Saturday, June 4, 2016


"If you ask me, Muhammad Ali, in his prime,

was much better than anti-lock brakes

Lenny Leonard

'The Simpsons'

From NBC News:
Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued boxer and civil rights champion who famously proclaimed himself "The Greatest" and then spent a lifetime living up to the billing, is dead.

Ali died Friday at a Phoenix-area hospital, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications, a family spokesman confirmed to NBC News. He was 74.

Muhammad Ali appeared as his own fictional "Televersion" in three different TV shows, thus making him eligible for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.

(January 17, 1979)
A benefit telethon is planned for Leon Hazlett, a five-time Olympic gold medalist who was crippled in a car crash. But emcee Paul Baker is kidnapped and a $200,000 ransom is demanded. -- IMDb Plot: "The Eleventh Event"

Also from DVDTalk:
"The Eleventh Event" 
Tanna's good friend, Olympic Medalist Leon Hazlett, returns home after losing the use of his legs in an accident. He quickly finds himself involved in an elaborate kidnapping for ransom scheme that involves a singer, his wife and his manager. Robert Loggia, Clifton Davis, Jill Haworth, Michael Conrad, Squire Fridell, Vernee Watson-Johnson, and Muhammad Ali guest star. 


(October 24, 1979)
Arnold wants to meet his hero, world champion boxer Muhammad Ali. Willis and Kimberly meet Ali and say that their little brother is dying and that his last wish is to meet him. -- IMDb Plot: "Arnold's Hero"

(May 9, 1999)
Two boys stay with their uncle since their mother is in jail. The eleven year old is picked on by his brother and other older kids. He takes up boxing to defend himself. -- IMDb Plot: "Fighting the Good Fight"

Muhammad Ali also appeared on several variety programs, lots of talk shows, at least one panel game show, and of course in plenty of televised sports events - usually about himself, such as the boxing matches that made him "The Greatest".

However, those don't have the oomph that is needed for TVXOHOF membership, which celebrates Television as a fictional universe.  So it's best that he did qualify legitimately with those three appearances listed above.  

But his tally of qualifications can be enhanced by references to him in other TV shows by fictional characters which would signify that he did exist on Earth Prime-Time.  The following quotes also count towards his membership:

Professor Roy Hinkley: 
"Always remember that true beauty is the end result of the inner glow of good health, and isometric exercise provides for the inner play of muscle against muscle to improve the general physique."
Mary Ann Summers:
"Oh, but Professor, I just want to beat Mrs. Howell and Ginger, not Cassius Clay!"

Aunt Esther Anderson:
Watch it, suckah. You're gettin' on my nerve.
Fred G. Sanford:
It would take Muhammad Ali, Rosey Grier, with an assist from King Kong to get me on any part of you!

J.J., we have no proof, Penny said she fell.
You'd say you fell down too if your mama was Muhammad Ali.

Who's your favorite fighter?
Dennis Finch:
Muhammad Ali.
Anyone else?
Dennis Finch:
Sugar Ray Super Sugar Crisp?

Donna Paulsen:
I'm afraid because of what it's already doing to you. I'm talking Ali-Frazier.
Mike Ross:
Come on, Donna.
Donna Paulsen:
Listen to me. They started out like brothers. Then they went toe-to-toe three times, and Joe Frazier went to his grave hating Muhammad Ali.
Mike Ross:
I didn't know you were a boxing fan.

I had been holding off on inducting Muhammad Ali before now, because I'm always going to need candidates for the February inductions every year (celebrating Black History Month).  I regret that I didn't jump him ahead of the line some years back.  But he's going in right now as a memorial tribute, during this year in which we're celebrating the League of Themselves.

Good night and may God bless, Muhammad Ali…..

Friday, June 3, 2016


"Oh, Roger Newsome! The Puzzler!"
Inspector Thomas Brackenreid
'Murdoch Mysteries'

We're going to make a somewhat tenuous theory of relateeveety, simply based on that nickname Brackenreid gave to Newsome (as seen in the quote above).  It will be my contention that Roger Newsome was the biological father of the arch-villain who came to be known as The Puzzler in the 1960s....

Two episodes of 'Batman':

December 21st, 1966
"The Puzzles Are Coming" 
The Puzzler, a villain with a fondness for both Shakespeare and aviation, indicates he is after the fortunes of Artemus Knab. He convinces the billionaire to invest in his puzzle balloon business, but when the Dynamic Duo find that Knab seems too intelligent to fall for a phony scheme, they look deeper for the criminal's true intentions. Their search leads them to Knab's airplane monopoly, but unknown to them, the Puzzler has plans to halt their investigation - permanently.
- Written by Twenty Penguins (for the IMDb)

December 22nd, 1966
"The Duo Is Slumming"

The Puzzler continues with his plan to hijack Artemus Knab's new airplane, the Retsoor, all the while leaving puzzles behind for Batman and Robin to ponder. He familiarizes himself with the jet's designs, then prepares to fly his prize to a foreign country where he will hold it for ransom. But the Dynamic Duo have an easier time with his clues than he expected, resulting in a climactic confrontation at the airplane hanger. 
- Written by Twenty Penguins (for the IMDb)

IMDb Trivia:
The script originally was intended to be a story featuring the Riddler. However, Frank Gorshin was in the middle of a contract dispute and as a result the script was rewritten for a new villain, the Puzzler, as played by Maurice Evans.

