Thursday, December 10, 2015

Birthday Post: Ray Collins

I couldn't let December 10th pass by without acknowledging Ray Collins' birthday. It was on this day in 1889 when this amazing person and actor came into the world. He was inspired at an early age to want to become an actor and showed that he definitely had the talent for it. He was only rarely out of work once he began his long career, working on the stage and in radio as well as in movies and on television. He was widely respected and well-liked.

I was looking over his Wikipedia page before coming here, and I read something I have never heard before. Apparently, the reason his name was kept in the credits after he could no longer return to the show was because Gail Patrick Jackson knew he watched the show each week and she didn't want to discourage him by removing his name from the credits. That is awesome and very moving. It doesn't quite explain why his name was left there for the rest of season 8, even after his death, but I suspect my original idea, that it was out of respect and sadness. They probably couldn't stand to take his name away when the grief was too fresh. And they wanted to continue to acknowledge the great impact he had on the show. In any case, I'm sure he continued to be there in spirit.

As season 4 marches on, I continue to enjoy Ray's wonderful work as Lieutenant Tragg. He portrayed the character so brilliantly, with a mixture of grouchiness, sarcasm, intelligence, and caring, and he made it work each and every time. Lieutenant Tragg is larger-than-life, but at the same time he feels three-dimensional and real. He isn't just a cardboard cut-out character that gets trounced by Perry all the time.

Sadly, the writing was already on the wall that something wasn't right. While Sergeant Brice is absent for most of the early season 4 episodes, he returns the same time Hamilton does, in The Fickle Fortune. In both that and the next episode, The Waylaid Wolf, Brice takes part much more than he generally did before. He and Tragg are both present in the first of those episodes, but Brice still handles a lot of the needed conversations and both of them are questioned in court. Brice even sits in the gallery for the rest of the court scenes, something he doesn't often do. The next episode has him carrying it alone, including the court scenes. This happens several more times in season 4.

Although I love Sergeant Brice and delight to see him gain more screentime, I'm saddened by the reason why it happened. We've entered the point in the show where Tragg is being gradually, quietly phased out, and it's never quite the same afterwards.

There are still occasions where Tragg has a lot of screentime, however. The next episode, The Wintry Wife, features him in a lot of the investigation scenes along with Victor Chamberlin, in what is probably his highlight episode. This isn't the time to discuss Chamberlin (maybe next time), but I will mention that they made a fun team and it was enjoyable seeing Chamberlin get out in the field for a while . . . even though I of course would have liked it even more if it had been Hamilton with Tragg. (Or Sampson. Sampson in the field would have been epic.)

My dad complained while watching The Married Moonlighter several months ago that Tragg is often quite rude. I'll admit that that particular episode probably isn't his best moment; the scene where the husband is arrested and the wife is so upset and crying is quite haunting. At the same time, though, I could relate to Tragg looking to the wife but saying nothing. Sometimes it's so difficult to know what to say in such situations. What there is to say can seem so trite. Perhaps Tragg just didn't know how to say anything that might help, so he felt it was better to say nothing at all. In other episodes he usually does try to say something to the one left behind; maybe his experience in this episode made him decide that finding something to say was better than silence.

Dad was no doubt also referring to Tragg's many sarcastic cracks throughout the series. On that matter, I have to say that I love his snark and always look forward to what sort of comment he'll make next. Out of everyone in the main cast, Tragg is most likely the funniest. The way he says things, like responding to Adam West being Captain Obvious in The Bogus Books, is classic. "Oh, why thank you. I might never have figured that out!" Even Perry seemed to find that one amusing.

Tragg counters that irony with genuine concern and caring for people. One of my favorite serious Tragg scenes is in The Loquacious Liar, when he comes into the boat company's meeting room and tries to soberly and kindly tell the victim's wife that her husband is dead. He also expresses concern for Perry in the same episode, telling him he hopes Perry's old war injury isn't anything serious. His friendship with Andy is also something special. Despite being short, the scene in The Hateful Hero where Tragg comes to tell Andy of Otto Norden's death is quite poignant and powerful. Tragg is completely serious and sad, knowing how bad Andy will feel. His voice even cracks slightly as he tells him to get his hat and come. This is likely unintentional as part of the script and was an error in delivery, possibly due to Ray's sadly waning health, but it really works and makes the scene feel so much more real than if the delivery had been entirely polished.

Tragg is such a fun and multi-faceted character. There is always something new to discover about Ray's perfect portrayal of this gruff veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. Happy Birthday to the wonderful actor and human being who brought him to life as no one else ever could! You will always be remembered and loved.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sergeant Brice and Slim Marcus and so very many guns

And so another Halloween season has come and gone. I wanted to write a story as a follow-up to 2012's The Case of the Man-Eating House and have Della, Andy, and Sergeant Brice puzzling over the strange locket Brice brought back and why the little girl stays in the house. That didn't happen, but perhaps I will still write it. After all, creepy house stories aren't just for Halloween. Although, I would doubt whether anyone still remembers the original tale three years later! Usually, if a fanfiction sequel isn't started immediately, it doesn't do so well with its audience.

