Friday, October 16, 2020



Last year I had considered Margaret Hamilton’s portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard Of Oz” as a candidate for membership in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  I don’t remember what my reasoning was to bypass her – it could be that I was already inducting a more tele-worthy witch and wanted to spread the witchy wealth out.

But she does have her advocates….

Hugh Davis:
Don't forget her part in The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. She shares scenes with The Wicked Witch of the West, played once again by Margaret Hamilton. This connects, of course, to the film The Wizard of Oz, but, thanks to Hamilton's guest appearance, also connects to Sesame Street, tying together the worlds of Sid & Marty Krofft and the Worlds of Jim Henson.



Welcome to the TVXOHOF!

From Wikipedia:
The [Wicked Witch of the West’] most popular depiction was in the classic 1939 film based on Baum's novel, where she was portrayed by Margaret Hamilton. Hamilton's characterization introduced green skin and this has been continued in later literary and dramatic representations, including Gregory Maguire's revisionist Oz novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” (1995) and its musical stage adaptation “Wicked” (2003), the 2013 film “Oz the Great and Powerful”, and the television series ‘Once Upon A Time’ and ‘Emerald City’.

On a 1976 episode of the American television program ‘Sesame Street’, the Witch, once again played by Hamilton herself, drops her broom and falls onto the street. Big Bird and a Sesame Street resident, David, have the broom and refuses to give it back to her because he remembers who she is and what she did to Dorothy and Toto. In retaliation, she tells them she would turn them into a basketball and feather duster if they do not give it back and adds rain to Mr. Hooper’s store. In order to get the broom back, she must prove that she can be nice and she turns into an old lady. The Muppets, Susan, Gordon, Bob, Luis, and Hooper express fears of her, except for Oscar the Grouch, who develops a romantic relationship with her, and Big Bird.

After she proves that she is nice and she turns back into the Wicked Witch, Big Bird is upset when the time comes for her to leave. She reassures him that one day she will return (only to drop her broom yet again). The episode was not immune to negative reception.

Following the episode’s airing, the show’s production company The Children’s Television Workshop and series creators Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett received numerous complaints from parents, who claimed that the episode was frightening to young children, and was never aired again.

The Museum of the Moving Image in New York City screened part of the Wicked Witch episode on November 24, 2019, as part of a "Lost and Found" event celebrating ‘Sesame Street’'s 50th anniversary. It was accompanied by many other clips, including the unaired episode "Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce", along with a discussion panel with Jim Henson Legacy president Craig Shemin, former ‘Sesame Street’ head writer Norman Stiles, and Sesame Workshop's Rosemarie Truglio.

Hamilton also played the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special” (1976), and reprised her role several times on stage, most notably at the St. Louis Municipal Opera.

Hamilton also appeared as herself on ‘Mister Rogers' Neighborhood’ three times between 1975 and 1976. In these appearances, she demonstrated how her costume and acting skills made her appear to be the Witch, and assured her young viewers that there was nothing about her to be feared, because her portrayal in the film was only make-believe.

With all the appearances on TV plus in the Cineverse and the World-Stage, Margaret H. Witch is a multiversal, not just a multidimensional.  Within the realm of Earth Prime-Time, the 1939 movie has to be considered a movie since, unlike the original books and other adaptations, the adventure is treated as a concussion dream of Dorothy Gale’s.

So the televersion of Margaret Hamilton could be looked upon as a witch who became an actress.  It’s not so much of a stretch when you remember that in Toobworld, Emma Thompson was born in Akron, Ohio; Billy Martin burned down Studio 8-H, the ‘Saturday Night Live’ soundstage; Jack Benny was a robot; Dennis Rodman is an extraterrestrial; Dick Van Patten died of a heart attack while making a sitcom pilot; and Jean-Claude Van Damme was killed in a movie stunt and replaced by a robot.  (Probably made by the same company which made the “Jackbot”.)

So for Toobworld, Margaret H. Witch adopted the stage name of “Margaret Hamilton” and appeared as the Baum character, even though her portrayal maligned her people.

And by appearing in those other shows, she showed that she was also a serlinguist and apparently had the ability to change the color of her skin.

Here are the shows (and the ) which qualified Margaret H. Witch for the TVXOHOF as a multidimensional:

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Miss Gulch / The Wicked Witch of the West

Mister Rogers Neighborhood 
Margaret H. Witch
- 1454 (1975)
- 1459 (1976)
O'Bservation - Margaret H. Witch in both

Sesame Street
- Episode #7.52 (1976)
Wicked Witch of the West

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special
Housekeeper / The Wicked Witch of the West

So we’ve adapted Margaret Hamilton’s televersion to link all of her appearances together.  Not the weirdest thing I’ve done to get a favorite into the Hall.  Heck, I created a whole character from third-party mentions to forge a connection between ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Torchwood’!  What can I say?  It’s my sandbox even if these aren’t my action figures.

At any rate….

Welcome to the Hall, Ms. Witch!

