Saturday, May 15, 2010


I've given up hope that '30 Rock' could ever be totally deloused - er, de-Zonked. Because of this sitcom based on the inner workings of NBC programming (and others like it - 'Extras', 'Entourage', 'The Larry Sanders Show'), I've decided to accept the "blanket amnesty" provided by the splainin that every TV show in our world exists in Toobworld as well. (And even then, that still gives some wriggle room for some special splainins - like the Toobworld versions of 'Doctor Who' and 'I Spy' were created by some government agency to debunk the idea that those "real life" characters existed or that they did the things that might be claimed by eyewitnesses.)

But still there are a few Zonks that crop up occasionally on '30 Rock' that are worth fighting the good fight - or whatever the bleep is it that I'm doing here! - and last night's episode provided a goodie.

"Emmanuelle Goes To Dinosaur Land"* gave us the background info on the early life of Tracy Jordan. ("I saw a hooker breast-feed a rat!") We saw Dot-Com and Kenneth escort Tracy back to the plae where he grew up, only to find that it was now a copy center on the corner of W.157th Street and Lt. Uhura Blvd. At least the writers of '30 Rock' respect their audience by not over-splainin their pop culture references. So there was no mention of 'Star Trek' or the communications officer on board the Enterprise when the site of Lt. Uhura Blvd. was cited. And that means we can claim that this particular Lt. Uhura was somebody else.

The Lt. Uhura of '30 Rock' fame probably wasn't even a female. We never heard a first name (Uhura of 'Star Trek' is named "Nyota".), so why couldn't it have been a Jeff Uhura? A Timmy Uhura? A Bob Uhura? Nyota Uhura won't even be born until 2239 in the United States of Africa, so it couldn't have been named after her anyway. (Any male first name would do, but "Harry Uhura" just sounds wrong.) As for Jeff Uhura (That's the one I like - it has a nice ring. And it's tied to another theory which I'll get to in a moment.) being a lieutenant, it could mean either he was in the NYPD, or he was a soldier in the Armed Forces. Either way, to have the boulevard named after him implies that as of that time when Tracy Jordan was growing up in the late 1960's through the 1970's, Lt. Uhura was more than likely deceased.

We could play this either way for the benefit of Toobworld. We can make the claim that Lt. Uhura was a policeman in the Big Apple who was killed in the line of duty, and then find some late 50's or early 60's crime drama like 'Naked City' or 'Brenner' to make a theoretical link. Or if we go the war hero route, he could have been a soldier in WWII, the Korean Conflict, or even from the early days of the Viet Nam war, which was mentioned in Toobworld at least as early as September, 1963, with 'The Twilight Zone' episode "In Praise Of Pip."

Max Phillips:
"Pip is dying.
My kid is dying. In a place called South Vietnam.
There isn't supposed to be a war going on there, but my son is dying.
It's to laugh. I swear it's to laugh

One reason I'm leaning toward Viet Nam as the war in which this new Lt. Uhura made the Ultimate Sacrifice is because it happened around the same time as the Civil Rights movement had finally made some progress. And there were American blacks who were changing their names to represent their African background (or in the case of Malcolm X, to illustrate the loss of their African identity).

I'm going to suggest that Lt. Uhura was one such African-American. Whether he served on the police force or in the army, he changed his name to Uhura as a sign of pride in his heritage. And this conjecture opens up even more possibilities for Toobworld connections!

Whether it was a black soldier in an episode of 'Tour of Duty' or 'China Beach' or a black cop in 'Naked City', 'NYPD', or maybe 'Brenner', the one mandate that must be observed would be that the character survived through the end of the episode. Then we could make the claim that it was after he was no longer visible onscreen when he applied to legally change his name to Uhura.

And I believe I have just the candidate. And I'm taking the police officer route......

Detective Jeff Ward worked with Detective Johnny Corso, both under the supervision of Lt. Mike Haines at the 'N.Y.P.D.' 27th Precinct. (This of course means that we can tie it "officially" into the main Toobworld mosaic via 'Law & Order', a major hub in the Great Link.) 'N.Y.P.D.' was a half hour show that dealt with gritty social issues of the day and which always proclaimed that it was "in color" during its opening credits. (The television industry was at the turning point from black & white productions back then.)

I'm suggesting that Detective Ward is "The Candidate" (I don't know what number Jacob might have supplied him.) to become Lt. Uhura. And that's why I referred to Lt. Jeff Uhura earlier in this post. (Although I do like the sound of "Timmy Uhura".)

