Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Meddling Medium again


Wow, the uncut version of The Meddling Medium certainly is creepy. It opens with a shot of the house during a storm, and then zeroes in on the family cemetery they have right on their property. The husband’s grave is shown and then the son’s. The camera does a semi-close-up of the latter.

Also missing from television is an entire sequence immediately following, where a fake psychic pretends to be able to read the grieving mother’s background from a glove she owns. The mother then reveals that it is impossible for the psychic to do so, as the glove was just bought that afternoon (perhaps with the specific intention of testing the woman with it). She kicks the psychic out.

Later, the nasty fellow Philip Paisley shows up at the psychic’s place, finds her drunk, and reveals that he gave her the information to try to fool his aunt. He asks her for advice on faking a trance.

I’m unsure what I think of letting the audience know right away that Philip is fooling around. It’s so creepy in the cut version when the viewers have no clue what’s going on once Philip enters his trance. It seems very possibly genuine in the cut version. But I don’t like the opening cemetery shots and the fake psychic’s performance being cut from the episode. And then of course, the latter doesn’t make sense without the little reveal that Philip fed her the information.

There is one thing about the episode that I’ve idly thought before and started to seriously consider after seeing the complete version. It seems to me that once Bonnie gets Philip drunk six months later, he acts awfully upset and disturbed if he’s just been faking all the time. He continues to insist that the trances are real and challenges Bonnie to try to go into one and write a message herself.

Naturally one wouldn’t think that Philip would reveal his deception if he was in control of himself, but since Bonnie got him so extremely drunk one might think something could slip out. And instead he acts genuinely distraught over the matter of the trances. He almost seems as though he wants nothing more to do with them.

I have to wonder, is it at all possible that while he faked the initial trance and maybe some of the others, over time his deception really attracted the attention of spirits (maybe even Thomas’s) and they started delivering real messages through him?

Imagine how seriously unsettling that would be, especially for someone who not only scoffed at the spirit world but had actively manipulated a relative’s belief in it for his own gain—suddenly, one night, a message comes through that he had not written and had no intention of delivering. And he can’t control his hand or stop the message from coming. On succeeding nights, the same thing continues to happen.

He wouldn’t be able to understand it, at least at first, and he wouldn’t even be able to talk about it with anyone, since he had to continue the illusion that every message had always been real. That could definitely explain his angry and overwrought behavior once Bonnie got him drunk, and also his insistence on not contacting the spirits that particular night.

I’ve always kind of liked to think that Bonnie’s creepy message really is at least partially supernatural in nature, and a message from a spirit, even if she does have mild ESP. And the possibility that Philip really ended up being in contact with spirits adds a whole new level of creepiness to the episode.

Of course, being a logical, straightforward Perry episode, no one would want to come out and acknowledge the existence of ghosts by having any of the manifestations be genuine communications. But it would be interesting to know if writer Samuel Newman had it subtly in mind when he wrote the script.

Perhaps I’ll tinker with the idea of a creepy little follow-up story that explores the possibility.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More Musings on Uncut Season 6 Episodes


I’ve been watching more of the uncut season 6 episodes over the past week or two. It’s really interesting to see what scenes were missing on television and which weren’t. Quite a few of the episodes aren’t missing much, and then all of a sudden one will appear that was cut to ribbons on television. I wonder why some are chopped up worse than others?

I was hoping that the uncut version of The Lawful Lazarus would make me like it better by resolving some of the bizarre plot twists, but unfortunately, the missing scenes did not help with any of that. Mainly, it seems like the additional stuff just shows what a messed-up family we’re dealing with. The murder victim has more chances to be aggravating and disgusting, as he and his wife interact some more and as he leads a discussion on what to do about the returning Trevor.

I came away with the same feelings that the writer really seemed to be praising Jill up as such a wonderful person, but, as I’ve expressed in my rant on the episode, I certainly don’t think she was fit to be the kids’ guardian even if she was the most normal of that crazy family. But I will likely continue watching that episode off and on anyway, because there is a lot of Andy in it and I love that. Hamilton has good screentime, too.

Another thing I find weird in it is that the kids are never seen, except in a picture. I know they’re at camp for a lot of the episode, but still, I think they should have been seen at the end, even in a brief shot of Jill walking to the house.

