Saturday, March 3, 2012


I always have a 'Doctor Who' video at the ready for Inner Toob's Video Weekend, and because of our remembrance of Davy Jones, I thought I'd include a musical tribute to my favorite of the Doctors.....



I don't mean this picture as a joke. I honestly thought Davy Jones would have lived long enough to see the other three members of the Monkees buried before him.

It was a weird sensation upon hearing the news. It was like Joni Mitchell sings: You don't know what you've got til it's gone....

Here are a few musical memories of Davy Jones and the Monkees.......



Here's another scene of Davy Jones as a member of the League of Themselves in Toobworld.

If you close your eyes and just listen to it, it's like hearing a conversation between Davy Jones and Lisa Simpson....




'Rich Man, Poor Man'
'Rich Man, Poor Man: Book 2'

William Smith

Irwin Shaw

Earth Prime-Time

Probably Deceased

From the William Smith fansite:
As played by William Smith, the evil Falconetti is one of the most memorable villains in television history. Falconetti so dominates memories of the miniseries that it’s hard to believe he only appeared in 3 of the 12 one-hour episodes which originally ran in Feb/March of 1976. The scene in which Falconetti looks down to the pier where Tom is dying from wounds inflicted by Falconetti’s cohort is wonderfully chilling. Bill reprised the Falconetti role in Book II despite the fact that his interaction in the original had been solely with Tom Jordache. Tom’s son Wesley was no match for Falconetti [as actor Gregg Henry was no match for William Smith] so his animosity was broadened to the entire Jordache family.

William Smith garnered an Emmy nomination for his role in Book II. [He was beaten by Gary Frank who played the sensitive Willie Lawrence on the drama Family.] Despite coming in a respectable 21st in the 1976-77 ratings (opposite top-ten rated comedies 'M.A.S.H.' & 'One Day at a Time') there was no 2nd season for Book II. Falconetti was actually a more interesting character in Book II. His previously unrelenting tough guy was a manipulator in this scenes opposite Dimitra Arliss as his sister Marie. But it was his scenes with the powerful Estep [Peter Haskell] that saw a real change for William Smith. Despite the fact that Haskell was no physical match for Bill, Estep dominated Falconetti psychologically with his wealth and power. [Estep called Falconetti "Anthony" in a condescending tone] Bill did a notable job of shrinking psychically in the presence of Estep who used Falconetti for his own evil purposes. 

A little RMPM trivia: In a fight with Tom Jordache, Falconetti's left eye is gouged as shown by the gauze patch on his left eye. However, when filming resumed they put the eyepatch on his right eye. Bill protested that it was his left eye that was missing but he was contradicted by the script girl so the patch remained on his right eye until he got a glass eye in Book II.


Friday, March 2, 2012


Before her "death" in 2010 (mentioned in an episode of 'NCIS'), Mrs. Victoria Mallard told Abby about her sister Gloria - and about how much Abby reminded her of that sister. But the mother of Dr. Ducky Mallard never mentioned that she had another sister whose married name was Carol Flemming.

By the time we met Victoria Mallard in the episode "Meat Puzzle", she was in her nineties and already on that downward slope into dementia. But there wasn't any reason why she should have mentioned Carol to Abby or to either Tony or Kate who were acting as her bodyguards/babysitters. And she could have mentioned it during the many hours not actually seen onscreen, perhaps even during a commercial.

Dementia doesn't have to be the reason why the subject of Carol never came up. It could just be that the topic was too painful for Mrs. Mallard to relive. About forty years before, Carol Flemming had been murdered by her husband, psychiatrist Dr. Ray Flemming - staged in such a way so that it looked like she had stumbled on a burglary of her home when she returned unexpectedly.

Dr. Flemming had a very convincing alibi, not that it ever mattered - the homicide detective on the case was one Lt. Columbo.....

The inspiration for this theory of "relateeveety"? The late Nina Foch played both roles.

'NCIS' - "Meat Puzzle" & "Untouchable"
'Columbo' - "Prescription Murder" (pilot)



Bill Pullman will once again be playing a US President, although this time in a sitcom. (The last time was in the movie "Independence Day".) He'll be playing President Dale Gilchrist - seen by the Nation as an heroic ex-military figure, but privately he can barely control his disfunctional family.

