John Doyle, do you know what you are talking about?

Barry Sookman tweeted about an article called Eight things worth proroguing on TV: Pirating TV shows from BitTorrent. Now I’ve learned that Barry’s an innocent lad. He believes whatever anyone writes. In this case he read an article written by John Doyle, the television critic at the Globe and Mail, titled ‘Just Copy Our Glorious Leader‘, in which John wrote:

2. Pirating TV shows from BitTorrent and other sites. Honestly, could people quit shoplifting TV shows for a while? No, you’re not sticking it to some super-rich actor/writer/director or showbiz conglomerate. A few years ago, at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles, Canadian critic Bill Brioux thought he saw a familiar face among the large group of stenographers who transcribe the press conferences. He thought the guy looked a lot like Max Gail, best known as Detective Wojo on the long-running series Barney Miller . It was indeed Max Gail – working as a typist. Apparently, after his wife’s death from cancer, Gail had stayed home to raise the kids and took odd jobs when necessary. He and the kids could have used some royalties.

Now unlike Barry, I’ve got a nasty, mean, dirty, suspicious mind. I don’t believe much of anything that I’m told. I also tend to think over what I’ve been told (or read) very carefully. In my experience what people think they know, often isn’t right.

So let’s look at what John has said. He mentions an actor named Max Gail, who used to have a role in a TV show called Barney Miller, who he says was working as a typist. Bill Brioux meet this guy a few years ago, and he was working as a typist. That through up a red flag. Typists haven’t been employed regularly since the middle 80s, when word processing software became popular on computers. Barney Miller ended in 1983. Hum, this just doesn’t sound right.

OK, so I checked out Max Gail’s profile page at IMDB, and at Wikipedia. Max married his first wife in 1983, she died of cancer in 1986. If the story above is true, he wouldn’t have been working as an actor in the years following 1986. Curiously, IMDB says he worked every year up until 2002! When did that leave time for a career as a typist?

So tell us John – do you believe in fact checking?

Wayne Borean

Tuesday January 12, 2010


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