Saturday, December 19, 2015


I went to see the new "Star Wars" movie, "A Force Awakens", Thursday night.  I'm writing this up even before I saw it. (Amendment: Access-A-Ride screwed up my ride downtown, an hour late when I wanted to be there an hour early.  So I didn't see it yet after all......)

Here's a Top Ten list, rather than a Super Six list, of references to the first movie (fourth in the timeline) from various TV shows in the main Toobworld.  And I decided to crank it up to eleven.......

The Bob Newhart Show: Carlin's New Suit (1977)
Bob, Howard, Carlin and Billy wait in line for the movie.

Lou Grant: Scoop (1977)
The Assistant Foreign Editor mentions 'Star Wars as the inflight movie'

Mork & Mindy: A Mommy for Morky (1978)
An upside-down Star Wars poster is seen adorning the wall of Mork's attic bedroom.

Hart to Hart: This Lady Is Murder (1980)
a character is referred to as "the one who's seen Star Wars 47 times."

Three's Company: Strangers in the Night (1982)
Bernice claims her favorite song is the theme from Star Wars.

Remington Steele: Lofty Steele (1984)
When they enter Charlie's apartment and see all of the toy robots, Steele says it looks like the prop room for Star Wars.

Wings: Stew in a Stew (1992)
Helen explains sequels to Antonio, and uses the "Star Wars" films as an example.

Friends: The One with the Prom Video (1996)
Monica says that Roy Gublick, her prom date, saw the movie 317 times and that his name was in the paper for it.

3rd Rock from the Sun: Father Knows Dick (1996)
Tommy watches this film on TV.

Spaced: Chaos (1999)

Tim, Daisy and Brian watch the Star Wars trilogy and talk about it in depth. Later, they reference the characters, music and dialogue featured in the movie, particularly from the meeting about destroying the Death Star.

And bringing it back to where we began......

That '70s Show: A New Hope (1999)
The kids go to see Star Wars. There are many references to the movie.

May the Force be with you.....

Friday, December 18, 2015


I belong to a Facebook group which celebrates the classic sitcom 'Make Room For Daddy' and I was reminded recently of one reason I loved that show so much - Sid Melton's work as Charlie Halper.  (I've always had a soft spot for the comic sidekick.)  He's even eligible for the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame since he played Charlie in 'Make Room For Daddy', 'Make Room For Grand-Daddy', 'The Joey Bishop Show' and even in a Post Cereal commercial!

I would say that Charlie was Melton's most famous role in Toobworld, but I could also see the argument for Alf Munroe on 'Green Acres'.  And he had a slew of one-shot and recurring roles in a variety of sitcoms - 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', 'Petticoat Junction', 'The Munsters', 'That Girl', and 'I Dream Of Jeannie'.  (He did dramas as well like 'Mod Squad' and several characters for 'Dragnet'.)  For the recurring roles he was Friendly Freddie in 'Gomer Pyle USMC', Harry in 'Bachelor Father', Hal Miller in 'Oh, Susanna!', and Salvadore Petrillo in flashbacks of 'The Golden Girls'.  He also played Harry Cooper on 'It's Always Jan' and it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that this Harry was the same Harry for 'Bachelor Father', but more research is needed.

But there is one regular character he played, for 27 episodes in fact, who seems to have been mostly forgotten save for the die-hard fans of classic television:

Ichabod "Ikky" Mudd*
'Captain Midnight'
["Bow ties are cool."]

Captain Midnight was a character who was a multiversal, living out his adventures in the Radioverse, the Cineverse, and in the world of comic books, as well as in Toobworld.  And in Toobworld, he was a multi-dimensional due to copyright entanglements outside of the Box.

Here's the Television segment from the Wikipedia entry for 'Captain Midnight':

The 'Captain Midnight' TV series, produced by Screen Gems and starring Richard Webb, began September 9, 1954, on CBS, continuing for 39 episodes until January 21, 1956. In the television program, 'Captain Midnight' (now a veteran of the Korean War) heads the Secret Squadron as a private organization, in contrast to the radio show. As with the Fawcett comic, the only other character of the radio show held over was Ichabod Mudd (played by Sid Melton), who was used for comic relief. Another regular character was Dr. Aristotle "Tut" Jones, Midnight's resident scientist, played by character actor Olan Soule. (Soule was the only actor to perform in both the radio program and the television program. In the radio program, he played Agent Kelly, SS-11.)

