Saturday, August 22, 2015



Here's another example of one of "The Numbers" at work over a century before the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 found themselves on the Island.

This is a picture of the Sheriff of La Mesa about to enter the hotel room in which Bart Maverick was "gunned down" by the wily femme fatale who was posing as his wife.

See you in another life, Bruthah!

Friday, August 21, 2015


San Francisco Police Commissioner Stuart McMillan was listening to a recording dictated by Charles Meridio which caught his murder and death gurgling.  On the tape, the chairman of Western National Airways could be heard talking about the shares in the company which were controlled by the Hamilton Trust down in Houston, Texas.

The Hamilton Trust was established around the turn of the century (we're talking 1900, folks) by John Hamilton, the Scotsman who started with the bank in North Fork, New Mexico, and from there his financial empire grew.  (See the link between 'The Rifleman' and 'Barney Miller'.)

  • 'McMillan'
  • 'The Rifleman'
  • 'Barney Miller'

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Trying to affix dates to the episodes of 'Maverick' has always been a problem.  For the most part they seem to be centered around the mid-1870's, and sometimes - as with "The Thirty-Ninth Star" - the specific date is locked in:

And on "The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick", we learned that he was born on April 7, 1847:  (The hanging supposedly took place on September 21, 1876.)

But then you have to factor in all the time the various Maverick boys spent traveling from town to town in search of a game.  Plus there was that time (in "Plunder Of Paradise") when Bart and Big Mike McComb spent a long time searching the wilds of Mexico for buried Spanish treasure.  

The Toobworld Central position is that we can't treat the 'Maverick' TV series as happening chronologically per broadcast order.  As we did with 'Wagon Train', each episode has to be considered separately when deciding where it goes on the Toobworld timeline.

But other chronology problems pop up.  For example, there's "The Sheriff Of Duck 'n' Shoot" in which Bret gets blackmailed into serving as the town's sheriff for six months.

His deputy Billy Waker (a codgy old desert rat in the best Walter Brennan/Jack Elam tradition) has a picture of Pat Garrett hanging on the wall in the sheriff's office.  It's an object of pride to Billy as he has elevated Garrett to hero status for killing Billy the Kid.

But when he sees the unorthodox methods used by Bret for keeping peace and order in Duck 'n' Shoot, Billy despondently turns to the portrait and tells Garrett "You can turn over now."

As in the phrase "turn over in his grave".

So Pat Garrett should be dead by this point.  However.....

From Wikipedia:
Patrick Floyd "Pat" Garrett (June 5, 1850 – February 29, 1908) was an American Old West lawman,bartender, and customs agent who became famous for killing Billy the Kid.

By 1908, questions surrounding the manner in which he killed Billy the Kid and Garrett's general demeanor had led to his becoming quite unpopular. He no longer had any local political support, his support from President Roosevelt had been withdrawn, and he had few friends with power.

Garrett and Carl Adamson, who was in the process of talks with Garrett to purchase land, rode together, heading from Las Cruces, New Mexico in Adamson's wagon. Brazel showed up on horseback along the way. Garrett and Brazel began to argue about the goats grazing on Garrett's land. Garrett is alleged to have leaned forward to pick up a shotgun on the floorboard. Brazel shot him once in the stomach, and then once more in the head as Garrett fell from the wagon. Brazel and Adamson left the body by the side of the road and returned to Las Cruces, alerting Sheriff Felipe Lucero of the killing.

Brazel did claim self defense saying that Garrett was armed with a shotgun and was threatening him. Adamson backed up Brazel's story. The jury took less than a half-hour to return a not-guilty verdict. W.W. Cox [Garrett's main creditor] hosted a barbecue in celebration of the verdict.

So on the face of it, this episode should have taken place after February, 1908.  

Near the end of the episode, when Bret Maverick is in jail, his brother Bart shows up to allegedly help him get out.  At least in Bart's case, we know that he was still alive by 1908 - or at least we hope so.....  

Bart was last seen at a high-stakes poker game at the Carlton Hotel in San Francisco on April 17, 1906.  By early the next morning, the game took a back seat to the great earthquake which nearly destroyed the City by the Bay.  (Luckily (not that he knew it at the time), Bart had been forced to quit the game many hours earlier.

Toobworld Central likes to think Bart Maverick left town right afterwards while he still had his $1000.00 bill pinned inside his jacket.  

