Saturday, August 16, 2014


As with yesterday's entry, here's another theory of relateeveety for one of the riverboat poker players that looks back to the Future.....

Detective Pete Royster worked alongside 'Police Woman' Pepper Anderson in the LAPD during the 1970s and 1980s.  But his life might have been so much different had his great grandfather won the Big Game on board the Lauren Belle riverboat as it sailed up the Mississippi.

We don't know much from the movie "Maverick" as to who his great grandpappy was, only that he had a simmering hair-trigger temper when he lost.  (The way he shot daggers at Bret for beating him?  If looks could kill....)

He was so angry he even turned down one of the "hostesses".
He would find no comfort there......
There was just something about him that spoke volumes about his past life - that it was hard, dirty, and dangerous.  In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he had been a gunslinger at some point in the past.

A possible identity for this angry, broken-nosed gambler?  I think he was a cowboy by the name of Shields.

Shields crossed paths with the famous outlaws Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes soon after they had decided to go straight in order to win a pardon from the governor of Wyoming.  Although working as a drover for a cattle herd, he probably was not above making fast money in one crooked scheme or another.

Such a life led him to finally gain enough money (most likely from illicit means) to enter the greatest of all poker championships.

Had he not lost, perhaps Shields might have strived for respectability himself and eventually his great grandson, Pete Royster, might have been left in charge of a vast financial empire instead of being a detective working the Major Crimes squad.  But it was not to be.......


Friday, August 15, 2014


And now for something completely different:

A Toobworld connection for that riverboat poker sequence in the "Maverick" movie which can't be connected to a concurrent TV Western.

But with a theory of "relateeveety" we can connect it to two contemporary TV series!

Michael Paul Chan played one of the gamblers on board the riverboat, eventually changing his status from participant to spectator.

It is the contention of Toobworld Central that this unnamed poker player was the ancestor for Lt. Mike Tao, the computer/technology wizard on the 'Major Crimes' squad.  This is the second series in which Chan has played Tao since 'Major Crimes' is the sequel to 'The Closer'.

I suppose I could take it further and claim that his poker player was in some way related to either Hop Sing of 'Bonanza' or Hey Boy of 'Have Gun Will Travel' - or to both.  But I have no basis to make that claim other than the fact that all three characters are of Chinese descent.  And that does kind of smack of racism to me, so I want to avoid that.

But I would have no problem claiming that he was related to Hake Tao from two episodes of 'Kung Fu' and that he's perhaps the ancestor also to Leon Tao from 'Person Of Interest'.  At least that would be based on the family name.....


Thursday, August 14, 2014


Another day in our salute to James Garner and the "Maverick" movie, and guess what?  We've got another poker player profile!

Character actor Dennis Fimple played yet another poker enthusiast on board the riverboat and it's easy enough for this televisiologist to make the claim as to who he was:

Kyle Murtry, a member of the Devil's Hole gang.

Kyle Murtry first rode with Big Jim Santana, but when Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes took over the gang he stayed with them.  Kyle had no problem switching allegiances to Wheat after the Kansas cousins left.

Even in the dawn of a new century, there must have still been a price on Kyle's head, because he showed up at the riverboat using an alias nickname: Stuttering.  Whether the affliction was real or affected to avoid detection, I have no clue.  But nothing will change my mind that he was not Kyle Murtry.

"Stuttering" Kyle Murtry, like all the other TV Western cameo players at the game, was eliminated from the competition before the final round.  But at least he was bested by one of the game's true celebrities - its host, Commodore Duvall.  

Not that Kyle was very happy about it (See the top picture).....

"Nothing I hate more than a sad loser."
The Commodore

Happy trails to you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Bart Maverick: 
Well, here we are and about time, too. 

Bret Maverick: 
If we take the north trail, we ought to be in Clayton in about four days. 

Bart Maverick: 
Clayton? If we take the south trail, we'll be in Santa Fe tomorrow! 
They tell me th... Oh, I remember now - Adelaide! She lives in Clayton. 

Bret Maverick: 
She does? That's quite a coincidence, isn't it? 

Bart Maverick: 
Uh-huh. Well, you give her my best. 

Bret Maverick: 
You sure you don't want to come to Clayton with me? 

Bart Maverick: 
Not even if she has a sister.

(From "The Jeweled Gun")

Clayton, California, is a real town and has come up in the Old West of Toobworld in another show as well......

I don't like to rely on actual locations for making links between shows, but when it's someplace this "O'Bscure" to the Public's general knowledge, I think we can consider Clayton City and Clayton to be one and the same.

And it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Bret was there in Clayton City when that famous gunfight occurred.  That could be the "long story" he had to tell Brother Bart when they met up again.....



