Saturday, September 30, 2017


From Wikipedia:

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive is a five-issue crossover comic book series produced in partnership by IDW Comics and Boom! Studios and released between December 2014 and April 2015. The series was written by brothers Scott and David Tipton, with artwork by Rachael Stott, her debut work. The Primate Directive combine elements and characters from the original Star Trek series and the original Planet of the Apes film series. It features Captain James T. Kirk seeking to prevent the Klingons from installing a puppet gorilla government on the planet, which requires them working with various Apes characters such as George Taylor, Cornelius and Zira.

The Tipton brothers were approached by IDW to write the series after their work on the crossover miniseries Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2. Stott's artwork included the likeness of Charlton Heston, which was allowed after an agreement between IDW and the Heston estate. The first issue, released on December 31, 2014, saw sales of over 53,000, though sales figures would subsequently drop. However, the series has been received positively by critics, who praised Stott's artwork and the nature of how the two franchises interacted.
Hikaru Sulu and Uhura discover the Klingons have been seeking to expand into another universe using a gateway built of advanced technology in order to get around an Organian enforced peace treaty. The USS Enterprise approaches and engages two Klingon vessels, before pursuing one of them through a portal to the other universe. They arrive in orbit of Earth, albeit one whose history has diverged. Captain James T. Kirk leads an away team to the surface where they see the Klingon Kor providing the gorillas with rifles. They are detected and flee. Kor promises to deal with the interlopers, while the Starfleet team return to the ship. They discuss the situation and decide to stop the Klingons. Returning to the surface near the Statue of Liberty, they follow human tracks around to a cove.

They find George Taylor, who asks them to help overthrow the apes. Kirk says they cannot, but agrees to meet with Cornelius and Zira and has the group transported to their location. Once they arrive, Kirk instructs the Enterprise to use the phasers set to stun on a large group of gorillas. The two chimpanzees explain ape society to the Starfleet crew before Taylor argues that the apes should be overthrown again. Kirk turns him down, but enlists the help of the chimpanzees. Taylor abducts Pavel Chekov, steals his communicator and has himself beamed to the Enterprise. Kirk, Spock and Chekov follow him to the ship where they find him trying to steal a shuttlecraft. He and Kirk get into a fist fight, before Taylor agrees to follow Kirk's lead back to the surface to work with the apes. Kor gives Marius a disruptor and a uniform, ordering him to deliver the ape society to the Klingon Empire. The Enterprise crew detect the gorilla army movement and beam Zira into Ape City to warn Dr. Zaius and the gorilla General Ursus.

Klingon-backed gorillas attack Kirk's team, who have taken position in the Klingons' store room but the attackers are defeated. However, they discover that in the fracas, a sniper rifle was taken. Taylor, Kirk and the Starfleet crew ride out to stop the Klingons, and prevent Kor from assassinating Ursus who has gone to talk down Marius. They defeat Kor and his colleagues, but the Klingons beam back up to their ship. Ursus and Marius fight, with Ursus victorious. Kirk and his team leave to pursue Kor, leaving the rifles in the hands of the gorillas who are no longer puppets of the Klingons. The Enterprise chase Kor's ship for three days, and find themselves back at the alternative Earth as the atmosphere is destroyed by a cobalt bomb which eradicates all life on the planet. The Enterprise pursues Kor back through the portal to their own universe. Meanwhile, Cornelius, Zira and Milo are in orbit on-board a primitive space vessel having witnessed the destruction below. Not knowing what to do, they consult a tricorder left behind by Kirk's team which instructs them on how to travel through time using a slingshot effect.

Unfortunately for ye old Caretaker, the comics are focused on the film adaptations of Pierre Boulle's original novel and not on the 1970s TV series which starred Roddy McDowall, Ron Harper, James Naughton, and Mark Lenard.  Not that I would have absorbed the comic book mini-series into the greater Toobworld Dynamic, but had this been about Kirk's Enterprise crew meeting Galen, Virdon and Burke (NOT a law firm!) and not Cornelius, Zira, and Taylor, then I might have at least suggested that it took place in those years immediately following the cancellation of 'Star Trek' in 1969.  We just never got the chance to see it.

Oh well.  Still it is a fun premise and who knows?  Maybe one day my fully Toobworld concept might be attempted......


Friday, September 29, 2017



From the IMDb:
Jessica narrates a story from 40 years ago when another female mystery writer helped to solve a mysterious murder aboard the Queen Mary.

