time, including such details as what the future participants looked like so that he could cast accordingly.

As for 'Boston Legal', we're lucky enough in that David E. Kelley gave it such a generic title. The joke had no mention of Denny Crane, or Alan Shore or of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt. So it could have been about anything that dealt with the legal profession in Beantown, even a reality show. And within the context of Toobworld, that just shows how off-kilter Tracy Jordan is that he couldn't tell the difference.

So as far as that Zonk goes, we can set our phasers on the highest setting and exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!

Okay, so I'm mixing my sci-fi shows. Go up to Boston and sue me.

Toby O'B

Friday, October 31, 2008


October 31, 1926:
Harry Houdini, Hungarian-born magician, died. (b. 1874)

Here's an excerpt of his biography from Wikipedia:

Harry Houdini (March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) whose birth name in Hungary was Erik Weisz (which was changed to Ehrich Weiss when he immigrated to the United States), was a Jewish Hungarian American magician, escapologist (widely regarded as one of the greatest ever) and stunt performer, as well as a skeptic and investigator of spiritualists, film producer and actor. Harry Houdini forever changed the world of magic and escapes.

Initially, Houdini's magic career resulted in little success. He performed in dime museums and sideshows, and even doubled as "the Wild Man" at a circus. Houdini initially focused on traditional card tricks. At one point, he billed himself as the "King of Cards". But he soon began experimenting with escape acts. In 1893, while performing with his brother "Dash" at Coney Island as "The Brothers Houdini", Harry met and married fellow performer Wilhelmina Beatrice (Bess) Rahner. Bess replaced Dash in the act, which became known as "The Houdinis". For the rest of Houdini's performing career, Bess would work as his stage assistant.
Harry Houdini's "big break" came in 1899 when he met manager Martin Beck in rural Woodstock, Illinois. Impressed by Houdini's handcuffs act, Beck advised him to concentrate on escape acts and booked him on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Within months, he was performing at the top vaudeville houses in the country. In 1900, Beck arranged for Houdini to tour Europe.

Houdini was a sensation in Europe, where he became widely known as "The Handcuff King". He toured England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Russia. In each city, Houdini would challenge local police to restrain him with shackles and lock him in their jails. In many of these challenge escapes, Houdini would first be stripped nude and searched. In Moscow, Houdini escaped from a Siberian prison transport van. Houdini publicly stated that, had he been unable to free himself, he would have had to travel to Siberia, where the only key was kept. In Cologne, he sued a police officer, Werner Graff, who claimed he made his escapes via bribery. Houdini won the case when he opened the judge's safe (he would later say the judge had forgotten to lock it).
With his new-found wealth and success, Houdini purchased a dress said to have been made for Queen Victoria. He then arranged a grand reception where he presented his mother in the dress to all their relatives. Houdini said it was the happiest day of his life. In 1904, Houdini returned to the U.S. and purchased a house for $25,000, a brownstone at 278 W. 113th Street in Harlem, New York. The house still stands today.

From 1907 and throughout the 1910s, Houdini performed with great success in the United States. He would free himself from jails, handcuffs, chains, ropes, and straitjackets, often while hanging from a rope in plain sight of street audiences. Because of imitators and a dwindling audience, on January 25, 1908, Houdini put his "handcuff act" behind him and began escaping from a locked, water-filled milk can. The possibility of failure and death thrilled his audiences. Houdini also expanded his challenge escape act - in which he invited the public to devise contraptions to hold him - to include nailed packing crates (sometimes lowered into the water), riveted boilers, wet-sheets, mailbags, and even the belly of a whale that washed ashore in Boston. At one point, brewers challenged Houdini to escape from his milk can after they filled it with beer. Many of these challenges were prearranged with local merchants in what is certainly one of the first uses of mass tie-in marketing.

Rather than promote the idea that he was assisted by spirits, as did the Davenport Brothers and others, Houdini's advertisements showed him making his escapes via dematerializing, although Houdini himself never claimed to have supernatural powers.

In 1912, Houdini introduced perhaps his most famous act, the Chinese Water Torture Cell, in which he was suspended upside-down in a locked glass-and-steel cabinet full to overflowing with water. The act required that Houdini hold his breath for more than three minutes. Houdini performed the escape for the rest of his career. Despite two Hollywood movies depicting Houdini dying in the Torture Cell, the escape had nothing to do with his demise.