There's one particular 'N.Y.P.D.' episode in which the seeds for changing his identity to reflect his heritage may have first taken root in Detective Jeff Ward. "Deadly Circle Of Vengeance" was about a bigoted psychopath who had fire-bombed a church somewhere else and was followed to New York by those of the black community back home who were seeking revenge. There's an Al Pacino fan site that has
a very detailed synopsis with some great pictures. That's right - Pacino played John James the murderer, with Jill Clayburgh as his reluctant girl-friend.

(The first part of the episode is on YouTube, but as you can imagine for a show that has no studio-backed DVD resource, the quality of these multi-generational dupes is not that good. For a show that prided itself on being in color, this is so washed out that you'd swear it was tinted from an original black & white print. I'll have that first part up at the end of this post.) The situation may have caused Detective Ward to question his place in a society where black men felt they had to take it upon themselves to find justice when the authorities, mostly white men, failed to bring John James to account for his crime. This may have been the catalyst that had him rethink his own identity as a black man in a white America.

Not that any of this was seen on the air while the show played out for another season, of course. Also in the background, left unmentioned for the benefit of the audience viewing at home in the Trueniverse, was any mention that Detective Ward was studying to take the exam to become a police lieutenant. But I think both Ward and his partner Corso would have had that ambition. (Although since Johnny Corso was straight out of the academy, Ward probably had a lead on him.)

Therefore, at some point once 'N.Y.P.D.' went off the air, I think Jeff Ward passed the exam to become a police lieutenant on the force. And for the benefit of Toobworld's cohesion, I'm also going to suggest that he changed his last name to Uhura. And that would go for the rest of his immediate family as well. (Denise Nicholas played his wife Ethel. I'm not sure if they had any children seen or mentioned on the series, but perhaps a future descendant moved to that new "promised land" of the United States of Africa and his family line eventually produced Nyota Uhura. As Mushrat would say to 'Deputy Dawg', "It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble....") But to make the original conjecture work, Lt. Jeff Uhura would never make that trip to a new life in Africa. Somehow he was killed in the line of duty, which is why that section of avenue near W. 157th Street was renamed "Lt. Uhura Blvd." in his honor. It's not easy to claim that a TV character has died after the run of a series, especially when the actor who played him is still alive. But I'm in service to the concept of Toobworld and I have to think of the theories that keep that fictional universe growing with as many TV shows as possible linked together.

Here's the beginning of that 'N.Y.P.D.' episode:

It may seem strange to think that a gritty half hour police procedural could be theoretically linked to a wacked-out sitcom as well as to a futuristic space opera, but in the official connections accepted by the Westphallians, a comedy like 'The Bob Newhart Show' is ultimately connected to 'The X-Files'......


* "Emmanuelle Goes To Dinosaur Land" also supplied a new fictional movie for "Skinemax" with that episode title!


Two more examples of "The Numbers" from 'Lost' popped up in the last week, although one of them was found through research into bad 80's TV......

First up, 'The Mentalist'......
In the episode "18-5-4"*, Patrick Jane found a locker key hidden away inside a cheap old chess piece locked away in a safe. According to the ID tag attached to it, it should have opened a locker numbered "42". (As it turned out, the numbers represented "4-2" - something along the lines of "four across, two down" or vice versa.)

Then, in the pilot episode of 'Misfits of Science', Gloria Dinallo was seen wearing the Misfits team jersey numbered "8".
I don't know whether you enjoy these references to one of the more intriguing bits of trivia from 'Lost', or you're just plain sick of anything to do with the show as it heads towards its final two episodes. But I gotta warn ya... I'm going to keep on posting examples of that numerical sequence as long as they pop up in Toobworld!

But don't worry - there'll be plenty of other mindless diversions which I'll be finding!


* All of the 'Mentalist' episodes have some sort of connection to the color red because of Patrick Jane's nemesis Red John - words like "crimson", "scarlet", "blood", incarnadine, rubies. In this case "18-5-4" is the numerical representation of the letters "R-E-D".




Billy Zane


Friday, May 14, 2010


Here are some more pictures of the legendary Lena Horne's televersion:
Laurence Harvey, Janis Paige, Milton Berle, Ms. Horne, and Jack Benny
(A publicity shot for Milton Berle's program)
Ms. Horne with Kermit the Frog and Fozzie the Bear on 'The Muppet Show'

Lena Horne serenades Dr. Cliff Huxtable on his birthday. ('The Cosby Show')
Ms. Horne is feted at Hillman College. ('A Different World')



I no longer note the passing of everyone who had a hand in the development of Toobworld; I just don't have the time. But I should have at least mentioned the death of Michael Pataki on April 16. He had regular roles in 'The Flying Nun', 'The Amazing Spiderman', 'Phyl And Mikhy' and 'Paul Sand in Friends And Lovers' (as well as voicing "The Cow" on 'Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures'.)
But I'd like to think that his TV immortality will be forever linked to his one appearance on the original 'Star Trek' as Korax the Klingon in the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles"......