In October of 1989, one of Toobworld's grande dames of mystery literature passed away - Lady Abigail Austin.  Jessica Fletcher, who had developed the ability of serlinguism, spoke to the audience in the Trueniverse and lauded the late lady with effusive praise.....

Abigail Austin.
When it came to mysteries,
she was very simply the best.
Her books will live on
long after mine are gone and forgotten.

Based on such a eulogy, I would say Lady Abigail was second only to Dame Agatha Christie in fame and talent, closely followed by Abigail Mitchell, Glynis Granville, Dame Margo Woodhouse, Eudora McVeigh Shipton, and Jessica B. Fletcher herself.  (I'm referring to women mystery writers in Toobworld only, meaning no sleight to any of the Real World's eminent women in the field.  I included Christie because she has been dramatized for Earth Prime-Time - most notably, her televersion appeared in an episode of 'Doctor Who'.)

Radio personality "Edwin Chancellor" described her career highlights (with corrections by Lady Abigail herself):

Your preeminence is without equal.  
Your marvelous detective, Dexter Saint James, the hero of 50 novels.
Translated into a dozen languages.
Seventeen, including Swahili.

But I think "Chancellor" was fixated only on those books about the sleuth Dexter St. James.  Perhaps he was hoping to get Lady Abigail to sign over the adaptation rights for the character to him so that he might play the role on the radio.  (At the very least, he was hoping to get her to write for his program, "The Casebook of Edwin Chancellor.")

However, I think there were more books to be found in Lady Abigail Austin's bibliography than just those 55 novels about St. James.  Like Agatha Christie, I'm sure Austin also had other amateur sleuths among her creations, perhaps only to be found in short stories, maybe in full-novels as well.  And I think, based on a comment by "Edwin Chancellor", it may be that Lady Abigail Austin had a gimmick when it came to the themes of her other mystery novels.

Well, I, for one, cannot wait
until the next Abigail Austin adventure is published.

"Chancellor" could have easily said "novel" or "book" rather than "adventure".  I think it could be that he was referring to an entire subset of stories by the writer - "The Abigail Austin Adventures", in which she wrote mysteries which were solved by a fictionalized version of herself.

It could be that there weren't that many books already published in that series, perhaps only one or two.  After all, the public was enamored of Dexter Saint James.  But those stories were still fiction and she had not written about herself having actually been involved in an investigation.


Years ago, she was involved in a real-life mystery.
Oh, yes.
As you know, that's something that I'm familiar with.
But for Lady Abigail, I think it was,
well, a somewhat disconcerting situation.
It was two years after the war,
and she had sailed aboard the Queen Mary,
which was one night out of New York City when the trouble started.

I believe it was a disconcerting situation because Lady Abigail had never personally been involved in a police investigation before, especially a murder.  And I think she had, for whatever reason, lost the inclination to write.  It could have been writer’s block, perhaps a loss of belief in herself.
Her observational skills had been dulled by lack of use during the War and it turned out that her solution to the crime was in error.  But young amateur sleuth "Christy McGinn" came up with the correct answer to the puzzle.  However, he didn't tell his Dad - Police Inspector "Martin McGinn" - until after Lady Abigail disembarked, so that her renewed excitement in her chosen vocation would not be dimmed.

You may have noticed that three of the characters I've mentioned so far in this piece had their names listed in quotation marks.  Only Lady Abigail and Jessica have their names unadorned.  That's because we saw those two as "actual" people of Toobworld.  Everyone else in this émission de télévision a clef had an alias.

The problem for Jessica is that - basically...?  She was having a senior moment.  Cabot Cove CRAFT.  JB had a brain fart.  Although she was describing what really happened during that fateful cruise, she was using the names of the characters from Lady Abigail’s novelized version of the events.

Lady Abigail, newly enthused with the joy of writing, rushed back to her New York residence, no longer interested in heading to her first home in Brighton.  There she began writing with a passion and by the end of the next year, her latest "Abigail Austin Adventure" - "Abigail Austin And The Grand Old Lady" - was published.

She had no problem with appearing as herself in the book, but rather than dealing with all of the legal paperwork needed to mention the others involved, she fictionalized everybody else who was on board the Queen Mary during that investigation.  And that included "Christy McGinn" - the young crossword puzzle creator who actually solved the case because he was helping out his policeman father ("Martin McGinn".)  