I've been thinking about Dan Tobin lately. It was his birthdate near the end of October (the 19th). I haven't seen him in anything new, nor have I learned anything more about him, but his performance as Clay is always remembered fondly by me. Clay is certainly a unique and colorful character and, just like all the cast, perfectly captured by his actor. I can't imagine anyone else in the part.

I bought all of season 3 of
Perry on DVD several months back and we were watching the uncut versions of the episodes on the nights when MeTV aired them. But we ended up getting a little behind during the Halloween season, so we just got around to see The Mythical Monkeys and The Singing Skirt over the past couple of nights.

The Mythical Monkeys, of course, is the episode from which Pete Kelton hails. I've used him in a couple of stories, but he is most prominent in the one I just finished, The Nefarious Necklace. Being played by William Boyett, he is my favorite of Paul's operatives.

The Singing Skirt is H.M. Wynant's second turn on the series, as gambler and killer Slim Marcus. I still rather like my fleshing out of the calamity on the night of the murder, featuring Vivian Ennis as the one to actually pick up the gun and she and Slim then fight for it. There is vague mention in the epilogue that there was a fight, so my idea doesn't go against canon. That still wouldn't let him off the hook, however, especially with all the nasty things he did to implicate Betty. But I do feature Slim as a minor character in some of my stories for other shows, ironically.

My story goes that he went to prison mainly on charges of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, since the killing was not deliberate and he was simply trying to protect himself by getting the gun away from Vivian. But then instead of going to the police with what happened, he did all that junk to frame an innocent party, which resulted in most of the charges against him. After his release, he runs a casino of his own and employs a couple of characters from other shows I like to write about. I don't think I've ever actually featured him in a Perry story. He is a dark character due to his past, but he is trying to get past it and live upright now.

Amusingly enough, I went though my posts tagged with The Singing Skirt and saw that I had not originally planned to flesh anything out regarding Slim Marcus's actions. I wonder what made me change my mind.

While I was watching the episode, I came up with some interesting thoughts.

First, I've noticed that even though Sergeant Brice is the main sergeant now, he still isn't always the one around. Tragg still goes to crime scenes with other sergeants or even uniformed officers sometimes. There was a sergeant in The Singing Skirt whom I've never seen before, to my recollection. I was thinking how rather sad it was that it wasn't Brice.

Now I'm starting to think that Brice doesn't become the only sergeant around until season 4, when Hamilton was absent and then later when they tried to give Brice more of the burden of the police character. My memory is that neither Andy nor Steve ever worked with any sergeant except Brice, unlike Tragg. I've always written that Tragg and Brice are especially close, and I imagine they are, but it is interesting to note that Brice was apparently never exclusively Tragg's partner (at least, not until season 4, perhaps).

Actually, that lends credence to the idea in my stories that Brice still works with the other Lieutenants even though he is now Steve's partner. Perhaps during times when Steve is working at the station or off-duty, Brice still partners with Tragg or Andy.

One interesting thing about The Singing Skirt is that it definitely shows Perry's human frailties, instead of trying to make it look like he's never wrong. His screw-up with the guns and his over-confidence really make a mess for both himself and the defendant. There aren't many episodes where Perry seriously flubs as badly as he does here. Even in season 7's The Woeful Widower, where Perry suspects the wrong person for most of the episode, he doesn't actually cause a calamity.

I've always been rather appalled by Perry's fiddling around with those guns, but this time around it occurs to me that he really could have gotten his other client in trouble by using his gun to substitute for the one in Betty's hat box. Note that when the client is on the stand, he says that Perry didn't think he should even be carrying a gun while his civil suit was going on. That was six months ago, yet the gun is still in Perry's possession. I question whether the suit was resolved, since I would think the client would have taken it back once everything was settled. But regardless, what if he had been implicated in a crime because his gun was used? Of course, what actually happened was that Perry got himself implicated, but it seems to me the other could have happened just as easily.

I like that Perry is so determined to help Betty when she's being bullied by the gamblers, but somehow it just doesn't sit well with me that he took another client's gun to try to help her. That client trusted Perry too and it seems Perry really let him down. If I was that guy, I think I'd be looking for a new lawyer.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Quick post

Gah, no posts for a month. I am so sorry; it’s been nuts around here. This year I even remembered the anniversary date the show premiered and just wasn’t able to find the time to get a post up. But I haven’t neglected Perry-related works, as I’ve been working on The Nefarious Necklace story at By now I almost have it done. I plan that one more full chapter and an epilogue can wrap it up.

I’m really happy I was finally able to tell that story, after agreeing to write it for my steady reader Harry2 three years ago. Although I imagine it’s very different from the story he was envisioning!

I brought in some elements from a couple of Livejournal-only blurbs I was experimenting with years ago, mainly the mechanic David Solomon and his true identity. I debated for some time whether to go that route or not, but I really wanted to tell a story with a ­Decadent Dean ­flavor and I didn’t think I could tell a story with those characters without ending up dipping into those plot elements.

