Friday, December 9, 2011


As a shared fictional universe, the Toobworld Dynamic is based on visual media only. You know how the Master Serlinguist would always say 'The Twilight Zone' is a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of the mind? Toobworld is a Universe for the Eye. Other shared universes like the Wold Newton Universe and the TV Crossover Universe, whose caretakers are my fellow overlords Win Scott Eckert and Robert Wronski, Jr., respectively, are the true Universes for the Mind. They absorb from other sources, like literature and the graphic arts, and blend it altogether. Characters whose back-stories combine such sources are meant to be "viewed" as one's imagination might see them. The TwD must adhere to how they actually look on screen, which is why "we" at Toobworld Central must depend on the established theories of alternate TV dimensions and splainins for recastaways like plastic surgery, quantum leaping, alien impersonation, and robotic replacements.

So for the most part, Toobworld is made up primarily of what has been broadcast on TV. But two other sources must be considered as well. Technological advancements and their societal impact have made it necessary to consider online content from the Internet to be part of the fabric in the tele-mosaic known as the TV Universe. And certain movies can be drawn into the mix as well - but not all of them!

The usual suspects are the following:
  • the "Star Trek' franchise
  • the 1966 "Batman" movie
  • "Maverick" (because James Garner's character of Zane Cooper was using an alias)
  • the original "McHale's Navy" movies - but NOT the remake
  • those movies in which a certain TV character does appear, but not if those same movies have different actors playing other TV roles. An example - "Dragnet" with Harry Morgan as Bill Gannon. But the Joe Friday in the movie was the original's nephew, so he's not a recastaway. Two examples of those films not eligible - "M*A*S*H" (speaking of the late Mr. Morgan) with only Gary Burghoff going on to recreate his role on television, and "The Beverly Hillbillies" with a different cast, but with a guest appearance by Buddy Ebsen as Barnaby Jones. (The 1966 "Batman" still qualifies even though it's Lee Meriweather as Catwoman and not Julie Newmar. "Catwoman" is an assumed identity, not the actual person.)
I would love nothing more than to include books and comic books, etc, if for no other reason than to bring in "Ishmael", a novel by Barbara Hambly which crossed 'Star Trek' with 'Here Come The Brides' (with appearances by other TV Western characters.) But even those books in approved tie-in franchises sometimes contradict each other and even the parent source as well. (See the original sources for the 'Doctor Who' episodes "Blink" and the two-parter "Family Of Blood" and "Human Nature".)

Better to just avoid that head-ache altogether. Besides, my aforementioned allies in this madness do a much better job utilizing all of those artistic influences.  (You'll find the links to their endeavours to the left, my maties - "The Wold Newton Universe" for Win, and "The TV Crossover Universe" for Rob.)

Getting back to Harry Morgan, who passed away this year on the remembrance day for Pearl Harbor, he was involved in two such movies that are considered part of the TV Universe. One was originally a movie which was absorbed by the great maw of the Toobworld Dynamic; while the other one was the previously mentioned movie "Dragnet".

"Dragnet" had ventured forth into the "Cineverse" before, but Jack Webb had been involved in those productions as Sgt. Joe Friday. This time out, Webb - and thus, Joe Friday - were already dead and the Joe Friday of the 1980's movie was not a recastaway, but the "real" Sgt. Friday's nephew and namesake. Harry Morgan returned as his character of Friday's old partner, Bill Gannon, but Time showed that it indeed marches on - Gannon was now a captain in the LAPD.

Harry Morgan's other contribution was the 1940's noir film "Strange Bargain" which also starred Jeffrey Lynn and Martha Scott (both seen above). In this movie, he played Lt. Webb (t'hee!) who was investigating the murder of the boss of Lynn's character. Over thirty years later, author and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher got involved in the original case and discovered that what we saw in the movie wasn't how events actually played out.

(I would suggest watching both "Strange Bargain" and then the 'Murder, She Wrote' follow-up as a double-feature some cold and dark night this winter.  "The Days Dwindle Down" is available for streaming at Netflix.)

This was just another "Hat Squad" entry in our salute to the late, great Harry Morgan.....


1 comment:

Brian Leonard said...

Is Ishmael worth reading? Sounds interesting.