Saturday, August 2, 2014


As you should all know by now, one of the giants of the Toobworld pantheon passed away last month.  On July 19th, James Garner died at the age of 86.  For Earth Prime-Time he was best known as Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford.

Since I've been posting intermittent essays about the relationship between Toobworld and the Cineverse* all year, and because Mr. Garner was one of my TV idols, it seemed only right that for the central theme of our TV Western showcase month of August we should have as many posts about the 1994 movie version of 'Maverick' as I can come up with.

Might as well start with the movie's relationship to the TV show.....

Oh, and by the way - the movie is twenty years old this year.  This will be your only warning that I will speak freely about it and that there will be SPOILERS!  (And if you haven't seen it yet, good Lord, dear reader!  What's taking you so long????)

There must be those out there who think Mel Gibson is THE Bret Maverick in this movie and that Garner was playing Beauregard Maverick.  So in a way, they're looking at it as though it's a remake and not a continuation.  If so, I wish them all the best over there in the Cineverse and no regrets.

But for me, this is one movie that deserves to be absorbed into the TV Universe as it is.  From my perspective, Gibson is Bret Maverick JUNIOR while Garner is reprising his role as the original Bret Maverick.

And your old Toobmeister is also going to claim that many another TV Western character showed up at that marathon poker game that serves as the major climax of the movie.  (There are a few after-shocks before it's over.)  There was even the ancestor of one of the current citizens of Toobworld attending the game.  And who knows?  I might find one or two others.

So you saw "Maverick", like I did, at the movie theatre.  It doesn't matter.  This is a movie whose true home is on your TV screen.  And it will be the focus for many more posts over the coming month.....


* Look for posts with "Little Big Screen" in the heading......

Friday, August 1, 2014


August is the month in which we traditionally induct a TV character from one of the Westerns.  And I wouldn't want to break with Tradition.

The 2014 TV Western character who's being inducted into the Hall is U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart, in memory of Michael Ansara who died last Summer.  

Sam Buckhart was the main character of 'Law Of The Plainsman'.  But he was introduced in two episodes of 'The Rifleman'.

His appearance in 'The Rifleman' took place at some time in the 1880s, since the McCains didn't come to North Fork and buy their ranch until 1881.

As seen in 'The Rifleman'

The TV series began in 1878 at least, determined by the proclamation of "amnesty" declared by New Mexco governor Lew Wallace for gunfighters involved in the Lincoln County War.  (Historically, this happened in the Autumn of 1878 and it was news to Marshal Buckhart.)

So here we have a TV character whose life didn't begin with his introduction into the inner history of Toobworld.

But that still leaves us one shy of the required three appearances in three different TV venues.  And with my nominee for the third attribute of eligibility, I had to engage in conjecture based on the Game of the Name.

I'm going to claim that U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart died while using the alias of "Reynolds" when he later became a special agent for the Overland Express.

As "Reynolds", Buckhart was in charge of an Overland Express shipment of $200,000.  He and his deputies were ambushed and he was the only one to survive - at least long enough to reach Opportunity, Arizona, and deposit the money in safe to be found in that one-dog town's only bank.

("Reynolds" had taken the Southern route and then headed north through the desert.  That probably means he began his journey in his native New Mexico and came through the Chihuahuan Desert.  The Chihuahuan Desert is the easternmost and southernmost of the four North American deserts.  So if we're looking for Opportunity, Arizona, on a Toobworld map, we'd probably find it at the northernmost tip of the Chihuahuan Desert.)

Before he had the chance to get horse doctor Henry Gill to cut the bullet out of him, "Reynolds" keeled over and died outside the saloon.  He was buried just outside of Opportunity, with no one in town knowing that his real name was Sam Buckhart.

The splainin is simple enough - At least a decade after being a U.S. Marshal in New Mexico, Sam Buckhart finally decided to take a new job that paid better: workng for the Overland Express.  But with this one last job (not that he knew it), Buckhart decided that his reputation might precede him and there could be outlaws ready to steal the money if they knew Sam Buckhart was hired to escort the shipment.  

So he chose the name of "Reynolds".  I'm not sure what led him to that choice.  Perhaps it was the name of someone he knew when he was a U.S. Marshal.  (However, I checked the cast lists for the episodes of 'Law Of The Plainsman' and no Reynolds showed up.)

