Sunday, January 19, 2020

When was the first crossover in live action television?

In a 9 Jan 2020 post on Style Our Life titled Fun Facts About the 1960s "Batman" Series You Probably Didn't Know, there is an assertion that the first "live action" crossover involved the Green Hornet appearing in an episode of Batman:

Crossovers in the film industry usually include putting two or more fictional characters,
universes, or contexts into one story. This can be presented and organized in many ways.

But what’s really cool is that the Batman TV series was the first time this had been done in the
history of live-action television shows.

The episode in question was "The Spell of Tut," which had cameos from Van Williams and
Bruce Lee as the Green Hornet and Kato from the '60s TV show Green Hornet.

This assertion is untrue.

First, as to a definition of "live action" : Live action is a form of cinematography or videography that uses photography instead of animation.

Second, as to "fictional" characters, one must distinguish a cross-over in which there is an appearance of an actor, who plays a fictional character, in his identity as an actor, rather than in his identity as the fictional character. An example of the former is the appearance by George Reeves, as the actor who plays Superman, in Lucy and Superman, which first aired on January 14, 1957. Another example is "The Kookie Caper" episode of "77 Sunset Strip," which first aired October 9, 1959, in which Will Hutchens ("Sugarfoot") appears as the actor who plays Sugarfoot.

In the Batman episode referenced by "style our life," which is "The Spell of Tut" [first aired Sept. 28, 1966] the Green Hornet and Kato appear as fictional characters. The real star of the Tut episodes was the over-the-top acting of Victor Buono. As to "The Spell of Tut," one reviewer wrote:

The episode's Batclimb is a surprising twofer, Van Williams as The Green Hornet and Bruce Lee as Kato, eventually to receive an entire two part crossover, "A Piece of the Action"/"Batman's Satisfaction," but best of all is Robin's reaction to seeing such odd looking characters in Gotham City: "gosh Batman, what are they dressed like that for?"

However, cross-overs of fictional characters in live action TV had appeared long before 1966. In an episode of The Bob Cummings Show which aired March 21, 1957 titled "Bob Meets the Mortons," fictional character Bob Collins meets fictional character Blanche Morton of The Burns and Allen Show. [In fact, Bob deals with Gracie Allen and Blanche Morton; on June 3, 1958, in the episode Colonel Goldbrick, the fictional Bob Collins meets the real person Clarence Shoop, who portrays a major general, even though at the time Shoop was a one star general. Fictional or real character?]

Someone named joe_538 had compiled a list on imdb
TV Crossovers

These include, but are not limited to:

"Lucy makes room for Danny" (1958)
"Price on his head" (1958 episode of "Sugarfoot" with the character "Bart Maverick")
"Malihini Holiday" (1959 episode of "Hawaiian Eye" with the character "Stu Bailey" of "77 Sunset Strip.")
"Hadley's Hunters" (1960 episode of "Maverick" with both Cheyenne and Sugarfoot)

"Four Feet in the Morning" (1963 "double" cross-over between "Dr. Kildare and "The Eleventh Hour"). Of "The Eleventh Hour," the two seasons [1962-1964] featured Jack Ging as Dr. Paul Graham, a younger psychologist, working under the direction of elder psychiatrists - first played by Wendell Corey, and later Ralph Bellamy. The first year focused on Dr. Theodore Bassett [Corey] and court cases. A darker "Eleventh Hour" appeared on television in 2008-2009, with Dr. Jacob Hood (played by Rufus Sewell) saving the world from deadly scientific experiments, poisoners, rare diseases, and environmental hazards. One notes the differences in focus between 1963 and 2008.

IPBiz had commented on one episode of the Sewell series
"Eleventh Hour" depicts evil university/industry cabal in biotech

Of relevance to that episode, note the headlines at The Tampa Bay Times on 19 January 2020:

Report: Moffitt doctors failed to disclose ties

The "Thousand Talents Program" deposited money into their personal accounts in China


[researchers] would steal ideas from peer-reviewed proposals that originated in the U.S. and were
funded by U.S. agencies.


[a quote by Daniel Sullivan]: "Lawyers make you anxious. That is their job."



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