That whole storyline is an experiment and a “What if . . . ?” Personally, I still feel Tobin Wade is probably the biggest slimeball in the series, due to having really been a friend at one time and then letting his greed get the better of him. But since he was a true friend at one time, I just couldn’t help but wonder if he would ever regret what he did. The story examines the possibility of what might happen if he not only regretted it, but was given a chance to try to make reparations.

Then the other night I was watching The Bartered Bikini and saw something curious. Sergeant Brice is absent and instead a Sergeant Macready is helping Tragg. Very oddly, Macready comes over to Perry and greets him familiarly, even asking if he remembers meeting before. Perry definitely does and is very congenial.

Well, Perry may remember, but I definitely did not! I looked up the character and so far have not found any other occasion where he was present in the series. At least if he was, an actor other than Herbert Patterson must have played him for his other appearance(s).

It is certainly a curious thing, a character apparently set up as a recurring character who actually did not recur. The other times characters have greeted Perry like that, they have been around in other episodes, such as Sergeant Landro and the sheriff of the county where Mr. Hale is the prosecutor.

I wonder what they were planning to do with the character and why he didn’t recur. And even stranger, why his appearance references an earlier appearance that doesn’t seem to have happened. Anyone know? Perhaps there was an earlier appearance of Macready played by another actor that I don’t remember. Although I am pretty sure I would remember that name; I have been paying attention to all the sergeants who wander in this time around.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Birthday Tribute: Karl Held

Well, it’s another September the 19th, which means it’s time for the most controversial post of the year: the birthday tribute to Karl Held!

I believe it was last year when someone finally explained to me the other main reason why Karl’s David Gideon character is so disliked. As I recall, it’s because the character has a tendency to sometimes act like he knows it all and/or tries to explain things that don’t need explaining? The person mentioned some occasions where he explains some things to Della and she has an expression like, “You don’t have to lecture me, David.”

I’ll agree that David does have those moments. And admittedly, I know some people in real-life who are like that. They are quite annoying. But on the other hand, I’m honestly a bit amused by them, because in general, they really aren’t trying to do anything wrong. They’re just sharing their enthusiasm and maybe letting it get a little out of hand. They don’t even really stop to think that maybe they don’t need to say this or that. So even that reason doesn’t make me dislike the character.

However, this much I will say: the commenter also noted that David does not act like that in The Grumbling Grandfather, in spite of his idolization of Perry. I do think it’s rather a pity that they changed the characterization in season 5, instead of sticking a little more with what the character was to begin with. Perhaps he wouldn’t be nearly universally disliked if they had taken a more season 4-influenced path and kept the character more as he was in his first appearance.

But regardless, it certainly wasn’t Karl Held’s fault that the characterization was altered. He just worked with the material he was given. Apparently those moments were actually in the script. I suppose perhaps delivering the lines differently could have made some level of difference, but maybe it was the director’s choice and not Karl’s to deliver the lines the way he did. There just isn’t enough information on that period of Perry to really judge what happened.

I wonder if anyone has ever even interviewed Karl about his time on Perry? It would be interesting to get the story from his point-of-view.

I still haven’t quite found a place for David in my Perry stories. I used him in The Case of the Spiteful Spirit two years ago and that is the only appearance he’s made in my official timeline. The Lux Aeterna stories on Livejournal remain nebulous as to whether they’re part of the official timeline. So as far as the official timeline goes, I have never explained where David disappeared to. Since I say that other characters who have disappeared onscreen are still around, however, perhaps David is just busy with law school and is still in Los Angeles, instead of leaving it as I said in Lux Aeterna.

While looking over the previous birthday posts, I saw I had an idea for David to maybe appear now and then, bringing Perry interesting problems that could sometimes turn into new cases. Perhaps I will use that idea for the next mystery story, if I continue the series after The Nefarious Necklace. I just hope that if I do decide to use David as a main guest-star in a story, that fact alone wouldn’t make a lot of readers decide not to bother reading!

It would have been neat, as I’ve said before, if there had been more canon scenes of Perry mentoring David in the ways of the law. Perhaps it could have been more like Perry’s relationship with Ken in the movies. Of course, I imagine that even if David’s characterization had been handled better, viewers wouldn’t have liked if the series had followed him to the end of his law school studies and had Perry take him on as another lawyer in the firm, as he did with Ken. That definitely would have changed the scope of the series a bit, probably unfavorably. I doubt I would go that route in my stories, but I would like to do some of the mentoring scenes. I will also likely try to characterization David a little more like in The Grumbling Grandfather.

I was a little worried that some readers might mistakenly think that the mechanic character in Necklace is supposed to be David and that he failed law school, but since there are many guest-star characters on Perry named David, I figured I would let it slide. The character is called David for a reason, so I didn’t want to try to find a different name that would work just as well. However, I did realize, much to my chagrin, that I accidentally started a pattern once I gave the character a surname. Both Davids have first and last names of Biblical characters: David Gideon and David Solomon! Oh well, it works.

