Saturday, June 10, 2017


A lot of TV shows from Britain have been reworked into American versions over the years.  It hasn't always been a successful transfer.  For every 'All In The Family', 'Sanford and Son', and 'Three's Company', there have been failures like 'Reggie', 'Beacon Hill', and 'Amanda's'

Here is an example of one that only made it to the pilot stage:

Friday, June 9, 2017


It's my belief that the easiest show to de-Zonk so that there were no discrepancies in relation to the rest of the TV Universe was 'Newhart'.  After all, except for the last few minutes of the final episode, everything else was all part of a dream by Dr. Bob Hartley from 'The Bob Newhart Show'.

And we all know how illogical dreams can be!

Michael wants to capture the birth of Stephanie's baby on video.

Michael got a lot of people to record messages about the baby he and Stephanie were about to have - only they had to recite the same phrase that he gave them.  And it wasn't just the people in his life at the TV studio, but also a few famous people as well.

Seen in the episode but uncredited were:
Of course, I can shrug it off that their appearances were just Newhart's manifestations of these actors.  But where did he know them from?

I don't want them to be members of the League of Themselves who were appearing in connections to the CBS TV shows in which they were starring at the time.  (Luckily none of their TV shows were mentioned, but there were a few suggestions pointing to those shows.)

They can be those actors, but I would prefer that Dr. Hartley knew them from movies they made or fictional TV shows within TV shows.  But I think I better lock it down to some specific examples to keep their appearance here Zonk-Free.


Unfortunately, Dr. Hartley's weird dream happened in 1982 and all six years of his adventures as innkeeper/author/talk show host Dick Louden were over by the next morning. Ms. Smart wouldn't have a big movie until 1984 with "Protocol", and Bob couldn't have seen that until after his dream journey.  So she really couldn't have had such a big impact on Bob to the point that he would know who she was. (And I don't see her going all the way to Chicago to consult a psychologist.)

I think this may be a case in which we weren't seeing Jean Smart as herself, but as her actual character from 'Designing Women' - Charlene Frazier Stillfield.  Now, that show didn't start until 1986 and 'Newhart' had been on the air since 1982, but that doesn't matter!  Only to the nigglers who don't want to see these TV shows as anything but TV shows.  But Charlene existed on the same timeline as Bob in the main Toobworld and so she was alive before he went to bed that night.  And that means she may have crossed Bob's radar earlier, perhaps before either one of them had actually shown up on our Trueniverse screens.

Here's some information about Charlene.....

Julia's late husband's secretary, Charlene, becomes the office manager and invests half of her own savings. Trusting with a heart of gold, Charlene's naive nature leads to a terrible track record with men, but ultimately rewards her with true love.
(Designing Women Online)

Charlene is the office manager of Sugarbaker's. Sweet-natured, but often naïve, she is a tall blonde from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Charlene reportedly never meets a stranger and is known for searching for the good in everyone. She remains in steady friendships with all of her coworkers, though her naïveté often results in quarrels with Julia and Suzanne. Charlene is very practical, but a dreamer. She dreamt as a child of being a preacher and is a long-running fan of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Dolly Parton. Though often guided by her psychic adviser, Charlene often finds herself in trouble while looking for a respectable man to date. She is often the target of con men. She has a short-lived romance with Shadow, a secret government agent, before romancing Mason Dudd, an overweight entrepreneur, who leaves her for Japan. Charlene meets her soul mate in widowed Air Force Colonel Bill Stillfield, whom she eventually marries. She gives birth to their daughter, Olivia, early in season four. In a dream, she was visited by entertainer Dolly Parton as Olivia's Guardian Movie Star, who confirmed to Charlene the gender and name of her child. When Bill is reassigned to England in early season six, Charlene turns over her job at Sugarbaker's to her sister, Carlene Dobber.

I suppose Charlene might have needed a therapist because of that track record with men, but just like with Jean Smart, I can't see her traveling all the way to Chicago to be a patient of Dr. Hartley's.  That's one hell of a commute!

