Saturday, June 23, 2018


It would be a mythic number.”
Melissa Steadman

In my family, this is a day of celebration as my nephew turns thirty.  But in Toobworld, it is a day of sorrow as this is the seventh anniversary of the death of Peter Falk, the star of 'Columbo'.

I can watch those first 69 episodes of the series over and over again; they never get old.  There are a few clunkers in the batch - nothing is ever perfect.  But the majority are classics.  As for the later ABC series, the inverse is true: I like a few of them, but on the whole they lack the luster of the original run on NBC.

There’s nothing to be done for it now of course, but if only we never had that Great Hiatus – that decade without any new ‘Columbo’ investigations.  What a missed opportunity!

To mark the occasion in remembrance of Mr. Falk and Lt. Columbo - Peter and Frank - herewith is a Super Six List of my favorite episodes from the series....


For over forty years, 'The Prisoner' had been my favorite TV show.  It is now permanently locked in as "the new Number Two".  So this episode, with my favorite actor, Patrick McGoohan, is a treasure with all of the callbacks to that series.  But even without that, there is so much to savor in the interplay between McGoohan and Falk.  And McGoohan - did I mention he's my favorite actor? - has the most marvelous inflections in his delivery that makes simple words and phrases like "I know!", "Is it?", "Geronimo...", "Luxuriant.", and "Mah Jong" indelible in the memory.  In fact, for any other fan of this episode, I doubt they could read those examples without doing so in McGoohan's style.  

And Mr. Falk matches every step with his more mundane presence to keep McGoohan's character grounded.  (Even when Falk himself is floating in the air....)

Again, the glories of this episode can be attributed to the guest star, Ruth Gordon.  I suppose by that point in her life she earned the right to the mantra of "Anything Goes" ('Harold & Maude' should prove that.) and so you can tell how much fun she has playing the role at full tilt.  And again, Falk proves he is on the same plane as she is.  Sure, the script dictated it, but Falk is strength and empathy personified when he holds firm to the only possible outcome to the case.


As a member of one of the best 'Columbo' pages on Facebook (Columbo-TV), I've been amazed that anybody should hate this case, let alone the numbers of those who ridicule it. Sure, it's full of cliches about the UK and the English people and there are plenty of noticeable errors from trying to reconcile the footage filmed in London with that done back in Hollywood on the sound stages.  And perhaps there are some over-the-top performances – but these are theatre people; they’re supposed to be hammy!  And even though I believe ‘Columbo’ is like a Kabuki play in that it should always adhere to a certain structure, that doesn’t mean it can’t provide some variations.  I always enjoy a good fish out of water story and while the Lieutenant is almost always in that situation while dealing with the socially elite, in this case he was not on familiar ground to anchor him.  Plus an amazing array of guest stars, right down to the character actors in small roles like Arthur Malet, Ronald Long, and Richard Pearson.


Probably the first episode that finally made me realize how special this series was.  And considering the reputation as an actor Donald Pleasence had before and after this episode, his murderer was imbued with great dignity that elicited more sympathy from the audience than perhaps any other during the show’s run.  And once again Mr. Falk showed he had what it takes to go toe-to-toe against an actor of a differing style.


This is the episode that made me buy my first TV.  I was in at university when this first aired and I couldn’t take the chance that I could commandeer control of the dorm’s TV set when ‘Columbo’ came around again in the ‘Mystery Movie’ rotation.  When I saw that THE Dick Van Dyke (Accept no substitutes!) was going to be the guest star, I had no choice but to buy myself a small TV.  This episode had everything – a fantastic guest cast, wonderful wordplay in its title, and one of the best “Gotcha” moments at the end.  Van Dyke proved superlative in the role – to this day, as much as I love the actor, I so despise that character!  And Falk got to shine in so many small bits of business throughout.


The last entry in any list such as this, no matter how many choices you get to fill (like the usual Top Ten), has to be the hardest to make.
  And I was sad to think that because of my druthers, I couldn’t get any of the Cassidy episodes included.  At least I have two out of three of the Great Triumvirate of Columbo Killers included, and of Robert Culp’s trio of murderers, I think Dr. Kepple is the most fun to watch opposite Peter Falk.  I will admit, however, that it took me a long time to reach that conclusion.  (I used to be more favorable to “The Most Crucial Game”.  But eventually I found Hanlon too strident throughout with nowhere to go on an emotional level.  As for Brimmer?  Well he killed Patricia Crowley and I had a crush on her just as I was entering my teen years.  LOL)  This may not have been the first episode where Columbo entered the investigation at a disadvantage in knowing how that particular world operated, but this may have been the most complicated up that point.  Luckily, he was always quick to learn enough to help him solve the case and this world of subliminal advertising proved to be no match. 

