The Davy Jones-Scooby Doo Counter-Revolution Polka (or, A Very Brady Crossover)

March 25, 2015
The Davy Jones-Scooby Doo Counter-Revolution Polka (or, A Very Brady Crossover)

I have written a time or 10 in the past about my great childhood love of two great old TV series, Batman and The Green Hornet, both of which originally aired on ABC in the 1960s. Both shows were produced by a gentleman named William Dozier, who - in an effort to garner a larger viewership for The Green Hornet, which wasn’t quite bringing in the ratings of the other show - came up with the idea of having the Green Hornet and his sidekick Kato appear in an episode of Batman.  


Now you have to understand that, for kids watching TV in that era, seeing Batman and the Green Hornet together sharing a single adventure was a BIG DEAL. We'd never seen anything like that before. (Okay, to be fair, there had been one similar instance half a decade earlier, when the Lone Ranger turned up in a 1959 episode of Lassie. And, of course, there was that time when Superman turned up in an episode of I Love Lucy. But neither was quite the event that the Batman-Green Hornet team-up was. The "Lassie" episode, after all, was little more than a half-hour PSA for U.S. Savings Bonds. Besides, both the Lone Ranger who met Lassie and the "Superman" who encountered Lucy and Ricky Ricardo were clearly supposed to be actors Clayton Moore and George Reeves - even if neither man was ever referred to by name at any point in either episode.)


For us, the only time heroes from separate and seemingly disparate universes ever teamed up (outside of the comic books, of course, where such things had been going on for years) was when the kid from across the street would bring his G.I. Joe over to play with you and your Johnny West or Captain Action. So seeing real heroes (for such did we view the TV show characters at that young age) actually getting together to fight the same bad guy was nothing short of awe inspiring. Because it made us realize that the fictional universe we so enjoyed playing in was every bit as big as we had daydreamed it to be. 


For those of us who were viewed by just about everyone (including ourselves) as geeky little kids, it was a truly epic moment. 


These days, of course, such events - commonly referred to as “crossovers” by all those geeky little kids who grew up to become geeky adults - are not only far more commonplace, but tend to generate much positive attention and feedback from those who used to make fun of the rest of us for being geeks. It’s not quite as big a deal when characters from “franchise” shows that are already linked with one another - the various CSI, NCIS, Star Trek or Law And Order series, for example - turn up on one another’s programs. But when the crossover occurs between two shows that previously had nothing to do with one another... ah, that’s when the giggling starts and the inner geek is set free to revel in the moment.


Fans of the series NCIS: Los Angeles, for instance, almost certainly got a big kick out of seeing characters from that show turn up in episodes of Hawaii Five-O or Scorpion. Old-timers like myself cheered back in the 1990s when the Dick Van Dyke series Diagnosis: Murder had episodes featuring characters (and the actors who originally played them) from such classic TV series as Mission: Impossible, Mannix and Matlock. Characters from The Bob Newhart Show would later turn up on St. Elsewhere and Murphy Brown. An episode of the romantic comedy series Mad About You revolved around the making of a documentary about Alan Brady, the TV comic for whom Rob Petrie worked on The Dick Van Dyke Show


And seeing the character of Detective John Muench - who had already migrated from the series Homicide to Law And Order: Special Victims Unit - turn up in a cameo role in an episode of The X-Files is STILL a topic that can generate much discussion among certain fans of all three shows.


Sometimes the crossover is a little more subtle, focusing not on characters but on background information from other shows - one which sometimes do not even appear on the same network. Earlier this season, a character in an episode of Hawaii Five-O - a more or less traditional crime drama airing on CBS - made a passing reference to a criminal who had been featured in an episode from the previous season of Arrow, a comic book-based series about a costumed crimefighter airing on the CW Network. Some years earlier another CBS series, the quirky small town drama Picket Fences, had an episode which made similar reference to events from an episode of The X-Files, which aired on Fox. Both instances were little more than elaborate in-jokes between series writers who happened to be friends, but in both instances the fans went nuts.


Some of us have even made a game out of such crossovers, using every instance of character crossovers and shared background informational references we can find to weave our own elaborate and intricate fictional tapestries. Some people see it as building on the tradition that began with "The Game" played Sherlockians, and raised to something akin to an artform/science by Philip José Farmer’s creation of the Wold Newton Mythos. Others view it as nothng more than some silly fanboy variation of the game “Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon.” Call it what you will; it's fun either way.


One of my own personal favorite threads goes something like this: 


Singer-actor Davy Jones played a singer named (surprise!) Davy Jones on a television series entitled The Monkees. Jones later appeared as Davy Jones on an episode of The Brady Bunch, and not long after that also turned up as one of the animated guest stars (again called Davy Jones - or, more accurately, "the famous Davy Jones") on the Saturday morning cartoon series The New Scooby-Doo Movies, which also of course also had episodes featuring appearances by such guest stars as Batman and Robin, the Harlem Globetrotters and Josie And The Pussycats. The kids from The Brady Bunch had their own Saturday morning cartoon (The Brady Kids) that had episodes featuring guest appearances by Superman, Wonder Woman and the Lone Ranger. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all appeared together on Super Friends, while Josie and the Pussycats were originally comic book characters who had appeared alongside Archie, Jughead and their friends. (And the cartoon version of the Archie gang interacted with the Groovie Goolies, who once encountered Daffy Duck and some of the other Looney Tunes characters, who in turn have found themselves running into everyone from Mickey Mouse and Roger Rabbit to Errol Flynn's Robin Hood and Michael Jordan...) Meanwhile, the Harlem Globetrotters were the focus of one of the Gilligan's Island reunion movies. 