The aircraft featured in the series is the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, named the Silver Dart, and was based on using both models and occasionally stock footage. The series filmed at the Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi Valley, California. When the TV series went into syndication in 1958, Ovaltine was no longer the sponsor. However, The Wander Company owned the rights to the character's name "Captain Midnight," forcing a title change by Screen Gems from 'Captain Midnight' to 'Jet Jackson, Flying Commando', and all references in the episodes to 'Captain Midnight' were re-dubbed (rather poorly) "Jet Jackson."

For Toobworld, the splainin is simple.  'Jet Jackson, Flying Commando' was the same story playing out in an alternate TV dimension.  But in that alternate dimension - and I see no reason why it couldn't be the Evil Toobworld dimension - Captain Midnight must have lost his parents at an early age and was instead raised by a family named Jackson.  Over the years, perhaps due to his skills as a pilot during the Korean Conflict, he gained the nickname "Jet".  Otherwise, everything else about his life as the head of the Secret Squadron remained the same.  

Seeing as how that all took place in the Evil Toobworld, eventually Jet Jackson and his pal Ikky would have been killed off by some agent of darkness or another....

Meanwhile, back in the main Toobworld.....

I'm not going to bother trying to come up with left-field theories of relateeveety to connect Ichabod Mudd to any of the other Sid Melton characters as family members.  However, I will offer this splainin which could serve as inspiration to any fanficcers out there who might be interested in writing about this formerly minor character:

The Secret Squadron probably had a large support team, including researchers and computer experts.  And they probably discovered that Ikky had a lot of look-alikes all across the United States.  (It may have started when they saw the obituary for Salvadore Petrillo (apparently in the early 1950s?)  Discovering more look-alikes, the Secret Squadron research team "borrowed" their personal information to create new identities for Ikky to use in undercover missions that were not seen by the Trueniverse audience.

So have at it, if you are so inclined.  Haven't YOU always wanted to write that 'Captain Midnight' - 'Green Acres' crossover?

My thanks to fellow Iddiot Eliott Wagner for inadvertently inspiring this post.


* "That's 'Mudd' with two D's." - Ichabod Mudd

Thursday, December 17, 2015



For televisiologists such as myself, this episode is probably most famous for mention of John Steed's former partner Cathy Gale.  She sent him a Christmas card and he wondered why she was sending it from Fort Knox.  This was an in-joke, what David Bianculli calls an "Extra", that referenced the involvement of actress Honor Blackman (who played Cathy) in the James Bond movie "Goldfinger" in which she played Pussy Galore*.

But as Emma Peel brought in Steed's mail, she let one Christmas card drop to the floor and she never bothered to pick it up.  Perhaps in the real world, it was an unforeseen glitch and Diana Rigg chose to continue instead of going against the pre-arranged stage blocking to pick it up.

But within the scene's "reality"?

I think she saw who the Christmas card was from and she didn't want Steed to get it.  Although we didn't see her do so, it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that she kicked it under the sofa so that she could retrieve it later and destroy it.

I want to know who sent the Christmas card that Emma dropped and then left on the floor. Yes, I am that O'Bsessed by TV trivia!

Fellow crossoverist Matt Hickman came up with a great splainin, speaking of James Bond.  The Christmas card was from none other than 007 his own self!

Although it's outside the purview of the Toobworld Dynamic, James Bond appeared in the fictional shared universe built by Alan Moore for "The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen".  In that world, Bond was a sexist chauvinist pig who killed Emma Peel's father and godfather and used his "charms" to have his way with Emma.

I don't want to steal from Mr. Moore, but I think it could be that Emma Knight (her maiden name) did have an affair with the televersion of James Bond.  It just didn't play out the way Moore envisioned it.

However it did go wrong at some point and she broke it off, eventually marrying Peter Peel.  

But her resentment of Bond was so strong that years later she still harbored a desire for revenge.  And she probably didn't care for the idea that Steed still had a friendship with him.  (She probably never told him about her relationship with Bond.  Had she done so, I'm sure he would have sided with her.)

