Saturday, July 7, 2018


Just something quick today to serve as a preview of tomorrow's presentation.  I hope you find it interesting......

Friday, July 6, 2018


It has been a year and a month since the death of Roger Smith, one of the actors who personified "cool" when it came to the private investigators in Toobworld.  It's time for us to honor that character, because he nailed down the three requirements.


From Wikipedia:

Roger LaVerne Smith (December 18, 1932 – June 4, 2017) was an American television and film actor, producer and screenwriter. He starred in the television detective series '77 Sunset Strip' and in the comedy series 'Mister Roberts'. Smith went on to manage the career of Ann-Margret, his wife of 50 years.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Jack Gilardi, who is the agent of Smith's widow, actress Ann-Margret, said the actor died at a Los Angeles hospital after battling a terminal illness. Smith had fought the nerve disease myasthenia gravis for many years.

From 1958 to 1963, he co-starred with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on the glossy ABC series. It made stars of both men and a teen heartthrob out of Edd Byrnes, who played a colorful parking lot attendant named Kookie.

"77 Sunset Strip" had been created by producer-writer Roy Huggins, who also created "Maverick," and it spawned a host of spinoffs and knockoffs, including "Hawaiian Eye," ''Surfside 6" and "Bourbon Street Beat."

Roger Smith played Jeff Spencer, also a former government agent, and a nonpracticing attorney. [With Stu Bailey as the senior partner,] the duo worked out of a stylish office at 77 Sunset Boulevard (colloquially known as Sunset Strip), between La Cienega Boulevard and Alta Loma Road on the south side of the strip next door to Dean Martin's real-life lounge, Dino's Lodge.

These are the TV shows in which Jeff Spencer made his mark:

'77 Sunset Strip' (1958 - 1963)

163 episodes

'Hawaiian Eye'- I Wed Three Wives (1960)
When actor Mark Hamilton comes to Hawaii, Tracy is hired to keep the star's three ex-wives away from him. It turns out that he's evaded paying them the alimony payments he owes them and they're planning to kidnap him in order to get their money. It also turns out that he's been cheating on his income taxes, too, and when his manager finds out about it, Hamilton kills him.

- Two for the Money (1961)
“Two for the Money" is an episode of Hawaiian Eye starring Grant Williams, Robert Conrad, and Connie Stevens. A wealthy man hires Greg to track down the author of the obituary of the wife that had left him many years earlier. He asked Greg to try and bring his daughter back. Soon Greg has to decide which of two women is the real daughter.

'Surfside 6'
- Love Song for a Deadly Redhead
Jeff, a private investigator from L.A. and friend of the SurfSide detectives, is called to Miami to investigate a threatening note left for a lounge singer. He meets a redhead, who takes him to her home. He passes out and wakes up the prime suspect in the murder of the redhead's husband, leaving his SurfSide friends to clear him.

Those are the official qualifications for Jeff Spencer's membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.  But I'm sure crossover enthusiasts can come up with ideas for theoretical connections to other shows.

For example, just off the top of my head....

Lieutenant Douglas Roberts
'Mr. Roberts'

Doug Roberts is a multiversal - The World Stage, the Cineverse, the Television Universe.  It's a theory of relateeveety that his televersion was Jeff Spencer's uncle on his mother's side.  

Maybe you have a few suggestions?  Let me know!

We tip our cap to the memory of Jeff Spencer here at Toobworld Central.  

Welcome to the Hall, Daddio!  You'll find your old partner Stu Bailey already here.....

Thursday, July 5, 2018


Originally I planned to have a great "Game Of The Name" post today which would link 'Endeavour' to 'Eureka' via a character whom I'm claiming to have appeared in both shows.  But I've still got several hours of episodes to watch for "research".  (Besides, I love that Syfy show and wish it was still on, so I want to make sure I get it right.)

So luckily for my Inner Toob schedule (and my OCD), I have a special guest appearance by another of my fellow Columbo-philes from the "Columbo TV" Facebook page.

In the past, my poor page has been graced by Steve Skayman with his photographic finds on the type of trivial details that make the TV Universe interesting - like the fact that a murderer from a 'Barnaby Jones' episode must have bought the house previously owned by a murderer in a 'Columbo' episode.