As before, I feel that David Gideon is a character who had a lot of untapped potential. I’m glad that Karl brought him to life and gave it a good try for those nine episodes. I hope he has a very happy birthday!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

In Memoriam: Raymond Burr

So The Romantic Rogue is the first episode in which Lee Miller is officially called Sergeant Brice within the series! I like that Lieutenant Tragg introduces him to Harry West; it’s as though he’s introducing Brice to the audience, as well.

It seems like Brice wasn’t usually introduced in the episodes. I’m trying to recall other times when whichever Lieutenant present introduced him to someone in the guest cast. I believe each Lieutenant introduced him at least once, but I hope there were more occasions than just three!

Last week I was curiously looking up Lee Miller’s credits and I discovered something that I knew I would want to save to talk about today. There was only one occasion listed where he was credited as appearing as himself, in a documentary about Raymond Burr called The Defense Rests. I went to YouTube hoping I’d find it, and I did!

I’m probably a latecomer and everyone else knows about and/or has watched this tribute, but just in case there are those who are not aware: This is the link to Part 1; it was broken up into six segments. I believe each one should either automatically follow the previous one or appear in the sidebar.

Some people may find it a little hard to get through in this day and age, as Bill Cosby is one of the co-hosts, and there are certainly reasons to not find it appealing to watch Bill Cosby these days. But I watched the whole thing and greatly enjoyed and was moved by it.

It came out very soon after Raymond Burr’s sad death on September 12th, 1993. They didn’t spend a lot of time discussing either Perry or Ironside, but they did manage to discuss both series as well as an overview of Raymond’s movie career. All of it was very interesting, but what I enjoyed the most were the parts about Raymond’s life and his personality. Barbara Hale was the other host and she delivered very touching information about Raymond. Also exciting was getting to see people in Raymond’s family.

Lee Miller talks at several different points throughout the production, giving little snippets of adventures he and Raymond had while filming things. The part about the Godzilla movie was particularly intriguing. I had no idea Raymond had appeared in one of those! Lee expressed sadness over Raymond’s passing and said how much he would miss him.

There were definitely things I would have liked to have learned that weren’t mentioned, such as how Raymond and Lee met in the first place (and how Sergeant Brice was cast; I’d like to know if Raymond had anything to do with that!), but overall I really loved the documentary and found it a very touching and poignant tribute while the wounds were still fresh from Raymond’s death. On this, the anniversary of that sad day, I find it fitting to share the documentary and encourage fans to have a look. Even if you’ve seen it before, it’s good to see again and reflect on. It’s an excellent and powerful glimpse into the life of the man we see as Perry Mason and Robert T. Ironside.

It’s hard to believe that Raymond Burr passed away 22 years ago today. It was very sad to lose him, especially so soon after they finished the movie The Killer Kiss. The information told about that experience in the documentary was something I hadn’t heard before. It was very moving how determined Raymond was to film that movie in spite of his illness because the proceeds had already been promised to charities. And it was very bittersweet and sad that Barbara Hale had a premonition that it would be the last movie.

However, as sad as it was to lose this wonderful actor and compassionate man, it can definitely be said that he lived a rich, full life and left valuable legacies behind. How many people were helped by Raymond throughout his life? Perhaps even posthumously by the charity money from the final Perry movie? It is staggering to think of the possible numbers. Raymond did so much good in his life through his charity work, as well as by bringing people joy with his famous and beloved roles on television and in the movies.

It was said in the documentary how much Raymond loved to act. I’m sure he’s continuing that love in the afterlife. Here’s to you, Raymond. Keep on shining. I know that won’t be hard for you to do.

I hope to have another chapter of The Nefarious Necklace up later today in further honor of Raymond Burr. With Della as the central figure, naturally Perry plays quite a big role in this installment. By now I have four chapters posted; the story is moving along very well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The first Sergeant Brice, and a new story

As the readers know, I adore Lee Miller’s Sergeant Brice. He is quiet, loyal, dedicated, and friendly. In episodes such as The Grumbling Grandfather and The Borrowed Baby he testifies in court and gets some pretty decent screentime. In later seasons, he sometimes talks with Perry about cases and has a mysterious teasing exchange with Della, certainly indicating that there’s at least one untold story there.

They were using Lee Miller all the way in season 1, playing unnamed policemen who usually worked with the L.A.P.D. Once or twice he played other law enforcement officers, such as a Highway Patrolman in The Rolling Bones. Even then, he appeared with Tragg. Back in season 1, I don’t recall they ever used the same person more than once to accompany Tragg, until they started using Lee Miller.

By season 2, they continued to use Lee in many episodes, but his character still didn’t have a name and only rarely, if ever, said a word. Meanwhile, someone came up with the name Sergeant Brice and it was applied to another police character. He appears in two episodes, to my knowledge—once in an episode that Lee is also in (The Glittering Goldfish)! That gave me a start the last time I watched it, to see the “real” Brice around yet have someone else get credited as the character!

