Saturday, January 27, 2018


From the Los Angeles Times:
Acclaimed science-fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin died Monday in her hometown of Portland, Ore., her agent confirmed. Le Guin was 88.

Although best known for her science fiction — particularly the Earthsea series — Le Guin was a creative, curious writer whose more than two dozen books encompassed fiction, poetry, essays, criticism, children's books, works of translation, fantasy and even blogging.

Le Guin was born Oct. 21, 1929, [and] raised in Berkeley.  [She] got her undergraduate degree at Radcliffe followed by a master's degree at Columbia in French and Italian literature and then earned a Fulbright scholarship that took her to France. It was there that she met her husband, Charles Le Guin. Together they settled in Portland, Ore.

Le Guin published her first book, "Rocannon's World," in 1966. It was followed in 1968 by "A Wizard of Earthsea," a fantasy novel that cemented her reputation and launched her most famous series, which ultimately included six books.

"I love concrete facts, whether they're real or invented," she told The Times in 1985. "Part of the grip of fantasy is the day-to-day realism of the story."

Le Guin was awarded the 1972 National Book Award for children's literature for "The Farthest Shore." In her speech, given at the 1973 award ceremony, she used her time to emphasize the seriousness of science fiction and fantasy. "Sophisticated readers are accepting the fact that an improbable and unmanageable world is going to produce an improbable and hypothetical art," she said. "At this point, realism is perhaps the least adequate means of understanding or portraying the incredible realities of our existence."

(Edited from the obituary by Carolyn Kellogg)

Ms. Le Guin died just thirteen days after the 38th anniversary of the TV premiere of the adaptation of one of her most 
famous books, "The Lathe of Heaven." It was on PBS and showed the cheapjack production values inherent in the fictional programs they cobbled together in the past.  

It was wonderful.

From the IMDb:
George Orr, a man whose dreams can change waking reality, tries to suppress this unpredictable gift with drugs. Dr. Haber, an assigned psychiatrist, discovers the gift to be real and hypnotically induces Mr. Orr to change reality for the benefit of mankind --- with bizarre and frightening results.
- Will Briggsh

Because of their limited resources, desperation and imagination combined forces to bring that world created in George Orr’s mind to life.  But what really sold its believability were the top-knotch performances of the two leads.  Bruce Davison was almost angelic with his simple nature, while Kevin Conway displayed a devilish glee in trying to make a more perfect world through “Jorjor”.

There was a later adaptation in 2002. Higher production values.  High-powered cast.  And still the earlier production exceeds it.  If you're interested in seeing that, it is currently available on YouTube.  But I'm showcasing the 1980 version as I feel it most closely adheres to what Ms. Le Guin had envisioned.

We’ll begin with the trailer:

And now… for the main event:

Jorjor and Dr. Haber are two literary characters whom I’d like to have seen interact with the Doctor.  How would the Time Lord have handled the chaos which manifested in George’s mind?  Probably he’d have to go back to the beginning and stop the problem from happening in the first place.  And where’s the sport in that?

No, I think this TV adaptation has to take place in its own Toobworld, like so many episodes of ‘The Twilight Zone’.  And it would have to be a world in which there is no incarnation of the Doctor.

Thank you, Ursula K. Le Guin, for creating that world of wonder and sharing it with us.  Good night and may Ged bless…..

Friday, January 26, 2018


Jose Fuente was a migrant farm worker originally from Mexico who toiled in the vineyards that dotted Napa Valley just outside San Francisco.  He moved there in his teens, just after the Great Quake of 1906.  For the next sixty years he worked for a variety of varietal vintners.  The Pinonis, the Gambinis, the Giobertis, the Bianccis - Fuente worked on an itinerant basis for all of those wine-making families and more, until he was offered a permanent position with the Channings.  Over the years, he married and had children; his wife died in the late 1950s and his children moved away, his son stayed in San Francisco while his daughter moved south to Los Angeles.

We first met Jose Fuente in 1970, when he had already retired and was living in a small apartment in San Francisco.  His only companion was his small dog Miguel, who got dognapped and held for a ransom of fifty dollars.  Even though Chief Robert T. Ironside's team was able to retrieve Miguel, the little dog passed away not much longer after that ordeal.

Heartbroken, Fuente accepted his daughter's perpetual invite to move in with her family in Los Angeles.  Once there, he looked for a job in order to make a contribution to the family.  As luck would have it, there was a vineyard just outside the City of Angels, run by the Carsini Family, half brothers Adrian and Ric Carsini.  With all of the references he had from his former employers in the north, Adrian Carsini took the old man on as a custodian within the processing plant.  There he met Police Lieutenant Columbo and gave him directions to Mr. Carsini's office.


Thursday, January 25, 2018



The setting:
Nolan Wash's pub on the lower East Side

The Gillrich Brothers were intent on knocking down three brownstones to build a more modern complex, and Nolan's pub would be included in the rubble.  Homicide ensues.

In hoping to stop the juggernaut of the bullzdozers, Jessica Fletcher did some research.  It turned out that the table picture above was where Eugene O'Neill did the rewrites for his play "Strange Interlude".