Toobworld Central has always maintained that a TV character - unless otherwise dictated by script concerns - should always be the same age as the actor playing the role.  If the character is to be found in some other time period, the age of the actor should be subtracted from the date in which the episode is taking place and thus one would arrive at the date of birth for that character.  (That's why I can claim that the 'Nichols' twins were born in 1871.)

'Batman' took place during the time period in which it was broadcast.  So we have to base the age of the villain known as The Puzzler to be the same as Maurice Evans.  So he was 65 during his short-lived crime spree in Gotham City, having been born in 1901.

Based on a fan-made timeline to be found online (which needs a lot of work still), the detectives from Stationhouse #4 first encountered Newsome in October of 1901.  He would later plague other murder investigations - and the calm nature of Constable Crabtree - over the next two years in two other investigations:

"The Death Of Dr. Ogden" (October 1901)
Detective Murdoch investigates the death of Oliver Hoyle who is found in the billiard room of his posh club. Hoyle was part of a group of competitive puzzle solvers and he may have been killed after solving a puzzle published by Edgar Allen Poe many years ago. It appears that one of his competitors killed him to get the glory for himself.
 - written by garykmcd for IMDb

"Murdoch Takes Manhattan" (June 1902)
During their honeymoon in New York, Murdoch and Ogden uncover a deadly conspiracy threatening U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, while Brackenreid and Dr. Grace investigate a murder by motorcar back in Toronto.
 - IMDb

"A Case Of The Yips" (August 1903)
While investigating a golfer's murder, Murdoch becomes obsessed with the game.
 - IMDb

(Newsome was a member of the foursome playing with the murder victim.)

There was never anything in any of those episodes which would nullify the claim that Newsome had fathered a son.  (For the time being, I'm going to call him Roger Newsome, Jr.)  And Newsome Jr. could have been sent to England to further his studies (and more than likely be out of his father's way), where he would learn the finer points of thievery.  And his education would help enhance his aptitude for the criminal arts as would his passion for the works of Shakespeare.

And for whatever twisted reason he may have had, he chose to honor his father by adopting the name of the Puzzler to be his nom de penal.  

The fact that he was not seen in Toobworld as the arch-criminal Puzzler until he was 65 doesn't mean he was a late bloomer.  It just means that he practiced his craft elsewhere, in other places than Gotham City.  I could see him being quite successful not only back in Jolly Ol', but also in many of the fictional countries that dot the map of Toobworld Europe - especially Caronia!

And he may have served time as a guest in one of the prisons on the continent or in Great Britain.  That would certainly have kept him off the Bat-radar.

Since we never saw the Puzzler again in Toobworld, I'm afraid it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that Roger Newsome Junior died in Gotham State Prison.


I'm afraid I'm a week late in writing up this tribute to one of the characters played by Maurice Evans.  But I can always backdate it, I suppose.....

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Celebrating the League of Themselves for 2016 in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, I wanted to also hew closely to the tradition of a double induction for June, the month of Gemini, the Twins.

And who better as people being themselves on TV to be the best representatives for TV "reality"?  It doesn't matter who.  I'm going with two people from reality TV: 


From Wikipedia:
Trista Nicole Sutter (née Rehn) (born October 28, 1972 in Indianapolis, Indiana) was the runner-up on season 1 of the ABC reality television show The Bachelor, before becoming the star of the first season of its companion show, The Bachelorette.

Trista has also appeared on ABC's Dancing with the Stars and NBC's Fear Factor.

Ryan Allen Sutter (born September 14, 1974) was the "winner" (final bachelor) chosen by Trista Rehn on the television show The Bachelorette. Sutter, a Colorado firefighter, and Rehn were married in a televised wedding on ABC on December 6, 2003. The miniseries was filmed at "The Lodge" luxury resort in Rancho Mirage, California. Prior to that, he was a star college football defensive back with the Colorado Buffaloes football team, and was eventually drafted by the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League in the 1998 Draft, but lasted only a couple of seasons as a professional football player mainly due to injuries.

So they met on 'The Bachelorette', had their wedding televised by ABC, and then continued their televised existence in other manifestations of "Reality" Television.

Welcome to the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, Trista & Ryan.  If this stretches out your fifteen minutes of fame, I think I'll still be able to sleep at night....

[Toob - not Test Tube - babies]

Monday, May 30, 2016


Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
[From Wikipedia]

With that in mind....


