Friday, June 12, 2020


Because my birthday falls in June, my preference for Hall of Fame inductees are the TV puppets.  But as it is also the month for the Zodiac sign of Gemini (for the most part), I also showcase the dynamic duos in television – like British detectives Charlie Barlow and John Watt from the ‘Softly, Softly’ series.

Well, we kicked off the month with a puppet, so it’s time for a new odd couple to join the ranks….


From Wikipedia:
Clifford C. Clavin, Jr. (born 1947 or 1949), is a fictional character on the American television show Cheers co-created (and played) by John Ratzenberger. A postal worker, he is the bar's know-it-all and was a contestant on the game show ‘Jeopardy!’ Cliff was not originally scripted in the series' pilot episode, "Give Me a Ring Sometime", but the producers decided to add a know-it-all character and Ratzenberger helped flesh it out. The actor made guest appearances as Cliff on ‘The Tortellis’, ‘St. Elsewhere’, ‘Wings’ and ‘Frasier’.

In the 1993 series finale, Cliff finally receives a promotion. In "The Show Where Sam Shows Up" (1995), an episode of the Cheers spinoff ‘Frasier’, Sam (Ted Danson) tells Frasier that Cliff has not left home since he read an article about flesh-eating bacteria; however, Sam then discovers that Cliff is one of the other men with whom Sam's fiance Sheila (Téa Leoni) had had sex. In another ‘Frasier’ episode, "The Show Where Woody Shows Up", Woody tells Frasier that Cliff almost married a mail-order bride, but she decided to go back to Bosnia after spending a few days with him. In another ‘Frasier’ episode, "Cheerful Goodbyes", Cliff has his retirement party at the airport bar; he had planned to move to Florida, but decides to stay in Boston (to Carla's dismay).

Cliff appeared in 273 episodes of ‘Cheers’ between 1982 and 1993. He also made guest appearances as an animated character (voiced by Ratzenberger) in ‘The Simpsons’ episode "Fear of Flying", in ‘The Tortellis’ episode "Frankie Comes to Dinner, in the ‘Wings’ episode "The Story of Joe" and the ‘Frasier’ episode "Cheerful Goodbyes".

In 2014, Ratzenberger reprised his role as Cliff in the RadioShack Super Bowl XLVIII commercial "The '80s Called".  

(O’Bservation: All of the characters who show up in the blipvert could be taking part in the sitcom relocation program, a premise set up in ‘Hi Honey, I’m Home.’  This would include those members of the League of Themselves like Mary Lou Retton and Hulk Hogan.)

The fact that Cliff appeared as a contestant on the televersion of ‘Jeordy!’ is balanced out by Norm’s appearance on the ‘Tonight’ show with Cliff’s Mom.  (But Cliff did get to be onstage after the show was finished taping.)

So it only makes sense that they should enter the TVXOHOF together.

From Wikipedia:
Norman "Norm" Peterson is a regular fictional character on the American television show ‘Cheers’. The character was portrayed by George Wendt and is named Hilary after his grandfather.

Norm appeared in all 275 episodes of ‘Cheers’ between 1982–1993 and was initially the only customer featured in the main cast, later joined by best friend Cliff Clavin, Frasier Crane, and Lilith Sternin. Along with Sam Malone and Carla Tortelli, Norm is one of only three characters to appear in every episode of ‘Cheers’.

He also made one guest appearance each in the three other sitcoms set in the Cheers universe: the ‘Frasier’ episode "Cheerful Goodbyes," the ‘Wings’’ episode "The Story of Joe" and the spin-off ‘The Tortellis’.

Norm's entrance into the bar is a running gag on ‘Cheers’, typically beginning with a greeting by Norm. This is followed by the bar crowd yelling his name (except Diane Chambers, who would follow with a more refined "Norman", and Woody Boyd who would refer to him as "Mr. Peterson").

Norm is also greeted with the customary "Norm!" shout at other locations, including a bowling alley ("From Beer to Eternity", season 4, episode 9), The Hungrey Heifer ("Cheers: The Motion Picture", season 5, episode 24), and Gary's Olde Towne Tavern, Cheers' rival bar ("Bar Wars VI", season 10, episode 23). When Sam asks why the people at Gary's know him by name, Norm replies that he goes there on Christmas when Cheers is closed.

A recurring gag in the series is, following a commercial, for the bartender to ask Norm if he wants another beer; Norm replies "one quick one," after which he inevitably stays a lot longer. "Norm" is actually the first word of Frederick Crane, son of Frasier Crane and Lilith Sternin. (However, Lilith joyously believes that he said "Mommy!")

