Saturday, August 5, 2017


Sure, we're celebrating 'Death Valley Days' for this year's TV Western showcase, but that doesn't mean we can't salute somebody from another show.

A few years back the theme for the TV Western showcase was 'The Rifleman', but we really didn't give a proper salute to Chuck Connors himself.  I want to make up for that now......

And since everybody probably expects something from 'The Rifleman'......

Happy trails to you!

Friday, August 4, 2017


"In 2002, when Churchill rightly topped a BBC poll to find the greatest Briton, I was delighted. But shockingly many people don’t seem to know who he is these days. 

A survey seven years ago found that one in three schoolchildren thought the Second World War leader was the first man to walk on the moon, while another found that one in four teenagers thought he was a fictional character."

[Robert Hardy on the 50th anniversary of Churchill's death]

From the New York Times:
Robert Hardy, the veteran British character actor whose roles included Cornelius Fudge in four Harry Potter movies, an eccentric veterinary surgeon in “All Creatures Great and Small” and numerous incarnations of Winston Churchill, died on Thursday in London. He was 91.

His family confirmed his death in a statement.

Mr. Hardy first achieved fame when he played the outspoken and irascible Siegfried Farnon in the long-running British series “All Creatures Great and Small” (1978-90), based on James Herriot’s books.

But it was his portrayals of Churchill, Britain’s crusty and indomitable wartime prime minister, that defined him for many British audiences.

He first took on the role in “Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years,” a 1981 British mini-series, for which he won a Bafta, Britain’s most prestigious film and television award. (He said he had prepared for the role by listening to Churchill’s audio recordings for months.)

American viewers saw him reprise the role in the acclaimed mini-series “War and Remembrance” (1988-89), but he also played Churchill in two 1980s television movies, “The Woman He Loved” and “Bomber Harris”; a London stage production, “Winnie” (which The Guardian pronounced a “feeble musical”); and a French play, “Celui Qui a Dit Non” (1999). 

And his last screen appearance, other than a role in a film short, was as the star of “Churchill: 100 Days That Saved Britain,” a 2015 British television movie.
(Anita Gates)

Because of this, Robert Hardy is the official portrayal of Churchill for Toobworld, although he may not be the actual Churchill of the main Toobworld.  Churchill was an historic multi-dimensional and thanks to so many TV movies about the Old Lion we can easily spread them out throughout the TV Universe.

I always planned to have Churchill inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame one day; possibly for a future November, which is the month in which we traditionally induct the multi-dimensional televersions of politicians.  And all of his incarnations from across the TV universe, from Richard Burton to  Timothy West, would be included.  That will still happen - I'm thinking of doing this in November 2019, which would be the 145th anniversary of Churchill's birth.

But as was the case with John Adams who was inducted twice, once as a general multi-dimensional and as a special honor for the various portrayals by William Daniels, we're inducting the Robert Hardy portrayals of Winston Churchill now, to serve as a tribute to Mr. Hardy's memory.

Because he played Churchill in at least two TV productions that experienced major recastaways with some o their main fictional characters, I think Hardy's televersion of the former Prime Minister would be in a different TV dimension than Earth Prime-Time.  I have no problem with adding his other projects as Churchill to that same dimension.  

Here are the TV movies and mini-series and one mystery series in which Robert Hardy played Winston Churchill:

Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981)
A Menace in the House (1981) 
The Flying Peril (1981) 
His Own Funeral (1981) 
The Long Tide of Surrender (1981) 
What Price Churchill? (1981) 

The Woman He Loved (1988) 

Bomber Harris (1988) 

War and Remembrance (1988)Part 8 (1989)
Part 9 (1989) 
Part 10 (1989) (credit only)
Part 11 (1989) 
- Part 12 (1989) 

Agatha Christie's Marple
The Sittaford Mystery (2006) 

Churchill: 100 Days That Saved Britain (2015) 

As mentioned above in that NY Times obituary excerpt, Robert Hardy also played Churchill in at least two different stage productions.  This makes him not only a TV multi-dimensional, but also a multiversal for all other worlds based on Mankind's Imagination.