There would have been the perfect alternate TV dimension for this series and there may yet be a chance it can be squeezed into there if the "need" arises. (So far, this is just a pilot and there is no firm commitment it will be broadcast, although NBC will face stiff penalties if it doesn't.)

Long before it goes on the air, HBO will have already begun showing 'Veep' starring Julia Louis Dreyfuss as former Senator Selina Meyer, the new Vice President of the United States. 

As such, her show will hold the current spot on the timeline in the same TV dimension which also houses 'Nancy', 'Hail To The Chief', 'Mr. President', and 'Cory In The House'. ('Cory In The House' is a spin-off from 'That's So Raven'. So either that show exists in this alternate TV dimension or 'Cory In The House' dealt with an alternate Cory Baxter.)

Depending on their individual takes on particular situations (not just current events but La Triviata like TV shows and movies mentioned), both 'Veep' and '1600 Penn' may be vying for the same spot on the timeline. And I think the names of the president in 'Veep' and the Vice President in '1600 Penn' will be mentioned, if they are not seen outright on each show. So it's not feasible to hope that Louis-Dreyfuss' 'Veep' could be one heartbeat away from the Presidency should anything happen to President Gilchrist.

And because of those same timeline markers, I don't think we can place '1600 Penn' immediately following 'Veep' on that dimension's timeline. So it probably means it has to be shunted off to a whole new TV dimension.

If it ever reaches the NBC schedule, that is.....


And because they're both comedies, neither one would be a threat to the new series 'Scandal' in its alternate dimension.



'Little Dorrit'

Freema Ageyman

Charles Dickens
(Within Toobworld, her life was chronicled by Dickens as both of them share the same reality.)

Earth Prime-Time

The Meagles took her from an orphanage and raised her to be Pet's maid and companion. This sad young woman is not Pet's equal, but she is certainly her shadow and double, always in the background pointing out the cracks in this seemingly super-happy, super-normal family.

In some ways, it's hard not to agree with the many unfair things about Tattycoram's situation that Miss Wade points out. The Meagleses did give her a crazy name that marks her as different, and the whole we'll-adopt-you-to-become-our-servant thing is kind of questionable. (Although back then, it's way better than whatever horrors Tattycoram would have been exposed to at the orphanage.)

On the other hand, like many of the novel's doubles and shadow characters, Tattycoram seems to be a symbolic acting-out of whatever unseemly emotions Pet might have. Since she is already a social pariah, Tattycoram gets to be angry and bitter and miserable about her life, unlike Pet, who is responsible for much of her parents' happiness and so tends to remain super chipper. Tattycoram also gets a real escape from this life – not the polite kind of escape that Pet talks about when she tells Arthur why she's getting married, but an actual destructive rampage of running away.

From the source:
He spoke to a handsome girl with lustrous dark hair and eyes, and very neatly dressed, who replied with a half curtsey as she passed off in the train of Mrs Meagles and Pet. They crossed the bare scorched terrace all three together, and disappeared through a staring white archway. Mr Meagles's companion, a grave dark man of forty, still stood looking towards this archway after they were gone; until Mr Meagles tapped him on the arm.

'I beg your pardon,' said he, starting.

'Not at all,' said Mr Meagles.
They took one silent turn backward and forward in the shade of the wall, getting, at the height on which the quarantine barracks are placed, what cool refreshment of sea breeze there was at seven in the morning. Mr Meagles's companion resumed the conversation.

'May I ask you,' he said, 'what is the name of—'
Tattycoram?' Mr Meagles struck in. 'I have not the least idea.'
'I thought,' said the other, 'that—'

'Tattycoram?' suggested Mr Meagles again.

'Thank you—that Tattycoram was a name; and I have several times wondered at the oddity of it.' 'Why, the fact is,' said Mr Meagles, 'Mrs Meagles and myself are, you see, practical people.'

'That you have frequently mentioned in the course of the agreeable and interesting conversations we have had together, walking up and down on these stones,' said the other, with a half smile breaking through the gravity of his dark face.

