Friday, January 18, 2019


I need a Broadway star with huge stage presence
who's instantly recognizable to the entire country.
Maxwell Sheffield
‘The Nanny’

From The Los Angeles Times:
Carol Channing, the Broadway star best known for her enduring portrayal of the meddlesome matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi in the musical “Hello, Dolly!,” has died. She was 97.

Channing, who won three Tony Awards, including one for lifetime achievement, died of natural causes early Tuesday in Rancho Mirage, her publicist and friend B. Harlan Boll said.

Her first Tony was for “Hello, Dolly!,” which opened in 1964. She went on to appear in the play at least 5,000 times and once said it had become more real to her than the world beyond the stage.

Throughout her career, critics described her as a singular talent, starting with her physical appearance. Her saucer eyes and fringe of false lashes, froggy voice, blond bubble wigs and painted red lips left them straining for new ways to say she looked like a Kewpie doll.

From Wikipedia:
Carol Elaine Channing (January 31, 1921 – January 15, 2019) was an American actress, singer, dancer and comedian. Known for starring in Broadway and film musicals, her characters typically radiated a fervent expressiveness and an easily identifiable voice, whether singing or for comedic effect. Channing also studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City.

She began as a Broadway musical actress, starring in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in 1949 and “Hello, Dolly!” in 1964, when she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She revived both roles several times throughout her career, most recently playing Dolly in 1995. Channing was nominated for her first Tony Award in 1956 for “The Vamp” followed by a nomination in 1961 for “Show Girl”. She received her fourth Tony Award nomination for the musical “Lorelei” in 1974.

As a film actress, she won the Golden Globe Award and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Muzzy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (1967). Her other film appearances include “The First Traveling Saleslady” (1956) and “Skidoo” (1968). On television, she appeared as an entertainer on variety shows, from “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1950s to Hollywood Squares. She had a standout performance as The White Queen in the TV production of “Alice in Wonderland” (1985), and had the first of many TV specials in 1966, “An Evening with Carol Channing”.

Channing was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981 and received a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995. She continued to perform and make appearances well into her 90s, singing songs from her repertoire and sharing stories with fans, cabaret style. She released an autobiography, “Just Lucky I Guess”, in 2002, and “Larger Than Life”, a documentary film about her career, was released in 2012.

I thought she would never die, to tell the truth.  She had been out of the public eye for years I think and so I don’t know what her life was like lately.  But in my mind she was still as vital as she was when I last saw her in the late 1990s.

In Toobworld, her televersion was as much a fictional character as those of Jack Benny and George Burns.  She has plenty of credits as a member of the League of Themselves to establish her fully as a citizen of Toobworld.  In fact, more people have probably seen her in Toobworld than ever saw her in the Real World.

Let’s run down the credits Ms. Channing amassed in Earth Prime-Time.  As you’ll see, she is well qualified for membership in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame right away. (All episode descriptions are from the IMDb.)

The George Burns Show
- George Signs Carol Channing

George uses Carol Channing's absent-mindedness to his advantage when he gets her to sign a contract for a night-club appearance.

- Carol Channing Guests (1959)

O’Bservation – With Gracie retired due to her heart health problems, Carol looked to be a good fit for a substitute scatterbrain.

Magnum, P.I. 
- Distant Relative

Rick's 22-year-old sister Wendy arrives in Hawaii. Rick still believes that she is a young, innocent girl and asks Magnum to entertain her while Rick works at the club.

O’Bservation – Wendy ditched Magnum in a shady nightclub.  But when he went to check out the ladies’ room….

All I saw was... Carol Channing.
At the movies!?

The Bold and the Beautiful 
- Episode #1.1691 (1993) 
- Episode #1.1692 (1993) 
- Episode #1.1693 (1993)

I’m not exactly sure what happened during these three episodes, but Ms. Channing wasn’t the only League of Themselves celebrity who was there during that week.  Steve Allen and his wife Jayne Meadows and Charlton Heston were there as well.

The Nanny 
- Smoke Gets in Your Lies

As a result of Brighton getting caught smoking, Fran takes him to see her grandma Yetta who has been smoking all her life.

O’Bservation – Because he was under a lot of pressure from trying to mount a new show which would open in eight weeks, Mr. Sheffield didn’t even look up when Carol Canning entered on stage to audition.  She didn’t even get to finish the opening three words to her signature song before he shouted “NEXT!”  As she exited, Ms. Channing passed by Fran Fine whom she thought was another actress trying out.  Her advice?  Pointing to Sheffield, she said, “Break a leg… his.”

