Saturday, March 17, 2012


And finally....



For the weekly offering of a 'Doctor Who' video, here's a behind-the-scenes look at two of the first actors to play the role.....


Here's another video geared towards an ASOTV showcase from earlier this week:


I know I always say that TV should be a teaching tool, but parents? Please don't let your kids learn how to read English from this clip:

CBS NEWS 13: 1999!

A CBS affiliate wanted to use the 'Space: 1999' theme music for their new promo campaign. I don't think it ever got used, but it did give us a great mash-up:


For no other reason than I love the character of Mary Richards.....


Earlier this week, 'Daniel Deronda' was our featured "ASOTV" showcase. Here's a video of the lad from the TV production:


Since March Madness has just begun....


Lewis Carroll


Geoff Redknap (body)
Jason Schombring (voice)

Wonderland, updated


From the source:
"The March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won't be raving mad -- at least not so mad as it was in March."

From Wikipedia:
Haigha, the March Hare is a character most famous for appearing in the tea party scene in Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland".

"Mad as a March hare" is a common British English phrase, both now and in Carroll's time, and appears in John Heywood's collection of proverbs published in 1546. It is reported in "The Annotated Alice" by Martin Gardner that this proverb is based on popular belief about hares' behavior at the beginning of the long breeding season, which lasts from February to September in Britain. Early in the season, unreceptive females often use their forelegs to repel overenthusiastic males. It used to be incorrectly believed that these bouts were between males fighting for breeding supremacy.

Like the character's friend, the Hatter, the March Hare feels compelled to always behave as though it is tea-time because the Hatter supposedly "murdered the time" whilst singing for the Queen of Hearts. Sir John Tenniel's illustration also shows him with straw on his head, a common way to depict madness in Victorian times. The March Hare later appears at the trial for the Knave of Hearts, and for a final time as "Haigha" (which Carroll tells us is pronounced to rhyme with "mayor"), the personal messenger to the White King in "Through the Looking-Glass".


In SyFy's TV Miniseries 'Alice', the March Hare is represented by the character Mad March. Mad March is a dead assassin re-animated by the Carpenter into a cyborg. Because Mad March’s head was missing, the Carpenter fitted him with a giant porcelain head of a rabbit. He speaks in a Brooklyn accent and sounds kind of robotic. According to the Hatter he has "a nose for blood" and is able to track targets by scent, following Alice and Hatter into Jaberwoki land and finding Alice with ease. After being tortured by Mad March, the Mad Hatter kills Mad March by punching his robotic head.


Friday, March 16, 2012


Last November I wrote
a series of articles about Redjac and of all the TV characters it inhabited before it first showed up officially in 'Star Trek'. It was a lot of fun to do and I especially enjoyed doing the research. But as usual with my work ethic, it was far from complete.

I've got another candidate to be a host for Redjac and it fits easily into the Toobworld timeline. And it's all thanks to Robert Bloch, who first gave us Redjac and has long been fascinated by the legend of Jack the Ripper.

And what better place to find this version of Redjac than in an episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'?


Bloch wrote "The Big Kick", about a girl in the Beatnik scene as it was dying down in New York City, and about the "square" who was interested in her.

As it turned out, "Kenny" (if that was his real name) may have been a square, but he was hardly clean cut. ("Cut" being a key word.) He framed Judy Baker's boyfriend Mitch for a jewelry heist, which she thought was Kenny's attempt to get her for himself.

Only thing was, he wasn't interested in her sexually as she thought. Kenny had a different "kick" in mind for Judy.....

"See my pretty knife?"
 On the Toobworld timeline for Redjac, Kenny could be squeezed in between "The Creeper" (also from 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents') and Dr. John Carmody (from 'Thriller' and another Bloch tale - "Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper".)


There is no connection between Kenny and Trapper John McIntyre of 'M*A*S*H', even though both are played by Wayne Rogers. Unless of course we consider Trap to be Kenny's older brother and that "McIntyre" is Kenny's last name. Even though 'M*A*S*H' was broadcast later than this 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' episode, it took place years earlier in the Toobworld timeline. So Trapper John couldn't be using "Kenny" as an alias, because he looked far older back in Korea. (And would look completely different once he aged some more, as seen in the series 'Trapper John'.)


There's one last Super Bowl commercial I wanted to address, but I needed to do my research first on a TV show with which I had little knowledge. And those who know me understand I do as little research as possible, so I may be off on this theory....

First, here's the blipvert (and its prequel):

In general, I use these ads to make a connection to some TV show. But thanks to the idiot blood-sucker who showed up in the Audi with those sun-bright headlights, the vampires were wiped out before they could prove the connection I had in mind:

But that's a good thing, since now my suggestion can't be disproven....