To my delight, in the uncut Skeleton’s Closet, the kids are seen. I wish that they had been in more than one scene, and that the family growing closer could have been seen and not just talked of by their mother at the end, but it was great that they and their father were in even one scene. It really fleshed out the story and made the mother’s anguish all the more poignant.

(I’m glad that she discovered the girls were stronger than she thought, however, and that they were able to deal with the news of that awful guy being their real father. It seems like that’s a fairly common theme running in the episodes, where the parent thinks the kid will take the news harder than they ever do. The Baited Hook is another, more tragic, example of that.)

There’s really only one big scene missing in The Elusive Element, with the other additional things being tiny dialogue snippets or different camera angles. But the one big scene is awfully important. It explains what the heck the DIMOS project really is and introduces Perry to the removable typewriter elements in the office. This scene naturally sets thing up for later, when Perry thinks about the elements in the middle of the court hearing and starts to plan to show how the elements in the two typewriters could have been exchanged. Aside from the importance of that bit, I really like knowing more about the DIMOS project. It always left me scratching my head in the cut version.

There are some interesting things missing from The Prankish Professor as well, including the scene where he goes to Perry and wants Perry to come to the meeting with him and his wife. Unlike Della and Perry, I actually didn’t find the guy so bad in that scene, but I suppose that’s because I like a lot of characters that are kind of stubborn like he was in that scene. And I couldn’t blame him for not wanting his wife to have his money if he died, since they were on bad terms and were trying to divorce. It’s in some of his other scenes that he’s repulsive to me, such as when the wife explains about the money she gave him that was actually her parents’ money and he won’t pay it back, and of course, the whole nonsense about him actually writing that crummy book.

One fun thing about The Prankish Professor, even in the cut version, is that Sergeant Brice gets to do stuff. He follows Paul around, talks with him and the desk clerk at the hotel, and investigates a room with Paul that’s set up to get the police interested in Sally Sheldon (whom I still find really annoying in the scene where she talks to the professor. She certainly has a reason to be mad, but she comes across as kind of juvenile with her sneering and arrogance). I think that may be the longest amount of time Brice has talked outside of being on the witness stand.

Last night I watched The Witless Witness, one that’s fairly a favorite of mine from the season. I found there wasn’t too much missing from it, either—mainly just a scene where the judge goes to talk to Martin Weston again and finds him passed out, and a guy from the Senate committee shows up, and then that guy’s testimony in court of the incident.

I was kind of surprised by Robert Middleton playing the judge, though! I hadn’t remembered it was him. I’ve seen him all over the place, usually as bad guys, and he was particularly fresh on my mind because I’d just watched him torturing H.M. Wynant’s poor character on Mission: Impossible that morning. It’s quite a switch, to see him play a very honest and upright judge within the same twenty-four hour period. Character actors are awesome that way, taking on every kind of role possible and making each one believable.
 
One odd cut that every one of the episodes has is the ending theme. Season 6 uses the two-part ending, but on the discs it's mashed into a continuous ending, and the result is that the theme is noticeably shortened. Very strange. The syndicated versions have the correct endings, so they're available. Why weren't they used on the discs?
 
But that's a small quibble, overall. The discs are wonderful things! The sound and picture qualities are just excellent, and the episodes themselves all appear to be uncut. I'm very thrilled with all of the releases.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fifty-Millionth Frenchman and Fanfiction


I’m not sure what happened to all the topics that were floating around in my mind a week ago. Wednesday I discovered they had vanished and I’ve been running through my mind trying to reclaim them ever since.

While I’m trying to dredge them up again, I mused a little bit on The Fifty-Millionth Frenchman. It was on Me last night, but I wasn’t able to catch it. I plan to watch the uncut version on my DVDs again soon.

The episode aired several months before David McCallum took on one of his most famous roles, and it’s amusingly endearing to see the differences between the characters. Instead of an aloof and serious secret agent, David’s “Fifty-Millionth Frenchman” is a sweet, innocent, na├»ve boy. Not to mention very shy around women!

I always feel bad for him when I see that episode, since the girl he’s so nuts about ends up being the guilty party. Ugh. She totally uses him all along the way and seems to have no qualms about letting him get accused for the murder she committed.

