Saturday, June 1, 2019


There are spoilers ahead....

Here we are at the halfway point in our celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  June is our Gemini theme normally and the overall theme for this year is "Superheroes & Supervillains".  It's also my birth month, so I like to go for something that could represent me.  You know... odd.

And so I've chosen to be the monthly showcase....


That's right, we're dealing with a plurality.  But we're not going multidimensional; we're staying put on Earth Prime-Time.

The main Toobworld had two Riddlers in the 1960s TV series 'Batman'.  We're not dealing with recasting here; they were two distinct characters, never meant to be the same man, because as with Catwoman, "Riddler" is merely a job description.  

The "true" Riddler was played by Frank Gorshin throughout most of the series' run and he was in fact the first villain to appear in the show.

But there was a season in which there was apparently a pay dispute and Gorshin walked away.  The producers scrambled to figure out ways to work around the situation - in one case, reworking the character to become The Puzzler (played by Maurice Evans) but thIfey knew the fans wanted the Riddler back and so they recast the role with John Astin.

If Astin had originated the role, I'm sure his interpretation would have been acclaimed.  He was not hyper-manic like Gorshin, but more sardonic and almost laid-back.  But again, I wouldn't expect them to share the same personality in much the same way I don't expect that whenever the Time Lord known as the Doctor regenerates.  (Not that regeneration was involved here, but it is an interesting premise.  And the Doctor might play a part later on....)

For the purposes of Toobworld's cohesiveness, I know who the second Riddler was and why he chose to assume the nom criminel.

But first let's take a look at the original Riddler.

We'll begin with the history of the character.

From Wikipedia:
The Riddler (Edward Nigma or Nygma) is a super-villain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. He first appeared in Detective Comics #140 (October 1948). The character is commonly depicted as a criminal mastermind in Gotham City who takes delight in incorporating riddles and puzzles into his schemes, leaving them as clues for the authorities to solve. The Riddler is one of the most enduring enemies of superhero Batman and belongs to the collective of adversaries that make up his rogues gallery.

In 2009, The Riddler was ranked as IGN's 59th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. The character has been substantially adapted from the comics into various forms of media, including feature films, television series, and video games. He has been portrayed in live-action by Frank Gorshin and John Astin in the 1960s Batman television series.
The Riddler appears in the 1960s 'Batman' television series and as one of the villains in the theatrical film spin-off. Frank Gorshin portrayed Riddler in the first and third season of the series and the film and John Astin portrayed Riddler in the second season. He made four appearances in season 1 (more than any other villain) but was reduced to only one appearance per season afterwards. The popular television series was inspired by the first Silver Age appearance of the Riddler, with the premiere episode being an adaptation of Batman #171.

Frank Gorshin also portrayed the Riddler in "Legends of the Superheroes" in 1979.

Officially then, Gorshin's televersion of the Riddler is eligible for the TVXOHOF since the 1966 movie between the first and second season has been absorbed into the dimension of Earth Prime-Time.

But we have one unofficial appearance by the Gorshin Riddler... before he became the Prince of Puzzles.


From the IMDb:
An ethical lawyer becomes very disturbed about what to do when the client he just got a murder acquittal for, brags he committed the crime. 

Frank Gorshin played that client, a man named Lew Rydell.  By the end of the episode, he's killed again and is carted off to the loony bin.  (I did warn you at the beginning that there would be spoilers.)

It's the conjecture of Toobworld Central that Lew Rydell became the Riddler while in the asylum.  He may have become addicted to puzzle books, what should have been harmless time-wasters.  And he twisted his own name from "Rydell" to "Riddler".

The origins of the Riddler from the comic books, with all of the ensuing permutations, was never brought into the TV series; we never learned what his real name was.  Even in the comics there is no agreement - in many he's Edward Nygma (or Nigma) and in others he was Edward Nashton who took the alias of E. Nygma.  

I refused to believe that the Penguin in the TV series was actually named Oswald Cobblepot.  (I do like the splainin behind that name in 'Gotham' however.)  For Toobworld, I believe his true name was the alias he used in the movie - P.N. Gwynne.  

And so with the Toobworld version of the Riddler, I'm sticking with his true identity as being Lewis Rydell.  Mayhaps you disagree?  That's fine.  You can do what you like in your own crossover sandbox.  For me, "E. Nygma" is just too coincidental to be believable as his name.  (It's like Marvel trying to pass off "Basil Elks" as the real name of the Basilisk.)