Those vampires were partying outside the city limits of Portland, Oregon - a traditional celebration before battle.

And who were they going to battle? A pack of werewolves.

Everybody knows vampires and werewolves are natural enemies. It's an enmity that has been chronicled in movies like the "Twilight" and "Underground" franchises; but more importantly is the role it plays in the TV Universe - as seen in 'True Blood' and the two 'Being Human' incarnations being the chief examples.

And as this was just outside Portland, Oregon, there would have been a specific subset of werewolves they were after - the Blutbaden.

From Wikipedia:
Blutbaden (BLOOT-baad-in) are wolf-like wesen with a keen sense of smell and great strength. The Blutbaden are very violent when in packs and are provoked by the color red. Their sense of smell can be weakened by the herb wolfsbane and they are vulnerable to attacks to their lower back. Variants include the Wider Blutbad, a reformed Blutbad who abstains from the killing of humans through a regimen of diet, drugs, and exercise. They are the mythological basis for Big Bad Wolf. Blutbad literally means "bloodbath" in German.

Stuck in the middle of such a battle would have been the local "Grimm" - a wesen hunter named Nick Burkhardt and his CI, a blutbaden named Monroe.

So luckily it was all moot because of that Audi.

Eventually the remnants of those vampires' belongings - some clothes, the guitar, that Audi - would have been discovered in the woods, and may have been brought to the attention of Nick and his partner on the police force, Hank. Since this is a theory that would not be sanctioned by the powers that be suits at the network, then we have to assume Nick and his Wider Blutbad "sidekick" Monroe would have investigated what happened off-screen.

And should such a 2012 Audi with LED headlights be seen in any episode of 'Grimm' broadcast after the Super Bowl telecast, we could claim that it was the same one from the blipvert (probably found by a hiker. You can never trust those hikers, says the brother of an ALDHA enthusiast......)



We started out the work week with Gormenghast Castle, so I figured I may as well finish it with one of the castle's "residents"


Mervyn Peake


Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

Earth Prime-Time
(But probably off-world - Mondas)

Humanoid Alien

From Wikipedia:
Steerpike is a character in Mervyn Peake's novels "Titus Groan" and "Gormenghast".

In 2000 Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers portrayed Steerpike in the BBC miniseries 'Gormenghast'.

Steerpike might be called the antagonist of the "Gormenghast Series", but in truth he is more of an anti-hero; the first book for example is largely focused on him, only covering the first year of the titular hero Titus's life. Steerpike could also be considered an archetypal Machiavellian schemer: a highly intelligent, ruthless character willing to justify any and all means to reach his end.

From the source:
If ever he had harboured a conscience in his tough narrow breast he had by now dug out and flung away the awkward thing - flung it so far away that were he ever to need it again he could never find it. High-shouldered to a degree little short of malformation, slender and adroit of limb and frame, his eyes close-set and the colour of dried blood, he is climbing the spiral staircase of the soul of Gormenghast, bound for some pinnacle of the itching fancy - some wild, invulnerable eyrie best known to himself; where he can watch the world spread out below him, and shake exultantly his clotted wingsAnd his appearance, as described in Titus Groan:

Limb by limb, it appeared that he was sound enough, but the sum of these several members accrued to an unexpectedly twisted total. His face was pale like clay and save for his eyes, mask-like. These eyes were set very close together, and were small, dark red, and of startling concentrationSteerpike's red eyes and pallor, frequently referred to in the text, suggest that he is an albino. However this is never stated explicitly and he certainly does not suffer from the poor sight typical of the condition.


Thursday, March 15, 2012


I guess it's a bit of serendipiteevee that one of my co-workers (Anthony!) asked me last night if I ever link movies to the TV Universe. After all, in my enthusiasm for the movie "John Carter", I wanted to just abscond with the whole movie out of the Cineverse and keep it prisoner in Toobworld. But I got better....

Anyhoo, the reason he asked was because he had been watching the Rock Hudson-Doris Day rom-com "Lover Come Back". And Tony Randall's character, Pete Ramsey, kept saying that he had to see his doctor, Dr. Melnick.

"Wasn't there a Dr. Melnick in 'The Odd Couple'?" he asked me. "Couldn't you connect them somehow?"

Something like that is always tempting, of course, but there were too many O'Bstacles. In the movie, Dr. Melnick was played by Richard Deacon, most famous as Mel Cooley on 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'. On the sitcom version of Neil Simon's play, it was Bill Quinn who portrayed Dr. Melnick. ("Felix, in the world of ulcers, you're what's known as a carrier!")

