Saturday, October 10, 2015



As the murder is being committed in this episode, the butler and the maid are watching the 'Tonight' show with Johnny Carson (TVXOHOF member in January of 2007).  We get to see several clips covering the entire episode, from Johnny's monologue to his goodnight to the audience and a look at who would be on the next show.  This would turn out to be important in the Lieutenant's investigation in establishing the timeline for the murder that night.

But it also helped this televisiologist in establishing the date when this murder took place as well.

First off, here is the dialogue from those excerpts from Carson's show.....

We'll begin with the monologue:

CARSON: I'd like to announce before I start, the producers of "The Towering Inferno", "Poseidon Adventure", "Earthquake" are all contributing to the rest of my monologue tonight.

And then Johnny and Doc Severinson welcome their guest, Della Reese:

DELLA: How you feeling? 
JOHNNY: l'm fine. l've not seen you for a long time. 
DELLA: Yes, a long time. And l've been here several times, and I still think the monologues are great.
JOHNNY: Thank you. But they're not an aphrodisiac.
DELLA: Sometimes you're pretty good, Johnny. 
JOHNNY: You, too? 
DELLA: Yeah, you'd be surprised how sexy you look through my feet like that. 

Johnny makes a quip about the two-way qualities of working in television:

JOHNNY: I probably shouldn't mention this because it'll give away secrets that were long kept in television....  We have a device, you know, in television, where you can also look out. 
DELLA: Well, you sure had fun looking in my room, haven't you? Oh, yes. Yes, you have! 
JOHNNY: You're an active squirrel.... 

We see an old man sitting in the chair next to Johnny's desk, but Della Reese is still cutting in:

DELLA: And l'm one of the few of us who have no rhythm.
JOHNNY: You never took singing lessons, per se, did you? 

(It could be that I'm wrong (It wouldn't be the first time!) as to the identity of that first speaker.  With that sound quality, it could be the old man was the one who had no rhythm.

And then Johnny makes his goodbyes and announces the next show:

JOHNNY: [Inaudible] will be here Monday with Steve Allen, Elke Sommer, Howie Lipton, prize fighter Wina Sturgeon, and a juggling professor, Jim Reinhart. Thank you all. Have a nice weekend!  

One transcript site had Johnny saying "We'll be here Monday," but based on my research I know it has to be "MacLean Stevenson" as the guest host.

Here's what I came up with.

I was already predisposed to have that movie premiere for "Song And Dance" happen on a Friday night, especially since Johnny's sign-off indicated that the next show would be on Monday.  But Friday just felt like a better night to hold such a gala.

So I needed an episode of 'Tonight' with Della Reese as one of the guests, with Johnny definitely hosting (he was known for taking a lot of nights off), and it had to have been broadcast on a Friday night.

I had one other clue - the three movies mentioned in the monologue.  This episode had to happen after they had all opened; so with 'Earthquake' being the last (released in December of 1974), I figured it wouldn't be until some point in 1975 when all three disaster movies had fully permeated the public consciousness.  

A quick search for "Della" on the Wikipedia page for the 'Tonight' show guest list for 1975 gave me the answer:

June 27, 1975

There were three guests that night:
  • Earl Holliman
  • Euell Gibbons and
  • Della Reese as the musical guest.
What seals the deal is the description of the episode from the following Monday, June 30, 1975:

McLean Stevenson (guest host)
with Steve Allen.

I'm guessing that Wikipedia list is incomplete.

As for the other guests on the episode we're interested in, we never do see Earl Holliman, who was probably on first and schilling for 'Police Woman'.  Good thing then - who needs another Zonk to disable?

And that means the old man was Euell Gibbons of "wild hickory nuts" fame as a Serlinguist expousing the benefits of Grape Nuts cereal.

But I'm glad they used Della Reese instead of Holliman and Gibbons because she can connect 'Columbo' to 'Sanford And Son':

'Sanford and Son'
- "Della, Della, Della" (1975)

"If Della Reese 
is your niece,
My son 
is Attila the Hun."
Fred G. Sanford

Fred was a poet and didn't even realize it......

One last note - back then, the 'Tonight' show ran an hour and a half.  And that played into Columbo's investigation.


I thought I had written about this before, but I couldn't find the blog post.  No matter.  This time I have pictures!

Friday, October 9, 2015



In order to solve a mystery in which an unidentified dead body was found among the officially donated corpses at a medical school, the UCOS squad called in a member of the E-Crime team: Xander Levine.  

(Jerry Standing scoffed when he heared that name.  He couldn't believe it was real.)

Unlike Detective Inspector Sandra Pullman, the UCOS members were all in their late sixties, early seventies, retired coppers.  So Xander was certainly different - probably still in his twenties and unkempt in almost a hipster sort of way. Apparently he came to the noticce of the E-Crime unit because Xander once walked along the dark side as a hacker, so he certainly had the chops to fight cyber-crime.

