Saturday, June 6, 2015


Here's a song that should be of interest to those in my audience who can remember sitting in front of the TV on a Saturday morning in their pajams with a bowl of sugary cereal in their laps. 

The song was written by my friend Michael Finke and it was performed by Matt Wood at Studio 54 on the night of the Finkester's birthday earlier this month.

And its inspiration came from real life, a news story from China.

I hope you enjoyed it......



"I was excited to turn 60. 
I decided if you're lucky enough to be alive, 
you should use each birthday to celebrate what your life is about.”
Mary Steenburgen

Friday, June 5, 2015


I've a new theory for recastaways which can be more extensive for Toobworld than specific causes like plastic surgery, quantum leaping, or alien/android substitutions.

However, it is alien-based.  I believe Toobworld, which has always been the focus of alien invasions since the Golgafrinchams at the Dawn of Mankind*, had been visited by the sentient natives of Antos IV during the Age of Legend.  And those Antosians not only bred with the Terran humanoids, but they also passed on their ability to alter their appearance through genetic manipulation.

Here's the key description from Memory Alpha, the 'Star Trek' wiki:

Cellular metamorphosis was a technique used by the inhabitants of Antos IV which allowed them to heal injuries at an accelerated pace.

In the 23rd century, the Antos IV natives taught this technique to Captain Garth of Izar, who had sustained life-threatening injuries. Although it was successful in healing Garth, it also caused him to become psychologically unstable, necessitating his placement at the Elba II asylum. While there, he managed to use cellular metamorphosis to alter his physical form and take on the appearances of other individuals. Using this power, he was able to take over the asylum and capture Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, who had beamed down to the colony to deliver new medicine. Garth alternately used this technique to impersonate both Spock and Kirk in an attempt to take over the USS Enterprise, but Spock was eventually able to determine his true identity and stun him with a phaser. (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy")

Although we never saw what the Antosians actually looked like in that 'Star Trek' episode, I think it's safe to assume they were basically humanoid in appearance.  Because of the "seeding" of the Galaxy by the Preservers, it's likely they were closely related to humans genetically and so it would have been easier for them to procreate with "close" relatives like the Terran humans.  And I think they may have been equipped with six inch tails which proved to be a dominant trait passed on to their hybrid descendants.  We saw two shape changers who had such tails - Eddie Van Blundt and his father.
We may not have seen what the Antosians looked like in 'Star Trek', but it's my belief that we did see a few of them by crossing over into 'The Twilight Zone'.  In fact, we might have seen the heir to the Antosian throne!  "Old Ben" was anything but - in fact, he was a handsome young king.  But through his use of cellular metamorphosis he was able to change himself into not only an old human but also into a strange insectoid monster.  "Old Ben" is proof that the Antosians could breed with Terrans because he married an Earth girl once she grew up.....


Another shape-changer who may have been cursed with a vestigial tail was Arch Hammer.  He used his shape-shifting talents as a con man to gain money, women, revenge, and a chance to escape.  He impersonated a dead jazz musician named Johnny Foster in order to make time with Johnny's girlfriend.  Then Arch became Virgil Sterig so that he could blackmail crime boss Pennell who had ordered the real Virgil to be bumped off.

That didn't quite work out the way Arch intended, and so he quickly assumed the form of a young boxer named Andy Marshak.... 

Just his luck he ran into Marshak's father who had a seething resentment towards his own son for breaking his mother's heart which led to her early death.  Old Man Marshak caught up with his "son" and shot him.  Arch fell to the ground and shifted through all of his shapes before dying.

So this cellular metamorphosis could be a splainin as to why certain recastaways happen in Toobworld, especially in shows where the concept of alien impersonations might be too implausible.  The addition of Antosian genetics into the human DNA pattern would be so far back in History that it no longer had any bearing on the believability of the setting.  And there wouldn't be that many in the world - unlike the case with the Wesen who seem to nearly outnumber the human population (at least in Portland, Oregon!)

I don't think we have to limit these shape-shifters to just Earth Prime-Time either.  The Antosians could have visited other planets, especially other inhabited ones in the Sol system....  Like Mondas.

Mondas was the twin planet of Earth Prime-Time, sharing a geo-synchronous orbit.  But it was blasted out of its orbit to parts unknown, only to be destroyed when it finally returned in the mid-1980s.

