Saturday, October 21, 2017


I belong to several 'Columbo' pages on Facebook but my favorite is "Columbo TV".  There are quizzes, off-beat humor, and over the summer we even had Arts & Crafts with 'Columbo' characters built from toilet paper rolls!

For this edition of "Saturday Morning Cartoons", I wanted to give one of the members of the page a special showcase.

Theo Solorio has an exceptional talent as an illustrator and it's easy to see who was his greatest influence - Don Bluth.  As a director in animation, Bluth helmed projects like "Anastasia", "The Secret Of N.I.M.H.", "An American Tail", "Titan A.E.", "All Dogs Go To Heaven", and "The Land Before Time."

Theo portrays the Lieutenant and several of the characters in Bluth's distinctive funny animal style while still making them distinctively his own.  (Bluth's style was most evident in the Disney film "Robin Hood" for which he served as the character animator.  In fact, if I dealt in such meta-universes, I would say that Theo's variation on 'Columbo' would be on the same Tooniverse timeline as "Robin Hood".)

So here are some of the scenes which Theo has depicted and shared with his fellow fans of 'Columbo':

This would serve as a promotional picture for the first pilot episode.

Dale Kingston and the show's best "Gotcha" moment

Dr. Mayfield portrayed as a jackal

With Columbo flashing a rare expression of anger

I think it was brilliant on Theo's part
to cast "Inspector Lucerne" as a skunk.
After all, it was a French name like Pepe Le Pew.

Sean Brantley showing off his texting watch.

And we have a late entry!  Theo shared this next one to the Columbo TV page around the same time that this post was published.

Columbo calls his brother-in-law to rub it in that he's in the home of the movie star Nora Chandler

Good work, Theo!  I hope we'll be seeing plenty more along these lines.....

Finally, here's a quick clip of Theo's foxy Columbo, voiced by a certain actor we all knew and loved.....

If this became a TV show, I'd watch it!


Friday, October 20, 2017


 I belong to a Facebook page called "Columbo TV" and recently Steve Skayman posted this:

 Barnaby Jones the very first episode. So there's a shot of a newspaper in this and I thought I would see if they do the same type of mock up as they had on Columbo - i.e. repeated and irrelevant paragraphs etc.

They do. But I didn't expect them to use the SAME headlines and paragraphs. The first picture is from Barnaby Jones (aired Jan 1973) - a Quinn Martin Production filmed at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios. The second is from LOVELY BUT LETHAL (aired September 1973) and a totally different studio (Universal). Same headlines about Firemen Praised For Heroic Deeds and State Backs Tax Resale, same sentences starting with "Of no less importance"...

Anyway I thought it was worth mentioning.

It certainly is!  It gives us information in establishing the Toobworld timeline!

The basic tenet at Toobworld Central regarding the timeline is that the events of any TV show episode takes place around the same time as the original broadcast unless otherwise stated.  There are O'Bvious exemptions – historical dramas including Westerns, WWII shows, and all those costume dramas from the BBC.  And the futuristic sci-fi shows of course.

But there are times when Toobworld Central has to make decisions of its own when it comes to when certain shows actually took place if there is a problem with keeping it at the same time as the original broadcast.  And Steve has presented one with these two newspapers.

One would think that ‘Columbo’ wouldn’t have many problems with its timeline.  As long as the episodes that mentioned the Nelson Hayward case (“Candidate For Crime”) are situated after that episode, and as long as “Columbo Cries Wolf” is on the timeline after “Dagger of the Mind” because of its mention of Chief Inspector Durk, there isn’t much to worry about it.  Unlike many shows today, there is no over-riding arc storyline that has to be adhere to.

In fact, I think ‘Columbo’ would be catnip for writers of fan fiction.  If the episodes do take place when they were first broadcast, then there are months between them in which other murder cases could be inserted for Columbo to solve.  And then there’s that nine year stretch when it was off the air entirely!

So Steve’s discovery of these two similar newspapers brings into question when the ‘Columbo’ episode, “Lovely But Lethal,” actually took place.