'Practical people. So one day, five or six years ago now, when we took Pet to church at the Foundling—you have heard of the Foundling Hospital in London? Similar to the Institution for the Found Children in Paris?'

'I have seen it.'

'Well! One day when we took Pet to church there to hear the music—because, as practical people, it is the business of our lives to show her everything that we think can please her—Mother (my usual name for Mrs Meagles) began to cry so, that it was necessary to take her out. "What's the matter, Mother?" said I, when we had brought her a little round: "you are frightening Pet, my dear." "Yes, I know that, Father," says Mother, "but I think it's through my loving her so much, that it ever came into my head." "That ever what came into your head, Mother?" "O dear, dear!" cried Mother, breaking out again, "when I saw all those children ranged tier above tier, and appealing from the father none of them has ever known on earth, to the great Father of us all in Heaven, I thought, does any wretched mother ever come here, and look among those young faces, wondering which is the poor child she brought into this forlorn world, never through all its life to know her love, her kiss, her face, her voice, even her name!" Now that was practical in Mother, and I told her so. I said, "Mother, that's what I call practical in you, my dear."'

The other, not unmoved, assented.

'So I said next day: Now, Mother, I have a proposition to make that I think you'll approve of. Let us take one of those same little children to be a little maid to Pet. We are practical people. So if we should find her temper a little defective, or any of her ways a little wide of ours, we shall know what we have to take into account. We shall know what an immense deduction must be made from all the influences and experiences that have formed us—no parents, no child-brother or sister, no individuality of home, no Glass Slipper, or Fairy Godmother. And that's the way we came by Tattycoram.'

'And the name itself—'

'By George!' said Mr Meagles, 'I was forgetting the name itself. Why, she was called in the Institution, Harriet Beadle—an arbitrary name, of course. Now, Harriet we changed into Hattey, and then into Tatty, because, as practical people, we thought even a playful name might be a new thing to her, and might have a softening and affectionate kind of effect, don't you see? As to Beadle, that I needn't say was wholly out of the question. If there is anything that is not to be tolerated on any terms, anything that is a type of Jack-in-office insolence and absurdity, anything that represents in coats, waistcoats, and big sticks our English holding on by nonsense after every one has found it out, it is a beadle. You haven't seen a beadle lately?'

'As an Englishman who has been more than twenty years in China, no.'

'Then,' said Mr Meagles, laying his forefinger on his companion's breast with great animation, don't you see a beadle, now, if you can help it. Whenever I see a beadle in full fig, coming down a street on a Sunday at the head of a charity school, I am obliged to turn and run away, or I should hit him. The name of Beadle being out of the question, and the originator of the Institution for these poor foundlings having been a blessed creature of the name of Coram, we gave that name to Pet's little maid. At one time she was Tatty, and at one time she was Coram, until we got into a way of mixing the two names together, and now she is always Tattycoram.'

Even though Black History Month has ended, we have one last "Black Friday" entry for the ASOTV showcase - in order to make up for the omission that first week of February.  The fairy tale theme was running while I was in Florida.


Thursday, March 1, 2012


Here are some videos in remembrance of Davy Jones......

First, his appearance on 'The Brady Bunch':

Then we have his cameo on 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch' -

And finally, here's his episode of the 'Scooby Doo Movies'......

Good night and may God bless.....


"Real Life is March."
from the movie "Leap Day Willliams"
as seen in '30 Rock'

I made a pledge that when a deserving real-worlder died, a member of the League of Themselves with enough televersion credits to their name, they would be inducted immediately into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

Sadly that day has come for Davy Jones, formerly a member of the Monkees, aka the Pre-Fab Four, and the greatest rock and roll band to be created for Toobworld.

Davy Jones, the singer for the Monkees perhaps best known for his vocals on “Daydream Believer,” died on Wednesday at his home in Indiantown, Fla. He was 66.

The cause was a heart attack, according to the medical examiner’s officer there and a spokeswoman for the singer.

Mr. Jones, a former jockey and stage actor, was an important member of the first and arguably the best of the pop groups created for television to capitalize on the success of the Beatles. Though they were not taken seriously at first, the Monkees made some exceptionally good pop records, thanks in large part to the songwriting of professional songwriters like Neil Diamond and Tommy Boyce.