If there's somebody out there who has no problem with mixing movies and TV shows on a general basis, I suppose this argument could be made. The two Dr. Melnicks could have been related - perhaps as brothers. (There were only nine years separating Bill Quinn from Richard Deacon, and that same span should apply to the characters they played.)

What makes it especially tempting is the fact that both actors were bald - as if that genetic marker was a guar-auhn-tee for this theory of relateeveety.

But if I did want to find a way to link characters played by Quinn and Deacon together, I'd stick with their TV roles - like maybe Mr. Van Rensselaer, who used to frequent 'Archie Bunker's Place', was a cousin or uncle to Mel Cooley and his identical cousin Fred Rutherford.....?

By the way - here's a picture of my buddy Anthony with another pal, Scully... and a rather odd couple of guys they happened to meet.....



Poor old Ted Buckland.......

You'd have to feel sorry for the lawyer representing Sacred Heart Hospital... if you weren't too busy laughing at him.

In the 'Cougar Town' episode "A One-Story Town", Ted was passing through Gulfhaven with his a cappella homies, on their way to an audition with Disney. And while crashing at Jules' house (since they met last season in Hawaii), Ted suddenly had an attack of "deja view"......

It certainly dramatized a question that has plagued televisiologists over the decades - how come TV characters don't recognize when other characters look exactly like people they've met before?

Actors were always being re-used on TV shows, sometimes several times over in the same season. Back in the early days, the producers probably didn't pay much attention to such a detail. (The same with trivial details and script continuity.) At the time they had no conception of the future in DVDs and syndicated reruns.

But it could make you question the eyesight of 'The Rifleman' - how could Lucas McCain be so blind not to notice how so many visitors to North Fork looked like Dabbs Greer or Royal Dano or John Anderson?

And why didn't 'Columbo' ever notice that a good percentage of his murder suspects looked like Robert Culp, Jack Cassidy and Patrick McGoohan? And that's not even taking into account all those characters who looked like Vito Scotti or my buddy John Finnegan!

And yet they don't notice such things overall. So when a character like Ted Buckland comes along who can see the resemblances, it must be due to them having a touch of tele-cognizance - the knowledge, sometimes only a sub-conscious level, that the world they live in is being televised.........




George Eliot

'Daniel Deronda'

Hugh Dancy

Land of Remakes

Multiversal Recastaway

From Wikipedia:
"Daniel Deronda" is a novel by George Eliot, first published in 1876. It was the last novel she completed and the only one set in the contemporary Victorian society of her day. Its mixture of social satire and moral searching, along with a sympathetic rendering of Jewish proto-Zionist and Kaballistic ideas has made it a controversial final statement of one of the greatest of Victorian novelists.

The novel has been filmed three times, once as a silent feature and twice for television.

The ward of the wealthy Sir Hugo Mallinger and hero of the novel, Deronda has a tendency to help others at a cost to himself. At the start of the novel, he has failed to win a scholarship at Cambridge because of his focus on helping a friend, has been travelling abroad, and has just started studying law. He often wonders about his birth and whether or not he is a gentleman. As he moves more and more among the world-within-a-world of the Jews of the novel he begins to identify with their cause in direct proportion to the unfolding revelations of his ancestry. Eliot used the story of Moses as part of her inspiration for Deronda. As Moses was a Jew brought up as an Egyptian who ultimately led his people to the Promised Land, so Deronda is a Jew brought up as an Englishman who ends the novel with a plan to do the same. Deronda's name presumably indicates that his ancestors lived in the Spanish city of Ronda, prior to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

From the source:
Deronda's first thought when his eyes fell on this scene of dull, gas- poisoned absorption, was that the gambling of Spanish shepherd-boys had seemed to him more enviable:--so far Rousseau might be justified in maintaining that art and science had done a poor service to mankind. But suddenly he felt the moment become dramatic. His attention was arrested by a young lady who, standing at an angle not far from him, was the last to whom his eyes traveled. She was bending and speaking English to a middle- aged lady seated at play beside her: but the next instant she returned to her play, and showed the full height of a graceful figure, with a face which might possibly be looked at without admiration, but could hardly be passed with indifference.
"Mr. Vandernoodt, you know everybody," said Gwendolen, not too eagerly, rather with a certain languor of utterance which she sometimes gave to her clear soprano. "Who is that near the door?"

"There are half a dozen near the door. Do you mean that old Adonis in the George the Fourth wig?"

"No, no; the dark-haired young man on the right with the dreadful expression."

"Dreadful, do you call it? I think he is an uncommonly fine fellow."