But I have no problem with Lew Rydell using "E. Nygma" as an alias which we never saw used in the TV series.

And so we have a fourth appearance by Gorshin's Riddler, but it is unofficial.

Let's move on to who that second Riddler might have been.  

If you know me or read my previous ruminations on this question, you know where I'm going with this.....

From Wikipedia:
Gomez Addams is the patriarch of The Addams Family, created by cartoonist Charles Addams for The New Yorker magazine in the 1930s, and subsequently portrayed in television, film and stage.

In the 1960s American television series, Gomez was portrayed by John Astin. 

I'm only looking at Gomez in the main Toobworld, but he also played the role in the Tooniverse.

From Wikipedia:
Astin also voiced this character in an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies which featured the family. In the second animated series, also by Hanna-Barbera, Gomez's voice was again performed by John Astin.  

(O'Bservation - with the first animated series, in which Gomez is voiced by Lennie Weinrib, the Tooniverse Addams Family will one day be inducted into the Hall, perhaps for an October berth.)

But Astin's Gomez Addams also has this TV movie:

Halloween with the New Addams Family

From the IMDb:
A revival of the popular '60s TV comedy series "The Addams Family" has them preparing for Halloween in their own inimitable way. 

So there are two of his qualifications for membership in the TVXOHOF.  Astin has played a lot of characters in Toobworld, all of them looking like his portrayal of the Riddler.  Why do I think it has to be Gomez Addams instead of any of those others?

'The Addams Family'
"Amnesia In The Addams Family"

From the IMDb:
An accident with his new set of old Indian clubs gives Gomez amnesia and a complete shift in aesthetics. It, unfortunately, coincides with the new million dollar double indemnity insurance policy he's just drawn up to benefit Morticia, causing the amnesic Gomez - aghast at his macabre home and family - to think his life's in jeopardy. A second blow on the head might return him to normal. Unfortunately for Gomez there are plenty of clubs with just as many loving family members skulking about, keen to restore his sanity.  

That episode took place on the Toobworld timeline in 1965.  Astin appeared as the Riddler in 1967.  But one doesn't have to lead into another.  The 'Addams Family' episode just needed to establish that his personality changes when he gets knocked on the head.  So at some point two years later, Gomez must have been knocked on the head yet again (not necessarily with indian clubs) and this time clobbered in such a way as to give him not only the amnesia but a new personality... one of EVIL!!!!

For those of you who dabble in 'Addams Family' fanfiction, this premise is rife with possibilities!  Think of it - Gomez escapes the Addams domicile and somehow find his way to Gotham City and discovers where Lew Rydell kept his storehouse of Riddler paraphernalia.  And he decides to take on the persona of the Riddler while Rydell is once again incarcerated in Gotham State Prison (or the Arkham Asylum.)

How did he do that?  Maybe he saw a blue police box on the sidewalk and wandered inside and it took off before its pilot, the Doctor, noticed he was on board.  The TARDIS always delivers the Time Lord where he needs to be, not always where he wants to be.  So the TARDIS knew it was important to go to the Riddler's hideout.

Why?  If for no other reason than for the Doctor to replenish his wardrobe with the Riddler's clothes, all of which featured a question mark in some way (including the umbrella with a question mark handle which had been a gift from P.N. Gwynne.)

Eventually the Riddler 2.0 was caught by the Dynamic Duo and sent off to Arkham Asylum where he received another knock on the head and so became Gomez Addams once again.
Like the idea?  If you write it up, let me know where I can read it!

And that's my splainin for two Riddlers in Earth Prime-Time.  

Welcome to the Hall, Mr. Rydell, Mr. Addams.  You'll find here a few others you know - the Joker, Mr. Freeze of the Tooniverse, the multidimensional Penguin, the third Catwoman, and the Caped Crusader with the Boy Wonder as well.


Friday, May 31, 2019


Related image

The Television Crossover Hall of Fame began in 1999.  (This is our twentieth anniversary.)  With its sophomore year, the Hall celebrated the Year of the Woman since they were so under-represented in the premier year.  Two of the members that year were Mary Ann Summers and Lovey Howell from 'Gilligan's Island'.  But I didn't even consider their fellow female castaway, Ginger Grant, because Tina Louise only played the role in the series. 