As himself, apart from the Monkees, Davy Jones racked up more than enough TV appearance credits to warrant inclusion in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. I'm just sorry it took his death to prompt me to do so.

Of course, first and foremost, we have to include his signature TV series 'The Monkees' which also pulls in the movie "Head" which served as a spin-off of sorts. (And there's a lateral connection within the series to 'Batman', when another Hall of Famer, the Penguin, attended one of their shows.)

Among his other qualifications:

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Dante's Inferno (1997)
Hilda's punitus spell illness involves several things she says including figures of speech, appearing in physical form. These include Davy Jones of the Monkees when Hilda feels like she has "a monkey on her back".

The Single Guy
Davy Jones (1996)
Jonathan hosts a Thanksgiving party with special guest Davy Jones, who's considering Jonathan to co-write his biography.

Herman's Head
The One Where They Go on the Love Boat (1992)
The office workers go on a trip to the Bahamas - Herman has to deal with Elizabeth, who happens to be on board, while Louise gets to indulge her long-time infatuation for Davy Jones of the Monkees.

Probably the most famous of all his guest appearances:

The Brady Bunch
Getting Davy Jones (1971)
Marcia promises the Davy Jones fan-club that she will get the famous star to appear at the prom, but the only problem is that she has no way of contacting him.

This next one is a theoretical appearance but I think it can work.....

Davy Jones appeared in three episodes of 'Z Cars', as three different characters. Two of them have names, but in "On Watch - Newtown", he was identified only as "Boy Footballer."

Why couldn't that boy footballer have been Davy as a young boy?

(The picture here from 'Z Cars' is from another episode, but I'm sure he wasn't too far off the mark as the boy footballer.)

So Toobworld Central is including that episode as a valid contribution.

Z Cars
On Watch - Newtown (1962) … Boy Footballer (as David Jones)
Both crews are forced to realize the narrow margin between life and death on a busy night in which Barlow and Twentyman miss one crime and catch two criminals.

Davy Jones also appeared in the Tooniverse, but I think it's only the Scooby-Doo movie that counts as being his "tooniversion". (If I remember correctly, his "Davy Jones" in 'Spongebob Squarepants' was an in-joke about the infamous legend from the watery depths.)

SpongeBob SquarePants
– SpongeBob vs. the Big One (2009)

The New Scooby-Doo Movies
The Haunted Horseman in Hagglethorn Hall (1972) 

And so we welcome Davy Jones into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, even as we bid him adieu in the real world. But for more on that aspect, I'd like to share the thoughts of his former band-mate, Michael Nesmith....

All the lovely people. Where do they all come from? So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, I don’t know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or ...strange, this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about. I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don’t exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity. That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane. David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.
- Michael Nesmith

Good night and may God bless......


For those of you who watched the whole episode, you might be surprised that there was no grisly twist, no shock ending, as one might expet from an anthology series that gave us "Lamb To The Slaughter", "Bad Actor", and "Man With A Problem".

This was mostly a character study, almost a two person playlet, set in a world of rural despair and on first glance one might think it didn't have anything of significant value for Toobworld.

But you'd be wrong.

At first, as we met Millie Wright in her isolated cabin, I was tempted to place the locale for the episode in the "Land Of The Giants", like a certain T-Zone episode. (No spoilers on that one - it's just too good!)

But that would be too complicated for the splainin.

This remote, rural farm community is probably set at the turn of the 20th Century - people are still using horse & buggty as the main mode of transportation, but they also have telephone service.

Because of the participation of one particular actress, I'm going to claim that "A Jury Of Her Peers" took place in the outer environs of Chicago around 1905. First off, according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago100,000 residences had telephone service in the greater Chicago area by 1905.  (I always say - TV is a teaching tool!)

If it is located in Illinois, but outside Chicago due to its rural setting, I'm going to claim that it's the town of Salem, founded in 1802 - home to the Hortons and the Bradys... as seen in 'Days Of Our Lives'.