One detail that amuses me, and shows the writers’ lack of continuity back then, is where Perry tells either David’s character or his boss that their bookstore is the only one he and Della would ever shop at. (EDIT: It was Della who said it to David's character.) And instantly into my mind sprang the thought “. . . But what about Kraft’s Bookstore?”

I’ve also had David McCallum on my mind because I’ve been considering off and on that for the next installment of that proposed fanfiction story idea where The Wild Wild West characters are running around in the present, I’d cross it over with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well as with Perry.

Yes, I wrote and have now finished the first time travel story (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8720905/), and although the Perry characters weren’t quite as prominent in it as I had originally envisioned, some of them do play fairly important roles. Perry and Paul have the largest and most important parts, while Della, Andy, Steve, and even Clay also appear. I omitted the scene of Sampson encountering antagonist Pinto; I long ago figured I would have to drop it because I just couldn’t see myself making fun of Sampson, which is what the scene would have basically amounted to. I am planning that both Sampson and Hamilton will appear in the next installment, however.

And why, exactly, am I thinking of throwing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. into the mix? Well, for one thing, it’s basically The Wild Wild West in modern times. It would be fun to have Jim West and Artemus Gordon interacting with Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. And the U.N.C.L.E. organization might serve a plot purpose to get a particular antagonist character I wanted in there and working for the good guys (but I won’t go into the details for that, since I’m unsure if it will work out).

I have an odd mindset in that I am thoroughly fascinated with and love both the 1950s and the 1960s, but not to where I would actually want to live in either time period. Instead, I just wish that the good of both decades could be mixed with the good of the present day. Those feelings, as well as my utter love of spy shows, combine to add to my desire to get U.N.C.L.E. involved.

I am, however, unsure if people feel that it is a show that really can only function in the time period when it was made. I originally figured that, but when I actually watched the show and saw that it really didn’t seem like anyone ever batted an eye at the Russian character Illya being involved, I felt that the time period wasn’t that important and it could be moved to here and now if I felt like it. Maybe I just haven’t seen the episodes where it’s an issue, but every show usually has at least a couple of topical episodes even if it’s not a usual thing, and just a couple per show hasn’t stopped me yet.

The proposed emphasis on espionage for this story is actually why I felt that Hamilton and Sampson could become involved in it, whereas in the previous one, the focus was mostly on character development even though I did try to advance the action in most chapters. And there wasn’t a logical place where I felt I could introduce Hamilton or Sampson in the middle of trying to develop the main characters carrying the story. In this one, I figured they could definitely get involved if certain elements of the case fell under their jurisdiction.

I haven’t forgotten my actual Perry mystery The Malevolent Mugging, either. I wrote a bit of the next chapter and I’m hoping I now have a way out of a corner I started writing myself into. I fully intend to continue this story, but to properly do so, I first have to resolve that issue. Then, once I’m free to get to a main plot point, I’m confident the story will flow again.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Crafty Kidnapper, and Dark Season 9?


So MeTV aired The Crafty Kidnapper last week and has currently started over on their morning sessions of Perry. I’m happy to see Tragg again, but ah, I miss the later seasons and characters.

The Crafty Kidnapper has never been a favorite episode of mine; it’s probably the darkest episode in the series, moreso than The Silent Six, and very haunting and depressing. But I think the plot is very good and quite unique, and the hints to the truth are intriguing and heartbreaking, when you realize what’s really going on.

The first time I saw the episode, I wondered why they never actually showed the baby (other than in the picture on the mantel). And I was horrified by the scene at the sandbox, with the scratched message “Your son is dead.” But I never once expected the twists at the very end, of the poor thing having been dead for months and the poor mother having cracked up as a result. And the father seems to act just a slight bit nuts himself, when he laughs as he delivers the episode’s last, chilling line, concerning the heartless man he killed: “The ideal murder for the ideal corpse.”

The murder victim is certainly one of those particularly repulsive slimeballs, the way he totally makes fun of the mother’s mental state and plans to print about it and the non-existent baby in his column. Disgusting. On the one hand, it’s hard for me to fully fault the father for feeling the creep had to die. On the other, of course I know that was not the solution and it was a horrible thing to do, no matter what the guy was like. His wife needed him and he totally handled everything all wrong, from not getting help for her (due to not wanting her mental state to come out, and at least partially not doing so because it would have made it all but impossible to get control of a company), to the fake kidnapping, to killing that creep.

