It’s the penultimate edition of the Friday Hall
of Famers for October and the honoree this time around is a multiversal
character who for me is the ultimate symbol of Toobworld horror.
Barnabas Collins is a fictional character, a featured role in the ABC daytime
serial ‘Dark Shadows’, which aired from 1966 to 1971. Barnabas is a
175-year-old vampire in search of fresh blood and his lost love, Josette. The
character, originally played by Canadian actor Jonathan Frid, was introduced in
an attempt to resurrect the show's flagging ratings, and was originally to have
only a brief 13-week run. He was retained due to his popularity and the
program's quick spike in ratings, and became virtually the star of the show.
A defining feature of Barnabas' character
development is his gradual but persistent transformation from a frightening
creature of the night into the show's protagonist, who selflessly, heroically
and repeatedly risks his life to save the Collins family from catastrophe.
Barnabas Collins was a member of the late 18th
century Collins family, from the fictional town of Collinsport, Maine. He was
the son of Joshua Collins and Naomi Collins. Barnabas' many cousins included
Millicent and Daniel Collins. During the flashback, Barnabas intended to marry
an heiress from Martinique named Josette du Pres, but had a brief affair with
Angelique Bouchard, Josette's maidservant.
Upon Angelique's arrival in Collinsport for the
wedding, Barnabas was determined not to resume his affair. The spurned
Angelique Bouchard, a practitioner of witchcraft, used a number of spells to
manipulate Barnabas and his family and force his agreement to marry her.
Barnabas discovered Angelique's duplicity, and shot her. With what she believed
to be her dying words, she took revenge on Barnabas by summoning a vampire bat
from hell to attack him. Barnabas fell extremely ill and died. Angelique
survived and attempted to rescind the curse, but was unsuccessful.
Barnabas shortly thereafter rose as a vampire,
and soon strangled Angelique. Collins later frightened his aunt Abigail to
death, and left the hatefully fanatic witch-hunter Reverend Trask entombed
alive in the Old House basement. Sarah Collins died of pneumonia after a cold
night spent hiding in the woods from her deceased brother. Adding to Barnabas'
grief, his mother Naomi committed suicide after discovering his secret.
Barnabas Collins blamed Angelique for the deaths of both his sister and his
mother, and also blamed Lt. Nathan Forbes, who had told Naomi about him.
Barnabas strangled Forbes, and attempted to transform Josette into a vampire.
Josette was willing, if not fully cognizant of what this would entail, until
Angelique revealed a vision of what she would become. Fleeing from Barnabas,
Josette leapt off the cliffs of Widow's Hill to her death.
Unable to bear what he had become, Barnabas
Collins asked his father, Joshua, to destroy him. Joshua Collins was unable to
slay his son, and ordered servant Ben Stokes to nail a cross to the inside lid
of Barnabas' coffin and to wrap chains on its outside, forever imprisoning the
vampire in a secret room of the family mausoleum at Eagle's Hill Cemetery.
In 1967, while searching the Collins family
crypt for their rumored lost jewels, Willie Loomis stumbled upon the chained
coffin in which Barnabas slept. Believing the coffin to contain the Collins
family riches, Willie inadvertently released the vampire. Barnabas attacked
Willie and turned him into his unwilling servant.
Barnabas Collins introduced himself to the
modern Collins family as a cousin from England, a hard-working businessman
never seen during the day. The family accepted this story, despite having never
before heard of him, because of his resemblance to the portrait of the
ancestral Barnabas which hung in Collinwood. The thirsty Barnabas made victims
of several Collinsport residents. He was particularly taken with waitress
Maggie Evans, who resembled his long-lost love, Josette. Barnabas was told by
David Collins that Josette's spirit still haunted the Collinwood estate, where
it periodically helped and protected others, including young David. Barnabas
Collins kidnapped Maggie, hypnotized her to believe that she was Josette, and
planned to make her his vampire bride. Maggie escaped with help from the ghost
of Sarah Collins, but the emotional distress of being kidnapped caused Maggie
to regress to a childlike mentality and to forget all that had happened.
