Saturday, October 20, 2012


Here's our weekly 'Doctor Who' content - a little something from Skitlandia.....


This has to be a Real World winner in this year's Toobits Awards!


Here's another example of a TV character appearing in an interstitial for ME-TV:

Norm Peterson was already qualified for inclusion in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame with appearances in 'Frasier', 'Wings', and 'Cheers' of course. Plus there was a side excursion into the Tooniverse thanks to 'The Simpsons'. So this is just icing on the cake!



Usually when the Toobworld Dynamic "absorbs" a movie out of the Cineverse (the movie universe name coined by Craig Shaw Gardner), there's already some kind of connection to the TV Universe - like the appearance of a TV character, for example. The original 'Star Trek' franchise, "Maverick", the 1966 "Batman" movie.... But not "The Beverly Hillbillies" - even though Buddy Ebsen does appear as 'Barnaby Jones', the rest of the characters are recastaways. So that Barnaby Jones is the movie counterpart to the televersion.

I've often wanted to grab a movie - kidnap it, actually - and claim it for the Toobworld Dynamic. "John Carter" is a good example of that - I had a bit of a meltdown over the idea. (If you're so interested in seeing me go bat-bleep, look for it yourself. I'm not going to help you!)

But there is a movie with no real connection to TV for which I will defend my "kidnapping" - "The Velvet Touch", a murder mystery starring Rosalind Russell, Leo Genn, Claire Trevor, Leon Ames, Dan Tobin, and Sydney Greenstreet. The format of the movie is highly reminiscent of a 'Columbo' episode in which we see the murder committed and it's about twenty minutes before the detective shows up. After that, it's not whodunnit but how is he going to solve it.

The movie even features an appearance by Mike Lally, who appeared more often in 'Columbo' than any other actor, and it has the line "Just one more thing" (although not spoken by the detective.)

It's because of Sydney Greenstreet as Captain Danbury of the NYPD that I want to claim this movie for Toobworld. His style of interrogation suggests that of Lt. Columbo who would come along twenty years later. Since it's been established that Columbo began his career in New York City before moving to Los Angeles, I'm going to suggest that Captain Danbury was an indirect influence on the future detective.

Columbo has claimed that it was a New York cop named Sgt. Gilhooley who taught him everything he knows as a detective. Well, I think among those detectives we see in the squad room is Sgt. Gilhooley, and that he learned everything he knew from the master, Captain Danbury.

If you can find a copy of this film, watch it. Every so often it shows up on TCM, so set up a schedule for yourself at their website to give you an alert when it's coming around again.

In the meantime, here's a scene from the movie in which Captain Danbury acts somewhat "Columbo-ish".......




'Perry Mason'

Erle Stanley Gardner

Ray Collins

Recastaway (Original)

Earth Prime-Time

Ray Collins' Lt. Arthur Tragg was Perry Mason's big nemesis along with Hamilton Burger. He played a hard nosed police lieutenant who often butt heads with Perry and often suffered frustration at the hands of the lawyer and Paul Drake.

From Wikipedia:
Ray Collins played the part of the crusty, dedicated police lieutenant, Arthur Tragg, who often frustrated Mason. Collins' appearances diminished toward the end of the 1963–64 season (he was 67 when the series began and died in the summer of 1965), and he was assisted by Wesley Lau as Lt. Andy Anderson, who took the position by himself until the end of the 1964–65 season.

Ray Bidwell Collins (December 10, 1889 – July 11, 1965) was an American actor in film, stage, radio, and television. One of Collins' best remembered roles was that of Lt. Arthur Tragg in the long-running series 'Perry Mason'.

He may be best remembered for his work on television, playing Lieutenant Tragg on 'Perry Mason' in the 1950s and 1960s.

By 1960, while immersed in the 'Perry Mason' series, Collins found his physical health declining and his memory waning, problems which in the next few years brought an end to his career. On the difficulty he was beginning to encounter in remembering his lines, he commented, "Years ago, when I was on the Broadway stage, I could memorize 80 pages in eight hours. I had a photographic memory. When I got out on the stage, I could actually -- in my mind -- see the lines written on top of the page, the middle or the bottom. But then radio came along, and we read most of our lines, and I got out of the habit of memorizing. I lost my natural gift. Today it's hard for me. My wife works as hard as I do, cueing me at home."

On July 11, 1965, Collins died of emphysema at the age of 75.