(There is another reason I chose this episode over others – the fact that another favorite was in the cast – Chuck McCann.
  I’m so glad there was a scene which brought these two together.  Even if the poor schlub was trying to play the game above his capabilities, if you know what I mean, it was still a joy to see Uncle Chuck get the chance to play against a talent like Mr. Falk.)

I may not have been as big a fan of the later episodes, but I still wish Peter Falk was with us, if only to give us a final episode in which he got to retire (perhaps against his wishes), but first had to solve one last case.

And perhaps we could have had the opportunity to finally meet Mrs. Columbo.  (Mrs. Columbo as Levinson and Link envisioned her, of course.)

Oh!  Just one more thing….



Friday, June 22, 2018


With last Friday's inductee into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, we picked up a packet of crisps.  Sorry, Slipped into the Britiom.  We inducted a fictional brand of potato chips - Let's.

So this week, let's have something to wash it down with.......



Everybody drinks Heisler. The beer’s shown up in episodes of “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” “Heroes,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “My Name is Earl” and “Parks and Recreation.” Mexican gangsters sipped some while chatting with Ethan Hawke in 2001’s “Training Day.” Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg had bottles strewn about his apartment in the 2010 movie “The Social Network”. The guys from “Workaholics” love the stuff. Cans of Heisler even appear in an episode of “Star Trek: Enterprise.” It’s the Bud Light of fake beers.

The brewery behind the most popular beer in the on-screen world it isn’t a brewery at all, but a Hollywood prop house called Independent Studio Services. ISS produces an entire portfolio of fake beers, including Cerveza Clara (a favorite of the study group on “Community”), Jekyll Island (seen on both “Lost” and “Dexter”) and a slew of others: Bilson, Penzburg, Haberkern, O’Farren, and even the straightforward Premium Light.

Thanks to the Fictional Companies Wiki, here is a list of the TV shows in which Heisler Beer was quaffed:

  • 2 broke girls
  • Accidentally on Purpose
  • Bionic Woman
  • Blue Bloods
  • Blue Mountain State
  • Blue Collar TV
  • Bones
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Burn Notice
  • Criminal Minds
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • CSI: Miami
  • Dark Blue
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Dollhouse
  • Eli Stone
  • Everybody Hates Chris
  • Four Kings
  • Gary Unmarried
  • Ghost Whisperer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Glee
  • Goliath
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Heroes
  • House of Payne
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • How to get away with murder
  • It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  • K-Ville
  • Key and Peele
  • The League
  • Legit
  • Lie To Me
  • Lucifer
  • Mad Love
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • Mike & Molly
  • My Name is Earl
  • New Girl
  • Parks and Recreation
  • The Pretender
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Prison Break
  • Privileged
  • Raising Hope
  • Reno 911!
  • The Riches
  • Scream (TV Series)
  • Star Trek: Enterprise
  • Roseanne
  • Still Standing
  • The Shield
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • Terriers
  • Training Day
  • Trust Me
  • Two and a Half Men
  • Tyler Perry's House of Payne
  • Ugly Betty
  • The Unit
  • United States of Tara
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • Veronica Mars
  • Workaholics
  • Weeds
  • White Collar
And here are the details on some of those entries, also supplied by the Fictional Companies Wiki (a handy resource for Toobworld Central):


In Season 5 Episode 3 during a hangout between a group of high school and college students.

Accidentally on Purpose

In multiple episodes during the series.

Blue Mountain State
In every episode of Blue Mountain State many characters are seen drinking Heisler Beers.


In season 1 episode 18 during a hangout between one of the treasure hunters and Dr. Hodgins, they drink Heisler.
In Season 10, Episode 4, Booth puts two cans of Heisler in his beer hat in the final scene.