He was exceptionally observant when it came to his job - twenty seconds in the main office of the medical college, where the password was changed daily to log in, and Xander knew what that day's password was.  That's because he saw it across the aisle, written on a post-it note attached to the terminal of one of the workers.  From that, Xander gleaned that the worker's home password was probably "PASSWORD" and that he was a security risk.  (He advised the man who ran the administrative side of the medical college not to let that worker take any important documents home with me.)

Another two minutes in the system and Xander quickly found what he was looking for - the identity of the insider who allowed the body dump and security video wipe to happen.  There was no need to take his time on an investigation when he was in his element, the cyber-world; Xander was no Columbo.

He also approached his work with a sense of excitement and whimsy.  After following the SWAT team into the house of their chief suspect to be a cyber-terrorist, Xander gazed at all of her equipment and sighed, "I think I'm in love!"

American TV has a show about cyber crime investigations already, 'CSI: Cyber'.  And the most gripping episode of Kenneth Branagh's series 'Wallander' dealt with computers as well ("Firewall").  As soon as I had the thought that I would not mind seeing a return visit from Xander, it occurred to me that he could have been brought into the story in order to do a back-door pilot for a new series about cyber-crime.  One of the writers for 'Body of Evidence" was Julian Simpson, who had also written 16 other episodes for 'New Tricks'.  I think it pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Simpson was assigned by the showrunners to come up with a premise for a potential spinoff from the long-running 'New Tricks'.

I've seen pilots set up like that before, using such a character to intrigue the audience enough to try out the new show when it (hopefully) debuted the following Fall.  And if there was an 'E-Crimes' show, Xander Levine wouldn't have to be the main character.  There could be an ensemble cast with a big name star as the head of the team, with Xander as a supporting but still colorful player.

And being the crossover fanatic that I am, I have a suggestion for a guest appearance in connection to Andy Rush's role as Xander Levine.  Besides any former members of the UCOS team stopping by*, I would suggest Alan Davies as Jonathan Creek.  Why not have it turn out that Jonathan had a son he never knew about - and that could be Xander......

This is nothing more than wish-craft on my part.  The final season for 'New Tricks' has already launched in the UK and I'm sure every episode has been locked in place.  And since Xander appeared in only this one episode back in the 9th season (2013), if there ever was an idea to create an 'E-Crimes' show, then it must have been scuttled - more likely deleted - soon after the episode aired.

But I'm sure we'll be seeing more Andy Rush in the future... just not as Xander Levine.


* In its final season, 'New Tricks' doesn't have a single member of the original cast involved.  And of the replacements, only Denis Lawson as Steve McAndrews was involved in the "Body Of Evidence" episode.  So he would be the most likely to show up in the first episode of such a spin-off.  But they could also have called back Alun Armstrong as Brian Lane - who should have been given his own spin-off show, with Susan Jameson as his wife Esther (who would also be his partner in a private investigation business!)

Thursday, October 8, 2015



This series finale ended with Mulder and Scully talking about hope for the future.....  

(SCULLY reaches out and takes hold of MULDER'S hand in a firm grip.)

SCULLY: You've always said that you want to believe. But believe in what Mulder? If this is the truth that you've been looking for then what is left to believe in?

MULDER: I want to believe that the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us as part of something greater than us - greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen to what's speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves.

SCULLY: Then we believe the same thing.

MULDER: (whispers) Maybe there's hope.

[Fade to black]

But at one point in the script's development, the producers were hoping to use the Oval Office set from 'The West Wing' for a scene in which the POTUS learns that "Sculder" had escaped custody.  And according to Executive Producer Frank Spotnitz, they even wanted Martin Sheen to appear as President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet.  

Instead they hired an actor who kind of looked like President George W. Bush to play out the scene.  

You might think I would have loved for that to have happened, to have 'The X-Files' and 'The West Wing' cross over.  But you would be wrong.

If they had pulled that off, it would have meant that so many shows would have to be relocated to the dimension of 'The West Wing'.  And that would mean there would be Zonks a-plenty since a lot of those shows would have mentioned whoever the current POTUS was at the time.

I would have liked seeing "Dubya" portrayed as being rather villainous, however.  No problem with that....


Wednesday, October 7, 2015


In his later years
From 1964 to 1968, Del Monroe played Seaman Kowalski in the Irwin Allen TV series 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'.  (In the Cineverse, his character was known as Kowski.)  No first name was given for Kowalski at any point in nearly 200 episodes.

Nearly a decade after the show ended, Del Monroe appeared in an episode of 'The Rockford Files' - "Where's Houston?"*  In this he was known as Charlie, no last name given.  Charlie was the main enforcer doing the dirty work for a corrupt developer named Charles Blackhorn.  