A hearty/hardy welcome to the Hall for both of our honorees.......



For our next look at an historical Western figure as seen on 'Death Valley Days', we have notorious outlaw Bob Dalton.....

From Wikipedia:

Robert Rennick Dalton (May 13, 1869 – October 5, 1892), better known as Bob Dalton, was an American outlaw in the American Old West. He led the ill-fated Dalton Gang raid on two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas. Ambushed by town citizens, Bob, Bill Power, Grat Dalton and Richard L. "Dick" Broadwell were all killed.

The gang split to pursue their own goals after the Adair raid. Bob and his brothers were deeply concerned with the pressure put upon them by the law. They decided to make one last robbery to earn enough money to leave the country. Their plan was to rob two banks in the same town at the same time to get the money and to also make history for accomplishing something that no other outlaw gang had even attempted. Their target was their old hometown of Coffeyville, Kansas.

Early on Oct. 5 1892, Bob, Grat, Emmett, Powers and Broadwell entered Coffeyville. Tying up their horses in the alley across from the banks, they walked across the street dividing into two groups before entering the Condon National Bank and First National Bank. Well known by the townspeople they were recognized and an alarm was given. Townsmen quickly armed themselves with guns from the local hardware stores and took positions to defend their town. 

As the Dalton Gang began their escape a gun battle erupted that killed gang members and four town citizens. The lone survivor among the gang, Emmett, was seriously wounded receiving 23 gunshot wounds[4] and he stood trial for the bank robberies after recovering. Sentenced to life in prison, he was granted a pardon by the governor after 14 years.

Deputy Marshal Heck Thomas remembered Bob Dalton as the most accurate shot he had ever seen. Dalton is buried at the Coffeyville, Kansas Cemetery under a group marker for himself, his brother Grat, and Bill Power.

At the time of his death, Bob Dalton was only 23 years old.  (This could be an example of that number from the Valenzetti Equation exuding its influence.)  None of the actors who portrayed him was anywhere near in age to him, all being older.  The closest in age to Dalton was Ron Hargrave - 28 when he played the role.

Our spotlight here is on Forrest Tucker as Bob Dalton, since the month's theme is 'Death Valley Days'.  But this member of the triumvirate of Hollywood's greatest "swordsmen" (the other two being Gary Cooper and Milton Berle) was also the oldest actor in the role.  He was 45 years old at the time.  

Bob Dalton was not played on a continuing basis in any TV series, but only appeared in single episodes of either anthology series or in shows which featured at least one regular character.  The final three appearances of Bob Dalton's televersion in the greater TV Universe were all in TV movies.  As such, they can each be relegated to alternate Toobworlds, including one for Toobworld-MOTW.  (As "The Last Day" was the first of these TV movies, then Robert Conrad's portrayal of Bob Dalton gets the "honor" of being the official "portrait" in the "Movie Of The Week Toobworld".

The Last Day (1975) 
Played by Robert Conrad 
(43 years old)

The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang (1979) 
Played by Cliff Potts
(37 years old)

Belle Starr (1980) 
Played by Jesse Vint 
(approximately mid to late thirties)

As for his other incarnations in TV series, I would like to keep all of these in the main Toobworld, despite the recastaway factor.  But I think we can splain that away by claiming that the physical differences were due to Bob Dalton as seen from the point of view of some other character in the story (usually the main character of the show.)

    - The Daltons Must Die: Part 1 (1961) 
Deputy Marshal Frank Dalton and three of his brothers trail a trio of young murderous outlaws. But Frank's brothers are starting to wonder whether their meager pay as lawmen is worth it all.

    - The Daltons Must Die: Part 2 (1961)
After taking the law into their own hands to avenge the killing of their brother, the four remaining Dalton brothers have turned outlaw, and plan the robbery of an Army payroll.
Played by Larry Pennell in both
(33 years old)

Larry Pennell had the most appearances as Bob Dalton but that was only in a two-part story for the series 'Outlaws', so it might as well be considered as one appearance.  I have not seen these two episodes, so I don't know which of the main characters had the most interaction with Bob Dalton.  But the P.O,V, was most likely either Marshal Frank Caine's or his deputy, Will Foreman's.  