In the 1920s, after the death of his beloved mother, Cecilia, he turned his energies toward debunking self-proclaimed psychics and mediums, a pursuit that would inspire and be followed by later-day conjurers Milbourne Christopher, James Randi, Martin Gardner, P.C. Sorcar, Dorothy Dietrich, Criss Angel, Derren Brown and Penn and Teller. Houdini's training in magic allowed him to expose frauds who had successfully fooled many scientists and academics. He was a member of a Scientific American committee that offered a cash prize to any medium who could successfully demonstrate supernatural abilities. Thanks to the contributions and skepticism of Houdini and four other committee members, the prize was never collected. The first to be tested was medium George Valentine of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. As his fame as a "ghostbuster" grew, Houdini took to attending séances in disguise, accompanied by a reporter and police officer. Possibly the most famous medium whom he debunked was the Boston medium Mina Crandon, also known as "Margery". Houdini chronicled his debunking exploits in his book, "A Magician Among the Spirits".

These activities cost Houdini the friendship of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle, a firm believer in Spiritualism during his later years, refused to believe any of Houdini's exposés. Conan Doyle actually came to believe that Houdini was a powerful spiritualist medium, had performed many of his stunts by means of paranormal abilities and was using these abilities to block those of other mediums that he was 'debunking' (see Conan Doyle's "The Edge of The Unknown", published in 1931, after Houdini's death). This disagreement led to the two men becoming public antagonists. Gabriel Brownstein has written a fictionalized account of the meetings of Houdini, Conan Doyle, and "Margery" in "The Man from Beyond: A Novel" (2005).

Harry Houdini died of peritonitis secondary to a ruptured appendix. It has been speculated that Houdini was killed by a McGill University student, J. Gordon Whitehead, in Montreal. Houdini died of a ruptured appendix, caused by Whitehead delivering multiple blows to Houdini's abdomen.

Although in serious pain, Houdini nonetheless continued to travel without seeking medical attention. Harry had apparently been suffering from appendicitis for several days and refusing medical treatment. His appendix would likely have burst on its own without the trauma.

When Houdini arrived at the Garrick Theater in Detroit, Michigan, on October 24, 1926, for what would be his last performance, he had a fever of 104 degrees F (40°C). Despite a diagnosis of acute appendicitis, Houdini took the stage. He was reported to have passed out during the show, but was revived and continued. Afterwards, he was hospitalized at Detroit's Grace Hospital. Houdini died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix at 1:26 p.m. in Room 401 on October 31 (Halloween), 1926, at the age of 52.

Harry Houdini was portrayed in Toobworld several times, mostly in TV movies, but in episodes of 'Voyagers!' and 'Mentors' as well.

1976 - Houdini was played by Paul Michael Glaser, of 'Starsky and Hutch' fame, in a 1976 TV movie called "The Great Houdinis" (aka "The Great Houdini"), which was also highly fictionalized. The film focused on Houdini's relationship with his wife and mother, who were portrayed as frequently bickering (although, in reality, they had cordial relations) and on his fascination with life after death. The cast also included Sally Struthers, Bill Bixby, Vivian Vance, and Ruth Gordon.

1985 - Wil Wheaton played Houdini in "Young Harry Houdini", a made-for-TV movie that aired on ABC as a "Disney Sunday Movie." The film also featured Jeffrey DeMunn as the adult Houdini. DeMunn first played Houdini in the film version of "Ragtime".

1998 - Johnathon Schaech played Houdini in the TNT original movie "Houdini". The film co-starred Stacy Edwards as Bess and Mark Ruffalo as his brother, Dash (aka Theo. Hardeen). The TV movie first aired on December 6, 1998.

[Plot descriptions from Wikipedia]

Thanks to the leeway given to recastaways due to the aging of characters, I think "The Great Houdinis" (by virtue of being the first presentation of Houdini's life, even if it was greatly fictionalized) and "Young Harry Houdini" can both be placed in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.