So Charlie had no last name and Kowalski had no first name.  But I can't make the claim that they were one and the same for two reasons.  'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' fans would rise up against me for besmirching the good name of Seaman Kowalski by saying that he "turned to the dark side" after leaving the Nelson Institute for Marine Research.

I also can't claim that Charlie was Kowalski's evil twin brother for the second reason I can't conflate the two: the characters as we know them appeared at almost the same point in the Toobworld timeline, even though nine years had passed between 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' and that episode of 'The Rockford Files'.

'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' may have been produced between 1964 and 1968, but the pilot episode, "Eleven Days To Zero", takes place in 1972 (in the original timeline for Earth Prime-Time as a matter of fact - before Professor Nick Cutter inadvertantly altered it back in prehistoric times during one of his trips through a 'Primeval' timeline.)

And Jim Rockford was threatened by Charlie in 1977, just four years later when Seaman Kowalski was still serving on board the Seaview under Admiral Harriman Nelson and Captain Lee Crane.

This is how Seaman Kowalski appeared (basically) throughout his tour of duty, at least for the time we saw:

And this is how Charlie looked in "Where's Houston?" (seen right after his underlings gave Rockford a beating):

I have no problems in accepting Charlie as a Kowalski though.  He would have been the older brother to the Seaview seaman and just a nearly identical brother... but not a twin.


* Monroe actually appeared in a second episode - "This Case Is Closed".  But he played a guy in New Jersey named Vic......

Tuesday, October 6, 2015



I don't like to report closed deals for TV shows as news, until I'm absolutely certain that at least one episode of that series is broadcast. Then I can absorb it into the main TV Universe. But since NBC is giving this show a "straight-to-series" order, I'll take it on faith that it will come about. It better - I don't like to waste my time... much.

Luc Bresson, who wrote and produced the "Taken" movies which starred Liam Neeson, will be the executive producer of a prequel series. It will deal with Neesom's character Bryan Mills as a much younger man, showing how he gained that particular set of skills which served him well in rescuing his daughter in the first "Taken" movie.

The proposed series will be set in the Present, so there's no discussion regarding the movies being absorbed into the Toobworld Dynamic. Liam Neeson's Bryan Mills only exists in the Cineverse, while the younger version will be in Earth Prime-Time only. And never the twain shall meet.

No casting decisions have been made yet for this series and I wouldn't want to make any type of suggestion for the role of Bryan Mills - mainly to avoid the ridicule that would result if my choice proved to be so far off the mark.  Unlikely Liam Neeson will be assaying the role as he's too old for what the network envisions for the character.  (So we won't have a situation as with 'Limitless' in which Bradley Cooper will kick off the series by playing his movie character in at least one episode.)  But who knows?  Maybe out of friendship with Bresson, perhaps he might take on some other role - as a mentor to the new Bryan Mills?

Perhaps NBC is also casting an eye toward crossing the series over with one of its other shows at some point - perhaps in any one of Dick Wolf's 'Chicago' procedurals or in 'The Blacklist'?

We shall see what we shall see.....

Monday, October 5, 2015


From Wikipedia:

Maria Faustyna Kowalska, O.L.M., recognised in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Faustina (born Helena Kowalska, 25 August 1905 in Głogowiec – 5 October 1938 in Kraków, Poland), was a Polish nun.

Throughout her life, Faustina reported having visions of Jesus and conversations with him, which she wrote about in her diary, later published as the book "The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul". Her Vatican biography quotes some of these reputed conversations regarding the Divine Mercy devotion.

At age 20 she joined a convent in Warsaw and was later transferred to Płock and then to Vilnius where she met her confessor, Father Michał Sopoćko, who supported her devotion to the Divine Mercy. Faustina and Sopoćko directed an artist to paint the first Divine Mercy image, based on Faustina's reported vision of Jesus. Sopoćko used the image to celebrate the first Mass on the first Sunday after Easter - which later was established by Pope John Paul II as Divine Mercy Sunday.

Faustina was canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church on 30 April 2000, having been considered a mystic and visionary. She is known and venerated within the Church as the Apostle of Divine Mercy.

In Toobworld, St. Faustina's was a prestigious pre-school where Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan were hoping to enroll one of their daughters.


St. Faustina died on this date 77 years ago......

Sunday, October 4, 2015


So there's this new Optimum commercial.......

 Take a look again at the tech guy who pushes the red button to "go for Gamma".....

Doesn't he look like the Verizon "Test Man"?

It has been a few years since we saw him last; maybe he's aged since then.

If it's not the same actor (Paul Marcarelli), but an incredible facsimile, then I'm going to make the claim that it's the older brother of the "Test Man". But I'd like to think it is indeed "Test Man", now working for the competition......