Over the ensuing two decades, I came to look at the characters on his or her own merits, rather than on who (and how many) played them.  I can usually come up with some sort of splainin nowadays for that, and I've got a good one in this case.

There have been six actors who have played Ginger, but there have been only three Gingers in the greater TV Universe.  It is the Ginger of the main Toobworld who is being inducted, even though three actresses have played her.

First, let's take a look at the basics of Ginger Grant.

From Wikipedia:
Ginger Grant is a fictional character portrayed by actress Tina Louise in the 1964 to 1967 television sitcom 'Gilligan's Island'.

Grant is a "movie star", and would casually mention names of some of the biggest movie stars of the day, as co-stars or acquaintances, suggesting that she too was a great star. She also mentions her roommate and fellow actress, Debbie Dawson, several times.

In the series' Season 1 Episode 1 "Two on a Raft", Ginger is also "singing in a club in Waikiki", the same gig mentioned by the radio announcer, after which she was seen boarding the tour boat "still wearing the evening gown from her last performance".

"When I first broke into show business, I used to work with a magician", Ginger confesses in Season 1 Episode 33 "It's Magic".

Ginger was sometimes seen helping the Professor with his experiments, dressed in a lab coat and spectacle frames, and they conspired together in the episode 'Ship Ahoax' to make it appear as though she were fortune-telling. They also shared romantic scenes, although these were usually in the form of a "lesson in love", such as in the episodes 'Erica Tiffany-Smith to the Rescue' and 'The Postman Cometh'.

She also appears to have been the object of desire of The Skipper in several episodes. The Skipper chooses Ginger as his preferred contestant in the "Miss Castaway Pageant" held on the island (Season 2 Episode 2 "Beauty Is As Beauty Does"). In addition, when Skipper loses his memory in the first season Episode 30 "Forget Me Not", he is much more attracted to Ginger than Mary Ann, asking Ginger, "Hi, beautiful!  What's your name?" while leering at her with delight. Ginger does not know about the Skipper's memory loss and she answers, with appropriate Hollywood pique, "Ginger, big boy, what's yours?"

Ginger sides with Thurston Howell, III on many occasions - acting as a witness during a trial over treasure, serving as a sort of spy to divulge information from Gilligan by scratching his back and allowing herself to be bribed by Howell, such as during the "election" of who was to be President of the island. It should also be noted that her secret agent code name and her measurements were both 36-25-36.

She is also close friends with Mary Ann; the two are around the same age.

Ginger Grant, due to many prior film roles in Hollywood, spent her time on the island occasionally taking on the roles of chanteuse, barefoot fortune-teller, lab assistant, hair stylist, and psychoanalyst – as well as fronting the hastily formed island musical trio: The Honeybees. She also had to deal with a doppelganger, a plain mousy girl named Eva Grubb (also played by Tina Louise).

Unlike the other female castaways, who were seen in more than one set of clothes, Ginger initially appeared only in her evening gown. Later episodes did include changes in apparel for her as well.

First off, let's get the other Ginger Grants out of the way.  There was one in the Prequel Toobworld and one in The Tooniverse (but for whom two actresses provided the voice.)

From Wikipedia:In Gilligan's Island's pilot, actress Kit Smythe, was hired to portray Ginger, who was then a secretary.  

For 'The New Adventures of Gilligan' the voice was provided by Jane Webb, while Dawn Wells had double duty as both Mary Ann and Ginger for 'Gilligan's Planet'.

And now, let's look at our inductee from Earth Prime-Time!

We know Tina Louise was THE Ginger Grant for the entire run of the series, but when it came to the sequel reunion movies....

From Wikipedia:
In the 1978 made-for-TV-movie, "Rescue from Gilligan's Island"; Tina Louise refused to return, for she believed the role had typecast her forever as a glamor queen, and was replaced by Judith Baldwin. Baldwin also portrayed Ginger in the sequel "The Castaways on Gilligan's Island".

However, Baldwin didn't return for the third sequel, "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island"; therefore, Constance Forslund, stepped in as the fourth actress to play the "movie star". 

This turns out to be one of the easiest - if not the wildest - splainins I ever needed for a recastaway.

During the course of the series, almost every castaway met up with their identical lookalike on that remote deserted island.  The island had berries which gave the person who ate them telepathic powers.  And most importantly, there was the meteor which emitted cosmic rays that would supposedly cause them to die of old age in one week.