As for his portrayal by Michael Durrell in the 'Voyagers!' episode "Agents of Satan", it's been the Toobworld Central contention that the main characters of the show are part of Earth Prime-Time, but that they are always meddling in alternate timelines so that they follow the follow chronological flow of Earth Prime-Time. So the Houdini that they met was of an alternate dimension.
Toby O'B

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Thanks to Win Scott Eckert of The Wold Newton Universe site (link to the left, True Believers!), I found out where Senator John McCain's campaign found the tactics they've been using against Senator Barack Obama:

Sarah Palin could be a new character - Moosewoman.

Villain or heroine, that's for you to decide.

Toby O'B


October 30, 1938 - Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H. G. Wells's "The War of the Worlds", causing anxiety in some of the audience in the United States.

"Anybody know it was a prank?"
"The power of radio in those days, Nick.
It was the only live news source."
"Back when the news wasn't about the latest starlet's drunk driving bust."
'Cold Case'

As Lisa Swan puts it in today's New York Daily News,
"The Martians are coming! The Martians are coming! Seventy years ago [today], that was what some listeners of Orson Welles' radio dramatization of "War of the Worlds" feared was taking place. The Halloween-themed broadcast, which aired Sunday night, October 30, 1938, scared the living daylights out of millions of listeners."

From Wikipedia:

"The War of the Worlds" was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series 'Mercury Theatre on the Air'. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds.

The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast was presented as a series of simulated news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual Martian invasion was in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a 'sustaining show' (i.e., it ran without commercial breaks), thus adding to the dramatic effect. Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic, careful research has shown that while thousands were frightened, there is no evidence that people fled their homes or otherwise took action.

The news-bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast, but the episode launched Welles to fame.Welles's adaptation was one of the Radio Project's first studies.

That historic broadcast was a factor in several TV productions and thus is incorporated into Toobworld. 'Studio One' presented "The Night America Trembled" which showed not only a recreation of the broadcast in the studio, but its effect on various people listening in the area. Among the actors were Warren Beatty, James Coburn, and Ed Asner. Over twenty years later, the TV movie "The Night That Panicked America" did the same thing with Vic Morrow and John Ritter as men caught up in the panic caused by the show and Paul Shenar as Welles. In 2003, "Days That Shook the World" presented "Fact or Fiction: The War of the Worlds and the Hitler Diaries".
It was also integrated into the plotlines of a few TV series. In 'The War of the Worlds', one episode took place in Grover's Mill during the 50th anniversary of the broadcast, it is revealed that Orson Welles was hired by the government to orchestrate the broadcast in order to cover up what was a reconnaissance mission by the same aliens who would launch an all-out war 15 years later. 'Touched By An Angel' featured parts of the original broadcast in a Halloween episode titled "The Sky Is Falling", where an old man had to deal with the trauma he endured during the nation wide panic, including the death of his father due to a misfire by a paranoid citizen.

The November 4, 2007 episode of 'Cold Case' dealt with a murder that took place during the panic surrounding the original 1938 radio broadcast. In the October 15, 1956 episode of 'I Love Lucy', "Lucy Meets Orson Welles", Lucy is shopping for scuba gear in Macy's at the same time Welles is signing record albums of his Shakespearian readings. After Lucy approaches him still wearing a Scuba mask, flippers and assorted air hoses, Wells takes one look at her and says, "My 'Man from Mars' broadcast was 18 years ago...where were you?"

[Those four plot descriptions were also from Wikipedia.]

For a great website about the historical perspective of "The War Of The Worlds",
click here.

"This is Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, out of character to assure you that 'The War of The Worlds' has no further significance than as the holiday offering it was intended to be. The Mercury Theatre's own radio version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of a bush and saying 'Boo!'

"We couldn't soap all your windows and steal all your garden gates by tomorrow night. . . so we did the best next thing. We annihilated the world before your very ears, and utterly destroyed the C. B. S. You will be relieved, I hope, to learn that we didn't mean it, and that both institutions are still open for business.

"[Remember] the terrible lesson you learned tonight. That grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and nobody's there, that was no Martian. ... It's Halloween."
- Orson Welles

TV Crossover Hall Of Fame inductee (televersion)
October 2001

Toby O'B


Since I went to Colorado, 'Centennial' country, I've been playing around with an online English to Arapaho dictionary - I like to figure out how "Toobworld" might translate into other languages.