'Designing Women' is not free of the Zonk curse - too many shows referenced it.  Among them:
  • 'Married With Children'
  • '30 Rock'
  • 'Scrubs'
  • 'Entourage' (Roger even won an Emmy for his work on it!)
But the best had to come from 'Roseanne':

Once upon a time there was these four princesses, and they lived in this great big house all together and they never left, okay? And uh, they just sat around all the time talking and talking, and yammering and yammering. And they killed every single man who ever came over there, except for one who they kept as a pet. And then one time these two princesses left, and then these other two came on and they really stunk, and...

Mom, that's "Designing Women".

So let's disable that Zonk and splain away how Charlene Frazier showed up in Bob's dream:

The 'Designing Women' TV series is about the Sugarbaker sisters and their co-workers, but it's not a sitcom for the TV characters who watch it.  It's a reality program, at the dawn of that programming fad.  So Bob really did know about Charlene Frazier.  (She would not become Mrs. Stillfield until after Bob woke up.)


Patrick Duffy's career has been mostly in TV - prime time soaps like 'Dallas', a couple of sitcoms, even a soap opera plus plenty of TV movies.  And then there was "Mark Harris" - 'The Man From Atlantis'. (The name was "Markaris" originally I think?)  That show generated a little heat when it came to Zonks, surprisingly far less than I thought - it was only referenced in the Britcom 'Only Fools And Horses' and in the spin-off from 'The X-Files', 'The Lone Gunmen'.

It could be that Dr. Hartley knew of Mark Harris from a documentary about the amphibious man.  By 1982, about four years after the mer-man had last been sighted in Toobworld, his secret may have been revealed to the world.  And even worse, he might not even have been still alive.

But there's no ignoring the juggernaut that was 'Dallas'.  So many TV shows made reference to it as a TV show even though they were sharing the same TV dimension.  Even over in the UK on sitcoms like 'Are You Being Served?'

And it's no wonder - just about everybody in Toobworld will be deemed worthy of a TV show.  It's the only way to combat the Zonks.  And those would be cast with actors who looked like the people they were portraying.  So here in Earth Prime, Patrick Duffy played Bobby Ewing whose televersion was portrayed by the televersion of Patrick Duffy in Earth Prime-Time.  See?  Easily explained.  

If your head's hurting from that, take a seat and lean forward, breathing deeply and slowly.

Therefore, I didn't want to resort to it, but I'm afraid that really was Patrick Duffy whom Bob was dreaming about.  I really don't think Bobby Ewing or the man from Atlantis would have seeped into his subconscious so strongly.


'Major Dad' was mentioned in episodes of 'Seinfeld' and 'Saved By The Bell' - apparently there was a TV producer out there in Toobworld who thought the love life of Major John "Mac" MacGillis and Polly Cooper was worthy of a TV show.  (He was a ramrod-straight Marine and she was a liberal journalist with three daughters.  And when they met, it was murder!  Oops, wrong show.)

In this case, I think once again we have an actual person from Toobworld rather than an actor who played the character.  And this time Dr. Bob Hartley actually did meet him.  It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that early in his military career, MacGillis was stationed at the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Chicago... and hated it.  He may have been ordered to consult Dr. Hartley to eliminate his inner rage at such an assignment.  And that would be how Bob knew him, finally seeing him again in a reality TV show about the love life of Mac and Polly.


This one was the easiest of the bunch!  And that's if you wanted to consider her as Angela Lansbury or as the mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher.

Ms. Lansbury had appeared in quite a few movies which Dr. Hartley would have been familiar with - "The Court Jester", "The Harvey Girls", "The Three Musketeers", "The Long, Hot Summer", and "State Of The Union", among others.  But it would be in two dark psychological thrillers he would best know her - "Gaslight" and "The Manchurian Candidate".  Just those two movies alone would have made a deep enough impression on Bob for him to summon her up again in his never-ending dream.

But could it have been Jessica Fletcher instead?

There is a fly in the ointment for that theoretical crossover, however.  It is in 1984 that her first novel - "The Corpse Danced At Midnight" - was published.  Bob's dream was in 1982.  But have no fear, the Monitaur is here!  

Jessica Fletcher must have had several short stories published in a mystery magazine before she wrote her novel!

Reading those stories probably impressed Dr. Hartley greatly.  Perhaps it even triggered the hidden desire to be a mystery writer himself.  During the course of the dream we saw that "Dick Louden" had written his own murder mystery, "Murder At The Stratleigh".  It proved to be so hypnotic to the other denizens of his dream that you could hear a pig drop!