Barnabas Collins then targeted David's governess, Victoria Winters as a
potential consort. He tried to seduce her away from her fiancé Burke Devlin, and
then to bite her. The ghost of Sarah appeared repeatedly throughout and warned
Barnabas, who was tormented by a feeling of responsibility for her death, away
from evil deeds.
In Earth Prime-Time, Barnabas Collins may only have one show to his credit,
even if he did 594 episodes worth. But
he was also in the Cineverse and in the Audioverse as well, making him a
multiversal. Then there is the
possibility he appeared in another TV dimension as well. That one will need some splainin.
Here are the credits for Barnabas Collins. All of the summaries are from the IMDb, unless otherwise specified.
‘Dark Shadows’The rich Collins family of Collinsport, Maine is tormented by strange occurrences. 594 episodes
“House of Dark Shadows” Vampire Barnabas Collins is accidentally
released from his centuries-long confinement at his family's estate in Maine.
He targets his clueless descendants who live there now and pursues Maggie, the
incarnation of his lost love.
From Wikipedia: The 1970 MGM film “House of Dark Shadows”
centers on the release of Barnabas Collins from his coffin by Willie Loomis.
Unlike Frid's television portrayal of Barnabas, the Barnabas featured in the
film was truer to a typical evil vampire, who by the end of the film had killed
half of the Collins family. Barnabas himself is killed by Jeff Clark, now
depicted as Maggie's boyfriend, and a dying Willie Loomis, when Barnabas tries
to make Maggie Evans his vampire bride. Barnabas does not appear in the sequel, "Night of Dark Shadows", which focuses on another relation, Quentin Collins.
O’Bservation: This is not a movie which can be absorbed into the TV Universe,
nor even be found in one of the Borderlands, which combine the Cineverse and
Toobworld at key points, like a Venn Diagram.
Because the storyline was altered even if slightly from what actually
happene on TV, then “House Of Dark Shadows” should remain in the Cineverse.
Jonathan Frid returned to portray the role of Barnabas Collins one last time,
but in a world in which he was heard but not seen..…..
“The Night Whispers” From Wikipedia: ‘The Night Whispers’ is a 2010 Big Finish Productions original dramatic reading
based on the long-running American horror soap opera series ‘Dark Shadows’.
As a storm rages through Collinsport, a
mysterious spirit threatens Barnabas Collins.
And then there is the universe where Barnabas exists and can be assumed to be
the same as the televersion due to Jonathan Frid’s depiction on the covers.
Barnabas Collins was the main character in most of the 32 "Dark
Shadows" paperback novels written by Marilyn Ross (Canadian author W.E.D.
Ross) from the late 1960s to the early '70s. (Ross wrote hundreds of novels in
several genres and under various pseudonyms.)
I'm sure my friends who toil in the Wold Newton Universe know about that book in the middle.....
And then we have these TV appearances by Jonathan Frid as Barnabas:
‘The Generation Gap’ - Episode #1.8 (1969) A team of three teenagers faces off against a
team of three adults. Contestants must answer questions to earn points. The
catch is, the teenagers must answer questions from the adults' time period, and
the adults must answer questions from the youth culture. Which team will know
the other generation better?
O’Bservation: Frid showed up in the next episode as himself.
Frid also appeared on the ‘Bozo The Clown Show’ of WJRT and in some local version of 'Dialing For Dollars', dressed as Barnabas Collins.
Here’s my splainin…..
Within the universe of Earth Prime-Time, ‘Dark Shadows’ was a TV show as well,
running during the same time period as it did here in Earth Prime. This is buttressed by its mention in two
episodes of ‘Mad Men’.
Its existence as a TV show within the TV Universe was also confirmed by ‘Angel’,
‘Gilmore Girls’, and ‘King of Queens’.
This was produced by the agents of UNReel.
They hired the televersion of Canadian actor Jonathan Frid to play the
role of the vampire Barnabas Collins in both that TV series and the movie of
“House Of Dark Shadows”. This would
provide plausible deniability – much like “weather balloons” when it came to
UFOs – when people vacationing in Maine claimed they saw the real Barnabas
Collins in action – if they survived the encounter.
If they knew about Barnabas, why would agents of a shadow ops group (associated
with UNIT) want to protect the vampire rather than go to Collinsport, hunt him
down, and destroy him?