"Tales of Wells Fargo"
    - The Daltons (1959)
Jim Hardie has been sent to capture the Dalton gang by Wells Fargo after several railroad express shipments are hit. Jim wanted the job as he worked with Bob Dalton who was a U.S. Deputy Marshal a couple of years earlier. Knowing the family Jim decides to start with the family homestead where Ma Dalton lives. When she recognizes Jim, she invites him inside where she learns why he is there which disappoints her. Although not expected, Bob and Emmett Dalton along with gang member Turk Cowley show up hoping to see their mother. They spot Jim's horse so they approach the house quietly until one of their horses gives them away. Jim tries to capture them but instead finds himself their prisoner with Turk wanting to kill him.
Played by Don Kelly
(35 years old)

Wells Fargo agent Jim Hardie should be considered as having the most accurate perception of Bob Dalton and the whole Dalton family since he worked with Bob when the outlaw was still a lawman.  (Turk Cowley could be the gunman who kept getting revived after death in North Fork, New Mexico.....)

"Death Valley Days"
    - Three Minutes to Eternity (1963)
The Dalton Brothers try to rob two banks at the same time.
Played by Forrest Tucker
(45 years old)

With the account told to the audience of the Trueniverse by the immortal serlinguist the Old Ranger, Bob Dalton is probably more in line with a fictional version dreamed up to look more like Colonel William Quantrill of Earth Prime-Time.  (At least as how Hondo Lane remembered the former soldier and now outlaw raider.)  At 45, Forrest Tucker was way too old to play Bob Dalton, but he was always fun to watch on the screen.....

"You Are There" 
    - The End of the Dalton Gang (October 5, 1892) (1957)
CBS reporters "go back in Time" to interview participants in various historical events.  This time it was the Daltons in Coffeyville.

Played by Ron Hargrave
(28 years old)

I'm still undecided on how to treat this series.  If I accept it as a Toobworld reality, then the historical figures who are interviewed would trump any other portrayal.  If they're presenting the "news", it has to be real, right?  I mean, it's CBS, not FOX.  And at least Hargrave comes closest in age to that of the real Bob Dalton.

"Stories of the Century"
    - The Dalton Gang (1954) 
Matt and Frankie head to Coffeyville in 1892 when they hear that the Dalton brothers and their gang are planning something big. They arrive in time to thwart the double bank robbery with the help of the stalwart citizens of the town.
Played by Myron Healey
(31 years old)

And that leaves us with Bob Dalton in 'Stories of the Century'.  As far as I'm concerned, in the Toobworld timeline Matt Clark is the biggest liar since Jack Styles, the early American spy posted to the South Seas by President Thomas Jefferson.  No matter who the legendary outlaw was, Matt Clark claimed to have been involved in either their capture or their death.  And Matt Clark claimed that he was present in Coffeyville, Kansas, when the Dalton gang was brought to its ignominious end.  

It's a neat trick that Matt Clark never seemed to age, despite his tall tales being historically set from the 1850s to the 1900s.  So his account of the Coffeyville job should be discounted entirely.  But it could be that his recollections of Bob Dalton are probably based more on what Doc Holliday looked like in Toobworld.

All in all, I guess I'll just leave it up in the air as to who would be the Bob Dalton of Earth Prime-Time... for now.  I'm sure one day the Dalton Boys and the Coffeyville Bank Robberies will be incorporated into another TV Western......

But if I had to pick, I'd go with Don Kelly just on the merits that Jim Hardie actually knew him.  But that "historical" Bob Dalton played by Ron Hargrave......

Happy Trails To You!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


[I won't apologize for that pun.]

Dan Murchison was the power behind the town of Outpost, Missouri, and he owned the Timberline Stagecoach company.  Since Outpost was not yet incorporated in the 1870s, Murchison served as the town's unofficial mayor, justice, and coroner, among other duties.

He had a great-grandson who lived in California and was a research chemist working for the Beauty Mark Cosmetics corporation.  