MeTV showed the first of the two episodes the other day (The Fancy Figures) and I studied the character as played by Chuck Webster. Instead of younger, quiet, and closer to Raymond’s build, the first Sergeant Brice is older, slimmer, and quite talkative. While I suppose the idea is that both actors are really playing the same character, I have an urge to make this first Brice a completely different character, since he is different in every way except in his loyalty to the police department, and when I hear “Sergeant Brice”, it’s impossible for me to picture anyone other than Lee Miller. Perhaps the first Brice is a relative? Chuck Webster was only eleven years older than Lee Miller, and even though some actors sadly do look much older than their age, this character didn’t look old enough to be the other Brice’s father. So maybe an older brother, cousin, or an uncle instead.

Also curiously noted is that while the first episode has him and Tragg both calling him “Brice”, the second episode only lists him as such in the credits. Within the episode itself, Hamilton addresses him as “Officer.” I wonder which episode was filmed first? If Goldfish was, then we could say that perhaps they only thought of the name after it was filmed, so they quickly inserted it in the credits and then addressed him by that name within the other episode. If the other episode was filmed first, then I have to wonder if they were already considering making Lee Miller the Brice character by the time they did Goldfish later, so they didn’t want Chuck’s Brice addressed onscreen by that name again.

I may address these mysteries in a future story, or maybe even in the one I’ve started now. I finished putting up the Steve Drumm detective parody and decided it was high time I start writing the story idea that one of my steady readers, Harry2, brought to me three years ago when I was writing The Malevolent Mugging. It heavily involves Della and a mishap with a supernatural necklace. I was interested, but felt I needed to finish Mugging before I started it, and of course, that didn’t get finished until about a month or so ago. So finally it is time to tell Harry’s story.

Since I have been wanting to explore Brice and Della’s apparent friendship for some time, a story starring Della would be a good place to start. I am tentatively planning that Brice will play a large part in it, especially as the mystery deepens and it becomes clear that not all is well with Della.

Also, as per my love of bringing back characters from the episodes I enjoy most, this one features Gene Torg and Pearl Chute from The Bogus Books. They were part of the original outline from three years ago, being the first to encounter the necklace and then desperately wanting to get rid of it. Gene may end up falsely accused of a crime and need Perry’s help; I’m still unsure if I will do that angle.

I have also had ideas of writing a story about the Stuarts from The Decadent Dean and I decided that this would be that mystery. Perry is trying to solve a new series of weird events at Aaron Stuart’s new Manzana Valley Prep School while Della begins to act strangely. The mysteries will connect. And I’m also planning that this will finally be the mystery with scenes at a masquerade ball. The ball will be held at the school.

Does anyone know if Manzana Valley/County is a real place or something the show made up? I’ve been trying to look it up without success because I wanted to figure out how close it is to Los Angeles. Tentatively I’m assuming that within the show, it’s the next county over in some direction, since Tobin Wade seemed to be living at his cabin in Topanga Canyon (which is, I think, part of the Los Angeles area?) and probably wouldn’t want to be driving a long distance to work each day.

I’m a little nervous to do another supernatural mystery for my first big Perry story since The Malevolent Mugging, but I really wanted this one to be next, so I hope it will be enjoyed. I have the first chapter up and am in the process of writing the second. If anyone is interested in following this new adventure, it’s at:

Sunday, August 30, 2015

In Memoriam: William Talman and Wesley Lau

So today is the anniversary of both William Talman and Wesley Lau’s deaths, albeit in different years. I never like to combine their tribute posts, but I’m afraid that this year I will have to. It has been extremely, unpleasantly hectic the last couple of weeks and with it already evening in my time zone, I just don’t think I’ll have the chance to write two posts today.

I have to admit that I’m running into that same dilemma of not knowing what to say for either one of them that I haven’t already said before. And yet I still want to try; I can’t just go past this day without doing something in their honor.

I started looking through posts from past years to see how I handled it. On one of William’s, I noticed that I mentioned a Wild Wild West fanfiction story I was writing about William’s episode, The Night of the Man-Eating House. His character dies in the main part of the episode, but since it was a dream of Artemus Gordon’s, in reality he was still alive. But the episode ended with them really finding the house from the dream, so there’s the chance that the same events would play out. I decided to write my story having things turn out differently in reality than in the dream. When I talked of it in that first post, I was stalled and could not think how to continue or finish the story. This year, I finally succeeded in doing so, and I am quite pleased with the results. If anyone would like to read that story, which is definitely a tribute to William Talman and his awesomely played character, it’s here:

The community of William Talman fans on Facebook was hoping that MeTV would finally put up part 2 of that interview they did with Tim Talman a year and a half ago. I and others tried to convince them to do so. It would seem they have not. Had they done so, that would have been a very timely and exciting thing to bring to the readers here on this sobering day.

It is such a strange coincidence to have lost two of our Perry cast members on this day, albeit in different years. I am grateful it wasn’t the same year, as Wesley brought so much to people between 1968 and 1984. I am sorrowed, as always, that William Talman died so young, in 1968. I wonder sometimes what things he might have appeared in and what he could have shared with his family had he been able to keep living. But I also always think of his heroic act of speaking out on the dangers of smoking and wonder how many lives he changed with those powerful, first anti-smoking messages. I have come across people who have talked of how those messages changed their lives and how they decided to stop smoking because of them. It’s a beautiful legacy to leave. Although it doesn’t change the sadness of him leaving us so soon, it surely is a great comfort to know that he made such an important difference.