But thirty years on, Bart had aged considerably.....

At the time of the happenings in Duck 'n' Shoot, he looked much younger:

Citing Occam's Razor, I'm going to go with the simplest splainin:

Deputy Billy Waker was mistaken when he thought Pat Garrett was already dead back in the 1870s.  To paraphrase an oft-misquoted Mark Twain* (at least in the real world): “Reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated.”

I don't know where Billy got his information about Pat Garrett, but it probably stemmed from an incident soon after Garrett was elected sheriff in Lincoln County.....

From the CTVA (for 'The Tall Man' - "A Bounty For Billy):
Newly elected sheriff Pat Garrett is gunned down in the dark during an express office robbery. Deputy Johnny Swift believes the shooter is Billy the Kid. With Pat unconsious and the town out for blood, Billy must prove he is innocent. His only friend is his girlfriend Maria, and the two work on a daring plan to bring in the guilty parties.

At least, that's what happened in Toobworld.  Meanwhile, back in the real world....

From Wikipedia:
On November 7, 1880, the sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, Republican George Kimbell, resigned with two months left in his term. As Kimbell's successor, the county appointed Garrett, a Democrat and gunman of some reputation who had promised to restore law and order.

So I'm good with the idea that the events of Garrett's near-fatal shooting took place in the second or third week of November, 1880.  That places it close enough to the basic 'Maverick' timeline to be believable when it comes to the age of the Maverick boys.

Deputy Waker just never got the news update regarding Garrett's survival....

* Wouldn't it have been great to see any one of the Maverick boys with the televersion of Mark Twain?  (Preferably portrayed by Kevin McCarthy!)


Wednesday, August 19, 2015


There be speculation ahead, me hearties!

Daniel Halloran was the representative from the consortium of stock-holders who had invested in the mast-ship "The Wanderer" which had been captained by Abel Morgan Stoddard from New Bedford, Massachusetts.

It was Halloran who came to Captain Stoddard to tell him that the board of investors had decided to divest Stoddard of his captaincy and transfer it to his First Mate, Benjamin Cartwright.  This put Cartwright in a precarious position because he was hoping to marry Captain Stoddard's daughter, Elizabeth.

Captain Stoddard may have continued sailing the sea had it not been for the fact that his enforced retirement was part of the plan by Halloran to take control of the consortium.

What Halloran didn't count on was Ben Cartwright's love for Elizabeth Stoddard.  Ben turned down the position of Captain for "The Wanderer" to instead open a Ship's Chandlery on the New Bedford waterfront, with Captain Stoddard as his partner.


The fortunes of "The Wanderer" quickly sank with a less experienced captain at its helm, and the board of stock-holders held Daniel Halloran accountable.  Fired from his position and with a bad reputation that quickly spread all along the East Coast, Halloran eventually made his way to San Francisco.


Only there, he soon gained a new reputation - as a crazed waterfront preacher known only by his first name of Daniel, warning the Portuguese fishermen away from working the sea.  He drummed up a lot of publicity for the threat of the undersea menace of a kraken which killed several dozen fishermen and finally even a Naval officer.

But it was all just a ruse.  Daniel acquainted himself with Admiral Charles Hammond, who had a vision for an underwater fortress.  Halloran recognized its potential - he planned to take control of it (with the help of Hammond's wife Dolores) and sell it to a foreign power.  (The kraken was an oversized puppet that Disney would have loved for his theme park.)

But first Halloran had to demonstrate its capabilities, and so he planned to destroy Admiral Farragut's frigate from the base.  Unfortunately for him and the sea devils who worked for him, Secret Service agents James West and Artemus Gordon scotched his plans.  Halloran and his men perished in an explosion down in the underwater base.

O'BSERVATIONS: Not all characters played by one actor must be somehow connected to each other.  Ted Knight also portrayed another character on 'Bonanza' (set in the "present" of the Cartwright's Ponderosa) but was not connected to his character of Halloran.

And of course, the same goes for his most famous character of Ted Baxter and to a lesser extent, Henry Rush.  They are not descended from the combination of Daniel and Halloran.  It was implied that Daniel was getting it on with Mrs. Hammond, but I'm not going to imply that she got away and later gave birth to his child in jail.