"But who is he?"

"He is lately come to our hotel with Sir Hugo Mallinger."

"Sir Hugo Mallinger?"

"Yes. Do you know him?"

"No." (Gwendolen colored slightly.) "He has a place near us, but he never comes to it. What did you say was the name of that gentleman near the door?"

"Deronda--Mr. Deronda."

"What a delightful name! Is he an Englishman?"

"Yes. He is reported to be rather closely related to the baronet. You are interested in him?"

"Yes. I think he is not like young men in general."

"And you don't admire young men in general?"

"Not in the least. I always know what they will say. I can't at all guess what this Mr. Deronda would say. What _does_ he say?"

"Nothing, chiefly. I sat with his party for a good hour last night on the terrace, and he never spoke--and was not smoking either. He looked bored."

"Another reason why I should like to know him. I am always bored."

"I should think he would be charmed to have an introduction. Shall I bring it about? Will you allow it, baroness?"

"Why not?--since he is related to Sir Hugo Mallinger. It is a new _role_ of yours, Gwendolen, to be always bored," continued Madame von Langen, when Mr. Vandernoodt had moved away. "Until now you have always seemed eager about something from morning till night."

"That is just because I am bored to death. If I am to leave off play I must break my arm or my collar-bone. I must make something happen; unless you will go into Switzerland and take me up the Matterhorn."

"Perhaps this Mr. Deronda's acquaintance will do instead of the Matterhorn."



Wednesday, March 14, 2012


"Ah, yes, these modern infidels appeal to their reason; 
 but who can look at those millions of worlds 
 and not feel that there may well be wonderful universes above us 
 where reason is utterly unreasonable?" 
Father Brown


In the past when Toobworld Central has claimed a movie in the "Cineverse" to be absorbed into the TV Universe, there was at least the basis for that claim. Most of the time, the movie in question had its genesis in Earth Prime-Time.

Let's utilize one of our usual examples, shall we? The 'Star Trek' franchise - movies 1 through 11 (and the first ten minutes of the JJ Abrams reboot) - all have the characters (and the actors who played them) from the various TV series - the original series, 'The Next Generation', and even a cameo by the Doctor from 'Voyager'.

Of course, once it created a new timeline, it belonged fully to the Cineverse.

Plus there's the 1966 "Batman", "Maverick", the "McHale's Navy" movies (like it or not)......
So at least they had strong roots in Toobworld.

Every year I've picked a character from some other fictional universe whom I think should be transferred into the TV Universe. In the past there was Silver John from the Manly Wade Wellman novels, Zatanna from DC Comics, last year's suggestion of Boiler Plate from the graphic novel, and the George MacDonald Fraser version of Harry Flashman. (His original source material - "Tom Brown's School Days" - has already been adapted for TV.) Of those, only Zatanna has since crossed over into the TV dimension of 'Smallville' (and 'The West Wing'.....)

This year, my candidate of a character to found in another medium's universe is John Carter of Mars, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is not only a nod to the movie which opened this past weekend, but to the original stories which will be celebrating their centennial this year. (After all, I'm using the ASOTV showcase all year to promote literary TV characters.)

The incredible look to the movie - especially the well-articulated Thark race - might be difficult to recreate on a TV budget. But then again, miracles were worked down under in New Zealand when it came to the demons, monsters, and demi-gods to be seen in 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Xena, Warrior Princess'.

And it wouldn't be like they'd need the entire Thark nation on the TV screen - perhaps just one emissary to serve as a "side-kick" to John Carter. (I would suggest Sola, the rebellious daughter of the Thark Jeddak.) Otherwise, the TV series would be centered around the Red Men as supporting players with the city of Helium as the base of operations.

As for recasting the leads of John Carter and Princess Dejah Thoris? The soap operas - what's left of them - are full of Kitsch-like (Kitschian? Kitschy?) young hunk-studs and and voluptuous loverlies like Lynn Collins ready to be launched into a prime-time series. (It's not like Kitsch and Collins would be willing to recreate their roles. I'm sure they've got other movie projects already lined up, even though the opening weekend for "John Carter" might put a damper on any more.....)

But now, here's the thing.....

I want to steal the entire movie outright, as is, and claim it for Toobworld!

I have no delusions that my wish-craft for a "John Carter" TV remake will ever be produced. (I would call it "Barsoom!") But I still think John Carter would be a great TV character - especially as it had that Wild West in Outer Space vibe going for it.

So until such time - if any! - comes along when there is a TV show about Edgar Rice Burroughs' second best-known character, I want to claim "John Carter" as part of Toobworld.