Brooklyn Nine Nine

In season 2 episode 6, Heisler shows up in a bar scene and later in a restaurant scene.And 3 episode 2.
In season 3 episode 2, Heisler is seen at Captain Dozerman's funeral.
In season 3 episode 20, Heisler is seen at Rosa's bachelorette party while they are at a restaurant.
Season 4, episode 16, Peralta and Amy are drinking it.

Burn Notice

Is Sam Axe's beer of choice. Appears in many episodes.

Chicago P.D. jan 3/ 2018

Bar scene


In the third episode “98 Seconds,” Katie Bowman (Sarah Wayne Callies) opens a case of Heisler beer.

Criminal Minds

Season 2, Episode 3.

CSI: Miami

In the episode "High Octane", Heisler beer bottles are collected from a crime scene and analyzed at the crime lab.

The Finder

In the episode "Swing and a Miss", Walter is found drinking a Heisler after a baseball game.

Fear the Walking Dead

A case is in the back of a military truck when the army leaves the Los Angeles safe zone.

Gilmore Girls
Seen in Season 1, Episode 14. Luke and Lorelai are drinking Heisler beer while picking out paint colors for his diner.

Seen in Season 3, Episode 19. Puck makes prom queen and king crowns from a Heisler box for him and Becky at the anti-prom.


Seen in the first and other episodes of the series.

Hart of Dixie

Seen in many episodes, mostly consumed by Wade Kinsella

In the episode "Strange Attractors", Matt Parkman drinks a bottle of Heisler Gold Ale, which affects Sylar, who is trapped in Matt's mind.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Appears in Season 10 Episode 1.

The League

Appears throughout Season 2. In Taco's Notary commercial the "terrorist" is holding a Heisler after Taco stamps him. Season 6, Episode 11. Pete grabs a Heisler Gluten-Free beer from the fridge.


In multiple episodes.

Lie To Me

Cal Lightman can be seen drinking a Heisler as Clara comes to his house. Season 2 Episode 17.


Pierce brings Chloe some six-packs in "The Angel of San Bernardino".

Malcolm In the Middle

Hal's high school buddy throws him a Heisler as he opens the front door. Season 4 Episode 14.

My Name Is Earl

Heisler beer is seen in many episodes and frequently consumed by characters in the local bar which is known as the Crabshack.

New Girl

Heisler beer is seen in many episodes and frequently consumed by characters.

Parks and Recreation – "Fancy Party" (S03E09)

Bottles of Heisler and Penn Pavel's can be seen on a shelf at the party.

The Pretender

In the episode "Murder 101", Jarod spikes a Heisler beer with a sedative in a plan to get a confession from two guilty students.

Pretty Little Liars
In Season 5, Episode 7, Caleb brings Heisler beer to the his ex-girlfriend Hanna's house.

Prison Break

In the episode "The Message", the character Charles "Haywire" Patoshik purchases Heisler beer for two teenagers.
In the episode S4:E12 "Selfless", Mahone and Sucre enjoy a couple Heisler beers to celebrate the successful Scylla heist.

Raising Hope – "Mongooses" (S01E17)

Jimmy, Virginia, Burt and Sabrina drink Meichtry Draft and Heisler Beer while hiding in the attic.


S10E3 Dan putting it in the fridge


Appears in the Halloween special at the 19 minute mark


Appears in several episodes.

Star Trek: Enterprise
In the episode "Carpenter Street", Heisler beer can be seen in Loomis' refrigerator.

Switched at Birth
Appears in several episodes.

In the episode "If You Work For a Living, Then Why Do You Kill Yourself Working?", Heisler beer is consumed by a number of characters on Silas' 18th birthday.

Appears in a number of episodes, more than half of the episodes in the 4 season series features this company.

Criminal Minds

Season 02 Episode 03
A Heisler beer can is seen next to a microwave.

White Collar

Heisler beer is seen in many episodes and frequently consumed by characters.

The Vampire Diaries

In Season 1, Elena and Damon drink Heisler while in a bar in Georgia. 

Can't say thanks enough to the folks behind the Fictional Companies Wiki for that information... information... information....

Welcome to Hall, buds!  I mean, friends!

I'm dedicating this entry to my nephew Neil, celebrating the big 3-0 on Saturday.  His televersion would be dealing with Heisler's in his line of work.  (But he'd be a weekend explorer, using old maps and blueprints to find trap streets and secret passages....)

