Saturday, August 4, 2018


As part of our first Video Weekend during our Summer showcase of TV Westerns, we're having a few laughs with one of the greatest Old West characters in Skitlandia....

Red Skelton in Jail

Red Skelton & John Wayne

Red Skelton & Phyllis Diller

Red Skelton & Walter Brennan

Red Skelton & Telly Savalas

Deadeye & The Indians


Friday, August 3, 2018


Every so often, Toobworld Central takes a look at the movies which are real here in Earth Prime and which have counterparts in Earth Prime-Time.  Sometimes there are Zonks which have to be splained away – like how can a movie in our world be a movie there in Toobworld and yet have a televersion counterpart with characters who could theoretically interact with TV characters from other shows.  Examples include “M*A*S*H”, “Nine To Five”, “The Exorcist”.  My favorite is “Casablanca”.  There are three televersions, one starring Paul Douglas in a Borderland, another in the main Toobworld with Charles McGraw, and in Toobworld2 with David Soul as Rick.  And yet the movie is quoted often and Mitchell of ‘Being Human’ acted in the movie (although he couldn’t be seen in the prints due to being a vampire.)

I chose “High Plains Drifter” because it was being shown as an establishing shot in an episode of ‘Columbo’.  There aren’t many TV shows which cite it and it’s almost Zonk-free.

August 22, 1973

A gun-fighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago and is hired to bring the townsfolk together in an attempt to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.

My buddy Michael Kelley and I went to see this movie in our last year of high school and just before we shipped out to college.  I really liked it, mainly for all of the great character actors and because Verna Bloom had quite the effect on this teenage lad.  Plus it had Billy Curtis – the Mayor of Munchkin City!

In November of last year, I saw it in that ‘Columbo’ episode and decided to use it during our TV Western showcase in August.

The A-Team:
When You Comin' Back, Range Rider?: Part 1
"What are you gonna do about these guys we told you about, Bus?"
Bus Carter:
"Who, that bunch of masked yahoos riding around
like the high plains drifters or somebody

Veronica Mars:
The Rapes of Graff
A reference to "high plains drifters"

Hemlock Grove:
Hello, Handsome

Letha Godfrey:
"You do know we're in high school and not a Clint Eastwood movie."
Peter Rumancek:
"You ever seen 'High Plains Drifter'?"

I saved the first two references for the last because they pose the possible Zonk.

First, the ‘Columbo’ reference:

Double Exposure

The film is being shown at the Magnolia Theater when Dr. Kepple kills Roger White.

Big mistake for Roger to tell Kepple where he could be found at night!

The movie came out early in 1973 and the episode was first broadcast in December of that year.  It’s doubtful that any movie – unless it’s something like the first “Star Wars” or “Titanic” - would have such an extended run in the theatres.  So it’s pozz’ble, just pozz’ble, that either the Toobworld version of the movie opened later in the year or the episode took place far earlier than in December.  (There was nothing very seasonal about it, in effect making it timeless save for the technological advances since it was broadcast.)  But such an alteration to the Toobworld timeline could cause more problems than it would be worth, both within the world of ‘Columbo’ and for the dimension of Earth Prime-Time at large.  I think it best to declare that in Toobworld, “High Plains Drifter” opened during the summer.  (In a way, it had a summer release feel to it.)

Now here’s the reference that causes several Zonkish problems…..

The Ninja
The title appears on the Magnolia Theatre marquee.

It’s never specifically stated as to where ‘Baretta’ actually took place.  I’ve seen references online which state that it was in New York City; others saying that it was set in New Jersey like its predecessor ‘Toma’.  Whenever I looked in on an episode back in the day (It was never really of interest to me.), I always thought it was to be found in the seamier areas of Los Angeles.  (Probably the same place where Columbo visited that soup kitchen in “Negative Reaction”.)

But as you can see from the two marquee shots, they were both filmed at the same Magnolia Theater.

From the IMDb:
Magnolia Theater
4403 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, California

The people seen buying tickets are different in each shot, but even so, it’s likely these were excerpts from stock footage filmed at the same time.  So no matter where ‘Baretta’ takes place, the question remains: Why would a 1973 movie still be shown in that movie theater three years later?  And how come theaters on both coasts not only shared the same name but looked exactly the same.

I’m going to go for the easiest splainins.  The two Magnolia theaters were owned by the same corporation and the original owner of that chain insisted that all of his theaters should look always the same in order to cement the franchise in people’s minds.

Easy Peasy.

