Thursday, January 28, 2021



From CNN:
Cloris Leachman, the acclaimed actress whose one-of-a-kind comedic flair made her a legendary figure in film and television for seven decades, has died, according to a statement from her longtime manager and representatives. She was 94.

"It's been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time. There was no one like Cloris," said a statement from her manager, Juliet Green. "With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh 'til the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic."

Leachman died Wednesday of natural causes in Encinitas, California, according to the statement.

During her extensive career, Leachman, who was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011, earned 22 Emmy nominations and eight Primetime Emmy awards and one Daytime Emmy Award.

Two of her statues were won for playing what was arguably her most iconic role -- cunning landlady Phyllis Lindstrom. The character originated on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and later received a spin-off series.

When Georgia Engel died, I mourned the fact that I didn’t induct Georgette Franklin Baxter into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame while she was still alive (not that she would ever have seen it.)  But I thought she had so many more years ahead of her.

In this case, I kept delaying the induction of Phyllis Lindstrom because I thought Cloris Leachman would never die.  She was indomitable, giving us strong performances right up until the end; she was on ‘Dancing With The Stars’, for Judith Christ’s sake!

And so here we are with the inevitable -  a Memorial TVXOHOF Tribute….


From Wikipedia:
Phyllis Lindstrom, nee Sutherland, portrayed by Cloris Leachman, is a fictional character on the television sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and subsequent spin-off, “Phyllis”.

Phyllis Lindstrom (born in 1931 in San Francisco) is Mary Richards' snobbish, self-absorbed and interfering friend and downstairs neighbor in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. She married dermatologist Dr. Lars Lindstrom in 1955; Phyllis frequently mentions and quotes Lars, but he is never seen by the audience. (Lars was also the name of Cloris Leachman's husband-to-be on the 1962 Laramie episode titled "Trial by Fire".)

It is later revealed to Mary and another friend and neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern, that the Lindstroms manage the large Minneapolis boarding house in which they all live. Mary also develops a close relationship with Phyllis's daughter Bess.

Rhoda and Phyllis maintain an adversarial but talkative relationship. Phyllis had actively prevented Rhoda from switching apartments to the newly vacated apartment she had earmarked for Mary that Mary ultimately took.

Phyllis was a recurring character in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, appearing in a total of 35 episodes. She was in 12 of 24 episodes for season 1, 12 of 24 episodes for season 2, 4 of 24 episodes for season 3, 3 of 24 episodes for season 4, 3 of 24 episodes for season 5, and one episode in season 7.

In season 4 opener "The Lars Affair", Phyllis clashes with Sue Ann Nivens who hosts ‘The Happy Homemaker’ on WJM-TV, after Sue Ann and Lars have an affair. The second meeting of Phyllis and Sue Ann was in episode "Phyllis Whips Inflation", Phyllis's final appearance in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” before moving to her spin-off series. Colleagues attempt to prevent their accidentally meeting at the studio; when they do it is played off as a joke and the self-centered Phyllis plaintively asks Sue Ann if there are any jobs available on her show.

"I'll kill you...."

Phyllis appeared in the first two episodes of fellow “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” spinoff “Rhoda”.  (O'Bservation - Phyllis forgot to pick up Rhoda and bring her to the wedding.)

Phyllis (and Rhoda) return for one scene in the final episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. This was Phyllis's only return to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” after the spinoff.

In 1975 Leachman left “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to star in spin-off series “Phyllis”. In the spin-off Phyllis and Bess relocate to Phyllis's hometown San Francisco after the death of Lars.

Phyllis and Bess live with Lars' mother Audrey, as well as Audrey's new husband, Judge Jonathan Dexter. Phyllis's major nemesis is Jonathan's mother, Sally (Judith Lowry), a sharp-tongued, irritable, impatient woman known as Mother Dexter. Mother Dexter gets along well with Bess.

