names (part two)

First of all, the origin of the name U-town itself. It's short for Undertown, as we learned here, and "Undertown" was suggested by the Overtown Riots back in the previous century.

In the scene linked to above, Doc says that she never noticed that "Utown" suggested "Utopia." Until shortly before I wrote that scene, neither had I.

As for other names of places and people, many of them are pretty random. Some (Jan Sleet and starling, for two examples) I've been writing about for around 35 years, so I have no more memory of where the names came from originally.

But quite a few names are references to old-time radio programs, all of which were off the air before I was born.

I Love a Mystery

There are quite a few references in U-town to the classic radio program "I Love a Mystery." Doc, Ray and Jack are named for Jack, Doc and Reggie, the main characters on the show. Doc Long's red hair, his way of speaking, and certain aspects of his personality ended up with Carl, the February Island Coffee Shop is named for one of the adventures on the show, and Doc Morse got her last name from the creator, writer and director of the series, Carlton E. Morse. (Carlton E. Morse also created another program, One Man's Family, which I've referred to also.) Doc's backstory (medical school and an abortion) is derived from Jack Packard's history on the show. Oh, and at one point in U-town somebody says, "It's as black as the inside of a cow in here," which is a line from ILAM.

Pat Novak for Hire

Inspector Novak is a reference to another show, called "Pat Novak for Hire." His name is from the title character, of course, but his personality is from Pat Novak's nemesis, Inspector Hellman. The Professor is somewhat based on Pat Novak's alcoholic friend Jocko Madigan. And when Rex says that Inspector Novak couldn't find a moose in a bathtub, that was originally said about Inspector Hellman.

Of course, Inspector Novak and The Professor can also be traced to Blick and Kit Carson from The Time of Your Life (and there are too many references to that play in the The Dream, Now chapter to list here).

Tapman Memorial Park is named after Tapman's vacant lot, where Rush used to play baseball on the show "Vic & Sade."

"Uncle Mike" Sheldon was a character (a local political boss) on one episode of the Sam Spade radio program.

Duffy's Tavern (and Archie the manager) is a reference to the show of the same name, but (unlike the other shows mentioned), it was not, in my opinion, a great show.

There's not much in A Sane Woman that references anything else, but I should mention that there is one reference to Fred Allen (when Sarah calls Nicky "Portland"), and one to the Ellery Queen mystery stories, since that's where the name "Nicky Porter" came from. Ellery's secretary was named Nikki Porter, and (as T.C. points out) it was an alias, though this was usually not mentioned.

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