So there's our splainin for why the physical appearance of Ginger changed in the decade since we last saw her.  It could have been that same meteor, or perhaps another amazingly landed on the island and its cosmic rays only affected Ginger, altering her physiognomy. 

By the third TV reunion movie, her looks again changed and I think we can also assume that she died from that exposure which was ravaging her cellular structure.  Even all three of the actresses were still alive, I think it best to consider Ginger as the second castaway to pass away in Toobworld.  (I think we can all agree that Thurston Howell III must have died soon after that third TV movie.)

So even though it wasn't the same actress who played Ginger in all four outings for 'Gilligan's Island' in the main Toobworld, it was still the same Ginger Grant.

Hi, Beautiful!  Welcome to the Hall!

Thursday, May 30, 2019


Toobworld is full of the "atmosphere people" - in the Real World they are the extras in the scenes, sometimes not even seen but acknowledged that they exist.  Like the 400 people who were also on board the starship Enterprise besides the bridge crew.  Think of all those people seen on the streets of New York, Minneapolis, and Chicago, 
in the opening credits of 'The Odd Couple', 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', and 'The Bob Newhart Show' respectively.  

And all of those are characters with their own lives, with friends and family, expanding the population of Toobworld considerably.  

Today I'd like to propose a theory of relateeveety for one such minor character.....

"Mister Monk Gets Fired"

This reporter was played by Shirley Jordan who already has a character in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame - a nurse who has worked in various parts of the country.  I did induct her as a Dr. Escobedo as well, but that is under review.  And if I can find one more nameless character from Boston played by her, I can induct her realtor Nancy Sosha from 'Ally McBeal' into the Hall.  (She already was on 'Boston Legal' as a jury forewoman whom I claim is Ms. Sosha.)

But this particular reporter in San Francisco where 'Monk' took place had a life beyond this one episode's scene.  She had to have family, a mother and a father at least.  And I think we could make the assumption that the reason she became a reporter was all due to the influence of her mother who also was seen on the TV news of Toobworld as she did her job.

See that lady reporter to the right in the yellow dress at Sgt. Coopersmith's press briefing?  

'The Rockford Files'

"The House On Willis Avenue"

It's my theory of relateeveety that she is the mother of the reporter played by Shirley Jordan.  I have no clue who that actress is, but I'm going to claim her character - who was seen for all of five seconds? - inspired her daughter to go into the field as well.  She raised Shirley's reporter in Los Angeles, but the daughter found employ in San Francisco when she grew up.

And so there you have it - a theory of relateeveety which can connect 'Monk' with 'The Rockford Files', no matter how trivial the link.

The best thing of all about such theories - it's all conjecture.  But that doesn't mean it can't be true!

Hi Shirley!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019



Quotes from the episode:

"I spotted a blue-crested hoopoe." 
  • "Ralph Ford's spotted a blue crested hoopoe, up by Swansdown Lake."
  • "A hoopoe? In Midsomer?"
  • "Yeah, that's what he says."
  • "Probably flopped in on its way to Africa."
  • "Be a British first if Ralph's spotted it right."

"It's not just a seldom-seen, Ralph, it's an endangered species.  Native to Uganda."
"Not spotted the hoopoe, have you? The blue-crested hoopoe! Extremely rare visitor to Britain."  

"You're as likely to see a blue-crested hoopoe land in Midsomer as Concorde, truth be told."

DCI John Barnaby:
'The female blue-crested hoopoe has multiple partners,
and attacks the male viciously in the nether regions,
after mating.'
Sarah Barnaby:
Well, that should stop them feeling frisky.

From Wikipedia:
Hoopoes are colourful birds found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for their distinctive "crown" of feathers. Three living and one extinct species are recognized, though for many years all were lumped as a single species—Upupa epops.

The diet of the hoopoe includes many species considered by humans to be pests, such as the pupae of the processionary moth, a damaging forest pest. For this reason the species is afforded protection under the law in many countries.

Hoopoes are distinctive birds and have made a cultural impact over much of their range. They were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt, and were "depicted on the walls of tombs and temples". At the Old Kingdom, the hoopoe was used in the iconography as a symbolic code to indicate the child was the heir and successor of his father. They achieved a similar standing in Minoan Crete.

