Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Fatal Framing

Last night I finally had the opportunity to watch the Perry movie The Fatal Framing, which MeTV aired on Friday.

I can’t say I was terribly impressed.

It seemed a lot like the focus was more on the guest-stars and Ken than on Perry and Della. There wasn’t much fun interaction to speak of and there wasn’t much time in court.

Topping it off was the fact that it felt very much like a Dean Hargrove venture. And I don’t at all mean that in a positive way; rather, I’m thinking again of how he liked inserting naughty little bits in Diagnosis Murder. He accomplished that in this film with a model Ken encounters who appears to be posing topless. It’s played for humor, and is followed up by the model and the artist repeatedly insisting they spent the night in bed together the night of the murder. The artist even starts running his bare foot over hers and up her leg. Lovely.

Of course, there were lots of affairs and such things going on in the original Perry series. But it was handled a lot more tastefully, in general. Even the one time there was a model posing in a very revealing way, that scene genuinely was amusing instead of just existing for the uncomfortable shock value. I really don’t care to see and hear Perry being modernized the way Dean Hargrove does it. I never really liked it on Diagnosis Murder, either.

I honestly couldn’t understand why Ken was so interested in that model. It seemed very shallow of him. She came across as a tramp, really only seeming different when she told him she was afraid he had the wrong idea about her. No, really?

I liked her a lot better when she revealed the truth in court, that she was lying about her and the artist and she was trying to get money to pay her dying husband’s hospital bills. But seriously, the way she was acting when Ken first saw her, what kind of impression did she expect him to take away about her?

I suppose it could be argued that perhaps Ken saw through her act and that she was a better person than she appeared. But it really seemed more like he was only interested because of her physical appearance and her mysteriousness. He reminded me a lot of Paul Jr. with that subplot.

It’s hard for me to find much good to say about this movie installment. As a Lord of the Rings fan, I greatly enjoyed seeing John Rhys-Davies. And it was interesting seeing David Soul as the initial murder victim, even though I haven’t yet been able to get into Starsky and Hutch. So far, that show is too off-beat for me and David Soul’s character is the one I like the least.

The model's artist friend has a violent temper. One of the best parts is where he goes nuts, screaming at Perry to get out after Perry accuses him of forging paintings. He breaks things and even slams his hand into the door trying to punch Perry. Then the idiot has the gall to say that Perry broke his hand. Perry deadpans as he replies that he can recommend a good lawyer.

I have to admit, I was pleased that kook was mixed up in the criminal plot. He was such a jerk I would have hated to see him get off because of not being involved. I suppose I did feel slightly bad for him when he was murdered too. Or maybe it was more that it seemed he shouldn’t get off that easy, particularly when it was revealed that he was the first killer.

It was sad for David Soul’s character’s wife to be part of the plot as well, since he claimed to have still loved her and wanted her back. On the other hand, however, since he stayed away for five years protecting his own skin and letting her think he was dead, it’s hard to believe he really loved her that much. I wonder if she ever loved him at all or if it was always just an act?

Her meltdown in court was rather disturbing, especially when she said how she saw her husband in the short-tempered artist’s eyes and she had to kill that guy because of that. I have a feeling she won’t be mentally fit to stand trial.

I’ve actually liked all the other Perry movies I’ve seen, more or less (the very first one is not a favorite), but this one really seems a dud. I hope the other movies I’ve recorded and not yet gotten to, The Glass Coffin and The Killer Kiss, are better.

Overall, I’m disappointed that MeTV’s television movie feature went out with this film. Couldn’t they have picked a better one? Hopefully they’ll bring the feature back in the fall with more (and better) Perry movies in the line-up.

Also, on another movie-related noted, I can’t recall if I mentioned it before, but the second set of six movies is on pre-order for DVD release. I assume this set will have The Lady in the Lake installment I enjoyed so much. Unfortunately, the price is again sky-high and ridiculous. $50+?! I want that movie, but not at that price! Come on, CBS, be reasonable! There aren’t many people who can afford that price for six television movies.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Happy Birthday, Raymond Burr and Lee Miller!

Happy Birthday to Raymond Burr tomorrow, born May 21st, 1917! And to Lee Miller, born a few days earlier on May 18th, 1917!

A couple of readers have been finding a treasure trove of fun things with Raymond. In the comments on the previous entry, there are links to an Australian interview in 1961 and clips from appearances on shows such as Jack Benny! I am planning to watch the clips to celebrate. Meanwhile, I have heard the interview and Raymond is his usual lovely, charming self. It’s truly a delight to listen to!

One thing I find very curious is that Lee Miller was born in Scotland. He certainly has no trace of a Scottish accent when playing Sergeant Brice or other characters. I wonder whether he ever had an accent and disguised it or if he moved to America before he really picked one up? There’s just so little information on this fascinating man. And in later years he has certainly dropped off the radar. According to IMDB.com, he’s still alive. Is he? Isn’t he? I do wish someone knew what has happened to him.

It also says he was Raymond’s stand-in on Ironside as well as Perry. That’s neat. He pops up occasionally on Ironside in cameo roles, but doesn’t have a steady role like he did with Sergeant Brice. I wonder if that was by his choice?