Here in the Trueniverse, Earth Prime, it was broadcast September 23, 1973, kicking off the third season.  There had not been a new episode since March earlier that year (“Requiem For A Falling Star”) – so there’s another long hiatus in which so many murder investigations could have taken place.  (Plus a two-week vacation to keep Mrs. Columbo happy.)

The ‘Barnaby Jones’ episode from which the first picture was taken was “Requiem For A Son” and as the premiere of the Buddy Ebsen detective series, it was broadcast on January , 1973.  Steve was kind enough to grab me another picture which shows that it was also from The Daily Chronicle, as the later ‘Columbo’ paper was.

As you can see from these close-ups, however, that despite one focused on the suicide of Karen Armsby and the other on the murder of Karl Lessing, both newspapers dealt with two exact same stories – the firemen praised for their heroic deeds and the state approval of the Creek County tax resale. 

I realize we’re dealing with Toobworld, where Coincidence should have its own Greek demi-god, but how likely is it that the same two stories would show up in newspapers basically nine months apart?

So this is a Zonk that’s going to need some splainin.

We have to leave the ‘Barnaby Jones’ episode where it is in the Toobworld timeline – January 1973.  Too much depends on that as the events of “Requiem Of A Son” puts the rest of the series in motion, not just the next handful of episodes.  If we were to move it back to align with the ‘Columbo’ episode, we’d have to drag back the rest of the episodes for that first season.

But nothing says we have to leave “Lovely But Lethal” where it is in September.  There had been a ‘Columbo’ episode (“Requiem For A Falling Star” on the 21st of January and we can consider bumping that one forward on the Timeline to have occurred earlier in the month.  It wouldn't interfere with any other 'Columbo' episode because there had been no new episode since November with the "Dagger of the Mind" episode in London.

So that broadcast date for "Requiem" was actually when the episode wrapped up with the Lieutenant’s solution of the case.  And then two days later, Karl Lessing is murdered and Columbo has to go once more into the breach.

Meanwhile Karen Armsby commits suicide… or did she….?

The news of Ms. Armsby’s death broke first and so that newspaper we saw in “Requiem For A Son” was the first edition of The Daily Chronicle that day.  But after it hit the streets, the editor got word of Lessing’s death and so another run of the day’s paper was put together for the afternoon.  The Creek County tax story and the salute to the firemen were basically kept on the same page, although re-positioned, while the story about Ms. Armsby was pushed back a page.

And so thanks to Steve Skayman, we have a theoretical crossover between ‘Columbo’ and ‘Barnaby Jones’.

As for these mistakes in the news stories as mentioned by Steve:

Those two stories above start out with the same paragraph, but change to something else by the second. 

With this story, the same paragraph is repeated.

Yes, yes, yes.  We all know why this happened during the production of the episodes.  Nobody ever expected these shows to be available on DVD in hi-def and with the ability for freeze-frame.  But here at Toobworld Central, we look for answers within the "reality" of Earth Prime-Time.

So why did both editions of the Daily Chronicle have such errors?

I've got an easy splainin - the linotype operator was drunk.


Thursday, October 19, 2017


Mark Bale posted this picture to The British Phil Silvers Appreciation Society:

Mr. Bale commented: “Can't understand why this never happened....

My response: “
The knee-jerk reaction for a fantasy crossover would be Toody & Muldoon meeting Bilko. And production-wise, it would have been the easiest to pull off. But for me, the Silvers character they should meet should have been Shifty Shafer.

"The Beverly Hillbillies" (6 episodes) 
  1. Jed Buys Central Park (29 October 1969)  
  2. The Clampetts in New York (5 November 1969)  
  3. Honest John Returns (11 March 1970)  
  4. Honesty Is the Best Policy (18 March 1970)  
  5. The Clampetts in Washington (22 September 1970)  
  6. Jed Buys the Capitol (29 September 1970)  
‘Car 54, Where Are You?’ took place in the New York City borough of the Bronx, and there has always been something of the Big Apple about all of Phil Silvers’ characters. But there was just something about Shifty that suggested to me that he would always run back to his base of operations, “the land of his birth” you might say.

