Saturday, February 4, 2017


From Wikipedia:

'The Dick Van Dyke Show' is an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961 to June 1, 1966, with a total of 158 half-hour episodes spanning over five seasons. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews, and Mary Tyler Moore. It centered on the work and home life of television comedy writer Rob Petrie (Van Dyke). The show was produced by Reiner with Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. The music for the show's theme song was written by Earle Hagen.

The series won 15 Emmy Awards. In 1997, the episodes "Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth" and "It May Look Like a Walnut" were ranked at 8 and 15 respectively on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2002, it was ranked at 13 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2013, it was ranked at 20 on their list of the 60 Best Series.

I can boil that down to its essence [from my point of view]: 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' is the greatest sitcom of all time.

I wish I could find actual pages from these comic book versions of this "Camelot of Sitcoms", but these covers will have to do.

And for a really great story behind them, check out this article.


Friday, February 3, 2017



Wojo's lawyer during a departmental procedure was David Fingler (seen here behind the lawyer representing the NYPD.)  Fingler was from the firm Marshall, Levinson, Radcliffe, and Cohen which represented the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.  There are several theories of relateeveety that could be promoted from most of those names, which might have connections to other TV lawyers.

MARSHALL - Two solid possibilities here, with Owen Marshall and Emerson Marshall.  The only downside for Owen Marshall would be his location - Owen worked in California, but he could have had a brother back East.  Emerson lived in Manhattan and is the better candidate.  His father might have founded the firm mentioned in 'Barney Miller' back at the turn of the Century, but he could have bolted to start his own practice with a lawyer named Bass (whose son may have been a Chicago doctor named Clifford.)


COHEN - Sandy Cohen was a lawyer in Orange County, California.  He would have been too young to have started up what must have been a prestigious firm in NYC back in the 70s.  (It was probably around since at least the 1950s.)  But Sandy may have had an uncle who was a top lawyer in the Big Apple and served as an influence for Sandy.

'THE O.C.'

LEVINSON - Although I have a lawyer in mind for a connection to this law firm, I'm more intrigued by the possible family tree for this Levinson.  What if the firm's partner had a grandfather who was Harold Levinson, the dry goods heir from Ohio?

But if not, Levinson could have been the father of Marya Levinson, a New York defense attorney who might have worked in the family firm.  Maybe the head of the firm was her father-in-law.  (She appeared in three episodes.)

It's the name "Radcliff(e)" which didn't thrill me when it came to candidates for family members in other TV shows.  But that's okay; I don't want to look greedy.


Thursday, February 2, 2017


From Wikipedia:
Meadow Lemon (April 25, 1932 – December 27, 2015) was an American basketball player, actor, and Christian minister (ordained in 1986). From 1994, he served Meadowlark Lemon Ministries in Scottsdale, Arizona. For 22 years, he was known as the "Clown Prince" of the touring Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. He played in more than 16,000 games for the Globetrotters and was a 2003 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. When basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain was asked his opinion on the best player of all time, he responded, "For me it would be Meadowlark Lemon." Fellow Wilmington great Michael Jordan called Lemon a "true national treasure" and a personal inspiration in Jordan's youth.

Athough he played a few fictional roles as himself, Meadowlark was best known for playing himself.  Like George Burns, Jack Benny, and others, everybody always saw the real man as the character.

Here are the shows in which he touted his membership in the League of Themselves:

Diff'rent Strokes
- Feudin' and Fussin': Part 1 


At Arnold's suggestion, a TV producer gives Larry Alder an audition for a TV hosting job.  Part One of this crossover episode aired on 'Diff'rent Strokes' (1978) and Part Two aired on 'Hello, Larry' (1979). The 'Diff'rent Strokes' Season 2 DVD contains both episodes as a single, hour-long 'Diff'rent Strokes' episode, dropping the title and credit sequences from 'Hello, Larry'.

Hello, Larry 

Larry Alder is a 44-year-old divorcee in Portland, Oregon, raising his two teenage daughters and hosting a call-in psychology radio show.  Larry also hung out with legendary Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, who owned a Portland sporting goods store.

Crash Island 
(1981 TV Movie)
A plane full of children and young teens on the way to a swim meet, crashes into the ocean, leaving them and the crew stranded on an unknown island.

Here's Boomer
- Boomer and the Bucketeers 

Boomer meets a young man who was a rising basketball player who is now bitter that he is confined to a wheelchair. Boomer then gets Meadowlark Lemon who is in town with his team the Bucketeers to help him.