Near as I can tell, it would be ce'ískuu3óó hee3éí'o'béé', literally "Television World". (ce'ískuu3óó also stands for movie, so this would work for Craig Shaw Gardner's Cineverse.)

With those 3's in there, don't ask me how to pronounce it.

Just for kicks, I came up with some names for Senators Barack Obama and John McCain.

híni' céése' - That One

beh'iihehi' - Old Man

As for me? You can call me hoohookee heesooku'oonoo (The Crazy Guy Who Is Watching)!

Toby O'B

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


My sense of "serendipiteevee" came into play again tonight. I turned on the World Series at 9:58 pm, just in time to see the last pitch.

My team wasn't in it, so neither was my heart. But congrats to the Phillies.

Now I can only hope that it's reflected in some future episode of 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia'!

Toby O'B


While I was in Colorado, I was privileged to watch my young friend Rachel record an EP-CD and DVD for her college admission auditions to study opera. O'Bviously I'm prejudiced, but she's very talented and I am certain she'll find her niche in that world.

So today's Tiddlywinkydink is dedicated to her.....

October 29, 1787:
Mozart's opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague.

From the burgomeisters of Wikipedia:

Don Giovanni (K.527; complete title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally "The Rake Punish'd, or Don Giovanni") is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. It was premiered in the Estates Theatre in Prague on October 29, 1787. Of the many operas based on the legend of Don Juan, "Don Giovanni" is thought to be beyond comparison. Da Ponte's libretto was billed like many of its time as dramma giocoso: "giocoso" meaning comic, and "dramma" signifying an operatic text (an abbreviation of "dramma per musica"). Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an "opera buffa". Although often classified as comic, it is a unique blend of comic (buffa) and drama (seria). Subtitled "dramma giocoso", the opera blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote a long essay in his book Enten/Eller (Either/Or) in which he argues, quoting Charles Gounod, that Mozart's "Don Giovanni" is “a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection.”

The basic plot is this:

Don Giovanni, a young nobleman, after a life of amorous conquests, meets defeat in three encounters. The first is with Donna Elvira, whom he has deserted but who still follows him. The second is with Donna Anna, who must postpone her marriage to Don Ottavio after Don Giovanni tries to rape her and kills her father, the Commendatore, while escaping afterwards. The third is with Zerlina, whom he vainly tries to lure from her fiancé, the peasant Masetto. All vow vengeance on Don Giovanni and his harassed servant Leporello. Elvira alone weakens in her resolution and attempts reconciliation in the hope that Giovanni will reform. Don Giovanni's destruction and deliverance to hell are effected by the cemetery statue of the Commendatore, who had accepted the libertine's invitation to supper.

As a staple of the standard operatic repertoire, it appears as number seven on Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America.

By my count, there have been 17 performances of "Don Giovanni" on television since 1967. Among those who have played the title role for TV are Eugene Perry and Bryn Terfel (whom even I, an opera imbecile, have heard of). Thomas Allen and Samuel Ramey have each played it twice for TV productions. Renowned stage director Peter Sellars set his TV production of "Don Giovanni" in the streets; I think Giovanni's final descent into Hell was through a sewer manhole.
"Don Giovanni feels that you can live without rules or obligations,
but that doesn't work.
Hell is (Don Giovanni) being himself. "
Nicolette Molnar
Utah Opera

Toby O'B


I'm not one who wants to know about the actors and actresses playing my favorite characters. I LOVE Laura Petrie and Mary Richards, but I don't need to know about Mary Tyler Moore's behavior on the set of the sitcom 'Mary'; it's too depressing and has no relevance to what goes on in the TV Universe. Unless of course, the actor or actress later appears as themselves in fictional settings - like the experience of Jennifer Grey's cosmetic surgery, which became a running joke in 'It's Like... You Know'.

So this exchange from an LA Times interview with Jessica Walter gave me pause... and more information... information... information than I needed to know!