I wrote this up back in January, stuck at work during that so-called blizzard.  But I'm posting it now because of the Christmas card connection.  Today is just about the deadline for mailing your Christmas cards by first class in order to ensure they reach their destinations in time for Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

* Unlike some others, I do not conflate the characters of Cathy Gale and Pussy Galore into one character.  For the Toobworld Dynamic, the James Bond movies are just that - movies.  They may have a reality rooted in the Cineverse, but for Earth Prime-Time, they are cinematic portrayals of the "real" James Bond - financed by UNREEL - to serve as plausible deniability for the secret agent's activities.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


"Okay, let's hear it, Columbo."
Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord
'Madam Secretary'

Tea Leoni's political thriller TV series has to take place in an alternate TV dimension since their President is different from the POTUS to be found in Earth Prime-Time and the Trueniverse.  (Because of the possibility of jokes at the President's expense, the President in Toobworld should always be the same person as in the real world.)

Many characters (and situations) in the dimension of 'Madam Secretary' are different from those to be found in the main Toobworld, but that doesn't mean none of the other characters from other TV shows can't be found in Liz McCord's world.  And Lt. Columbo would be a good example.  

However, he doesn't have to be the rumpled detective that we knew and loved as played by the late Peter Falk.  This could be the very world in which we would find the original TV Columbo.....

I've mentioned the "Enough Rope" episode seen on 'The Chevy Mystery Show' before.  In 1960, the genius writing team of Levinson & Link created the character who was brought to life by Bert Freed.  It was the same story as seen in the later Broadway-bound stage show which starred Thomas MItchell (who unfortunately died in the touring production.)  The title was changed to "Prescription Murder" which was adapted yet again for TV to serve as the first pilot for the eventual 'Columbo' series.

Usually the Toobworld Dynamic rule was to have the first performance of a character to be the official one for Toobworld.  But there are exceptions and this is one of them.  There were far too many episodes of 'Columbo' with Peter Falk to not consider him to be the Columbo of Earth Prime-Time.  

And that means Bert Freed must be shuffled off to another world.  Normally, they would go to Prequel Toobworld, along with certain TV pilots (because of recasting usually) or productions in other anthology shows.  (A good example of this is Horace Ford, first played by Art Carney in 'Studio One' and then by Pat Hingle in 'The Twilight Zone'.  Both versions of "The Incredible World Of Horace Ford" were one-shots, but it's the latter episode which has shown to have a longer shelf-life in syndication and on DVD.

But in this case, why not send Bert Freed's Lieutenant to the world of 'Madam Secretary'?  Since Liz McCord mentioned him by name, that doesn't have to mean she was referring to the TV show.  The Columbo of her world could have been just as famous as the one in Toobworld - he could have solved headline-grabbing murders like those committed by world-famous authors, painters, photographers, symphony conductors, football team owners, senatorial candidates, and even a Suarian ambassador.

So even in an alternate Toobworld, Lt. Columbo was real.  He just didn't look like Peter Falk.  But Falk played the detective not only in the main Toobworld, but also in Skitlandia - as seen the 'Dean Martin Roast' of Frank Sinatra and in an 'Alias' crossover sketch seen during the ABC anniversary special.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015


After TV shows featuring characters of Latin American descent - Puerto-Ricans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, and a few other South American countries - it looks like Toobworld may finally be getting a series about Dominican-Americans.  The Hollywood Reporter claims that NBC will be producing a pilot episode for a sitcom created by a stand-up comic named Vladimir Caamaño, working with the two guys behind the Peacock's sitcom ''Undateable'.  'Vlad' will be based on Caamaño's comedy routines which deals with his Bronx family life as a second-generation Dominican.

O'Bservation: If the pilot makes it to series, and then only lasts one episode, it won't matter.  It will have become part of the mosaic of Earth Prime-Time.  Even after cancellation, the life of 'Vlad' (No idea if the main character will also have the last name of Caamaño.) and his family will continue in Toobworld.....


Monday, December 14, 2015


'The Flash' and 'Arrow' take place in Comic Book Toobworld.  But even there, real world events have occurred as well.