So there's my De-Zonking puzzle for the day, a little more complicated than probably necessary for a dreamscape show.  But hey - it keeps me off the streets......


Thursday, June 8, 2017


While working on a blog post that won't see the light of day until next year (I know, right?), I found this item of interest about the private eye TV show 'Mannix'.....

From Wikipedia:
In the 1969 season, [Mannix] also employs the services of a competitive private investigator, Albie Loos (performed by Joe Mantell), as a sort of investigative gofer. In the 1972 season, Albie returns, played by a different actor (Milton Selzer).

CIRCA 1967

How do you splain away that recastaway?  Well, I don't know about you, but here's what I'm going with:

Plastic surgery.  

I really wanted to call on aliens in disguise - after all, there was an alien who wore a mask that looked like the second Albie Loos.  But he still didn't look like the original Albie.  (Here's what that alien REALLY looked like....)

Albie must have been involved in some kind of accident or even an attack which prompted the need for plastic surgery.  He may have even been involved in some top secret investigation which necessitated the need for Albie to drop out of sight and establish a new identity - at least for a little while.  And that's why he underwent plastic surgery.  

The surgeon chosen to perform the surgery used as his guide the picture of a man named Wilfred Harper, whose own visage had been altered by black magic.  Since Harper no longer looked as he once did, there wouldn't be any confusion with Albie Loos and his new look. (Little did he know how many other men in "Telemerica" had the same facial features.  People throughout History had that same face, including the first Secretary of War for the new-born United States.)

Eventually Albie Loos was able to come out of the early version of Witness Protection and was able to live Life again under his real name.  At some point before Mannix's investigation into Adam Langer, he learned the truth behind Albie's new look because he wasn't surprised to see him again but now looking totally different.

All part of the Khan-Chekov Principle in which we aren't supposed to see everything that happens in Toobworld.

  • 'Mannix' - "Search For A Whisper"
  • 'The Twilight Zone' - "Hocus Pocus and Frisby"
  • 'The Twilight Zone' - "The Masks"
  • 'You Are There'

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


'I'm Dying Up Here'

There will be SPOILERS if you haven't seen the first episode of this new Showtime series.

First off, let me just say how much I enjoyed this first episode (except for it being entitled "Pilot" - yawn!)  Back in the early 70s I was so into the whole entertainment scene especially seeing the celebrities talking with Johnny.  And although I didn't live in either LA or New York at that time, I know who the comics are suggesting with their performances.

But there was one jarring note in the evocation of the LA scene - Dylan Baker as Johnny Carson.

Johnny was such a singular presence on TV as the King of Late Night, with his tics and his distinctive laugh and signature catch-phrases. And this was helped along by so many comics and actors and even the guy at the end of the bar with their impersonations of Johnny.

But Baker didn't even attempt that.  I've seen this type of televersion before, when the actor doesn't try to mimic the original; they just want to suggest the original - Anthony Hopkins as "Nixon", William Shatner as Mark Twain in 'The Murdoch Mysteries'.  

And I just can't say this was the point of view for Clay Appuzzo alone, because everybody who watched it on TV saw the same thing.  And everybody kept referring to him as being Johnny.  That's a shame because I had a rather complicated splainin in that he was a substitute host for Johnny that night.  The joke back then was that substitute hosts were more the norm than Johnny actually hosting.

I want to keep this show in the main Toobworld, but I may not have any choice in the matter.  Johnny Carson is a member of the Televsion Crossover Hall of Fame - and rightfully so! - for all the times he showed up in fictional settings playing himself, or as was the case with a 'Columbo' episode, when he was seen on the TVs of TV characters as he hosted the 'Tonight Show'.

So I may have to employ one of those out of this world splainins as to how this could have been Johnny Carson.  And I do mean out of this world.

Because that wasn't Johnny.  It was one of 'The Invaders', one of those bent-pinkie aliens who bedeviled David Vincent.  And if you couldn't see any bent pinkie, that's because in the handful of years since they had first arrived on Earth Prime-Time, they had found a way around that problem.  