In the Torah, Leviticus 11:13–19, hoopoes were listed among the animals that are detestable and should not be eaten. They are also listed in Deuteronomy as not kosher.

Hoopoes also appear in the Quran and is known as the "hudhud", in Surah Al-Naml 27:20–24: "And he took attendance of the birds and said, "Why do I not see the hoopoe - or is he among the absent?  I will surely punish him with a severe punishment or slaughter him unless he brings me clear authorization."  But the hoopoe stayed not long and said, "I have encompassed [in knowledge] that which you have not encompassed, and I have come to you from Sheba with certain news.  Indeed, I found [there] a woman ruling them, and she has been given of all things, and she has a great throne. I found her and her people prostrating to the sun instead of Allah, and Satan has made their deeds pleasing to them and averted them from [His] way, so they are not guided."

The sacredness of the Hoopoe and connection with Solomon and the Queen of Sheba is mentioned in passing in Rudyard Kipling's "The Butterfly that Stamped." 

Hoopoes were seen as a symbol of virtue in Persia. A hoopoe was a leader of the birds in the Persian book of poems The Conference of the Birds ("Mantiq al-Tayr" by Attar) and when the birds seek a king, the hoopoe points out that the Simurgh was the king of the birds.

Hoopoes were thought of as thieves across much of Europe, and harbingers of war in Scandinavia. In Estonian tradition, hoopoes are strongly connected with death and the underworld; their song is believed to foreshadow death for many people or cattle. In medieval ritual magic, the hoopoe was thought to be an evil bird. The Munich Manual of Demonic Magic, a collection of magical spells compiled in Germany frequently requires the sacrifice of a hoopoe to summon demons and perform other magical intentions.

Tereus, transformed into the hoopoe, is the king of the birds in the Ancient Greek comedy The Birds by Aristophanes. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, book 6, King Tereus of Thrace rapes Philomela, his wife Procne's sister, and cuts out her tongue. In revenge, Procne kills their son Itys and serves him as a stew to his father. When Tereus sees the boy's head, which is served on a platter, he grabs a sword but just as he attempts to kill the sisters, they are turned into birds—Procne into a swallow and Philomela into a nightingale. Tereus himself is turned into an epops(6.674), translated as lapwing by Dryden and lappewincke (lappewinge) by John Gower in his Confessio Amantis, or hoopoe in A.S. Kline's translation. The bird's crest indicates his royal status, and his long, sharp beak is a symbol of his violent nature. English translators and poets probably had the northern lapwing in mind, considering its crest.

The hoopoe was chosen as the national bird of Israel in May 2008 in conjunction with the country's 60th anniversary, following a national survey of 155,000 citizens, outpolling the white-spectacled bulbul.  The hoopoe appears on the logo of the University of Johannesburg and is the official mascot of the university's sports teams. The municipalities of Armstedt and Brechten, Germany, have a hoopoe in their coats of arms.

In Morocco, hoopoes are traded live and as medicinal products in the markets, primarily in herbalist shops. This trade is unregulated and a potential threat to local populations.

Three CGI enhanced hoopoes, together with other birds collectively named "the tittifers", are often shown whistling a song in the BBC children's television series 'In the Night Garden....'

DCI John Barnaby:
To the blue-crested hoopoe, 
A very rare bird indeed.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019


From Wikipedia:
Following [James] Doohan's death, several Scottish towns campaigned to be named Scotty's "official birthplace". Scripts, production materials and Doohan's family support Linlithgow's claim to being Scotty's birthplace. However, Scotty says in "Wolf in the Fold" (1967) that he is "an old Aberdeen pub crawler", and Aberdeen city leaders proposed plans to erect a monument to the actor and character. 

I don't see a problem here.  Scotty could still have been (that is, will be) born in Linlitgow.  Later, when he grows up, Scotty could be attending the University of Aberdeen's School of Engineering.  And when is a better time to go pub-crawling than while at college?

There is one way to find out for sure....



Monday, May 27, 2019


Today is Memorial Day. I try to celebrate in a Toobworld fashion every year because I know my freedom to delve into Television Arcana is all due to the sacrifices of the real-life men and women who gave their lives defending our country.  (I do the same with Veterans' Day in November.)  

I thought this year, rather than focusing on one TV character who had served in the armed forces of "Telemerica", I would instead look back at some of the tributes over the past years.......









Thank you all for your service and your sacrifice......