Julia Child died ten years ago today....

This is going out to my dear friend, Michael Cleary, who is an ardent fan of Julia Child and of her cooking techniques.  Back in February, he posted this on Facebook:

"I miss this woman so much. I feel like an old friend just hugged every bit of joy into me. She takes one the hardest things to do, and makes it so easy for anybody to do. Food Network has nothing on her. I hope you're cooking somewhere Julia, we miss you."


Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Of all the cameo guest stars in the big poker game that dominates the "Maverick" movie, not many of the characters had actual names.  Of course, this is a bonus for ye old Toobmeister because then I could declare them to be characters from some of the old great TV Westerns.
But there were a few with "names" - Bill Henderson was named Hightower, for example, and we'll be coming back to him.  Dan Hedaya played a character called "Twitchy" and Dennis Fimple was referred in the credits as "Stuttering".  (Although as pointed out at some point this month in the blog, he was actually playing his character from 'Alias Smith And Jones', Kyle Murtry.)

Henry Darrow was in the movie as one of the riverboat gamblers, but he was not credited with a name.  However, on a web site promoting his autobiography, Darrow is identified as "El Duque" when you run the cursor over the picture.

For my money, he was returning once again to the role that was perhaps his most famous, that
of Manolito Montoya who worked as a ranch hand for Big John Cannon's 'High Chaparrel' Ranch in the Arizona Territory.  (In a way he was part of the family as Big John had married Manolito's sister.)

So could he be Manolito Montoya as well as "El Duque"?  I don't see why not, especially since "El Duque" is just a title.

But where would Manolito get such an appellation?  It's not like the Montoyas were part of the Spanish nobility.

I think he got the title because of his life after he left the High Chaparral. 

I doubt he would have remained on that ranch forever, living in the shadow of his sister's marriage.  After awhile he may have felt that he needed to prove himself, that he could strike out on his own without being propped up by his brother-in-law.

So where would a name like "El Duque" come into play?  I think it's likely that he hired on with one of those frontier circuses, with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show being the model on which all the others were based.
Manolito Montoya could have been hired to be a trick shooter and used "El Duque" as his stage name.  And eventually he would have saved up enough money to enter the Big Game.
Of the frontier circuses in Toobworld, I'm thinking Cartright's Sensational Congress of Heroism and Courage* would be a nice fit, especially since they lost their last star on the circuit, Daring Dan (also known as Mule Canby), when he perished in a fire just outside of 'Centennial', Colorado.

Happy Trails To You!

* I can't remember if that was the name of the frontier circus in the TV series adaptation, but that's the name of the circus that came into town in James Michener's book.

Monday, August 11, 2014


An ingenious way for the Warner Brothers' TV Westerns from the 1950's to save money and still give their episodes an epic feel was to re-use stock footage from the WB movie library.

Had this been unavailable, a scene in which a stagecoach was being chased by Indians might have been confined to interior shots of the coach and its passengers reacting to back-screen projections only.

Instead, the editor and research team for the productions could expand on the situation to make it richer.

Speaking of that stagecoach chase, here are two examples from 'Maverick':

But it wasn't just the wild, wild West vistas that added to the experience.  Consider this ballroom dancing scene supposedly set in New Orleans (also from 'Maverick'):

The cost of that scene, with the musicians and the extras, would have bankrupted the rest of the season!  The show runner could just as easily have inferred that there was a grand ball being held just off-camera......

'Maverick' - "The Jeweled Gun"
'Maverick' - "Alias Bart Maverick"




AUGUST 11, 1929 – While investigating the murder of Leonard Stephens, the Police Department calendar marked the date as August 11, a Thursday. As the series takes place in the 1920's, there are only two possible years for the series on the Toobworld timeline: 1921 or 1929. 

Since Charlie Freeman thought for ten years that his brother Victor had died when his plane was shot down in France during the war (WWI), this episode has to take place Aug. 11, 1929. 

You know what else happened that day? Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio. 

As with most televersions of historical figures with multiple portrayals, I ship off the TV movies to other TV dimensions in order to share the wealth. I'm more concerned with his televersion to be found in TV series. 