And now, you salute the stars. Hovmey Davan!

Good night and may God bless.




'Ashes To Ashes'


From Wikipedia:
Boy George (born George Alan O'Dowd; 14 June 1961) is a British singer-songwriter who was part of the English New Romantic movement which emerged in the early 1980s. He helped give androgyny an international stage with the success of Culture Club during the 1980s. His music is often classified as blue-eyed soul, which is influenced by rhythm and blues and reggae. His 1990s and 2000s-era solo music has glam influences such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. He also founded and was lead singer of Jesus Loves You during the period 1989–1992. Being involved in many activities (among them songwriting, DJing, writing books, designing clothes and photography), he has released fewer music recordings in the last decade.

Re: appearance in 'Ashes To Ashes'

Boy George: still a year and a half away from becoming a household name with Culture Club; is a Blitz Kid working in the coat check at Blitz nightclub in Covent Garden when Danny Moore takes DI Alex Drake dancing there on the night of Monday, 27 July 1981. Drake recognizes him when he takes her coat and welcomes her to Blitz, happily responding to him, "Thanks, George!"

WPC Sharon "Shaz" Granger is presumably acquainted with Boy George, as she frequents the club and considers some of the Blitz regulars to be her best friends.




Thursday, May 13, 2010


It may be that David Mitchell ('Peep Show', 'That Mitchell And Webb Look') may have a new character to play if the confirmation process for President Obama's latest Supreme Court pick, Elena Kagan, proves to be as interesting as expected over the summer..... It's not just me, right? I mean, you can see the resemblance too, right?



A great in-joke last night on 'Cougar Town'....

Jules Cobb's son Travis was going to graduate from high school and he was bemoaning the fact that there was only the official school picture of him in his yearbook. This was totally unlike the yearbook from his mother's high school years, which had twenty pictures of her (twenty-two, if you count the twin boys she dressed up to look like her).

Among those pictures there was one of Jules up onstage dancing with Bruce Springsteen, and we got to see it there in the yearbook. But actually, the picture came from Springsteen's music video for "Dancing in the Dark", which featured a young Courtney Cox as the girl brought up onstage to dance with the Boss.

And of course, Courtney Cox plays Jules in 'Cougar Town'. So I guess we can make the claim now that the girl who danced with Bruuuuce was Jules, and therefore both the sitcom and the video are linked in Toobworld.

Maybe next time they'll incorporate footage from 'Misfits of Science' into a flashback. We could see Jules using telekinetic powers..... (This is what it looked like when her character of Gloria exercised her mutant "gift".)



A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about the 'Antiques Roadshow' and its televersion in Toobworld. So, tonight, with fifteen minutes to waste before 'Modern Family' (Sorry, 'The Middle' just doesn't do it for me.), I flipped over to the 'NCIS' repeat on USA Network.

And McGee figured out from looking around the house that the killer had spent a fortune on the rosewood desk, the Chippendale mahogany case clock ("six figures easy"), and the rare editions on the bookshelf. (Nice touch to have the book mentioned be a first edition of a Mark Twain book in an episode with Hal Holbrook.) And that's where they found the missing money - it was all spent on the collectibles.

When Ziva looked at him askance for knowing such details, McGee splained it away: "Antique Roadshow."

And maybe that means Special Agent Timothy McGee also saw Martin Crane of 'Frasier' on the Seattle episode of the show......

And I found that all due to a fortuitous flip of the remote....



It's probably a silly notion, but for the month of May inductions into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, we've used "Queen of the May" as our theme these last few years.

And this year, just a few years shy of the 50th anniversary of her death, we're inducting Marilyn Monroe because of her status and legend as a queen of the silver screen. And we're going for a very specific televersion of Marilyn Monroe - as seen on TV played by Susan Griffiths.

Here's a rundown of her credits as the former Norma Jean:
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
- The End (2005)

- Stalker (1997)

"Dark Skies"
- The Warren Omission (1997)
"Quantum Leap"
- Goodbye Norma Jean - April 4, 1960 (1993)

Marilyn and Me (1991)

The argument could be made that her presence in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' was a fantasy Larry David had while lying on Death's door. I prefer to think he really did have a near-death experience and everything we saw occur during that moment actually took place.
Ms. Griffiths even played the role in a McDonald's commercial:

(Nothing I can do about the quality, sorry about that Chief.)