I think it would work. Nothing from the Old West and 1880's New York sequences contradict anything established in Earth Prime-Time previously. No historical figures or events even played a role in it - save for mention of Carter's past in the Confederate army during the Civil War. (And we'll get back to that.)

As for the depiction of Barsoom, that does conflict with the established Toobworld vision of the Red Planet. Because of 'My Favorite Martian' and the Roddy McDowell episode from 'The Twilight Zone' plus Barry Morse and Carroll O'Connor on 'Outer Limits', we know what the inhabitants are like.

As for the Martians from an episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', the three-armed Martian from 'The Twilight Zone', as well as the Ice Warriors and the "Waters Of Mars" microbe species from 'Doctor Who', they're just alien invaders who used Mars as their launching pad to attack Earth. (And the same goes for the Martians of "War Of The Worlds".)

But the movie gives us an out. When John Carter is magically transported to Mars via that Thirn amulet, he ended up on the Mars of an alternate universe, where it was known as "Barsoom". So he would begin in Earth Prime-Time during the Wild Wild West years, but then go to another TV dimension. (Much like what happened in the 'Heroes' and 'Stargate SG-1' series.)
It would be a stand-alone in the TV universe with nothing else to ground it like the 'Star Trek' franchise had. Not even just one character as with the "Maverick" movie. And since it takes place on another planet not even in the main TV universe, there's no threat of Zonking the future of Toobworld.

The closest I could come with a possible link to justify the "theft" was John Carter's background during the Civil War. And I will freely admit it's the most tenuous of links......

Carter fought at the Battle of Five Forks. That looked like certain victory for Johnny Reb until the last moment when the Union forces were able to turn the tide and claim the day.

It's the Toobworld theory that the reason the Union was able to win that battle was due to young soldier Wilton Parmenter who sneezed and abrupty ceased defeat and reversed it to victory.

Say, that would make a great theme song!

Hey, I said the connection would be flimsy.

So like I said, this is all just wish-craft on my part. But it doesn't hurt to dream......

Since I wrote all of that on Tuesday morning, I've got it out of my system. "John Carter" will stay where it is, in the Cineverse. But it will remain the ideal by which I hope one day a TV series based on the Barsoom stories will be judged.




G.K. Chesterton

'Father Brown'

Kenneth More

Earth Prime-Time
(Despite not being the first portrayal on television.)

Multiversal Recastaway

From Wikipedia:
Father Brown is a fictional character created by English novelist G. K. Chesterton, who stars in 52 short stories, later compiled in five books. Chesterton based the character on Father John O'Connor (1870–1952), a parish priest in Bradford who was involved in Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism in 1922. The relationship was recorded by O'Connor in his 1937 book "Father Brown on Chesterton".

Father Brown is a short, stumpy Catholic priest, "formerly of Cobhole in Essex, and now working in London," with shapeless clothes and a large umbrella, and uncanny insight into human evil.

He makes his first appearance in the story "The Blue Cross" and continues through the five volumes of short stories, often assisted by the reformed criminal M.Hercule Flambeau. Father Brown also appears in a story "The Donnington Affair" that has a rather curious history. In the October 1914 issue of the obscure magazine "The Premier", Sir Max Pemberton published the first part of the story, inviting a number of detective story writers, including Chesterton, to use their talents to solve the mystery of the murder described. Chesterton and Father Brown's solution followed in the November issue. The story was first reprinted in the "Chesterton Review" (Winter 1981, pp. 1–35) and in the book "Thirteen Detectives".

Unlike the more famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown's methods tend to be intuitive rather than deductive. He explains his method in 'The Secret of Father Brown':

"You see, I had murdered them all myself.... I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully. I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like the murderer myself, of course I knew who he was."

Father Brown's abilities are also considerably shaped by his experience as a priest and confessor. In "The Blue Cross", when asked by Flambeau, who has been masquerading as a priest, how he knew of all sorts of criminal "horrors," he responds: "Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men's real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil?" He also states a reason why he knew Flambeau was not a priest: "You attacked reason. It's bad theology." And indeed, the stories normally contain a rational explanation of who the murderer was and how Brown worked it out.

Father Brown always emphasises rationality: some stories, such as "The Miracle of Moon Crescent", "The Oracle of the Dog", "The Blast of the Book" and "The Dagger With Wings", poke fun at initially skeptical characters who become convinced of a supernatural explanation for some strange occurrence, while Father Brown easily sees the perfectly ordinary, natural explanation. In fact, he seems to represent an ideal of a devout, yet considerably educated and "civilised" clergyman. This can be traced to the influence of neo-scholastic thought on Chesterton.