Ray Collins made his final appearance in a 'Perry Mason' episode at the end of Season 8 in "The Case Of The Mischievous Doll" (May, 1965).  I'd like to think that Arthur Tragg retired from the force in June of that year and - even though Collins was dead by July of that year - enjoyed another five years in retirement before he passed away in 1970.......


Lt. Tragg is shooting rubber bands at a paper doll effigy of Perry Mason.

Friday, October 19, 2012




The Higher Education Act of 1965 and the Pell Grants which began in 1972 (but under a different name) would not have been of much help to a young man in the 1950's struggling to get through college and then on to law school.

A young man named Sampson was faced with such a dilemma, and I believe he put himself through school by driving a truck. And being the handsome, virile specimen that he was, he bedded a lot of women - some of them married, not that it mattered - along his routes. One of these women was Irene Rankin, wife of a professor living in a small town.

Once he graduated law school, Sampson got himself a job as an assistant district attorney for the city of Los Angeles, California. He was abrasively zealous in his pursuit of convictions, most notably in the murder cases listed above. 

 But that doesn't necessarily mean that the leopard changed his spots. From these three cases, we know nothing of ADA Sampson's private life. So it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that he continued with his womanizing ways.

This is only supposition, based on the fact that H.M. Wynant played both roles in Toobworld. And thanks to my blogging buddy Ivan of "The Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" (Link to the Left, My Students Of The Macabre!), this "By Any Other Name" post was made better by the screen captchas from 'Perry Mason'.

Here's the "De Mortuis" episode from 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents':



There was a TV series based on "Black Beauty" in 1972. But although it was set in the original England, it had less to do with the novel than did the Americanized mini-series.....

From Wikipedia:
'The Adventures of Black Beauty' is a British children's television drama series produced by London Weekend Television and shown by ITV in the United Kingdom between 1972 and 1974. It was distributed internationally by London Weekend International.

The series was not an adaptation of the book by Anna Sewell, but a "continuation" featuring new characters created by Ted Willis, most prominently Dr James Gordon, played by William Lucas, and his children Vicky, played by Judi Bowker (who became Jenny, played by Stacy Dorning, in the second series) and Kevin, played by Roderick Shaw. Other writers included David Butler and Richard Carpenter, while directors included Charles Crichton and Peter Duffell. 

The series, which was filmed mainly at Stockers Farm, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, was widely acclaimed for its high production values and quality of writing and acting, and at times had remarkable English gothic overtones for a children's series.

There is a Black Beauty in Toobworld who is based on the horse in the original novel, even though the setting was changed to America.  This version can remain in Earth Prime-Time, however, because in the end, it's just a name given to a horse.  The plotline was completely changed.

 As for the "recastaways" of Vicky and Jenny, both were Dr. Gordon's daughters. But he could only afford to send one off to finishing school at a time, so when Jenny came home, Vicky left for her schooling.



When Black Friday comes.....


'Black Beauty'

Anna Sewell



Earth Prime-Time

From Wikipedia:

"Black Beauty" is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid. The novel became an immediate bestseller, with Sewell dying just five months after its publication, long enough to see her first and only novel become a success. With fifty million copies sold, "Black Beauty" is one of the best-selling books of all time. While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect. "Black Beauty" became a forerunner to the pony book genre of children's literature.

The story is narrated in the first person as an autobiographical memoir told by the titular horse named Black Beauty—beginning with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm with his mother, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country. Along the way, he meets with many hardships and recounts many tales of cruelty and kindness. Each short chapter recounts an incident in Black Beauty's life containing a lesson or moral typically related to the kindness, sympathy, and understanding treatment of horses, with Sewell's detailed observations and extensive descriptions of horse behaviour lending the novel a good deal of verisimilitude.

Darkie/Black Beauty/Black Auster/Jack/Blackie/Old Crony—The narrator of the story, a handsome black horse. He begins his career as a carriage horse for wealthy people but when he "breaks his knees" (i.e. develops scars on his knees after a bad fall) he is no longer considered presentable enough and is put to much harder work. He passes through the hands of a series of owners, some cruel, some kind. He always tries his best to serve humans despite the circumstance.

From the Turner Classic Movies website:
['Black Beauty' is a] sentimental, all-star retelling (the ninth and most lavish filming since 1906) of Anna Sewell's beloved animal classic, stretched out in its premiere showing over five nights in hourly episodes. Subsequently shown in two parts over four hours.

Although the story was "Americanized", it still covered many of the same situations as were in the novel.  I am not sure if there was any voice-over by Black Beauty.  If so, we could make the assertion that he was a Houyhnhnm as seen in the mini-series 'Gulliver's Travels' (based on the novel by Jonathan Swift.)