Out of all pozz'ble options, I chose Salem because of Mary Peters, the wife of Sheriff Henry Peters. Mrs. and Mrs. Peters arrived in town five years before, according to this episode, and although their own home-life was not central to the story, I'd like to think Henry and Mary had children - or at least a daughter, who would soon be old enough to marry (if she wasn't already.)

That daughter could have married a local lad by the name of Grayson. And while that could lead to theories of relateeveety connecting them to Dick Grayson (of 'Batman') and ultimately to Amanda Grayson (of 'Star Trek'), my concern is more immediate - these Graysons would have a daughter of their own by 1914 - whom they named Alice.

And Alice would be the center of life there in Salem, of all that would occur during the 'Days Of Our Lives' until 2010. (When her death was acknowledged on the soap opera.)

I make this claim of relateeveety based on the resemblance between Mary Peters and Alice Grayson Horton - due to Frances Reid having played both roles.

(This theory of relateeveety post is dedicated to my Auntie Anne, who is a big fan of 'Days Of Our Lives'.  So is her daughter-in-law, Denise, probably even more fanatically so, but blood will out.  Sorry, Denise!)




'The Finder'

Geoff Stults

Richard Greener

Earth Prime-Time

Eligible for TV Crossover Hall Of Fame

From Wikipedia:
In October 2010, it was revealed that Fox was developing a potential spin-off series [from 'Bones'] that would be built around a new recurring character that would be introduced in the sixth season. The potential spin-off series would also be created by 'Bones' creator/executive producer Hart Hanson, and be based on "The Locator" series of two books written by Richard Greener.

The character of Walter is described as an eccentric but amusing recluse in high demand for his ability to find anything. He is skeptical of everything—he suffered brain damage while overseas, which explains his constant paranoia—and known for asking offensive, seemingly irrelevant questions to get to the truth.

In the episode, Booth and Brennan travel to Key West, Florida, where the spin-off is said to take place. Nathan went on to say regarding the casting of character, "You want to find people you want to see every single week do one unique character. That's why when you have Hugh Laurie, who is essentially playing a very unlikable character, you love to see him. And that is a rare, rare quality to find. And the finder won't be an unlikeable character, but because it is a unique character, it's difficult to find just the right person." Geoff Stults was cast as the lead character with Michael Clarke Duncan and Saffron Burrows cast as the other two lead characters. The three characters were introduced in episode 19 of the sixth season.

In May 2011, it was revealed that Saffron Burrows would not appear beyond the backdoor pilot episode, leaving the series, because the network had decided to re-conceive the role. Mercedes Masohn and Maddie Hasson joined the cast as the two female leads. Masohn will play Isabel Zambada, a Deputy U.S. Marshal; and Hasson will play Willa, a second generation criminal who helps with their investigations.

From the source:

As you can see from the description, the Walter Sherman - the Locator - from the Literary Universe could walk by the Walter Sherman - the Finder - of TV Land and they wouldn't recognize each other....


Wednesday, February 29, 2012


From 1997 to 2003, Adele Newman was a social services representative who dealt with many of the staff and patients in the 'ER' of Cook County Hospital in Chicago. After her last appearance (in the episode "A Saint In The City"), I have no idea what happened to her.

Until now. I think.....

Before she suddenly just disappeared from the show 'ER' (although she was just a long-running, recurring character), I think Adele had already begun a new chapter in her life. I think she was taking courses for a new degree with an eye towards going back to school full-time as a medical student. (That way, it cuts down on the time needed to complete her studies and pass the boards.) When she left the employ of the Social Services Department of Chicago for good, it was because she enrolled for the full curriculum.

By this point in her life, she is probably a resident intern. perhaps specializing in trauma surgery as it was the field she was most often associated with. At whatever hospital where she is doing her residency, she'd be the "low man on the totem pole" with her surgical team. As such it would be her job to be the one to interface with the family of the patients, to take on the burden of dealing with them as the messenger - especially when there was bad news to impart.

If so, I think it's safe to say that Adele Newman is now in Boston. Because I think we saw her in the season finale of 'Rizzoli & Isles'.

It was her job to keep going out to the corridor and meet with Dr. Maura Isles; there she would let the medical examiner know the condition of her mother, who had been mowed down in a hit-and-run intended for Maura.

