Saturday, July 11, 2015


Here's an unexpected mash-up......

Friday, July 10, 2015


It's been twenty years since 'VR.5' first appeared on our TV screens.  And sadly, as often happens with sci-fi shows over the years, it ended on a cliff-hanger with no hope for resolution: Sydney Blume was able to get her mother's mind free of the VR.5 technology, but at the cost of her own.  She was left trapped within that matrix of an alternate world.
So much could have happened in the two decades since that happened.  I'd like to think Sydney was finally freed herself from there.  Perhaps with the help of the Doctor.  (Of course I would suggest that!)  As a matter of fact, the Doctor might have also been able to save the mind of ('Nowhere Man') whose mind had been trapped in such a computer matrix for just as long.  (However, his body may not have survived and so the Doctor had to transfer his consciousness into another type of host.)
But that's another story.
Twenty years on and the technology for computers and artificial intelligence and mind transferrence (a somewhat established practice by the 1960s in Toobworld) has grown by quantum leaps and boundsin Earth Prime-Time.  For example - the government is able to install a micro-chip into an agent's brain so that he can access the internet instantly.  Another agent - but only conscripted into service after what happened to him - had all the information... information... information... gathered by the government in their mega computer known as the Intersect downloaded into his brain.
The interface between human mind and computer didn't mesh right off the bat; it involved evolution on both sides of the equation.  And Sydney's parents may have also developed the technology in other areas, leading to new frontiers of discovery.  In turn, this could have led to such programs as the current experiment in "stitching".....

Stitching allows a researcher to enter the memories of a deceased  person, ostensibly to learn how that person died and if possible, bring any guilty parties to justice.  (But the TV show is suggesting that the government might have an ulterior motive for the technology.)
It's unlikely that the Blumes will ever be invoked in any future episode of 'Stitchers', but it's just nice to know that it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, for there to be a connection to 'VR.5'....

Thursday, July 9, 2015


This episode, one of the most memorable of the series, must take place in an alternate dimension from Earth Prime-Time as the existence of the planet is finite.  Nora and Mrs. Bronson are two of the last people in New York as the Earth gets ever closer to the Sun where it will burn to a crisp.
From Wikipedia:

Footsteps are heard outside the apartment door. Norma asks her landlady if she locked the downstairs doors of the apartment complex, but Mrs. Bronson is uncertain if she did. They hear a knock on the door, and Mrs. Bronson starts to answer it as Norma screams for her to not open the door under any circumstances. Through the closed door, Norma threatens the mysterious man with a gun and after a few seconds he says he will leave. Unfortunately, despite Norma's warning to the contrary, Mrs. Bronson opens the door and the stranger, still present, forces his way into the apartment and drinks their supply of water. After several moments, he begs for their forgiveness and claims that he is an honest man and would never hurt them, and that he was driven to looting by the heat. He goes on to describe the recent death of his wife due to complications of childbirth, as well of the death of their newborn child. He then leaves the apartment building.
He is known only as "The Intruder" in the episode and technically he doesn't exist.
Again, SPOILERS!!!!!
It turns out by the end of the episode, in one of those neat little twists that made the series so distinctive, the Earth is not heading towards imminent immolation, but is instead moving out of orbit AWAY from the Sun.  That whole scenario had been part of Nora's fever dream.
But the other people who inhabited that dream - the Shusters and of course, the Intruder, must have come from somewhere in Nora's waking life for her to use them as her cast of characters.
For the Shusters, that might not have been their real last name.  He might have been Harry Snowden, the bartender at 'Archie Bunker's Place'.  (His last name would certainly make him stand out for Nora in her waking world.)
And as for June Ellis who played his wife - she had so many characters in her resume who were nameless New York City residents that I might just conflate them all into one character and someday even induct her into the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame!
And then there's the Intruder.....
In that world, Nora must have known him from somewhere else,  Perhaps he was the cop on the beat; maybe he was a former boyfriend of hers.  But he made enough of an impression on her that her subconscious added him to her fever fantasy.
But who could he have been in the real Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time?
He claimed to be a good man brought low by the horrific situation, but what if that wasn't the case in the main iteration of his life in Toobworld?
We may not have known his name in Earth Prime-Time either, but I think the claim could hold up that he had become a hit man in the main Toobworld.