"Murch" stumbled on a formula that could actually remove wrinkles, but his scheming assistant Karl Lessing made him think the cream was a failure.  That way he could abscond with it and sell it to the company's rival, David Lang.  (But Beauty Mark owner Viveca Scott made certain that Lessing wouldn't be doing much of anything ever again.)

One stumbling block for this theory of "relateeveety" would be that according to the closing credits on both shows, Murch spelled his last name differently than did his great-grandfather.  But that's not really a Zonk.  Families have seen name changes over the generations for lots of different reasons.  The capricious whims of an Ellis Island agent for example.  Hugh O'Brian saw his name misspelled at the beginning of his career and decided to leave it.  So over the course of four generations, "Murchison" could easily have become "Murcheson".

John Litel played Dan Murchison in nine episodes of 'Stagecoach West' while "Murch" Murcheson was one of Fred Draper's six roles in episodes of 'Columbo'.  In this case, it was for "Lovely But Lethal".


Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Welcome to August!  The month in which we celebrate the TV Western.....  

I'm writing this back in February of this year and I'm thinking my overall theme will be a look at 'Death Valley Days'.  Here is the first part.

'Death Valley Days' was like a wild, wild West version of 'The Twilight Zone'.  Not that there were any three-eyed aliens nor little boys who could wish you into the cornfield.  But it was an anthology series with a series of serlinguists to introduce each tale... and not all of these tales took place in the same TV dimension.

If an episode of 'Death Valley Days' does not have any historical figures, then I have no problem in keeping it in the world of Earth Prime-Time.  Even those episodes which have historical characters who never had any other portrayals on television can stay as well.  A good example of that is the episode "A Gun Is Not A Gentleman" in which Carroll O'Connor played California state senator Dave Broderick.  As far as I can tell, this participant in the last well-known duel to the death who was an ardent opponent to slavery, only has this one portrayal to his credit.

My standard splainin for the historical Recastaways in TV shows that featured regular characters (for example - and in keeping with this being the month in which we showcase TV Westerns - Calamity Jane as seen in 'Bonanza', 'Deadwood' or 'The Overland Trail'), the different actors hired for the historical role would be portrayed as seen through the perspective of the regular characters.  So with our example of Calamity Jane, her appearance from show to show changed because that was how she was perceived by Little Joe Cartwright ('Bonanza'), Flip Flippen ('Overland Trail'), and by the citizens of 'Deadwood'.  Any other portrayals of Calamity Jane on television in TV movies, stand-alone mini-series, TV commercials, etc. can be considered as part of some other TV dimension.


For this TV show, Martha Jane Canary was played by Fay Spain (described in the IMDb as "your typical B-movie drive-in bad girl - sometimes blonde, sometimes brunette, always bodacious; a tease, a taunter and a temptress.")  And she played the role in a fashion that followed the look established by Doris Day in the movie musical biography of "Calamity Jane".

The plot focused on her relationship with Wild Bill Hickok although it collapsed that particular timeline down to a week at best.  As there were no previously established TV characters in that episode, nor any who continued on from that point to other episodes or shows, then we have nobody from the main Toobworld to consider as the perspective for this portrayal of Calamity.

So there's no reason to tie this episode down to Earth Prime-Time, so that meanswe can use it in some alternate TV dimension.  Which is just as well since this version of Wild Bill Hickok is so different from the look of not only the real Hickok but also the now official portrayal of Wild Bill in 'Deadwood', as played by Keith Carradine.  (As for Guy Madison's version, we've got a whole nutha story!)

There were three historical figures in this episode - besides Calamity and Bill, there was also Charlie Utter, whose name is pronounced "Otter" by Jane here.)  So on the whole, it's probably best to keep this version of their lives separate in a new dimension, especially since there was no new material really, just a retread of their "official" timeline.  (It's not like when Abraham Lincoln met time travelers.)