The full mini-series is available on DVD.

Every so often I dedicate the ASOTV showcase to someone.  Today's feature is dedicated to Cindy Weich, a horse-lover who also lived in T-House when I was at UConn......


Thursday, October 18, 2012


If you've been paying attention the last two weeks, you know that I'm caught up in the reruns bonanza (including 'Bonanza'!) that is ME-TV (as well as Antenna TV and to a lesser extent, TV Land.) Besides having old favorites like 'Perry Mason', 'Rockford Files', 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'Columbo', ME-TV has great promos for itself. (I tip my cap to their research staff for finding the appropriate clips.)

There's one particular interstitial that gets lots of play which features Alan Brady touting 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'.

Not Carl Reiner. Alan Brady.

After all the time I spent this past year writing about 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', hopefully you'll remember that mentions of that classic sitcom in other TV shows are not a Zonk.

Alan Brady bought the rights to Rob Petrie's memoirs with the intent of adapting it as a sitcom for himself. The original pilot "Head Of The Family" is the result, and the only episode filmed. As it also played out in real life with Carl Reiner, the network was cool to the idea of Brady in the role of Rob Petrie. Hoping to salvage the project, Brady hired a young actor named Dick Van Dyke because he bore an uncanny resemblance to Brady's former head writer. And so it's the show within the show that everybody mentions.

Got that?

So that's what Alan Brady is talking about - his own production of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', not Carl Reiner's.

But that's not what is interesting about that promo.....

According to the notes connected with that YouTube video, it first aired in October of 2007. About four years earlier, CBS broadcast 'The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited', a reunion special that reconnected the Trueniverse audience with Rob, Laura, Sally (and Herman), Alan, Millie, Rob's brother Stacey, and blink-and-you'll-miss-him Ritchie. But it was mentioned in the course of the show that Buddy, Mel, and Jerry had all passed away.

And yet in this 2007 promo, Mel is apparently still alive?

We hear a snippet of his dialogue from some episode and we see an outstretched arm. (Because of the death of Richard Deacon in the real world back in 1984, that was O'Bviously a recastaway.)

Alan looks at the off-camera Mel and asks, "What's the matter with you?"

Maybe he's a zombie?

No, even I'm not going there.

Alan Brady got himself a new flunky named Mel.

The only sticking point would be the use of Richard Deacon's voice, but haven't there been times in your own life when you heard somebody and thought it was someone else? That's what we're claiming in this case.

So who is this new Mel?

Alan Brady is a very demanding boss and as such would only want someone with experience in the TV biz to be his right-hand man.

So I have a candidate. I nominate Mel Price.

For three episodes of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', David Ogden Stiers appeared as the new station manager for WJM.
  • He played hardball with Mary and Lou in their contract renegotiations.
  • He hired critic Karl Heller to do an acidic arts segment on the Six O'Clock News.
  • He fostered 'The Ted And Georgette Show'.
  • And although not seen in the episode, Mel Price was probably responsible for getting Sue Ann's show 'The Happy Homemaker' canceled.

In the intervening decades, Mel Price probably had many other career opportunities in television. (For the suits behind the scenes, it must be a volatile job market.)

But by 2007, Mel Price could have been the Veep in Alan Brady's production company (which doesn't mean he's still working there now!)

Buddy would have loved to loathe him - the right-hand man for Alan Brady who's tall, bald, AND named Mel?




'The Jewel In The Crown'

Paul Scott

Dame Peggy Ashcroft

Earth Prime-Time

'The Jewel In The Crown' was the umbrella title for this adaptation of Paul Scott's four novels in the "Raj Quartet". Barbie Batchelor's story comes mostly from "The Towers Of Silence".

From Wikipedia:
"The Towers of Silence" is the 1971 novel by Paul Scott that continues his Raj Quartet. It gets its title from the Parsi Towers of Silence where the bodies of the dead are left to be picked clean by vultures. The novel is set in the British Raj of 1940s India. It follows on from the storyline in the "The Day of the Scorpion".

Miss Batchelor is a retired missionary schoolteacher who lives with Mabel Layton at Rose Cottage. Barbie is a simple, down-to-earth woman, who believes strongly in her god and in egalitarian Christianity and has clear ideas about right and wrong. She is troubled that in all her years of missionary work, she was not very successful in converting the children in her charge to Christianity ("How many of them did I bring to God?" she asks herself.) Above all, Barbie wants to be useful and to have a role in the society in which she lives.