The hit man was hired to kill a DSS agent using the code-name of Adams in Hartford, Connecticut.  But soon after the tell-tale "H&H" shots, the hit man suffered a massive coronary in his car as he drove down one of the Hartford streets.  Just before he died, the hit man asked for a priest before confessing to the murder to mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher.
That episode took place twenty years after the other Toobworld left orbit to sail off into the galaxy as a frozen museum of Terran life.  But if we had been able to see the hit man as he looked back when his counterpart's only crimes were of unlawful entry and looting, we would have seen that both men looked exactly the same.
As I mentioned earlier, both characters were known only by their crimes: "The Intruder" and "The Hit Man".  But I'd like to suggest a name for them that should work in both dimensions.
Their family name would be Velie.

And their father in either dimension would have been an NYPD sergeant by the name of Thomas Velie who worked as Inspector Richard Queen's right hand man back in the 1940s.....
O'Bservation: Sgt. Velie, the Intruder, and the Hitman were all played by Tom Reese......

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


From Matt Hickman, my crossover compatriot in Facebook:

In the 'Magnum PI' episode "On Face Value", when Carol Baldwin fnds Magnum building a sand castle on the beach she asks him if it's a "Detective's Holiday? Charlie Chan's Birthday?"

I can't speak to exactly what day Charlie Chan was born, but I can at least make an educated guess as to what year it was.

The official Charlie Chan for Earth Prime-Time was played by the poor man's Alec Guinness (at least when it came to playing nationalities and ethnicities) - J. Carroll Naish.  'The Adventures Of Charlie Chan' was set in London and ran for 39 episodes back in 1957-58. 

Unless it is otherwise stated in the episode or rendered useless because the time period is not contemporary (the Wild, Wild, West or some far flung future of sci-fi), then the age of the character should be the same as that of the actor assaying the role.  This means that since Naish was born in 1896, Chan was sixty-one years old.

The character first came to life in BookWorld, created by Earl Derr Biggers in a series of novels.  He moved on to feature films and radio before finally landing in the world of the Toob.  (There would be other Charlie Chans on television after that, but each of those would be relegated to other TV dimensions, including the Tooniverse.)
Charlie Chan became so celebrated a detective, that he gained quite an international reputation.  But even though we only knew of him working in London back in the Fifties, he was still originally based in Honolulu.  And that means it was more than likely a reference to him decades after his glory days could be made by Carol, and that Thomas would understand it since they were in Hawaii.

By the way, Charlie Chan's "Number One Son" is still alive in Toobworld, but it is unlikely that we shall ever see him again in any Earth Prime-Time show......


Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Today is Ringo Starr's 75th birthday.  Setting aside his many appearances on variety programs and talk shows, Ringo's membership in the League of Themselves is best represented in Skitlandia and the Tooniverse:

'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In'

'Monty Python's Flying Circus'
- Mr. and Mrs. Brian Norris' Ford Popular (1972) 

'The Simpsons' 

- Brush with Greatness (1991)

But we do know that the Beatles exist in Toobworld.  Aside from their many mentions in various TV shows, the Beatles were seen performing in episodes of 'Doctor Who' and 'Dark Skies'.

In one of those many mentions, Dick Grayson was practicing on the drums when the hot line to Commissioner Gordon began ringing.

"Cool it, Ringo," Bruce Wayne cautioned his young ward.

Happy birthday to my favorite of the Fab Four!





Jack Carter, the brash stand-up comic who was considered one of America's "rising young comedians" during television's pioneer days in the late 1940s and became a familiar face on TV variety shows in the '50s and '60s, has died. He was 93.

Carter, whose stand-up comedy career continued well into his 80s, died Sunday at his Beverly Hills home of respiratory failure, said Jeff Sanderson, a family spokesman.

In show business circles, the gruff-voiced Carter was known as a comedian's comedian. He had an aggressive, keep-them-laughing stage persona that seemed not to diminish with age.

- Dennis McLellan
The Los Angeles Times

Good night and may God bless.....

Monday, July 6, 2015


2015 was supposed to be purely a British TV themed year for the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame.  But twice already we had to have added inductees due to events here in the Trueniverse.  One such situation was planned for - the 80th birthday of actor Robert Conrad, best known for 'The Wild Wild West', but also the star of shows like 'Hawaiian Eye', 'The D.A.', 'The Man Called Sloane', 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' (whose title was wisely changed to 'The Black Sheep Squadron'), and 'James Michener's "Centennial"'.