This is fanfic territory, but I imagine Barnabas Collins served a purpose that
the government decided was more important than those lives lost to his
bloodlust. He may have served in a
“Suicide Squad”/”League of Extraoridnary Gentlemen” type of group on top secret
missions to save Earth Prime-Time. That's my Occam's Razor splainin. It's certainly simpler than the premise of two supernatural beings meeting in plain sight. One a vampire, the other the embodiment of evil taking the form of a clown to lure children to their deaths.
I'm not saying it's Pennywise or even one of the Killer Clowns from Outer Space. But in the reality of Toobworld, it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that at least one of the many incarnations of Bozo wasn't actually a human.
I've got plenty of coulrophobic friends who would readily believe that!
At any rate, the UNReel splainin may be the reason behind this weird picture within the reality of
From Armand Vaquer’s blog: During his heyday as Barnabas Collins on ABC-TV's Dark Shadows, Jonathan Frid
made guest appearances on different shows, including the Mike Douglas Show.
However, Frid was also called upon to make an
appearance on Bozo the
Clown's show at the WJRT TV station and also . Here's a photo
of Frid as vampire Barnabas Collins trying out a Hula Hoop on the Bozo show as
Bozo watches while holding Barnabas's cane.
So the televersion of Jonathan Frid was probably an unwitting pawn in the plan
to keep the rest of Toobworld believing that Barnabas Collins was fictional, a
practice that probably began with Dr. Watson’s stories about Sherlock Holmes.
At any rate, his appearance on those three shows as Barnabas Collins are not
officially of the vampire, but they do acknowledge that Barnabas existed.
And yes, I use the past tense. I believe
that Barnabas Collins is dead. He may have been staked by a Slayer or he could have been cursed to a terminal bout of SORAS - Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome. It doesn't just happen to kids, I guess,
But if such a remake as I suggested happened, I have a recastaway wish-craft for Barnabas: Lukas Haas.
perfect vision of Toobworld, we should have seen Barnabas Collins – still looking
as he did in 1969 – show up in other TV shows.
Most O’Bvious choices would have been ‘Murder, She Wrote’, ‘Passions’,
and ‘Struck By Lightning’. (Those are off
the top of my head for TV shows set in Maine.)
But there could have been appearances in ‘The X-Files’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘Kolchak:
The Night Stalker’, even cameo appearances in shows that are out of left field. Let’s say he took a trip to the Big Apple: ‘McCloud’,
‘Kojak’, ‘Law & Order’, even as a cab passenger in ‘Taxi’.
If it was just Barnabas who was brought back in some TV remake, I could
probably come up with a reasonable splainin for why his physical appearance had
been altered. But more than likely the
same situation as happened with the 1991 remake, almost every character from
the original was recast. So that show
had to be relegated to Toobworld2 and we’ll never see that Barnabas in the Hall
So as a representative of the Multiverse, we welcome Barnabas Collins to the
Television Crossover Hall of Fame.
BCnU! I'm dedicating today's blog post entry to my fellow Iddiot, Tay Mueller. She's quite a dedicated fan of 'Dark Shadows'.
From the IMDb: As Will deals with insomnia and online death
threats, Sloan's frustrating interview with a Japanese nuclear rep about the
Fukushima disaster gets her in major trouble.
Will McAvoy sought help for his insomnia from his doctor.Apparently, he hadn’t actually seen him in
quite some time…….
Dr. Jacob Habib:
Dr. Jacob Habib: I'm Jack Habib. Come on in.
Are you Abe's son?
Dr. Jacob Habib: I am.
Nice to meet you.
Dr. Jacob Habib: You, too. Come on in.
Is your dad inside?
Dr. Jacob Habib:
I can wait out here.
Dr. Jacob Habib: My father died two years ago and I took his practice. Come on in.
Will McAvoy: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Wait, what?
Dr. Jacob Habib:
Will, I'm Dr. Jacob Habib, son of Dr. Abraham Habib. My father passed away and
his patients now see me. You've been paying me for two years. Come on in.
Will McAvoy: How old are you?
Dr. Jacob Habib:
Shut up. Can you write prescriptions?