- Tommy Fouls Out 

Tommy gives up and quits the basketball team.

O'BSERVATION: What a coincidence that Meadowlark was in the area.  He was probably en route back to Portland from some gig.

There are a few other shows, like 'The Hollywood Squares' and 'The Merv Griffin Show', which don't carry much weight in being credits for his tally.  But they were incorporated into other TV shows so that it could be said that his fictional televersion was appearing on the fictional televersions of those TV shows.  So they do add flavor.

But when the rest of the Globetrotters flew out to help save the Gilligan's Island getaway retreat from a greedy billionaire (well, greedier than Mr. Howell), Meadowlark elected to stay behind in Portland.

Meanwhile, he does have a counterpart in the Tooniverse along with the rest of the Globetrotters.  They starred their own animated series and also crossed over with Scooby-Doo!

He also appeared as himself in plenty of blipverts, showing off his serlinguistic skills.  These would include: Footlocker, Burger King, Pepsi Cola, Dr. Pepper, Band-Aid, Safeway Food Stores, Boeing Aircraft, Revlon, Quencher Gum, the U.S. Postal Service and the Yellow Pages, Amoco, Delta, Ford Motor Credit, Gillette, Hydromatics, Pentair, Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Clubs, Sears, Teen Challenge, and Tropicana.  Best of all, he was also featured alongside Dick “Mr. Whipple” Wilson in Charmin’s famous “Please Don’t Squeeze The Charmin” Ads.

It's been over a year since Meadowlark Lemon passed away, but I held off so that I always have enough candidates in February to O'Bserve Black History Month.  Next year, per my brother's suggestion, I will induct Little Richard.  I'm just trusting it won't have to be a memorial tribute.

Welcome to yet another Hall of Fame, Meadowlark!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Here's another one which Helen Cutter of 'Primeval' must answer for:  

According to the IMDb, "In the pilot [of 'Father Knows Best'], Ellen Drew played the mother (replaced in the series by Jane Wyatt) and Sally Fraser played the eldest daughter (played in the series by Elinor Donahue.)"


For those of you who never saw 'Primeval', Helen Cutter journeyed back in Time through an anomaly and altered the course of History so drastically that it many times changed the chromosomal make-up of other TV characters, or - in the case of William Talbot MacNeil (President of the United States in the early 1970s as seen on 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea') - wiped them out entirely.


Margaret Anderson's DNA was altered but her life basically remained the same.  She still married Jim Anderson of Springfield and raised three children - Betty, Bud, and Kathy.  With Bud and Kathy the combination of DNA from both their parents remained the same.  However, with their first-born, Betty, there was just enough of a difference so that she no longer looked the same as she did in the original timeline.

We don't use this splainin for every recastaway.  For example, the difference in Rob Petrie et al from the 'Head Of The Family' pilot to 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' can be attributed to Alan Brady buying the rights to Rob's autobiography and adapting it to become a sitcom starring himself as Rob.  (As such, the 'Head Of The Family' pilot is the actual TV show within a TV show and takes place after 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' on the Toobworld Timeline even though it was filmed first.)


Tuesday, January 31, 2017


In the penultimate episode of this season's 'The Librarians', Jacob Stone spent several months in Shangri-La where he was tutored by the Monkey King.  He was then able to utilize his new skills to rescue the Monkey King and save Shangri-La from a ruthless collector named Sterling Lam.
From Wikipedia:
Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, is a mythological figure who features in a body of legends, which can be traced back to the period of the Song dynasty. He appears as a main character in the 16th century Chinese classical novel Journey to the West. Sun Wukong is also found in many later stories and adaptations. In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India.

Sun Wukong possesses immense strength; he is able to lift his 13,500 jīn(7,960 kilograms (17,550 lb)) staff with ease. He is also extremely fast, able to travel 108,000 li (21,675 kilometres (13,468 mi)) in one somersault. (Note that this is more than half way around the world.) Sun knows 72 transformations, which allow him to transform into various animals and objects; however, he is troubled in transforming into other forms, due to the accompanying incomplete transformation of his tail. Sun Wukong is a skilled fighter, capable of holding his own against the best warriors of heaven. Each of his hairs possess magical properties, capable of being transformed into clones of the Monkey King himself, and/or into various weapons, animals, and other objects. He knows spells to command wind, part water, conjure protective circles against demons, and freeze humans, demons, and gods alike.