The other event was not foreseen and frankly unwelcome - the death of Leonard Nimoy, best known throughout the world and in the TV Universe as Mr. Spock of 'Star Trek' fame.

In both instances, these icons of Toobworld were honored with membership based on their own televersions rather than on any characters they played.  (Besides which, Mr. Spock was inducted in December of 2004 and James T. West, along with his partner Artemus Gordon, were accepted as part of the "Proto-Hall" class before 1999 when the idea for the TVXOHOF was still taking shape.

And now,with the British Invasion theme well underway - reaching the halfway mark - we have to once again pause to honor someone else because of unforeseen and unfortunate events.....

"It's Van Dick Patten!"
David Bellows
'Life With Bonnie'

From the Los Angeles Times:
Dick Van Patten, a stage and screen actor most famous for starring as loving father Tom Bradford in the television series “Eight Is Enough,” died Tuesday morning. [June 23]  He was 86.

The actor died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica of complications from diabetes, according to his publicist, Jeffrey Ballard.

- Christine Mai-Duc

Dick Van Patten was one of the last living embodiments of Television History - his first ever role in the medium was as a regular member of the cast in 'Mama', the 1949 Toobworld counterpart to the movie "I Remember Mama".  His last role was a 2011 guest turn in 'Hot In Cleveland', which had served as a bastion for older actors, thanks to having Betty White as a regular cast member.  (And Ms. White would have to be acknowledged as another of those Living Legends.  I think only Carl Reiner, June Lockhart, Bob Newhart, and Dick Van Dyke are left who have such longevity in the overall TV Universe.)  

Van Patten had a very full career in guest spots, but also as a regular in several series - 'WIOU', 'The Partners', 'The New Dick Van Dyke Show', and as Friar Tuck in the Doofus Toobworld version of the Robin Hood legend, 'When Things Were Rotten'.

But his legacy in TV will forever be linked with the character of Tom Bradford, the patriarch in 'Eight Is Enough'.  Tom Bradford himself will one day be enshrined in the TVXOHOF, thanks not only to the series and several reunion TV movies, but also with a Tooniverse cameo appearance in an episode of 'Family Guy'. 
But that's for another day, another year.  Today I want to honor Dick Van Patten, just as I did with Robert Conrad and Leonard Nimoy: for being himself.

I'm not acknowledging appearances in talk shows and variety programs for the qualifications Van Patten needs in order to enter the Hall as a member of the League of Themselves.  Technically it would be okay, especially if the talk show's fictional televersion was acknowledged in other TV shows.  (For example - an episode of 'The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson' was used as a timeline marker for a murder investigation in an episode of 'Columbo'.  Plus characters have appeared on 'The Tonight Show' not only with Johnny as host but Jay Leno as well.)

Dick Van Patten doesn't need any of that.  He has appeared as himself in the fictional settings of several TV shows.  Here's a list of them, with descriptions from the IMDb and 

- "Roller Disco: Part 2" (1979) 

Ponch and Jon continue pursuing the roller skating smash and grab thieves. Jon helps a famous musician who is exhausted and disillusioned. Meanwhile, Ponch is running out of time to find celebrities for the CHP Skate with the Stars charity.

O'Bservation: There were at least thirty stars in that episode, all seen out on the rink and identified by the announcer for the event.  One of them was Dick Van Patten.  He had no lines and was barely seen actually skating. (Of all those cameo appearances, only NBC star Earl Holliman got to speak as he crowned the winner of the Beauty Pageant.) 

It's not a very clean copy of the episode to be found at DailyMotion, but here's a screencap of Dick Van Patten during the festivities:

'The George Carlin Show' 
- "George Lifts the Holy Spirit" (1994) 

Harry steals a truck which has a statue of Jesus in the cargo bed. George tries to help him return it to the church.  George hopes for miracles to save his hide while helping Harry transport a stolen statue of Jesus.
O'Bservation: I can't find any information... information... information about Van Patten's involvement in this episode.  But as there was a reporter from TV Guide playing himself in the show, I'm assuming the storylines somehow intersect with Van Patten being interviewed by the late Mark Schwed.  (Schwed might one day join the Hall as well, with the minimum of qualifications.)