Ms. Griffiths could even be inducted into the Hall as a special Birthday List honors someday for playing a woman who made a living as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, tying together 'Growing Pains', 'Cybill', 'nip/tuck', 'The Split' and a TV movie "The American Snitch" - all under the name used in 'nip/tuck': Joyce Monroe.

At any rate, Marilyn Monroe is now a member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame!




"Pancho Barnes"

Valerie Bertinelli

From Wikipedia:
Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes (July 22, 1901 – March 30, 1975) was a pioneer aviator, the founder of the first stunt pilots union and the owner of the Happy Bottom Riding Club.

[In] the Spring of 1928, while driving her cousin Dean Banks to flying lessons, decided immediately to learn to fly. Convincing her cousin's flight instructor of her desire that same day, she soloed after just six hours of formal instruction. True to her flamboyant devil-may-care spirit, she forthwith brought friends along for rides and began "buzzing" her husband's Sunday morning congregation for the fun of it. At this time in aviation history, Barnes was one of only two dozen aviatrixes in the United States, a contemporary of female flyers such as Amelia Earhart.

Her passion for aviation took off, and she ran an ad-hoc barnstorming show and competed in air races. Despite a crash in the 1929 Women's Air Derby, Pancho returned in 1930 under the sponsorship of the Union Oil Company to win the race – and break Amelia Earhart's world women's speed record with a speed of 196.19 mph (315.7 km/h). Barnes broke this record in a Travel Air Type R "Mystery Ship."

After her contract with Union Oil expired, Pancho moved to Hollywood to work as a stunt pilot for movies. In 1931, she started the Associated Motion Picture Pilots, a union of film industry stunt fliers who promoted flying safety and standardized pay for aerial stunt work. She flew in several air-adventure movies of the 1930s, including Howard Hughes' "Hell's Angels."


Wednesday, May 12, 2010






From the website "Berkeleyside", which is about life in Berkeley, Ca.:

On this week’s episode, character Adam is seen — very briefly — scanning the front page of his local paper with his morning coffee (before he greets his morose teenage daughter, Haddie, who has just broken up with her boyfriend).

And as the site pointed out, the newspaper was the San Francisco Register, which was the same newspaper where Dan Vassey worked as a reporter in 'Journeyman'.

They went on to complain that it should have been a Berkeley newspaper and one that was real at that. But where's the sport in that? At least this way, we have a reason to connect those two shows together.

So we thank them for adding to the Great Link, even if they don't appreciate how great a find it was themselves. (The jacklord knows I would never have found it by myself; I couldn't bring myself to get involved with 'Parenthood'.)



Here's some news from Tele-Buddy's Tinseltown Tales:

After July 4, ABC will be showing webisodes on their website which will be based on their soap operas 'All My Children', 'One Life To Live', and 'General Hospital'. The kicker is that each webisode will team up two or more characters from different shows. (Pictured below are Tony Geary - who plays "Luke Spencer" on 'General Hospital' - and Erika Slezak, known as "Victoria Lord Buchanan whatever her last name is now" on 'One Life To Live'. This is not from their upcoming webisode, however.)

Tele-Buddy claims that it won't be part of the continuity, but we shall see what we shall view....

Tele-Buddy was nice enough to provide the list of crossovers:

• "All My Children's" Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) and "General Hospital's" Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard)

• "General Hospital's" Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and "One Life to Live's" Viki Banks (Erika Slezak)

• "All My Children's" Ryan Lavery (Cameron Mathison) and "General Hospital's" Carly Jacks (Laura Wright)

• "All My Children's" Greenlee Smythe (Rebecca Budig) and "General Hospital's" Jason Morgan (Steve Burton)

• "One Life to Live's" John McBain (Michael Easton) and "General Hospital's" Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco)

• "One Life to Live's" Todd Manning (Trevor St. John) and "General Hospital's" Damian Spinelli (Bradford Anderson)

• "All My Children's" Angie and Jesse Hubbard (Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams) and "One Life to Live's" Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson)

• "One Life to Live's" Blair Cramer (Kassie DePaiva) and "All My Children's" Tad Martin (Michael E. Knight)

• "One Life to Live's" Tess (Bree Williamson) and "General Hospital's" Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna)

• "General Hospital's" Maxie Jones (Kirsten Storms) and "One Life to Live's" Rex Balsom (John- Paul Lavoisier)

Definitely there are a few final steps necessary for inclusion in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

This should be especially fun for my friend Mayr and my former sister-in-law MJ!