Barbie is haunted by the suicide of her friend and former colleague, Edwina Crane, who in "The Jewel and the Crown" witnessed a brutal murder during rioting "on the road to Dibrapur."

Barbie comes from a working-class background, and this — as well as her taking up space in Rose Cottage — causes Mildred Layton to resent her. Barbie's egalitarian attitudes, based on her communal Christian beliefs, annoy and exasperate Mildred.

Barbie is a figure of fun for the English elite in Pankot. They mock her and roll their eyes at what they view as her hysterics and spread rumors that she is a lesbian. However, Sarah Layton, especially, and her sister, Susan, have affection for her.

She talks a lot and fondly remembers her father, a drinker from Camberwell with a joy for life.

The author uses Barbie and other characters to show how India changes Europeans until they no longer resemble those they left behind. Barbie speaks fluent Hindi and is perhaps more Indian than British.

The novel begins with the story of Barbie Batchelor, an old missionary schoolteacher, who, after years of service to the church, decides to take her pension and retire. She finds a place as a paying guest with Mabel Layton, a member of the aristocracy of the English in India, at Rose Cottage in Pankot. Barbie and Mabel become close. Late one night, Mabel tells Barbie that she will only go to Ranpur when she's buried, which Barbie interprets to mean that she wants to be buried in Ranpur, next to the grave of her late husband, James Layton.

Barbie is proud of her working class background and her simple Christianity, but she does her best to behave in a manner that makes upper-class Pankot comfortable. Unfortunately, they will never accept her as one of their own, treating her as a peculiar and unwanted intruder.

Barbie, wanting to show her affection for Susan with a nice wedding-cum-21st birthday gift, buys a set of silver Apostle spoons and gives them to Sarah to pass on. Mabel, while going through some old clothes, comes upon a piece of cloth that remained from a christening gown. The fabric is embedded with woven butterflies, symbolically imprisoned in the material. She gives the piece to Barbie, who is quite taken with its fragility.

In order to make up for having the wedding out of town, Mildred throws a buffet luncheon at the Pankot Rifles officers' mess for Pankot society. Mabel and Barbie go together, but are efficiently separated from each other under Mildred's instructions. Barbie is puzzled that her gift of spoons is not displayed with the other wedding gifts.

Mabel Layton has a stroke and dies. Worried about the state of Mabel's soul, Barbie worms her way into the morgue at the hospital and thinks she sees the anguish of eternal torment on the face of her dead friend. She is then shocked to learn that Mabel will be buried in Pankot and not in Ranpur, as she had wished. She barges in on Mildred to plead for her friend's last wish, but Mildred rebukes her harshly for interfering and offers a vicious evaluation of her character. Mildred gives Barbie until the end of the month to vacate Rose Cottage.

Barbie tries hard to get back into the missionary service, but finds a position difficult to secure. She learns through Sarah that Mabel has left her an annuity in her will. Barbie is embarrassed by the gesture and predicts that Mildred will cause trouble over it.

Mildred blames Barbie for planting the idea [of infanticide] in Susan's mind and returns the Apostle spoons through Clarissa.  Barbie, deeply hurt by the insult, sends notes to Colonel Trehearne and Captain Coley saying that she intends to make a gift of silver to the 1st Pankot Rifles. She then sets off in search of Coley to deliver the goods. Arriving at Coley's bungalow in a rainstorm, Barbie gets no answer at the door. Finding it unlocked, she goes in to leave the gift inside. But hearing an odd sound, she investigates and comes upon the sight of Coley and Mildred Layton rutting furiously.

Undetected by the lovers, she flees from the bungalow, but is caught in the rainstorm and falls seriously ill, coming down with bronchopneumonia.

Barbie, recovering from pneumonia but unable to speak above a whisper, finally donates the spoons to the regiment. She gets a letter from Calcutta, offering her a position as a teacher in Dibrapur, the site of Edwina Crane's horror.

Captain Coley informs Barbie that a trunk full of her things has been found stored in a shed at Rose Cottage and it had better be removed before Mildred finds out. Knowing that she will soon be leaving the Peplows and will have enough space of her own, she goes up to the vacant cottage to retrieve her trunk. There she encounters Ronald Merrick, who is in town for treatment at the local military hospital and has come in search of the Laytons; however, no one is currently in residence. Barbie is excited to finally meet Merrick and asks him about Mayapore. She opens her trunk and presents him with her copy of the painting, "The Jewel in the Crown". Merrick recognizes it as one he saw among Edwina Crane's things and accepts it gratefully.