  • 'Bonanza' - "Elizabeth, My Love" [Halloran]
  • 'The Wild Wild West' - "The Night Of The Kraken" [Daniel]
  • 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'
  • 'Too Close For Comfort'

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


As I've mentioned in the past, I was privileged to meet actor John Finnegan several times in his last years at my place of employ.  He was a charming Irish-American character actor with a glint in his eye and a nearly Runyonesque New York aura.  

Mr. Finnegan is perhaps best known for his twelve appearances in 'Columbo'.
  • Blueprint for Murder (1972) ... Carl
  • The Most Dangerous Match (1973) ... 1st Workman
  • Lovely But Lethal (1973) ... Sergeant
  • A Friend in Deed (1974) ... Lt. Duffy
  • Last Salute to the Commodore (1976) ... Guard
  • Fade in to Murder (1976) ... Assistant Director
  • Columbo Cries Wolf (1990) ... Police Chief
  • Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star (1991) ... Chief Quentin Corbett
  • It's All in the Game (1993) ... Barney
  • Strange Bedfellows (1995) ... Barney
  • A Trace of Murder (1997) ... Barney
  • Columbo Likes the Nightlife (2003) ... Sean Jarvis
He appeared twelve times on the show, but hopefully we can whittle that down to being about five characters......

Although I like to conflate TV characters from different shows into being one character whenever possible, it would just be too illogical to attempt that in the case of John Finnegan's 'Columbo' characters.  Too many different names and occupations to make that feasible.

However, I think the argument could be made that some of the characters he played in the twelve episodes were the same characters he played earlier.

Here's how that grouping of the episodes would work:
  • Blueprint for Murder (1972) ... Carl
  • The Most Dangerous Match (1973) ... 1st Workman
  • Fade in to Murder (1976) ... Assistant Director
  • Columbo Likes the Nightlife (2003) ... Sean Jarvis
  • Columbo Cries Wolf (1990) ... Police Chief
  • Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star (1991) ... Chief Quentin Corbett
  • Lovely But Lethal (1973) ... Sergeant
  • A Friend in Deed (1974) ... Lt. Duffy
  • Last Salute to the Commodore (1976) ... Guard
  • It's All in the Game (1993) ... Barney
  • Strange Bedfellows (1995) ... Barney
  • A Trace of Murder (1997) ... Barney
I would have loved to have combined his roles as Duffy and the police chief, showing the rise of his character through the ranks over the years.  It would have been similar to James Strange's humble beginnings from being a constable working with Detective Morse to eclipsing his former superior to become the Chief Superintendant.  Unfortunately his name as Quentin Corbett just had to be revealed.....

There are many TV characters played by the same actor who just have to be accepted as not being the same person and not being related even as "identical cousins".  In fact, 'Columbo' is notorious for this, with other actors like Vito Scotti, Mike Lally, Fred Draper, and with Jack Cassidy, Robert Culp, and Patrick McGoohan appearing several times as murderers.  We just have to accept that fact.....

So let's run down the combinations we do have for John Finnegan's roles on 'Columbo'.

First up: 


Carl was the foreman on a construction site who met Lt. Columbo during the investigation into the disappearance of Bo Williamson which turned into a murder case.  Deciding to take things easy at that stage of his life, Carl retired from the construction business and instead went to work as another hard-hat: a maintenance man in the hotel where chess champion Tomlin Dudek was tossed into the garbage disposal unit.


Sean Jarvis had been in show business his whole life, working his way up to becoming the assistant director on the "Detective Lucerne" TV show.  But when the star of that show, Ward Fowler, killed the series' producer, Jarvis found himself looking for work like everybody else on the show.  However, at his age it was difficult to find a new AD position and so Jarvis was forced to retire, which made him irascible and embittered.  In other words, crotchety.  And that's how he acted toward Columbo when the homicide detective was looking into the possible connection between the murder of a tabloid journalist named Linwood Coben and the disappearance of Tony Galper, the son of a reputed mobster.


Quentin Corbett is the "identical cousin" of another Finnegan character, Barnard Duffy.  (It's possible that by "cousin" what is really implied is that Corbett and Duffy shared the same father but with two different mothers.)  Both Corbett and Duffy went into the field of police work, with a determined Corbett on the fast track to eventually become police chief for the LAPD.  Corbett was a hard-liner and it was probably after his departure from the job that corruption began to slide into the departmen on the lower levels - best exemplified by Detective Vic Mackey and his crew in the Farmingdale region.  (As seen in 'The Shield')

And now we come to my favorite of these groupings....