In the early days of Mondas, during an age that was equivalent to the Medieval period of the far younger Toobworld, most of the world was under the sway of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.  And at least two Mondasians were recastaways which had nothing to do with being members of the Faceless Men.  One of these characters was the sell-sword Daario Naharis (and personally I preferred his first appearance.)  The other is the barbaric giant of a man known as the Mountain.  HIs real name is Gregor Clegane and he has gone through three transformations since the Trueniverse audience first started following his exploits.

Whether Arch Hammer or Daario Naharis or the Mountain had vestigial tails like the Van Blundts, I have no answer.....


So should a character be recast in some show in which there's no better splainin available, it could be that the character has Antosian genes in his DNA.  And the reactions by the other characters must have occurred off-screen during the season break.  (Spartacus, perhaps?)  And perhaps there are whole communities of these Terran/Antosian hybrids, which would splain away so many recastaways in the soap operas.......

I'd like to tip my cap to Linda Alexander, who inspired this post.  Currently she is doing the research for a book she's writing on the late actor Steve Ihnat, who portrayed Garth of Izar in that 'Star Trek' episode.  She posted a picture of Ihnat in 'The Big Valley' and that got my leetle grey cells to start churning....


  • 'Star Trek' - "Whom The Gods Destroy"
  • 'The Twilight Zone' - "The Four Of Us Are Dying"
  • 'The Twilight Zone' - "The Fugitive"
  • 'The X-Files' - "Small Potatoes"
  • 'Doctor Who' - "The Runaway Bride"
  • 'Doctor Who' - "City Of Death"
  • 'Doctor Who' - "The Tenth Planet"
  • 'Doctor Who' - "Earthshock"
  • 'Torchwood: Miracle Day'
  • 'Game Of Thrones'
  • 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'
  • 'Spartacus'
  • 'The Big Valley'
  • 'Grimm'


* Strike that.  It goes all the way back to when Earth Prime-Time was being assembled by the Magratheans, when the Empress of the Racnoss inserted her eggs into the planet's newly-forming core.  And then when the "Blessing" wormed its way into an antipodal position through the center of Toobworld.  Hell, even the Jagaroth and the Cybermen beat the Golgafrinchams at invading the planet.  And it was a good thing, a really good thing, for Mankind that they did.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


We met a lot of relatives for Jessica Fletcher over the years on 'Murder, She Wrote':

  • Marshall MacGill (brother)
  • Martin MacGill (brother)
  • Neil Fletcher (brother-in-law)
  • Constance Fletcher (sister-in-law)
  • Louise Morton (sister or sister-in-law)
  • Victoria Brandon (married to Howard Griffin)
  • Carol Donovan
  • Pamela MacGill-Crane (via her brother, Marshall)
  • Nita Cochran
  • Tracy MacGill (via her brother)
  • Jill Morton
  • Audrey Fletcher-Bannister
  • Carol Bannister (great-niece)
  • Carrie Palmer
  • Grady Fletcher
  • Johnny Eaton
  • Frankie Fletcher (great-nephew, Grady's son)

  • Abigail (Abby) Benton Freestone (Lynn Redgrave)
  • Emma MacGill (Angela Lansbury)
  • Ann Owens Lawton (Shirley Jones)
  • Helen Owens (Doris Roberts)
  • George Owens (Robert Walker Jr.)
  • Calhoun "Cal" Fletcher (second cousin once removed through marriage)
Other relatives
  • Mildred (aunt by marriage)
  • Amanda (great-aunt through marriage)
  • Walter (uncle; deceased)
  • Sarah (great-aunt; deceased)
  • Henry (great-uncle; deceased)
  • Cyrus (uncle; deceased)
[From Wikipedia]

A pretty crowded field, but I still want to add one more.....

Jessica probably never even knew that she had a cousin on the MacGill side of the family who was another identical cousin like Emma MacGill.  And Emma probably didn't even know she had a half-sister originally from one of the Communist countries of Middle Europe.  

It is the Toobworld Central contention that Emma MacGill's father had an affair in the mid-1920s with a woman from some country in Europe like Hungary.  They had a daughter who was known internationally as Elfie Van Donck when she grew up.  This may have been her stage name, or it could have been the name she carried from birth.