Completely aside from the dark elements, a bigger objection I have with the episode is, well, the number of Hamilton’s objections! Watching the court scenes, I just had to cringe and go “. . . What? What is going on here?” Hamilton is objecting left and right to ways that Perry is questioning the witnesses, when he rarely if ever raised such objections to the exact same tactics in the past. The conflicts in this episode seem to exist merely for the sake of having conflicts and really don’t make much sense, character-wise.

The writer is William Bast, who penned four scripts for the final season. Interestingly, he wrote the other very dark episode, The Silent Six. He’s very good at writing for Steve in both, and in his other two scripts as well.

What puzzles me is all of the other three scripts, The Silent Six, The Fatal Fortune, and The Impetuous Imp, portray Hamilton a lot more sensibly than in The Crafty Kidnapper. The Fatal Fortune has one of my most favorite Hamilton scenes ever, when he gets emotional in court and chews out the rotten son of the murder victim. So seriously, what happened? William Bast proved he could write a good Hamilton, so what was with all the illogical objections in that final script? That doesn’t compute with me. I wonder if it was someone else in the crew who wanted it that way.

I’ve seen dislike for the episode over the dark elements and dislike for season 9 in general being darker. I don’t know; aside from a couple of episodes, I don’t believe I ever regarded season 9 as being darker overall. It certainly had some unique twists, from Paul nearly dying to Perry discovering he has a double. And the show had its most realistic policeman in Lieutenant Drumm.

I honestly think the show really needed him, especially by that point. It was far past time to break away from the idea of the cops being inept and easy to make look foolish in court. (I wonder if poor Wesley cut out because he was so fed up.) Perhaps people who liked seeing Perry do that weren’t pleased, but I rarely care for it and was thrilled for the change.

In any case, I don’t feel that the unique twists or the more realistic policeman made season 9 darker. Well, I suppose the episode with Paul nearly dying could be construed as dark too, but I really liked the opportunity it opened for character development, and the epilogue scene was just fun and cute and so like Paul.

I guess overall, for me I find the best terms for season 9 to be contemporary and realistic. I’ve really found a lot to love about the season, as well as some things I don’t love so much. I don’t personally enjoy The Crafty Kidnapper as much as many other episodes, but I don’t think it’s a bad episode . . . other than the bizarre courtroom behavior, that is.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Valentine's Day at the blog!


So, what does a basically unromantic person do when the blog post falls right on the holiday most noted for romance?

She goes with the flow! Actually, oddly enough, I love Valentine’s Day. But maybe that’s because I associate it more with getting fun presents and chocolate than mushy stuff.

(Valentine’s is seriously becoming a big deal, though. I was in Wal-Mart last night and it was absolute madness. It reminded me of Christmas Eve when I investigated the Valentine’s plush toys section. And they didn’t have any more of those cute big ladybug plushies, bah.)

I got curious to know what kinds of Perry episodes aired on or around Valentine’s Day. Digging into the airdates list, I discovered these:


Well, that’s one interesting lineup. And none of them seem particularly great for Valentine’s Day, unless someone has a really dark and twisted sense of humor. The first two of those involve one spouse murdering the other, in The Fugitive Nurse because the wife thought her husband might be worth something dead, and in The Romantic Rogue because the wife was running off with another man and the husband couldn’t stand it.

I guess The Poison Pen-Pal has kind of a cute romantic slant, but it takes a backseat to the main plot. And the others don’t feature any romantic couples in prominent roles, to my remembrance.

(You know, The Nervous Neighbor would make a great Mother’s Day episode. So would The Polka-Dot Pony.)

Now, if I were going to pick some good Valentine’s Day episodes, I’d have some far different choices.

Of course, for the fans of the Perry/Della romance, I’d have to include at least a couple of good episodes for them.

The Weary Watchdog is probably one of the most beloved among that part of the fanbase. I prefer to see it in a friendship light, but either way, the Perry and Della scenes in that episode are lovely. My favorite is probably when Della asks, “How far would you go for a friend?” and Perry says, “How far is forever?” and then gives her the $25,000 without question when she says she needs it. I also love how worried Perry is about Della after she gets in trouble, and how visibly angry he is with Janet Brent over putting Della into that spot.

The Crooked Candle is also at least somewhat a favorite, I think, largely from the investigation scene on the boat. And perhaps some like to watch The Velvet Claws, although that’s also a bit twisted for Valentine’s Day.