In Toobworld, these were Lady Abigail’s roman a clef versions of Ellery Queen and his father, Inspector Richard Queen.

From Wikipedia:
Ellery Queen, is a mystery writer and amateur detective who helps his father, Richard Queen, a New York City police inspector, solve baffling murders.

The obituary writer for the New York Daily Examiner summed up the basics about Ellery:

Queen, comma, Ellery.
Mystery writer of some renown
Born April 2nd, New York City, 1912.
Father: Queen, comma, Richard.
Inspector, New York City Police Department.
Lady Abigail changed enough of the details about Ellery Queen so that it was not readily evident as to his real identity.  Unless the reader was aware of the murder case and/or a true aficionado of all mystery writers, not just Lady Abigail, then the casual reader might have assumed “Christy McGinn” was fully fictional.

Lady Abigail enjoyed writing in the roman a clef style which afforded her the chance to create her “word puzzles with a key” when it came to the names of her characters.

Let’s take a look at some of the characters in “Abigail Austin and the Grand Old Lady”.....

CHRISTY McGINN - The stand-in for Ellery Queen was a creator of crossword puzzles for the New York Daily Examiner, but yearned to be a reporter on the crime beat.  In “real” life, Ellery was already a published author by 1947.  (I think Austin’s only reason to treat him so dismissively was so that she could hold center stage in the story as the one true mystery writer.)

As for his name, “Christy” was inspired by a young man whom Lady Abigail knew all of her life: Christopher R. Milne.  His father, A. A. Milne, authored the “Winnie The Pooh” stories and put his son into those tales as “Christopher Robin”. By the 1940s, he was a young man trying to make his way in the world, away from his father’s influential shadow.  And as for ‘McGinn’, Lady Abigail remembered the writings of William Maginn, a writer for periodicals in the middle of the 19th Century whose reputation was nearly forgotten.  I don’t think she wished that upon Ellery Queen, but she preferred to keep the limelight to herself on this case.

As for Christy’s father, “Martin”, she found her inspiration in Martin Sheridan, an NYPD police detective who was praised as one of the greatest athletes with five Olympic medals to his credit from three separate Olympic games.  I think it meant that Lady Abigail saw great potential in Inspector McGinn’s career with the NYPD.  (Sadly, Martin Sheridan died in 1918, a victim of the flu pandemic.)

Of the other major participants in the Queen Mary murder case, “Edwin Chancellor” is easy to recognize as being the fictional counterpart to Simon Brimmer, the “celebrated” radio show host.  Lady Abigail based his name on a British minister she knew during World War I, when she and her first husband lived in Lancaster.  Edwin Samuel Montagu was the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1915 and 1916, and he played a role in a sex scandal in the government which led to the United Kingdom taking a stand on the issue of a Zionist state in Palestine as mapped out in the Balfour Declaration.  

For Lady Abigail, who knew his wife Venetia (once the mistress of the very much married Prime Minister H.H. Asquith), Edwin Montagu immediately came to mind when she first saw Brimmer with his receding hairline, his jowls, and mustache.

As for the others, “Captain Oliver” had to be Captain John D. Snow, R.D., R.N.R., who took command of of the Queen Mary on July 4, 1947. As to how she chose “Oliver” as his alias in the novel, I believe her business dealings in New York City were handled by a young lawyer in the firm named Oliver Douglas.  Douglas, a veteran of the recent war who had flown as a fighter pilot, had graduated from Harvard Law School and now advised Lady Abigail on matters of contract law in her dealings with her publisher.  While in the service he met a young Hungarian woman named Lisa and they fell in love; he brought her back to America as his war bride.  Lady Abigail found it charming that Lisa called her husband “Oleevar” due to her accent and that kept running through the author’s mind as she wrote the first draft of her mystery.

The murder victim was a Nazi named “Otto Kreitzmann”, who was also traveling under an alias, as “Peter Daniken”, allegedly from Denmark.  In the real life of Earth Prime-Time, he was still a Nazi, but he was known as Otto Klaus.  He had been involved in the scheme Himmler had dubbed “Operation Geltkreig” (translation: “Money War”) which would have made American currency worthless in the global economy.    As we saw in this episode, “Kreitzmann” was not successful in getting the other half of the forged currency plate off the Queen Mary, and he paid for it with his life.  In the meantime, his brother General Gunther Klaus, who had proven that he had secretly been against the Nazi regime for the sake of his baby daughter Mitzi, came into contact with a criminal (and former Gestapo agent) named Von Golling, who was running a mountainside hotel in Switzerland.  Although Klaus wanted nothing to do with the former Nazi, his greed for the hidden cache of counterfeit American money drove him to join Von Golling’s scheme.  Nearly twenty years later, General Klaus - like his brother Otto before him - paid with his life because of that counterfeit money.