(On that season-ender, we never learned the name of Erica Gimpel's character, so it may as well have been Adele Newman. Should she ever pop up again as a doctor in some other show, we can claim that she is still the same person. And it wouldn't matter if she's to be found in a new city. Nor would it matter should she have a new name - so long as we only hear her addressed as Doctor and by the last name only. That way we can say she not only transferred to a new job upon completing her residency, but that she got married as well. Because of this, I'm intentionally ignoring any earlier portrayals of doctors which fit those parameters.)

And that's our last themed post for Black History Month....



During her six year stint (more, counting the time before the show started) with the Miami Crime Scene unit, as a medical examiner, Dr. Alexx Woods never mentioned that she had a twin sister.

The family name must have been Saunders when the twins were growing up in New York City, unless sister Beverly was married twice. (We already knew that Woods was Alexx's married name.)

When we first met Beverly Saunders, she was looking up her old boyfriend, Monte "Doc" Parker, where he worked as a paramedic. Her visit brought back memories for Doc about how he accidentally killed a friend in an argument over a girl.

Beverly is in the same field as her twin sister, but she was geared more towards the administrative side of the job. Always with an eye towards advancement, Beverly eventually rose to the position of Philadelphia's Health Commissioner.

Since that visit with Doc in an attempt to exorcise the demons of her personal history, Beverly had married a man named Travers. I get the feeling it couldn't have been a happy marriage, since Commissioner Travers acted like a real harpy, an out-and-out bitch. She was the polar opposite to her twin sister Alexx, who was warm and maternal and caring for the victims she had to examine.

'Body Of Proof' - "Occupational Hazards" (to be recurring)
'CSI: Miami' - series regular for six seasons
'Third Watch' - "History"


FAMILY ATTACHMENTS presented a Super Bowl commercial this year in which a guy had a snake-like growth coming out of his back. It had a head that looked just like his own and it loved to sing its responses:

The guy told the salesman that it was his newfound confidence, which had sprung forth after using

This is horse hockey-pucks as Colonel Potter would say.

The guy was one of two things - either he was a mutant, fused to his twin brother in much the same way as a ventriloquist named Ingles had such a deformed sibling which he disguised as "The Ventriloquist Dummy" in the act. (As seen in 'Tales From The Crypt')

Or, this guy was an alien, probably from the same species as Scrad & Charlie from the second "Men In Black" movie. As that franchise only has a tentative connection to the Toobworld Dynamic, we can't make that claim official... yet. But he could be allied with the aliens who control




"Roots: The Gift"

LeVar Burton (as young Kunta Kinte)
John Amos (as the older Kunta, now Toby Reynolds)

Alex Haley

Earth Prime-Time

From Wikipedia:
"Roots: The Saga of an American Family" is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976. It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold into slavery in the United States, and follows his life and the lives of his descendants in the U.S. down to Haley. 

The release of the novel, combined with its hugely popular television adaptation, 'Roots' (1977), led to a cultural sensation in the United States. The novel spent 46 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List, including 22 weeks in that list's top spot. The last seven chapters of the novel were later adapted in the form of a second miniseries, 'Roots: The Next Generations', in 1979.

Brought up on the stories of his elderly female relatives—including his Grandmother Cynthia, whose father was emancipated from slavery in 1865—Alex Haley purported to have traced his family history back to "the African," Kunta Kinte, captured by members of a contentious tribe and sold to slave traders in 1767. For generations, each of Kunta's enslaved descendants passed down an oral history of Kunta's experiences as a free man in Gambia, along with the African words he taught them. 

Haley researched African village customs, slave-trading and the history of African Americans in America—including a visit to the griot (oral historian) of his ancestor's African village. He created a colorful and fictional history of his family from the mid-eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, which led him back to his heartland of Africa.

Kunta Kinte (also known as Toby Reynolds) is the central character of the novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family" by American author Alex Haley, and of the television miniseries 'Roots', based on the book. Haley described his book as faction - a mixture of fact and fiction.

Haley's novel begins with Kunta's birth in the village of Juffure in The Gambia, West Africa in 1750. Kunta is the first of four sons of the Mandinka tribesman Omoro and his wife Binta Kebba. Haley describes Kunta's strict Muslim upbringing, the rigors of the manhood training he undergoes, and the proud origins of the Kinte name.