Prior to the show, Norm was born in Chicago, and moved to Boston to become an accountant, and is a lifelong Boston Celtics fan who went to Boston Garden as a child. Norm previously served in the United States Army.

He loses his job in an accounting firm by defending Diane from his boss, and after struggling for a few years as an independent accountant, eventually becomes a housepainter. Norm was also revealed to be an accomplished interior decorator and beer taster, capable of spotting a bad vat in a factory by drinking a single bottle.

George Wendt guest starred as Norm Peterson on ‘St. Elsewhere’, ‘Cheers’ first spinoff ‘The Tortellis’, ‘Wings’, and ‘The Simpsons’ episode "Fear of Flying", which also guest starred Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, Woody Harrelson, and John Ratzenberger as their respective characters.

Years after ‘Cheers’ ended, Wendt played Norm in a 2002 episode of its spinoff ‘Frasier’, where he got along famously with Martin Crane. (Martin: "Wow, that's some mug callus you've got there." Norm: "Judging from your grip, I'd say you were a can man.")  

Also, in the first part of a two-part episode on ‘Frasier’ entitled "Three Dates and a Breakup," Frasier calls Norm to brag that he has three dates for the weekend. Frasier specifically says "Norm Peterson," though Norm is not actually seen or heard. Norm was most recently seen in animated form, voiced by Wendt, on ‘Family Guy’ in the episodes "Road to Rupert" and "Three Kings". - Road to Rupert

Domino's Pizza released a commercial in February 2020 parodying Cheers (including the opening theme song and a Domino's version of the Cheers sign) with Norm entering a Domino's, surprised to find that no one knows his name. Norm's face was actually digitally taken from a Cheers episode to replace a body double's face.

Welcome to the Hall, Norm and Cliff.  Here’s looking at ya!


Monday, June 8, 2020


Two Monday Memorial TVXOHOF Tributes in a row….  (Last week we saluted the memory of talk show sidekick Jerry Hubbard after the death of Fred Willard.)

To be honest, I thought there would be more due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, we’re paying tribute to a sneak….


From the L.A. Times:
Ken Osmond, who played the two-faced teenage scoundrel Eddie Haskell on TV’s “Leave It to Beaver,” has died at his home in Los Angeles.

Osmond, who died Monday, was 76. No cause was given.

“He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father,” son Eric Osmond said in a statement. “He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed.”

Ken Osmond’s Eddie Haskell stood out among many memorable characters on the classic family sitcom “Leave It to Beaver,” which ran from 1957 to 1963 on CBS and ABC, but had a decades-long life of reruns and revivals.

From Wikipedia:

Edward Clark Haskell (also referred to as Edward W. Haskell) is a fictional character on the 'Leave It to Beaver' television situation comedy, which ran on CBS from October 4, 1957 to 1958 and on ABC from 1958 to 1963.

The character was also featured in the later series 'Still the Beaver', and in the film remake of the original series.

The son of George (however, in Season 1, episode 20, Eddie gives his name as "Edward Clark Haskell, Jr.") and Agnes, Eddie Haskell was the smart-mouthed best-friend of Wally Cleaver. The character, played in the original series by Ken Osmond, has become a cultural reference, recognized as an archetype for insincere sycophants. Ward Cleaver once remarked that "[Eddie] is so polite, it's almost un-American".

Eddie was known for his neat grooming —hiding his shallow and sneaky character. Typically, Eddie would greet his friends' parents with overdone good manners and often a compliment such as, "That's a lovely dress you're wearing, Mrs. Cleaver."

However, when no parents were around, Eddie was always up to no good—either conniving with his friends or picking on Wally's younger brother Beaver. Eddie's duplicity was also exemplified in his efforts to curry favor by trying to talk to adults at the level he thought they would respect, such as referring to their children as Theodore (Beaver's much-disliked given name) and Wallace, even though the parents called them Beaver and Wally.

S4-E38 "Beaver's Doll Buggy" may explain how Eddie's scheming character came to be. He related a story from kindergarten, when a caregiver sent him to school with a home permanent (hair style). When he told his father about it, his father made a big joke about it. Eddie claims that was the last time he told his dad anything. Then he adds "If you can make the other guy feel like a goon first, then you don't feel so much like a goon."

In the 1980s revival series, titled ‘The New Leave It to Beaver’, Eddie is now married to Gert, and they have two sons, Freddie and Edward Jr. (played by Osmond's real-life sons, Eric and Christian, respectively).

Eddie operates an eponymously named contracting company. He remains an avid Woody Woodpecker cartoon fan.

In 1999, TV Guide ranked Eddie Haskell number 20 on its "50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time" list.