Monday, October 12, 2020



From ESPN:
Whitey Ford, a Hall of Famer for the New York Yankees who won more World Series games than any other pitcher, died at the age of 91, the Yankees announced Friday.

A family member told The Associated Press on Friday that Ford died at his Long Island home Thursday night. Ford had suffered from the effects of Alzheimer's disease in recent years.

Manager Aaron Boone told reporters Friday that Ford died, with his family by his side, while watching the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of the ALDS.

"I feel like there was some comfort in that," Boone said.

From Wikipedia:
Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford (October 21, 1928 – October 8, 2020), nicknamed "The Chairman of the Board", was an American professional baseball pitcher who played his entire 16-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the New York Yankees. He was a ten-time All-Star and six-time World Series champion. In 1961, he won both the Cy Young Award and World Series Most Valuable Player Award. Ford led the American League (AL) in wins three times and in earned run average (ERA) twice. He is the Yankees franchise leader in career wins (236), shutouts (45), innings pitched (3,170 1⁄3), and games started by a pitcher (438; tied with Andy Pettitte). Ford was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

The Yankees retired his uniform number 16 in 1974 and dedicated a plaque in his honor in Monument Park in 1987.

Ford died on October 8, 2020, at the age of 91.

In the greater tele-mosaic of the TV Universe, Whitey Ford was a multidimensional.  (In fact, he’s a multiversal as he appeared in a few movies, placing him in the Cineverse.)

It's always better for an inductee to enter the Television Crossover Hall of Fame based on the appearances of their televersion in TV shows set in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.  So we’ll acknowledge Whitey Ford’s presence in the dimensions of the Tooniverse and Toobworld’s Toobworld, but we have enough roles to fulfill the tally requirements of three separate televised appearances.

Here are the appearances which qualified Whitey Ford to become the second Chairman of the Board to enter the TVXOHOF (after Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra….)

Post Grape-Nuts Commercial
(Several in the 1950s, maybe 1960s, at least one with his son.)

O’Bservation – These are the first indication that Whitey Ford’s televersion is a serlinguist, able to talk to the Trueniverse audience.

The Phil Silvers Show
- Hillbilly Whiz (1957)

From the IMDb:
After getting beat 24-0 by the WAC Baseball Team, Bilko's latest addition to the troop is Private Hank Lumpkin - a man who killed a mountain lion with a Baseball.

O’Bservation - Hoping to make some money off Lumkin by signing him to the Yankees, Bilko is stymied by the Southerner’s aversion to the idea of joining the Yankees.  So the team representatives try to convince Hank that they’re all from the South.  Whitey was one of those reps, along with Phil Rizzutto and Yogi Berra.

I've Got a Secret
- Episode dated 23 September 1959
O’Bservation – Ben Gazzara and Whitey did a little boxing (with gloves on) and then Gazzara brought out another sports figure to spar with moderator Garry Moore – Joe Louis!

The Jackie Gleason Show
- Jackie Gleason's 51st Birthday Celebration (1967)
O’Bservation - In this special episode of ‘The Jackie Gleason Show’, Whitey appeared with two actual members of the TVXOHOF – Ed Norton and Lucille Ball – and with the actors who played other member of the Hall – Danny Thomas (Danny Williams) and the Great One himself, Jackie Gleason (Ralph Kramden.)

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
- Episode dated 10 August 1967

O'Bservation - This is a stronger entry than appearances on ‘The Mike Douglas Show’ or ‘The Dick Cavett Show’ because the televersion of ‘Tonight’ was inducted into the Hall earlier this year.

Miller Lite Commercial
O'Bservation - Numerous light beer commercials in the 1970s and 80s.  These are another example of Whitey’s serlinguistic ability.

Remington Steele
- Second Base Steele (1984)

From the IMDb:
A high school baseball team alumnus hires The Remington Steele Agency to find out who is responsible for a series of accidents at a sports camp which his old team is attending.

The Billy Martin Celebrity Roast (1987)
O’Bservation – Whitey appeared with several other TVXOHOF members, like Sammy Davis, Jr., Mickey Mantle, and that other Chairman of the Board, plus potential members like Howard Cosell and Billy Martin himself.

I mentioned earlier that Whitey Ford was a multidimensional.  In the Tooniverse, he voiced his "tooniversion" in an episode of 'The Simpsons' in which he was knocked unconscious after being pelted with pretzels.

And then there's Toobworld's Toobworld.  This is the alternate TV dimension in which we got to see the dramatized stories about the making of various TV shows.  But that could be expanded to include the tele-biographies of other people as well.  There are so many retellings of the life of JFK that one of them has to located in this dimension, for example.  And then there's the TV movie about Roger Maris' race to break the home run record established by Babe Ruth - "61*".  Anthony Michael Hall portrayed Whitey Ford in that.

Good night and may God bless, Mr. Ford.  

Welcome to the Hall, sir.  You should find plenty of friends in the Sports Wing….