And this alien had no need to worry about a perfect impersonation of the original Johnny Carson.  The people he would be dealing with in the studio, and all the people who would be watching him on TV later that night, would not see the impostor.  All they would see Johnny Carson.

He was probably an alien who had specially modulated vocal skills to get people to believe anything he told them.  And he would be in league with the Hive, who would be in control of the control booth so that the equipment wouldn't distort the power of his voice.

And this is where my splainin changes the intent of the Clay Appuzzo storyline.  Clay had reached his personal Everest.  He not only made it on the 'Tonight Show', but on his first time there he got invited to sit next to Johnny to chat.  Clay apparently felt that having reached that pinnacle, there was nothing left to live for.

"See Naples and die."

So on the greatest night of his career (if not his life), Clay Appuzzo walked in front of a bus and died.  It looked like an accident to his parents and most of the world, but to his girlfriend?  The postcard he left behind with the first part of that Naples saying - in Italian - spoke volumes (coupled with the discussion they had about Sir Edmund Hillary before he broke it off with her.)

And they'll go through the whole season of the series believing he took his own life.

But what if he was coerced into doing it by a suggestion from that alien?

As always this is just conjecture.  But what if Clay bumped into this "Johnny Carson" backstage when the alien thought it was alone and let its guard down?  Clay would have seen the Truth and the alien might have realized that such a shock would be an inhibitor to maintaining the illusion with Clay.  So it may have put a quick fix on the situation and then embedded the command that Clay should take his own life after the show and far from the studio so that no suspicion would fall on him.

Maybe Agent John Loengard suspected something and when he shared his concerns with Agent Arthur Dales, he found a fellow believer.  (In the past, both of them had to deal with David Vincent and his crackpot alien invasion accusations.)

But however that scenario played out off-screen, the storyline of 'I'm Dying Up Here' will continue as though that really was Johnny Carson hosting the 'Tonight Show' that fateful night.  Whatever happened behind the scenes, the real Johnny Carson eventually did return to the desk.  

(I'm thinking that the plan devised by the Invaders and the Hive was ultimately foiled... and probably with help from the Doctor.

This theory works for me but even if there are holes in it, it still gives a good splainin as to why that had to be the worst Johnny Carson impression ever seen.

Sorry, Dylan Baker.


O'BSERVATION: I KNOW that's not really the TARDIS.  But it IS Los Angeles.

Just roll with it.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Two years ago, I found visual evidence of a TV show episode which was taking place on my brother's AJ's birthdate.  Not just his birthday, but the actual year as well.  It was an exciting moment for this televisiologist, to find something personal within the realm of Earth Prime-Time, but a moment tinged with jealousy.  I wanted such a moment for myself!

Getting the month and day seemed pretty easy enough.  After all, it's the anniversary of D-Day and ⅔ of the "Omenesque" number of the Beast.  But finding the year as well?  Tricky....

Well, I still have yet to find it completely.  But I did find the month and year.  Since the day wasn't specified, then I decided I was going to fill in the blanks as a televisiological birthday gift to myself.


Therefore, on June 6th, 1955, on the day of my televersion's birth across the pond, seven year old Annabel Weston murdered the family housekeeper, Mrs. Foster, in the family estate of Westoncoast.  

For the time being, 'twill serve.  I'm good with that.....

Happy birthday eve to me!


As I got ready to make this post in celebration of my own birthdate, it surprised me to find that I never got around to posting that picture to mark AJ's birthday in those following two years.  So I'll be rectifying that in ten days....


With the Birthday Honors List, Toobworld Central inducts TV characters into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame who might otherwise not get in with just their official credits.  But it's my birthday and what I say, goes.

This year, I have three candidates whom I showcased back in January on the first anniversary of their actor's death.

Ira Grubbs aka Mr. 1223

Richard Perlito

Dr, Adam Boyer

And all of them appeared on separate episodes of 'Barney Miller'.

As most of Team Toobworld should know, a candidate for membership should have three TV series, or TV movies, or commercials to their credit.  But in the splainin I provided back in January, those three characters utilize tropes from other series - 'The Patty Duke Show' and 'Quantum Leap'.  

You know what?  It's my birthday.  I hopefully have better things to do today.  Just follow this link and you can read that story celebrating these characters of Richard Libertini.  In the meantime, we welcome the three of them to the Hall of Fame!