The Drew Carey Show 
- New York and Queens


O’Bservation - Using an ice cream truck, Drew and his friends drove to NYC to see the Indians play the Yankees at Yankee Stadium,  But they got stuck in a traffic jam and encountered Donald Trump and a foul-mouthed Carol Channing. 

Touched by an Angel
- The Comeback

Carol Burnett and her real life daughter star as a mother and daughter with acting aspirations. Monica must teach them that their luck is not from signs and omens but rather is the love from God. 

O’Bservation - It turns out that Ms. Channing knew Lillian Bennett (Burnett) and her “friend” Amanda Revere (Rita Moreno) back when they were all young in the business.  She peppered her conversation with some of the lines she was known for -  “It’s so great to have you back where you belong” being one of them.

As you should know, puppets actually are living beings in Toobworld.  So Carol has interacted with these puppets who are just as alive as she is.  (She also hung out with Big Bird in ‘The Hollywood Squares’.)

Captain Kangaroo
- Episode dated 10 March 1977 
- Episode dated 14 September 1979

Sesame Street 
- Episode #18.2

- Episode #19.123 (1988) 
- Oscar Can't Get the Sesame Street Theme Out of His Head (1993) 

The Muppet Show 
- Carol Channing

I don’t often cite game shows as qualifications for membership in the TVXOHOF.  In fact I don’t.  But I include them for “flavoring” if the candidate already had enough credits already to join.  As you can see, Ms. Channing has plenty.  And the game shows I only consider are those which had fictionalized televersions in Toobworld.  As long as TV characters take part in those game shows within their own series, they are eligible.  [I’ll include an example of a series which justifies the inclusion of said game show.]

The $10,000 Pyramid (‘Friends’)
- Episode dated 29 March 1974 

Super Password (‘The Odd Couple’)
- A Week with Lucille Ball, Day 1-5

5 other episodes as well

The New Hollywood Squares (‘The Nanny’)
- Episode dated 22 February

- Episode dated 31 October 1988

O’Bservation –
Most likely it was the full week for each of those visits.

We’re coming up on the oddities now….

Space Ghost Coast to Coast 
- Girlie Show

O’Bservation – Carol Channing was one of many celebrities who were given the chance to converse with the superhero Space Ghost across the vortex which separates Toobworld from The Tooniverse.  (In her episode alone, the other celebs were Fran Drescher and Alice Cooper.)  Carol had to buck up Space Ghost’s spirits after Fran turned him down as a suitor, only to shut him down when he asked to go steady with her.

Ms. Channing not only could talk to the people in the Tooniverse, she already was one!


Family Guy 
- Patriot Games

O’Bservation – Carol Channing got to battle Mike Tyson in a boxing match!


Hey, Brian, care to place a wager? Tomorrow night on Fox's Celebrity Boxing, I've got Carol Channing beating Mike Tyson in three rounds.
Carol Channing. You've got Carol Channing, the actress, beating Mike Tyson, the boxer.

And we're back with Fox Celebrity Boxing with Mike Tyson and Carol Channing.
I tell you, Jim, how Carol Channing outlasted that barrage in the second round we'll never know.

Come here, young man.
I'm gonna bop you one.

She's getting beat!
No, she's getting mad!

Ah, you ain't so tough, young man.
That all you got, you son of a bitch.
You're going down, young man.
You're going down!

I ca- I can't believe this.
She keeps getting up.

And the winner, by technical knockout, weighing in at 67 pounds, Carol "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" Channing!
Yeah! Up yours, young people.
You and your rock and roll eight-track tapes!

A member of the League of Themselves can have their existence in the main Toobworld confirmed by references from fictional TV characters.  And Carol Channing had a few of those in several TV dimensions….

So while we’re still in The Tooniverse….

The Man from Jupiter

"Who calls it Tinseltown? Carol Channing? Or somebody who just thinks that's what movie stars call Hollywood."

O’Bservation – I’m not sure who says that line.  If I had to guess, I'd say it was Burt Reynolds.  My script source doesn’t supply who says what.

Let’s head back to the main Toobworld….

Just Shoot Me!  
- Dial 'N' for Murder


"Don't get me wrong, there are people who are into all sort of weird things. Men who worship feet, women who enjoy a good spanking, the powerful executive who occasionally likes to camp it up as Carol Channing."

"That last one is a little weird."