I don’t know who was the inspiration for “Arthur Bishop”, the impatient fashion designer who lost his life during the investigation. Whether or not this other victim had been a fashion designer, it was definitely an alias used in the book. It may be that this character didn’t even exist in the actual investigation, that Lady Abigail simply created him to pad out her story and provide her readers with yet another suspect to consider.  Quite the coincidence to have a clue steeped in chess and then find a character named Arthur Bishop of Majesty Fashions…. Bishop.  Arthur - as in King Arthur, perhaps?  And Majesty - that could have been a reference to either a King or to a Queen.  So the involvement of Ellery Queen in the case might have been Lady Abigail’s inspiration.

A small but significant role in the story was the editor at the New York Daily Express.  In Lady Abigail’s story, and repeated by Jessica, his name was “Harry Krumholtz”.  But in “reality”?  The editor of the Daily Express in 1947 was Thornton Johns, for a time a suspect in the murder of the newspaper’s publisher.  (So in a way, this episode of ‘Murder, She Wrote’ is a fictionalized sequel to an episode of ‘Ellery Queen’.)

One final character I’d like to examine - “Major Dan McGuire”.  The soldier had been wounded during the war, leaving him a prisoner of an eye-patch.  

During his two-year recuperation in a military hospital in Lancaster, England, “Major McGuire” fell in love with his nurse, “Ellie Cantrell”, even though he was already married.  When they were finally allowed to disembark after “Christy McGinn” solved the murder, “McGuire” was greeted by his enthusiastic wife while a heart-broken “Ellie Cantrell” faded into the background.

“Major Dan McGuire”, of all the characters, needed to be presented with an alias if he was to appear in the novel.  As “Chancellor” pointed out, he had been a member of an advance company which took Gestapo headquarters at the end of the war.  

A company of spies.

The real figure was known as Captain Howard, and even that may have been a cover identity.  He was in the O.S.S. and spoke perfect French, which helped him pass as a native Frenchman.  One of his assignments had been to infiltrate a small insignificant French village near the LeClair River and find out why the Germans had taken such an interest.  (They had rigged the entire village with explosives in order to lure the Allies in and blow them up real good.)

In “Abigail Austin and the Grand Old Lady” novel, Lady Abigail wrote “Major McGuire” as wearing an eye-patch.  This may have been an affectation for the sake of the story.

There is so much more I plan to write some day, mostly about Ellery Queen in the TV Universe, but also about Lady Abigail Austin.  During the episode, still a serlinguist, Jessica Fletcher told the audience that the newspapers reported Lady Abigail as being 101 years old at the time of her death.

What if I told you that when she died in 1989, Lady Abigail Austin was actually almost 120 years old?

More on that someday soon.....


1] Arthur Van Dyke appeared in the ‘Ellery Queen’ episode “The Adventure of the 12th Floor Express”.  Van Dyke worked at the “real” New York Daily Examiner.  This is the episode in which we also find editor Thornton Johns, the inspiration for Harry Krumholz.

2] William Maginn and Martin Sheridan were real people in the Trueniverse, but they were never portrayed on television.  

Edwin Samuel Montagu was an historical figure and only by luck do I have that connection to Lady Abigail via the Chancellery for the Duchy of Lancaster.  However, at this time I have no known “televersion” portrayal of Montagu.  The best I could get was a gathering of Asquith's ministers during those war years in 'The Life and Times of David Lloyd George" which was shown on PBS in 1981. Therefore, one of the “atmosphere people” seen above is supposed to be Montagu.

A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin are of course famous in the Trueniverse and both have been portrayed on television.