Elfie Van Donck was a movie actress, more a star than an actress, actually, and she had a sister who married a scientist named Dr. Armand Warshowsky.  The Warshowskys had a son named Bartlett whom the evil spy organization THRUSH considered to be potentially a scientiic genius even at the age of 13.

I think Elfie's late sister was the offspring of her mother's husband and would not be the daughter of Emma MacGill's father as Elfie was.  

So I'm adding Elfie Van Donck to the family tree of Jessica Fletcher.  (But don't expect to see it added to the Wikipedia entry.....)

'Murder, She Wrote'
'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' - "The Deadly Toys Affair"


Wednesday, June 3, 2015



While at Stringfellow's nightclub, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music had his nose picked by the charity auction date of magician Adam Klaus.

This was never seen on the TV, but it happened in Toobworld and will serve as a link to any other series in which Ferry appears as himself.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I realize that just two weeks ago or so I said I wouldn't be writing about potential series unless there was a full commitment to be shown on TV. But I found this story to be not only likely to at least be a TV movie or mini-series, but also to hold some interest as a product of the multiverse.

The long-time production team of Ron Howard and Brian Glazer are adapting the six novels in Jean M. Auel's series about the "Clan of the Cave Bear". So there's BookWorld in the Multiverse. There already was a movie - thirty years ago next year already! - and that covers the Cineverse. So now comes this project which will bring the world of the Cave Bear Clan into Earth Prime-Time.

It is being made for Lifetime, hopefully for the 2015 Fall season, and will star Millie Brady in the Daryl Hannah role of Ayla, the blonde/blue-eyed child of "the Others". (NOT a 'Lost' reference) Also in the cast are Charlene McKenna, Johnny Ward, and Hal Ozsan.

Set 25,000 years ago, I see no reason why it can't be part of Earth Prime-Time. There are not many other TV shows set during the days of Primitive Man which could cause any Zonks.

What? Ayla is going to cross paths with the characters from 'It's About Time'?


Monday, June 1, 2015


 For several years I toyed with the idea of inducting British detectives Barlow and Watt into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame in June, as they were the perfect example of a pair, like the Gemini twins. But there were two reasons why I kept putting it off. One - something always came along that intrigued me more when it came to writing up that particular month's entries. But now that I'm dedicating this year to British nominees, I no longer have any excuse.

The second reason is that I really don't know very much about these two detectives, having never seen any of the shows in which they appeared. So if you'll please forgive me, the following list of the reasons why they deserve entry into the TVXOHOF is a compilation of Wikipedia articles about each show.

'Z-Cars' or 'Z Cars' was a British television drama series centred on the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby, Merseyside. Produced by the BBC, it debuted in January 1962 and ran until September 1978.

The series differed sharply from earlier police procedurals. With its less-usual Northern setting, it injected a new element of harsh realism into the image of the police, which some found unwelcome.

'Z-Cars' ran for a total of 803 episodes, of which fewer than half have survived. Regular stars included Stratford Johns (Detective Inspector Barlow), Frank Windsor (Det. Sgt Watt), James Ellis (Bert Lynch) and Brian Blessed ("Fancy" Smith). Barlow and Watt were later spun into a separate series Softly, Softly.

The spin-off 'Softly, Softly' focused on the regional crime squad, and ran until 1969, when it was again revised and became 'Softly, Softly: Taskforce', running until 1976. The character of Barlow (Stratford Johns) was one of the best-known figures in British television in the 1960s and 1970s, and was given several seasons of his own "solo" series, 'Barlow at Large' (later just 'Barlow') between 1971–75. He also joined Watt (Frank Windsor) to re-investigate the Jack the Ripper murders for a six-part series in 1973. This led to another spin-off, 'Second Verdict' in which Barlow and Watt looked into unsolved cases and unsafe convictions.

'Softly, Softly: Taskforce' is a police based drama series which ran on BBC 1 from 1969 to 1976. A revamp of 'Softly, Softly', itself a spin-off from 'Z-Cars', the change was partly made to coincide with the coming of colour broadcasting to the BBC's main channel. The main characters, Detective Chief Inspector Barlow (Stratford Johns) and Detective Inspector Watt (Frank Windsor) were promoted to control of 'taskforces', a new (at the time) development in regional police divisions wherein expertise and manpower could be drawn together when needed for special operations. Joining them from 'Softly, Softly' would be DS Harry Hawkins (Norman Bowler), also on promotion. The stories were set in the fictional south-eastern English borough of Thamesford (played by the City of Rochester and the Medway area), where the team were under the baleful eye of Chief Constable Cullen (Walter Gotell).

