Here we are – the last Friday of June, which kicks off Pride Weekend. And chosen for this Friday Hall of Famer we have one of the great entertainers known only by one name. No, not Charo – although come to think of it, I think she qualifies for membership….
No, the latest member of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame is:
From Wikipedia: Władziu Valentino Liberace (May 16, 1919 – February 4, 1987) was an American pianist, singer and actor. A child prodigy born in Wisconsin to parents of Italian and Polish origin, Liberace enjoyed a career spanning four decades of concerts, recordings, television, motion pictures, and endorsements. At the height of his fame, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, with established concert residencies in Las Vegas, and an international touring schedule. Liberace embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off stage, acquiring the nickname "Mr. Showmanship."
As a member of the League of Themselves, Liberace’s appearances in these shows solidified the presence of his fictionalized televersion in Toobworld:
The Jack Benny Program - Liberace Show (1954)
The Liberace Show 8 episodes
You Bet Your Life - Episode #6.24 (1956)
Date with the Angels - Star Struck (1957)
The Monkees - Art for Monkees' Sake (1967)
Here's Lucy - Lucy and Liberace (1970)
The Muppet Show - Liberace (1978)
Kojak - 60 Miles to Hell (1978)
The Muppets Go Hollywood (TV Special)
Hotel - The Offer (1983)
Another World (1985, 1986)
Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills - The 'A' List (1986)
The Pride parades always look like Liberace’s armoire exploded, so this is the perfect time of year to welcome him into the Hall…..
Here are some photos of Liberace with several other members of the TVXOHOF:
By the way, that isn't an empty suit at the top of this post. Liberace is actually in that outfit! Welcome to the Hall, Mr. Showmanship!
For today’s theory of relateeveety – SURPRISE! LOL – Yeah, it’s another familial connection to ‘Columbo’. But I can’t he’p m’self; it’s one of my five favorite TV shows of all Time and the characters, even the ancillary ones, were so rich in their portrayals. Today we’re sailing on the high seas to anchor this theory. Get it? High seas… anchor…? I crack myself up. ‘COLUMBO’ “TROUBLED WATERS”
At the age of 31, clarinetist Artie Podell secured for himself the position of bandleader on board the Sun Princess* cruise ship which sailed from Los Angeles to Mazatlán. Peter Maloney played Artie; it was his fourth onscreen appearance and his first for television.
It’s the only time we got to see Artie in Toobworld, but I’m making the claim that we saw a few of his brothers as well as “identical cousins”, especially lately. And I think we’ve also met his paternal great-grandfather as well as his maternal grandfather in other TV shows. What offers up so many options for his family tree are three factors:
1] A lot of characters played by Mr. Maloney are listed only by their occupations and not by their names. 2] Most of these characters are centrally located in the New York City area. 3] As it does with all of us, Prime-Time marches on. Forty plus years on, not many of us can claim that we look the same still. And so that gives us leeway in making these claims.
First, let’s give mention to some other characters played by Mr. Maloney who still could be related to Artie Podell. That great-grandfather might have sired a large brood of children, from which the succeeding generations could have been just as large.
So these other characters, balding redheads all, were probably second cousins or first cousins twice removed, whatever, just not close enough on the family tree to get special mention.
Among these kinfolk:
Mr. Stansley, ‘Ed’
Alex Conrad, ‘Lou Grant’
Uncle Red, ‘Rescue Me’
Red Donnelly, ‘Spenser: For Hire’
Mr. Janowitz, ‘A Gifted Man’
Teddy Mercer, ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’
Geoffrey Downs, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’
I think you can see right away that there is a possibility that two of those characters could be the same person. Red Donnelly could be Tommy Gavin’s “Uncle Red”, despite the difference in last names. (That sort of thing is never a problem for a “splainin to do”, especially in a country – and the fictional version, at that! - where changing your name is common.) Let’s take the family tree as far back as we can….. The Knick They Capture The Heat (2014) Barber/Doc I’ve never seen this show; I don’t have Cinemax. But from that description, it sounds like Great-Grandpa Podell was following in the tradition of Theodoric of York but in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century – someone who treats your ills and cuts your hair. But I could be wrong; I usually am. At any rate, Toobworld Central sees this character as the first official member of the Podell line, the founder of the family tree in modern times. Next, we cross over to Artie’s maternal family tree, to his mother’s father, his grandfather:
Remember WENN On The Air (1996) Mr. Gianetti Back in the 1930s, Mr. Gianetti was the scriptwriter for radio station WENN in Pittsburgh. But he was a souse and he expired on the job, before finishing the script that was being presented on the air at that moment. This occurred probably in 1939. It is our conjecture that his daughter was already married to Doc Podell’s grandson, or would be soon after. (Artie would be born in 1944.) Personally, I think Artie’s parents were married before Mr. Gianetti passed away. And that Artie was their youngest of three sons. The oldest, named Paul, would grow up to be ordained a priest in Manhattan. Law & Order Collar (2002) Father Paul & Gossip Girl Seventeen Candles (2007) Priest As for the middle son, we don’t know his name here at Toobworld Central. But we know he passed the NY bar exam when he was younger and for most of his career he served as a defense lawyer.
Queens Supreme Pilot (2003) Plaintiff’s Lawyer But he had come to hate the hectic life in New York City and wanted to make enough money to quit the rat race and retire to his vacation home in New Hampshire, a state in which he had also passed the bar exam. Bull Light My Fire (2016) Judge It came to pass that just before Mike Bloomberg began his third term as mayor, Mr. Podell learned that a judgeship was available near his second home in Kavanaugh. Podell put his name forward in contention and was pleased to discover that he was accepted. He quit his position with his law firm in Queens and moved his family north to live permanently in Kavanaugh, New Hampshire, full time. Now let’s take a look at two of Artie Podell’s “identical cousins”…. If you’re familiar with my use of the term, you know that most times in Toobworld, identical cousins occur because of infidelities by one or more partners in a marriage. However, while this isn’t exactly the same situation as faced by Patty and Cathy Lane whose fathers were identical twins, it’s reasonably close. In Artie Podell’s family tree, his paternal great-grandfather Podell from the early 1900s and his maternal grand-father from the 1930s were somewhat similar in appearance, enough so that their DNA sequences created strong telegenetic patterns which echoed along the family tree. Therefore, it could be that Artie’s father had a sister who married a man named Burgess and together they produced twin sons who looked like their three Podell cousins.
St. Elsewhere Bypass (1982) Dr. Burgess The firstborn of their twin sons would grow up to become the top radiologist at St. Eligius Hospital in Boston.
The Good Fight Henceforth Known As Property (2017) Doctor
Later, Dr. Burgess transferred to Chicago Poly-Tech where he put his skills in radiology to use in stem cell research. By 2017, however, he was close to retiring, mainly because his hearing was giving out on him.
Black Box Forget Me (2014) Harry On the other hand, Harry Burgess was not as successful, but he and his family were happy… and thankful that Will Van Ranseller’s father had been in their lives.
Harry Burgess was a bartender in Manhattan and he worked for Will Van Ranseller. He knew Will’s father back in the day and there were times in the early days of his marriage when Harry and his wife were living on beans and toast. But every Thanksgiving, a huge turkey was left for Harry at the bar where he was at that time working. One Thanksgiving it was his turn to get to the bar and open early and he found Will’s father sneaking in with the turkey. Ever after, Harry Burgess and his family gave thanks for Will’s father in their lives.
Crashing Yard Sale (2017) Weird Old Man It was 2014 when he told that story to Will Van Ransellar and his fiancée Dr. Catherine Black. Harry might have known by then that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s; maybe he didn’t. But by 2017, his condition was worsening, to the point where he gave up his job as a bartender in Manhattan and moved upstate to be closer to the family of one of his children.
There his personality began to change – no longer easy-going, but now combative, he even got into a roadside argument once with a comedian who just wanted to get back his composition notebooks full of joke ideas which were mistakenly sold along with a chest of drawers. So. That’s my look at the family tree of Artie Podell….
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!"