Overall, so many episodes have bits between Perry and Della that each enthusiast of the pairing probably has a list that’s slightly different. Some episodes with minimal interaction overall may still stand out because of the quality of whatever interaction is present, much the same as how I examine episodes with my favorite Hamilton scenes. To that end, I love the scenes involving Perry and Della in The Twice-Told Twist. And they have quite extensive scenes investigating together in The Bigamous Spouse—although I hesitate to recommend that one for Valentine’s Day, because of well . . . the eponymous character and situation.

When it comes to the guest-stars, I’d rank The Guilty Clients very high on my list of favorite Valentine’s episodes. And perhaps The Lost Last Act, because while yes, it’s very cheesy in some parts, the romance between the producer and his actress wife is very sweet.

I also love the guys’ caring for the girls in The Crying Comedian and The Elusive Element. Even though it looks as though those pairings won’t come to be, by the end both seem to be going to work out.

I venture to say I would also include The Missing Button, since the plot heavily involves the entire broken family and ends up with the parents reuniting. And maybe The Wednesday Woman, as it also involves a couple that truly loves each other in spite of their problems and they intend to work through them.

I couldn’t possibly forget The Ugly Duckling, one of my favorite episodes ever. It’s such a roller-coaster of emotions for the viewer as well as the girl. First the guy is apparently a jerk. Then he seems to honestly care about her. Then it looks like he was just using her. And finally, we learn that he really does care about her and pretending not to care was just an act to try to help her in the end.

Along similar lines, I also love the pairing in The Nautical Knot. It certainly looked like the guy was just using the girl for a while, until the full truth came out.

I guess for those who truly have a bit of a twisted sense of humor, they might enjoy The Betrayed Bride (which is overall one of the most bizarre episodes the series ever did). The Tell-Tale Tap is also quite twisted as a Valentine’s episode. And, maybe, The Hasty Honeymooner (another off-the-wall venture).

I debated over whether to include The Bogus Books, with the intention of mainly thinking of Gene and Pearl, of course. I’m never quite sure whether to think they’re romantically involved or that they’re not but are just open to the idea. But, regardless of them, there’s also Peter Norland and his obvious interest in Ellen Carter, as he tries to help her through the ups and downs of the case.

Possibly I would include The Fatal Fetish, as friendship love should be celebrated as well as romantic, and of course, I love Hamilton and Mignon’s friendship. (Then there’s the twisted mess Larry gets himself into with that femme fatale. . . .)

And, finally, this shows a bit of my own sense of humor, perhaps: I would definitely list The Candy Queen, mostly tongue-in-cheek. After all, what’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate?! Every time I watch this episode, I end up craving a lovely box of assorted chocolates. Hold the Veronal, please.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Notable Guest-Stars: H.M. Wynant


I decided that since H.M.’s 86th birthday is this Tuesday, this week would be an excellent time to do a guest-star post highlighting him and his Perry roles.

The best biographical information I’ve found on him is on IMDB.com, and unless there’s someone else editing his page with coincidentally the same name, it looks like the bio was written by his present wife! That is awesome if it’s her. I don’t want to take anything away from that by trying to summarize it, so I’ll just provide the link instead: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0943894/bio

My first encounter with H.M. must have been fourteen or fifteen years ago, in an episode of the 1970s Nancy Drew series entitled The Mystery of the Ghostwriter’s Cruise. He played a reporter, and was a suspect in the crimes for a while, but he turned out not to be guilty. I remember that even way back then, not knowing who the heck he was, I liked him and I liked his character. I also liked that he danced with Nancy!

It was probably on Perry a couple of years later when I encountered him next, although I doubt I recognized him at the time, since the Perry episodes came so much earlier in time and I was very terrible at recognizing people until about seven years ago.

I’m also wondering if there’s any old footage of him in an episode of Diagnosis Murder that crossed over with Mannix, in which Dr. Sloan and Mannix solve the murder of H.M.’s character from the Little Girl Lost episode of Mannix. I read that there are flashbacks to the Mannix episode, so I thought there might be some footage of H.M.’s character. I actually have the Diagnosis Murder episode (Hard-Boiled Murder), albeit edited from PAX TV, but I haven’t been in the mood to watch it knowing that H.M.’s poor character was killed. (Also, I think Mannix himself is dying, which is depressing as heck. Or maybe it’s just a risk of death if he does anything too strenuous; I’m unclear on that angle from what I read and I just don’t remember enough about the episode.) I do intend to watch it at some point. I’d be more likely to do it sooner if I knew for sure if there’s footage of H.M.’s character.