Thursday, August 2, 2018


I'd never even heard of 'Daktari'.
Unknown Character
'Mr. & Mrs. Murder'

And here we are, the final episode of the fifth season of 'Endeavour'.  Surprisingly, "Icarus" really had only one reference which has an impact on Toobworld.

He used to call me "Dak", sir.
I think it's short for "Daktari".
It's a programme on the television 
about a vet in Africa.
There's a lion in it called Clarence.
That's my name too.

From Wikipedia:

"Daktari" (Swahili for "doctor") is an American family drama series that aired on CBS between 1966 and 1969. The series is an Ivan Tors Films Production in association with MGM Television starring Marshall Thompson as Dr. Marsh Tracy, a veterinarian at the fictional Wameru Study Centre for Animal Behaviour in East Africa.

The show follows the work of Dr. Tracy, his daughter Paula (Cheryl Miller), and his staff, who frequently protect animals from poachers and local officials. Tracy's pets, a cross-eyed lion named Clarence and a chimpanzee named Judy, were also popular characters.

As this was first broadcast earlier in the year by the BBC, there isn't a deliberate connection to an historical footnote on the Toobworld timeline, and it's doubtful that PBS' 'Masterpiece Mystery' showcase was aware of it either - 49 years ago this month, Clarence the Cross-eyed Lion passed away.  That fact is forever burned into my memories and I'll be going into more detail on the reason why next year as a two-part 50th anniversary celebration.

At any rate, the fact that this episode was broadcast in America with such a connection to the aforementioned 'Daktari' must have been purely coincidental.

Normally, without splainins, any TV shows mentioned in another series would be seen as a "Zonk", a discrepancy.  The cited show should be sharing the same TV dimension (in this case, Earth Prime-Time) as the series in which it was named.

Luckily in this case, we can claim that 'Endeavour' and 'Daktari' share the same dimension even though Clarence Stanlow mentioned the TV show.

Fifty years on from the events of "Icarus", we see realistic nature shows similar to the premise of 'Daktari' on a regular basis - on Animal Planet, the NatGeo channel, and all of those mesmerizing 'Planet Earth' episodes from the BBC.

And documentary-style TV series about people have been around since just about the time of 'Endeavour', thanks to 'An American Family' which chronicled the daily lives of the Loud Family.

(O'Bservation: Patriarch Bill Loud just passed away in his nineties.)

The basic facts mentioned by young Master Stanlow would be common to both the TV show we know in the Trueniverse and its televersion in Toobworld - a veterinarian in Africa, a lion named Clarence, and key to the comparison, 'Daktari' was a TV program in both worlds.

(O'Bservation: It would have been less of a headache for Ye Old Curator of Televisiology if we could have claimed that it was a reference to the 1965 movie upon which the series was based, "Clarence The Cross-eyed Lion".  But ya can't have everything....)

So the Toobworld version of 'Daktari' would have been reality programming, with the real Dr. Tracy and it would have been currently on the air during the 'Endeavour' timeline.

Accepting 'Daktari' as a reality program with Marsh Tracy as an actual person would then create a somewhat tenuous link to the following series:

Schatten der Vergangenheit
Coco mentions the series.
Mensch, möbel dich auf! (1999)
Lukas mentions the series.

(It seems like 'Daktari' was a pretty popular series in the Lukas family, if not all of Germany.  At least West Germany got the program in January of 1969; I can't speak for the other side of the Wall.)

Mr & Mrs Murder:
Charlie reminisces about his favorite show

Big fan of 'Daktari', 
which, as you know, 
is Swahili for 'doctor'. 
I remember 'Daktari'. 
There was Clarence the cross-eyed lion. 

Yeah!  With the glasses to correct his vision.

American Pickers:
The Kings Ransom
Timothy, a seller in upstate New York, mentions this television show by name.

(Many members of Team Toobworld know that I detest reality programming.  However, we know there is a fictional version of the show thanks to an episode of 'NCIS'.  So this would be verification in Toobworld.)

I wish there could have been more such Easter Eggs in the episode to either splain away or dispute.  With this one, we get a half-n-half decision - it is technically a Zonk reference, but it is my conjecture that it was a documentary series starring the actual Dr. Marshall Tracy.  

But I haven't given much attention to these details found in the entire 'Endeavour' series.  So I may just go back and revisit them all to bring this little sub-topic up-to-date.

One benefit from writing up this post - I've come up with a very special post for next July!