The programme was due to be called 'Taskforce', but the BBC were reluctant to sacrifice a much-loved brand and so a compromise was reached; it became 'Softly, Softly: Taskforce'.

The continuing storyline of the series saw Barlow widowed in 1972, after which he was headhunted by the Home Office to work on special cases (this became the series Barlow at Large). This left the way clear for Watt to come out of Barlow's shadow and take command in his own right, with the reliable assistance of Hawkins. Regulars included Terence Rigby as PC Snow (the dog handler, with his dogs Inky and Radar), David Lloyd Meredith (Sgt Evans) and Walter Gotell (Chief Con. Cullen).

'Barlow at Large' is a British television programme broadcast in the 1970s, starring Stratford Johns in the title role.

Johns had previously played Barlow in the 'Z-Cars', 'Softly, Softly' and 'Softly, Softly: Taskforce' series on BBC television during the 1960s and early 1970s. 'Barlow at Large' began as a three-part self-contained spin-off from 'Softly, Softly: Taskforce' in 1971 with Barlow co-opted by the home office to investigate police corruption in Wales. Johns left 'Softly, Softly' for good in 1972, but returned for a further series of 'Barlow at Large' in the following year, Barlow having gone on full-time secondment to the Home Office. This second series, rather than telling one story in serial form, as the 1971 series had, was instead ten 50-minute episodes, each with a self-contained story (this would be the format of all subsequent series). In this series, Barlow was supported by Norman Comer as Detective Sergeant Rees, who had been helpful to him during the first series. He also had to deal with the political machinations of the senior civil servant Fenton (Neil Stacy).

In 1974 the series was renamed 'Barlow' and a further two series of eight episodes each followed, introducing the character of Detective Inspector Tucker, played by Derek Newark. The final episode was transmitted in February 1975. The Barlow character was seen again in the series 'Second Verdict' in which he, along with his former colleague John Watt (Frank Windsor), looked into unsolved cases and unsafe convictions from history.

'Second Verdict' is a six-part BBC television series from 1976, of dramatised documentaries in which classic criminal cases and unsolved crimes from history were re-appraised by fictional police officers. In Second Verdict, Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor reprised for a final time their double-act as Detective Chief Superintendents Barlow and Watt, hugely popular with TV audiences from the long-running series 'Z-Cars', 'Softly, Softly' and 'Barlow at Large'. 'Second Verdict' built on the formula of their 1973 series 'Jack the Ripper' in which dramatised documentary was drawn together with a discussion between the two police officers which formed the narrative. 'Second Verdict' also allowed for some location filming and, when the case being re-appraised was within living memory, interviews with real witnesses.

'Jack the Ripper' is a six-part BBC television drama made in 1973, in which the case of the Jack the Ripper murders is reopened and analysed by Detective Chief Superintendents Barlow and Watt (Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor, respectively). These characters were hugely popular with UK TV viewers at the time from their appearances on the long-running police series 'Z-Cars' and its sequels 'Softly, Softly' and 'Barlow at Large'. The programme was presented partly as a discussion between the two principals in the present day, interspersed with dramatised-documentary scenes set in the 19th century. The experiment was seen to be a success, and the formula was repeated in 1976 with 'Second Verdict', in which Barlow and Watt cast their gaze over miscarriages of justice and unsolved mysteries from the past.

  • 'Z Cars'
  • 'Softly, Softly'
  • 'Softly, Softly: Taskforce'
  • 'Barlow At Large'
  • 'Barlow'
  • 'Second Verdict'
  • 'Jack The Ripper'

Not a bad run for a couple of coppers......

Welcome to the Hall, Gents!

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Last Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend, my brother Bill and I traveled to Tanglewood in order to see one of my favorite bands reunited - Barefoot Truth.  They were part of a four-act bill at the SummerSound music festival and as always they worth the trip!

I haven't found any video yet from that particular venue, but this mini-concert will serve......