You went out to L.A., and thought, "I'll hustle at the TV scene and do an episode of 'Flipper.' "

That was out of Florida! One of the first shows I ever did. I was 18, or 20 or something. . . . This is the worst. The story is, I remember, that we were in trouble on our boat, and medicine was dropped from a helicopter and it missed the boat and went into the ocean, so they sent Flipper to dive down and nudge it up with his nose. So I was saying to the other actors, "Isn't it amazing, they had Flipper fall from the helicopter and into the ocean and he doesn't swim away!" And they said, "Oh, that's the dead dolphin, they keep it on ice." Remember the little pelican, Pete? I said, "Isn't it amazing, Pete doesn't fly away!" They said, "Oh, they broke his legs." Welcome to TV!

It's like finding out Lassie's been beaten and burned!
I really didn't need to know any of that......

Toby O'B

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


October 28, 1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announces that he had ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

Hitting the real world timeline yet again for the daily Tiddlywinkydink.......

From our comrades at Wikipedia:

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba during the Cold War. In Russia, it is termed the "Caribbean Crisis," while in Cuba it is called the "October Crisis." The crisis ranks with the Berlin Blockade as one of the major confrontations of the Cold War, and is often regarded as the moment in which the Cold War came closest to a nuclear war.
The climax period of the crisis began on October 8, 1962. Later on October 14th, United States reconnaissance photographs taken by an American U-2 spy plane revealed missile bases being built in Cuba. The crisis ended two weeks later on October 28, 1962, when President of the United States John F. Kennedy and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant reached an agreement with the Soviets to dismantle the missiles in Cuba in exchange for a no invasion agreement and a secret removal of the Jupiter and Thor missiles in Turkey.

Kennedy, in his first public speech on the crisis, given on October 22 1962, gave the key warning,

It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.
"The Missiles of October" is a 1974 docudrama about the Cuban missile crisis. Its name comes from the book "The Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman about the missteps among the great powers and the failed chances to give an opponent a graceful way out leading to the supposedly inevitable World War. The script is based on Attorney General Robert F Kennedy's book "Thirteen Days".
"The Missiles of October" takes us behind the scenes to see the inner workings, disagreements, and ultimate consensus of Kennedy's cabinet to blockade Cuba, rather than attempt to invade to dislodge the just discovered yet partially completed Soviet nuclear missile emplacements in Cuba. It also details US attempts to give the Soviets room to negotiate without appearing to capitulate. Although often dismissed by movie and television critics, the piece scores extremely well in viewer polls.

The made-for-TV movie was directed by Anthony Page with writing credits given to Stanley R. Greenberg and Robert Kennedy.

William Devane ... President John F. Kennedy
Ralph Bellamy ... U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson
Howard Da Silva ... Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
James Hong ... U.N. Secretary-General U Thant
Martin Sheen ... Att. Gen. Robert F. Kennedy
James T. Callahan ... David Powers, Special Assistant to the President
Keene Curtis ... John McCone, Director CIA
Charles Cyphers ... Press Photographer
Clifford David ... Theodore Sorensen, Special Counsel
John Dehner ... Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson
Peter Donat ... David Ormsby-Gore, British Ambassador to U.S.
Andrew Duggan ... Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Army Chief of Staff
Richard Eastham ... Gen. David M. Shoup, USMC Commandant
Dana Elcar ... Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
Ron Feinberg ... Gen. Charles De Gaulle
Michael Fox ... Soviet Marshal
Arthur Franz ... Congressman Charles A. Halleck
Larry Gates ... Secretary of State Dean Rusk
Richard Karlan ... Chief of the Presidium
Stacy Keach Sr. ... W.E. Knox, President Westinghouse International
Will Kuluva ... Valerian Zorin
Paul Lambert ... John Scali, ABC Correspondent
Doreen Lang ... Mrs. Evelyn Lincoln, President Kennedy's Secretary
Michael Lerner ... Pierre Salinger, White House Press Secretary
Robert P. Lieb ... Gen. Curtis LeMay, Air Force Chief of Staff
Byron Morrow ... Sen. William Fullbright
Stewart Moss ... Kenneth O'Donnell, Special Assistant to the President
James Olson ... McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant for National Security Affairs
Dennis Patrick ... Llewellyn Thompson, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union
Albert Paulsen ... Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin
Nehemiah Persoff ... Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko
William Prince ... Secretary of the Treasury, C. Douglas Dillon
John Randolph ... Undersecretary of State George Ball
Kenneth Tobey ... Adm. George W. Anderson Jr., Chief of Naval Operations
George Wyner ... Civillian Aide
Harris Yulin ... KGB Agent Alexander Fomin
Thayer David ... Narrator (uncredited)

I remember watching this back when I was in high school. I felt that it was something I had to see, something of importance. It was one of many instances where my grasp of history, the news, and the world around me was shaped by TV.