One day in 1767, when young Kunta Kinte leaves his village to search for wood to make a drum, four men surround him and take him captive. Kunta awakens to find himself blindfolded, gagged, bound and prisoner of the white men. Haley describes how they humiliate him by stripping him naked, probing him in every orifice, and branding him with a hot iron. He and others are put on a slave ship for the three-month voyage from Africa.

Kunta survives the trip to Maryland and is sold to a Virginia plantation owner, Master Waller-, who renames him "Toby". He rejects the name imposed by his owners, and refuses to speak to others.

After being apprehended during the last of his four escape attempts, the slave catchers give him a choice: he can be castrated or have his right foot cut off. He chooses to have his foot cut off, and the slave catchers cut off the front half of his right foot. As the years pass, Kunta resigns himself to his fate, and also becomes more open and sociable with his fellow slaves, while never forgetting who he was or where he came from.

Following the success of the original novel and the miniseries, Haley was sued by author Harold Courlander, who asserted that Roots was plagiarized from his own novel "The African", published nine years prior to Roots in 1967. The resulting trial ended with an out-of-court settlement and Haley's admission that some passages within "Roots" had been copied from Courlander's work. Separately, researchers refuted Haley's claims that, as the basis for "Roots", he had successfully traced his own ancestry back through slavery to a specific individual and village in Africa.

It is because of such questions that I'm considering Kunta Kinte as fictionalized rather than as an historical character.

From the source:
Chapter One

Early in the spring of 1750, in the village of Juffure, four days upriver from the coast of The Gambia, West Africa, a man-child was born to Omoro and Binta Kinte. Forcing forth from Binta's strong young body, he was as black as she was, flecked and slippery with Binta's blood, and he was bawling. The two wrinkled midwives, old Nyo Boto and the baby's Grandmother Yaisa, saw that it was a boy and laughed with joy. According to the forefathers, a boy firstborn presaged the special blessings of Allah not only upon the parents but also upon the parents' families; and there was the prideful knowledge that the name of Kinte would thus be both distinguished and perpetuated.

It was the hour before the first crowing of the cocks, and along with Nyo Boto and Grandma Yaisa's chatterings, the first sound the child heard was the muted, rhythmic bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp of wooden pestles as the other women of the village pounded couscous grain in their mortars, preparing the traditional breakfast of porridge that was cooked in earthen pots over a fire built among three rocks.

The thin blue smoke went curling up pungent and pleasant, over the small dusty village of round mud huts as the nasal wailing of Kajali Demba, the village alimamo, began, calling men to the first of the five daily prayers that had been offered up to Allah for as long as anyone living could remember Hastening from their beds of bamboo cane and cured hides into their rough cotton tunics, the men of the village filed briskly to the praying place, where the alimamo led the worship: "Allahu Akbar! Ashadu an lailahailala!" (God is great! I bear witness that there is only one God!) It was after this, as the men were returning toward their home compounds for breakfast, that Omoro rushed among them, beaming and excited, to tell them of his firstborn son. Congratulating him, all of the men echoed the omens of good fortune.

Each man, back in his own hut, accepted a calabash of porridge from his wife. Returning to their kitchens in the rear of the compound, the wives fed next their children, and finally themselves. When they had finished eating, the men took up their short, bent-handled hoes, whose wooden blades had been sheathed with metal by the village blacksmith, and set off for their day's work of preparing the land for farming of the groundnuts and the couscous and cotton that were the primary men's crops, as rice was that of the women, in this hot, lush savanna country of The Gambia.

By ancient custom, for the next seven days, there was but a single task with which Omoro would seriously occupy himself: the selection of a name for his firstborn son. It would have to be a name rich with history and with promise, for the people of his tribe--the Mandinkas--believed that a child would develop seven of the characteristics of whomever or whatever he was named for.