And then there's Theo Solorio.  Her excellent cartoons of Lt. Columbo and other characters from the show are portrayed in a very "Bluthesque" form of funny animal cartoons.  (The Lieutenant is portrayed as a sly fox....)

And so today, it's Mary Lowe's turn.

As Monty Python would say, for those who don't like cartoons, there's sport.....

Mary has used 'Columbo' to sum up the knockout match between England and Colombia on Tuesday.  Despite the similarity in names, it's more appropriate that England won the day - after all, Columbo once visited England....

And now, here's Mary Lowe with today's sports report:


The Most Crucial Game has been won by England. A performance Suitable For Framing, whilst Colombia were on a Short Fuse and have played their Swan Song. Tomorrow, by Dawn's Early Light, there will be plenty of Playback as England are suffering from A Case Of losing...

It's All In The Game....

Our fellow "Lieutenanthusiasts" (Yes, I know. Horrible collective noun.  I'm sorry I typed it.  
not really....) joined in with their responses:

Simon Moon (related to Daphne?) observed:

(A few of those Colombians were candidates for crime, if you ask me.)

Ian Macleod added:

I think it was a Double Shock for Colombia and a Matter of Honour for England to get past a team that would make Strange Bedfellows!

Philip Wilson wondered:

Did you have another version prepared if we lost? 

And Harry Duff responded:

I think I would have had a Negative Reaction ....

I shared these with one of my brothers, who's also a fan of 'Columbo' and an avid World Cup viewer.  Being the newspaper editor that he is, he came up with the headline for the preview of the next Most Crucial Match:

I'm not about to compete with this lot; they're all too good!  But I do have a Toobworld "What If?" suggestion, a bit o' my Wish-Craft whimsy....

There are so many cases during the Dark Ages, that Big Hiatus between "The Conspirators" in 1979 and 1989's "Columbo Goes To The Guillotine," which we never got to see.  (Columbo didn't stop existing in the TV Universe just because the show stopped, after all.)

So what if we got to see one of Columbo's murder investigations take place against the backdrop of the World Cup?  First off, where would it take place?  

Here's a list of countries which hosted the World Cup during the Dark Hiatus:
  • 1982 - Spain
  • 1986 - Colombia
Despite the possibility for some fun at the Lieutenant's expense that his name would be so similar to the name of the host country, I think there would have to be just establishing shots filmed there for the sake of security and the rest filmed in the States - as was done with the "Dagger Of The Mind" English-set episode.

But thinking like a cost-cutting executive, I'll skip the Dark Hiatus.  My Wish-Craft fantasy instead should be set against the 1994 World Cup which was played out in the United States. 

And fortuitous for location filming and story logistics, the stadium used the most during the course of play, including the final match, was the Rose Bowl in Pasadena which is part of Los Angeles County.  It's only ten miles north of downtown Los Angeles. 

(This saves any "splainin to do" as to why Lt. Columbo was in any of the other eight host cities.  Then again, I'm assuming that Columbo would be called in over the Pasadena Police Department because it would be such a high-profile case.  He would probably be clashing with the FBI during the case as well.)

What would be the plotline, the motivation for the murder?  As always, I'm just the Fanficcers' Friend; I'm just setting up the basic situation in the hopes that somebody else would run with it.

But I do have a definite star to have played the lead guest role of the murderer for that special episode.

Roger Moore.

At the time of filming, he would have been about 67 years of age, and we know he was in good shape - perfectly believable as a former footballer who capitalized on his glory days to become rich and a major force behind the scenes... only to find a dark secret from his past about to be exposed which could scuttle his standing and besmirch the games.  (It could be a harbinger of the corruption scandals that would surface a decade later in 2015.)

The second most important guest star role in a 'Columbo' episode is that of whoever plays the victim.  And just because there have been so many blackmailers in the series' run who had been male, why not a woman this time?  And because the series had been so white-washed in the past (save for James McEachin it seems), why not have the victim be a black woman?  It would also be more representative of the countries involved in the World Cup.