Father Brown is characteristically humble, and is usually rather quiet; when he does talk, he almost always says something profound. Although he tends to handle crimes with a steady, realistic approach, he believes in the supernatural as the greatest reason of all.

From the source:
Among the black and breaking groups in that distance was one especially black which did not break--a group of two figures clerically clad. Though they seemed as small as insects, Valentin could see that one of them was much smaller than the other. Though the other had a student's stoop and an inconspicuous manner, he could see that the man was well over six feet high. He shut his teeth and went forward, whirling his stick impatiently. By the time he had substantially diminished the distance and magnified the two black figures as in a vast microscope, he had perceived something else; something which startled him, and yet which he had somehow expected. Whoever was the tall priest, there could be no doubt about the identity of the short one. It was his friend of the Harwich train, the stumpy little cure of Essex whom he had warned about his brown paper parcels.

I chose Father Brown for today because I watched "The Detective" the day before. This 1954 movie starred Alec Guinness as the crime-solving cleric with Peter Finch and the loverly Joan Greenwood who had the sexiest voice I have ever heard.

It made for an interesting follow-up to having seen "John Carter" in the theater, since both characters can be found in the Wold Newton Universe, one of the inspirations for the Toobworld Dynamic.

Kenneth More's portrayal was the second time Father Brown showed up in an English production. But Mervyn Johns played the role in a single episode of a TV series ('Detective') while More provided a full series. That tips the scales in his favor, against the usual rules of Toobworld Central.

There was a German productions of Chesterton's stories, but we can stick that into the German-influenced TV dimension.

And then there was a pilot movie broadcast with Barnard Hughes as an American Father Brown in a modern setting which wasn't received favorably enough to become a series. This can remain in Earth Prime-Time because there were enough changes made to differentiate his character from that of the one played by More.

Every so often, I like to dedicate the ASOTV showcase to one of my friends.  Today's entry is going out to Father Robert Tucker of Litchfield, Connecticut, who once spared a quarter for an old altar boy.....


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


On Monday, I was ambushed by Ivan Shreve of "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" (Link to the left, Academy members) with the 7x7 Award. And by "ambushed" I just mean that I was surprised by the honorific. I really am delighted to receive it.

Of course it came with conditions. These awards always do! (Why is it that it's only in the blogosphere that they make you work for your award?)

Tell everyone something that no one else knows about.
There's always some small secret in everybody's life, not just mine, that may not be general knowledge, but there's somebody somewhere who knows it. I'm kind of like "Zelig" in that I have a different persona for whichever group I'm currently hanging out with; it's been like that since high school, when I could easily gravitate out of the circle of nerds to hang with the jocks.

So I don't think there's any one thing that no one else knows about me, not even my fascination for Little People (the men as actors, the women for other reasons) - and now everybody knows that one, not just my co-workers!

Gee. In declining to answer, I've probably answered. How does that happen? LOL

"I’m supposed to talk about some of the past posts here at the blog that fit into seven different categories." That's according to Ivan, and I suppose it was part of the original mandate for this award.

And like Ivan, I'm mainly going to focus on certain regular features of the blog rather than individual posts, because I think the case can be better made in each category when I look at the subject as a whole.

Most Beautiful Piece:
The yearly "Hat Squad" memorial - It never fails to anger me when I see those memorial tributes on awards shows and in magazines and newspaper articles at year's end which salute those in show business who left this world in the previous year. Invariably, they always leave out somebody who deserved the accolade. (This year's glaring omission at the Oscars? Harry Morgan. Don't get me started!)

I used to do detailed tips of the hat (ergo "The Hat Squad") to each individual contributor to the TV Universe, but I surprised even myself when I suddenly developed something akin to a life and I no longer had time to do those. (Well, except for a few who meant a lot to me - Patrick McGoohan, of course, and most recently, Davy Jones.) Instead I just did the best I could in catching the obituaries for those with TV connections - even from all over the world - no matter how slight so that I could have a much more complete list by the end of the year.

So maybe these "Hat Squad" posts are more functional than beautiful, but it's nice to know these people will be remembered. And isn't that a beautiful thing?

It's the least they deserve for all the joy they have brought into our homes......

Most Helpful Piece:
That would be "Anniversary Schmaltz", in which I gave a short description of the various tags to the televisiological pieces I write. Just in case there are Toobworld terms which new visitors don't understand. (I tend to make up words, my own Toobspeak.) I probably should look into making this a permanent link in the sidebar....

Most Popular Piece:
The "Who's On First?" yearly 24 hour marathon.  (It's held on New Year's Day.  It's all about 'Doctor Who'.  Who's On First - get it?