I greatly enjoyed writing for Hamilton, Andy, and Amory Fallon in The Malevolent Mugging, which I have finally finished at last. They and Mr. Sampson were definitely the stars of the tale and I loved devoting it to them. Of course, the actors’ amazing performances are by and large why I adore writing for their characters. All of them were brought to life in the series so expertly.

Wesley was so wonderful as Amory Fallon in The Impatient Partner, even capturing the attention of the executive producer and directly leading to him being cast as Andy for four seasons. It’s so interesting how one little decision, positive or negative, can affect things for years to come. What if someone else had been chosen as Amory? What if they had decided to use Med Flory or someone else as the Lieutenant? What if we had never come to know Lieutenant Anderson?

Wesley was an amazing character actor and very widely appreciated for his skills, which was why he appeared on so many shows. But Lieutenant Anderson was his only role as a steady cast member and that is undoubtedly the role for which he is most remembered. I am very glad that he was the one chosen for the part and that we got to know his great character from seasons 5 through 8. Of course, had someone else been picked instead, we wouldn’t have known any different, but it certainly wouldn’t have been the same as it was with Wesley there.

I’m always delighted to receive comments from people who fondly remember Wesley as Andy. It pleases me that he was so well-received by many viewers, since often it is difficult for a replacement cast member to be accepted by long-time viewers who remember and love the original cast member. I myself took a little bit of time to warm up to him (and Steve) when I started watching again, but it didn’t take long and I loved them.

I always take August 30th to remember the passing of these two great actors and human beings, but I think of them in general every day. There are many lessons we can take from them about acting and playing good characters, but there are also important lessons from their personal lives. They were both devoted to family and friends and stood by them no matter what. They were also both very courageous and believed in saying and doing what had to be done. Those are great examples to take into our lives.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Steve Drumm story is go!

Just a quick post to say that I have finally finished writing that detective show parody story with Steve and Sergeant Brice. But it clocked in at 11,600+ words, which I figured is a little long for a oneshot. So I decided to split it into three or four parts. I put the first one up today. Since the story is already finished, I may put up a new segment every day until they're all there.

It has been a blast writing it, although I had quite a time sorting everything out to make sense regarding the solution of the mystery. It was a thrill to finally get it to where I was satisfied. There are detective show cliches galore. Anything that looks like one is probably meant to be one. And having Steve react to feeling like he's in a 1940s detective story was very amusing indeed. Somehow I don't think he would have much patience for anything that seems off-the-wall.

Even though the focus is naturally on the mystery, I also show a lot of Steve and Brice interacting. I really relished depicting that, as I'm hoping to develop Brice over the course of my next Perry ventures. I still plan to write a story at some point with him and Della interacting, since there is clearly an untold story behind their little scene in The 12th Wildcat!

I also had quite a time deciding on a title. Part of me wanted to simply call it Drumm, since many detective shows use the main character's last name as the title. But then I decided I wanted something a little funnier. I ended up with The Case of the Throwback Thursday, which may cause some meme-haters to tie themselves in knots, but I chose it because it fits the idea of a retro plot, as well as falling back on the show's love of alliteration. I think it's innocently mischievous enough to be reminiscent of some of the silliest, most tongue-in-cheek episode titles, such as The Murderous Mermaid or The Twice-Told Twist. The actual meme is not mentioned anywhere in the story.

If anyone is interested in taking a look, it's here:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Birthday Tribute: Richard Anderson

And today is Richard Anderson’s 89th birthday! Awesome! I hope you have a wonderful day, Richard!

It’s a great year for Richard and Richard fans. The book is finally out! Richard has been going to book signings and conventions; he was at one just last weekend. Cozi TV still airs The Six Million Dollar Man and MeTV recently finished another run of season 9 of Perry.

I’m ecstatic to have finally finished The Malevolent Mugging, in which Richard’s character Steve Drumm plays a very large and important role. I’ve been wondering what Perry mystery to start next, as I have several ideas. The one that ended up taking precedence is one that stars Steve.

A couple weeks ago, I had an Ellery Queen disc out from Netflix. I adore the jazzy theme song, and hearing it again made me think of writing a film noir/detective parody with Steve Drumm as the main character. Since he is the most hardboiled of the main Perry policemen and often seems like he belongs in a 1940s-ish detective setting, he was the immediate choice.

So far the story is coming along quite well. It won’t be very long, but I might split it into three or four parts for posting, depending on its eventual length. I was hoping to have it ready today, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

I’ve been throwing in lots of noir/detective show clich├ęs, including a mysterious woman, a missing person, a valuable object everyone is seeking, a nightclub, a helpful singer, and Steve shaming the bad guys in a fight. It is a lot of fun! And it’s a nice chance to highlight the police and their investigations and depict them in a positive light. I hope it will be a nice tribute to Richard’s portrayal of Steve, as well as Lee Miller’s portrayal of Sergeant Brice.

