Question: What can you tell me about a short-lived show from the '60s called The Ugliest Girl in the World? Whenever you read about the worst show concepts ever, I always wonder how they could forget to include this bizarre show. N.D., Short Hills, N.J.
Televisionary: Well, I can tell you your standards of beauty are even higher than the series' creators, who merely dubbed the cross-dressing Timothy Blair (Peter Kastner) The Ugliest Girl in Town when they named the show.
The set-up: When photographer Gene Blair (Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley creator Garry Marshall) lost all his shots of local San Francisco hippies, he dressed talent-agent brother Timothy in drag, snapped some photos of him and sent them to the London magazine that hired him. Thinking they found the new Twiggy, the magazine's editors demanded that "Timmie" come to London for more modeling. That, as it happens, was just fine by Timothy, who had recently fallen for a British actress (Patricia Brake) and was only too happy to get closer to her.Of course, that meant Timothy had to maintain his "Timmie" guise, and hilarity was supposed to ensue. It didn't, and the show, which debuted on ABC in September 1968, was gone by the end of January. The network didn't forget the cross-dressing theme, however (which appears to have taken over my column this week), and they had better luck more than a decade later, when Peter Scolari and Tom Hanks donned dresses for Bosom Buddies, which lasted just shy of four years.