From Wikipedia:
"Strange Interlude" is an experimental play in nine acts by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. O'Neill finished it in 1923, but it was not produced on Broadway until 1928, when it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Lynn Fontanne originated the central role of Nina Leeds on Broadway. It was also produced in London at the Lyric Theatre in 1931. It was included in Burns Mantle's The Best Plays of 1927-1928. Because of its length, around five hours if uncut, the play has sometimes been produced with a dinner break or on consecutive evenings. The play's subject matter, very controversial for the 1920s, led to it being censored or banned in many cities outside New York.

"Strange Interlude" makes extensive use of a soliloquy technique, in which the characters speak their inner thoughts to the audience.

So I figure that O'Neill returned to the rewrites of the play at that table at some point in those intervening five years between the first draft and its Broadway debut.  Since the pub used to be a speakeasy during the Prohibition years, which ran from 1920 to 1933, then the televersion of O'Neill was basically breaking the law by frequenting the speakeasy to rewrite the play.

Because of Mrs. Fletcher's research, I don't think that table was placed on that exact spot when O'Neill was scribbling away.   That's because the table was situated where Dutch Schultz once had his office.

From Wikipedia:
Dutch Schultz (born Arthur Simon Flegenheimer; August 6, 1901 – October 24, 1935) was a New York City-area Jewish-American mobster of the 1920s and 1930s who made his fortune in organized crime-related activities, including bootlegging and the numbers racket. Weakened by two tax evasion trials led by prosecutor Thomas Dewey, Schultz's rackets were also threatened by fellow mobster Lucky Luciano. In an attempt to avert his conviction, Schultz asked the Commission for permission to kill Dewey, which they refused. When Schultz disobeyed them and made an attempt to kill Dewey, the Commission ordered his murder in 1935.

And to top it all off, JB pointed out that Ernest Hemingway kept the apartment on the top floor.  This was not Jessica's first encounter with the legacy of Hemingway.  She also once saw the cork from a bottle of wine polished off by the writer which was a treasured souvenir for the bartender who once served Papa Hemingway.

One last time, from Wikipedia:
Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Additional works, including three novels, four short story collections, and three non-fiction works, were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature.

I think Jessica was gulled by an urban myth about Hemingway actually living in New York City.  At best, he and his wife Hadley visited the Big Apple on a few occasions, probably to meet with his publisher.  And it could be he was given the use of that apartment during his stays, somewhere near Broad and Wall Street.  

But by October of 1923, as he told Gertrude Stein in a letter back to the Paris he missed, Hemingway had already made up his mind about New York City: "Wouldn’t live in it for anything."

Due to the events which played out in the episode, I think that pub, a bastion of American culture was probably spared the wrecking ball since the main developer's heart was no longer in the project.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018



When the accidental meta-human dubbed by Cisco as Fallout reached critical levels of radioactive emissions (and not by choice) Harry Wells told Cisco (as his alter-ego Vibe) to siphon that radiation by "vibing" to an Earth in another dimension.  He chose Earth 15 which was a dead planet.  So the excess radiation was poured through the vortex to that dead world.

But why was that Earth dead?

"What if you could find brand new worlds right here on Earth?
 Where anything is possible. 
Same planet, different dimension."
Quinn Mallory
(Season 1 narration)

"What if you found a portal to a parallel universe? 
What if you could 'slide' into a thousand different worlds? 
Where it's the same year, and you're the same person, 
but everything else is different."
Quinn Mallory
(Season 5 narration)

We've seen Earths die in a variety of dimensions and the one show which probably had the most dead Earths would be 'The Twilight Zone'. 

Among the episodes which could qualify would be:

"The Midnight Sun"
Earth was pulling away from the Sun and the humans would soon all freeze to death.

"A Kind Of Stopwatch"
A magical stopwatch can freeze time but when it breaks, everything and everyone was frozen in place.  I'm assuming that even in that kind of stasis they would eventually starve to death.

"Time Enough At Last"
A nuclear explosion wiped out all life save for one nearly blind man.  But more than likely he would be taking his own life.

"Black Leather Jackets"
"The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street"
With both of these episodes, it appears aliens were about to displace humans for control o the planet, so technically they couldn't be considered dead worlds.  (And I think they both took place on the main Toobworld, along with "Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?".  We never got to see it, but I think the Doctor would have stepped in to stop the plans of the invaders.)

There was an episode of "Nightmares & Dreamscapes" which featured a dying human population.  I'm assuming the animal life would be affected by the same ailment that swept through Mankind on that planet.  

And there's 'Last Man On Earth' which even though the title was misleading, it's likely all of those people would eventually die off.  They were too dim to survive for long.

There can be no happy ending possible for 'The Walking Dead' and its spin-off 'Fear The Walking Dead'.  Eventually the whole planet will be occupied by zombies - truly a dead word.

Finally there's the mini-series 'The Stand' which might have a few pockets of humanity surviving.  I think it had the best possible happy ending.  But who knows?

I've even got a commercial to add to this list.....