Barbie has the tonga-wallah load the large trunk onto the tonga she is travelling in. Merrick worries that the load is too heavy, especially on such a steep road down from Rose Cottage. Barbie sets off anyway as it begins to rain.

The dirt road becomes slick and the tonga-wallah loses control, dumping Barbie and the trunk in a ditch. Barbie is physically and mentally injured in the accident and ends up at a sanitarium in Ranpur. Her view is of the Parsees' towers of silence of the title. Sarah visits her, but she cannot seem to get through. Barbie dies just as the atomic bomb is exploded over Hiroshima in August 1945.

You can find 'The Jewel In The Crown' in about a dozen segments on YouTube....


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


In the comic books, Green Arrow operated out of Star City. But in the new 'Arrow' series from The CW, Oliver Queen lives in Starling City.

It could be that it was originally called Star City, but the city decided to rename itself after a major benefactor, Henry Starling......

From Memory Alpha, a 'Star Trek' wiki:
Henry Starling was a Human industrialist who was largely responsible for the computer age of the late 20th century. Unknown to anyone at the time, Starling's innovations were based on his primitive understanding of the technology found aboard the 29th century timeship Aeon, which he appropriated after discovering the crashed vessel in 1967.

(Henry Starling appeared in two episodes of 'Voyager': "Future's End" and "Future's End Part II".)

Because of the innovations he introduced (rather than invented), Starling became a man of wealth and power throughout the world. And he won many philanthropic awards over the years. As part of his philanthropy, he may have contributed millions of dollars towards the revitalization of Star City (even though he lived in Los Angeles) and in thanks the city changed its name to honor him.

I don't think the truth about Starling ever surfaced in the present day of Toobworld, and his death was probably covered up by temporal agents from the Future. So that's why Starling City would still bear his name more than fifteen years after he was killed.

This is all speculation of course. But it works for the Toobworld Dynamic.....



Before the World Trade Center towers collapsed in 2001, Vincent Keller (the title character in The CW's 'Beauty And The Beast' - and I ain't talking Beauty!) worked as an emergency services doctor at St. Benjamin's Hospital in New York City.

This is Toobworld we're talkin' heah, in case you were confused.

So far, 'Beauty And The Beast' is the only show I can find which has used 'St. Benjamin' as the name for a fictional hospital. I would have preferred something that could provide at least one link to another series. Best of all might have been Manhattan General which has several links, including one to a movie which I believe should be absorbed into the Toobworld Dynamic - "The Velvet Touch".

Manhattan General was the hospital where a possible Toobworld relative worked - 'Kay O'Brien, MD' (which was "referenced" in an episode of 'St. Elsewhere'). Patricia Kalember and Brian Benben starred in that show, which was also name-checked in my Toobworld novel (a project always under revision......)



Ever since I discovered that my cable company is finally carrying ME-TV (Thanks, Mayr!), my DVR is slowly filling up with all the other shows I haven't been watching because I'm too busy getting my 'Perry Mason' fix twice a day!


'Perry Mason'
Several TV movies

Earle Stanley Gardner

Barbara Hale

Recastaway (Original)

Earth Prime-Time

From Wikipedia:
Della Street was the fictional secretary of Perry Mason in the long-running series of novels, films, and radio and television programs featuring the fictional defense attorney created by Erle Stanley Gardner.

A character named Della Street first appeared in Gardner's unpublished novel "Reasonable Doubt", where she was a secretary, but not the secretary of the lawyer, Ed Stark. Gardner described her this way: "Della Street ..... Secretary, twenty-seven, quiet, fast as hell on her feet, had been places. Worked in a carnival or side show, knows all the lines, hard-boiled exterior, quietly efficient, puzzled over the lawyer, chestnut hair, trim figure, some lines on her face, a hint of weariness at the corners of her eyes."

When Gardner submitted "Reasonable Doubt" to William Morrow, an editor suggested that "Della Street is a better character than the secretary." Gardner took this suggestion when he rewrote "Reasonable Doubt" as "The Case of the Velvet Claws" and made Della Street Perry Mason's secretary. In the published novel, the carnival or side show was jettisoned, and Street came from a more respectable background.