Dr. Jacob Habib: Yeah. Let's go. I'll be two minutes.
Will McAvoy: All right. So if you're 29--
Dr. Jacob Habib: Don't try to count backwards. I did everything early. So unless you're
certain you've got a Doogie Howser joke I haven't heard, why don't we just
assume it was hilarious and move on?
It is my contention that the Drs. Habib were of Suarian descent. Suari is a Middle-East nation only to be
found in Earth Prime-Time, not here in Earth Prime. It has only been cited once in the ‘Columbo’
episode “A Case of Immunity”, but for this Curator of Toobworld it is the go-to
kingdom In the Middle East when no specific nation in that region is named.
Dr. Abraham Habib could have been a first generation American with his parents
having come over to the United States from the homeland of Suari, like Louie
the bartender in the ‘Columbo’ episode “Identity Crisis”. And when his parents emigrated to America,
they left behind family. And I believe
that one of those family members left behind would have eventually had a son
who was the same age as Dr. Abraham Habib, Jack’s father.
This cousin who had remained behind in Suari grew up to go into government
service. His name was Rachman Habib and
he rose to the position of code clerk at the Suarian legation in Los
Angeles. He became a protégé to the
First Secretary of the legation, Hassan Sallah.
Sallah saw in Rachman a pliable pawn he could use in his long-range plan
to one day overthrow the rightful king of Suari to take the throne for
himself. With silken lies worthy of the
Islamic demon Iblis, Sallah quickly converted Rachman Habib into his plot to
kill the legation’s chief of security, steal funds from the safe, and blame it
all on the Suarian protestors outside the premises. (Most of them were in America on student
visas and who were in support of the King.
By blaming them, Sallah would establish the groundwork for turning the
people back home against King Ahmed Kamal.)
Luckily for the kingdom of Suari, Lt. Frank Columbo was able to thwart the
nefarious plans of Hassan Sallah, but not before the First Secretary had
murdered Rachman Habib as part of his cover-up.
As I said, this is just a theory of relateeveety. But I wonder if Dr. Abraham Habib ever got
the chance to meet his cousin from back in Suari? It’s a certainty that Abe Habib’s son never
got to meet his second cousin – Jack Habib wasn’t born until 1983, eight years
after the death of Rachman Habib.
So that’s my theory of relateeveety and I’m sticking to it.
Today is the 102nd birthday of actress Rita Hayworth. If you’re reading this on the day or soon after, you may have found the link via my FB pages for the Toobworld Dynamic or TVXOHOF. But if all goes well, it will be buried two years deep into the Inner Toob blog for a celebration of her 100th birthday.
I had never thought of her being qualified for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame as a member of the League of Themselves. She barely made a blip in Toobworld, unlike others better known for the fictional televersions of themselves like Jack Benny, George Burns, Milton Berle, and Bob Hope among many others.
But over the years I’ve softened my stance on several fronts, including the premise that if someone is refeenced then it verifies their existence in Earth Prime-Time. And so it is for the iconic pin-up girl of the 1940s….
From Wikipedia: Margarita Carmen Hayworth (née Cansino; October 17, 1918 – May 14, 1987) was an American actress and dancer. She achieved fame during the 1940s as one of the era's top stars, appearing in 61 films over 37 years. The press coined the term "The Love Goddess" to describe Hayworth after she had become the most glamorous screen idol of the 1940s. She was the top pin-up girl for GIs during World War II.
Hayworth is perhaps best known for her performance in the 1946 film noir “Gilda”, opposite Glenn Ford, in which she played the femme fatale in her first major dramatic role. She is also known for her performances in “Only Angels Have Wings” (1939), “The Lady from Shanghai” (1947), “Pal Joey” (1957), and “Separate Tables” (1958). Fred Astaire, with whom she made two films, “You'll Never Get Rich” (1941) and “You Were Never Lovelier” (1942), once called her his favorite dance partner. She also starred in the Technicolor musical “Cover Girl” (1944), with Gene Kelly. She is listed as one of the top 25 female motion picture stars of all time in the American Film Institute's survey, AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars.