'Cybill' - "Nice Work If You Can Get It" (1995) 

Controlling Maryann comes to Cybill's financial rescue when the star of her new sitcom, Dick Van Patten, drops dead during a curtain call.

O'Bservation: This unusual plot device necessitated a credit noting that Van Patten was in fact alive and well:

"Dick Van Patten is alive and well and playing tennis in Encino."
However, as I am always saying that the credits play no role in Toobworld, then it must hold true in this case as well.  Here we have one of three cases in which a TV show has killed off a celebrity playing themselves, at least I know of only three.* 

It was the sitcom, 'My Life As An Angel', which provided the precedence for what happened next......
'Life with Bonnie'
- "It's a Wonderful Job" (2003)

Bonnie dreams she was never the host of "Morning Chicago" and gets a chilling glimpse of what the show would be like without her.

It's apparently available at the Paley Center for viewing.  Here's the museum's description of the episode:

One in this comedy series starring Bonnie Hunt as Bonnie Molloy, a Chicago woman juggling parenthood with her television career. In this episode, Bonnie and crew snack on "a spread" while discussing Secret Santa and other Christmas plans. Then, David arrives and informs everybody that, due to Bonnie's suggestion about pre-taping a Christmas show, Mr. Portinbody has taken things a step further and demanded a live show on Christmas day. Predictably, everyone is mad at Bonnie. That night, as Mark watches a holiday episode of "Eight is Enough," Bonnie puts Charlie and Frankie to bed. She then apologizes to Mark and rues her job for not allowing her to join him and the rest of the family for celebrations the next day. The following morning, Bonnie awakens to find she's in her old apartment with Dick Van Patten. Dick explains that she is now in an alternative reality where she was never a talk show host, and is still laboring at a low-paying researcher's job. Bonnie arrives at the "Morning Chicago" set to see that Holly, Marv, and Tony barely speak to each other, and don't even know her. Bonnie learns that nobody is happy with their current lives, especially David, who was demoted to producer's assistant and became an alcoholic. Then, Bonnie sees that Gloria became a down-and-out janitor at the station. Eventually, Bonnie discovers that she and Mark divorced a decade ago. Since she didn't have money from her talk show job to support him, he was unable to finish his medical training and became an EMT. Worse, Charlie was never conceived and Frankie went to a foster home. Finally, Bonnie meets the show's current host -- the vile Phyllis Frost. That's enough to cause Bonnie to snap out of the dream and wake up back in the present, in bed with Mark. The entire family then heads to the studio to celebrate Christmas, truly thankful for their blessings. On set, everyone joins in a chorus of "Auld Lang Syne."

For our purposes at Toobworld Central, Bonnie only thought it was a dream.  However, she actually was visited by the ghost of Dick Van Patten, now working as an angel.  Just like Other Tommy Smothers did decades earlier.

(And of course there's another good reason for ignoring appearances on talk shows.  We wouldn't have to worry about Van Patten's appearances in other TV shows as other characters because each of them would have their own reality in Earth Prime-Time separate from Van Patten.)

And so there you have it, perhaps the most unique member in all of the League of Themselves.  And the combination of all those appearances secure Dick Van Patten's place in the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame.

Good night and may God bless, Sir.  Thank you for all your contributions to the Toobworld Dynamic.....

* The two other examples would be Jean Claude Van Damme in an episode of 'Las Vegas' and Tommy Smothers in the series 'My Brother The Angel'. However, it's my contention that Van Damme was either a clone, an android, a replicant or a synth. It actually died doing that stunt off that hotel roof, and the real Van Damme was never in any danger. Not that anybody connected with the movie and the hotel knew that. It would be days before the truth would be learned and by then it would be unseen by the Trueniverse Audience.
As for Tommy Smothers, it was just one of those odd Toobworld coincidences in which there were two sets of brothers named Dick and Tommy Smothers, one of which went on to a successful and controversial career as a comedy/musical duo while the lesser known ones had Tommy die and return as an angel.


Sunday, July 5, 2015


Harry Palmer is the July inductee into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, even though three of his five qualifications for membership were theatrically released movies.  But they have been officially absorbed into Earth Prime-Time since Michael Caine revived the character for two TV movies.

So here are some videos celebrating Harry Palmer.....