On television, Della Street was played by Barbara Hale, in the series and the made-for-TV movies. She was played by Sharon Acker in the short-lived revival series, 'The New Adventures of Perry Mason' starring Monte Markham as Mason.
(Toobworld note: That TV series takes place in an alternate TV dimension. However, in my Toobworld novel, that Perry Mason is a shape-shifting alien of the "bent-pinkie" species seen in "The Invaders".)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012


At 38 minutes into the pilot for 'Beauty And The Beast' on the CW (with commercials), we saw a 2002 flashback to Afghanistan when Black Ops attempted to kill off its experimental super-soldiers. As Victor Keller cowered to protect himself from the strafing, we could hear the (in)famous Wilhelm Scream in the distance.

Hopefully Team Toobworld remembers the Toobworld Central position on the Wilhelm Scream - it's the sound made by the serial killer alien entity Redjac when it leaves a body about to die.
Somebody on the ground in that kill-zone was hit by the bullets from overhead and Redjac fled screaming from that host body.

It was probably Redjac who caused the most problems among the super-soldiers, and it was probably to blame for most of them being killed off. But the horrors of Afghanistan during a war would have been a perfect location for Redjac to feed.

Where did Redjac go from there? Probably into some Black Ops soldier, most likely one dispatched to look for survivors among the bodies and kill them. From there, Redjac eventually made it back to the United States with that soldier as host.

You could probably work your way through the alphabet of TV shows that have had characters who have returned from tours of duty in Afghanistan - 'Army Wives', 'Bones', 'Cougar Town', 'Damages', 'E-Ring', 'Flashpoint', 'The Glades'..... But especially 'NCIS' - it feels like every other episodes is about somebody who served over in Afghanistan. Bleep! You can even go numerical with an episode of '7th Heaven'!

So somebody in any of those shows could have been the host for Redjac and brought it back to America.......



Two for Tuesday!


'The United States Steel Hour'
"The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn"

Mark Twain

King - Jack Carson
Duke - Basil Rathbone


Alternate Toobworld (possibly musical)

From Wikipedia:
(About the TV version)
Episodes were contributed by many notable writers, including Ira Levin, Richard Maibaum and Rod Serling. The program also telecast one-hour musical versions of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The United States Steel Hour telecast The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" on November 20, 1957 with a cast starring Jimmy Boyd, Earle Hyman, Basil Rathbone, Jack Carson and Florence Henderson. Boyd had previously played Huckleberry in the earlier telecast of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".

(About the book)
Further down the river, Jim and Huck rescue two cunning grifters, who join Huck and Jim on the raft. The younger of the two swindlers, a man of about thirty, introduces himself as a son of an English duke (the Duke of Bridgewater) and his father's rightful successor. The older one, about seventy, then trumps the Duke's claim by alleging that he is the Lost Dauphin, the son of Louis XVI and rightful King of France. He continually mispronounces the duke's title as "Bilgewater" in conversation.

The Duke and the King then join Jim and Huck on the raft, committing a series of confidence schemes on the way south. To allow for Jim's presence, they print fake bills for an escaped slave; and later they paint him up entirely in blue and call him the "Sick Arab". On one occasion they arrive in a town and advertise a three-night engagement of a play which they call "The Royal Nonesuch". The play turns out to be only a couple of minutes of hysterical cavorting, not worth anywhere near the 50 cents the townsmen were charged to see it.

On the afternoon of the first performance, a drunk called Boggs arrives in town and makes a nuisance of himself by going around threatening a southern gentleman by the name of Colonel Sherburn. Sherburn comes out and warns Boggs that he can continue threatening him up until exactly one o'clock. At one o'clock, Boggs continues and Colonel Sherburn kills him.

Somebody in the crowd, whom Sherburn later identifies as Buck Harkness, cries out that Sherburn should be lynched. They all head up to Colonel Sherburn's gate, where they are met by Sherburn, who is standing on his porch carrying a loaded shotgun and his three legged dalmatian. He causes them to back down, by making a defiant speech telling them about the essential cowardice of "Southern justice". The only lynching to be done here, says Sherburn, will be in the dark, by men wearing masks.

By the third night of "The Royal Nonesuch", the townspeople are ready to take their revenge; but the Duke and the King have already skipped town, and together with Huck and Jim, they continue down the river. Once they are far enough away, the two grifters test the next town, and decide to impersonate two brothers of Peter Wilks, a recently deceased man of property.

Using an absurd English accent, the King manages to convince nearly all the townspeople that he is one of the brothers, a preacher just arrived from England, while the Duke pretends to be a deaf-mute to match accounts of the other brother. One man in town is certain that they are a fraud and confronts them on the matter, but the crowd refuses to support him. Afterwards, the Duke, out of fear, suggests to the King that they should cut and run. The King boldly states his intention to continue to liquidate Wilks' estate, saying, "Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?"