The picture suggests the plot - Shifty Shafer cons the police officers of the 53rd precinct into helping him film a documentary about the station house and its "historical significance" in the Bronx.

So as a launching point for some fanfic, I would incorporate this picture as long as Silvers is considered to be Shifty Shafer.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017


In the Facebook group "The Murdoch Mysteries Appreciation Society", Pendrick Arrow gave me a handy guide to the timeline of 'The Murdoch Mysteries':

Season 1 begins in 1895 and each successive year, time progresses also by one year.

Season 1: 1895
Season 2: 1896
Season 3: 1897
Season 4: 1898
Season 5: 1899
Season 6: 1900
Season 7: 1901
Season 8: 1902
Season 9: 1903
Season 10: 1904
Season 11: 1905

For me, it's reminiscent of the basic timeline guide for 'Bonanza'.  Each season of that Western was set 100 years previously.  So the episodes from 1966 took place in 1866, 1971 episodes were set in 1871, etc.

But if you want to get more specific when thinking of both shows in the same universe, unfortunately their chronologies don't overlap.  However, there would be a problem if the 'Murdoch Mysteries' wanted to get the world of 'Bonanza' up to Toronto - most of the cast is gone.  

It would be great to imagine the two shows overlapping - if possible.  But Erik "Hoss" Cartwright died in 1878; Little Joe died twenty years later.  Their father, Ben, passed away in 1887, following the basics of the timeline and using the guideline of actors usually playing the same age as the characters they played.  Oldest son Adam lived to 1910 (at least), but since Pernell Roberts has passed away, he's O'Bviously not available to play the role again even though Adam was around in 1905.  

Candy Canaday is gone now as well, as is Hop Sing and Sheriff Coffee.  Probably the only 'Bonanza' characters who could show up at Station #4 would be Griff King and Jamie Hunter Cartwright.  And as old as the actors who played them - Tim Matheson and Mitch Vogel respectively.

It will never happen, of course.  You can only get the fictional televersions of historical figures who appeared in 'Bonanza' into 'The Murdoch Mysteries' and even then you'd have to recast the role.  When it comes to one such figure who did overlap - Mark Twain - the recasting should have been expected.  After all, three different actors played Sam Clemens over the course of the 'Bonanza' run.

But wouldn't it have been fun to think of some kind of crossover for both series?


Tuesday, October 17, 2017


'That portrait was painted by Lucien Blake. 
And the bowl they smashed?
It was given to me by Olivier. 

From the "Doctor Blake Mysteries" Wiki:

Lucien Blake was born around 1909 to French artist Genevieve Etienne and general practitioner and police surgeon Thomas Blake. His year of birth can only be speculated, as he was ten years old when his mother died in 1919. He had developed a strong attachment to her as she was gentle and understanding, while his father proved oppressive and demanding, urging his son to master the piano from an early age.

At Genevieve's passing, Thomas immediately sent him to a boarding school, for which Lucien never forgave him. In his twenties, the young man left for Scotland where he studied general medicine as well as surgery (as evidenced by his qualifications on the wall of his examination room).

There is at least a forty year span between 'The Doctor Blake Mysteries' and the "Judgement Day" episode of 'Midsomer Murders'.  And since ABC (the Australian TV network) has announced, in their "infinite wisdom", that the current fifth season is to be the last for Lucien Blake and his friends, I suppose we are free to consider how he spent that time.

Having been born in 1909, I'm assuming Blake was still alive in Toobworld into the 1990s, into his own 80s at least, barring any unforeseen accidents, illnesses or plain human evil.  He was a doctor and probably did his best to stay in condition.  And as far as I can remember, I don't think I ever saw him smoking.  (But that was not something I kept a lookout for.)

Of course, that all depends on how the series ends, of course.....  (The last episode airs in November at least as far as Australia goes.)

He spent most of his life following in the footsteps of his father, becoming a general practitioner and working as the coroner for Ballarat.  But at some point, his soul may have felt a yearning to follow a different path, and he may have found a muse in his memories of his late mother. Perhaps he inherited some of her talent as an artist, maybe not.  At the very least it was a way for him to reconnect to her, whom he lost in 1919 when he was only ten years old.