3] In Jessica’s telling of the tale, “Edwin Chancellor” looks nothing like either the real Simon Brimmer or Chancellor Edwin Montagu.  More than likely Mrs. Fletcher had never seen a photograph of Brimmer (She’s not all-knowing, after all.)  It could be that we are privy to her mind’s depiction of the radio performer based on his voice in old time radio tapes, influenced perhaps by a man she met on an archaeological dig in Mexico, Gideon Armstrong. (‘Murder, She Wrote’ - “Murder Digs Deep”)

4]  The Queen Mary set sail from South Hampton on its first post-war voyage on July 31st, 1947.  Taking about four days to make the crossing, the Queen Mary probably remained docked for a few days before making the return trip - or at least trying to (that pesky murder, don’t you know?)  So this episode of ‘Murder She Wrote’ took place by the end of the first week of August, 1947.

5] I wrote about the Nazi plan to flood the world’s markets with their near-perfect counterfeit American bills.  Click here to read more about it.

6]  From Wikipedia:
The Allied doctrine of unconditional surrender meant that "... those Germans — and particularly those German generals — who might have been ready to throw Hitler over, and were able to do so, were discouraged from making the attempt by their inability to extract from the Allies any sort of assurance that such action would improve the treatment meted out to their country."  

So it will be my assertion that General Gunther Klaus had been ready to throw over the Nazi regime.  

7]  By the end of the episode, Jessica Fletcher professed her belief that “Ellie” and “Dan” would end up together, and I think she probably had inside information.  Lady Abigail likely wrote their sub-plot to end on such a downer only to show that the Ellie character was strong enough to step aside so that she wouldn’t be the cause of the wife’s pain if she learned the truth.  But like “Arthur Bishop” the fashion designer, I believe the wife was just a fictional character in the mystery novel.  There was no impediment to Ellie and Dan - or whatever their real names were - getting their “Happily Ever After”.


Thursday, September 28, 2017


Every so often, I become intrigued by an actor who provided plenty of "atmosphere people" in Toobworld.  Atmosphere people are those characters you see in the background, crossing streets, entering buildings, sitting in restaurants or courtrooms, in angry mobs - actors who help set the scene.

On chance, I like to see if I can connect as many as I can for the same actor, in order to create one character to connect all of those TV series together.  What usually gets me started on such a quest is if the description for one of the characters carries over to another show for the same actor.  This is how Frank Jarvis got into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame a few years ago.

This past Friday, my local PBS station showed an old episode of 'Midsomer Murders' - "The Ghosts Of Christmas Past".  And because the actor who played Mr. Moseley on 'Downton Abbey' played a small but key role in the proceedings, I decided to check out the entire cast at the IMDb.

And one character description did jump out at me:

Of course I take great interest in the drunk girl characters.  Especially at Christmas.  They always seem more... charitable to the needy, shall we say?

So I looked at Ms. Verner's list of credits....

As listed in order for the Toobworld timeline:

- Episode #1.1 (1999)
- Episode #1.2 (1999) 
The main school in an economically depressed area, Hope Park Comprehensive has been on the verge of closing for years. Things begin to look up when the weary headmaster Neil Bruce is replaced by dynamic young Ian George. Ian immediately wins over the head of the board of governors, Dennis Hill and new teacher Debbie Bryan. But can he win the confidence of deputy head Phil Jakes, deal with the incompetent geography teacher Jan Woolley and prevent Hope Park from closing?

Tracy Gallacher
- Redemption (2001)
Sun Hill deal with an overdosed kid, whilst Clarke's feeling downhearted after being refused a police loan.

Angry passenger on plane
- Episode #1.13 (2003)
1] Drama series following the cabin crew of "Fresh!", an airline that runs from Stansted.

2] Marco's final day with Fresh! arrives, so Jason and Will resolve to send him off with a bang. Will wrestles with love.

Drunk Girl
- Ghosts of Christmas Past (2004)
Nine years after Ferdy Villers killed himself, his family reunites for Christmas, unaware that someone is out for revenge.

So after graduation, Tracy Gallacher got involved in some way with drugs, had a bad eperience while flying with Fresh! Airline, and partied with DS Daniel Scott on Christmas Eve in 2004.  Being a glorified walk-on in essence, it's all neat and tidy in combining these characters into one person.

One very attractive person.  It appears Zoe Verner is a model as well as an actress.

She worked for a time on a soccer-themed sketch show, but that would be Zoe Verner's televersion in Skitlandia.  And there is a movie called "Elevator Gods" in production.  But that would situated in the Cineverse and have no effect on her Toobworld work.

So here's to Tracy Gallacher, a candidate for future inclusion in the TVXOHOF.