Thursday, June 21, 2018




Composer Findlay Crawford was rehearsing the orchestra on the score for Sidney Ritter’s newest film, “Corkscrew” and a scene involving a woman getting stabbed to death by some psycho.  At first upon seeing the close-ups of the woman, I thought it might have been a third appearance by Tyne Daly in the series. 

A quick search of the IMDb revealed her to be Susan Edwards, who I think could play Ms. Daly’s sister.  And that got me thinking that she could play a role in de-Zonking Ms. Daly’s series ‘Cagney & Lacey

I knew there would be other TV series in which that detective show would be mentioned, if only because it was a groundbreaking cop show with women in the lead roles.  (But they weren’t the first – I think Beverly Garland has that distinction with the show ‘Decoy’. See this coming weekend's Video Sunday entry.....)

So I thought I’d check the IMDb for other shows that might have made references to ‘Cagney & Lacey’ as a TV series even though they should be sharing the same TV dimension.  And there plenty of examples!

Here are a few of them in general:

  • Webster: The Truth Hurts 
  • Perfect Strangers: First Date 
  • Charles in Charge: Weekend Weary 
  • The Larry Sanders Show: Office Romance
  • Northern Exposure: Slow Dance 
  • Desmond's: Hatchet Job
  • Dinnerladies: Scandal
  • Joey: Joey and the Break-up
  • Red Dwarf: The Tank - Series VIII
  • 2 Broke Girls – Cupcake War
  • Sons of Anarchy: Suits of Woe 
  • Modern Family: Three Turkeys
  • Back: Episode #1.2

For the most part, any time the show is mentioned, it’s usually just the characters themselves and used in comparison to the TV characters in the other show.  For me, I see this as references instead to Chris Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey, the original police women who inspired the Toobworld version of the detective drama.

Here are the best examples of those comparisons to ‘Cagney & Lacey’:

The Mentalist: Cackle-Bladder Blood (2010) 
Mentioned by Samantha in reference to Lisbon.

Scarecrow and Mrs. King: Saved by the Bells (1983) 
When Lee is dragged to the office by two burly agents, he tells Billy "Tell Cagney and Lacey to let go, will you?".

Angel: Lonely Heart (1999) 
Cordelia calls Kate "Cagney & Lacey-Kate".

Trollied: Episode #3.12 (2013)
Ian refers to Linda and Sue as "Cagney and Lacey".

Caroline in the City: Caroline and the Watch (1996) 
Richard refers to Caroline and Annie as Cagney and Lacey.

Community: The Science of Illusion (2010)  
Jeff refers to Annie and Shirley as "Cagney" and "Lacey."

Diff'rent Strokes: Undercover Lover (1984) 
The drug dealers ask if Denise if Cagney or Lacey

Dempsey and Makepeace: The Squeeze (1985)
Spikings refers to Dempsey as 'Cagney or Lacey'

Gimme a Break!: Police Mamas (1985)  
Nell and Addie call themselves Cagney & Lacey

Taxi Brooklyn: Double Identity (2014)  
Cat says she can't tell if her mother and Leo are Mulder and Scully or Cagney and Lacey.

EastEnders: Episode dated 23 November 2015 (2015) 
Carmel calls Denise "Cagney" as they investigate a mystery.

Rizzoli & Isles: Fake It 'Til You Make It (2015) 
Det. Acedo says Jane and Maura are "like a regular 'Cagney and Lacey'."

Lucifer: Pops (2016) 
Lucifer calls Chloe and Dan "Cagney and Lacey".

Better Call Saul: Nacho (2015)  
Two cops are called Cagney and Lacey

2 Broke Girls: And the Two Openings: Part One (2016) 
J. Petto calls Max and Caroline "Cagney and Lacey".

Scorpion: Grow a Deer, A Female Deer (2017) 
Toby asks Gabe if he is Cagney or Lacey.

30 Rock: I Heart Connecticut (2011)
Liz says she sounds like Cagney and Lacey but without the "slutty clothes"

Psych: This Episode Sucks (2011)  
The vampire bartender refers to Juliet as "Cagney."

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Educated Guess (2011) 
A patient in a psychiatric ward tells another patient "Cagney and Lacey were just leaving."

Veronica Mars: Spit & Eggs (2006) 
Veronica responds, "Cagney and Pasty" after Tim says, "Starsky and Butch."