It’s unfortunate that my suspicions about MeTV’s schedule are now confirmed. The complete summer schedule is online and the morning Perry episode is gone. Ironside is completely off the schedule. Instead of doing anything different on Sundays because of The Love Boat and The Rockford Files moving to weekdays, those shows are going to keep their Sunday slots too! Good grief! And following the nighttime showing of Perry will be a block of Dragnet and Adam-12, the latter of which will also have an hour block on afternoons.

MeTV seems to test a lot of things in the summer. Things that work continue into the big schedule changers in autumn. Things that don’t work are abandoned. Case in point: Last summer they thought it would be interesting to take The Twilight Zone off the schedule and only keep Night Gallery. Apparently people didn’t like it at all; come autumn, The Twilight Zone was back.

So if enough people don’t like the removal of the morning Perry episode and Ironside, there’s still hope. One or both may return after summer. I’ll certainly be sending emails to MeTV on what I think of the schedule changes. I’m totally in favor of adding The Mod Squad, but not at the expense of Ironside. I’m not that crazy about removing Hawaii 5-O for The Rockford Files, either! And I’m disappointed about the removal of the morning Perry episode, since some viewers were only able to watch in the morning. I thought it was really cool that Perry was the only series to air twice a day, other than some of the half-hour shows.

Again, remember about the Perry movie this Friday! It’s the last television movie on MeTV for a while. I don’t like that they’re stopping the feature for the summer or longer, but it’s kind of neat that it will go out with a Perry flare!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

MeTV Schedule Changes

First off, Happy Mother’s Day!

MeTV will air a Perry movie on the 23rd. Be sure to catch it; MeTV’s summer schedule takes effect on the 26th and the Friday night movie will be off the schedule, at least for now.

I’ve been trying to find out if any other schedule changes will affect Perry­-related goings-on on MeTV, and if my research is right, the morning Perry episode will be affected. I can’t find the full summer schedule online yet, but unless they move Perry to another time, he’s going to get booted for, I think, The Love Boat. What? Sacrilege! The Love Boat is cheesy 1970s goodness, but replacing Perry is not acceptable. I certainly hope the nighttime showing will be unaffected. I usually only watch at night these days, but I know some people are only able to watch in the mornings. Hopefully they will be able to record the nighttime showings to watch the next day.

Also, they’re adding The Mod Squad to their line-up, which is great, but it tentatively looks like it may be booting Ironside. Perhaps Ironside will move to another time as well; we’ll have to wait for the full schedule to see. Perhaps they’ll move Ironside to air after Perry at night! That would be fun. And considering how they like to plug the shows as Raymond Burr back-to-back, it’s rather possible.

I wish MeTV would add Garrison’s Gorillas and Mannix to their line-up. Garrison’s Gorillas is a one-season show, so it would do well to air once a week, as they do for some short series such as Mr. Lucky. The premise of having convicts do secret missions is silly and not accurate to American forces, but the show is like a WWII-era Mission: Impossible. And it has cheeky British darling Christopher Cary (who totally should have guest-starred on Perry, oh my goodness). Any show with one of my favorites in a starring role is sure to be adored by me, even if it’s a genre I don’t often watch, such as war. And Mannix is totally the best private eye show ever.

One problem with adding Mannix, however, is that I’ve heard that rerun packages completely omit season 1. That is not good at all. Season 1 is an important part of the series too. I’ll admit, I wasn’t enthused about it before I saw it because I didn’t like the absence of secretary Peggy and wasn’t sure I’d like Mannix and his boss being at odds. But when I finally saw season 1 episodes, I was in love. Season 1 is just as intense and gripping as the other seasons, and Mannix actually has a beautiful rapport and friendship with his boss. The actors are friends in real-life, and it really comes through in the characters.

But enough about other classic television shows. Back to Perry, the late-night airings have moved into season 9. And I have to admit, I feel bad about it, but the last two or three times I’ve watched season 8, including this round, I’ve ended up becoming really anxious for season 9 before the end of it. After the first such time, I wondered if I would feel different on another showing of season 8. But it seems my feelings on it are here to stay.

I really don’t like the way they wrote Andy in season 8, as I’ve ranted many times. It seemed like they completely lost track of the amiable, fairly intelligent character they started out with. Andy is often little more than a cringe-worthy joke in season 8. It’s painful to watch such a good character be run into the ground by bad writing. And with that being the case, it was totally time for someone new.

Steve is such a breath of fresh air. I am thoroughly enjoying seeing him again and am forever impressed by how, even the times when he’s wrong, the show does not try to make him look like an idiot. I really wish the show had continued and we could have seen more of him. But I’m grateful for the episodes we have.

One thing I noticed: while in season 8 and even some of season 7 Andy is so very scarce many times, in season 9 Steve assumes a role that Tragg enjoys during the early seasons—that of having many scenes and much screentime. The first couple of season 9 episodes don’t feature Steve much, but by The Candy Queen it’s all different. I’m really happy they went back to having the police character play such a large role again. That’s part of the formula that never should have been changed.