Throw in the aforementioned Batman-Green Hornet team-up, since the Batman depicted on Super Friends and Scooby-Doo was for all intents and purposes the same version of that character, and you’ve got an interconnected fictional reality of wild and downright mythological proportions.


Silly? You bet! That’s what’s so darn much fun about it. And nobody can take that away from us. So don't even bothering to try.


Besides, it sure beats spending countless hours sitting in front of the TV watching (ugh!) basketball...

 

RECIPES FROM THE PLANET CAFE COOKBOOK

February 25, 2015

Back in 1994 I self-published a collection of family recipes - some of them dreamed up by my mom and dad, some by me, some by my wife Melissa - and sold it locally at the Johnston County Fourth of July Festival and the Chickasaw Festival. Some of the recipes were silly things I came up with as a kid babysitting my younger brothers during the summer months; others were recipes that a lot of thought had been put into. I published 1,000 copies and sold all but the two that I kept for at home (on...


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A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO MY NEXT POST...

February 19, 2015
...Long story short, I had to get a new computer in order to post updates, because the one I've been using at work uses an older operating system and is apparently no longer compatible with the Yola website. (Actually I had to get a new laptop for at home anyway, but that's another story....)

Anyway, I'm back after far too long an absence. So first things first: When things went "kerflooey" I was two posts away from completing my participation in the "Spohn Challenge," which asks participants ...
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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 50: THE LEGEND OF THE NIGHT ANGEL

September 17, 2014
(Note: This week’s entry in the "Spohn Challenge" project was written in the form of a historical text. The idea was to create a tale that combined elements of Tolkien-like fantasy with the legends of Robin Hood or Zorro. I don't know that the attempt has been particularly successful, but I had a swell time writing it anyway and in the end that's what matters, I think...)

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THE LEGEND OF THE NIGHT ANGEL



(HISTORICAL NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Book 5, Chapter 14, of ...


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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 49: FARE THEE WELL, MY OWN TRUE LOVE

September 8, 2014
(Note: Now that we're back on track, here is the latest entry in the weekly "Spohn Challenge" project...)

Jack Ramsey stirred in his hospital bed, opened his eyes and looked up into the face of the beautiful woman who - even though he knew he hadn't deserved it - had promised to love, honor and cherish nearly six decades before. 


It had been a long journey together, and he understood that for him that journey would soon be over. He understood it, but he didn't much like it. It wasn't the leav...


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"A STORY A WEEK": CATCHING UP (PART 3)

September 5, 2014
And here we have the third and final set of "Spohn Challenge" stories that I was forced to post elsewhere while having issue with this site over the course of the summer. This set brings up up to this week's entry (No. 48), so barring any recurrence of the glitches that gave me such fits, next week we'll be picking up back on schedule as far as the stories being posted here as opposed to on my Facebook wall.

So let's get started, shall we...?

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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 45:

LOOKING FOR ...


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"A STORY A WEEK": CATCHING UP (PART 2)

September 5, 2014
Here is the second batch of the "Spohn Challenge" entries I wrote and posted on Facebook while I was having technical problems here:

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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 42:

A VISIT TO CRIMSON JACK’S


Five years ago, when a fellow named Jackson Talbot first moved into town and opened his Crimson Jack’s Naughty Nighties Emporium over on the west side of town, a few of the women in Jillian’s neighborhood took part in a series of demonstrations organized by a small group of well-meaning litt...


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"A STORY A WEEK": CATCHING UP (PART 1)

September 5, 2014
Well, it seems that the technical problems that have kept me from posting updates since earlier this summer have finally been resolved. So I thought I'd better post the entries I'd written for the weekly "Spohn Challenge" project during that time so they'll all be here in one place. (During the duration I posted each new story on my Facebook wall in order to stay on schedule and not forfeit my participation in the project.) Some of the stories are longer than others, so I'm splitting this upd...
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"For Every Dream That Took Me High..."

June 18, 2014
(Photo: Me at Byrd Park in Kankakee, around 1977 or so.)


I have been a fan of the late Harry Chapin since the first time I heard his brother Tom singing songs that Harry wrote on the ABC-TV program "Make A Wish" when I was a kid back in the early 1970s. A few years later I heard songs like "Cat's In The Cradle" and "WOLD" on the radio, and I was hooked; I was one of those who unashamedly shed a tear when I heard the news of Harry's death about a month and a half after I graduated from high sch...


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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 38 - A MATTER OF CIVIC PRIDE

June 16, 2014
(NOTE: This week's entry is another faux newspaper story...)


From the Sipokni West Dispatch, March 26 2009:


The Brownsberg Town Council has appointed a local resident to help the community overcome what some residents have reportedly described as its “inferiority complex” with regard to nearby larger communities.


Yvonne Gordon, a resident of Brownsberg since 1993, has been named to spearhead a town council initiative aimed at injecting a greater sense of style and sophistication into com...


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About Me


John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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