Burn Notice: Identity (2007) 
At one point in the episode Sam introduces himself and Fiona to the accomplices as Detectives Cagney and Lacey.

V.I.P.: Raging Val (1999) 
Maxine says to Val that the two of them are not Cagney and Lacey.

Timeless: The Day Reagan Was Shot (2018)  
Lucy & Jiya use the aliases of Cagney and Lacey
(These characters started out in Earth Prime-Time, but by the time of this episode they had created new timelines where the original cops, not just the TV show, might not ever come into existence.)

Long after the show ended, it still had a hold on the pop cultural memories of people all around the world.  And the same could be said of the televersion:

Kim's Convenience: Sneak Attack (2017)
Appa mentions the title characters.

Ghosted: The Wire (2018) 
One of the shows Leroy has finished watching

Growing Pains: The Marrying Kind (1988)
Bobby mentions his mother liking Cagney & Lacey.

Growing Pains: How the West Was Won: Part 1 (1988) 
Mike makes a joke about Cagney and Lacey.

Laat maar zitten: Kind noch kraai (1991)
Uckels mentions watching Cagney and Lacey
(Putting the "world" in Toobworld!)

Married with Children: Kelly Does Hollywood: Part 1 (1991) 
Al can't find anything to watch on his new cable channels. He rejects this show as well.

Married with Children: Kelly's Gotta Habit (1996) 
Al gives this show as an example for great cops working with another guy.

NCIS: Model Behavior (2005) 
DiNozzo pretends to be talking about the show.

The Gil Mayo Mysteries: Episode #1.3 (2006) 
Hope Hendrick gives watching a marathon of the older show on UK Gold as her alibi.

Married with Children: The Goodbye Girl (1992)
Marcy says she can't get enough of the 'Cagney and Lacey' exhibit at TV World.

Drop Dead Gorgeous: Episode #2.6 (2007) 
Annie mentions taking the Cagney & Lacey tour in New York City

Empty: Happiness (2008)
"Having to hum the theme tune every time somebody says Cagney & Lacey."

Friday Night Lights: Tami Knows Best (2008) 
Matt's grandmother is looking for a "new" episode of this show on TV.

EastEnders: Episode dated 9 March 2012 (2012)
DVD boxset shown.

Two and a Half Men: Grandma's Pie (2012) 
Lyndsey says that before meeting Evelyn, her mother used to play golf and watch the show

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Pilot (2013) 
Terry Jeffords' children are named Cagney and Lacey.

It even made its mark in other TV dimensions:

iZombie: Pilot (2015) 
"Cagney and Pasty"

Madam Secretary: Mitya (2018) 
Elizabeth says the VP is playing Lacey to her Cagney

So even with all of those mentions, I still thought I could make the claim that the actress who played the “Corkscrew” victim in that ‘Columbo’ episode might be considered as the actress to portray Mary Beth Lacey in the televersion of 'Cagney & Lacey'.
There is no Zonk in the fact that the detective show was not only real life, but also a TV show within Toobworld.  Their exploits on the force in NYC would have gained the attention of a producer wishing to recreate their exploits as NYPD Blue.

But then I found these two quotes that seem to suggest that Toobworld's Ms. Daly was connected to the show:

Psych: Office Space 
Shawn says,
"Damn you, Cagney & Lacey!"

"Damn you, Tyne Daly . . . and Sharon Gless."
[Based on what I read in the episode's script, Shawn had at least one coffee mug souvenir of the cop show.  There may two, with one belonging to Juliet.]

The Nanny: The Nanny-Napper
Fran says "It looks just like the police station on 'Cagney and Lacey'. No wonder they had so much crime in that precinct. All you had to do was out-run Tyne Daily."

So much for that idea of other actors playing the role.  Sorry, Susan Edwards!  But thanks for inspiring my look at the TV references to 'Cagney & Lacey'.....


Wednesday, June 20, 2018


On this date in 1877, Alexander Graham Bell installs the world's first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. 

From Wikipedia:
Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator who is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone. He also founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.

Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.

Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils, and aeronautics. Although Bell was not one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society, he had a strong influence on the magazine while serving as the second president from January 7, 1898, until 1903.

Bell emigrated to Canada in 1870 and lived there until he moved to the United States in 1882.  There he would reside until his death in 1922.

In Toobworld, he would make three appearances (so far) in 'The Murdoch Mysteries'.