In my heart, I like the idea of Janet MacLachlan.  She was a recognizable name on the small screen and had some cachet for a starring role in 'Columbo' as the victim.  (More so than some certainly, like Chad Willets, Jeff Yagher, or Cheryl Paris, from that same time frame of the ABC years.)

She also had the gravitas for a role as somebody with influence and experience behind the scenes of the FIFA world body.   At the same time, I'm liking her for the FBI Agent officially in charge of the investigation as a Federal case.

Otherwise, if the network wanted real luster for the role of the murder victim, perhaps they might have turned to Cicely Tyson in the role.  She would have been 70 years of age, an equal to face off against Moore in all facets.

In fact, why not cast both?

I'm going with this dream team:

  • Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo
  • Sir Roger Moore as The Murderer
  • Cicely Tyson as The Murder Victim
  • Janet Maclachlan as The FBI Agent
  • PelĂ© as Himself (Unbilled Cameo)
  • Bruce Kirby as Sgt. Kramer
  • John Finnegan as Pasadena Detective
  • Vito Scotti as Disappointed Italian Fan 
Special Guest Star:
  • E.G. Marshall as World Cup Official

Written by Jackson Gillis
Directed by Patrick McGoohan

As Bob Ryan would often say in 'Entourage', "Would that be something you would be interested in?"

"You have the wrong room."

If you're a 'Columbo' fan and also like to engage in fan fiction, would that be something you might like to take up your pen to write?  If you do, please let me know where I can read it.

Who knows?  Maybe one day such a story will be found in the Columbo Fan Fiction Archive....

I also have a suggestion for the episode title, similar to those we saw back in the NBC years.

It would be the perfect headline for a Fleet Street tabloid should the unthinkable happen this year.  (It has an historical connection to Russia.)

My thanks to Mary for the original inspiration and to the contributions from Ian, Philip, Harry, Simon, and my brother.  And I hope my flight of fancy meets with approval from World Cup fans.


In full disclosure, the pictures of Roger Moore with Peter Falk are from their younger days before they went on to greater glory.  They are seen in these stills from Falk's series 'The Trials Of O'Brien' in which Moore was the guest star.  

As for that quote attached to one of them?  I cribbed it from my favorite 'Columbo' episode, as a tip of the hat to my wish-craft choice for the director of "Cup of Sorrows"......

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday!


Tuesday, July 3, 2018


So following on, here's the second  part of the "Two For Tuesday Endeavour", featuring the second episode of Season Five.....


Here are our categories:


When DS Morse showed up at the flat where the body of former copper Beavis was found, he was greeted by Dr. DeBryn with "We meet again, Nayland Smith!"

DeBryn was comparing Endeavour Morse with Denis Nayland Smith, the long-time foe of Fu Manchu.  Both of those characters were multiversals, beginning life in the books by Sax Rohmer, then on to the movies, comics and also in Toobworld.

From Wikipedia:
Dr. Fu Manchu is a fictional villain character introduced in a series of novels by British author Sax Rohmer during the first half of the twentieth century. The character was also featured extensively in cinema, television, radio, comic strips, and comic books for over 90 years, and has become an archetype of the evil criminal genius and mad scientist, while lending the name to the Fu Manchu moustache.

In 1956, the television arm of Republic Pictures produced a 13-episode syndicated series, 'The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu' starring Glen Gordon as Dr. Fu Manchu, Lester Matthews as Sir Denis Nayland Smith, and Clark Howat as Dr. John Petrie. 

The title sequence depicted Smith and Fu Manchu in a game of chess as the announcer stated that "the Devil is said to play for men's souls. So does Dr. Fu Manchu, Evil Incarnate." At the conclusion of each episode, after Nayland Smith and Petrie had foiled Fu Manchu's latest fiendish scheme, Fu Manchu would be seen breaking a black chess piece in a fit of frustration (black king's bishop, always the same bit of film, repeated) just before the closing credits rolled. It was directed by noted serial director Franklin Adreon as well as William Witney. 

Fu Manchu was never allowed to succeed in this TV series. Unlike the Holmes/Watson type relationship of the films, the series featured Smith as a law enforcement officer and Petrie as a staff member for the Surgeon General.