There was a Jack and Clara Reynolds who took the 'Wagon Train' west.  A riverboat passenger named Harvey Reynolds whom 'Cheyenne' Bodie encountered.  And a Sarah Reynolds who was accused of being a witch in an episode of 'Bonanza'.

Also in an episode of 'Bonanza', there was another Reynolds who was a major at a fort in Arizona and who bore an uncanny resemblance to Deputy Sheriff Clem (a recurring character on 'Bonanza'.)  Major Reynolds disobeyed a direct order and tried to wipe out Cochise, so I don't think he was the inspiration for the name.  Especially since Sam Buckhart must have known how much he himself resembled Cochise.

But wherever he got the name, Sam Buckhart took it with him to his grave, never revealing his true identity to the people of Opportunity, Arizona.

At least that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

So here's to you, Sam Buckhart.  Apache.  U.S. Marshal.  Harvard-educated.  Special Agent for the Overland Express.

And now, a member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame!

  • 'Law Of The Plainsman'
  • 'The Rifleman' - "The Indian"
  • 'The Rifleman' - "The Raid"
  • "Shootout In A One-Dog Town" (TV movie)

Thursday, July 31, 2014


"You can't trust the police these days."
"Says who?"
"The wire!"
'The Cafe'
I'm fairly certain that in the script, Sarah's mother's line "The wire!" probably was printed as "'The Wire'!".  It was supposed to be a reference to the TV series from HBO.
But 'The Wire' and 'The Cafe' exist in the same TV dimension, so Carol shouldn't be referring to a TV show.
There are several options to choose from to de-Zonk this situation.  One would be that Carol was using the slang term for the newspaper wire services.  But how she was privy to such information is unclear.  I don't think we've seen any habitues of Cyril's Cafe in the seaside village of Weston who were journalists.
The better option would be that Carol ("Speak of the devil!") had read a non-fiction book entitled "The Wire", which covered the drug trade in Baltimore and its judicial, political, and journalistic ramifications.

And then, as often happens in Toobworld, it was adapted into a movie.  (A TV show if must be.....)
Works for me!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Ted Bovis: 
"Did you ever see that film with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, 
Where they have to spend the night in the same room?" 
Spike Dixon: 
"It was called 'It Happened One Night'."
'Hi De Hi'

Toobworld Central accepts mentions of real world people in fictional situations as being canon even if we don't "catch them in the act of being themselves".  (Unless of course it's O'Bvious that the character who brings them up is lying.)

For example - Lou Grant told Mary Richards about the small get-together he had in his Washington hotel room with some old friends:
  • John Glenn
  • Eric Sevareid
  • Hubert Humphrey
  • Ethel Kennedy
  • President Gerald Ford
  • First Lady Betty Ford
With the phone call made by Betty Ford, we know that Lou was telling the truth.  So the televersion of Eric Sevareid really did almost bust a gut when John Glenn told his story about his first space flight.  And that the President did leave his favorite pipe behind in the chair.

Here's another example I just caught on one of the retro channels in 'The Jack Benny Program'.  The episode already had two members of the League of Themselves in Edgar Bergen and his wife Frances (who actually had the bigger role.)  

At one point, Mrs. Bergen got a phone call from Claudette Colbert and they discussed a get-together they would have at Ms. Colbert's home - to discuss neighborhood concerns like trash pick-up schedules.  (Although Jack Benny thought they were planning a party and he was going to crash it.)

We never got to see Claudette Colbert in that episode, but that doesn't negate that it was really her televersion on the other end of that phone call.

And thanks to 'The Jack Benny Program' again, we actually did get to see her fictional self in an episode which also starred Basil Rathbone.

There's another way we can be certain of Claudette Colbert's existence in Toobworld - by the existence of her movie "It Happened One Night", for which she won the Oscar.  (The movie won five of the top Academy Awards - Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Adapted Screenplay, which would not be matched until "Silence Of The Lambs" fifty-seven years later.

Among the TV series in which the movie was mentioned were:
  • 'The Love Boat'
  • 'Remington Steele'
  • 'The Golden Girls'
  • 'The Gilmore Girls'
  • 'Drop Dead Diva'

It was 'Dallas' resident Don Lockwood's favorite movie.  And Kenny Madison and Melody Lee Mercer recreated the classic scene in which they shared the same room but divided by a blanket.  ('Bourbon Street Beat')

Major Charles Emerson Winchester of the 'M*A*S*H' unit #4077 put up a similar separation blanket, which reminded Captain "Hawkeye" Pierce of the movie as well.

