Saturday, April 29, 2017


I hope nobody is trying to reach me today.  I'm in Hartford, seeing one of the very last performances of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.

From Wikipedia:
Phineas Taylor "P. T." Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American politician, showman, and businessman remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Although Barnum was also an author, publisher, philanthropist, and for some time a politician, he said of himself, "I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me", and his personal aim was "to put money in his own coffers".  Barnum is widely, but erroneously, credited with coining the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute".

Born in Bethel, Connecticut, Barnum became a small-business owner in his early twenties, and founded a weekly newspaper, before moving to New York City in 1834. He embarked on an entertainment career, first with a variety troupe called "Barnum's Grand Scientific and Musical Theater", and soon after by purchasing Scudder's American Museum, which he renamed after himself. Barnum used the museum as a platform to promote hoaxes and human curiosities such as the Feejee mermaid and General Tom Thumb. In 1850 he promoted the American tour of singer Jenny Lind, paying her an unprecedented $1,000 a night for 150 nights. After economic reversals due to bad investments in the 1850s, and years of litigation and public humiliation, he used a lecture tour, mostly as a temperance speaker, to emerge from debt. His museum added America's first aquarium and expanded the wax-figure department. While in New York, he converted to Universalism and was a member of the Church of the Divine Paternity, now the Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York.

Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republican for Fairfield. With the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution over slavery and African-American suffrage, Barnum spoke before the legislature and said, "A human soul, ‘that God has created and Christ died for,’ is not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hottentot – it is still an immortal spirit". Elected in 1875 as Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, he worked to improve the water supply, bring gas lighting to streets, and enforce liquor and prostitution laws. Barnum was instrumental in starting Bridgeport Hospital, founded in 1878, and was its first president.

The circus business was the source of much of his enduring fame. He established "P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome", a traveling circus, menagerie and museum of "freaks", which adopted many names over the years. Barnum died in his sleep at home in 1891, and was buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, which he designed himself.

I wrote about P.T. Barnum back in January when the news broke that the Circus was going to close.

When I was a little kid, I dreamed of working for the circus, any circus.  I had a big picture book that gave so much background information on becoming a clown and the various types.  I grew up, but I never grew out of that dream.  Even today, TV show episodes which use the circus as the backdrop are like catnip to me, in much the same way as mysteries set on trains are.

P.T. Barnum was a Multiversal and in the greater TV Universe he is multi-dimensional.  Because this great American institution is closing down, I want to honor the man who started it all by inducting Mr. Barnum into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.

Of all his appearances in the many TV dimensions, his portrayal by Pat O'Brien (we're all related) is the only one who interacted with an established TV character.  As such, he will be the featured televersion of Barnum for the Hall.

This way to the egress, Mr. Barnum!

Friday, April 28, 2017


From the Hollywood Reporter:

Albert Freedman, a producer on the NBC program Twenty-One who became a central figure in the quiz show scandals that erupted in the late 1950s, has died. He was 95.

Freedman died April 11 in Marin County, Calif., his family announced.

In 1956, Freedman convinced Charles Van Doren, who was teaching at Columbia University, to come on as a contestant on 'Twenty-One'. The reigning champion, Herb Stempel, was winning week after week, but the ratings were suffering and Geritol, the sponsor, wanted him gone.

"I've thought about it, Charlie, and I've decided you should be the person to beat Stempel. And I’ll help you do it," Van Doran, writing in a first-person account that was published in The New Yorker in 2008, said Freedman told him.

"I swear to you, no one will ever know. It will be just between you and me. Jack Barry [the show's host] won't know and [producer] Dan Enright won't, either. Stempel won't know — I've got a way to handle that. The sponsors won't know — anyway, they'll be so happy they won't give a damn. And the audience will never know, because I won't tell them, and you won't, either."

In 1994,Robert Redford directed a movie about this quiz show scandal, which featured Ralph Fiennes as Van Doran, Paul Scofield as his father, John Turturro as Aaron Stempel, and Hank Azaria as Freedman.

Hank Azaria as Albert Freedman
David Paymer as Dan Enright

There is an alternate dimension of Toobworld in which we see what went on behind the scenes of various TV shows.  (As of yet I don't have a pithy name for that world, but if you think of one, send it along!)

These docu-dramas can't be allowed into the main Toobworld as they are massive Zonks.

And every so often a theatrical film on a similar subject will be pulled out of the Cineverse to be absorbed into that Toobworld dimension.  However, it has to be a movie about real TV shows to qualify.  And the same would be true for TV shows about the TV business.  This would include "Tootsie", "Soapdish", "My Favorite Year", and "Champagne For Caesar," and TV shows like "On The Air", "Goodnight Beantown", "All Is Forgiven", "Lateline", "The Larry Sanders Show", "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", and "The Dick Van Dyke Show" would not be found there either.  But they'll always have a home in the main Toobworld.