This year for Memorial Day, Toobworld Central is paying tribute to the memory of Private Kelly.  After Braddock disappeared from King Company second squad*, Private Kelly filled the vacuum of the resident wiseguy among the men.  Unfortunately, it was literally a short-lived tour of duty, as Kelly only lasted three episodes.  He met his end from a German's bullet, for want of a shoe.

So we don't now much about Private Kelly.  The actor who played the role was Joby Baker, but I don't think we can count on his personal background for clues about Kelly.  I get the feeling Kelly was a New York City boy, born and bred; but Baker grew up in Montreal, Quebec.  But we don't learn his first name, not even his first initial... as was the case with R. Quincy, M.E.  (Don't try to make the comparison with Lieutenant Columbo.  It was established in the show that his first name was Frank.)

I'd like to think it was a first name which caused him embarrassment, like 'Endeavour' did for 'Inspector Morse'.  But then I'm a baaaad boy....

Here's a quick rundown of the episodes in which Kelly appeared:


This was Kelly's first appearance, in which a former priest, now a violent tank sergeant, caused problems for King Two in a small French village.  Kelly quickly established his smart-mouthed persona in this one.

[He also has provided me with material to work with in my annual salute to the crossover universe created by Philip Jose Farmer, "The Wold Newton Universe".  I had always been torn about how to reconcile the legend of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs with his portrayal in the 1960s TV series starring Ron Ely.  The scene with Kelly depicted above has made the decision for me.....]

Private Kelly with Private Billy Nelson
The title character was a former baseball player named Del Packer.  The player should have been relegated to a desk job, not just to protect the service from any bad publicity should anything happen to him, which was a crippling fear for Packer, but because he proved to be a danger to the other platoon members, especially hero-worshipping Billy Nelson.  (Somehow Billy rose from the dead after this episode and became pretty much a regular of the squad.)  


This is one of the most heralded episodes in the show's run, directed by legendary film director Robert Altman.  It would also prove to be his last for the series (He did at least ten episodes.), for he was fired over how controversial and experimental it looked.  

With this episode, in which the focus was mostly on Sgt. Saunders' pain-fueled journey through the countryside, we said goodbye to Private Kelly.  While King Company was being held prisoner by the Germans, one of the Nazis decided he would take Kelly's boots for himself.  When a fire broke out in the barn in which they were being held, Kelly had no choice but to make a run for it in his stocking feet.  

Later, they discovered a German supply tent in which they stocked up on munitions and rations.  Kelly discovered a box full of boots - but instead of grabbing a pair and putting them on later, he dallied in the tent to try them on there.  And unfortunately, that's when a German soldier burst in and caught him, shooting him dead on the spot.  It all seemed so meaningless.

It was a stunning moment for a kid watching 'Combat!' back in the show's syndication days of the late 60s.  American soldiers were supposed to die heroically in combat!  But also, as far I knew at the time, you didn't kill somebody who was a regular on a TV show.  Well, okay, I knew about Margaret Williams on 'Make Room For Daddy' by that point, but this was the first time I actually saw it played out on my TV screen.

It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that before he shipped off to war, Private Kelly left some young lovely back in New York - perhaps even more than one! - with a little something to remember him by.  And by that I mean he could have been the father to at least one illegitimate child who would later grow up to look just like his late, lamented old man.  Fred Staggs, perhaps, as seen in 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'.  (Fred Staggs was a one-shot character, and so not much of his backstory appeared in that episode.  Not so with his role as Dave Lewis, a radio DJ in the sitcom 'Good Morning, World'.  His whole family history could have come out during the course of that series' short run.....)
Fred Staggs
Dave and Linda Lewis
Joby Baker was born in 1934, and I always like to think that characters are the same age as the actors who played them, unless specified otherwise in the script.  In this case, Kelly would have been 29 when he was killed, born in 1915.  So he could have fathered at least one child when he was 19 years old in 1934, and then any number of characters he played who were his contemporaries on the Toobworld timeline would be the same age as he was.

And with that, we can have several theories of relateeveety to provide a legacy for Private Kelly.

In closing, I'd just like to tip my Toobcap to the memories of all those who gave their all in defense of our country.  Good night and may God bless.....


* Braddock was probably captured yet again by the Germans, but this time for the duration of the war - or what was left of it, since the series took place after D-Day.

My thanks to Jo Davidsmeyer, who has an excellent site dedicated to 'Combat!'.  Without the information I found there, scant though it had to be on such a limited character, this blog post would have been the poorer.  

Sunday, May 29, 2016


For the Video Sunday portion of Memorial Day Weekend, I chose three very specific episodes of 'Combat!' to feature.  You should be able to figure out why long before it becomes O'Bvious.  But I will reveal the reason in tomorrow's post.....



It's the end of May, when we say goodbye to the current TV season and in some cases, it's the Long Goodbye.  The Big Hiatus.

I never thought I'd find a TV series finale that could match the one for 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', let alone surpass it.