The movie still has life in the new millennium, as it was shown at a retro theater in an episode of 'Pretty Little Liars'.  (See the picture at top.)

This is another in a series of "Toobworld Goes To The Movies" blog posts but there's a special reason I'm posting it today.

On this date in 1996, Claudette Colbert passed away at the age of 96 in Barbados.

Good night and may God bless.....

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


As a big fan of 'Columbo' (It's my fifth favorite show!), it was a great pleasure to get to know character actor John Finnegan in his last years.  And I think I can call him a friend.

Mr. Finnegan stayed at my place of business several times and was always ready with an anecdote about filming the series with Peter Falk, with whom he worked on other projects as well (like the Cassavetes film "A Woman Under The Influence".)

He even got me an autographed copy of Falk's autobiography, a cherished addition to the Toobworld library.

In all, Mr. Finnegan appeared in 12 episodes of 'Columbo'.  The only two actors who probably surpassed that number would be Mike Lally and Vito Scotti.  

He appeared in plenty of other TV show roles as well, including a handful of 'McCloud' episodes.  Oddly enough, the "ever-reliable" IMDb doesn't include "Give My Regrets To Broadway", from which these screenpics were culled.  In that episode, Mr. Finnegan played the landlord of a detective who had been murdered on the night he covered for Marshall McCloud.

John Finnegan passed away on this date in 2012.


Monday, July 28, 2014


'The Name of the Game'
"So Long, Baby, and Amen"

'The Bold Ones: The Senator'
"Some Day, They'll Elect a President"

As soon as Dan Farrell, editor of "Crime" magazine, arrived at his hotel in Washington, D.C., he was handed a subpoena compelling him to appear before a Senate sub-committee.  It was Senator Tucker who wanted Dan to be there, hoping to get him to name his sources for an article he wrote about rampant drug use among high school students in America.

But the proceedings were chaired by Senator McMichaels, whom Senator Tucker would call "Hank".

So the sub-committee chairman was probably named Henry McMichaels.

However, a year later, that same Senator was seen chatting away with fellow Senator Hayes Stowe and his aide de camp Jordan Boyle when he was asked to confer privately with a very powerful lobbyist.

I'm not sure if that lobbyist or even Senator Stowe referred to the other Senator by name, but the credits listed him as "Senator Stenberg".

There are plenty of TV characters who look alike in Toobworld.  And some of them share the same occupation - see Judges Morris Torledsky and Arthur Cohen.  In their case, they were twin brothers who were adopted separately and raised by different families yet whose lives followed the same path.  It's not unheard of in the Real World.

But the idea of two United States Senators who were "identical cousins" seems highly unlikely, at least without being remarked upon.  How was that lobbyist to know he had the ear of Senator Stenberg and not that of Senator McMichaels without asking first?

If Senator Stenberg's name was never mentioned in that 'Bold Ones: The Senator' episode, then Toobworld Central will fall back on its usual method of dismissing what is revealed in end credit titles as being irrelevant to the story within Earth Prime-Time.

But if the lobbyist did mention it, then there's a splainin as to why there was a Senator Stenberg and a Senator McMichaels in office at the same time who looked alike (although one that is a bit of a stretch.)

They were the same man.

Senator Henry McMichaels - "Hank" to his closest associates - was actually Senator Stenberg H. McMichaels.  

It's quite a mouthful.

"Stenberg" may seem like a very odd choice for a first name, but try telling that to FBI Agent Seeley Booth or to rancher Beeley Garrett of Centennial, Colorado.  Stenberg McMichaels follows their lead - his first name was an old family surname, perhaps his own mother's, given new life in the next generation as his first name.  It shows that the Senator was part Scottish and part Swedish.

I'm thinking he was the senior Senator from Minnesota, which has a large Swedish-American population.  (Glenn Morley would be the junior senator.)  That would provide a splainin as to why there was a heart surgeon in Roseberg, Minnesota, by the name of Dr. Walter Reed Richards who looked exactly like him - they shared either the same father or mother.  (Either the elder McMichaels cheated on his marriage or Mrs. McMichaels remarried after the untimely death of the senior Richards.)