If he began painting in earnest soon after we lose track of him in the Toobworld timeline, by the end of the century he might have become so proficient that his work became renowned internationally.  Mr. Allardice did say his name as though he expected Tom Barnaby to know who Lucien Blake was.  But then again, it was a portrait of Edward Allardice at the height of his glory days as an actor, so he might have been biased as to Dr. Blake's fame as a painter.

This particular painting by Dr. Blake was damaged during a break-in, but it could have been restored.  The style of the artwork looks like that of Lucien Freud and so at least from the real world perspective, perhaps the name of the artist was chosen to suggest that.  But from within the "reality" of Toobworld, I'm going to stick with the claim that it was painted by the doctor from Ballarat.

And if any other pictures show up in other TV shows which display a similar style, why not add them to Lucien Blake's body of work?  

In fact, I'll take it a step further:  Have you ever seen the 'Columbo' episode "Suitable for Framing"?  Smarmy art critic Dale Kingston killed his uncle and framed his aunt so that he could inherit his uncle's art collection.  It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that among the artworks in Rudy Matthews collection was an early example of Dr. Lucien Blake's style.  

It might even have been the painting that doomed Kingston because of a particular fingerprint on it.....


Monday, October 16, 2017


"Everything weird ends up in Florida."
'The X-Files'

That's not exactly true anymore, Mr. Dales.....

The setting for the movie "It" is Derry, Maine, not unfamiliar a town to those with only a passing acquaintance with Stephen King's work, and it is a multiversal location - found in books, movies, and Toobworld.

From Wikipedia:
Derry is a fictional town and a part of Stephen King's fictional Maine topography. Derry has served as the setting for a number of his novels, novellas, and short stories. Derry first appeared in King's 1981 short story "The Bird and the Album" and has reappeared as late as his 2011 novel "11/22/63" (see list below). Derry is said to be near Bangor, but King has acknowledged that Derry is actually his portrayal of Bangor.  A map on King's official website, though, places Derry in the vicinity of the town of Etna.

The mini-series of 'It' exists in Earth Prime-Time, unlike some other TV adaptations of King's stories.  ('The Stand' is the O'Bvious exclusion.  It had to go to its own Toobworld.)  So there is the anchor for Derry's existence in Toobworld and theoretically it should be a location which can be referenced by other TV shows.

And guess what?  They have!

In "Mr. Scratch", the April 22, 2015 episode of Criminal Minds, Derry, Maine is mentioned as the scene of a previous crime.  ("Mr. Scratch" is the twenty-first episode of Season Ten of Criminal Minds.)  One of the unsub's murders by proxy occurred in Derry, Maine, a fictional town created by Stephen King.

"Larry Merrin's from Topeka; Christine McNeil is from Roswell, Georgia; Daniel Karras is from Derry, Maine."*

In "Love Boat", the 4th episode of season 14, that aired on October 11, 2016 of 'NCIS', Quinn asked David Kemmons (cousin of the murdered sailor) where he's from in Maine.  Kemmons answered "Derry." 

At least three of the novels which were adapted for television - "The Tommyknockers", "11/22/63". and "Storm of the Century" - at the very least mentioned Derry.  But I can't say whether or not it also happened in the televersions of those books.  

Maine in general seems to be the focal point for a lot of weird bleep that goes down in Toobworld, counterpoint to its Southern cousin, Florida.  And it's not just from Stephen King (although he also added Chester's Mill and its dome):

'Dark Shadows'


'The Twilight Zone' - "Midnight Call"

'Once Upon A Time'

'Murder, She Wrote'


And the coastal inn where Dr. Frankenstein's monster seen in 'Struck By Lightning'.

Perhaps at least with his locations, it could be that Stephen King might be compared to HP Lovecraft in how he shares his creations.


Sunday, October 15, 2017


According to 'CBS Sunday Morning', today (Sunday, October 15, 2017) marks the 157th anniversary of the letter written by ten-year-old Grace Bedell to Abraham Lincoln.