I'd say this was a given, considering how many "Whovians" are out there in "E-Space". And best of all, it's so easy to put together! Because of the nature of the show - covering so much territory in time and space and utilizing every genre known to Toob, the source of inspiration is inexhaustible. (On the other hand, my one time only 24 hour marathon for 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' was a killer!)

Most Controversial Piece:

I'll have to cheat and go back to the days before the Inner Toob blog, back to the antedeluvian days of yore at "The Tubeworld Dynamic". That was the blog I ran about this same topic, only changing it on a monthly basis. (It's just as well AOL screwed me over and disabled the easy-to-use AOLPress function so that it was impossible to do the site anymore. A blog is much better in handling all of the new televisiogy tidbits that come out every day.)

Not long after the attack on the World Trade Center, I posted a "splainin" as to why the Twin Towers had to fall in Toobworld as well, and why the "televersion" of Superman couldn't save the buildings or the people. (He was already dead.) If I'm not mistaken, I also posited a few TV characters who might have been in the buildings, as a reason why we never see them in their old shows anymore.

I got a few responses that it was in poor taste and that no one should ever use the 9/11 attacks for entertainment value. (One person wrote to the NY Daily News and demanded that no one ever use the tragedy in a movie.)

Since then, we've seen it used as the backdrop for movies and for TV shows which have all added to the victims list in much the same way as happened with depictions of the Titanic tragedy.

Most Surprisingly Successful Piece:
I hate to talk about this so close to the First of April, because that would mean readers might not be caught unawares, but every year I enjoy putting together the April Fool's post. Oftentimes, there are a couple of posts - one big and flashy which takes away notice from the smaller, subtler piece. Hopefully.

Two years ago I may have posted my crowning achievement when it comes to April Fool's Day. I wrote up a very detailed history of 'The Frank Morgan Show' which lasted only for a few episodes (due to the death of the star.) It contained a description of the premise, as well as pictures from the series, plus an episode guide, info about the co-stars and their characters, guest stars, the works. As you probably figured out - no such show existed.

The next day I received an email from the archive historian of the Screen Actors Guild, wanting more information about this series (of which no prints survived, that helped the illusion.) Apparently she had been doing research via Google on the actor after interviewing Gloria Stuart for the archives and my post was quite near the top.

In a follow-up email, after I confessed the ruse, she said that she had a feeling that it had been an April Fool's gag considering the date it was posted. And that I made one "fatal" mistake - one of the pictures I used was of Frank's brother Ralph. I would have preferred perfection (say that ten times fast!), but I also knew it would probably slip past a lot of other readers. (But not you, of course!)  I just re-read the piece and I see a few other mistakes I made.  But still and all, I am proud of it.

Most Underrated Piece:
The As Seen On TV Showcase & The Toobworld Tiddlywinkydinks
I no longer do the Daily Tiddlywinkydinks (or "Twd" as opposed to the TwD which is the Toobworld Dynamic) because looking up historical events and their TV applications was a lot of hard work. I'm not here for hard work. And much of the Daily Twd was covered anyway with the As Seen On TV showcase. That is an examination of historical figures (including celebrities and newsmakers) as played by actors in either TV movies, TV show episodes, or even in commercials.

This year we changed the focus to literary characters as seen on TV, just so I don't run out of historical figures. Let the fields lie fallow as it were......

There's a new one every day, but I never seem to get much feedback on these. I realize commenting on blogs isn't for everybody, but every so often I'd like to know if it's worth it.

Kvetch over.  Don't mind me.....

Most Pride-Worthy Piece:
This was a one time only 24 hour celebration of the greatest sitcom ever, in connection to Ivan's call to arms for the fiftieth anniversary of the show back in October. I've been doing a monthly addition to this oeuvre since then, leading up to this coming October to make it a year long salute. But it's not a show like 'Doctor Who' which lends itself to an all day extravaganza.

There were some clunkers, but it was like the jokes in 'Airplane!' - wait a bit and a better one will come along soon enough.

And speaking of Frank Morgan, I was ready to bust my buttons when I was complimented on these DVDS@50 posts recently with the added suggestion that I should gather them all together for a book. (Minus the clunkers of course!)

So, I guess that's it. I hope you liked that trip down Memory Lane with this inane mammary. (Did you know that the anagram for Toby O'Brien is "Inert Booby"?)

And thanks again to Ivan of "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" for the recognition.....




