Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Short post

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, fellow American readers! To everyone else, Happy Thursday!

I caught part of The Difficult Detour on MeTV last week. I had watched the uncut version not that long ago, so I wasn’t sure I’d watch it on television, but I ended up pulled into the plot again anyway.

Is it just me or does anyone else find Neil Hamilton’s character to be a bit . . . confusing? I feel like that every time I see the episode. To elaborate, he claims he always liked Pete Mallory. If that’s true, then why in the world didn’t he try talking to Pete about the road on his land before just slapping a court order on him? Surely he would have realized that Pete wasn’t trying to do anything against him.

I suppose it’s possible that he used the court order because he still wasn’t down from San Francisco and he wanted work on the road stopped immediately instead of letting it go on even a few more hours. And if that was the case, I guess that it was a kindness in a certain way, not wanting the crew to do even more work on the project when it was just going to be stopped.

I’m not sure whether he was down from San Francisco yet or not; I don’t think the script specified. But maybe I’ll choose to think of it like that. It’s the only way that makes sense, when he does seem to be a fairly nice person when he appears.

I also wonder what happened to the episode’s murderer. He definitely didn’t seem to quite have all of his marbles, so it wouldn’t seem exactly fair if he were executed for the crime. He seemed like he needed psychiatric help.

Also, this is the time of year that I think about Dan Tobin, who was born in late October (the 19th) and died in late November (the 26th). I’ve been noticing him guest-starring in more shows than I had thought I’d seen with him. It’s always fun to spot him, especially if it’s something I’ve seen before and liked. I think my most favorite non-Perry roles of his, however, will always be his Maverick characters. Staring in horror as a camel looks in a hotel window, challenging Bret Maverick to a duel, and swindling Beau Maverick by tricking him into taking a real diamond necklace are among his memorable Maverick moments. He had a real comedic genius, especially in the first two episodes. That comes out a bit on Perry, as Clay says strange things, but it’s certainly more understated there (and should be). I wish I had some more biographical information to go on for him, but I’m happy that so many of his performances are still available for viewing.

Friday, November 21, 2014

More book news, and the uncut Barefaced Witness

I bring more exciting news on the book front, as Richard is interviewed about it: The interview is awesome in general, and now we have confirmation that Perry Mason will be discussed within the book’s pages! I hope there will be a nice, meaty section on it.

And The Barefaced Witness was on MeTV this past night. The television version has never made a great deal of sense to me and I’ve had the feeling that it’s one of the most cut-up episodes, so I decided it would be the perfect time to watch the uncut version.

I was definitely right about it being chopped up. So many scenes were missing, specifically almost everything that specifically showed or mentioned that ridiculous festival the town was having. And since that was kind of pivotal to the whole plot, even being brought up in the episode’s title, it’s absolutely preposterous that those scenes were removed!

I think that concerning that subject, the cut version of The Barefaced Witness only keeps the scene in the cafĂ© where Paul looks at the list of the nine clean-shaven people arrested during the festival week. But it’s so weird for that to be the only mention of the festival. That makes it seem such a throwaway thing when it’s actually important to the solution of things. I don’t recall the opening sequence at all, which showed the silly signs about clean-shaven people being arrested and guys walking around with beards. And the scene with Paul arriving and ending up being forced to take part in the mock arrest for being clean-shaven was certainly missing.

Paul sure was a good sport about that. The police were pretty nice, contrary to the visions that have been dancing through my mind for years, and it all seemed to be in good fun. I wonder, though, what would have happened had someone not wanted to participate in the silliness. Someone could have arrived not knowing about the festival and have needed to meet someone in a hurry, and I doubt they would have liked being sidetracked into being arrested and fined for such a nonsensical reason! And it wouldn’t have seemed very fair, either. It didn’t seem fair as it was to fine people who didn’t even know anything about it.