That was 21 years ago.  Many great TV characters have come along since who have probably strong-armed their way into the top 20.  Off the top of my noggin, I can think of a few – Tony Soprano, Walter White, Tyrion Lanister.  But how many of them will be so iconic that they appear in more than one TV series?  That’s why Eddie Haskell is going into the TVXOHOF while they're left outside with their faces pressed against the windows.

I just hope Eddie will still be able to stay in that top 50….

Eddie Haskell was a multiversal (existing within more than one fictional universe) and a multidimensional (existing within more than one TV dimension.)

We’re going to take a look first at his life during Prime-Time in the main Toobworld.  It is these credits which are getting him into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.


Leave It to Beaver
96 episodes
O'Bservation: Where it all began....

Still the Beaver
From the IMDb:
This movie reunites most of the members of the Cleaver clan, Wally, June, and of course, the Beaver. Their father Ward has passed away. Wally's married to Mary Ellen and a successful lawyer and has everything to make his life complete except for a child. The Beaver is married but unfortunately is still the same which is why his wife threw him out. With nowhere else to go, he goes home. And he also decides that he wants to raise his children, in his hometown of Mayfield. His wife, who decides that she hasn't done anything in her life, decides to become a veterinarian, but she can only go to school out of the country, so she let's Beaver have the children. So he brings his sons there and they are not exactly impressed with Mayfield and feel that they were dumped there, and bond more with Wally than with their own father. They also have to deal with Eddie Haskell, who has gone from nasty to crooked. It's a good thing they still have their mom.

The New Leave It to Beaver
101 episodes

Parker Lewis Can't Lose
- Father Knows Less
From the IMDb:
What starts off innocently enough (A parent/student project) unravels many of the students at Santo Domingo's relationships with their parents. Parker deals with his over-thinking father, Jerry and his father could probably create cold fusion with their brain power, and Mikey's rocky home life comes out. A potentially disastrous episode begs the question of how Parker can fix this one... (Ken Osmond reprises his role as Eddie Haskell in a cameo appearance.)

According to an episode of ‘Quantum Leap’, on my sixth birthday Eddie Haskell could be seen in the Toobworld televersion of ‘Leave It To Beaver’.  So the lives of the Cleaver family, like so many others, had been dramatized for television within the TV Universe.  And obviously the televersion of Ken Osmond was hired to play the role of Eddie Haskell’s televersion.  Thus within the “reality” of Toobworld, Ken and Eddie co-exist.

I’ve tried to avoid the topic in the past, but now is as good a time as any to address it:

The TV shows from our world serve as the basis for Toobworld.  And when those same TV shows then become TV shows again within Toobworld, something magical happens – they become the basis for yet another incarnation of Toobworld.  Only this time, those living TV characters can cross back over into the world in which they were created which was a created world in itself.

And that’s what happened with the Eddie Haskell of another world.  (And I ain’t talking about the soap opera!)


(The alternate TV dimension of TV characters based on TV characters.)

Hi Honey, I'm Home
- Take My Son Please
From the IMDb:
In an effort to fit in, Chucky helps Skunk pull off a robbery. Meanwhile, Babs skips out on a school project, leaving Mike to care for their egg baby alone; plus Eddie Haskell stops by.

The tricky thing about those exiled TV characters living in the sitcom protection program, they have to be careful that they don’t meet the “real” people they are based on.  That’s the difficulty TV’s Eddie Haskell from Toobworld-Toobworld risked when he visited the Nielsens in Toobworld.

TV's Eddie Haskell would be the Eddie Haskell we saw in that McDonald's commercial with all of those other relocated TV characters now living in Toobworld rather than in their home world of Toobworld-Toobworld.

Makes your head hurt, don't it?  This is why I've curtailed my tele-spelunking - it takes its toll on one's sanity!

And then there’s the Eddie Haskell of the Cineverse….


Leave It to Beaver
Eddie Sr.
From the IMDb:
The several misadventures and life-lessons learned by 8-year-old Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver in an entertaining and hilarious tale of a small-town Ohio family and the daily trials and tribunes of life.
O'Bservation: I'm sure that writer meant "tribulations" instead of "tribunes".

Because of the genetic changes for Ward and June Cleaver, Wally and Beaver were altered in their appearance.  But the Cineverse is never going to be an exact copy of Toobworld so Eddie Haskell’s father looks more like the Eddie Haskell of Toobworld, but from later in his life.

Here’s to you, ya goon.  Thanks for cutting through the vanilla blandness of the 1950s to show us a more realistic TV American.

You’ll find the Squirt is already a member of the Hall….