Saturday, November 1, 2008
TODAY'S TWD: 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?
BEAM ME UP TO BEANTOWN
before I realized it wasn't a new 'Star Trek.'"
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.
Friday, October 31, 2008
TODAY'S TWD: THE GREAT HOUDINI
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.
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.
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.
[Plot descriptions from Wikipedia]
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.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
NANANANANANANANA - DEBATEMAN!
Sarah Palin could be a new character - Moosewoman.
Villain or heroine, that's for you to decide.
TODAY'S TWD: THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
"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."
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."
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)
LEAVE IT TO LAME BEAVER
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)!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
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'!
TODAY'S TWD: DON GIOVANNI
So today's Tiddlywinkydink is dedicated to her.....
October 29, 1787:
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 basic plot is this:
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.
TMI WITNESS: FLIPPER
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......
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
TODAY'S TWD: OCTOBER FUSS
Hitting the real world timeline yet again for the daily Tiddlywinkydink.......
From our comrades at Wikipedia:
James T. Callahan ... David Powers, Special Assistant to the President
Peter Donat ... David Ormsby-Gore, British Ambassador to U.S.
Will Kuluva ... Valerian Zorin
Byron Morrow ... Sen. William Fullbright
James Olson ... McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant for National Security Affairs
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.
'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.
FLIPPIN' THE DAUPHINE*
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.
*Oh, that pun is horrible! That's why I love it......
Monday, October 27, 2008
TODAY'S TWD: WALLIS SIMPSON
"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.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
TODAY'S TWD: WYATT'S THEME
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.