On behalf of himself and Binta, during this week of thinking, Omoro visited every household in Juffure, and invited each family to the naming ceremony of the newborn child, traditionally on the eighth day of his life. On that day, like his father and his father's father, this new son would become a member of the tribe.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


We're down to the last two days of Black History Month - one day longer than in most years. And because the ASOTV showcase was about literary TV characters, it was easier than finding the historical figures of years past when it came to the "Black Friday" editions. (Even with the week of 'Wishbone' characters, we tied into a legend from African folklore.)

Just to tally up the Black ASOTV list:
The Fairy Godmother
Dr. Oliver Jones
Jim (two recastaways)
and Tomorrow's finale......

Because today's entry is the escaped slave Jim (from Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn"), I thought today would be perfect for sharing this museum piece.....

It looks like the earliest TV adaptation of the greatest American novel ever written is from 1953 as an episode of 'Excursion' starring Burgess Meredith, Eddie Albert, Clifford Tatum Jr., and Sugar Ray Robinson as Jim. (It was basically just a dramatization of the scenes with the King and the Duke, but as much of life within Toobworld occurs off-screen, this is accepted as the official version.)

And that's a good thing, because there's no way that I could allow this 1955 version to be accepted as the official entry for Earth Prime-Time.

Watch it. I think you'll guess early on why it has to be excluded. (Due to today's theme, I think you'll figure out easily who's missing.....)

Imagine that! To have the audacity to remove completely one of the two most integral characters from the novel!

There's been a hue and cry in recent years about removing the "N" word from future editions of the tale. Apparently, there are published versions out there that replace it with the word "slave" and even with the word "robot"! (An early prototype of "Boilerplate", perhaps?)

Turning Jim into the the precursor of James Baldwin's "The Invisible Man" won't fly for the main Toobworld; it's unacceptable.

But there is a TV dimension where this adaptation could be an integral part.

Earth Prime-Time Ebony.
(It's a name in progress. I may just stick with Black Toobworld. It's got a 70's Marvel Comics feel to it. But I'm open to suggestions.....)

This may seem strange, since the Black Toobworld is populated by classic TV characters who are blacks in this dimension - 'Kojak', 'Barefoot In The Park', 'The New Odd Couple'.... Even theatrical films have been absorbed into this dimension - "The Honeymooners", "The Wild, Wild West", and "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy".

So why would a black TV dimension want to have a production of "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn" which cut out the greatest black literary character of all time?

The answer would lie in how the Black Toobworld came to be.....

This past weekend, I offered up a couple of video examples of the character 'Karen Sisco' as seen in the French and Spanish TV dimensions. The raison d'etre for those two dimensions stem from alterations to historical events which would have given each nation a dominance over the world in its timeline. For the Spaniards, it would have been a victory for the Spanish Armada. For the French, a triumph for Napoleon over Wellington at Waterloo. (And both events could have been triggered by the Meddling Monk from 'Doctor Who'.)

With Black Toobworld, the splainin could be that slavery was never introduced into that TV dimension. So there would have been no Jim in the story about Huckleberry Finn. For that matter, there would have been no 'Roots' franchise! And the Civil War would have had to hinge on something else besides the emancipation of the slaves.

So without slavery in their historical background, the citizens of Black Toobworld had a better chance becoming more prominent in America because they came to this country of their own free will.

I think the theory is valid, so I'm sticking to it. It's not like Jim was wiped out of existence by stepping into a machine like Peter Bishop did on 'Fringe'!



Pete Matheson had been the business partner of Congressman Delancey from New York City. One of their shadier deals was in danger of being exposed, so Matheson ordered a professional hit on Delancey. That way he could blame the Congressman and claim that he had no knowledge of it, and Delancey wouldn't be able to refute him.

The kiling was made to look like an assassination by a disgruntled man out of work (for which Delancey was responsible.) And it would have worked had it not been for the meddlesome Mr. Finch and Mr. Reese. Thanks to the all-seeing machine created by Finch, they quickly determined that Pete Matheson was their new 'Person Of Interest'.

The eventual arrest of Pete Matheson must have been a big disappointment to his father, O'Bviously. And it's at this time that Toobworld Central is going to make the claim that Pete Matheson was the son of Senator Richard Matheson (as seen in several episodes of 'The X-Files'.)

In fact, it was probably through his father that Pete Matheson first met Congressman Delancey.....