In any case, even if there’s not any footage, I find it a little eerie that there’s one more very old connection between H.M. and me! I was recording those Diagnosis Murder episodes around the time I was first discovering Perry.

H.M., like William Boyett, appeared in every Perry season except the second one. I wonder why that season was the exception?

He started off his ten appearances as defendant Daniel Conway in The Daring Decoy. That is an excellent starting point; Daniel is one of my favorites of his Perry characters. Kind and good-natured, he’s dragged into a cruel mess and framed for murder by the wife of his nemesis. Or one of them, anyway—he has quite a collection of nemeses, poor man.

He isn’t seen again until late in season 3, for The Singing Skirt, where he played gambler, sometimes adulterer, and murderer Slim Marcus. What a character.

I find it amusing that he goes from that to playing staunchly upright assistant D.A. Sampson in season 4. While each one of H.M.’s Perry characters is vastly different, Sampson and Slim seem to be polar opposites of the most intense variety. Sampson would never dream of committing a crime, it would seem, and he can be very zealous in his pursuit of the truth and convicting the accused murderers.

H.M. did three turns as Sampson, with the only break being an out-of-town episode after The Loquacious Liar and The Red Riding Boots and before The Envious Editor. I would really like to know if they were considering him as a semi or permanent replacement for poor William Talman, since H.M. and Robert Karnes were the only two assistants they had on multiple times in season 4. And I still wish he had joined the cast, not as a replacement but in a role similar to Bill Vincent’s in season 9. Sampson would have made a less impulsive and more mature assistant for Hamilton to have around on a regular basis, and in any case, it would have made possible a lot of fun interaction.

Season 5 brought us Max, a diver smuggling gold in The Travelling Treasure. He, like the guy who ties up the boat everyone uses, seems to quite like the sight of Karl McGovern’s wife. (But they just look, nothing more.) And he holds the gate open for her in court, when she’s exiting the stand and he’s going to it.

Max seems to constantly chew something, except while diving. I’m not sure if it’s gum or tobacco, but I gravitate to the idea of gum.

He’s a crook, yes, but he doesn’t seem terribly bad, especially since he refuses to implicate Charlie in the smuggling mess. He’s adamant that Charlie had nothing to do with it and didn’t even know about it.

Gene Torg appears in season 6’s The Bogus Books—another crook, but definitely a smalltime operator. Even when Pearl Chute tempts him into the book racket, his part in that would have been little more than collecting the money Pearl would arrange for her and him to have. He doesn’t seem to want any part in anything really big, since he’s alarmed when Pearl tells him the real cost of the book he swiped for her and says he wouldn’t have taken it if he’d known. He must have a legitimate job that pays pretty well, since he lives in an apartment house with a desk clerk. I thought only the really fancy apartment houses had those.

I’m torn between whether Slim Marcus or Tobin Wade is the nastiest of H.M.’s Perry characters. But since Tobin seems to have really been friends with the Stuarts in season 7’s The Decadent Dean, he just might have the edge. Imagine a friend wanting to collect money from your property so bad that he tries to discredit you by stealing important books for the school, spreading anonymous rumors about you, and scaring the students’ mothers with said rumors. Then, after deciding he has to get out of sight after being seen following a robbery, he tricks your sick wife into drinking again, lies to her about you, and tries to frame you for his death. Yeaaah, Tobin Wade is a real case. It’s no surprise he ends up dead for real.

Shady private detective Glen Holman in season 8’s The Tell-Tale Tap isn’t a very nice fellow, either. Not only does he arrange for people to eavesdrop on other people, he listens in too (even if he tells the clients they’re the only ones who will hear). Then he tries to blackmail the one being eavesdropped on, if there’s something juicy for him to use. But he’s smooth and charming and likes the ladies. He also tries to figure out what kinds of drinks they like just by their voices. He’s eventually killed in a car crash, which the murderer of the main victim insists was an accident.