The Monkey King has been depicted on TV so many times, rivaling almost all other incarnations of demi-gods on TV save perhaps for Jesus.  (Yes, he should fall into the demi-god category - he was born of a Terran woman.)

But not all of them deserve to remain in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.  Here's a rundown of those TV series:

'Monkey' ('Saiyūki')a 1978–1980 Japanese television series based on "Journey to the West". It was translated into English by the BBC.

Known simply as Monkey, "the punkiest monkey that ever popped" was born of a stone egg and gained immortality by gorging himself on Immortality Peaches.  Because of his riotous nature, Buddha imprisoned Monkey under a mountain to learn patience and was released in 630 AD.  And that's when his adventure with new companions begin.

'Journey to the West', a two-season television series produced by CCTV, starring Liu Xiao Ling Tong as Sun Wukong. The two seasons were released in 1986 and 1999 respectively. Noted for its faithfulness to the original novel, this series is still considered by many as a classic.

The original lead actors of 'Journey to the West' (1986) — Liu Xiao Ling Tong, Chi Chongrui and Ma Dehua — reprised their roles in 'Wu Cheng'en and Journey to the West', a 2010 television series about Wu Cheng'en and his inspiration for writing the novel "Journey to the West". Sha Wujing, however, was portrayed by Liu Dagang because Yan Huaili, who played the character in 1986, died in April 2009.

This 1986/1999 series is the version I've seen, but only about ten episodes out of the forty or so.  For me, classic though this series was, it is all just a visual recreation of the novel by Wu Cheng'en as seen in that 2010 series..  Anything that happens within it were manifestations of events found in the novel.  Even the recasting of Sha Wujing is okay since it's all part of Whu Cheng'en's imagination.  That same splainin applies to the recasting of many of the actors in several roles while other roles had more than one actor in the role.  To me, that just meant that the author was in the process of rewriting.

So the portrayal of Wu Cheng'en from the 2010 series is firmly planted in the world of Earth Prime-Time and the 1986/99 shows are depictions of his imagination.

'Journey to the West', a 1994 Japanese television series. Nippon TV produced another television series, based on "Journey to the West", titled 'New Monkey', it ran for only one season.

I think if another Monkey King TV series reworks previously established material based on "Journey To The West", then it should be relegated to yet another TV dimension.  Which is fine since there are so many.  However, any time an established character from a different series meets that character, we have to find some way out of the Zonk caused by recasting.  Take former President Bill Clinton as he appeared in the following shows:

  • 'The Nanny' --->
  • 'Niania' (Polish adaptation of 'The Nanny')
  • 'Murphy Brown'
  • 'Leaving L.A.'
  • 'The Powers That Be'
  • 'Beverly Hills, 90210'
  • 'Women of the House'
  • 'The Wayans Brothers'
  • 'Men Behaving Badly'
  • 'Beatrix, Oranje onder Vuur'
Save for Pat Rick in 'Leaving L.A.' and 'Murphy Brown', no actor played Bill Clinton in this list did so again in some other series.  They were all supposed to be President Clinton, so the resemblance to him was paramount.  But if there were differences between them, they could be chalked up to differences in the perception of the character whose basic point of view was shared by the Trueniverse audience

So far I think this is only a problem in the case of 'The Librarians'.  But if you know of a TV portrayal of Sun Wukong aka the Monkey King not covered here, let me know.

'Journey to the West', a 1996 Hong Kong television series produced by TVB, starring Dicky Cheung as Sun Wukong. It was followed by a 1998 sequel, 'Journey to the West II', starring Benny Chan as Sun Wukong.  'The Monkey King: Quest for the Sutra', a 2002 Hong Kong television series loosely based on the novel. It was produced by TVB and starred Dicky Cheung as Sun Wukong again.

There's no Zonk in the recasting of Sun Wukong from Dicky Cheung to Benny Chan and back again.  Toobworld Central accepts that demi-gods can change their appearance, no matter the "religious" source.  As chronicled in the Wikipedia excerpt above, Sun Wukong has the power to go through 72 transformations and that probably includes different versions of his original form. (The other three main characters remained intact with their original actors.) 

In the end, however, these three shows fall into another dimension because it's yet another rehash of the "Journey To The West" saga.

'The Monkey King', also called 'The Lost Empire', a 2001 television adaptation of the legend by Sci Fi Channel.

