Saturday, March 2, 2019


Every so often I like to share one of these foreign-dubbed TV series episodes to illustrate life in an alternate Toobworld.

“The Wedding March”

In German, the title was “Richter Killians Karriere” which kind of gives away a plot point.  But titles and credits don’t matter in the overall Toobworld experience.

Life in German Toobworld plays out just as it did in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time, as far as this adventure was concerned and for all TV series that were re-dubbed into other languages.  But in the larger context of the world, that isn’t always the case.  

Just the fact that all of these TV characters whom we in “Telemerica” know to speak English are speaking other languages would cause alterations to the lifestyle.  But how is it that the entire world speaks German? 

I think it goes beyond a total German victory in World War II and even World War I.  I think they gained world domination far earlier in that world’s timeline.  And one of the outcomes of such control over the Earth might have been that the two World Wars never took place; Hitler never rose to ignoble prominence.  Although personally I don’t think that likely – the Third Reich is just so much catnip to the creators of TV shows.  Even tossed-off casual references to the Nazis would invalidate that view of the world.  At the very least, there was no need for characters in later decades to be dressed in those Nazi uniforms.  (Which reminds me – “The Man In The High Castle” does not take place in German Toobworld.)

So much for all of that.  On with the show, this is it!


Friday, March 1, 2019


It’s March 1st and time for the third superhero showcase in this 20th anniversary of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame. 

If you’re keeping track, or wish to catch up:

  • January – The Dynamic Duo
  • February – The Fourth Incarnation of Catwoman
And now we have March Madness with another two-fer:


We have to induct both of them; technically they are one and the same being.

It’s hard to believe there might be those who don’t know much if anything about the Hulk.  So we’re going to turn to Wikipedia for information… information… information… about the Green Behemoth.  We’ll be sharing extracts from two different Wikipedia articles – one on the original Hulk from Marvel Comics and then from the article about the TV series.

From Wikipedia:
The Hulk is a fictional superhero appearing in publications by the American publisher Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in the debut issue of The Incredible Hulk (May 1962). In his comic book appearances, the character is both the Hulk, a green-skinned, hulking and muscular humanoid possessing a vast degree of physical strength, and his alter ego Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, a physically weak, socially withdrawn, and emotionally reserved physicist, the two existing as independent personalities and resenting of the other.

Following his accidental exposure to gamma rays during the detonation of an experimental bomb, Banner is physically transformed into the Hulk when subjected to emotional stress, at or against his will, often leading to destructive rampages and conflicts that complicate Banner's civilian life. The Hulk's level of strength is normally conveyed as proportionate to his level of anger. 

Lee stated that the Hulk's creation was inspired by a combination of Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Although the Hulk's coloration has varied throughout the character's publication history, the most usual color is green. He has two main catchphrases: "Hulk is strongest one there is!" and the better-known "Hulk smash!" which has founded the basis for numerous pop culture memes.

And now for the focus of our attention for this showcase….

From Wikipedia:
‘The Incredible Hulk’ is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. The series aired on the CBS television network and starred Bill Bixby as Dr. David Bruce Banner, Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk, and Jack Colvin as Jack McGee.

In the TV series, Dr. David Banner, a widowed physician and scientist, who is presumed dead, travels across America under assumed names, and finds himself in positions where he helps others in need despite his terrible secret: in times of extreme anger or stress, he transforms into a huge, incredibly strong green creature, who has been named "The Hulk". In his travels, Banner earns money by working temporary jobs while searching for a way to either control or cure his condition. All the while, he is obsessively pursued by a tabloid newspaper reporter, Jack McGee, who is convinced that the Hulk is a deadly menace whose exposure would enhance his career.

The series' two-hour pilot movie, which established the Hulk's origins, aired on November 4, 1977. The series' 80 episodes was originally broadcast by CBS over five seasons from 1978 to 1982. It was developed and produced by Kenneth Johnson, who also wrote or directed some episodes. The series ends with David Banner continuing to search for a cure.