Richard’s characters are so numerous and varied, from good guys to bad, and they inspire a lot of creativity among fans. Certainly there are many fan works with Richard’s arguably most famous character, Oscar Goldman. And I’ve seen many fans for other characters and for Richard in general. He is widely recognized and fondly remembered the world over, and he appears in so very many things that it probably isn’t an exaggeration to say that on any given day, people all over the world could be watching his performances in dozens of films and television series. Still more may be celebrating his characters in other ways.

I’m planning to make some pictorial tributes on Tumblr after I post this. If you check in at, there should be some fun new stuff in a short while.

Thank you, Richard, for another wonderful year of enjoying your presence and performances, and thank you for a wonderful memoir this year! Here’s to many more years!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Case of the Malevolent Mugging is back!

I am absolutely ecstatic over the fact that this time I have actually managed to revive The Malevolent Mugging story for real! I churned out several chapters over the past couple of weeks, including the climax. I have only to write the epilogue and then, glorious, glorious day, it will be done!

It started when I was idly thinking of some other possible Perry ideas. I was on a bit of a Misguided Missile kick and re-read my Spectral Stalker story, which I know is very strange and was pretty much totally a self-indulgent installment. There’s a mention in the epilogue that maybe there would have to be a hearing in order for Captain Caldwell to prove who he is. I doubt that would happen in actual fact, but I got the idea of writing a story taking place directly after The Spectral Stalker and following Caldwell trying to reintegrate into society. Perry would be around a lot, with or without a hearing, and a new mystery might emerge.

I don’t know if I will write such a story, but when I was thinking of it, I thought of how I’ve felt like I can’t start any more big Perry mysteries until The Malevolent Mugging is finished. And I went to look it over for the umpteenth time to see if I could determine how to do that.

I realized that the real problem holding it up was that my original outline called for the bad guys to torture Amory Fallon for several more weeks. And the rest of the mystery was really just about ready to be wrapped up, so I didn’t see how I would extend it for so many more chapters. Cue the stalling, with only a small update here and there.

I determined that the bad guys would not have to torment Amory for as long of a time as I’d thought. After everything he’s already been through, I could probably still obtain the desired result for the climax if they decided to pull the cruelest thing much sooner than the original outline called for.

I changed some of my plans for the climax, too, giving Amory a much more active role as opposed to the idea from a very short piece I did called October, where he spent the climax in the hospital. I wasn’t comfortable with that and wanted him involved, and I’m very pleased with the end result.

One thing to keep in mind for any future mysteries is the Jodie character I introduced. She has nothing to do with the current mystery, but I brought her in because of her connection with Vivalene and Flo, who were major players in some of the other stories. She will play some part in perhaps the next mystery in the series.

I may also use Daniel Conway some more. My original outline would have involved him more than he has been, but I think it might be just as well to move some of my ideas for him into his own mystery.

Maybe this year I can even write that Halloween masquerade story. We’ll have to see. With this story finally wrapping up, I definitely feel freer to venture into other Perry story waters. I’m excited to see where the ride takes me.

If anyone is still interested after all this time in where The Malevolent Mugging has been going, it’s still here: I plan to post the epilogue very soon, perhaps tomorrow or Tuesday. And then Tuesday night, MeTV will air Daniel Conway’s episode. What timing!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Killer Kiss and more MeTV news!

So, The Killer Kiss. I missed some of the beginning of it while I was taking care of some things, but maybe I’ll catch up with that on the taped copy. I saw pretty much everything after the murder happened.

It was interesting that the defendant was a ward of Perry’s. It was fun seeing their interaction and getting a snippet more information about Perry’s backstory in the movie verse, even though I don’t consider it canon.

Della was pretty much adorable, finally getting some more decent screentime and being a soap opera buff. (And I was highly amused by Perry’s tale of a judge he knew also being a soap opera fan.) I’ve never been into soaps, but I could relate to Della’s excitement about the cast and being there to see an episode filmed.

As with most Perry-related show-biz things, many of the guest characters are a bit over the top and the plot pokes fun at Hollywood tropes, such as how they explain the dead guy’s character being played by someone new.

Lieutenant Brock was slightly obnoxious, but I like how friendly he’s gotten with Perry in these later movies. It’s some nice character development. And totally an improvement over there not being a steady police character in the earlier films.

I was slightly amused by the girl of the movie this time, and by Ken ending up locked in the men’s bathroom and her rushing right in to help him without thinking of or caring about the awkwardness and general impropriety of it. Sometimes exceptions must be made in drastic situations, after all!

And their experience in that small-town was horrible! Crooked lawmen are one thing that tends to irritate me, and that sheriff was the mother-lode of horrid. It was so, so satisfying when Ken and the girl managed to orchestrate a break-out and locked the sheriff in the cell. I also loved when Perry showed up to help them just as the jam got worse again. And the deputy being a good guy was definitely a nice touch. It’s always enjoyable to see that even in a corrupt place, you can find good people.

