E-Mail Chitchat

tom terrific

He's Tom Terrific!
The greatest hero ever!

My TV-watching pal Weezer is now gainfully employed. This means his late nights have been scaled back due to the unseemly hour at which he has to rise and put on a white shirt and tie.

This change in schedule is good for our TV nights, but the best part of his being employed is e-mail. I had five from him on Monday and six on Tuesday. The reason I enjoy his e-mail is because we chitchat about TV and those hamster cages in little Weezer's head begin to spin. We were talking about how much KUT-FM's John Aielli had loved the previous night's episode of The X-Files, raving about it on his morning radio show.

"This whole season has been very, very good, maybe the best-written collection of episodes so far," Weezer noted. "And, frustrating as it is, I'm enjoying this year's implied theme of "let's get Mulder and Scully together in every dimension/timeline/reality except this one." I wonder how long they'll keep it up before throwing up their hands and tossing them into bed together ... you know they're dying to."

I liked Weezer's notion of the "implied theme." We've been a big fan of the three main Aaron Spelling themes: silicone cleavage, navel-baring, and underwear-defying dresses. And we're so into the Melrose Place rock scene. Last Monday's show featuring Pushmonkey elicited almost as many hoots as Amanda's (Heather Locklear) announcement early in the show to "let me play God." (We sincerely enjoyed Pushmonkey's performance since it looked as if they were having fun even though it looked as if the club's patrons were cast from Bob Popular.)

"Since this is the last year of 90210 (for sure)," Weezer continued pensively, "and Melrose (possibly), we're going to have to find some new shows. I likeThe Practice, NYPD Blue, and have also grown rather fond of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the few times I've seen it (my roommate Bill is a big fan). Felicity isn't bad either, if you're thirsting for more of that Party of Five-style handwringing, which I know you can't get enough of. Have you ever stopped to ponder why we only seem to watch hour-long shows together ó excluding the great Larry Sanders, of course?"

Buffy is cool in my book but Felicity is too treacly for words. I can take credit for Weezer watching The Practice, since it's on after The X-Files and I started taping it in earnest after Camryn Mannheim won her well-deserved Emmy. Lara Flynn Boyle of The Practice made a brief in-character appearance on Ally McBeal and so did the dialogue from the infamous "head" scene in The Practice's season opener.

Weezer had one final thought. "I had an idea for 'TV Eye': a column about theme songs, and why aren't they very good anymore."

That's easy, Weez. Because they let overinflated rock bands write and play mediocre ones instead of the tried-and-true method of paying anonymous professionals to write and play mediocre ones.

Good heavens. I am sitting here reading Dianne Scott's column in the Continental Confidential newsletter and she reports that Chris Noth (ex-Law and Order) has been in the club (as well as the HEB near this paper). Seeing as how Chris Noth was the reason I started watching Law and Order, this warms an old writer's heart to no end. And Santa, Dianne needs a cell phone for Christmas. (Mr. Noth, if you see a slackjawed woman with two-toned hair following you around , please do not call the police. I think you rock, babe.)

Well, it's Reader Mail time.

Again. We have only one subject in Reader Mail but we're not ashamed, are we, gang? No, we love cartoons! In fact, actual snail mail has arrived from Joseph A., who provides the words for my request about Hercules:

Hercules! Hero of song and storyHercules! Hero of ancient glory

Fighting for the right, using all his might

With the strength of ten ordinary men

That's the might of Hercules!

Of course, Joseph does not give freely. He wants the words to the Iron Man or Captain America cartoons. ("Drink to the devil and down with the rest, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!" Joseph ó you may well have your Anne Bonny.)

Tom and Laura write in, curious about "The Troglodytes and Me and My Arrow." Hmmm, you got me on The Troglodytes but I'll bet I can set you straight on Me and My Arrow.

Back in the early Seventies, Harry Nilsson wrote The Point, made into an animated TV special featuring a little boy named Oblio and his dog Arrow. The theme from it was a sweet little ditty entitled "Me and My Arrow," and was a radio hit at the time. Ken Lieck reminds me there was some flap over The Point on tape, since the narration on it was redone at least three times, including replacing the voiceover from Dustin Hoffman with Ringo Starr but it's available at Vulcan Video, he says.

Eric offers the opening for Hercules too but is really anxious to get the words for Tom Terrific from Captain Kangaroo. I could not find Tom's theme but here's Crabby Appleton's song:

My name is Crabby Appleton

I'm rotten to the core

I do a bad deed every day

and sometimes three or four

I can't stand fun for anyone

I think good deeds are sappy

I laugh with glee, it pleases me

When everyone's unhappy!

Tom Terrific was a Terrytoon (like Mighty Mouse and Heckel & Jeckel), and was featured on CBS' Captain Kangaroo beginning in 1957. He wore a funnel hat, had the ability to shape-shift, and always had Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog with him. Crabby Appleton was his primary foil but there was also the Silly Sandman and Captain Kidney Bean.

Regressing into childhood TV habits? Write [email protected]

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The X-files, Melrose Place, The Practice, Ally Mcbeal, Hercules, Tom Terrific, The Point, Harry Nilsson, Captain Kangaroo

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