Huck likes Wilks' daughters, who treat him with kindness and courtesy, so he tries to thwart the grifters' plans by stealing back the inheritance money. When he is in danger of being discovered, he has to hide it in Wilks' coffin, which is buried the next morning without Huck knowing whether the money has been found or not. The arrival of two new men who seem to be the real brothers throws everything into confusion when none of their signatures match the one on record. (The deaf-mute brother, who is said to do the correspondence, has his arm in a sling and cannot currently write.) The townspeople devise a test, which requires digging up the coffin to check. When the money is found in Wilks' coffin, the Duke and the King are able to escape in the confusion. They manage to rejoin Huck and Jim on the raft to Huck's despair, since he had thought he had escaped them.

Certain musical productions do belong in the main Toobworld, such as 'Cop Rock' and 'Hull High', where Life was altered by the intervention of Mr. Sweet the demon from 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'. But in this case, since there were earlier productions and all of these characters are recastaways, it's best to leave it in an alternate TV dimension where musical expression holds sway (perhaps caused by a dimension-hopping Sweet.)



My main concern with the Toobworld Dynamic is how many TV shows I can manage to keep in the same dimension. 'Sliders' may give me the luxury of having plenty of TV dimensions in which I can stock those series which don't quite fit into Earth Prime-Time, but I'd much rather have most of them sharing the same world. Even though it would probably never happen, there's always the possibility these shows might cross over.

Basically I think of Toobworld as my sandbox playground in which I play with the action figures that belong to others.

So that's all I care about when it comes to a new TV series. It's not germane to my interests whether the show is any good or not. (But I do recognize its quality. I can tell when it goes from television to smellovision!)

And that brings me to the new version of the classic 'Beauty And The Beast' story on the CW.

From what I've seen so far, the reviews for 'Beauty And The Beast' have been brutal. It debuted to decent ratings, but so did 'The Secret Circle' and that faded away quickly. And those ratings could probably be due more to the fact that its only competition was the Veep debate on all the other networks. Viewers might take such reviews to heart and drop away from this show by next week. Or it could be review-resistant and appeal to the crowd that watches 'The Vampire Diaries'.

But that doesn't matter to me. All I care about is whether or not the series can remain in Earth Prime-Time. And there were major concerns in this case, since the same story was told in Toobworld a quarter century ago.

The basic premise remains the same - a beautiful young woman in the justice system of New York is rescued by a "beast"-man. The names even remained the same - she is Catherine Chandler and he is Vincent. (Although he now sports a last name - Keller. Keller - Killer?)


But after that, the details diverge. This Catherine Chandler is an NYPD detective while the late Catherine Chandler was an assistant district attorney. The original Vincent was a true beast - leonine in his facial features and covered with soft fur. But Vincent Keller is a victim of genetic experimentation by the Army while he served in the military over in Afghanistan in 2002.  He became a super-soldier prone to violent rages that make him more Hulk-like, although he does have "cross-species" DNA now.

By not slavishly recreating the premise of the original, I think it could be argued that both shows share the same TV dimension.

Both women being named Catherine Chandler is unfortunate, but not insurmountable. It's a combination that works well together. And I can see any new parents with the married name of "Chandler" giving "Catherine" serious consideration for their newborn baby girls. (Baby boys, not so much.)

And even though both of them worked in the New York justice system, they weren't in the same profession - not that it would have mattered. In Los Angeles, Toobworld has at least two men in the police department named Lt. Columbo!

With the two "beasts" named Vincent, I chalk it up to a big coincidence. There have been incredibly huge coincidences in Toobworld over the years, let's face it.

Should the show succumb early, we might even make a claim after the fact that Detective Catherine Chandler is related to the deceased ADA Catherine Chandler, and that in fact she was named after her. (If she's the same age as the actress who plays her - the Toobworld standard - then Catherine was born in 1982. So the timeline works out for such a supposition.)

Hopefully the bare bones of the original show's premise is all that we'll see cribbed for the new series. Otherwise we'll run into trouble if they start bringing in recastaways for characters like Mouse and Paracelsus.

Otherwise, 'Beauty And The Beast' Mach Two fits in well with Earth Prime-Time. Unless of course they choose to feature a different President of the United States, or - closer to home - a different Mayor of New York City.