In 1988, the filming rights were purchased from CBS by rival NBC. They produced three television films: “The Incredible Hulk Returns” (directed by Nicholas J. Corea), “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk”, and “The Death of the Incredible Hulk” (both directed by Bill Bixby). Since its debut, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ series has garnered a worldwide fan base.

In two of those TV movies, the Hulk and/or Banner met other Marvel superheroes - Daredevil and the Norse demi-god Thor.

Those are the basics.  For more about the “televersion” of the Hulk, click here.

Why did Toobworld Central choose March for the induction of Banner and the Hulk?  It's the month in which we celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  It's one thing for the wearing o' the green like the Riddler, but to be green as well?

Welcome to the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, Dr. Banner and your inner Hulk.  Try not to smash the place up!


Thursday, February 28, 2019


Tracy O’Connor was a delusional young woman who thought that she had talent as an artist and who believed that art critic Dale Kingston loved her as much as she loved him.  But all he longed for was the possession of the artwork owned by his Uncle Rudy, and he only had interest in Tracy for as long as was needed to establish his alibi in the murder of Rudy Matthews and to retrieve the supposedly stolen art which he had left in her care.  Kingston made her murder look like a traffic accident just as he made his uncle’s murder look like a burglary gone wrong.

Tracy O’Connor was only 33 when she died.

Nine years later, the audience of the Trueniverse was given the chance to meet Tracy’s identical twin sister, Gwen Kingsley, the wife of Los Angeles judge David Kingsley (a cousin to rising entertainer Hank Kingsley.)  

In her own way, Gwen was just as deluded as her late sister, thinking that her marriage was perfect.  She never had a clue that Judge Kingsley had a need to frequent hookers he picked up in North Hollywood.  Eventually he was caught, thanks to the combined efforts of private eye Barnaby Jones and LAPD detective Tom Gibson with his uncle, W.W. DiAngelo, a reporter and columnist for the Los Angeles Chronicle.


Gwen Kingsley probably never remarried and may have reverted to her maiden name of O'Connor.  She passed away a few years ago at the age of 77.  Judge Kingsley died in prison years before.  (If I'm not mistaken, he was shanked by someone he had sentenced to a life sentence.)

I speculate enough as it is with these theories of relateeveety so I’m not going to pretend I know what was going on in her mind.  But I wonder if Gwen ever thought about the odd coincidence that both she and Tracy had their lives ruined by the men they loved, both of whom had surnames beginning with “King” and first names beginning with “Da” – Dale Kingston for Tracy, and David Kingsley for herself.

Or maybe it’s just me who is interested in onomastics…..

Another ‘Columbo’ theory of relateeveety submitted for your approval….


Wednesday, February 27, 2019



Mr. Kittering, forgive me for asking you this,but where were you the night the Commodore was killed?
Oh, poor old Otis.
Where was I? I think I was in a motel.

In a motel, sir?
Yes, I'm sure I was.
Nice little motel. I can recommend it.

Where was it, sir?
Sounds odd, but I couldn't quite tell you.
I could find it, I think.
It's somewhere near that new restaurant they talk about,
the Captain's Quarters.

Any witnesses?
There was a young lady.
Her name, sir?
Shall we say we weren't formally introduced?
Ships that pass in the night.
Not that many ships pass in my nights anymore,
I regret to say.

Almost every TV character struts across the stage as Willy Shakes once said, and then disappears forever… usually.

But for Toobworld, they’re still out there in the TV Universe.  And sometimes they come back, even years later.  Take Alan Brady, for example.  Nearly thirty years after the last episode of ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’, Carl Reiner once again played the egomaniacal showman in an episode of ‘Mad About You’.

This applies also to those TV characters who never showed up on our TV screens in the first place….  Or did they?

So in that exchange of dialogue between the characters played by Peter Falk and Wilfred Hyde-White, we have a pretty good test case: Mr. Kittering’s “passing ship” was never seen, never named. 