By the time of this investigation, which took place in May of 1968, there had been three "Fu Manchu" movies starring Christopher Lee as the Devil Doctor".  And Nayland Smith was portrayed by a different actor with each movie - Nigel Green, Douglas Wilmer, and Richard Green.  (Luckily these are just considered to be movies in Toobworld.  I could probably go a little nuts with theories about the reasons for those recastaways!)

Dr. Fu Manchu was probably known to the general public, but I have to see the rest of the TV series to see how I could make it fit with other pop culture references to it.  (I've only seen one, but it's a goodie!)  So in the meantime, I'll just say that Dr. DeBryn must have just seen that last movie with Greene as Nayland Smith since it opened only a few months before that day.  I don't think DeBryn really believed that Fu Manchu really existed, nor Nayland Smith for that matter.  Like most of the general public he was probably gullled into believing that they were fictional characters - which was just the way the shadowy ops organization known as UNReal wanted it.


The horror movie showcased in the episode was produced by the Mammoth Pictures studio.  This was meant to be an in-joke to the production company that is responsible for 'Endeavour'.  But Toby don't play dat!  The Mammoth Pictures of Toobworld is a different entity altogether!


Mammoth Pictures links 'It Takes A Thief', 'The Lucy Show', 'The Monkees' and now brings the three shows based on Colin Dexter's world of Morse into the mix as well.  I think we'll see Mammoth Pictures be inducted into the TVXOHOF in September....)


The movie seen at the Roxy was "The Pharaoh's Curse" which was made back in the 1930s and starred Emil Valdemar.  As far as Toobworld is concerned, it is based on a book from the turn of the 20th Century which was written by a Toronto constable named George Crabtree.

When DI Fred Thursday was growing up in the area, he spent many a Saturday at the theatre watching news reels, Westerns, a few shorts and cartoons from Maroon Studios.  That is the cartoon factory to be found in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", making the property a true multiversal - BookWorld, the Cineverse, and now Toobworld.  And even in a show like 'Endeavour', so dour in tone at times - it's not beyond the possibility that "toons" exist in the live-action world of the Toob near Oxford.  We just don't see them because there is a human prejudice against toons.  So, like puppets, the toons are kept in segregated areas away from the live-action populace.

Yeah, the idea of toons in the world of 'Morse' doesn't feel right for everybody.  But this is Toobworld, my playground, so I am not concerned with your view on the topic.

Start your own TV sandbox! LOL


The ‘Inspector Morse’ prequel ‘Endeavour’ has returned to American TV screens with its fifth season (having previously been televised in the UK beginning back in February.)  With two episodes now viewed, I figured it was the perfect opportunity for a “Two For Tuesday” tribute to the series which is in the running for bringing more crossovers into the greater Toobworld Dynamic than almost any other show.  And I’m not just talking about other TV shows, but more importantly movies and literary sources.  It’s the reason why the show’s driving force, Russell Lewis, has already been inducted into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame as a September entry for the Powers That Be behind the scenes.

In just this snippet of dialogue, we get at least four references to note….



We found this.
[Holds out rose.]
But that's The Shadow's calling card, isn't it?
The what? 
An international art thief.
He leaves a rose at the scene of his crimes.
If he exists.
That's all a bit Simon Templar, don't you think? 
He's real enough to Interpol -
The Lugash Diamond, the Golden Dagger of Sultan Mahmud.

Let’s deal with the most notable reference in that batch – Simon Templar.

Templar, better known as “The Saint”, is a multiversal.  He began life in BookWorld, created by Leslie Charteris.  From there, he appeared in several movies, but is perhaps best known in Toobworld, thanks to a TV series starring the late Sir Roger Moore as Templar.  His exploits were seen in Earth Prime-Time from 1962 to 1969, covering the time period for this episode of ‘Endeavour’ (beginning on the first of April until it ends on a dour note with the radio announcement about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – April 4th, 1968.)

During the course of ‘The Saint’, it was apparent that Simon Templar had an international reputation, known even by the likes of Italian cabbies in Rome.  So it was not unlikely for Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse to have known of him as well.  As there was no mention of any source material for Templar in the quote – no references to movies, books, even the TV series, nor an allusion to Charteris, Toobworld Central accepts this as a reference to an actual citizen of Toobworld.