That still leaves four portrayals: 
  • "Touched by an Angel" - The Perfect Game (2001)
    Played by Michael Patrick McGill 
  • "A.J.'s Time Travelers" - Babe Ruth (1995)
    Played by Art LaFleur (who was also Babe Ruth in the Cineverse)
With these first two televersions of Babe Ruth, they are depicted as others see them. In 'Touched By An Angel', he is filtered through the memory of a flashback.  (And even with an angel, that can be unreliable.)
  • "Voyagers!" - Cleo and the Babe (1982) Played by William Lucking 
Although Phineas and Jeffrey operate from Earth Prime-Time as their dimensional base, when they travel through Time they wind up in alternate dimensions. So this Babe Ruth is from another world (But not from "Another World".)
  • "Wizards of Waverly Place" - Art Museum Piece (2008)
    Played by Britt Prentice 
In this story, Babe Ruth is a simulacrum taken from a photograph. So technically he's not even alive. However, he's based on a photo of the real Bambino, unaffected by others. 

From the Jalex Episode Guide:
Alex and Max are in the lair, chatting up Babe Ruth--Alex cast a spell on an old Babe Ruth picture to bring him to life. Justin does not approve.

Justin: Alex, put him back in the picture before Dad gets here!
Alex: Lighten up! If he was Obi Wan Kenobi, you'd be all into it.
Justin: A lifesize Obi Wan? I'll be right back.

Before Justin can leave, Jerry shows up and orders Alex to put Babe Ruth back in the picture.

Alex starts to chant the spell but then can't remember the rest of it.

Jerry: You need to know the exact time and place to finish the spell.
Alex: I need to know stuff? Justin's department!!
Justin [smugly]: Yankee Stadium, 1929.
Alex: Wow. You even make sports not sound cool.

So any portrayal of Babe Ruth by this same actor should be the official televersion. And we have the perfect candidate: 

  • "Amazing Sports Stories" - The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth (2008)
    layed by Britt Prentice 

Sunday, August 10, 2014


When making these connections between the riverboat poker players of "Maverick" to characters to be found in other TV Westerns, it's all fun and games until somebody gets killed.
It is the Wild, Wild West, after all.

When it comes to death in the movie, many might only remember the big shoot-out on board the Lauren Belle, in which Angel and his two henchmen were gunned down by Maverick and Son.  But there was another death earlier in the movie, one that brought an end to the life of a beloved old character - George Washington Wishbone of 'Rawhide'.

Wishbone was the trail cook on the cattle drives run by Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates back in the 1860s.  But at some point soon after 'Rawhide' ended its run on TV (on the Toobworld timeline it would be 1869.), Wishbone had to go on the run and so he left his life on the cattle drive behind.  (Perhaps he killed a man on the drive at some point?) 

Taking the alias of Jellifer B. Hoskins, Wishbone had a streak of bad luck: he took money that was stolen by bank robbers, he stole food from the Lancer family, as well as the pearls belonging to one of my televersion's distant relatives, Teresa O'Brien.  The Lancers quickly tracked him down, but then found out he was only doing it to help the orphans he was taking care of.

Taking pity on him, the Lancers hired him on at their cattle ranch.  Wishbone never disabused the Lancers that his name wasn't Jelly Hoskins and he stayed on the job for several decades.  

As an elderly man, "Jelly" was insulted when the Lancer brothers (their own father long since dead) offered him a pension and the chance to retire and live out his years in comfort on the ranch.  Instead, he struck off again to prove that he was still capable of working for a living.
By 1906, Wishbone was back on the trail again, working as a trail cook under the alias of "Cookie", and he was not too pleased about it (as seen in "Gambler Four: Luck Of The Draw".)  He was probably so pissed off by the experience that he quit to take up a new occupation - that of a stagecoach driver.  He worked the route that led from Crystal River to somewhere in the East, although I don't think it would take the Mavericks and Mrs. Bransford all the way to St. Louis from where the Lauren Belle would set sail.

By the time the Mavericks met up with him, G.W. Wishbone aka Jelly Hoskins aka Cookie was about 95 years old... and still too stubborn to retire.
That trip proved to be Wishbone/Jelly's last one as he died with his boots on as the stagecoach hurtled along towards certain doom over a cliff.  Bret Junior was able to halt the horses in time and they buried Wishbone there at the edge of the cliff, not knowing what his name actually was.  (Mrs. Bransford found that his wallet contained nothing but the calling cards for whorehouses throughout the West - good for you, Wishbone!)

This year the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary.  As such, the motto is the same as when I celebrated a milestone birthday - "What I say, goes."

So even though none of these connections for Paul Brinegar's Western avatar are not official, I am declaring them to be so for Toobworld purposes.
  • 'Rawhide'
  • 'Lancer'
  • "The Gambler IV: Luck Of The Draw"
  • "Maverick"
For all of those productions, no matter what his name was in each, Paul Brinegar was playing George Washington Wishbone.  And so we are inducting him into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame along with Sam Buckhart.

Rest in peace, George Washington Wishbone aka Jelly Hoskins.  As Red Skelton would say:
"Good night and may God bless....."