Duffy was a sergeant on the force working with Lt. Columbo during the investigation into Viveca Scott's murder of Carl Lessing.  Perhaps he was riding the coat-tails of Columbo's rumpled raincoat, but he received a promotion to Lieutenant soon after that case and was assigned to the Burglary division.  

Columbo and Duffy had the chance to work together again on a robbery/homicide case which was meant to look like the work of a notorious jewel thief.  (But in fact the deeds were committed by two other men, one of them being the police commissioner!)

It could be that this case soured Lt. Duffy on being a policeman and since he had his thirty years in already, he decided to retire with an 80%+ pension.  

But to supplement his retirement income, Barney Duffy took a job as a guard at the marina where Commodore Otis Swanson was later found murdered.  So once again, Duffy was reunited with Lt. Columbo (although they kept their rapport on a professional level.)

Barney decided to get into another line of work entirely by that point.  Thinking he might like to try running his own restaurant, he noticed that a diner bearing his name was for sale - Barney's Beanery.  Based on previous raves by Columbo about the joint and seeing this as a good omen, Barney bought the diner.  At least he wouldn't have to change the name of the place!

Barney Duffy contacted Columbo to let him know about the Beanery's new management and Columbo made sure to become a regular there once more......

John Finnegan was born on this date in 1926 and this is another tip of the hat to a man I was privileged to meet, giving me a personal link to the world of my fifth favorite TV series of all time.

Good night and may God bless......

This post would not have been as successful were it not for this Tumblr page celebrating Mr. Finnegan's roles on 'Columbo'.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day.......


Chaps Callahan had been a cowboy movie star in the early days of the talkies.  His films (which looked a lot like old Bob Steele movies from the Real World) would later enjoy a resurgence of popularity in the 1960's among young boys when they were shown in the afternoons on TV.  (But for little girls, like Buffy Davis, the appeal was lost.)

By that time, Callahan was the manager of a large ranch in Pennsylvania, having retired from making movies in 1939.  

Among his movies were:
  • "Last Chance For Donovan"
  • "Stranger In Twin Creeks"
  • "Headed For Danger"
  • "Six Guns For Pecos"

Callahan came by his talents as a cowboy through family traits.  He was the great-grandson of Trooper Duffy, a Cavalry solder stationed at Fort Courage after the Civil War.  Duffy claimed to be the lone survivor of the Alamo, and his commanding officer at Fort Courage, Captain Parmenter, discovered that Duffy was listed as dead in his service record.

Chaps Callahan may have been given small roles in latter-day TV Westerns like 'Jed Clayton, US Marshall', if for nothing else but for the nostalgia factor.  But otherwise he died in obscurity in Pennsylvania in 1988......

'Family Affair' - "The Old Cowhand"
'F Troop'
'The Hero'


Sunday, August 16, 2015


How about some Sunday morning sausages?

Jimmy Dean wasn't the only country western singer to have his name attached to a brand of sausages.  In Toobworld, Charlie Strayhorn was a fast-rising C&W star whose sausages were supposed to have been made in Cripple Creek, Arkansas, and transported by union trucks.  However, they were made in Mexico by a Chinese noodle company and shipped by non-union trucks.

In 1979, Strayhorn had a big hit with "Heartaches Of A Fool".  As a thank you for rescuing his public image, he cut a personalized single of the song with a thank you on the label to Joe "Rocky" Rockford.

Whenever the song was heard during the episode, we didn't see or hear Charlie singing it.  Instead we heard Willie Nelson who actually wrote it.  

Three years after the episode aired, Nelson reached #39 with the song in December, 1981.  (It can be found on the album "Greatest Hits And Some That Will Be."

Willie Nelson achieved televersion immortality by playing himself as a murder suspect in an episode of 'Monk'.  (He also has a Tooniverse counterpart thanks to 'King Of The Hill'.)  So it could be that in Toobworld, Nelson only recorded a cover of Strayhorn's song.....

Here's Willie Nelson singing as Charlie Strayhorn in the opening sequence from 'The Rockford Files' - "Heartaches Of A Fool":

Watch more video from the Top Picks channel on Frequency