While he was in Toronto attending a convention showcasing the latest inventions, Bell met Detective William Murdoch of the Toronto Constabulary during the course of a murder investigation.  Even though Murdoch greatly admired the inventor, he still considered Bell under suspicion for a short time. 

Bell returned to Toronto to assist Murdoch in the hunt for serial killing madman genius James Gillies.  Bell's assistance was needed in separating the background noise on recorded cylinders found in "talking dolls" which Gillies had used to taunt Murdoch with clues.  Through this work, Murdoch was able to track down Gillies' location.

Once again Bell was able to assist Murdoch when a murder was committed at a dinner celebrating Helen Keller, who attended with her companion Annie Sullivan.  (Bell attended with his wife, Mabel Hubbard, who was also deaf.)  In order to better understand Miss Keller's everyday situation, the dinner was held in complete darkness, which is when the murder occurred.  Bell used one of his own inventions to pinpoint the location of where the killer was seated based on Miss Keller's acutely enhanced hearing.

As Alexander Graham Bell lived until 1922, and the series 'The Murdoch Mysteries' has been renewed for another season*, it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that we may see the Scottish-American inventor return once again to Station 4 in Toronto....


Currently, Season 11 was set in 1905.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


On this date in 1896, Wallis Simpson was born.

From Wikipedia:
Wallis Simpson (born Bessie Wallis Warfield; 19 June 1896[ – 24 April 1986), later known as the Duchess of Windsor, was an American socialite whose intended marriage to the British king Edward VIII caused a constitutional crisis that led to Edward's abdication.

The King's desire to marry a woman who had two living ex-husbands threatened to cause a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom and the Dominions, and ultimately led to his abdication in December 1936 to marry "the woman I love". After abdicating, the former king was created Duke of Windsor by his brother and successor, King George VI. Edward married Wallis six months later, after which she was formally known as the Duchess of Windsor, without the style "Her Royal Highness". She was instead styled as "Her Grace", a style normally reserved for non-royal dukes and duchesses.

There have been enough portrayals of Wallis Simpson to go around for many TV dimensions.  Normally I follow the dictum of "First Come, First Served" in determining who would be the official televersion of an historical figure in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.  But of course there are exceptions and this would be one of them.

Faye Dunaway was the first TV portrayal of Mrs. Simpson, in 1972's "The Woman I Love" (with Richard Chamberlain as Edward VIII.)  However, that was a TV movie and because of its temporal limitations, a lot of their story was left out.

Instead, I'm going with Cynthia Harris who played the Duchess six years later in the mini-series 'Edward & Mrs. Simpson'.  (This time out, Edward Fox portrayed the King.)

Wallis has been portrayed by:
  • Faye Dunaway in "The Woman I Love" (1972, TV drama)
  • Cynthia Harris in 'Edward & Mrs. Simpson' (1978, TV miniseries)
  • Barbara Parkins in "To Catch a King" (1983, TV movie)
  • Jane Seymour in "The Woman He Loved" (1988, TV movie)
  • Amber Sealey in "Bertie and Elizabeth" (2002, TV movie)
  • Joely Richardson in Wallis & Edward (2005, "TV movie")
  • Gillian Anderson in 'Any Human Heart' (2010, TV mini-series)
  • Emma Clifford in 'Upstairs, Downstairs' (2010, TV mini-series)
  • Lia Williams in 'The Crown' (2016, TV series)

As you can see in that list, 'Upstairs, Downstairs' is one of two TV series in which Wallis Simpson appeared.  But it is the only one which is in the main Toobworld*.  (It is a sequel to the original series, and not a reboot.)  Therefore, Wallis Simpson, although looking different from Cynthia Harris, is still the same woman, but seen from the perspective of regular characters from the TV series. 

'The Crown' is a sumptuous production which will stand the test of time better than 'Edward And Mrs. Simpson', but it has far too many historical figures which have been portrayed multiple times on TV.  Without fictional characters to ground them as being from those characters' perspective, it's better to just let it reside in some other TV dimension. 

Because Matt Smith kicked off the series with his portrayal of Prince Philip, I'd like to think 'The Crown' can be found in the same Toobworld as "The Hound Of The Baskervilles" with Tom Baker as Sherlock Holmes, and "Robin Hood" with Patrick Troughton in the title role.  As a 'Doctor Who' fan, that amuses me....