You know, you're pretty attractive for a woman.
Do you wanna go to the shed 
and re-enact some scenes from it
I have no idea what that means, but sure.
You be Judy and I'll be Clarence.
Kuwa na kukuona!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


"Go see Miss Kitty
and she'll set you up with a nice hooker."
Chandler Bing

For our annual TV Western Summer Showcase induction into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame for August, we’re turning to the most famous frontier woman of Toobworld:


For 19 years, Amanda Blake played Miss Kitty on ‘Gunsmoke’.  She was the owner of the bar & brothel known as the Long Branch Saloon. 

425 Episodes

Kathleen Russell was born in New Orleans but was raised by Panacea Sykes after her birth mother died.  (Years later her father would visit Dodge City, hoping to entice her to return to the Big Easy.  And that foster mother, who was something of a wanton woman and who probably taught Kitty everything she needed to know about running a brothel, also visited her in Dodge.)


Miss Kitty started out as part owner of the Long Branch Saloon, with the majority owner being Bill Pence (a Toobworld relative of current Vice President Mike Pence.)  She bought Pence out of his share of the saloon by beating him in a game of cards.  It’s pozz’ble, just pozz’ble, that she cheated Pence out of his share because she was a master card sharp.  But I think her pride would have held her to win it with honor.

As you can see, he's not a three-eyed Venusian

Even though she now owned the property outright, Miss Kitty maintained the ruse that Pence was still involved by hiring a bartender to portray Pence for a time.  (This was to ensure that nobody would try to take advantage of her just because she was a woman by forcing her to sell the Long Branch.  In the Real World, however, the reason was that the role of Bill Pence was recast.  For that time in the wild, wild West, my splainin works better than plastic surgery or alien substitution.)

Related image

Miss Kitty finally got out of Dodge when she tired of US Marshal Matt Dillon’s refusal to “make her an honest woman”.  She sold off the saloon to Miz Hannah, a woman who had been transported back in Time from the 1970s by a Weeping Angel.  (Miz Hannah was actually Aggie Thompson who was passing herself off as Doris Ziffel when she was touched by the angel.)


[TV Movie]

But Miss Kitty eventually did return to Dodge City when Matt Dillon came back to town because an old enemy was terrorizing the townsfolk in search of revenge against the retired lawman.  But apparently Matt still didn’t find it in him to marry her and I have this sad feeling she died not long after.

During those years while she was gone from Dodge City, Miss Kitty knew that enemies of Marshal Dillon might want to use her to set a trap for her former paramour.  So she used an alias in her new life:


From the IMDb:
To escape the vicious windstorm outside, Quentin and Morgan enter another kind of storm when they seek shelter in a bawdy ranch house owned by an aggressive woman.

She probably was inspired to choose "Miss Sally" because of an old desert hag named "Dirty Sally" who had visited Dodge City.


As the most famous woman to be found in TV Westerns, Miss Kitty was iconic enough to be mentioned in a lot of TV shows.  But these are NOT Zonks.  (Zonks are discrepancies caused by the mention of TV shows in other shows which should be sharing the same TV dimension.) 

My splainin?  ‘Gunsmoke’ was an historical TV series based on actual events, like ‘Combat!’ and ‘Downton Abbey’.  So Miss Kitty was a known figure in American history.

Related image

Here are a selection of those pop culture references which I contend are verifications of Miss Kitty’s existence in Earth Prime-Time:

‘Psych’ had an episode set in the Wild West-themed tourist town, complete with a Miss Kitty. After the case is solved, the town's sheriff proposes to her, and Shawn is touched that she's agreeing to leave behind a life of sin until Gus reminds him that she isn't a real madam.

Related image

Dennis the Menace
Wilson's Second Childhood

While the neighborhood kids are playing cowboys and Indians, Mrs. Wilson calls her husband "Matt", and Mr. Wilson calls his wife "Miss Kitty".

Sanford and Son
The TV Addict

Fred says he's in love with Miss Kitty.

Night Court
Contempt of Courting

"Let's go, Ms. Kitty."
(Probably said by Court Bailiff Bull Shannon.)

The Larry Sanders Show
Hey Now

Larry tells Hank that he looks like Kitty from ‘Gunsmoke’

Nash Bridges
Skin Deep

A tattoo artist looks at Evan's old-time sheriff badge he bought and says he must be Miss Kitty. Though Kitty was not an officer of the law or deputized.

The descriptions are from the IMDb.

Kitty Russell is still remembered as ‘Gunsmoke’ continues to play on various retrovision networks and can be found in DVDs and even on YouTube.

Happy Heavenly Trails to you, Miss Kitty!

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Former First Lady and New York Senator Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State under President Barack Obama in his first term 2009 to 2013.  She served as the inspiration for the CBS drama 'Madam Secretary' and now will be appearing on the show - along with two other former Secretaries of State.

Here's the CBS Twitter announcement from last Tuesday:

We've got some BIG guest stars in store for Season 5! Former Secretaries of State @HillaryClinton, @Madeleine, and Colin Powell will be appearing on the season premiere of #MadamSecretary on Sunday, October 7!

It will be the first time for Powell and Clinton, but Albright is an old hand at appearing on this show. 

Having three powerhouses of diplomacy agree to come on our show is awe-inspiring and humbling. And that we were able to find a time in their busy schedules when they were all available is a miracle,” executive producer Lori McCreary said in a statement.

As this is occurring in Toobworld - and an alternate TV dimension at that! - one thing to remember is that these are not the former secretaries of state from the Trueniverse.  Clinton, Powell, and Albright will be their televersions on our TV screens, doppelgangers in another universe/dimension.  Anything they say or do in this episode cannot be ascribed to their real-life originals.

It also raises questions about the timeline in the Toobworld in which 'Madam Secretary' takes place.  (This is not the dimension in which we find other series of a similar nature - '24', 'The West Wing', 'Commander-in-Chief', 'Designated Survivor' 'Agent X'.  Each of them has their own Toobworld.)

When Madeleine Albright appeared on the show, that was an acknowledgement that Bill Clinton had been the POTUS for that timeline.  But at some point afterward, that world's history changed to reflect this new world.

Now we have to expand that.  Powell served under George W. Bush for his first term from 2001 until 2005.  And as already mentioned, Clinton served until 2013.  So that means the timeline had to be altered after that.

Did that world's Obama serve only one term?  If the world of 'Madam Secretary' has a timeline concurrent with that of the main Earth Prime-Time (and of our own Earth Prime), then the former Secretary of State for President Conrad Dalton, Vincent Marsh, perished in a plane crash in the Atlantic in 2014.

Dalton is now serving his second term, having been elected as an independent.  So that means at least there wouldn't be a President Trump.  Must be nice there....

I don't think they'd do something that radical - the part about Obama serving only one term, that is.  Drumpf would be a different story; I don't think there's anyway to get around the fact that Dalton is serving instead of POTUS #45.

Therefore, I think we have to look at the timeline for this world differently.  This is a world which is set in our future by at least three years.  Conrad Dalton was elected after Obama's two terms in office and they have already had the 2020 presidential election there.  

So everything has to be pushed forward in Time - the crash of Marsh's plane didn't happen in 2014 but instead in 2017.  And that means each of these members of the League of Themselves will be portraying themselves as they might be in 2020.

Big stress on "might be".  Hopefully, all will be well in their lives here in the real world until then.  But if the untoward happens, that will be a major divergence from the real world equal to the idea of Dalton being president instead of that other guy.....

I'll have to watch that October 7th season premiere* to see if anything is mentioned which would contradict this idea.  But however it shakes out, in the end it doesn't really affect the rest of Toobworld since it's in its own TV dimension.  (So far I don't have any other shows which could be added to that world, unlike the dimension for 'The West World'.)


Who am I kidding?  I'd be watching it anyway; I like the show!

Monday, July 30, 2018


Figured I'd update a trivial matter behind the scenes in the ongoing adventures I'm cobbling together about Toobworld....

Ever since it first started popping up in 'Lost', McCutcheon Scotch Whiskey has been the go-to "uisce beatha" (the Water of Life) in my Toobworld adventures.  Not only because 'Lost' still holds a high berth in my favorite TV series, but also because Bill McCutcheon was one of my favorite character actors.

But I've come to the conclusion that it should be Full's Irish Dew that should be the premiere blend when I need a whiskey in the text.

Full's Irish Dew is showcased in the last 'Columbo' episode of the original series run in the 1970s - "The Conspirators".  (One of the worst episode titles in the whole series.  So boring!)

The bottle of Full's has a great slogan - "Let Each Man Be Paid In Full", upon which Lt. Columbo expounded.  And the bottle found at the crime scene served up several rounds of clues for the detective as well.

I'll probably still use McCutcheon as well (some character in my books must have a well-stocked bar), but if it has to be one or t'other, Full's Irish Dew gets the nod.


Sunday, July 29, 2018


Every so often I plan to share some of my favorite TV movies from that golden era of the early 1970s.  Here to kick off the theme, "Seven In Darkness".

From the IMDb:
Based on the Leonard Bishop's novel "Against Heaven's Hand". Seven blind people are on a plane on their way to a convention for the blind in Seattle. Due to bad weather, the plane crashes and only the seven blind people survive.