Here are some of the movies that would be included in that TV dimension, both theatrical and made for TV:

Thursday, April 27, 2017


"He was a handsome man, charming and seductive.  That's how Rodney Alcala approached his victims: with a smile and his camera. Telling them how beautiful they were. Some of his subjects told the police how charismatic Rodney was; how convincing that he was truly interested he was in them. In reality, he was only interested in stealing their lives - The mark of a master manipulator. A man who killed with kindness."
- LeMaster Cane

From Wikipedia:
In 1978, despite his status as a convicted rapist and registered sex offender, Rodney Alcala was accepted as a contestant on 'The Dating Game'. By then he had already killed at least two women in California and two others in New York.  Host Jim Lange introduced him as a "successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed. Between takes you might find him skydiving or motorcycling."

Actor Jed Mills, who competed against Alcala as "Bachelor #2", later described him as a "very strange guy" with "bizarre opinions". Alcala won the contest, and a date with "bachelorette" Cheryl Bradshaw, who subsequently refused to go out with him, according to published reports, because she found him "creepy".  Criminal profiler Pat Brown, noting that Alcala killed Robin Samsoe and at least two other women after his Dating Game appearance, speculated that Bradshaw's rejection might have been an exacerbating factor. "One wonders what that did in his mind", Brown said. "That is something he would not take too well. [Serial killers] don't understand the rejection. They think that something is wrong with that girl: 'She played me. She played hard to get.'"

Rodney Alcala is a member of the League of Themselves as well as probably having his own televersion implied by being the topic for LeMaster Cane's talk at the Real Murders Club meeting.  That's something that usually only happens to politicians and sports figures.

People from the real world sometimes have fictional family members in Toobworld.  So it could be that the televersion of Rodney Alcala might be related to Thomas Jefferson Alcala, who was once the mayor of a large city in the American Southwest.  He could have been the uncle who felt as though he failed his nephew, that his life of depraved crime was his fault.  And as unseen by the Trueniverse audience, it could have been that it was the scandal of Rodney's actions which caused Mayor Alcala to resign from office and turn away from any future political ambitions.

  • "Real Murders: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery"
  • 'The Dating Game'
  • 'The Man And The City'

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


From the IMDb:
'Murdoch Mysteries'
  • On the Waterfront: Part 1 (6 October 2014)  
  • On the Waterfront: Part 2 (13 October 2014)  
  • The Murdoch Appreciation Society (17 November 2014)  
  • High Voltage (1 December 2014)  
  • Murdoch and the Temple of Death (12 January 2015)  
  • Crabtree Mania (16 March 2015)  
  • Election Day (23 March 2015)  
From Wikipedia:
Margaret Haile was a Canadian socialist in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a teacher and journalist by profession. She was active in the socialist movements in both Canada and the United States. Frederic Heath's "Socialism in America," published in January 1900 in the Social Democracy Red Book, lists her, along with Corinne Stubbs Brown and Eugene V. Debs, among "One Hundred Well-known Social Democrats".

Born in Canada, Haile spent some time working for socialist causes in New England. A resident of Massachusetts in 1901, Haile was a member of the Executive Board of the Social Democratic Party as it planned the formation of the Socialist Party of America. She was one of two women on the nine-member board, and may have been the first woman to serve on the board of an American Socialist organization.

Haile returned to Canada shortly thereafter, and became in 1902 the first woman to run for legislative office in Canada, when she was nominated on the platform of the Canadian Socialist League as a candidate in Toronto North in the 1902 Ontario provincial election.  Although her nomination was accepted and she received 79 votes, a woman was not eligible to sit as a member of the Legislative Assembly. She may have been the first woman to run for major elected office within the entire British Empire.

Ms. Haile was played by Nicole Underhay.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017


As 'Midsomer Murders' is a murder mystery, expect there to be spoilers, Sweetie......

An elderly woman is found dead in her own cottage and DCI Tom Barnaby is convinced the death is not a simple accident.

 This was the very first episode of this long-running series.

Barnaby and Jones investigate a series of murders linked to the death of a beauty queen which occurred several years previously.

O'BSERVATION: This was the second episode of the ninth season for 'Midsomer Murders'.

Twenty years gone since that first case investigated by DCI Barnaby (at least seen by the audience) and eleven years since the murders surrounding the Oak Apple Festival.  And despite that nine year gap between them, both episodes are more connected than some others in Barnaby's case file.

Two of the victims in that first case were Iris and Dennis Rainbird, mother and son, who were "brutally murdered" as Tom Barnaby described it.  Nine years later, he thought he was seeing ghosts when he spotted Ursula Gooding and her son Alistair, both of whom were spitting images of the Rainbirds.



It turns out that Ursula and Iris were sisters, perhaps even twin sisters.  Dennis Rainbird and Alistair Gooding were first cousins, and a good example of that Toobworld staple, "Identical Cousins".  What heightened their resemblance to each other was that Mrs. Gooding insisted on her son dressing like his late cousin whom she always doted on.  

But you know me....  I don't want to leave it with such a simple splainin.  Where's the sport in that?