"Pancho Barnes"

Ted Wass

Farmer: You knew (stunt pilot) Frank Clark. What was he like?
Pancho: I’ll tell you a little background on Clark. Clark was a bootlegger. Ran trucks and stuff in San Francisco. I believe it was loads of rum. Frank Clark was a very handsome person. I tell you that he looked kind of like Clark Gable. I mean, he was a very handsome person, and he was a big man. And he was like a cat in the air. He absolutely – he could take a ship out and bring it out for everything it has in the last hour, and they didn’t come apart with him And anybody else it would come apart with. I mean he knew just how far he could go. It was almost – well, it was funny.

And he was one of the very first pilots flying pictures in Jennys. And they were flying Jennys around , they were raising hell. He used to do stunts all the time at shows and things. And he flew a Jenny off the L.A. Railway Building in Los Angeles.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


At the end of the 'Doctor Who' episode "Victory of the Daleks", the Doctor gives Professor Bracewell - who had been revealed to be a Dalek-made android with a device inside its chest that could destroy the Earth - the chance to escape. It took a while for Bracewell to figure out what the Doctor and his Companion Amy Pond were talking about, but eventually he caught on and made good his escape.

Personally, I think this was a foolish thing for the Doctor to have done. He should have taken the Professor along for a ride in the TARDIS and dropped him off on a planet where he wouldn't be a threat to anyone should the device be triggered accidentally. Sarpeidon in its final years, perhaps ('Star Trek' - "All Our Yesterdays")*, or some Eden-like planet that was unpopulated.

But the Doctor left him on Earth Prime-Time during World War II. So what happened to Professor Bracewell afterwards? Was he ever seen again on our TV screens?

I would think the case could be made for several of the characters played by Bill Paterson in recent years could be Professor Bracewell under assumed names. However we couldn't go too far back in Paterson's resume to find such characters because of the difference in appearance due to the progress of Time. (I figure ten years, tops.)

The temptation would be to claim that his character of George Castle on 'Law & Order: UK' was actually Professor Bracewell, with a re-built mechanical hand. I've seen four episodes of that series so far, and although no personal information has been forthcoming yet (not something usually found in the 'Law & Order' franchise), there's always the possibility that we might meet his family members or have them discussed by the other characters. It would be better to use one-shot roles, guest appearances, as they're less likely to provide to many details that would negate the premise.

I do have one suggestion that would have taken place soon after the events transpired in "Victory of the Daleks". Bill Paterson played the brilliant RAF surgeon Patrick Jamieson in "Enemy Fire", an episode of 'Foyle's War'. I won't give away the plot to this brilliant mystery, but it wouldn't contradict the suggestion that the surgeon was really an undercover android. I could see Professor Bracewell assuming the role, perhaps as a way to assuage his guilt over his role in the Dalek fiasco at Churchill's headquarters. And as for the fact that he was now sporting a beard, perhaps his synth-skin made it possible for him to grow artificial follicles. Either that or he figured out a way to attach a fake beard after rebuilding his destroyed hand.


By the way.... This is my 5000th post!


A couple of examples of "The Numbers" from 'Lost' this week:

Zach Nichols and his new partner watched a neighborhood basketball game during their murder investigation. Nichols claimed that it helped him to think. And one of the players wore a yellow jersey emblazoned with the number "4":
Certain movies are considered to be part of the TV Universe if they are extensions of TV shows - like the 1966 'Batman' movie, or the 'Star Trek' franchise. This month, the sequel to the 'Sex And The City' movie comes out; and Carrie is seen wearing a T-shirt with the number "8" on it: BCnU!


"Amelia Earhart"

Susan Clark

'Star Trek: Voyager'

Sharon Lawrence

Two for Tuesday!


Monday, May 10, 2010


From the New York Times:
Lena Horne, who was the first black performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major Hollywood studio and who went on to achieve international fame as a singer, died on Sunday night at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. She was 92 and lived in Manhattan.

Lena Horne was my second favorite Lena. (Nobody's going to supplant my Grammy O'Brien! Third favorite? The boat "Leakin' Lena" from 'Beany & Cecil'.)

Having looked over her League of Themselves credits in Toobworld, I think it safe to say that she will be remembered next year with an induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

"A Different World"
- A Rock, a River, a Lena (1993)

"The Cosby Show"*

- Cliff's Birthday (1985)
"The Muppet Show"

- Episode #1.11 (1976)
(Also appeared as Lola Bramswell in the show.)

"Sesame Street"

- Episode #5.1 (1973)

"Sanford and Son"

- A Visit from Lena Horne (1973)

And here's a sweet rendition from her appearance on 'The Muppet Show'...

Good night and may God bless, Ms. Horne.


* The picture of Ms. Horne with Bill Cosby is not from his sitcom. It could be from 'Flip' or 'The Hollywood Palace'.....