You've probably heard of her, but may not remember her name.

From Wikipedia:
Grace Greenwood Bedell Billings (November 4, 1848 – November 2, 1936)[1] was an American woman, notable as the person whose correspondence, at the age of eleven, encouraged Abraham Lincoln to grow his iconic beard. Lincoln later met with Bedell.

On October 15, 1860, a few weeks before Lincoln was elected President of the United States, Grace Bedell sent him a letter from Westfield, New York, urging him to grow a beard to improve his appearance.[2] Lincoln responded in a letter on October 19, 1860, making no promises. However, within a month, he grew a full beard.

In an 1878 interview with a local newspaper of Westfield, Grace Bedell-Billings recalled what prompted her to write the letter.

"We were at that time residing at Westfield, N.Y. My father, who was a staunch Republican, brought one day to me—who followed in his footsteps and was a zealous champion of Mr. Lincoln—a picture of 'Lincoln and Hamlin,' one of those coarse exaggerated likenesses which it seems the fate of our long-suffering people in such contents. You are familiar with Mr. Lincoln's physiognomy, and remember the high forehead over those sadly pathetic eyes, the angular lower face with the deep cut lines about the mouth. As I regarded the picture, I said to my mother 'He would look better if he wore whiskers, and I mean to write and tell him so.'"
Hon A B [sic] Lincoln...Dear SirMy father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin's. I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have yet got four brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to [sic] but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chautauqua County New York.I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good byeGrace Bedell

The February 19, 1861 edition of the New York World recounted the meeting as follows:

"At Westfield an interesting incident occurred. Shortly after his nomination Mr. Lincoln had received from that place a letter from a little girl, who urged him, as a means of improving his personal appearance, to wear whiskers. Mr. Lincoln at the time replied, stating that although he was obliged by the suggestion, he feared his habits of life were too fixed to admit of even so slight a change as that which letting his beard grow involved. To-day, on reaching the place, he related the incident, and said that if that young lady was in the crowd he should be glad to see her. There was a momentary commotion, in the midst of which an old man, struggling through the crowd, approached, leading his daughter, a girl of apparently twelve or thirteen years of age, whom he introduced to Mr. Lincoln as his Westfield correspondent. Mr. Lincoln stooped down and kissed the child, and talked with her for some minutes. Her advice had not been thrown away upon the rugged chieftain. A beard of several months' growth covers (perhaps adorns) the lower part of his face. The young girl's peachy cheek must have been tickled with a stiff whisker, for the growth of which she was herself responsible."

You may have seen her defining moment in life dramatized for television in the early 1970s, but you wouldn't have known her name was Grace Bedell.  In "The Great Man's Whiskers", she was played by Cindy Eilbacher but was named Elizabeth Cooper.

I just don't understand this.  It's almost as if it was a slap in the face to the memory of Grace Bedell, erasing her from memory via televised history.  Beyond that, it's an insult to girls named Grace and to the family name of Bedell.  Such a distinctive loverly name - why homogenize it into something bland and unmemorable?  No offense to the Elizabeths and Coopers out there, but there are so many other TV characters with those names.

So this stands as the reason why I cannot in good faith incorporate this TV movie into Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.  Of course, it counts toward the membership of Abraham Lincoln into the TVXOHOF as a multiversal back in February of 1999, one of the founding members of the official Hall.  (Dennis Weaver played the role.)

Maybe someday the life of Grace Bedell will be dramatized again on TV... and hopefully under her real name.




The Napa Valley wildfires have been dominating the news the last few days - and that's in a week with stories about Trump, Weinstein, the Las Vegas Shooter, and Puerto Rico are still trending strongly.

I have cousins with a vineyard there and so far they've been lucky.  Some damage, but hopefully they'll escape relatively unscathed thanks to Engine #7.  But they are packed and ready to bug out should the need arises.

When it comes to the vineyards of northern California, there was one go-to series located in Toobworld - the prime-time soap from Earl Hamner, Jr. 'Falcon Crest'.

So here are a few compilations as a tip of the hat to the people of the Napa Valley......