Next up, another character reference – “the Shadow”, which brings along with it the Lugash Diamond.

From Wikipedia:
The Shadow is the name of a collection of serialized dramas, originally in 1930s pulp novels, and then in a wide variety of media, and it is also used to refer to the character featured in The Shadow media. One of the most famous adventure heroes of the 20th century United States, the Shadow has been featured on the radio, in a long-running pulp magazine series, in American comic books, comic strips, television, serials, video games, and at least five films. The radio drama included episodes voiced by Orson Welles.

Two attempts were made to adapt the character to television. The first, in 1954, was titled 'The Shadow', and starred Tom Helmore as Lamont Cranston.

The second attempt in 1958 was titled 'The Invisible Avenger'; it never aired. The two episodes produced were compiled into a theatrical film and released with the same title. It was re-released with additional footage in 1962 as "Bourbon Street Shadows". Starring Richard Derr as The Shadow, the film depicts Lamont Cranston investigating the murder of a New Orleans bandleader. The film is notable as the second directorial effort of James Wong Howe, who directed only one of the two unaired episodes.

But this isn't that guy.

So what was he after? 
The Faberge?
The Shadow!
I think, given the date, we're looking at something less criminal altogether.
April Fool's.....

From the IMDb:
The legendary criminal "The Shadow" who leaves a red rose at the scene of the crime and is said to have stolen the Lugash Diamond refers to "The Phantom" from the Pink Panther films.  But his calling card was a white glove.

The Lugash Diamond is the “Pink Panther” diamond, coming from the Middle Eastern Kingdom of Lugash in those movies.  This does give those movies a connection to Toobworld, but they are still movies.  However, the televersions of those movies are based on actual events and people in Toobworld.  There would be a country of Lugash in the Tooobworld atlas and there would be a Lugash Diamond.  That would be its official title, but everyone would know it by its nickname of the “Pink Panther” (especially because of the movie.)

As for the Shadow vs. the Phantom?  “The Phantom” could be a name that was created for use in the movies to be used instead of “The Shadow.”   And the real name of the Phantom in the movies – Sir Charles Lytton – could have been a substitution as well, since it was never proven in “real life” (that is, Toobworld) that Sir Charles was involved.  (The inspiration for the surname of Lytton could have come from the screenwriter’s familiarity with the family who ran the Lytton Museum of antiquities.)

But that this renowned cracksman used the alias of “The Shadow” leads me to believe that Lamont Cranston, the true Shadow, was already dead in Toobworld. 

We come now to the mention of “the golden dagger of Sultan Mahmud”…..

This description of a newsworthy item stolen by the Shadow leads me to believe that Dr. Grey garbled the information.  It was meant to be a reference to the Topkapi Emerald Dagger once owned by the Sutlan Mahmed.  

Mahmud, Mahmed…. He almost got it right.  And as for it being known more for its gold content rather than for the jewels which adorned it, maybe that was just the importance placed on it by Dr. Grey.  He may have been influenced by the movie inspired by the theft – “Topkapi”, which had come out four years earlier in the real world and in Toobworld as well.

Stay tuned!  We’ll have another post like this today, dealing with the next ‘Endeavour’ episode, “Cartouche”.

There were plenty of other Easter Eggs throughout the 
episode, but those were the ones I wanted to highlight.


Monday, July 2, 2018


Just a little filler for Monday Minutiae....








Well, at least since last Christmas, Mayr isn't the only woman in the list....


Sunday, July 1, 2018


Because of a post looking at the Zonk references to 'Cagney & Lacey', I thought we'd spend Video Sunday taking a look at the TV show that first broke the barriers for the portrayal of women detectives.

From Wikipedia:
'Decoy' (also titled 'Decoy Police Woman') is a ground-breaking American crime drama television series created for syndication and initially broadcast from October 14, 1957, to July 7, 1958, with thirty-nine 30-minute black-and-white episodes. It was the first American police series with a female protagonist.  Many 'Decoy' episodes are in the public domain.