One thing that seriously amuses me is that the local reporter played by Adam West apparently refused to be part of things. I suppose he was fined, but he must have been okay with that and preferred it to wearing a fake beard all week or growing a real one.

Adam West’s Perry characters seem to follow a pattern of being very protective of the girls they like. Both this guy and the character Adam plays in The Bogus Books are like that.

One intriguing thing about this episode, which isn’t as clear in the cut version, is that it’s really a Paul vehicle. Perry appears in the scene where Paul’s client wants the folder found, and then he goes to look for it when Paul isn’t available, but other than that, he doesn’t even appear again until they’re actually in court! There’s not even a scene of him talking to the defendant before court convenes. The whole mystery starts because of a past case of Paul’s, as the client is coming to him about some new twists, and Paul is the main player until the case goes to court. That’s neat; I like episodes that cast more of the spotlight on the other characters.

Another thing I was specifically looking for in this episode was the district attorney, Mr. Hale. I found it interesting that the first witness says his name straight-out while being questioned. It certainly shows how laid-back and familiar they are in that town. But I wonder if it was also there because the writer wanted everyone to know that yes, the D.A. was indeed Mr. Hale from earlier episodes and not just another character played by the same actor.

I like Paul Fix and his character is interesting in how he definitely brings a rural, laid-back manner to the courtroom. I wonder if that was why they used him multiple times, to make quite the contrast with Perry the “big city” lawyer.

The episode has never been a particular favorite of mine, but that’s always been partially due to being so puzzled by the cut version. Knowing it’s a Paul episode makes it more intriguing to me. And I like Adam West, both from The Bogus Books and from Batman, so I enjoy seeing him guest-starring. It will probably never rank among my most favorite episodes ever, but in its uncut form I will probably enjoy seeing it now and then, especially in order to see a lot of Paul in action.

And today is Joseph Campanella’s 90th birthday! Awesome! I wish he was a Perry alumnus, but unfortunately he never appeared on our show. He does have a Raymond Burr connection, having appeared on four Ironside episodes. I saw The Happy Dreams of Hollow Men last month when MeTV aired it and I was thoroughly impressed anew by his acting abilities. He and Raymond Burr are the main players and carry most of the episode alone. It’s highly intense, as Joseph’s character descends into drug withdrawal and desperation and Ironside tries to keep him grounded in reality.

I’m still repulsed by the character flipping out and pitching Ironside to the floor, and later threatening him with a rifle, and it shows what a wonderful and loyal friend Ironside is, to keep believing in his friend amid all of that. The way the episode ends, with Ironside going to him as he sobs on the floor in despair and telling him to lean on him as they leave, is very powerful and poignant.

I will always wish Joseph had been on Perry, but I’m glad to have the four Ironside episodes to showcase his interaction with Raymond Burr and the other excellent cast members.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Exciting News!

I learned two pieces of exciting Perry-related information in the last few days!

First, that memoir I heard Richard Anderson was writing a couple of years ago is definitely coming! It’s finally on pre-order here: I wish we didn’t have to wait until March to read it, but I’m thrilled to finally have a release date! The co-author of the book contacted me to let me know last week.

I have to say, I love that part of the title is “At Last”, after anxiously waiting for a couple of years or so!

Then, Fedora, one of the readers here, made an exciting discovery. All the Perry books are available to read online here: I think this is an Indian site? But the books are in English. They are PDF, which isn’t my favorite format, but I am totally willing to brave that to check some of these out, especially The Shoplifter’s Shoe! Finally, I can see how the book version of Deputy Sampson is written!

Hopefully I will get back to regular blog posts soon. October was really hectic and November is starting out likewise. I unfortunately failed to get a Perry Halloween story written, but that was not entirely because of the hectic goings-on. I have never quite figured out enough of the plot of the masquerade story to actually get it written without getting stuck. I am definitely thinking about it and maybe I will write it anyway, even after Halloween, if I suddenly figure out the missing links.