The Larry Sanders Show  
- What Have You Done for Me Lately?


"I didn't know Harrison Ford did impressions.
His Carol Channing was terrific."

Now there’s another type of reference in TV series which can verify that a celebrity from the Trueniverse does exist in Toobworld, and it’s very rare. 

I said earlier that Carol Channing was her own best caricature, but she was so outsized In personality and memorable that other TV characters have attempted to mimic her.

I know of only two examples in which other TV characters did impressions of Carol Channing….

The Lucy Show
Lucy And The Undercover Agent

Instead of using the episode summary from the IMDb, in this instance I’d rather showcase “The Lucy Book”, written by one of my Facebook friends, Geoffrey Mark:

The whole book is a great read and I highly recommend it.

Lucy impersonated Carol Channing so that the Countess could sneak into an army base and get photographic evidence which they thought was wanted by the enemy.  But the soldier who was on duty as the gate sentry, supposedly named Sol Schwartz, was in on the trap to catch enemy agents.  So when she was serenading him with a rendition of her signature song (changing the lyrics to “Hello, Solly”), he wasn’t buying it.

When Lucy, her boss Mr. Mooney, and her friend the Countess Framboise, were caught by US Intelligence, Lucy begged for mercy, claiming that they didn’t hurt anybody.  That’s when the soldier pointed out that she certainly did a number on Carol Channing!

The other example happened farther north from Los Angeles in the City by the Bay….

The Streets of San Francisco
- Mask of Death

John Davidson's best acting performance (in the eyes of nearly everyone associated with the show) comes when he plays a nightclub entertainer who dresses up as a famous female torch singer.

Carol Marlowe, a fictional star from the 1930s who had committed suicide in 1939, was not the only female star in Ken Scott’s repertoire.  He also performed as Carol Channing and sang another of her famous songs – “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”. (In the Real World, John Davidson’s singing voice was provided by a female impersonator, Craig Russell.)

There is one last appearance by Carol Channing which I think needs a heapin’ helping of splainin….

It’s weird enough that Carol Channing was somehow smuggled INTO Stalag 13.  It’s bad enough that a 1960s era box of Jell-O was used in a 1940s prisoner of war camp (also a box of Dream Whip from the Swinging Sixties.)  And one day I will update the reason there are anachronistic products in Toobworld’s past.  (Think Gallifreyan.  Not that one, a more meddlesome one….)

What’s strangest of all is that Carol Channing looked as she did in the middle of the 1960s instead of how she appeared twenty years earlier….

I’ve got some splainin to do and now I AM invoking that other Gallifreyan…

‘Doctor Who’ is a font of fanfic and I often cite the Time Lord to deal with many of those TV discrepancies which I call Zonks.  And I think he – or she – could come in handy in this case.

There are three incarnations of the Doctor whom I think provide the best opportunities for fan fiction because of the gaps in between their televised adventures -
  • The Seventh Doctor – all of Time and Space between his last episode and the TV Movie
  • The Eighth Doctor – From the end of the TV movie until he reappeared in the minisode “Night Of The Doctor”
  • The Eleventh Doctor – While Clara was his companion, she wasn’t with him all of the time.
(I did not include the War Doctor only because he was most concentrated on the Time War and would not have strayed far from Gallifrey, Skaro, or any of the planets trapped in the time-lock.)

I’m going to go with the Seventh Doctor, I think.  (Why?  Why not!  But seriously, folks, I think his puckish humor and his distinctive wardrobe would be an interesting counterpart to her.  And if I'm not mistaken, I think she's much taller than him and that would be a lot of fun visually.)

At some point in the 1960s he picked up the televersion of Carol Channing and off they went on a series of adventures.  (Perhaps they had an over-riding mission – to retrieve all of those time-displaced products which could affect the Toobworld timeline – the Jell-O, the Dream Whip, Bud Light, FedEx, Pepsi, etc.)

So that’s why she looked older than she did in the 1940s when she was first starting out.  And I guess she was famous enough by then for Colonel Robert Hogan to have recognized her.

That’s my splainin and I’m sticking with it.

So there it is, my line of reasoning as to why Carol Channing should be a member of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame as a member of the League of Themselves. 
She will have plenty of friends in the Hall of Fame, mostly other members of the League of Themselves, including George Burns, Jack Benny, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bob Hope, and fictional characters like Big Bird. 

I apologize for not doing this sooner while she was still alive,

Welcome to the Hall, Miss Channing.  It’s so nice to have you back where you belong.

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