For her movies, “Gilda” and “Lady From Shanghai” are the two that definitely links for her in Toobworld, with “Gilda” actually seen by characters on our TV screens. But it’s her iconic role as the pin-up queen which cements her place in pop culture. She serves as a signpost to alert many viewers that what they’re watching is taking place in the 1940s.
Here are those referential touchstones which cement the existence of her televersion in the main Toobworld. Let’s begin with the actual appearance by Rita Hayworth as herself.
The Carol Burnett Show
Episode #4.3 (1970)
Highlights of this show include: a salute to Columbia Pictures, featuring the famous "Golda" (spoof of "Gilda")
Had it been any other variety show on which Rita Hayworth appeared, it might not have counted as part of her tally. But ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ is part of the life within Toobworld:
Lucy and Carol Burnett (1969)
There is a scene in which Lucy and her kids attend a taping.
Here's Lucy Lucy Helps David Frost Go Night-Night (1971)
Lucy mentions that she saw David Frost on ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ Frost had been one of Carol's celebrity guests on March 22, 1971
And here are the other TV shows in which Rita Hayworth was just referenced not seen, beginning with shows set in the war years (in no particular order otherwise.)
Sergeant Schultz Meets Mata Hari (1967)
Sticky Wicket Newkirk (1968)
The poster hidden in the bunk panel is of the famous WWII Rita Hayworth pin-up.
O’Bservation – It was Brad Fillipone’s collage (above) which was posted on a Facebook page celebrating Ms. Hayworth on her 102nd birthday which made me realizes that she is a part of Earth Prime-Time as more than just a reference.
McHale's Navy A Star Falls on Taratupa (1965)
[The crew is making Hollywood pin-up pictures to sell]
Lester Gruber: Alright let's move it, guys! We have orders to fill. Let me see… we have orders for six Rita Hayworths, four Ginger Rogers, a dozen pictures of Trigger…. George Christopher: Trigger? Lester Gruber: Yeah, from the Army Cavalry Unit. They've been out here a long time.
Bomb Girls Where There's Smoke (2013)Victory Munitions hosts a star-studded cavalcade to raise money for war bonds. O’Bservation – I’m only assuming Ms. Hayworth was one of the stars who showed up.
The Pacific Home (2010) Bob: You must've been through a lot. Well, here we are. Eugene: Mm-hmm. Bob: So what's next? Eugene: I don't know…. I didn't get that far. Bob: And why me? Why not Rita Hayworth or Betty Grable? Because I know you-# Eugene: Bob, you don't.... You don't really know me.
And looking back on “the Big One”….
The Golden Girls Rose: Portrait of a Woman (1992) Miles Webber: Let me tell you something: Back when I was in the Army, inside my locker I kept a picture of Betty Grable, and she was wearing a lot less than you were wearing in my birthday photo. Sweetheart, she was the darling of America. Rose Nylund: Miles, she was in her twenties, and she had the most beautiful legs on the planet. Miles Webber: Ah... the *second* most beautiful. Rose Nylund: [flattered] Oh, Miles. Miles Webber: Rita Hayworth had a set of gams on her, boy....
We’re going to leave Earth Prime-Time for a moment to take a look at the post war years in Comix Toobworld….
Agent Carter Bridge and Tunnel (2015) Peggy Carter: So we're scanning everyone on the Roxxon's staff. There's a chance this is an inside job. Jack Thompson: Yeah, there's a chance I take Rita Hayworth home tonight, but it's unlikely, if you catch my drift. Better Angels (2016) Peggy Carter: Did you watch it? Jack Thompson: If Rita Hayworth's not in it, I'm not interested.
We go back to the main Toobworld and run through the other references.
Deep Space Nine Little Green Men (1995) Hayworth was featured on the July 1947 page on a calendar in an United States Army Air Corps base near Roswell, New Mexico.
Magic City Feeding Frenzy (2012) Unknown: This is your little girl's Bat Mitzvah. Unknown: Oh, my God. I went to bed with Rita Hayworth and woke up with Golda Meir.
Mad Men The Jet Set (2008) Unknown: “I have a list of conditions and an alimony that could support Rita Hayworth.”
All in the Family Lionel Steps Out (1972)
Archie: I am telling you that whites should only dance with whites! You don’t believe me, look at the movies - Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth -# Edith: Shirley Temple and Bill Robinson.
Will & Grace Oh Dad, Poor Dad, He's Kept Me in the Closet and I'm So Sad (2000)
George: [To Grace] And who looks more like Rita Hayworth every day, huh? Jack: Oh, George, you're gonna spoil me. George: The other Rita Hayworth.
Modern Family The Big Guns (2015) Phil: Hey, dad, what's the... what's the plot of that Rita Hayworth movie? My friends here were wondering. Frank: That's my cue. Time to help my boy get rid of a boat. Uh, "Lady from Shanghai"? Phil: That's the one. I... I can't remember all the details. Frank: Pretty sure there was a horse in that movie. Phil: Mm-hmm. Frank: Or was it a baby? Funny thing... none of it was in Shanghai. Or was all of it in Shanghai? Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. So, either the horse or this baby...
Suits To Trouble (2016) In this episode, Mike Ross ended up in prison. “Now, when I get back, if there's a hole in the mirror covered by a Rita Hayworth poster, I will not be happy.”
Superstore District Manager (2018) Myrtle challenges Jonah to name one picture Ginger Rogers was better than Rita Hayworth in.
The Blacklist Zarak Mosadek (No. 23) (2018) Red is watching “Gilda” when Elizabeth comes to see him.
Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am (2019) Lexi mentions the film “Gilda” and the title character in voice-over several times. Lexi is seen watching the film on TV.
Baptiste Shell (2019) Baptiste talks to Kim Vogel about Hayworth in an attempt to gain information from her about Natalie, after noticing that she has several DVDs of Hayworth's films:
You Were Never Lovelier (1942)
Miss Sadie Thompson (1953)
And the 1946 “Gilda” poster was on the wall at the Dream Room Club.
Here are a few other TV show episodes which mention Rita Hayworth:
Vegas Exposure (2012) Two of a Kind (2013)
Laverne & Shirley Not Quite New York (1980)
We know Rita Hayworth exists in other Toobworlds as well.
MOTW Toobworld RKO 281 (1999 TV Movie Mrs. Harris (2005 TV Movie)
Toobworld3 Marple Towards Zero (2007)
And in an alternate timeline for Earth Prime-Time:
Star Trek: Enterprise Storm Front (2004) From Memory Alpha: A German SS officer claimed that Americans were good at making movies with stars like Hayworth, Betty Grable and Veronica Lake, but not at fighting.
Welcome to the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, Rita Hayworth!
I've been running the Inner Toob blog since 2004; in the early days I sometimes would post ten times a day. But in the last few years it's been a steady once per day, save for the "Two For Tuesday" theme. Or something comes along that needs to share the same day (my brother's birthday and Gandhi's as well back on October 2nd, for example.)
But with an output like that, sometimes I fear I won't have enough "grist for the mill" so to speak, even with 70 years worth of TV output to work with. So I'm always happy when you, Team Toobworld, send me something to inspire a post.
And recently, my muppetational Facebook friend Andrew Leal did just that:
Something unrelated but it suggested an alternate Toobworld (which you may already have), so thought I'd share with you. PERFECT STRANGERS referenced DOOGIE HOWSER, as in a show on TV... by saying an FBI agent (you know how they always show up for hijinks) looks like "the neighbor on DOOGIE HOWSER."
Except in our world, there *was* no neighbor on DOOGIE HOWSER. They may have written the bit and inserted a show title later, and it just happened to be one of the shows of its time with no neighbor as a regular or recurring character. Except in the universe of STRANGERS (and the shows it spun-off or crossed over with). As the Ninth Incarnation of the Doctor would say, "Fantastic!"
Long ago I had to reconcile myself to the idea that eventually every TV character living in Toobworld would have a TV show made about them. This was in order to disable Zonks created by TV shows and characters being mentioned in other TV shows, when they are supposed to be sharing the same world. It was one of several compromises I had to make in order to keep as many TV series as possible in Earth Prime-Time. (Another compromise? The change in appearance for historical figures - mostly - because of recastaways was due to our view of the historical portrayal from the perspective of some other character in the scene.)
When it comes to TV characters having TV shows made about them, it is a bit of a stretch sometimes, but hey - if it was a concept that was good enough to get its own TV show in the Trueniverse, than it's good enough for Toobworld as well.
At least with 'Doogie Howser, MD', I think we have an excellent reason to have a TV show made - a kid who becomes a licensed doctor.
And that TV series was made probably as soon as Doogie got his medical license, since – according to ‘The Goldbergs’ – it began airing in 1980-something.
The Goldbergs: Baré (2017) ‘Doogie Howser, MD’ clips are shown in the episode. [The series began in 1989 and ran until 1993 in the Real World.]
As Andrew pointed out, the TV show within a TV show of 'Doogie Howser, MD' is different from the one we know here in the Real World because of the mention of that next door neighbor. (I didn't get to watch the series due at that time due to work and a lack of a VCR, so I'm assuming Doogie's friend Vinnie was a friend with whom he grew up, not an actual neighbor.)
Here's what the website "Perfect Strangers Online" had to say about the reference:
One would almost except to see the series Doogie Howser M.D. in the credits of actor Richard Hoyt-Miller after Balki comments that he looks like the neighbor from that series and the audience reacts so strongly. But in fact that joke was written before the role was even cast and his name is not listed in that series at all. He has appeared in many other series, such as Falcon Crest, Hill Street Blues, Highway to Heaven, Murder, She Wrote and more recently The Bold and the Beautiful.
'Perfect Strangers' is not the only TV show which mentioned 'Doogie Howser, MD' as a TV show. Its existence on air is confirmed by the following references in other TV series. And we’ll start off with the mention that got us started:
Perfect Strangers: A Blast from the Past (1990) Balki mentioned Doogie Howser.
Mama's Family: Bye Bye Baby (1990) Mama mentions the title
Night Court: Melvin and Harold (1990) Main character reference
Night Court: Still Another Day in the Life (1990) A child surgeon is called Loogie by Christine.
Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Jerry's First Date (1991) Parker says, "I'll bet Doogie Howser never went through this!"
Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Love Handles (1991) Parker types his final thoughts in his computer journal and says, "Hey, it works for Doogie."
Saved by the Bell: S.A.T.s (1991) Screech says: "Zack's even smarter than Doogie Howser."
Roseanne: Less Is More (1992) Doogie Howser appears in Roseanne's dream.
Married with Children: High I.Q. (1992) When he tries to get into the Alpha meeting Bud gives his name as "Howser, Doogie Howser".
Melrose Place: Leap of Faith (1992) Billy says, "Move over, Doogie Howser".
Saved by the Bell: Screech's Spaghetti Sauce (1992) Screech says: "I really look like Doogie Howser."
Designing Women: Oh Dog, Poor Dog (1993) Mentioned by name.
Caroline in the City: Caroline and the Twenty-Eight-Pound Walleye (1996) As her brother Chris is the youngest heart surgeon in the history of Wisconsin General, Caroline refers to him as 'Doogie Duffy, M.D.'.
The Outer Limits: Music of the Spheres (1997) To Devon's irritation, Vic's nickname for him is "Doogie."
Friends: The One Hundredth (1998) To a young looking doctor, Phoebe says, "shhh, Doogie, shhh" and makes him leave the room in tears.
PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal: Old Wounds (1999) Matt references the show.
Big Wolf on Campus: The Exor-Sis (1999) Dean confuses Tommy with Doogie Howser.
Action: Re-Enter the Dragon (1999) Peter calls Adam 'Doogie'
Action: Twelfth Step to Hell (1999) Peter mentions the show.
ER: The Longer You Stay (2001) Carter called Doogie
Scrubs: My Fifteen Minutes (2001) Dr. Cox refers to J.D. as "Doogie."
Gilmore Girls: Run Away, Little Boy (2001) Luke says, "Doogie Howser was a doctor 16."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Help (2002) Willow mentions Doogie Howser fan fic.
Gilmore Girls: The Lorelais' First Day at Yale (2003) Lorelai calls one of Rory's dormmates "Doogie."
The O.C.: The Rager (2005) Reed: You're like a Doogie Howser meets Gordon Gekko.
Gilmore Girls: Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out (2005) When Jess finds out that Rory is not at Yale, he assumes she has graduated early and calls her "Doogie."
Veronica Mars: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner (2005) Veronica mentions Doogie Houser when she writes the e-mail to Wallace
Scrubs: My Buddy's Booty (2006) JD is called Doogie
Scrubs: My Extra Mile (2006) Mentioned in dialogue
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Unusual Suspect (2006) Hodges refers to Marlon as Doogie Howser.
House: The Jerk (2007) Nate calls Chase 'Doogie'
Psych: If You're So Smart, Then Why Are You Dead? (2007) Shawn calls a kid Doogie.
The Big Bang Theory: The Grasshopper Experiment (2007) Raj's parents want to hang up from their web-cast because it's time for Doogie Howser to air, and they don’t want to miss it. Then Leonard, Sheldon, and Wolowitz discuss why Doogie Howser might be so popular in India.
Psych: The Old and the Restless (2008) Shawn introduces himself as Dr. Howser, the title character played by Neil Patrick Harris.
General Hospital: Night Shift: Truth and Consequences (2008) Doctor is called Doogie
Nip/Tuck: Ronnie Chase (2009) Doogie Howser mentioned
Nip/Tuck: Ricky Wells (2009) mentioned in dialogue
Drop Dead Diva: Dead Model Walking (2009) Millie mentions it.
Community: Social Psychology (2009) Troy refers to Jeff as "Dr. Doogie Seacrest."
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Doctor Who (2010) mentioned by Brass
The Big C: Musical Chairs (2011) Doogie Howser mentioned
Breaking Bad: Shotgun(2011) mentioned in dialogue30 Rock: Dance Like Nobody's Watching (2012) Liz says her gynecologist is a Doogie Howser type, but younger
The Newsroom: Bullies (2012) Dr. Habib mentions the title character.
Hot in Cleveland: The Conversation (2013) Joy calls Lloyd "Doogie Howser".
Arrested Development: A New Attitude (2013) Mentioned in dialogue
The Vampire Diaries: Dead Man on Campus (2013) Damon Salvatore tells Elena Gilbert over the phone, "that's what Doogie says," referring to Dr. Wes Maxfield when she asks him if Jesse feeds on vampires. O'Bservation: I'm not sure if this show and its spin-off 'The Originals' belong in Earth Prime-Time. I do have a vampire-infested Toobworld - Nosferatoob - because 'Being Human' and 'True Blood' became too entrenched into everyday life of their world to remain in the main Toobworld.
Psych: Remake A.K.A. Cloudy... With a Chance of Improvement (2014) Referenced by Morty
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series: Pilot (2014) Mentioned in dialogue
The Night Shift: Coming Home (2014) Mentioned in dialogue
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life: Winter (2016) Paris refers to one of her clients as "Doogie Howser."
The Goldbergs: Baré (2017) Barry wants to go to medical school and be like Doogie Howser.
LA to Vegas: The Yips and the Dead (2018) Artem refers to Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser during a discussion
Instinct: I Heart New York (2018) Mentioned by Dylan
And then there were all the mentions by the Bots on the Satellite of Love as they watched the following movies…..
The Hellcats (1990) Joel: "Last time he made me watch 'Doogie Howser.''"
It Conquered the World (1991) Crow: "Who am I, Doogie Howser?!"
The Castle of Fu Manchu (1992) "Howser...Doogie Howser"
All of those entries were supplied by the IMDb. That was a long list! And that’s after I excised the talk show mentions and references in reality competition shows, animation (‘The Simpsons’, ‘Rugrats’) and series which were set in other TV dimensions (‘Veep’, ‘Castle’, ‘Shameless’).
So thank you, Andrew, for giving me another day’s grace in maintaining the blog!
As the Trickster once said, "Reality is boring, that's why I change it whenever I can."
I'm just "The Man Who Viewed Too Much", and "Inner Toob" is a blog exploring and celebrating the 'reality' of an alternate universe in which everything that ever happened on TV actually takes place.
Most of my theories about the TV Universe come from thinking inside the box and thus can't be proven. But I've never been one to shy away from a tall tale.....
Remember: "The more you watch, the more you've seen!"