Happy trails to you!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


From Wikipedia:
"The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams" is a 1974 independent feature film inspired by a 1972 historical fiction novella written by Charles E. Sellier Jr.. The film's popularity led to an NBC television series of the same name. The title character, played by Dan Haggerty, was loosely based on California mountain man James "Grizzly" Adams (1812-1860), whose real name was John Capen Adams, a one-time Boston shoe and boot maker.
The film and TV series portrayed the fictional Grizzly Adams as a frontier woodsman who fled into the mountains after he was wrongly accused of murder. While struggling to survive, Adams saves an orphaned grizzly bear cub he adopts and names Ben. The bear, while growing to its huge adult size, becomes Adams' closest companion. Consistently kind and gentle, Adams discovers and demonstrates an uncanny ability to gain the trust of most of the indigenous wildlife of the region, and he helps, sometimes rescues, takes in and tames many species. Originally a hunter, with his learned affection for wildlife Adams resolves never to harm another animal whenever possible. In the television series, Adams had two human friends, an old mountain man trader named "Mad Jack" played by Denver Pyle who was often featured with his mule ("Number Seven"), and a Native American by the name of "Nakoma" played by Don Shanks. Adams, Mad Jack, and Nakoma helped myriad mountain visitors while protecting wildlife at the same time.

NBC aired the series finale on February 21, 1982 by way of a two-hour TV movie called "The Capture of Grizzly Adams" where a bounty hunter used Adams' daughter, who was not seen or mentioned since the 1974 film, in a kidnap-extortion ploy to lure the fugitive mountain man back to civilization. In the end Adams proves his innocence.

There were other portrayals of Grizzly Adams in the greater TV Universe but they are all relegated to other TV dimensions, including the Tooniverse (as seen above).  Dan Haggarty, though he is gone now, will always be the Grizzly Adams of the main Toobworld.

The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (1974) 
Played by Dan Haggerty (as James Capen Adams)

"The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams" 
37 episodes

Once Upon a Starry Night (1978) 

Legend of the Wild (1981) 

The Capture of Grizzly Adams (1982)

That first entry on the list, although it was made as a theatrical film and can be found in the Cineverse, has been absorbed into the world Earth Prime-Time.  As far as I can see, there were no recastaway situations to deal with.

And so for our month showcasing the TV Western, we honor the memory of Dan Haggerty by inducting this historical mountain man into the Crossover Hall of Fame.

And because you really can't think of one without the other, Ben the Bear will be joining Adams in the Hall.  (It is Two For Tuesday after all.)  He's not the first animal who's been inducted, and he won't be the last.

Here's to you, Sir.....

Monday, July 31, 2017


From Wikipedia:
'Dynasty' is an upcoming American prime time television soap opera series reboot based on the 1980s series of the same name, which ran on ABC from 1981 to 1989. Set to air on The CW, the new series was developed by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, and Sallie Patrick. It stars Grant Show as Blake Carrington, Nathalie Kelley as Cristal Flores, Elizabeth Gillies as Blake's daughter Fallon, and James Mackay as his son Steven. The pilot, which was announced in September 2016, was ordered to series in May 2017. 'Dynasty' will premiere on October 11, 2017.

So off it goes to Toobworld 2, the Land O' Remakes.  I make no predictions on how long it will last; the demographics it's aimed at probably never even saw the original and this certainly amps up the salacious factor.  But the 1980s was a crux for the combination of once-great stars with fresh up-and-comers and 'Dynasty' took full advantage of that - they even had mega-wattage names like Heston and Stanwyck for the spin-off!  

And the original version had something this can't possibly attain - the guidance of Aaron Spelling, who knew how to sell the glitz and glamour with just the right amount of titillation.  

I'm sure with steamy sex scenes between the Carrington son and his gay lover, plus his sister in an inter-racial affair with the chauffeur, who goes down on her like Grey Worm on Missendei, it'll hold its audience.

But even so, Earth Prime-Time already has its 'Dynasty'.....  


Sunday, July 30, 2017


I know.  It's a theatrically released movie, not Toobworld.

But I wanted to share with you the first role I ever saw featuring John Heard.  Damn, he was so good.

I hope you enjoy.  This is one of my favorite movies which placed Heard in my Top Ten favorite actors.