Monday, June 5, 2017


Tales of the Unexpected
- The Open Window


Holidaying in Connecticut, Gregory visits an isolated hunting lodge and meets a girl called Jane, who tells him a disturbing story about an accident which befell members of her family when they went through 'the open window' on a hunting expedition. Is she lying or will the figures really return as her mother expects?

Connecticut is the setting, young Gregory is holidaying in the area, he encounters young Jane who takes him home to meet mother Marjorie. Marjorie tells Jane to prepare for the 'ritual,' it's very mysterious. Jane is convinced her mother despises her. Gregory explains he was a teacher, and had left his job, and was now spending some time in the country. Jane reveals it's the first day of the hunting season, and that three years ago, Marjorie's second husband had accidentally shot his son Stanley in an accident, then turned the gun on himself.
(From the IMDb)

From Wikipedia:
Hector Hugh Munro (18 December 1870 – 14 November 1916), better known by the pen name Saki, and also frequently as H. H. Munro, was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirize Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story, and often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. Influenced by Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll and Rudyard Kipling, he himself influenced A. A. Milne, Noël Coward and P. G. Wodehouse.

Besides his short stories (which were first published in newspapers, as was customary at the time, and then collected into several volumes), he wrote a full-length play, "The Watched Pot", in collaboration with Charles Maude; two one-act plays; a historical study, "The Rise of the Russian Empire", the only book published under his own name; a short novel, "The Unbearable Bassington"; the episodic "The Westminster Alice" (a parliamentary parody of Alice in Wonderland); and "When William Came", subtitled "A Story of London Under the Hohenzollerns", a fantasy about a future German invasion and occupation of Britain.

Here's the description of "The Open Window":
Framton Nuttel, a nervous man, has come to stay in the country for his health. His sister, who thinks he should socialise while he is there, has given him letters of introduction to families in the neighbourhood whom she got to know when she was staying there a few years previously. Framton goes to visit Mrs Sappleton and, while he is waiting for her to come down, is entertained by her fifteen-year-old, witty niece. The niece tells him that the French window is kept open, even though it is October, because Mrs Sappleton believes that her husband and her brothers, who were drowned in a bog three years before, will come back one day. When Mrs Sappleton comes down she talks about her husband and her brothers, and how they are going to come back from shooting soon, and Framton, believing that she is deranged, tries to distract her by talking about his health. Then, to his horror, Mrs Sappleton points out that her husband and her brothers are coming, and he sees them walking towards the window with their dog. He thinks he is seeing ghosts and runs away. Mrs Sappleton cannot understand why he has run away and, when her husband and her brothers come in, she tells them about the odd man who has just left. The niece explains that Framton Nuttel ran away because of the spaniel: he is afraid of dogs since he was hunted by a pack of stray dogs in India and had to spend a night in the newly dug grave with creatures grinning and foaming just above him. The last line summarizes the story, saying of the niece, "Romance at short notice was her speciality."

As you can see, the two cannot really be reconciled as being the same story in the details.  The TV version then is not from BookWorld, but is instead a TV dimension which is part of the astral archipelago known as the Borderlands.  Each of these vest-pocket dimensions are influenced in some tidal fluctuation effect by some other metafictional universe - the Cineverse, BookWorld, the World Stage, the universe of record album covers - that sort of thing.  In this case, the Borderland is influenced either by BookWorld or by some other universe born of Mankind's Imagination which is based on short stories.

There have been several adaptations of this story by "Saki", but no others in the greater TV Universe.  (A 1950s episode of 'One Step Beyond' which has that title has no connection to that story at all and does not have Munro's name attached in either form.)  So it could just as well be that this version of the story could exist in the main Toobworld at the same time as it does in that Borderland.  It's not uncommon to have similar dimensions with no discernible differences between them.

If so, I think we can consider Marjorie as being a member of that Merrillian family tree....


O'BSERVATION: For now, this concludes our salute to the television career of the late Dina Merrill.  I will have at least one more post about three of her "Merrillians" come August.....

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Recently I wrote about those TV shows which exist in both Earth Prime and Earth Prime-Time but which have differences to keep them from being one and the same.

So here are some examples of most of them: