Saturday, July 22, 2017

THE LANDAU GENTRY - MARTIN LANDAU AS "HIMSELF"



It must be accepted that everybody in Earth Prime has a counterpart in Earth Prime-Time.  With the proliferation of home videos shown on series like 'America's Funniest Home Videos' and uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, eventually you probably will be a citizen of Toobworld.

And that has to be especially true for actors even if they already exist in that TV Landscape as other characters.  Many of the more celebrated actors might show up in sitcoms and even dramas as members of the League of Themselves.  Peter Falk played Daniel J. O'Brien and Lt. Columbo but he also appeared as himself in an episode of 'The Larry Sanders Show'.  It's a hazard that must be accepted by televisiologists.

Check out this short clip from 'Get Smart':


So Martin Landau was one of the many famous actors who did quick cameos on that spy sitcom but he wasn't playing himself; in fact, he was Maxwell Smart.  

However, the Chief mentioned Martin Landau by name which verifies his existence in Toobworld even if he wasn't technically "seen".

The best part is that this wasn't a Zonk!  There was no mention of 'Mission: Impossible'.  Alls we know is that Mr. Landau was playing a spy on television at the time.  Actually it might not have even been a TV role; his fictional televersion could have been starring a spy movie franchise.

I'm beginning to think I could run with "Landau Gentry" blog posts until I get tired of it.  Not really concerned how you feel about it.  LOL

Would that be something that you would be interested in?


Friday, July 21, 2017

THE LANDAU GENTRY - JOHN KOENIG AND THE MOONBASE ALPHA FLASHBACK




For the greater good of Toobworld, only part of the events of 'Space: 1999' actually took place.

You basically know this.  Think of all the times you've seen the moon in the sky like a big pizza pie on your favorite TV shows since 1999.

I wrote about this on Martin Landau's 84th birthday a few years ago:

Also, for those who didn't already know, there's a splainin why the events of 'Space: 1999' (another Landau series) never happened in the main Toobworld.

Up to a point, they did. There was a Moonbase Alpha, kept secret from the general public. In fact, there are still several moon bases in operation on the Moon. Commander John Koenig was in charge of the facility when the nuclear waste dumps on the dark side of the Moon exploded. But that did not trigger the cataclysm of the Moon leaving the Earth's orbit.



Everything we saw from that point on in the series all took place in the coma dream of Koenig, who had been seriously injured in the blast. That way we can keep the series' basics in the main TV Universe.

I brought it up again after the death of Sir Christopher Lee:

A sleeper ship of alien pacifists crash-landed near Moonbase Alpha and one of the lunar colony's commissioners plotted to take one of their suspended animation chambers for himself when they relaunched for Earth.

The captain of that space-faring vessel was Zandor, played by Christopher Lee.


I have established in the past that everything that occurred in 'Space: 1999' after the explosions at the nuclear fuel dumps on the far side of the Moon never actually happened.  If the Moon had been thrust out of its orbit by those explosions in 1999, it never would have been seen again in other TV shows.  And Toobworld itself would have been devestated by seismic disruptions.

So, my splainin?  Commander Koenig was thrown into a coma in which he dreamed the events and characters who would appear in the episodes to follow.  So the Psychon metamorph Maya, Raan of Zenno, and the huge spacecraft Delmer Plebus Powells Gwent and its Companion Gwent, all were products of Koenig's sub-conscious.  And that included Captain Zandor.

That's fine as far as it goes, but where did Koenig's imagination come up with the image of Zandor?  I think the alien was based on Christopher Lee himself.

The televersion of the British thespian, known for his horror roles, would have been the same in both worlds.  We saw evidence of this in several TV series.

It's a theory which I just can't seem to let go.......

SAMANTHA CARTER:
I was hoping that we could go over the plans for the new moonbase.
JACK O'NEAL:
What moonbase?


Even though the timeline was disrupted by Ba'al until it was set right by the SG-1 team, it was basically happening in 2008, the year in which the video came out.  Nine years earlier, Moonbase Alpha suffered severe damage when the nuclear waste dump on the far side of the Moon exploded.  (As you probably know, this happened in the first episode of 'Space: 1999'.)

So when Sam mentioned "the new moonbase", that determiner suggests that there was at least one previous moonbase.  And a moratorium on building a new moonbase which lasted about nine years seems about right.

Now some of you might think that there shouldn't be any moonbase without a moon.  But that's because you must think everything that happened after that explosion as seen in 'Space: 1999' actually took place.  But in the grand scheme of things in the Toobworld Dynamic, Commander Koenig of Moonbase Alpha had been seriously injured in the explosion and everything we saw in the show was part of his coma dream.

So the Moon has always been up there and this relieves the Dynamic of such an astral Zonk.  Except for the beginning, 'Space: 1999' was a dream series like 'Newhart' which only had its reality in the ending.


That explosion of the waste-fuel dumps near Moonbase Alpha was nearly eighteen years ago. Commander John Koenig was 42 years old by Toobworld reckoning at the time of the explosion (born March 17,1957).  This makes him five years younger than Landau at the time of filming.  

I don't think Koenig was in that coma for too long, perhaps only six months.  But it was more than enough time for him to experience all of those bizarre dream adventures which we saw as the future episodes of 'Space:1999'.


Despite having almost lost his life in the explosions, Koenig was quietly denied the opportunity to resume his command of the moonbase.  Instead, he accepted his discharge from the World Space Commission and returned to civilian life.

But what would he have done with himself to fill his life at such a relatively young age to retire?  We never saw him again in Toobworld after the turn of the new Millennium, and I don't think he changed his name to engage in other adventures.  (Logistically this would have been difficult from a production perspective.  The difference in ages between Landau and Koenig was such that any appearance by the actor in TV shows after 2000 was radically older than Koenig.  And we can't really ascribe that to physical impairment caused by the explosions even if we wanted to conflate such roles into Koenig.)

I think he may have been approached by an agent or agents unknown from "UNReal" to write books about his experiences as the head of Moonbase Alpha.  But not the actual truth - what they were interested in was transcribing his vivid coma dreams and presenting them as sci-fi stories.  (UNReal had access to those transcripts of Koenig's sessions with his psychiatrist - there was nothing which could be safeguarded against their intrusion.)


More bemused by the notion than offended by their prying into his life, Koenig took an active role in the writing and publishing of these novels and short stories by Whitestone Press, where his book editor was Martin Tupper.  Eventually UNReal arranged for the book series to be made into a few low-budget movies and even into a TV series.  The pervasive effect got the same result as with all of the other UNReal projects - when faced with the possible evidence that the moon colonies really did exist, the general public dismissed it as the rantings of fanatics swept up in the fiction of the books, movies and TV show.  

By the way, the first actual mention of 'Space: 1999' by another TV show which actually shared the same Toobworld did not occur until 'Malcolm In The Middle' in 2001.  (As far as I can tell.)  So that jives with the timeline.

John Koenig turned 60 years old on St. Patrick's Day in Toobworld this year.  Even though we haven't seen him on our screens lately, I feel confident he should be still alive.  Then again, people of that age haven't done so well this past year so far - Furst, Paxton, Ferrer, Headley....

But as I would do with any other character, I think Koenig should enjoy the same lifespan as his portrayer, Martin Landau.  Therefore, at some point in the summer of 2046, John Koenig will go on the Big Hiatus.

John Koenig circa 2045

No.  Scratch that.  I'd like for John Koenig to live into his nineties, long enough to be able to see the Moon hatch in 2049.

(Yeah.....  That's a 'Doctor Who' plot problem I will have to address one day for Toobworld's sake.  What happened to the moon colonies by then for starters.  And really?  The Moon is an egg???)

In the meantime, good night and may God bless Martin Landau.....

O'Bservation:
We'll have two more short posts about Landau's characters over the weekend and then return to the topic during our TV Western celebration in August.

Does that sound like something you would be interested in?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

THE LANDAU GENTRY - SUPER SIX LIST OF LANDAU'S HISTORICAL FIGURES




In the greater Toobworld Universe, Martin Landau's contributions are multi-dimensional; not all of them can be found in Earth Prime-Time.  And that includes almost a dozen historical figures he played on the small screen over the years.  Many of them can remain in the main Toobworld, but there are others who have been recast several times in the past and so somebody has to be relegated to other Toobworlds.  And with those characters who may have only appeared once on TV, but in TV movies, sometimes it's just easier to leave them in the MOTW Toobworld.  (But they could be in both dimensions.)

So by my count, Martin Landau played ten historical figures on television.  But as this is a Super Six List, we'll discard four of them to focus on the others.  A few of them I'll visit in future blog posts as Mr. Landau was one of those performers who made all of his roles fascinating to watch and study.  But there is one role I discarded simply because I couldn't find a picture to accompany it.  (As Jokanaan - John the Baptist - in "Salome" on 'Omnibus')  In this list I included only one of his TV Western characters, but that's because I'm going to save those profiles for the annual Western showcase in August.

So let's get started on our Super Six List.

SUPER SIX LIST
HISTORICAL CHARACTERS 
AS SEEN ON TV
PLAYED BY MARTIN LANDAU

The plot summaries of the TV series and movies come from the IMDb.  The historical data is from Wikipedia.  Both are sources of high reputation. (cough cough)

"ANNA NICOLE"
The life of Anna Nicole Smith, from small town dancer to Playboy centerfold, to her marriage to a billionaire, and her eventual self destruction.



J. Howard Marshall
James Howard Marshall II (January 24, 1905 – August 4, 1995) was an American businessman, academic, attorney, and government official. His life spanned nine decades and almost the entire history of the oil industry, from the early years when uncontrolled production depleted valuable fields and natural gas was burned at the well head, to the decades of energy shortages and the Arab Oil Embargo. Marshall was married to model and celebrity Anna Nicole Smith during the last 14 months of his life. His estate became the subject of protracted litigation which was reviewed by the Supreme Court in Marshall v. Marshall and Stern v. Marshall.

"JOSEPH"
The Biblical story of Joseph, who was sold to slavery by his brothers who were jealous of his prophetic abilities to analyze dreams and of his being their fathers' favorite.


Jacob
Jacob ("heel"; Arabic: يَعْقُوب‎‎ Yaʿqūb), later given the name Israel, is regarded as a Patriarch of the Israelites. According to the Book of Genesis, Jacob was the third Hebrew progenitor with whom God made a covenant. He is the son of Isaac and Rebecca, the grandson of Abraham, Sarah and Bethuel, the nephew of Ishmael, and the younger twin brother of Esau. Jacob had twelve sons and at least one daughter, by his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and by their handmaidens Bilhah and Zilpah.


Jacob's twelve sons, named in Genesis, were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. His only daughter mentioned in Genesis is Dinah. The twelve sons became the progenitors of the "Tribes of Israel".

As a result of a severe drought in Canaan, Jacob and his sons moved to Egypt at the time when his son Joseph was viceroy. After 17 years in Egypt, Jacob died, and the length of Jacob's life was 147 years. Joseph carried Jacob's remains to the land of Canaan, and gave him a stately burial in the same Cave of Machpelah as were buried Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, and Jacob's first wife, Leah.

Jacob is mentioned in a number of sacred scriptures, including the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament, the Quran, hadith, Bahá'í scripture, and the Book of Mormon.


"BONANNO: A GODFATHER'S STORY"
The true life story of mafia boss Joesph Bonanno. The story spans from Bonanno's early beginings in Italy, to his conquests in America.

Joseph Bonanno
Joseph Charles Bonanno, Sr. (January 18, 1905 – May 11, 2002) was an Italian-born American mafioso who became the boss of the Bonanno crime family.

O'Bservation: There are two portrayals of Joseph Bonanno in the greater TV Universe.  The other was by Ben Gazzara in "Love, Honor, & Obey: The Last Mafia Marriage".  Rather than take a stand and decide which one belongs in the main Toobworld, I'll be craven and place them both in "foster homes".  But Bonanno does exist in Toobworld - in the "Members Only" episode of 'The Sopranos', he was name-checked 

"SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR: THE ALISON GERTZ STORY"

An AIDS-stricken woman becomes a leader in the struggle to educate people about the disease and its prevention.


Jerry Gertz
[Molly] Ringwald spoke about meeting the real Alison Gertz.  "I spent a weekend with Ali two weeks before we started the movie. Did I feel nervous? Yes. Guilty? Oh, sure. I remember having dinner with Carol and Jerry - Ali's mother and father. They sat there looking at her and looking at me and we're close to the same age and I'm healthy... I guess it was hard for everyone."

"MAX AND HELEN"
Based on the fact-based novel by Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal based on his 1962 prosecution of the head of a German factory whom he learns was a murderous labor camp commandant. To be able to take him to justice, he must find witnesses who can help him. This leads him to Max Rosenberg, a still tormented individual who lost his wife, Helen, in the camps. Initially Max refuses to cooperate, but gradually his story unfolds beginning before the Holocaust.


Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal (31 December 1908 – 20 September 2005) was a Jewish Austrian Holocaust survivor, Nazi hunter, and writer.

He studied architecture and was living in Lwów at the outbreak of World War II. He survived the Janowska concentration camp (late 1941 to September 1944), the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp (September to October 1944), the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, a death march to Chemnitz, Buchenwald, and the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp (February to 5 May 1945).

After the war, Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazi war criminals so that they could be brought to trial. In 1947 he co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Centre in Linz, Austria, where he and others gathered information for future war crime trials and aided refugees in their search for lost relatives. He opened the Documentation Centre of the Association of Jewish Victims of the Nazi Regime in Vienna in 1961 and continued to try to locate missing Nazi war criminals. He played a small role in locating Adolf Eichmann, who was captured in Buenos Aires in 1960, and worked closely with the Austrian justice ministry to prepare a dossier on Franz Stangl, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1971.


'TALES OF WELLS FARGO' - "DOC HOLLIDAY"
Jim Hardie at a stop finds a stagecoach holdup netted $50,000 in crisp new bills and Doc Holliday and his wife Amy are there. When Amy receives some of the bills from Doc she accuses him of staging the robbery but Jim is doubtful.


Doc Holliday
John Henry "Doc" Holliday (August 14, 1851 – November 8, 1887) was an American gambler, gunfighter, and dentist, and a good friend of Wyatt Earp. He is best known for his role as a temporary deputy marshal in the events leading up to and following the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

At age 21 Holliday earned a degree in dentistry from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. He set up practice in Atlanta, Georgia, but he was soon diagnosed with tuberculosis, the same disease that had claimed his mother when he was 15, having acquired it while tending to her needs while she was still in the contagious phase of the illness. Hoping the climate in the American Southwest would ease his symptoms, he moved to that region and became a gambler, a reputable profession in Arizona in that day.  Over the next few years, he reportedly had several confrontations. While in Texas, he saved Wyatt Earp's life and they became friends. In 1880, he joined Earp in Las Vegas, New Mexico and then rode with him to Prescott, Arizona, and then Tombstone. In Tombstone, local outlaw cowboys repeatedly threatened him and spread rumors that he had robbed a stage. On October 26, 1881, Holliday was deputized by Tombstone city marshal Virgil Earp. The lawmen attempted to disarm five cowboys, which resulted in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Wyatt Earp learned of an extradition request for Holliday and arranged for Colorado Governor Frederick Walker Pitkin to deny Holliday's extradition. Holliday spent the few remaining years of his life in Colorado, and died of tuberculosis in his bed at the Glenwood Springs Hotel at age 36.


O'Bservation:
Doc Holliday is one of those True West characters who had many impersonators in the wild wild West.  (Two examples - as played by Peter Breck in 'Maverick' and by Jack Kelly in 'High Chapparal'.)  Douglas Fowley/Myron Healey is the official face of Holliday as they played the role in 'The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp'. (Recastaway splainin - Wyatt's perspective, and his impressions of Doc as being sick... and sicker.)  

I might have been inclined to claim that this version of Doc Holliday was seen from Jim Hardie's point of view because of the presence of Holliday's wife.  However, her name is Amy and in the Trueniverse her name was Big Nose Kate.  I believe they must have been a con artist team who pulled a fast one over the Wells Fargo agent.

Hopefully I can track down that episode so I can make an informed decision on that point.

So we covered six of Martin Landau's characters in this post and we're far from finishing!  I'll have another post tomorrow, addressing the major Zonk of the presence of the Moon in modern day Toobworld and Landau's place in that discrepancy discussion.

Does that sound like something you would be interested in?


|
Probably the creepiest picture of Martin Landau
which I'll be posting during this tribute.
And we still have 'The Outer Limits' to get through!





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

THE LANDAU GENTRY - IVAN KOCHENKO (AKA ROLLIN HAND)



O'Bservation:
This entry for “The Landau Gentry” could just as easily have played out yesterday for the “Two For Tuesday” as it fits in “Wayback Wednesday”.  In fact, the time it took to write yesterday’s post could have been spared for a later entry since most of this is a repeat.


IVAN KUCHENKO
'The Twilight Zone'
("The Jeopardy Room")

Trying to defect, former KGB Major Ivan Kuchenko is trapped inside a hotel room. Commissar Vassiloff, a hitman, and Boris, his assistant, are watching him from a room across the street. Vassiloff is a sadistic killer who has tricked Kuchenko into drinking a sleeping potion in the hotel room after pretending to surrender to Kuchenko. 



Kuchenko wakens to learn that Vassiloff has planted a bomb in the room: Ivan must find it within three hours, or he will be shot by Vassiloff and Boris, who have a gun trained on him at all times. Vassiloff has hidden the bomb in the room's telephone, where it will be triggered by picking up an incoming call. Ivan manages to escape and avoid being shot. Later, Vassiloff and Boris enter the room and try to figure out what went wrong. The phone rings, and Boris—without thinking—picks it up; Vassiloff, realizing what is happening, yells at Boris, but the telephone bomb quickly goes off, killing both Vassiloff and Boris. On the other end of the phone line is Ivan Kuchenko, escaping to freedom. When the operator notifies him of the bad connection, he reassures her that the message was indeed delivered. The scene cuts to Vassiloff and Boris's charred corpses.
(Wikipedia)


ROLLIN HAND
'Mission Impossible'

Rollin Hand’s role as an IMF agent was that of an actor and disguise expert. In a theatrical brochure that headed his dossier, he was described as a quick-change artist and billed as "The Man Of A Million Faces." As such, he had formidable skills in mimicry and voice imitation (introduced in the second season) as well as a mastery of make-up that rivaled that of Lon Chaney, Sr. He was also an expert at sleight of hand and pickpocketing, which came into play in several missions where he would pick pockets or hide things on someone else's person without their knowledge. His language and cultural skills were formidable. He regularly passed himself off as a citizen of various Latin American and Eastern European countries and no one ever questioned his authenticity. 


He also successfully impersonated well-known public figures, such as the dictator of a fictitious Latin American country, rumored Nazi fugitive Martin Bormann, and indeed even Adolf Hitler himself. On at least two missions he even successfully impersonated a left-handed person, doing all gestures and reflexive actions left-handed when Rollin himself was right-handed. He successfully falsified a wide variety of maladies in the course of missions to dupe targets, including seizures and drug addiction.
(Wikipedia)

What if I told you that Kuchenko and Hand were the same person.... Is that something you might be interested in? (Channeling another Landau TV character, producer Bob Evans of 'Entourage'.)

After he defected from Russia, Kuchenko changed his name and joined the IMF agency, bringing all the skills he had at his disposal to be used in the cause for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Everything mentioned in that Wikipedia entry for Rollin Hand is what Major Kuchenko used to do for the KGB.

Born to rerun!


Most of this article appeared in the Inner Toob celebration of Martin Landau’s 84th birthday.

Tomorrow there will be another “Landau Gentry” entry.  Echoing my question earlier, would that be something you would be interested in?



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

THE LANDAU GENTRY - NORMAN & DEXTER PARIS


DEXTER & NORMAN PARIS

‘COLUMBO’
“DOUBLE SHOCK”

“Flamboyant television chef Dexter Paris and his twin brother, Norman, a conservative banker, are supposedly not talking to one another. But both disapprove of their wealthy uncle Clifford's impending marriage to a young woman. One of them enters Clifford's bathroom and drops an electric mixer with a frayed power cable into Clifford's bath water. Clifford is electrocuted, and the murderer takes Clifford's body to an exercise room to make it appear that Clifford died of a coronary. But Lieutenant Columbo, the infallible, cunning detective in a rumpled raincoat, suspects foul play and believes that the Paris twins, both heirs to their uncle's estate provided he didn't marry, had a motive for murder. But which one did the deed? Columbo pursues both with incessant questions as he tries to determine which of the two brothers killed their uncle Clifford.” 


Written by Kevin McCorry 
(for the IMDb)


There has always been a story that Martin Landau had been under consideration for the role of Mr. Spock in ‘Star Trek’.  Mr. Landau would often be the source of that story.  And there have been stories reputing that claim, basing that mostly on the book “The Real Story” by Bob Justman and Herb Solow.  As with many Hollywood legends, we’ll probably never know the truth; there’s no profit in it.

And in such cases, it’s always more interesting to run with the legend.

Instead of ‘Star Trek’, Landau went on to appear in another Paramount TV series, filmed practically next door to the sci-fi series: ‘Mission: Impossible’

From “Therin of Andor” in a 2004 entry in a Trek forum:

I've heard many TOS actors talking at conventions about how Martin Landau and Barbara Bain used to spend a lot of time "next door" at the "Star Trek" soundstages, playing with the prop phasers, when they were working on "Mission: Impossible" at Desilu, and how Landau realised he'd missed out on a fun gig. Barbara Bain is even in the ST bloopers. The couple was pressing everywhere to get their own SF series and finally got it with "Space: 1999".

So maybe Landau was in the running for the Spock role; maybe not.  In the second part of that legend, he was being promoted to replace Nimoy as Spock during the second season when contract renegotiations were getting difficult.  But by that point Landau was ankled to ‘Mission: Impossible’ as Rollin Hand.  (More on him in a future post.)

So Landau never replaced Nimoy in ‘Star Trek’, but Nimoy did replace him in ‘Mission: Impossible’ after Landau and his wife Barbara Bain (Cinnamon Carter) left the spy series in search of their own series.  (And more on that show in a later post as well.)

Nimoy joined the IMF team as Paris, a magician in training and like Rollin, a master of disguise.  I’ve speculated on a theory of relateeveety for Paris in the past, claiming that he was the identical cousin of Dr. William Bell.  “Bellie” was the former partner of Dr. Walter Bishop in the exploration of the “Fringe” sciences.




And while not identical, I do believe that Dexter and Norman Paris were the cousins to that practitioner of legerdemain and espionage.  As to being related to Bell?  I think it better to say Bell was related to the spy on Paris’ maternal side of the family tree.

I don't know how long either of them served time in prison.  After all, between them they committed two murders and all for monetary gain.  According to "The Ultimate Columbo Site", they would both have been sentenced to twenty years.  So they would have been out by the mid-1990s had they served their full terms.  

But did Norman get out early for good behavior?  Maybe Dexter died in prison; the scourge of AIDS took a heavy toll in the penal system and willing or not, he could have engaged in activities which put him at risk.

Perhaps one of them was "shanked" by an inmate with a grudge....

But I am sure of this: their cousin the Great Paris wouldn't lift a finger or wave his magic wand to help them get out of prison, even though he was more than capable in the execution of escape tricks.  And he would never try to play upon his government contacts to seek leniency for them.

I’ll have another entry for the Landau Gentry tomorrow.

I will always ask this as we conclude each “Landau Gentry” post:

Would that be something that you would be interested in?

Two for Tuesday!


LANDAU GENTRY - THE CHARACTERS OF MARTIN LANDAU (INTRODUCTION)



In ‘Entourage’, Martin Landau played Bob Ryan, a fading movie producer whose star burned brightest in the 1970s.  Always trying to get back in the game, he kept pestering Ari Gold with ideas which he wanted to produce.

“Does that sound like something you might be interested in?” was his catchphrase.

Here’s something I’m not interested in: Martin Landau passed away the other day at the age of 89.  It’s a respectable age, but as he proved with Bob Ryan, Mr. Landau had so much more in his talents with which he could have graced us.

One of my Facebook friends pointed out that people like himself (and I include myself in that group) have not lived in a world where Martin Landau did not play a role in our collective pop culture memories, from the movies (“North By Northwest”, “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, “Cleopatra” and his Oscar-winning turn as Bela Lugosi in “Ed Wood”), animation (‘The Simpsons’, ‘Spider-Man’, and the movie “9”). 

He had starring roles in TV shows (‘Mission: Impossible’ &  ‘Space: 1999’), and guest roles in many iconic series (among them: ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Columbo’, ‘I Spy’, ‘The Man From UNCLE’, ‘Murder, She Wrote’, ‘The Wild, Wild West’ ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’, and ‘The X-Files’.) 

Some of his TV characters appeared in movie continuations of TV shows, appearing with Kwai Chang Caine, as well as the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, and in a theatrical released film about Vinnie Chase and his “Entourage”.

As time marches on, I will have articles which will put a spotlight on a particular TV character played by Mr. Landau.  It may take a while because there are so many I want to showcase.  This being Tuesday, when we sometimes launch a “Two For Tuesday” feature, I’m going to start with the twin brothers Norman and Dexter Paris.

Does that sound like something you might be interested in?

Stay tuned…..



Monday, July 17, 2017

PETER B. CLIFFORD AND THE GAME OF THE NAME





'McCloud'
"The Barefoot Girls of Bleeker Street"

Chief Clifford is one of those TV characters whose name was always spoken in full, complete with his middle initial of "B."  Yet in the Second Season 'McCloud' episode of "A Little Plot In Tranquil Valley", we saw this in his office:

This is so easy to splain away.  Apparently when he requisitioned a new nameplate for his office, there was a mistake made at some point in the orders.

I'll have to see how long it took before it was corrected in succeeding episodes.....

That was easy enough to de-Zonk, but it's not going to help me find the splainin for why McCloud is seen driving a squad car from the 27th Precinct and then one from the 26th Precinct DURING THE SAME TRIP!!!

BCnU!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

VIDEO SUNDAY - "HONG KONG"




Earlier this year, my friends Mark and Michael toured Asia, going to China, Hong Kong, and Japan.  So as I'm always thinking of old TV shows which I can find on YouTube to share for Video Sunday, I figured why not 'Hong Kong' which starred Rod Taylor and Lloyd Bochner?  

From Wikipedia:
'Hong Kong' is a 26-episode adventure/drama series (plus an initial pilot episode) which aired on ABC television during the 1960–1961 season and helped to catapult Australian actor Rod Taylor into a major film star, primarily in the 1960s, beginning with his role in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". The series was a production of 20th Century Fox Television, and the final credit of each episode stated: "Filmed by Twentieth Century Fox Television Inc. at its Hollywood studios and in the Crown Colony of Hong Kong".


So here are 8 episodes of the series with over 7 hours to while away your Sunday if the weather isn't cooperating.

First off, here's the theme and the opening credits:


There was a half-hour pilot episode which - SURPRISE! - actually had a title other than "Pilot":


And now on with the show, this is it!








BCnU!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

THE UNREAL FILES: "BATMAN"



'OUT OF THE BLUE'
"EPISODE 1.2"

"Racing around like the Caped Crusader, 
you've turned this into a schoolroom brawl between you and him."
DC Ron Ludlow

First off, I just want to say how much I hate it when a TV show can't come up with a good title for an episode.  It's bad enough almost all of them use "Pilot" for the first episode (as if coming up with a title is too much of an effort if the show doesn't sell.)  But at least you know where that episode stands in the listings if you want to research it.  There's nothing about this episode title to give me a clue as to what the plot was about.

I don't want to give it away, but the best damn TV show episode of the year, any genre, didn't have an episode title either (although it seems most fans have come up with the perfect one anyway.)  All it had was a numerical demarcation, almost like a chapter listing.  It's only because that episode will wind up being one of the most talked-about TV shows of the year (and perhaps ever!) that I'll always know what the title stood for.

Okay, rant over....

This episode took place in May, 1995 - long after the career of the original Batman ended in the main Toobworld.  Afterwards, it became common knowledge that millionaire Bruce Wayne had been Batman; his ward Dick Grayson was his sidekick Robin, the Boy Wonder, and that the Batcave (with such accouterments as the Batphone, the Batmobile, and the Batpoles) had been hidden away under stately Wayne Manor.  It's doubtful that this information... information... information... had been released while Bruce's Aunt Harriet Cooper was still alive.  But after she passed away sometime around 1969, and after Bruce Wayne was forced into retirement, the shadowy arm of UNIT known as "UNReal" set to work on a project that was antithetical to their usual policy.

First another recap as we always have new visitors to Inner Toob.....

"UNReal" is my own creation regarding the name of the shadow organization.  They may be known by another designation established in another TV show of which I am not aware.    As I just mentioned, it is a division of UNIT engaged in keeping the general public clueless about certain people and events which might otherwise cause mass panic.  The origins of this shadowy organization could probably traced back to Shakespeare, who was a front for the organization using his talents as a playwright to chronicle real events - not just the History Plays, but also the presence of witches, fairies, and ghosts among the populace.  Believing such tales to be fictional entertainment, the great unwashed (back then, that was literal!) would think anything untoward which they might have seen was simply some kind of stunt or practical joke.  A company of players acting in the rough.  For alls I know, it goes back even farther than that.

The goals of the organization began to take shape during the Victorian period with the aid of Dr. John Watson, who informed his readers that many of the events described in his book had been altered slightly and that names had been changed.  The effect was pervasive, putting most of the general public into the mindset that everything about Sherlock Holmes was fictional, including the Great Detective himself.  This gave Holmes the freedom to work unimpeded by gawkers.

Watson was assisted in this endeavour by Dr. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who posed as Watson's literary agent (working out of the offices of Mr. Rodney Pringle.) But he was in fact a member of the governing board for UNReal's predecessor.  (That is until his obsession with the world of the Fae and his vocal arguments regarding its existence made him a liability to not only the work of the organization but to the existence of the magical folk and to the access into Fairyland.)

It is rumored that over the years, the UNReal Council has include Watchers, Librarians, Warehouse agents, Torchwood agents, Men of Letters, particular magickers, one of the aforementioned Fae or two, and even aliens (although not always known to be not of that Earth.)  As a matter of fact, a few years after the War To End All Wars, a Martian anthropologist named Exigius 12 served on the council without anyone knowing who he was.  (As far as they were concerned, he was Mark LeMartin, a former screen actor who made only one movie - at least until the timeline was revamped.)  

Another adviser down through the years was known to be of alien origin, a Time Lord. However, the Council of UNReal was usually involved in cleaning up the messes in which he was involved rather than accepting his advice (such as getting the public to believe the damage done to Big Ben was not an alien attack but due to maintenance repair.)  However there have been occasions when this alien has been drafted into 

Among those whose exploits were most obfuscated by UNReal were the aforementioned Time Lord, agents from another arm of the overall organization, UNCLE, plus Fringe Division, James Bond, superheroes, and attacks by Cylons, Cybermen, Daleks, Canamids, Terminators from the Future and various monsters like werewolves, reanimated humanoids, and the occasional vampire.

So Batman was eventually under the auspices of UNReal, but with a difference.  Once Batman was too severely injured to continue, UNReal stepped in to maintain the illusion that Bruce Wayne was still operating in Gotham City as the Caped Crusader.  Unlike the others, they didn't want the people to doubt the Batman's existence; instead they wanted them to continue believing it was Bruce Wayne under the cowl.  There was no use denying it anyway; after all, too many people had seen the Bat-signal in the sky above Gotham City over the years.

One of the first measures taken by UNReal was to underwrite a television series about 'Batman' and they found the perfect actor to play the role because of his remarkable similarity to the real Bruce Wayne - the televersion of Adam West.

By the time of the injuries suffered by Mr. Wayne, Richard Grayson was ready to step into the role of Gotham City's protector.  He operated under a double secret identity - not only as Batman, but as Bruce Wayne as the Batman.  He still lived at the stately Wayne manor house, but it had now been outfitted to staff a small army of UNIT officers to maintain the security of the property.

One outcome of this was that none of the arch-villains (unfortunately unseen and therefore unknown by the audience of the Trueniverse) who faced off against this Batman ever bothered to unmask the Caped Crusader to reveal his true identity since it had become common knowledge.

As for the original Batman/Bruce Wayne, he retired to a hidden estate known as Silverstone once owned by a multi-millionaire named J. Beresford Tipton.  Tipton had passed away in the early 1950s and Wayne was able to procure the property from the estate thanks to the mediation by the Gotham Trust Bank and the coercion of Ms. Ferrett from the IRS, who convinced heir Wilfred Tipton it was in his best interests to sell in order to pay off the back alimony owed to several of his ex-wives.

At Silverstone, the former Batman took on a new name and continued the "hobby" of the original benefactor.  It is unknown by what name he was known, but it had no connection to the original Mr. Tipton.  His heirs, If he could no longer help the public in his guise as a superhero because of his debilitating injuries, then he figured he could use his personal fortune to help them in other ways.  

Sadly, the original Bruce Wayne passed away just this year and I don't have any further information on what happened to his philanthropic foundation.  As for Batman 2.0, Grayson eventually retired as well.  He wasn't forced into it as happened to his mentor, but instead he had fallen in love.  In order to safeguard his future bride, Grayson trained another to take his place - a young man who had started out in the role of Robin, following in the footsteps of the original.

Earth Prime-Time is not the same as the Earth of the comic books, and even then there are thousands of those in that particular multiverse.  There's no reason to believe the next Robin HAD to be Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, or Damien Wayne from the comic books.  But whoever they were, each in turn recruited their own Boy Wonder (perhaps even a Girl Wonder) to carry on the tradition in much the same way as practiced by the Walker Family over generations in the jungles of Africa.

As for Richard Grayson and his wife, they retired to Alaska, somewhere near Cicely, the Alaskan Riviera, to raise a family.  Their son became the founder of the family tree which would lead to Amanda Grayson, the mother of Star Fleet officer Spock from Vulcan.

Remember DC Ron Ludlow?  it was his statement to his partner, DC Marty Brazil, which got us off and running on the topic of the Caped Crusader....

As I stated, Ludlow mentioned Batman in May of 1995 during their investigation of the Neil Chettle case (Chettle was ripping off the life savings of pensioners.)  By that time, it's quite likely that Toobworld had its fourth Batman, with UNReal still maintaining the illusion that he was Bruce Wayne.  (Of course, by this point they may have been claiming he was Bruce Wayne Jr.  (After all, it had been forty years since the original Batman was at the apex of his career and you can only suspend the disbelief of the public for so long.)

Now that was over twenty years ago, so I would not be surprised by the presence of another hero in the guise of Batman since then.  Five heroes named Batman protecting Gotham City and getting world-wide recognition as all being the same man.

It wasn't just the coppers of Sheffield, the region from whence the ancestors of Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield originated, who knew about Batman.  British Toobworldlings from all over the Sceptr'd Isle knew of his existence and the resultant TV series, from Father Dougal and Del Boy to the living puppet Zippy! 

Since the 1960s there have been other incarnations of Batman across the greater Toobworld multiverse.  Most of them were in the Tooniverse (which had one crossover into the main Toobworld), and then there was the presence of Batman's identical counterpart, seen at a televised roast, as well as Wayne Enterprises in Charm City - but both of those are to be found in Doofus Toobworld.  A younger version of Bruce Wayne, still a boy and not yet the Batman, can be found in the Land O' Remakes, the dimension known as Toobworld2.  (For the time being 'Gotham' shares the same TV dimension as 'The Adventures of Lois and Clark'.)

But so far I have yet to see an actual portrayal of one of the succeeding Batmen in the main Toobworld, although I might have to look closer at some possibilities in the Bat-Blipvert department.....

SHOWS CITED:
'Batman'
'Out Of The Blue'
'The Millionaire'
'The Man From UNCLE'
'The Girl From UNCLE'
'Doctor Who'
'Sherlock Holmes'
'The Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes'
'Houdini & Doyle'
'Supernatural'
'Fringe'
'Galactica 1980'
'Gotham'
'Powerless'
'The Adventures Of Lois & Clark'
"Legends Of The Super-Heroes: The Challenge"
"Legends Of The Super-Heroes: The Roast"
'My Favorite Martian'
'The Odd Couple'
'Northern Exposure'
'Star Trek'
'The Phantom'
'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'
'Warehouse 13'
'The Librarians'
'Torchwood'
'The Twilight Zone'
'The Odd Couple'
'The Suite Life of Zack and Cody'
'The Suite Life on Deck'
'Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles'
'The Magicians'
'The Nanny'
'Coronation Street'
'Only Fools And Horses'
'Doctor Who'
'Dempsey And Makepeace'
'Father Ted'
'The Thick Of It'
'Rainbow'
'Climax!' ("Casino Royale")

O'BSERVATIONS - All of this conjecture about Bruce Wayne and Batman only applies to Earth Prime-Time, and by that I mean only the main Toobworld in the greater TV Universe.  It certainly is NOT the position of DC Comics and I certainly don't expect it to meet the criteria of the shared universes which are shepherded by my colleagues in this past-time.
BCnU!