So why would the lobbyist have called him Senator Stenberg? That's simple - nobody's perfect; he simply mis-spoke.  Happens to the best of us.  Fifty senators - that's a lot of names to keep straight......

Then again, perhaps it was done on purpose.  Perhaps Senator Stenberg H. McMichaels was known by the nickname of "Senator Stenberg".  There is precedence in the real world: Sam Irvin was known as "Senator Sam" and Michael Bloomberg of New York City was referred to as "Mayor Mike".

That's our splainin and we're sticking to it.

(Back in the 1950s, there was a Senator Brockton in the Los Angeles area, but he was a state senator.  He still could have been related, however....)

'Law & Order'
'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'
'The Farmer's Daughter'
'Philip Marlowe'


In case you couldn't tell by the title, these characters were all played by character actor Bill Quinn......

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Because of more pressing concerns in my so-called Life, I haven't been expanding the Toobworld Central DVD library as of late.  So I had some catching up to do.

And thanks to several Amazon deals, I think I'm done for awhile!

Here's my latest acquisitions:

'Tarzan' - The Second Season
I've been re-thinking my position on the TV series based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' greatest creation.  I was resigned to accepting Ron Ely's portrayal as THE Tarzan for Toobworld, even though the show was set in the 1960s and most of the canon had been stripped away to make a version that paled to the adventures in BookWorld.

Since then, I've decided to accept something from BookWorld as having happened in Toobworld as well - Tarzan's exposure to an immortality formula.  That way, this Wold Newton family member from the Edwardian Age could still be hale and hearty in the Summer of Love.

There are plenty of guest stars whom I'm looking forward to, but it's one in particular, to be found in the final story of the series - Michael Dunn.  I'm hoping I could make the claim that he was Dr. Miquelito Loveless in disguise!

'Father Brown'
This is the complete series about G.K. Chesterton's crime-solving priest from the early 1970s and starring Kenneth More.  If I'm not mistaken, Father Brown is part of the Wold Newton Universe.  I'm looking forward to these as I have been enjoying the Mark Williams' remake... even if it has to be relegated to the Land O' Remakes.

'The Avengers' - The Complete Diana Rigg as Emma Peel Collection
Sure, I already owned a "Best Of" which included "A Touch Of Brimstone", but I couldn't resist the price (via Amazon's Gold Box Deal of the Day).  And this will save me clogging up my DVR.....

"The Mel Brooks Collection" - Most of the movies he directed, from "The Twelve Chairs" to "Robin Hood: Men In Tights".  I'm surprised by the exclusion of "The Producers" and "Spaceballs", but maybe they're guaranteed money-makers on their own.  (Not surprised by "Life Sucks" (?) and "Dracula: Dead And Loving It" not being in the collection.)

And then there are the additions to my 'Doctor Who' collection:

"The Tenth Planet" - With William Hartnell, it's the story of Mondas, Earth's twin planet which plays a large role in the solar system of the TV Universe.  I had to see what I'm talking about!

"The Web Of Fear" & "The Enemy Of The World" - With my favorite actor as the Doctor, Patrick Troughton.  Aside from the new-Who series relaunched in 2005, Troughton's adventures as the Second Incarnation will be the only ones I collect to completion.  And the fact that these two stories were considered forever lost made it even more appealing to me as a televisiologist.

"An Adventure In Space And Time" - From the TV dimension which shows the behind the scenes drama of TV shows, this movie tells the story of how Sidney Newman and Verity Lambert brought together all the elements needed to create the timeless classic of 'Doctor Who'.  

And because of the sad news this past weekend:

'Nichols' - the complete series
'Bret Maverick' - the complete series

Both shows only ran one season, but I would have continued watching them for as long as they could have run.  I'm especially looking forward to seeing the final episode of 'Nichols'.  I had to miss it when it first aired due to an altar boy meeting, but I learned what happened in the years since.  Doesn't matter; I still want to see it for myself......

Until next time, True Belaborers!


Here's a great music video that combines both Toobworld and the Cineverse for our year-long "Little Big Screen" (Toobworld Goes To The Movies) theme....

And it's not safe for work or the kids.... (Language!)

This is a couple of years old, but it's a great spoof of movies like "Mr. And Mrs. Smith", "Grosse Pointe Blank", and "Kill Bill I".....

And like my brother Andrew pointed out, it evokes a lot of those sixties soul numbers... with the naughty bits left in.