Toby O'B


In the series premiere of the American version of 'Life On Mars', NYC Detective Sam Tyler is standing outside the Cataldo Apartments, across the street and next to his parked car. Suddenly he's struck by another vehicle; when he comes to, there's a sign across the street announcing that the Cataldo Apartments will be built upon that same site. Somehow he's been transported back in Time 35 years ago to 1973.

'Life On Mars' is produced by the same team that brought 'October Road' to ABC for two seasons. For fans of that show, the name "Cataldo" will be very familiar, as it's the last name for the series antagonist, Ray "Big Cat" Cataldo.

'October Road' took place in the town of Knights Ridge, Massachusetts, where Ray Cataldo was known as "The Concrete King". His construction company built office parks, condos, and even juice bars throughout town. Because of his age, there's no way he's the Cataldo for whom the apartments were named in 1973.

However, he could be related to that same Cataldo. Even though he lives up in Massachusetts, it's always pozz'ble (as Mushrat would say in those 'Deputy Dawg' cartoons) that Ray Cataldo's grandfather or some other older relative was in the construction business down in Manhattan nearly forty years ago. And if he was anything like that gasbag Trump, he's probably slapped his name up on all sorts of construction projects all over the area.

Whatever Sam Tyler's condition in this version of 'Life On Mars', the Cataldo apartments actually exist in Toobworld; they were there before he was struck down. So this could be a theoretical link between that series and 'October Road'.

As to how both versions of 'Life On Mars' (US & the original one from the UK) could co-exist in the main Toobworld.....? Well, I have that idea figured out; it's just a matter of writing it up. But don't worry, I'll get around to it.

Toby O'B


Credit Dauphine was an international bank that served as a front for the spy organization SD-6 in 'Alias'. (Sydney Bristow was recruited out of college to work there as an office assistant in the L.A. branch where she would begin her training for what she thought was the CIA.) SD-6 was located on sub-level

But Credit Dauphine also showed up in the second season premiere of 'Eli Stone' as well.

Jordan Wethersby met with executives of Credit Dauphine, those in charge of mortgages, who were proud of the fact that they brought down the US economy. After telling them off, Jordan was trapped under rubble in a stairwell when a crane crashed into the building.

There's another interesting connection between these two series - Jordan Wethersby of 'Eli Stone' and Jack Bristow, Sydney's dad and an actual CIA agent, of 'Alias' are both played by the same actor, Victor Garber.

But this is not a case of Jack Bristow using - okay, I'll say it - an alias. It's a Toobworld conceit that many spies on TV series not only take the identities of middle-management corporate types (hoping to trade in on their supposedly colorless lives) but they sometimes even undergo plastic surgery so that they more closely resemble those unsuspecting citizens whom they're impersonating while on assignments.

We saw this happen in "Identity Crisis", an episode of 'Columbo'. The agent code-named "Geronimo" used the cover identity of A.J. Henderson, an advertising executive from Westport, Connecticut. And the CIA director at the time, who went by the code name of "Secret Agent X-9", must have undergone some plastic surgery to better resemble an advertising executive named Larry Tate, who also spent time in Westport, Connecticut.

So I'm thinking that Jack Bristow recognized the close resemblance to lawyer Jordan Wethersby and capitalized on it some more with a few cosmetic upgrades. This would have happened long before 'Alias' was first broadcast, which would splain why it was never brought up by his daughter Sydney. Before she found out that he was a CIA operative, he probably told her that he had to have the surgery because of a car accident or something.

Toby O'B

*Oh, that pun is horrible! That's why I love it......