It was interesting viewing it all along as the last proper Perry movie, which actually included Perry. As a send-off, it wasn’t bad, especially since they didn’t know at the time it would be the last. The plot was intense and related strongly to the main characters in the form of the defendant’s connection with Perry, there was some good action with Ken, and the ending was rather adorable. I loved Perry grabbing Della and Chris and posing for a picture. It was slightly bittersweet, knowing it was the final shot, but it was a lovely last moment.

I wasn’t expecting the memorial screen for Raymond Burr, but in retrospect it makes sense to have had it, since the movie didn’t air until after his death. It was sobering and sad, and Mom hadn’t realized it was the last one he’d filmed, so it was a bit startling for her.

I’ll probably keep my taped copy of it, too, unless I end up desperate for a tape for some reason. I had a hard time finding one tonight for The Lady in the Lake, but I finally turned up something suitable without erasing The Killer Kiss.

It’s been nice watching those two movies I never got around to seeing, and re-watching The Lady in the Lake and The Heartbroken Bride was quite fun. I have to admit, I still honestly find it hard to believe that they really weren’t trying to say that Perry was the father of his friend Laura’s child. They certainly seemed to be laying on the implications heavily. But it’s nice that, according to a reader here, they apparently didn’t mean anything by it and Perry and Laura were meant to have a close friendship instead. It’s always nice to show that guys and girls can have really deep friendships without romance entering into the picture.

Oh! And I see that, according to Sitcoms Online, there have already been changes made to MeTV’s Fall schedule. It looks like now they will not be removing the morning Perry episode! It looks like it’s moving to an hour earlier instead. Also, now they’re saying the Mystery Movie will continue to air directly after the nighttime Perry and not later. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming weeks, but I won’t be surprised if that is how it will go. MeTV knows viewers love their Perry fix twice a day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Glass Coffin

So, thanks to MeTV, I finally got around to seeing The Glass Coffin. I was very glad that one of the readers was right and there weren’t any onscreen tricks that were grotesque illusions of cutting people up, although the thing they’re doing with the boxes at the very beginning was probably meant to be one of those.

Overall, it was definitely one of the installments I’ve liked the best. In some ways it felt very much like one of the episodes, especially when Perry moved that the trial take place right at the theatre.

We have a defendant who is definitely flawed, having fooled around with the murder victim at one time (albeit only when he was drunk). I was worried for a while that maybe his wife would turn out to be the murderer, especially when Perry emphasized to her that she had to be in court the next day. I was very glad that she was not the guilty one and that she and David were going to be able to work things out.

I kind of suspected the female side of the guilty pair, although I don’t think I ever suspected the other. And I definitely didn’t suspect the reason. I thought she might just be a jealous star kicked to the curb. I was pleased that there was a more substantial reason than that, although of course it still wasn’t justified even though the woman was indeed horrid.

I really liked how Perry pieced together how the crime was actually committed. I had wondered if the girl might have been killed before the fall, but I definitely didn’t dream up all of the details Perry presented!

I loved the opening statements of both the prosecutor and Perry. And the trick Perry did with the glass. Heh! That was definitely an amusing way to prove his point, and I can certainly imagine Hamilton exclaiming about courtroom tricks if Perry had done it in the series.

Ken had his usual “I work alone” attitude, which is always kind of irritating, and he was a bit of a jerk near the beginning to mislead the female detective as he did. But of course, they ended up working together eventually anyway, and it was interesting how the writers tried to bring out the strengths and weaknesses of both of them. The girl may have been good at finding things, but Ken was very “fly by the seat of his pants” resourceful during tight moments. I really liked that the chase scene, instead of being the usual scene of Ken chasing the suspect, was the bad guys chasing him. That was a good way to mix it up. And it was nice that things didn’t get overtly romantic between him and the girl at any point. I really like seeing guys and girls interact in other types of ways, instead of always ending up falling into romantic attraction (especially when the girls are rarely ever seen again).

I was thinking while watching how the movies stretch things out by trying to inject a bit of humor here and there, like when Ken is accosted by the bad guys while only in his shorts and later, when he tries to sober up the drunk. I remember the episode The Candy Queen in particular, and how Paul mentioned he was going to try to get Mark Chester awake and talking by the time Perry got up there. I wonder if, had they shown the scene of Paul working on him, if it would have gone something like the scene in the movie. It was also highly amusing in the movie when, at the end of the wild escape in the truck, the drunk exclaims that he’s sober.

There isn’t much interaction between Perry and Della to speak of here, although poor Della having to call 258 optometrists! I love the little exchange where she matter-of-factly informs him that there are 258 and not 257. I could definitely picture that happening in the series. In fact, I think it did a couple of times, with Paul instead of Della.

I liked the brief subplot of the children’s charity. Perry posing with the kids near the beginning was adorable. And the ending of the film, with David and Sara going to adopt two of them, was very sweet. It was a very nice way for the movie to end.

I’ll probably just keep the copy I recorded many months ago, instead of recording over it as planned. It was good enough that I think I’d like to hang on to it.