Nicholas Orton (played by Thomas Gibson) is an American businessman who has lived in China for several years. He has a chance encounter with a beautiful Chinese lady (played by Bai Ling) who says that he is the only one who can save the world from reverting five-hundred years. He is unswayed by this until many modern buildings begin disappearing before his eyes. This mystical lady (revealed later as Guanyin, the bodhisattva of compassion) transports him to a portal which offers entrance, through the teachings of Confucius (played by Ric Young), to the ancient Chinese underworld.

When Orton (soon to be named The Scholar From Above) reaches the other side of the portal, he finds that his studies of Confucius will come in handy for the path that lies ahead. Orton's first action is to rescue Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, from the mountain in which he has been imprisoned for centuries. Wukong travels with Orton in his quest to save the original manuscript of Journey to the West from retroactive destruction; if the story itself is erased from history, all of the people who were ever inspired by the lessons it teaches will be worse off, and history will permanently change for the poorer. They are later joined by Zhu Bajie (Pigsy) and Sha Wujing (Friar Sand) to help them on their way.

I need to see this, despite the bad reviews.  One main reason is that Eddie Marsan as Pigsy - big fan of the actor since 'Little Dorrit' and "The Thirty-Nine Steps", and he's got the snout for the role already.   

With the precedence now set that the Monkey King can transform into other forms, we still have no problem with him being a Recastaway.  If he was imprisoned under a mountain again, then he was there for four hundred centuries at best.  (Another reason I need to see this.)  Then again, Orton crossed over into a different dimension and so this Sun Wukong could be the counterpart to the Monkey King of Earth Prime-Time's dimension.

But for the time being, I'll consider Russell Wong's character to be the Monkey King of Earth Prime-Time.

Saiyūki, a 2006 Japanese television series produced by Fuji Television. The lead character of Son Goku (Sun Wukong) was given to Shingo Katori, a member of the pop group SMAP. This remake has been so successful as to break viewing records with one in three Japanese viewers watching each episode of the series.

It is a successor to the popular 1970s TV show 'Saiyūki', known outside Japan as 'Monkey'. There have been three dramas and one special based on "Journey to the West" that have aired previously, making this one the fifth adaptation in Japan.

Rather than producing a second season, 
[because of a failing first seasonFuji TV and Toho produced a feature film version of "Saiyūki", that was released in Japan on July 14, 2007. The film was a box office success, becoming the 8th highest-grossing film of 2007 in Japan. The whole plot of the film is loosely based on chapters 32-35 of "Journey to the West", Son Gokū trying to save a kingdom (with the help of a young princess) usurped by King Gold Horn and Silver Horn.

While I have no problem with a variety of Recastaways, I don't want to deal with seeing the same storyline played out again and again.  So I think this version should go to the Borderlands where movies and TV shows are blended together.  

'Wu Cheng'en and Journey to the West', a 2010 Chinese television series which tells the story of Wu Cheng'en and his inspiration for writing the novel. The main cast from the 1986 'Journey to the West' version reprised their roles in this series.

I dealt with this series above while talking about the 1986 series.  This series causes that original version to be considered as similar to other shows like 'Jack Of All Trades' and John Hart's version of 'The Lone Ranger' in being TV shows within Toobworld but visible to the Trueniverse audience.

'Journey to the West', a 2010 Chinese television series directed and produced by Cheng Lidong, starring Fei Zhenxiang as Sun Wukong. It started airing on Zhejiang Satellite TV on 14 February 2010.

Being yet another version of the events chronicled in "Journey To The West", I'm going to send this series off to the Land O' Remakes.

'Journey to the West', a 2011 Chinese television series produced by Zhang Jizhong, starring Wu Yue as Sun Wukong. It started airing on Southern Television Guangdong on 28 July 2011.

And yet another dimension reporting in since it walked the path of all the earlier TV shows.  As the TV Universe is full of dimensions that need their own versions of so many characters, I might as well spread the wealth.

So in the end, I'm using these three shows as being a part of the main Toobworld.

  • 'Monkey' ('Saiyūki') - 1978–1980 from Japan 
  • 'Wu Cheng'en and Journey to the West' - 2010 from China
  • 'The Monkey King' ('The Lost Empire') - 2001 from USA
with a reminder that 'Journey To The West' (1986/1999 from China) was basically a manifestation of the book author's imagination.

Finally we come to the Monkey King's appearance in 'The Librarians'.....


When The Monkey King's sacred homeland of Shangri-La is taken over by a ruthless collector of magical artifacts, the balance of the Universe is put in jeopardy, forcing all the Librarians to come together to help save the imperiled land but at a terrible cost.