Monday, October 27, 2008


On this date in 1936, Mrs Wallis Simpson filed for divorce which allowed her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom. This led to his abdication from the throne.

Here's a quick nugget of information about Mrs. Simpson from Wikipedia:

Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (born Bessie Wallis Warfield, later Spencer, then Simpson; 19 June 1895 or 1896 – 24 April 1986) was an American socialite who married, as her third husband, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII.

The King's desire to marry a twice-divorced American with two living ex-husbands and a reputation as an opportunist caused a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom and the Dominions, which ultimately led to the King's abdication in December 1936 to marry "the woman I love". After the abdication, the former king was created Duke of Windsor by his brother George VI.

Edward married Wallis six months later, after which she was formally known as the Duchess of Windsor, without the style "Her Royal Highness".

The love story was the focus of several TV movies as well as a mini-series:
"The Woman I Love" (1972, made-for-TV movie) focused on Edward VIII's love affair with Wallis Simpson. Wallis was portrayed by Faye Dunaway; Richard Chamberlain played Edward.
'Edward & Mrs. Simpson' (1978, seven-part miniseries) was based on Frances Donaldson's 1974 biography, Edward VIII. The focus was on both the romance and the constitutional crisis that triggered the abdication. Cynthia Harris played Wallis (above), and Edward Fox, Edward.

"The Woman He Loved" (1988, made-for-TV movie) starred Jane Seymour as Wallis and Anthony Andrews as Edward.

"Bertie and Elizabeth" (2002, made-for-TV movie) tells the story from the point of view of Edward's brother Bertie, who was to become George VI after the abdication.

"Wallis & Edward" (2005, made-for-TV movie) was billed as the first scripted account of the romance from Wallis Simpson's point of view. Joely Richardson played Wallis, and Steven Campbell Moore, Edward.

Mrs. Simpson does not appear in the "Crown Matrimonial" presentation on the 'Hallmark Hall Of Fame', nor does she travel with her husband in the 'Tales Of The Gold Monkey' episode "God Save The Queen".

I suppose because 'Edward & Mrs. Simpson' was a mini-series, it provided more for the expansion of Toobworld, and thus should be considered the official version of the story for the main TV dimension. (Personally, it's Faye Dunaway in the role whom I remember best.)
Samantha Coughlan (Wallis Simpson) . . . "Days That Shook the World" (2003) {Affairs of the Crown}

Faye Dunaway (Wallis Warfield Simpson) . . . Woman I Love, The (1972)

Cynthia Harris (I) (Wallis Warfield Simpson) . . . "Edward & Mrs. Simpson" (1978)

Joely Richardson (Wallis Simpson) . . . Wallis & Edward (2005)

Amber Sealey (Wallis Simpson) . . . Bertie and Elizabeth (2002)

Jane Seymour (I) (Wallis Simpson) . . . Woman He Loved, The (1988)

Toby O'B

Sunday, October 26, 2008


1881 - The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral takes place at Tombstone, Arizona.

As I suggested I might do earlier, I went to the timeline for the history of the real world to find the inspiration for Sunday's Tiddlywinkydink.

Many TV shows today forego theme songs altogether. But back in the day, they were elaborate splainins of what the show was all about - 'Gilligan's Island' may be the best example.

The theme song for 'The Life And Legend of Wyatt Earp' served not only as an introduction to the main character, but it could also stand alone as an American folk ballad about one of the most legendary characters in the Old West.

"The Legend of Wyatt Earp"
music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Harold Adamson

Performed by the Ken Darby Singers; as well as Johnny Western

I'll tell you a story

A real true life story
A tale of the Western frontier

The West it was lawless

But one man was flawless
And his is the story you'll hear.


Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp,
brave, courageous and bold.

Long live his fame and long live his glory
And long may his story be told.

He came to Kansas

To settle in Kansas
He planned on a peaceable life.

Some goods and some chattel

A few head of cattle
A home and a sweet loving wife.


He wasn't partial

To being a marshal
But fate went and dealt him his hand.

While outlaws were lootin'
And killin' and shootin'
He knew that he must take a stand.


He cleaned up the country

The Old Wild West country
He made law and order prevail

And none can deny it
The legend of Wyatt
Forever will live on the trail.


Toby O'B