Mary Tyler Moore appears in two episodes as Mary Richards: one in season 1 and one in season 2.

After Barbara Colby was murdered,
the role of Julie Erskine was recast with Liz Torres.
Toobworld splainin?
Plastic surgery 

In the first season, Phyllis works at Erskine Photography Studio. In the second and last season the series was retooled with Phyllis switching to work as administrative assistant for a city supervisor.

Here are the TV shows which qualify Phyllis to join her friends from WJM in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame….

The Mary Tyler Moore Show
35 episodes (1970-1977)

- Rhoda's Wedding Parts I & II (1974)

48 episodes (1975-1977)

I like to think that in her life after cancellation, Phyllis Lindstrom eventually remarried; I’m not sure if it was to her boss, Dan Valenti, although they did have a flirty rapport at times… when she wasn’t driving him crazy.  

(Thinking in sitcommish terms, maybe they could have established that the character played by Carmine Caridi in one episode of the first season – Vince – was Dan’s twin brother.  Maybe she could have married him, giving Caridi a larger role(s) and giving a whole new level to Phyllis’ life during prime-time.)

In the years since her sitcom went off the air, I imagine Phyllis became a doting, if overbearing, grandmother to any children whom her daughter Bess might have had.  (By this point in the Toobworld timeline, she could even be a great-grandmother by now!)

It's a shame Ms. Leachman didn’t appear in any other TV sitcoms as Phyllis, even if those shows weren’t produced by the MTM company.  And the crossover wouldn’t have to be with another sitcom; it’s happened before – ‘Alice’ & ‘The Dukes Of Hazzard’, ‘The Associates’ & ‘The Paper Chase’, and the biggest of all, ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ & ‘Lou Grant’.

If she  stayed in the San Francisco area, it would have been fun to see Phyllis Lindstrom show up in an episode of 'Dharma & Greg', 'Hooperman', 'Suddenly Susan', and 'Full House', with a return guest appearance in 'Fuller House''!

There’s only one person left from WJM-TV (Channel 12) who needs to be inducted into the TVXOHOF.  My plan is to take care of that next January as our Classic TV Crossover showcase….

In the meantime, welcome to the Hall, Mrs. Lindstrom.  I'm sure we'll find a way to con people - I mean, convince them - to come to the induction ceremony....

  And good night and may God bless, Cloris Leachman....

Monday, January 25, 2021



Besides the new dawn of the Biden administration, the flurry of executive initiatives, and the looming Trump impeachment trial (Number Two for a number two), the big thing to come out of the inauguration was the Bernie Mittens meme tsunami.

I know that many people were sick of the memes within hours of that first deluge, so I’m offering only the Toobworthy ones here, and even those can be a flood.

I think I’m done with the watery metaphors now.

Bernie and his mittens found themselves in sitcoms, cop shows, kid shows, reality shows, sci-fi & fantasy, period pieces, character-driven dramas, game shows, anime, cult classics, and news programs, both local and national. (Plus a couple of actual news stories.)

I’m also including a trio of memes from my all-time favorite movie, which used to be a once-yearly TV event in my youth.  My blog, my rules.

TV show-connected memes which I’m surprised I haven’t seen done yet:

Bernie Mittens in ‘Let’s Make A Deal’, ‘The  Price Is Right’, ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show’, in the water tower of ‘Petticoat Junction’, the group family photo for ‘Soap’, ‘Lost in Space’, ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘Dynasty’, ‘Charlie’s Angels’, ‘The Love Boat’, 'Captain Kangaroo', and TV Westerns (‘Bonanza’, ‘Maverick’ - at the poker table, natch! - and as the guy at the end of the street having a showdown with Marshal Dillon, in the opening for ‘Gunsmoke’.)

They may have been done, I just haven’t seen them.  (If you have, let me know where to grab them.)

So here ya go!

And that movie I mentioned....?

I hope you enjoyed that. 

Heck, I hope you survived it!