It would seem that this Monkey King has been ensconced in Shangri-La for centuries, probably longer than Sun Wukong had been buried under that mountain.  This would negate the possibility of keeping the mini-series from Sci-Fi in Earth Prime-Time.  (I'm not about to remove 'The Librarians' from the main Toobworld!)

But Ernie Reyes, Jr.'s portrayal is only known as the Monkey King, not as Sun Wukong.  "Monkey King" can be considered a job title and so he could have been the son of Sun Wukong and had been the Heir Apparent to the title of Monkey King.  
But citing Occam's Razor, it's probably easier to say that he was the one and only original Monkey King, the same demi-god who had been imprisoned in that alternate dimension (but not an alternate TV dimension.)  He had already been the ruler of Shangri-La before he went to that other world centuries ago and was imprisoned under the mountain.  Once freed in 2001, he probably returned to the dimension of Toobworld with Nick Orton. (Again, I need to see this series.)  And once he was back, perhaps hoping for a fresh start in his immortal life, he took advantage of another of his 72 transformations to basically regenerate into the new visage seen in 'The Librarians'.

Perhaps the Monkey King will show up again someday in 'The Librarians'.  As he is a character in the public domain, maybe he could appear in other TV shows as well.  'Doctor Who' is one possibility; the new incarnation of 'Star Trek' is another.  (Hey, the original had Apollo show up, so why not?)  But the heyday for the Monkey King may be over in Toobworld - the perfect show for Sun Wukong could have been either 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Xena, Warrior Princess' as mythic figures from other beliefs interacted with those main characters as well.

I doubt we'd ever see the Monkey King in an episode of 'The New Pope', but damn!  It would've helped make that interesting!



Monkey King:
"Every man has a plan until he is struck." 
Jake Stone:
Sun Tsu
Monkey King:
Jake Stone:
Monkey King:
Mike Tyson

The Monkey King was paraphrasing.  Here's the actual quote:

I'm sure the Monkey King knowingly changed the quote so that it sounded more like the proverbs from the great masters.  

Easier to trick Jake that way.....


Monday, January 30, 2017


That is an exact replica of the Ark of the Covenant.

It's not a replica.
Don't touch it or you'll be electrocuted.
Or as they used to say, "smote down. "

Am I on TV?
Is this one of those hidden-camera shows?

Trust me, Flynn, this...
This is your destiny.


From the wikia for 'The Librarians':
  • The Ark of the Covenant is an artifact in The Library.
  • The  Ark of the Covenant is cited in ancient Hebrew texts as a symbol of mankind's allegiance with God. It has appeared many times in popular culture (e.g "Raiders of the Lost Ark"), usually, having supernatural powers. It is thought to be in Axum, Ethiopia , a city with huge historical value.
  • As it was never seen [in action] on the series, its powers are unknown.
And speaking of "Raiders"......

There have been four movies in the movie universe about Professor Henry "Indiana" Jones, archaeologist and adventurer.  And in between them there was a TV series about Jones as a boy and as a young man, and there was a TV movie which showcased Harrison Ford to one of the roles that will grant him cinema immortality.

Because of the TV show and movie, Toobworld Central has grabbed copies of the Indiana Jones movie franchise and absorbed them into the TV Universe.  

So the Ark of the Covenant was grabbed by Indy in the 1940s in the TV Universe as well.

But where was it stored?

Eventually it ended up in the Library as noted in that scene above.  But before that it must have been snagged, bagged, and tagged for 'Warehouse 13'.  Since all of the Indiana Jones saga should be considered part of Toobworld, then it makes sense that the Ark would be stored by the US Government in the Warehouse while Warehouse 13 was under "control" of the United States.

But the shadowy operatives who really govern in "Telemerica" knew eventually the Warehouse would relocate to another country.  And they couldn't let its incredible power potentially fall into the hands of one of America's enemies.

Whether the Ark was transferred willingly to the Metropolitan Library or the Librarian and Guardian who served prior to Edward Wilde took it upon themselves to "liberate" it, but it now resides in the Library.

We'll just have to wait and see if any other TV show tries to access the Ark for its own purposes.....


Sunday, January 29, 2017


The day after the news broke of the death of Mary Tyler Moore, the Television Crossover Hall of Fame inducted Rob and Laura Petrie, joining their look-alikes Dr. Mark Sloan and Mary Richards Cronin,

On this Video Sunday, we'd like to continue our tribute to them, as well as the actors who played them - Dick Van Dyke (long may he reign!) and "Our Mayr"......