She was probably no street-walker, though.  Mr. Kittering was a man of class, accustomed to enjoying the finer things in life.  And that would include the women with whom he kept company.  So she could have been a high-priced call girl/”escort” who could be working independently.  Someone for whom the phrase “Lady of the Evening” was invented.

A couple of nameless call girls
('Cannon' - "The Wedding March")
But tisn’t - I mean, tain't - necessarily so*.

Kittering might have had a hankering for someone a little more down to earth, somewhat saucy.  Perhaps she could have been a bit of alright who was even outside the type of people he would have normally surrounded himself with.

At the time of the Swanson case, Mr. Kittering was at least 73 years of age, the same age as Hyde-White who played him.  I don’t think a persuasive argument could be made that he was younger, but I could be easily convinced that he was supposed to be much older.

So a woman whom he would describe as being a young lady could be forty, maybe even fifty.  So that gives us a wide range to choose from.

One last thing that went into my consideration – the guest cast for every ‘Columbo’ episode (at least in its original NBC run) was a high-caliber roster of talent.  Oscar winners, foreign movie stars, the leading lights of television.  And we’re not just talking the guest star murderers but even their victims.  Everybody in those casts was a star, highly memorable.  And I’d like to think that everybody within that corner of the TV Universe, even those we never saw like Mrs. Columbo and Kittering’s “crumpet” would have given just as indelible a performance.

That’s why I’m going to fill in this particular blankety blank with a TV character who was played by a true star and who would have been quite the dynamo in a ‘Columbo’ episode….


Rita Moreno appeared in three episodes as Rita Capkovic, a prostitute who was trying to turn her life around…..


During the time when neither one of them were on our TV screens, they might have seen each other plenty of times.  But by the time we saw them again, Rita had remarried and was now known as Rita Capkovic  Landale.


But at the time of the murder of Commodore Otis Swanson, Rita had not yet met Jim Rockford.

Rita Moreno was 45 at the time she started playing Rita Capkovic, so she would have been 42-3 when she cuddled with Kittering.  And that would be a young lady to him, worldly though she may have been.

I think I’m going to stick with that possibility……


* 'Columbo' fans will get that joke.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


Let’s catch up on a few members of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame and a few who are at least ⅔ on their way to membership…..

‘The Big Bang Theory’
“The D&D Vortex”

Wil Wheaton, the new host of the ‘Professor Proton’ show, hosts a weekly Dungeons & Dragons with a lot of his celebrity friends.  And they include:

  • William Shatner
  • Kareem Abdul Jabbar
  • Kevin Smith
  • Joe Manganiello
Two of them are already members of the TVXOHOF – Shatner and Kareem.  Two will be entering before the year is out and the other one is on his way to becoming eligible.

In 2004, the year-long theme was ‘Star Trek’ and Captain James T. Kirk was inducted in January of that year.  But Shatner, along with all the cast members, were inducted as well as a group for my birthday honors.

There is a special “class” of the TVXOHOF which is called “the Proto-Hall”.  In the two years before the Hall was created, I wrote lengthy pieces in my first website (Damn you, AOLPress!) about certain people in the TV Universe who were basically my first salutes to those who deserved special attention for connecting so many shows.  Many were fictional characters, but there were a few historical figures as well as contemporary celebrities.  This category included basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar. 

As for the others….

Wil Wheaton is a multidimensional.  Thanks to ‘Family Guy’, the actor appeared with most of the other members of the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ cast, voicing themselves in an adventure with Stewie Griffin.  One reason Wheaton is memorable in this was that Stewie pronounced his name as “HWil HWheaton”.  Sort of like Mr. Tudball’s pronunciation of “Mrs. HWiggins” in many sketches from ‘The Carol Burnett Show’.