Tony Earle, in season 9’s The Candy Queen, is involved with gambling. He runs an illegal casino in a secret room of the Royal Beach nightclub. He must get out on bail after the place is raided, as he’s free to roam about town and talk to Paul at Clay’s. Despite his association in the criminal underworld, he seems fairly nice and provides Paul with information on the episode’s main slimeball, Mark Chester (although of course he wants some help in return for that information).

I’m intrigued by that scene where he talks to Paul, particularly since they seem to know each other. I suppose the implication is that Perry and Paul spoke with him before, maybe shortly after his arrest, but since no such scene is shown or mentioned I wonder if it really existed and was simply edited from the final product.

I don’t think there were too many Perry actors who were asked back for so many guest-spots, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least that H.M. would be one of them. He’s an excellent and amazing actor who never fails to make his characters believable, no matter whether they’re good guys or bad (or if they have shades of gray; some are too complex to simply label “good” or “bad”).

I doubt he’ll see this, but I hope that the 12th will be a very happy birthday for him!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Uncut Golden Oranges


So I watched the uncut Golden Oranges. I had been under the impression that only a couple of scenes were missing, and that they might not have a direct bearing on the plot. I was wrong on both counts.

Alright, so the first missing scene probably isn’t necessary, but it sure is fun. Hamilton is in his office, dictating into his machine, when he gets a call from the city attorney telling him about the dog bite case. Hamilton wonders why he would be interested and then exclaims, “Who’s defending the dog?!”

It’s just a cute supplemental scene, one of the classic scenes in Hamilton’s office that were one of the highlights of earlier seasons. And unless they usually get cut in the middle seasons, they seem to be absent altogether until around season 6 (excepting one in season 4’s The Guilty Clients). It’s definitely possible that there were some others in seasons 3, 4, and 5, but I haven’t encountered any in the various uncut discs I’ve seen so far of those seasons.

Hamilton also appears to have either a receptionist or a secretary named Mabel. So make her the second one to actually be addressed by name, after Leon.

The next missing chunk is huge and comprises two scenes, one right after the other. The first has Perry and company meeting in the office to talk after the murder and then receiving a call from James Wheeler saying to meet him in the parking lot by his bungalow. They go there and learn that the missing Mr. Keller is staying there. He was gotten out of the way because James wanted him to talk with Perry before the police got to him.

Before they go in, Perry and Sandra Keller talk in the car. She explains what happened last night, as far as she knows, and Perry deduces that she believes her grandfather murdered Mr. Thorton. He notes her illegal behavior in trying to hide the murder weapon, to which she angrily exclaims that she doesn’t care about the law. He tells her that she wasn’t acting in her grandfather’s best interest, and that maybe Mr. Wheeler isn’t, either.

All of that is very important to the main plot! I was baffled when the cut version suddenly showed them at the bungalow and going inside. I couldn’t figure out how they knew to go there and I knew something must have been omitted. I didn’t think it would be that giant of an omission, however.

The one other cut scene is in Perry’s office following the first day in court. Della expresses her unhappiness over Hamilton revealing that Mr. Keller really didn’t win the Medal of Honor and wonders how he could do “such a cruel thing.” Perry explains that Hamilton had to, in order to further his angle that Mr. Keller’s enemies were holding something over him and Sandra killed Thorton partially because of it.

I wonder if Della noticed that Hamilton sure looked like he felt bad about what he had said the next day, when Perry unravels the full truth about the medal and San Juan Hill in court.

It’s interesting that it seems like the main times when Della is vocal on various displeasures concerning Hamilton, it’s around the time of season 6. The first instance that I recall is her comment in The Lonely Eloper, season 5’s finale. Then there’s the exchange between her and Hamilton in The Surplus Suitor about her being hostile (and not just as a witness). And now there’s this.

Even more interesting is that while this was going on, Hamilton and Perry were getting very chummy. Season 6 in general has a lot of good moments for them, and this particular episode has some of them. It’s probably nothing more than a coincidence as far as the writers are concerned, but I do find it intriguing that Della chooses this time to start voicing her feelings. It makes me wonder if she and Paul did not entirely like the idea of Perry and Hamilton becoming friends, perhaps not trusting that it would be a good thing for Perry.