Monday, June 18, 2018



New York of the mind – in the opening of the Father's Day episode of ‘Instinct’, a bomb supposedly went off in Battery Park. I may have been gone from the City for almost 2 years now, but I’m pretty sure that was 2 Worldwide Plaza which is between 49th & 50th, across from Churrascario Plataforma.

But 'Instinct' does take place in an alternate Toobworld.  (I like to think it's the same TV dimension as 'The West Wing'.) So maybe there are some architectural differences in Battery Park in that world.

Then again, I’m the one who’s always saying Toobworld is not the same as the Real World.  So - for example - subway routes which don't exist in our world could certainly be found in Toobworld.  (This happened in an episode of 'Clubhouse' and caused a hue and cry among the readers of the NY Post.)

Hopefully later today I'll get a frame grab from the episode to add to this post.


Sunday, June 17, 2018



Bill Dana passed away just about one year ago (June 15, 2017), at the age of 92.  As far as I can tell, he was the last of Steve Allen's repertory players best known for those "Man On The Street" segments.  (If I'm wrong, email me; let me know.)

He died the day before Stephen Furst, most famous for "Animal House", 'St. Elsewhere', and 'Babylon 5'.  And in 'St. Elsewhere', both men shared their last scene together for that series: Stephen Furst was a series regular as Dr. Elliot Axelrod while Bill Dana was a recurring guest star as the father of Dr. Wayne Fiscus.  Both of their characters died around the same time in the show and their "ghosts" marched down the halls of St. Eligius Hospital dressed in Sandinista uniforms in Fiscus' dream/nightmare.  But he saw it as an omen about his decision to be a doctor working in Nicaragua.

Bill Dana was not the only member of Steve Allen's show to play a father on 'St. Elsewhere':

  • Bill Dana - Mr. Fiscus, Wayne's father
  • Tom Poston - Jim Morrison, Boomer's father
  • Louis Nye - Dr. Axelrod, Elliot's father
  • Steve Allen & Jayne Meadows - Lech & Olga Osoranski, Ehrlich's birth parents (and Russian spies!)

It's a shame that they didn't carry this theme out further because there were a few more players who could have pulled Daddy Duty during the show's run.
  • Don Adams
  • Don Knotts
  • Pat Harrington, Jr.

Gabriel Dell died of leukemia during the show's final year, so he may have been too sick during its run. But who knows?

There were plenty of other characters at St. Elsewhere who could have had those men as their fathers:
  • Dr. Seth Griffin
  • Dr. Jacqueline Wade
  • Dr. Carol Novino
  • Nurse Lucy Papandreo
I am not one of those fans of 'St. Elsewhere' who accepts the series finale premise that the whole show had been all in the mind of Dr. Westphall's autistic son Tommy.  For me, when Tommy was staring out the hospital window and everything started shaking, our perspecitve as the audience entered his daydream, not exited it.  The idea of the Tommy Westphall Universe is far too limited for my needs as the Toobworld Monitaur, so I had to reject it.

But I can understand the allure of the original theory.  If we look at the entire show happening inside Tommy's mind, we can see so much of the series had to be influences from television and elsewhere.

I even have a Super Six List to cover my favorite references in the show and the Fathers all top the list.

1)Steve Allen comedians as the Dads

2) Warren Coolidge, a character from 'The White Shadow' as an orderly

3) Mr. Carlin of 'The Bob Newhart Show' was in the psych ward of the hospital

4) The dog belonging to Axelrod's father was a collie, just like 'Lassie'

5) There was a one-armed man who was a fugitive in the hospital

6) John Doe #6 - Whoo, where to begin?  Because he had amnesia, it could be said that they had given him a number and taken away his name.  He decided that he was Mary Richards of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and he even thought a visiting Naval doctor played by Betty White was actually Sue Ann Nivens.  He finally divested himself of that fantasy once he realized he was throwing a great party at the hospital.  (Mary Richards NEVER threw a great party!)

And those are just my top six.  There were so many others, like song lyrics being used as dialogue.  ("Our house was a very, very fine house.  With two cats in the yard.  Life used to be so hard....")

But I can see how the original premise can be tempting; it just doesn't work for Toobworld....

At any rate, the show gave us a wonderful way to remember those great comic actors working for Steve Allen.

Happy Father's Day!