But he’s also a member of the Evil Toobworld dimension thanks to these two projects:

Loki and SageKing Go to GenCon (Short) 
Every Little Something by Dave (Video)

For the main Toobworld, he has his long-standing recurring role as a member of the League of Themselves on ‘The Big Bang Theory’.  But he also has an appearance as a clue-giver on an episode of ‘Jeopardy!’ in 2018. If you didn't know, 'Jeopardy!' itself will one day be part of the TVXOHOF.

And he made an appearance on ‘Bill Nye Saves The World’, starring Bill Nye who will also one day be a member of the Hall of Fame.  (Coincidentally, Nye also has made appearances as himself on ‘The Big Bang Theory’.)

Kevin Smith is a writer/director/actor best known for the movie “Clerks” and his enthusiastic interest in fandom.  He’s now been on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ twice, but also as himself in episodes of ‘Speechless’, ‘The Mindy Project’, ‘Yes, Dear’, ‘Joey’, and ‘DeGrassi: The Next Generation’.

Look for him in the Hall before the year is out.

And then there was Joe Manganiello who is best known for his role in “Magic Mike” and as the werewolf in ‘True Blood’.  He’s only just beginning his trek to TVXOHOF membership which puts him almost two-thirds of the way to full qualification.  This episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ puts him on more solid footing to that end.  Before this, he had his appearance with his wife, Sofia Vergara, (another future member of the Hall thanks to all of those spokeswoman roles she’s done in commercials.)  They appeared together in a commercial as “serlinguists” – talking directly to the audience in the Trueniverse – for Hulu.

But he’s also appeared in an episode of a weird project from Neil Patrick Harris – “Neil’s Puppet Dreams”.  It was a seven episode Internet series which also starred his husband David Burtka.  Here’s the IMDb description: “Neil Patrick Harris sleeps a lot, and when he dreams, he dreams in puppets.”  One day I’ll have to track that down…..

In other news....

I don't know why it took so long for me to even know about this addition to the Los Angeles Tribune collection.  I must not have been looking at the screen when it came up during the episode.

This is from the 25th anniversary special episode for 'Columbo' - "A Trace Of Murder", which addressed the latest trend in police procedural TV shows... forensic science.

The Los Angeles Tribune gained prominence with the spin-off from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', 'Lou Grant'.  It was also seen fleetingly in the first episode of the 'Burke's Law' revival.  There have been a few other TV shows, 'Matt Houston' among them, but I'd count those first three as the heavy-hitters for the membership.

So there’s the latest update for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.


Monday, February 25, 2019


Joe Dicso: 
Five minutes to Monologue, Mr. Martin!
Steve Martin: 
Thanks, Joe! 
Joe Dicso:
I can’t ever get fired, 
I’ve got a Union job.
But somehow tonight 
it doesn’t matter 
that I’m in with the mob!
'Saturday Night Live'

On the February 16th episode of 'Saturday Night Live', the show displayed this title card before going into the cast's curtain call.

I have yet to find official notice of Dicso's passing but Facebookers in the business who knew him have been paying tribute to the long-running  stage manager.

From People:
Stage Manager Joe Dicso: 
Going into the first show there were times I thought, “We’re not going to make this.” Sometimes the performers didn’t make it to the set until after we’d started. I’d tell the control room, “Laraine’s not here,” and the director would say, “We’ll go to a close-up of Belushi. Let us know when she’s there.” And that’s what we did. There’ve been heel marks on the floor from when I grabbed people on the wrong way to their marks.  

Here are the basics of his SNL career from the IMDb:

But he didn't just serve behind the scenes.  He also got pulled into the sketches like that opening musical number the night Steve Martin returned to host in 1991 which I quoted at the top.  To me this was one of the best show openings they ever did. 

These are the episodes in which he played himself on 'Saturday Night Live'

Jim Carrey hosted Mr. Dicso's last show and brought him out for a special tribute.

Jim Carrey:
It’s Joe Dicso’s last night here, ladies and gentlemen!  He’s been here for 21 years – he’s seen it all!

Good night and may God bless.....