And no matter what season it is, Perry always seems to try to defend Hamilton’s actions to some extent when someone complains to him, whether it’s Paul (The Rolling Bones), David (The Renegade Refugee), or Della (The Golden Oranges). I love how Perry’s respect for Hamilton is shown growing as early as season 1, and how it very clearly develops into friendship later.

I recently encountered an apparent fan of mainly the books, who seemed to like the fact that the characters have no background information in the books (which mostly holds true on television, too) and their relationships with each other are not touched on as much as in the television series. While I’m still interested in giving the books a try, I just don’t think I could feel they could ever hold a candle to the wonderful way the television series depicted Perry and Hamilton through the years. (And personally, I don’t see what’s so great about the characters having such almost complete blank slates, in any medium! I like finding out background information on them. It makes them feel even more fleshed-out and real, to me. That's one big reason why I love to heavily explore character interaction in my stories and sometimes get into background information.)

I think what would interest me the most in the books would be the times Perry and Tragg team up. That’s always fun on the series. I imagine it would be very enjoyable in the books, too.

In any case, The Golden Oranges turned out to be another of the most seriously chopped-up episodes. That was quite a surprise. But discovering the missing material was such fun. I’m anxious to see what other gems are in store on these DVDs.

And I’m further anxious for season 9 to get released on DVD! For any episodes that my local station still airs (about half of the season), I cannot locate the uncut versions (with the exception of the series finale). I just realized this the other day and became excited for the additional new scenes to eventually see.

Monday, February 4, 2013

It's February 4th!


Today is William Talman’s birthday! I intend to celebrate with a nice, Hamilton-centric episode or two.

I watched the uncut Lover’s Leap on Saturday night, but there weren’t any extra scenes with Hamilton. There was another with Andy that I greatly enjoyed seeing, however!

Pondering on my favorite Hamilton episodes from throughout the series in an attempt to make a list of recommendations for today is a difficult task. There’s so many to choose from! And for me, I don’t measure an episode’s awesomeness where Hamilton is concerned by how much screentime Hamilton has, but what happens within said screentime. But, in an attempt to pick episodes with both quantity and quality of screentime, I thought of these:

Season 1


#2 – The Sleepwalker’s Niece
#5 – The Sulky Girl
#12 – The Negligent Nymph
#19 – The Haunted Husband
#22 – The Fugitive Nurse
#25 – The Empty Tin

Season 2


#44 – The Curious Bride
#48 – The Purple Woman
#49 – The Fancy Figures
#53 – The Glittering Goldfish
#55 – The Fraudulent Foto
#56 – The Romantic Rogue
#60 ­– The Lost Last Act
#61 – The Bedeviled Doctor
#69 – The Lame Canary

Season 3


#75 – Paul Drake’s Dilemma
#83 – The Prudent Prosecutor

Season 4


#110 – The Fickle Fortune

Season 5


#129 – The Meddling Medium
#131 – The Traveling Treasure
#148 – The Angry Astronaut

Season 6


#154 – The Bogus Books
#162 – The Weary Watchdog
#166 – The Shoplifter’s Shoe
#169 – Constant Doyle
#171 – The Two-Faced Turn-A-Bout
#173 – The Golden Oranges
#176 – The Lover’s Leap
#177 – The Elusive Element

Season 7


#183 – The Shifty Shoebox
#185 - The Deadly Verdict
#187 – The Reluctant Model
#195 – The Accosted Accountant
#196 – The Capering Camera
#197 – The Ice-Cold Hands
#199 – The Nervous Neighbor

Season 8


#215 – The Sleepy Slayer
#225 – The Ruinous Road
#231 – The Lover’s Gamble
#232 – The Fatal Fetish
#235 – The Careless Kitten
#238 – The Duplicate Case

Season 9


#243 – The Fatal Fortune
#244 – The Candy Queen
#246 – The Impetuous Imp (I’m still somewhat lukewarm on the episode, but there’s a lot of Hamilton, and his screentime is pretty positive)
#247 – The Carefree Coronary
#250 – The Wrathful Wraith
#259 – The Golfer’s Gambit (I like Hamilton’s screentime excluding the awful writing for his testimony in court. I like the uncut episode even more.)
#262 – The Twice-Told Twist (Hamilton in color!)
#267 – The Dead Ringer
#269 – The Positive Negative
And there's lots of other episodes with excellent moments of Hamilton screentime, of course. This is just a starting point of some I particularly enjoy watching and re-watching.