Charles Dickens

'Oliver Twist'

Melvyn Hayes

From Wikipedia:
Jack Dawkins, better known as the Artful Dodger, is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. Dodger is a pickpocket, so called for his skill and cunning in that respect. As a result he has become the leader of the gang of child criminals, trained by the elderly Fagin. He becomes Oliver's closest friend (although he betrays him when Oliver is mistakenly caught) and he tries to make him a pickpocket, but soon realizes that Oliver won't, and feels sorry for him, saying "What a pity ain't a prig!" He also has a close relationship with Charley Bates. Ultimately the Dodger is caught with a stolen silver snuff box and presumably sent to a penal colony in Australia (only alluded to in the novel). The Dodger chooses to consider himself a "victim of society," roaring in the courtroom "I am an Englishman; where are my rights?" The judge has little patience with the Dodger's posturing, and orders him out of the courtroom immediately after the jury convicts him of the theft.

The Artful Dodger, though a pickpocket, is not a heartless character. He has a great respect for Fagin, to whom he delivers all of the pickpocketing spoils without question.

Hayes was about 27 in this 1962 TV series, and looked older. But it was the first TV production of the Dickens novel, so he stands as its Dodger.

With this next entry, the Dodger is transported to Australia for the penal colony, but he escapes to find new adventures Down Under.  As he was now a recastaway, this Dodger ends up in an alternate TV dimension.....


'The Escape Of The Artful Dodger'

Luke O'Loughlin

From the source:
He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threatened to fall off every moment--and would have done so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old place again. He wore a man's coat, which reached nearly to his heels. He had turned the cuffs back, half-way up his arm, to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimated view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers; for there he kept them. He was, altogether, as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or something less, in the bluchers.

'Hullo, my covey! What's the row?'

The boy who addressed this inquiry to the young wayfarer, was about his own age: but one of the queerest looking boys that Oliver had even seen. He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threatened to fall off every moment—and would have done so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old place again. He wore a man's coat, which reached nearly to his heels. He had turned the cuffs back, half-way up his arm, to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimate view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers; for there he kept them. He was, altogether, as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or something less, in the bluchers.


Monday, March 12, 2012



Mervyn Peake


"It's only a model."

From Wikipedia:
The "Gormenghast" series comprises three novels by Mervyn Peake, featuring Castle Gormenghast, and Titus Groan, the title character of the first book.

The series consists of three novels, "Titus Groan" (1946), "Gormenghast" (1950), and "Titus Alone" (1959). A novella, "Boy in Darkness" (1956), tells the story of a brief adventure by the young Titus away from Gormenghast, although it does not explicitly name the castle.

Peake had intended to write a series of books following "Titus Groan" through his life, as well as detailing his relationship with Gormenghast. At least two other books, tentatively titled "Titus Awakes" and "Gormenghast Revisited", were planned; but Parkinson's disease and Peake's ensuing death at age 57 prevented him from writing down more than a few hundred words and ideas for further volumes. Only three pages of "Titus Awakes" were coherently written, and these appear in the Overlook Press edition of "Titus Alone" (ISBN 0-87951-427-2) and in the omnibus volume (ISBN 0-87951-628-3).

In the 1970s, Peake's widow Maeve Gilmore wrote her version of "Titus Awakes", which she called "Search without End". The Peake family rediscovered this novel at the end of 2009 and it was published by Overlook Press as "Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast". to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Peake's birth.

In 2000, the BBC and the PBS station WGBH of Boston produced a miniseries, titled 'Gormenghast', based on the first two books of the series. The cast included Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Steerpike and Christopher Lee as Mr. Flay.

'Gormenghast' is a four-episode television serial based on the "Gormenghast" series by Mervyn Peake. It was produced and broadcast by the BBC.

First broadcast in early 2000, this BBC serial of the celebrated modernist fantasy by Mervyn Peake was designed for an early evening time-slot in much the same vein as the earlier adaptations of "The Chronicles of Narnia". Although Peake has left numerous drawings concerning his work, the creators preferred a new approach that injected a good deal more colour and humour into what is, on the page, a very dark and exhausted world; a place of shadows, dust, rust and nettles.

The BBC conception was based on the idea that Peake's early life in China had influenced the creation of Gormenghast; thus, the castle in the series resembles the Forbidden City in Beijing as well as the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet. This idea has basic validity, particularly as regards the 'bright carvings' of the wood-working outer dwellers, but purists might consider the entire production rather lighter than the books, which author Anthony Burgess regarded as a great classic of the twentieth century and an allegory of the two World Wars.

I am not yet convinced that this epic belongs in Earth Prime-Time.  And should it remain in the same dimension as the main Toobworld, I'm tempted to place it off-world - on the twin planet of Mondas, along with the series 'Game Of Thrones', 'Beastmaster', and 'The Twilight Zone' episode of "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You"......