There was a reason as to why Dennis and Alistair were so identical - they shared the same father as well as having mothers with the same DNA.



I believe it was the late Mr. Rainbird who dallied with Ursula Gooding.  This would be a good splainin as to why she was so obsessed with her nephew Dennis - he could have been the son she had with the senior Rainbird.  And after Dennis was butchered in Badger's Drift, Mrs. Gooding insisted that Alistair begin dressing like his cousin as a reminder of not only Dennis but of their common father as well.

(I think it would have been pushing it to say that Ursula gave birth to both of them but that the boys were raised separately  I doubt Mr. Gooding or Mrs. Rainbird would have put up with such a scandal.)

The best thing about this is that it supplies the splainin needed for any time an actor came back to the series in a different role.  Obviously there were a lot of offspring from illicit affairs spread throughout the villages of Midsomer.  

Mrs. Gooding had another child, a daughter named April, who was the local piano tutor.  Any resemblance between April and her brother Alistair was due solely to the genes they inherited from their mother.  Otherwise, she was the daughter by blood of Mr. Gooding.  And that's probably why Mrs. Gooding snubbed her in favor of her son.

In fact, it could be Mr. Rainbird couldn't keep it in his pants; that his wife and his sister-in-law were not the only women to bear his children.  I think he could be the father of Malcolm Wainwright, the grandson of Ben and Kathy Nightingale Wainwright.  

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.  Don't blink.

Also cited in this post - 'Doctor Who'


Monday, April 24, 2017


Joanie Cunningham was born in 1941 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  

Erin Moran was 14 when 'Happy Days' premiered.  And it's basically the rule of thumb for Toobworld citizens to be the same age as the actor who plays them, unless otherwise specified in the script.  So Ms. Moran was 14 in 1974; the first episdoe took place in 1955.... thus she was born in 1941.

it's generally accepted that the show spanned the equivalent timeline of the show's broadcast history.  So it basically covered 1955 - 1965, even though several songs heard in the series premiere weren't recorded until 1956.  But the televersion of those songs ("All Shook Up" & "Hound Dog") may have been recorded earlier without causing temporal disruptions.

When Joanie's love for Chachi Arcola fully blossomed, she was 22 years old, based on Ms. Moran's age and the debut of the sitcom 'Joanie Loves Chachi'.  So that would place the spin-off in 1963.  

When she was seventeen (1958), Joanie was pressured by a gang leader to put out if she wanted to hang with him.  She didn't feel ready at that point in her life, and luckily Fonzie and Carmine were able to come to her defense.  (Episode: "Joanie's Weird Boyfriend")  But that doesn't mean she wasn't ready to give her love to a boy by the time she was 19 years old.  

We don't always see everything that happens in a TV show; we wouldn't WANT to see everything that might happen.  (God help the series '24' if Jack Bauer had the trots for most of that first day!) And it's not just a character's bodily functions that we usually don't see in a TV show.  At least, not just those bodily functions... unless of course, 

And there is nothing that states that even though the schedule of the 'Happy Days' broadcasts should fit into the same timeline as the events within the show, the episodes had to follow exactly right after each other.  There could be a period of time in between the episodes.

Perhaps even a nine month space of time.....

Here's the conjecture from Your Faithful Claviger:

When she was nineteen, Joanie did fall for a young man and gave herself to him.  Whether he truly loved her back, I can't say; don't know the lad.  But I think she got pregnant and gave birth in 1960.

She kept this hidden from her family by going away over the summer (of course it would be the summer, during the hiatus), and put the child up for adoption.  Her daughter was adopted by a couple from New York, Don and Barbara Robinson.  He was an advertising executive who gave their new daughter Janie as good a life as he could manage, despite his frustrations with modern society.

And little Janie Robinson grew up to look just like her birth mother, not that Janie ever knew who she was.

I often state that when an actor passes away, one who was indelibly linked to a particular character, then that character should be considered as having passed away as well.  This is what I have to consider as the Caretaker of Toobworld, my little fantasy realm, when it comes to Joanie Cunningham Arcola.

If she died at the same age as Ms. Moran, then we have to accept that she passed away in 1997.  But since Joanie was under the radar, why not consider her as having lived until now?  With Erin Moran free of her earthly troubles now, I think it would be respectful to consider Joanie as having died as well.  She would have made it to the age of 76.

Good night and may God bless, Joanie.

As for Janie Robinson? She would be the same age as Erin Moran, now 56.  But she didn't have such an impact on the consciousness of the Trueniverse audience.  So I can be a fair and compassionate Steward for Toobworld.  I hope Janie Robinson lives long and prosper.

I wish you well on your next stage of the journey, Erin.  I hope it's all better than it was in the last few years.......

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Yesterday was the annual Earth Day and Video Weekend shared some nature documentaries, marking the annual event with a serious look at the wildlife to be found around where I live and across America.

Today we continue the observance of Earth Day with something a bit more fun - a handful of episodes of 'Captain Planet and the Planeteers'.  

The kids should enjoy these, and hopefully they'll learn something as well!