(Like 'CSI: NY', 'Rescue Me', and 'Touch' before it, the deaths of loved ones in the attack on the World Trade Center factor into the background for Vincent - he lost two brothers in the collapse, which prompted him to enlist. So existence of that tragic event means 'Beauty And The Beast' can stay in the main Toobworld. Otherwise I'd have tossed it into the "Over There" dimension of 'Fringe'.......)


Monday, October 15, 2012


Earlier this year, the TV Crossover Hall of Fame began a new policy of inducting members of the League of Themselves - if they qualified - as soon as possible after learning of their deaths. Being the only Caretaker here at Toobworld Central, I can't rely upon my memory anymore to keep them in mind for the usual month for people who appeared as themselves in Toobworld (March).

A few days ago Gary Collins passed away at the age of 74.....

From the L.A. Times:
Gary Collins, 74, an actor who was the host of the syndicated TV show "Hour Magazine" and a former master of ceremonies for the Miss America Pageant, died early Saturday in Biloxi, Miss. Collins died of natural causes soon after arriving at Biloxi Regional Medical Center, Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove told the Associated Press.

After his military service ended he landed a starring role in the 1965 sitcom "The Wackiest Ship in the Army" and followed with regular roles in the TV series "Iron Horse," "The Sixth Sense" and "Born Free." He also had a string of guest star appearances in popular prime-time programs.

It was his hosting duties on 'Hour Magazine' and the Miss America Pageant which gave Gary Collins enough appearances on other shows as his own televersion. And because one of those shows incorporated 'Hour Magazine' into the plot, then that series has more "oomph" in the mosaic of the TV Universe.

Here's a rundown of those other shows:

'Gimme A Break' - "Second Chance Parts 1 & 2"
Nell appeared on 'Hour Magazine' to sing a song written by an ex-con.

'Friends' - "The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS"
Gary Collins hosted a pledge break telethon on New York's Channel 13.

'Dharma & Greg' - "I Did It For You, Kitty"
Collins hosted a beauty pageant for mature women in San Francisco.

'Dead Like Me' - "Reapercussions"
Gary and his wife, former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley, can be seen in an infomercial for a belly reducing product, which ends up killing people......

And like I said, his hosting duties on 'Hour Magazine' and the 'Miss America Pageant' should also be included since they've both been incorporated into other shows over the years, even if only in passing references.

Here are some clips of Gary Collins as his own televersion.....

(Even though it's rife with "Zonks", I chose that particular clip from 'Hour Magazine' for my cousin's wife (cousin-in-law?) Denise Hansen.  She's an avid fan of 'Days Of Our Lives'.  That other Zonk-fest with Alan Young and Connie Hines?  That was for me!) 

So it may not be much, but entry into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame is my small way of honoring an actor I always enjoyed. (I was a big fan of 'The Wackiest Ship In The Army' and 'The Sixth Sense' when I was younger.)

Good night and may God bless....


One of the many rules of thumb for the Toobworld concept is that whoever first plays a particular role becomes the official "televersion" for the main Toobworld (Earth Prime-Time). Any recastaways that come along later in a remake* would be relegated to another TV dimension - unless a splainin can be provided for the recastaway to be the same character as the original**.

GEORGE SHUMWAY - 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'
Played by Phil Bruns & Tab Hunter
Splainin - Plastic Surgery

Played by Ty Olsson & Kavan Smith
Splainin - Rebuilt Android

Played by Dick York & Dick Sargent
Splainin - Magic Spell
(This is also the splainin for Darrin's neighbor Gladys Kravitz and Major Tony Nelson of 'I Dream Of Jeannie')

And then there's always the Time Lords of 'Doctor Who'.....
Splainin - Regeneration

For the last couple of seasons of 'Smallville', Justin Hartley played Oliver Queen AKA the super-heroic archer Green Arrow. But even though he was the original for that role, he was in a series where the main character - Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman - was a recastaway. For Toobworld, George Reeves in 'The Adventures Of Superman' was the official Man of Steel... even if he did die back in the early 1960's due to Kryptonite poisoning.

So now we have a TV series dedicated to this hero, 'Arrow'. And because it's unencumbered by connections to 'Smallville' (which is in the 'West Wing' TV dimension, by the way), we accept Stephen Amell as the official Green Arrow/Oliver Queen of Earth Prime-Time.


* This does not include recastaways within the same original series.  

** Even rarer are the recastaways who can share the same TV dimension as the originals, but we do have one this season. More on that in an upcoming post.....