Hawkman, also known as Carter Hall and as Khufu, mentioned that Vandal Savage murdered hundreds of thousands of people in China by causing the Huan He flood in 1887.

It was a tossed-off remark, but the audience should know more about the tragedy so that it isn't fully trivialized.

From Wikipedia:

The 1887 Yellow River flood was a devastating flood on the Yellow River (Huang He) in China. This river is prone to flooding due to the elevated nature of the river, running between dykes above the broad plains surrounding it. The flood, that began in September 1887, killed some 900,000 people. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded.

For centuries, the farmers living near the Yellow River had built dikes to contain the waters, which over time flowed higher because silt accumulated on the riverbed. In 1887, this rising river, swollen by days of heavy rain, overcame the dikes on around 28 September, causing a massive flood. Since there is no international unit to measure a flood's strength it is usually classified by the extent of the damage done, depth of water left and number of casualties.

The waters of the Yellow River are generally thought to have broken through the dikes in Huayuankou, near the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province. Owing to the low-lying plains near the area, the flood spread very quickly throughout Northern China, covering an estimated 50,000 square miles (130,000 km2), swamping agricultural settlements and commercial centers. After the flood, two million were left homeless. The resulting pandemic and lack of basic essentials claimed as many lives as those lost directly to the flood. It was one of the worst floods in history, though the later 1931 Yellow River flood may have killed as many as four million.


Sunday, December 13, 2015


Happy Wold Newton Day!

[You should click on that link above to learn more about this special occasion in the world of crossover research.  This link also provided a few more Toobish links about the residents of the WNU.]

This year I'm turning my attentions to another member of the central Wold Newton Family, Bulldog Drummond......

From the Wold Newton Resources Wiki:
Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond was a wealthy British Army Officer who became a private detective following the First World War. His exploits were chronicled initially by H. C McNeil "Sapper") . Drummond's arch-nemesis was the criminal mastermind Carl Peterson.

Philip José Farmer made Drummond one of the central characters of hisWold Newton Family in Tarzan Alive (his father is given as one Roger Drummond). Notably, Drummond is listed as the biological brother ofKorak.

The Bulldog Drummond novels are often accused of racist content. It is interesting to note that the later novels, written by Gerard Fairlie after Sapper's death, feature a much more liberal Drummond congnisant of his earlier distasteful behaviour - Fairlie, although he himself always denied it, was the man whom Sapper stated was the 'real' Bulldog Drummond.

In Tarzan Alive, Farmer indicated that only the first of Fairlie's run of novels was acceptable as part of Sapper's original canon, although byDoc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life he appears to have relented and accepted the validity of further books in the series.

Wold Newton scholar Brad Mengel, in his article The Daring Drummonds, argues that Drummond and his wife Phyllis were likely the parents of the version of the rather different Bulldog Drummond who featured in the 1960s movies Deadlier than the Male and Some Girls Do, and of Roger Drummond whose son also features in the film series.

As mentioned above, Wold Newton scholar Brad Mengel has written a great paper on the Drummond Family as seen in the Wold Newton Universe.  Most of it doesn't apply to Earth Prime-Time, as some of those characters have no counterpart in the main Toobworld.  But that's okay since the Toobworld Dynamic should never be confused with the work of my good counterparts in Wold Newton academia.

But Bulldog Drummond does have a televersion in the main Toobworld:

A 30-minute episode of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents featured Drummond in "The Ludlow Affair", first broadcast on UK television on 16 December 1956. Drummond was played by Robert Beatty; he was aided by Kelly, played by Michael Ripper. 

(I've written about Beatty's portrayal of Bulldog Drummond before.)

And he may have a Skitlandian version as well:

A 1973 BBC documentary Omnibus, "The British Hero", featured Christopher Cazenove playing Drummond, as well as a number of other such heroic characters, including Richard Hannay, Beau Geste and James Bond.
Although i don't have the details for this theory of "relateeveety", TV's Bulldog Drummond was probably the uncle of Philip Drummond from 'Diff'rent Strokes'.  

The thought amuses me......

Since Wold Newton Day falls on Video Sunday, here is the televersion of Bulldog Drummond in action: