Saturday, February 17, 2018


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

Toobworld Central has run with that concept; it had to.  There were far too many Zonks found in various TV series which prevented them from sharing the same dimension with the majority of shows.  For instance, Earth Prime-Time could never hold 'The Walking Dead'.  (Although 'iZombie' is a possibility for inclusion so long as it's kept contained.  The same held true for 'True Blood' until the vampire "reality" got out of hand.)

Any TV show with a President of the United States different from the Real World got relegated to an alternate TV dimension.  Most TV series are going to make references to the current POTUS, either in plot points or as the butt of jokes.  So 'The West Wing', 'Commander-in-Chief', 'Agent X', 'Designated Survivor', 'Hail To The Chief', 'Nancy'..... all are shipped off to their own Toobworlds.  And the same goes for TV shows which remake earlier series or recast characters in new situations - this is especially true of Superman, who is spread out across the multiverse in a handful of TV shows.

So besides the main Toobworld of Earth Prime-Time, there are all of these other alternate Toobworlds - Toobworld2 and Toobworld3 (the Lands o' Remakes), the Tooniverse (all cartoons), Toobstage (dramatized theatrical plays), Skitlandia (where comedy sketches are put out to pasture), many international Toobworlds (where established characters known to speak English - Holmes & Watson, for example - instead are fluent in the native tongue of the country which produced the show and speak nothing but.  TV shows dubbed into those languages would be relegated to those worlds while the original remains in Earth Prime-Time.)  And then there are all the Comic Book Toobworlds to be found in the current spate of superhero shows on the CW.

One of these alternate Toobworlds, and the focus of Video Saturday today, is Black Toobworld.  It is the world in which old TV shows are remade with black actors now playing the parts.  It's not a very populous dimension so far and a movie from the Cineverse has been dragged into the mix to bolster the population, but based on that premise, we might assume that other TV shows are in there with all black characters, but we just haven't seen them yet - 'The Beverly Hillbillies', 'Rhoda', 'Batman', 'Gunsmoke', 'Marcus Welby, MD' and 'I Love Lucy', which I assume would now be titled 'I Love Lucille' (with BB King as a guest star?.)  And some of those shows would have token white characters instead of the black ones - Link from 'The Mod Squad' would be white, as would Alexander Scott from 'I Spy'.  (Speaking of Cosby, I'm sure all of those shows which did have predominately black casts would remain the same in Black Toobworld - 'The Cosby Show', 'The Jeffersons', and 'What's Happening?')

So let's take a look at the verified black remakes of TV shows which populate Black Toobworld......






And multi-dimensional demon Mr. Sweet visited Black Toobworld to infect the black version of a sitcom powerhouse with song.....


Here's a case where the original premise was a movie, but which was first transformed into a short-lived TV series with Kevin Meaney before being absorbed into Black Toobworld:


A movie absconded directly from the Cineverse was relocated to Black Toobworld....


O'Bservation: One show not included in this mix is 'Sanford & Son', even though it was "Americanized" from the Britcom 'Steptoe & Son'.  Since the names of the characters were changed, unlike all the examples above, then both sets of characters can exist in the same Toobworld.


Friday, February 16, 2018


In February of 2003, the Television Crossover Hall of Fame inducted the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a multiversal historical figure.  There have been several portrayals of Dr. King in the Tooniverse, including a "What If?" scenario and two from Skitlandia.  He's been cloned; he's come back as a ghost; he's been transported into his own future; he survived the shooting.

Until some established TV character encounters King, I think the portrayal of Paul Winfield in the mini-series "King" will stand as the definitive televersion.  (There are advantages to being the first.)

Jeffrey Wright

Paul Winfield

"Betty and Corretta"
Malik Yoba

'Clone High'
Donald Faison

'Epic Rap Battles'
Jordan Peele

'Parting The Waters'
Courtney B. Vance

"The Rosa Parks Story"
Dexter Scott King

"All The Way"
Anthony Mackie

'The Boondocks'
Kevin Michael Richardson

"Our Friend Martin"
Jaleel White

'Saturday Night Live'
Kenan Thompson


Thursday, February 15, 2018


Normally, I try to steer clear of conflation, claiming that one TV character is the same character in another show.  Usually there will be even just one line of dialogue that I'm unaware of which would put the Zonk to the whole concept.

There are easy ones, to be sure, which are too tempting to let slide.  On 'Batman', when the Riddler looked like Gomez Addams, that's because it was Gomez Addams.

As happened once in 'The Addams Family', Gomez must have been conked on the head and gone bad.  And since "The Riddler" is more of a job description than an actual identity, he must have purloined the costume usually worn by Lew Rydell as the Riddler while Rydell was in prison again.

Today, in continuation of our tributes for Black History Month, we're going to take a look at another TV character who took advantage of a job opening in 'Batman'....

"THE TRAITOR" (1967)
 A U.S. intelligence operative has defected to an Eastern Bloc country and is currently housed at that nation's embassy in Washington. Briggs devises a plan in which a contortionist is needed to navigate through the ventilation system of the embassy and break into a top-security portion of the facility. What's more, Rollin will pose as an official of the nation while Barney, Willy and Cinnamon also play key roles.

Good morning, Mr. Briggs. Edward Hughes, an American Intelligence officer, has defected to the enemy and taken refuge in their embassy here. Hughes took with him a top-secret message before we had a chance to decode it. We believe the information in that message to be vital. The sender of the message has died. Hughes himself does not know the code so Victor Belson, one of the enemy's best cryptographers, is on his way to the embassy now. Belson is unknown to the personal there. Your mission, Dan, should you decide to accept it, would be to get the message back before the enemy deciphers it and get Hughes out of the embassy in a way to discredit any other information he may have given them. As always, should you or any member of your IM Force be caught of killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowlage of your actions. This recording will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Dan.

Tina Mara was a professional contortionist who was appearing at the New Hippodrome when the Impossible Mission Force, led by Dan Briggs, recruited her services to infiltrate an enemy state's embassy.  Her mission was to maneuver through the vents and retrieve a stolen coded document and discredit the traitor who had originally stolen it.

But after just that one call to duty, the IMF never asked for her services again.  What nobody expected, least of all Tina, was that the adrenaline rush from the mission would prove to be a highly addictive narcotic for her.  Without the venue of the IMF to serve as a sanction for her proclivities, Tina Mara now risked going down the dark path to a life of crime......

By the summer of 1966, the word was spreading in the criminal underworld that Catwoman was dead, a victim of her own greed.  There were rumors that when the Dynamic Duo had searched the bottom of the chasm where she fell, Selina Kyle's body was not to be found, only a small black cat.  

So now there were challengers hoping to gain the coveted alias of The Catwoman, with the first appearing that summer.  She teamed up with the Joker, the Riddler, and the Penguin but their alliance proved to be no match for Batman and Robin.  Soon she ended up in jail, where she fell in love with one of the detectives assigned to the case.  She reformed while in prison and married the detective after she got out.  Now going by her married name of Elizabeth "Betty" Jones rather than her other alias of the "Russian" Miss Kitka, her happiness was short-lived - her husband was killed during an investigation, prompting her father-in-law Barnaby to come out of retirement as a private eye and Betty went to work for him as a secretary.

But that's another story for another Bat-time.

By that September, it appeared that Selina Kyle had not died in that chasm fall after all and she resumed her previous career as the Catwoman.  However, this was someone who had taken her form and was in fact an Egyptian goddess known as Bastet.  The goddess wanted to explore life as a mortal and chose Selina Kyle's form and her memories as a tribute to one of her favored acolytes.  (It would be an idea which the Lord of Hell, Lucifer himself, would dabble in nearly fifty years later.)

But again, another story for another Bat-Time.

Once Bastet tired of playing the mortal and relinquished her earthly body, it became apparent that once again there was a void to be filled by a new Catwoman.  And so Tina Mara decided that the time was right to make her debut in the role.  December of 1967, Tina Mara made her debut as a super-villain.

1] "THE BLOODY TOWER" (1967)
Eartha Kitt has a cameo at the end of the episode to set up her appearance as Catwoman in the next episode.

The Catwoman targets the fashion industry by first terrorizing a banquet honoring Batgirl and then attacking a fashion show. During the attack on the fashion show, Catwoman captures Batgirl and takes her back to her hideout where she threatens to kill her with a pattern cutter. She then tells Batman that if he attempts to rescue her that it will leave the visiting Queen Bess of Bellgravia vulnerable for attack. Now the Caped Crusader must find a way to save Batgirl and prevent any harm to Queen Bess. 

3] "THE OGG COUPLE" (1967)
Eartha Kitt and Cesar Romero's cameo at the end of the episode to set up their appearance as Catwoman and the Joker in the next episode. 

The Joker, just released from prison, teams up with Catwoman. They follow the clues of an ancient riddle to retrieve a nightshirt and an antique crib, which together form a map to a hidden cache of gunpowder which they plan to use for their next crime. Batman and Robin, together with Batgirl, follow their trail, little knowing that they are about to walk right into an ambush.
—Twenty Penguins

Following a tip from Batgirl, the Dynamic Trio meet up at the Grimalkin Novelty Company, hideout of the Joker and Catwoman. There, they overhear the arch-criminals' plot and secretly trail them to a stash of hidden gunpowder. A careless mistake spoils the villains' evil plan, however, and they are captured and brought before the Gotham City judge. But when the jury seems less than interested in justice, courtroom mayhem ensues.
—Twenty Penguins

When Scotty is captured by a local gangster he encounters a beautiful drug addict working for the mobster. Their attempts to escape invariably lead to recapture. And, of course, Kelly is of no help when he also joins this endless game of cat and mouse.
—David Foss

Scotty is kidnapped by drug dealers and held for the $3,000,000 in heroin he and Kelly had intercepted earlier. Ring-leader General Chu orders nightclub owner Ramon to hold straight-jacketed Scotty in Angel`s dressing room until Kelly surrenders the huge cache of heroin.

I'm sure the most O'Bservant among Team Toobworld noticed that this 'I Spy' episode aired two years earlier the episodes from 'Mission: Impossible' and 'Batman'.  But Toobworld doesn't need to adhere to broadcast timelines, only those established within the framework of Toobworld.  So "The Loser" was shown two years before it actually happened.  This is not a Zonk for Toobworld, however, just as it's not a Zonk for this little fantasy realm that 'Star Trek' takes place 400 years after we saw it.  What's two years among friends in comparison to four hundred?

Eventually, Tina Mara's crime spree as the Catwoman came to an end.  By January of 1968, Tina Mara's adrenaline fix was cut off as she and the Joker were nabbed by Batman and Robin for the last time.  But being the contortionist that she was, Tina was able to escape Gotham Prison quickly and then she fled the country. 

She wound up in Hong Kong, falling in with another criminal - a drug smuggler named Ramon Pauley (anglicized from "Pauli".)  Assuming the name "Angel" to cover her tracks, she took a job as a singer in the nightclub/gambling den which Pauley used as the base of his operation. Tina was hoping to use the role of a chanteuse as a cover for her intended resumption of her career as a cat burglar, now in Hong Kong.  However, she made a dreadful choice by sampling the drugs Pauley was dealing as a means to assuage her adrenaline addiction but soon became hooked.  International spies Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott tried to rescue her from that den, but she was too far gone and knew her life was forever ruined by drugs.

The cops were called by Kelly and Scott and they quickly invaded the place, arresting everyone - including Pauley and the warlord financing the operation, General Chu (rumored to be the son of Fu Manchu.)  Hopefully Tina "Angel" Mara got the help she needed, but she was never seen again in Toobworld......

The character played by Albert Paulsen in that 'I Spy' episode was only known as "Ramon".  It is my own theory of relateeveety that his last name should be "Pauley", making him the brother of Vincent Pauley as seen in "The Conspirators", a 'Columbo' episode.  (Also played by Paulsen)


Wednesday, February 14, 2018


We interrupt our regularly scheduled month-long tribute to Black History for this special tribute to the late Vic Damone......

From the Associated Press:
Vic Damone, the enduring postwar lounge singer whose mellow baritone once earned praise from Frank Sinatra as "the best pipes in the business," has died in Florida at the age of 89. 

From Wikipedia:
Vic Damone (June 12, 1928 – February 11, 2018) was an American traditional pop and big band singer, songwriter, actor, radio and television presenter, and entertainer who is best known for songs such as "You're Breaking My Heart" (a number one hit), the number four hit "On the Street Where You Live" (from "My Fair Lady"), and "My Heart Cries for You" (also No. 4).

We're inducting Vic Damone into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, even though it is with some qualifications.

He does meet the basic requirements, but just barely and that with a couple of splainins.

"James Dean: Race With Destiny"
Casper Van Dien of STARSHIP TROOPERS stars as James Dean, whose remarkable talent and rebel attitude took Hollywood by storm. But as Dean's star begins to rise, his passionate affair with Italian ingénue Pier Angeli (Carrie Mitchum of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL) angers her disapproving mother (Academy Award nominee Diane Ladd) and studio chief Jack Warner (Mike Connors). How did a broken heart, reckless behavior and his relationships with Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and director George Stevens (the legendary Robert Mitchum in his final screen role) lead to Dean's ultimate race with destiny? Connie Stevens, Joseph Campanella and Casey Kasem co-star in this revealing biopic that goes behind the myth to tell the true story of the superstar who lived fast, died young and left a legacy that changed movies forever.

This is the televersion of Vic Damone but seen from the perspective of some character within the production.

I wrote about Vic Damone in this TV movie back in 2007.  Click here.

'The Thin Man'
- "Damone Dilemma" 
Vic Damone asks the Charles's assistance in ridding himself of a stalker.  (This episode takes place on the seventh anniversary of the Charles' marriage.)  Vic Damone sings "Angela Mia".

A big thanks to my Southern counterpart Ivan Shreve Jr. for the two pics from within the episode.  I found the publicity picture online, but it had no caption with it.  

I'm thinking it's of Nick and Nora Charles and Vic Damone, with Damone's wife Pier Angeli.  If so, then by the end of this year the Damones would be divorced.

'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
- "Like a Sister"
 (1962) ... Ric Vallone
When handsome Ric Vallone is the guest star on 'The Alan Brady Show', Rob grows increasingly concerned that Sally is falling madly for the star, who is unaware of this complication.  Rick Vallone sings "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World".

More on this in a moment......

'The Joey Bishop Show'
- "Joey Gets Brainwashed"
Joey and Vic Damone are on a tour to entertain troops and one morning Joey wakes up speaking Russian. After learning Vic has been to Russia, he believes the two of them are part of an elaborate spy plot. Vic Damone sings "Sweet Someone".

From the CTVA:
Vic Damone is using Russian records to learn the language and Joey gets subconsious lessons in his sleep.

"The Manchurian Candidate" came out two years prior to this episode, so it's O'Bvious that Joey had seen the movie.  In fact he mentions that they could have been brainwashed like Laurence Harvey in that movie.  This verifies the existence of Laurence Harvey's televersion in Earth Prime-Time.

Now.  Back to that inclusion of Vic Damone in 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' as Rick Vallone.....

As we learned in the final episode of that classic sitcom, Rob Petrie had been writing a book about his life and career (which was then optioned by Alan Brady to be a TV show for him, represented by the failed "Head Of The Family" pilot.)

Many of the previous episodes were flashbacks - to his army service, to his early years in show business, to the early days of his marriage to Laura Meehan.  And we saw that a lot of his remembrances were envisioned with alterations.  

For example, Rob's ex-fiancee Dorothy looked nothing like she did in real life.  Instead she resembled a novice operative in the intelligence community named Cinnamon Carter.  (Toobworld Central believes Rob crossed paths with Cinnamon at some point during his military service.  It could have been connected with a commie spy plot at the army base.)

There are also those appearances by Allan Melvin in the flashbacks as Rob's fellow soldiers Sam Pomeroy, Sam Pomerantz, and Sol Pomerantz.  In Rob's mind, they were all manifestations of still another soldier, Harrison B. Harding.  As Rob told/wrote his book, his subconscious could remember Horseface Harding, but he couldn't put a name to him.  So he took the names of two other soldier pals and then combined them both for another story about HBH.

So it could be said that a lot of the stories we saw during the show's run, even if they weren't flashbacks, could have been Rob's rewrite of his life to "punch it up", to make it funnier.  Or even perhaps to protect the identities of others by making it a roman a clef.

I think that's the case we have here with the episode "Like A Sister".  What we're seeing is Rob's masked version of the story, with the easily deciphered name of "Rick Vallone" standing in for Vic Damone. 

Vic Damone had been divorced from Pier Angeli since 1958.  He would marry Judith Rawlins in 1963 (and there would be three more wives, including Diahann Carroll, before the end.)  Since his relationship with Pier Angeli was referenced in that James Dean bio-pic, I see no reason why his televersion's life couldn't continue on that same trajectory.  

So at the time of that episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', Vic Damone was (mostly) free from romantic entanglements. (I'm sure he was dating Rawlins by that point.)  So I could understand how Rob Petrie would have fudged the facts a bit to spare Damone and his wife Judith any embarrassment when the book was published.

And that's why, for Toobworld at least, Rick Vallone was Vic Damone.

Therefore, we have four entries for Damone's tally and he has enough for membership in the Hall of Fame.

Good night and may God bless, Mr. Damone....

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


For "Two for Tuesday", we're going to look at the televersion of an historical figure named George Moore, the grandson of that "Ol' African", Kunta Kinte aka Toby Reynolds.

First, some context provided by Wikipedia:

'Roots' is an American television miniseries based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family". The series first aired on ABC-TV in January 1977. 'Roots' received 37 Prime-time Emmy Award nominations and won nine. It also won a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. It received unprecedented Nielsen ratings for the finale, which still holds a record as the third highest rated episode for any type of television series, and the second most watched overall series finale in U.S. television history. It was produced on a budget of $6.6 million. The series introduced LeVar Burton in the role of Kunta Kinte.

A sequel, 'Roots: The Next Generations', first aired in 1979, and a second sequel, "Roots: The Gift", a Christmas TV movie, starring Burton and Louis Gossett Jr., first aired in 1988. A related film, "Alex Haley's Queen", is based on the life of Queen Jackson Haley, who was Alex Haley's paternal grandmother.

In 2016, a remake of the original miniseries, with the same name, was commissioned by the History Channel and screened by the channel on Memorial Day. 

The character we're focusing on today was better known by the nickname of "Chicken George" and he became a premiere cock fighter in the United States and in Europe.  His parents were Kizzy, the daughter of Kunte Kinte and Tom Moore, who owned her.  (In Toobworld, Chicken George defied genetics, having darker skin than his mother despite having a white father.)

Again, from Wikipedia:

Dr. William Reynolds has previously assured his slaves that he would keep them all together at his plantation, not selling away any of them against their will as long as they "follow the rules". However, [because Kizzy broke those rules] she is sold off. William sells Kizzy to Tom Moore, a planter in Caswell County, North Carolina, who promptly rapes her, impregnating her with a son, to whom he gives the name George.

Early 19th century

George, under the tutelage of Mingo, an older slave, learns much about cockfighting, and, by direction of Tom Moore, their master, George takes over as the chief trainer, the "cock of the walk". George befriends a free black man and fellow cock-fighter, who informs him about the possibility of buying his own freedom. In 1841, a now adult George continues to believe Moore to be a friend until he realizes his master's true feeling when he and his family are threatened at gunpoint by Moore and his wife, as a result of the Nat Turner rebellion. Although none of Moore's slaves are personally involved in the rebellion, they become victims of the paranoid suspicions of their master, so they start planning to buy their freedom. In an emotional scene Kizzy reveals to George the identity of his father.

George becomes an expert in cockfighting, thus earning for himself the moniker "Chicken George". Squire James, Moore's main adversary in the pit, arranges for a British owner, Sir Eric Russell, and twenty of his cocks to visit and to participate in the local fights. Moore eventually bets a huge sum on his best bird, which George has trained, but he loses, and he cannot pay. Under the terms of a settlement between Moore and Russell, George goes to England to train cocks for Russell and to train more trainers and is forced to leave behind Kizzy (his mother), Tildy (Mathilda, his wife), and his sons, Tom and Lewis. Moore promises to set George free after George returns.

The Civil War

George returns 14 years later, in 1861, shortly before the start of the Civil War. He proudly announces that Moore, after some reluctance on Moore's part and some persuasion on George's part, has kept his word by granting George his freedom. He learns that Kizzy has died two months before, that Tom and Lewis now belong to Sam Harvey, that Tom has become a blacksmith on the Harvey plantation, and that Tom has a wife, Irene, and two sons. He also learns that his relatives have spoken well of him during his absence. He further learns that, according to a law in North Carolina, if he stays 60 days in that state as a freed slave, he will lose his freedom, so he heads northward, seeking the next stage in his career as a cock-fighter and awaiting the end of the war, the emancipation of the slaves, and another reunion of his family.

Several years later Chicken George unexpectedly returns, raises the spirits of his relatives and friends, and begins to plot their next step. He reports that he has bought some land in Tennessee. Using some cunning and deception of their own, the group makes preparations for their move away. After one final confrontation with Evan and his gang, George and his company start their trek from North Carolina to Tennessee. 

In the last scene George and his group arrive on his land in Henning, Lauderdale County, Tennessee, to start their new life. George retells part of the story from Kunta Kinte in Africa to himself in Tennessee.  

The story resumes in 1882, 12 years after the arrival of "Chicken George" Moore and his family in Henning, in West Tennessee. George, elderly and showing his age, moves in with Tom Harvey, one of his sons, along with Tom’s wife, Irene (Lynne Moody), and their two daughters, Elizabeth and Cynthia.

A year later, Chicken George dies [in a house fire] in 1883 at age 83, and the family bury his body beside that of his wife, Mathilda "Tildy", who died in 1875 at age 76.

Chicken George Moore was played by Tony Award winner Ben Vereen in 'Roots' and by Tony-nominated Avon Long in 'Roots: The Next Generations'.

The character of George Moore is not the same as he was in real life; not many historical televersions are.  But for some reason, the production team behind the mini-series chose to give him a different last name, substituting "Moore" for "Lea".  I'm not sure how that plays out in the novel, but it's a small detail in Toobworld which makes Chicken George Moore wholly of the TV Universe.  Just based on that, we can consider 'Roots' part of the main Toobworld and not part of some Borderland which combines Toobworld and BookWorld.

O'Bservation:  Once upon a time, when I was in full Sherlockian mania, I realized there was  whole block of Chicken George's life while he was working with Sir Eric Russell in England and Europe that was left unaccounted.  I don't know if any exists, but I think that period in his life would be fertile ground for fanficcers.  I haven't written any - yet - but I could see him making the acquaintance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, providing some assistance in one of their investigations which was consigned to the tin dispatch box at Charing Cross.....

For more about the real Chicken George, George Lea, click here