Mankind never stood a chance.

For alls I know, Berlanti and his team may explore Earth 15 at some point, perhaps on 'Legends Of Tomorrow'.  I hope so.  I'd like to find out why that Earth is a dead world.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018


As a "Two For Tuesday", we've got a second theory of relateeveety today which is not connected to the previous post, except for the show which inspired it.



Karen Fielding was the executive secretary for vintner Adrian Carsini and she had been secretly in love with him for the last twelve years she had been working for him.  So in love with him that she threatened to blackmail him into marrying her to keep the secret that he had murdered his half-brother.

Her father had a sister who married a man named Chase.  And Mrs. Chase wanted to make sure that her family name would live on into the next generation.  So Mr. Chase agreed to his wife's request and they named their son Fielding Chase.  He grew up to be a nationally syndicated radio show conservative with an unnatural fixation on his young ward whom he treated as more than a daughter.

So both cousins eventually had to deal with Lt. Columbo in the investigation of two different murders.  And as it turned out, Fielding Chase had been the murderer in the later case; Karen only tried to blackmail one into marrying her.



This is a very simple theory of relateeveety, which is why I'm using it more as a Minutiae Monday post rather on a Thursday where I started posting these theories.

Michael Hathaway in the 'Columbo' episode "Double Shock" could be the brother of Jane Hathaway of 'The Beverly Hillbillies'.

The danger in running these kinds of additions/alterations to long-running characters is that over time, there could be some dialogue that establishes a deeper background to the character than usually accepted in a thumbnail biography sketch.

For instance, the basics about Jane Hathaway is that she was a prim spinster with the hots for Jethro Bodine.  She worked as the executive secretary of bank president Milburn Drysdale.  Did she have a brother?  Did she ever talk about her family?  There's no mention of any family relations for Miss Hathaway in a wonderful book by Vincent Terrace - "Television Character and Story Facts".

Basically you just needed to know enough about a character to keep the plot humming from week to week.

As for Michael Hathaway, there was no need to know more about his character than it was shady.  He was the lawyer for Clifford Paris and was willing to work with Clifford's nephews to keep control of the estate - even if he suspected strongly (and half rightfully) that one of them had killed their uncle.  It wasn't exactly the situation to bog down the story with details about his family background.

So I think this is a safe theory to promote - Michael and Jane were siblings.  

It could be that they were related to Walter Hathaway, a real estate agent whose "children" were three chimps, with his wife serving as the chimps' booking agent.  And looking farther afield, somewhere deep in the Hathaway past was the common ancestor who would connect them to a British detective at Oxford, DS James Hathaway.

  • 'Columbo' - "Double Shock"
  • 'The Beverly Hillbillies'
  • 'The Hathaways'
  • 'Inspector Lewis'

Monday, January 22, 2018


Saturday morning, Jim Belfiore, one of my go-to guys for sci-fi topics, sent me this picture:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it... to identify the film this is from. It's burning up a number of Twitter Trek-channels this weekend. Even Chris Doohan has no idea what it's from.

I figure if anyone has a shot at it, you might.

So I've done some research already and figured the actress is the key.  If I can find out her identity, then the IMDb collaborations program could do the rest.  But I'm still stumped and I'm reaching out to Team Toobworld for help.

I don't want to influence your thoughts on the puzzle, but so far this is my best guess:

1.25 [--] The New Breed: THE DEADLIER SEX
QM Prod. no. 2425 (copyright date 13Mar62)
20Mar62 ABC Tue
Narrator: Art Gilmore
Guest cast:
Judi Meredith ..... Florence Charron
Paula Raymond ..... Juliette Beavoir
Betsy Jones-Moreland ... Claire Arnet
James Doohan ...... Dr. Lennon
Synopsis 1:
Clayton Grimes is given to marrying rich women
and dispatching them shortly thereafter. [RF]
Synopsis 2:
After a murdered body is found, an investigation by the Met Squad reveals that 
the victim was a payroll bandit, and that the killer was a woman. [RF]
Synopsis 3:
The squad has three suspects in the murder of a thief,
all elusive and all female. [RF]

(I found that at the CTVA website, which I highly recommend visiting for research needs like this.)

My reasonings:
  • It's early in James Doohan's career, O'Bviously.
  • It looks like it could be a doctor's office.  Doohan played a Dr. Lennon in this episode.
  • Doohan is dressed casually, which is something a psychologist or psychiatrist might due to put the patient at ease.
  • I can't be sure, but I think this actress is Betsy Jones-Moreland from the options listed in that episode's credits.
But I could be wrong.  It happens a lot.....

UPDATE:  Guess what?  I was wrong!  Mike Doran, a frequent visitor here who has provided me with plenty of useful information in the past, has seen that 'New Breed' episode and this is not from that show.  

So the hunt continues.

So what do you think?  Do you know what this could be from?  Do you recognize the actress?  Let me know......


Sunday, January 21, 2018


I found this on YouTube in two parts.....

Unfortunately, the second half of the movie has denied the capability to embed.  You'll have to click here.