Sunday, April 26, 2015

Popular blog posts

So one of the steady readers here has informed me that MeTV will already be doing another week of Perry movies next week! Starting with May 4th (Star Wars day), there will be another mixture of early-era and later-era Perry movies after the nighttime showing of Perry.

That is really neat, although I wonder why they’re doing another week so soon after the large gap between the first and second weeks of Perry movies. It makes me wonder all the more if they’re not going to keep the Mystery Movie feature come summer and perhaps they’re hurrying to show all the Perry movies before then. It seems like with this upcoming week, combined with the past weeks and the times they showed Perry movies on Friday nights, they will have practically shown them all.

And for months I’ve been pondering on one of the curiosities about this blog. I think the post that has the largest number of comments that still continue to come in from time to time is the very first tribute post I made for Wesley Lau. I’m not sure why that particular Wesley post is so popular; perhaps it comes up higher than other Wesley posts if the posts appear in Google searches.

In any case, it certainly goes to show how loved Wesley is by much of the fanbase. I think that’s awesome, especially since he wasn’t one of the original cast members. Oftentimes the cast members who come in later aren’t so well-accepted by longtime fans.

A lot of the comments that come in are from people wanting to know more about Wesley. I really wish I could provide more information. Wesley seems to have been a very private person who rarely gave interviews. And naturally I want to respect his privacy, if that is what he wished and his family is keeping quiet for that reason. However, some of the comments coming in are even from extended family members or other people who knew him or knew someone who knew him. Some of them are looking for information too.

I think it’s important for family members to know about each other. Although I would love to know more information about Wesley for myself and for the other fans, I would love even more to help these extended family members learn more about him and give them a resource to go to where they can.

Two of my newest projects are a website and a blog, both connected, to celebrate many of the character actors I love. The blog is open and available at and will focus largely on character musings and episode reviews. The website will focus largely on interviews from the actors and from people who knew or worked with them. It isn’t open yet, but I am in the process of preparing it and it’s perhaps halfway ready to completion.

Most of the interviews, naturally, are dug up from old newspaper archives and linked to. It is very cool to find these gems and be able to read what the actors actually thought and felt back in the day. I imagine a lot of people won’t have ever seen these interviews, so I’m happy to bring them all together on the website via links. And then every now and then I run across a really awesome person who wants to further the information on one of the people and is willing to give an interview to me. I am really excited to open the website and share those interviews especially.

So I’m putting this out there in the hopes that someone connected with Wesley who has information to give will see it. Would any such people be willing to conduct an interview about Wesley for the website? Please note that my preference is email or private message interviews, because I have a lot of trouble with my phone and I’m afraid a telephone interview wouldn’t go over so well. I want to make sure that any interviews I do get are captured properly and not misheard or mis-transcribed on my part. Thank you in advance for any help you can give!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, Barbara Hale!

Happy Birthday to a wonderful and special lady, our own Barbara Hale! And Happy Birthday to Della Street as well!

I wonder if MeTV really did plan things on purpose, airing The Reckless Romeo on the night before Barbara’s birthday. For those on Eastern and Pacific times, it aired completely on the 18th. For those on Mountain and Central times, it certainly ended on the 18th. Barbara is 93 today! So awesome. And since she’s one of the few surviving Perry cast members, and the only surviving member of the original Core Five, it’s a very significant day for all Perry fans.

I loved the little subplot in the film about Della’s birthday. Perry’s exchanges with Ken about it were so amusing. And then the gifting scene at the very end was lovely. What a sweet close to the film, with the pearls, a hug, and a kiss. It was very enjoyable to see how close Perry and Della had become through the years, even though I don’t accept the movies as absolute canon.

As for the main plot, well, we got another guy who couldn’t seem to keep his mind off of fooling around with women. And his lecherous behavior eventually got him killed. It’s hard to feel too sorry for him, especially after he ruined the lives of all the women mentioned when they were trying to get their lives set in order again. I particularly felt terrible for Nora, who had wanted to run for Congress and then felt she couldn’t with the book blackening her reputation.

I was kind of surprised that the reporter, Charlie (or Charley?), ended up being a good girl. She was so obnoxious, the typical frustrating type of reporter that you just can’t seem to get rid of, no matter how hard you try. Even the cliché stunt of getting Ken arrested so he can’t follow her. Ugh. I loved how Ken realized and got back at her for that. And then Perry at last reveals that he actually likes her and she finally ends up shaping up, with her and Ken seeming to have some romantic interest in each other by the end. Of course, I doubt she’s seen in any other film.

I was thinking that the most obvious solution to the mystery was that the killer had to be Roxanne’s helper, since she was the only other person who knew about the dress. I was glad they didn’t go that route and instead had the real killer see the dress from a window.

As for the identity of the killer, it seemed to come out of nowhere again, although perhaps some people guessed it was the fiancée since when a character seems completely unbothered by someone’s actions, the reality is that sometimes they’re not. The bull statue seemed to come out of nowhere too. I don’t recall it being featured during the murder scene, or mentioned at all until Perry noted it was broken. I don’t know how he even knew it was a bull when it was in pieces like that. It seems like there should have been some mention of it early on, when it was together, so that it would make more sense when Perry identified it as a bull when it was in pieces.

The movie had some fun scenes. I loved when Perry showed how it was preposterous to think that Roxanne could have worn all the perfume the witnesses knew the killer wore. Yikes, that would be terrible, to break into a rash that severe from just a small dab of the stuff.

I did rather raise an eyebrow at his stunt with all the women in red. It was clever and amusing, granted. But it was definitely something akin to what Perry might have done on the television series, and I was surprised the prosecutor and/or the judge didn’t protest the courtroom theatrics!

Lieutenant Brock has been interesting to watch in both this film and last night’s. He was kind of insufferably obnoxious in last night’s, but then he did have some more tolerable scenes later on, and he was pretty good in this one. It’s nice to see that he’s on pretty good terms with Perry. I guess that kind of continues the pattern that the television series eventually fell into when the police got more relaxed and friendly with Perry and company.

Considering a subplot of this movie involved Della’s birthday, however, it seemed like she didn’t really have very satisfactory screentime. I wish she would be a little more prominent in some of these films, especially since she’s one of the only original cast members who appears in them. It seemed like she had better screentime in some of the earlier installments.

But in any case, it was a nice movie and a nice wrap-up to another Perry week on MeTV. Hopefully I can get to The Shooting Star soon and hopefully I’ll be aware ahead of time when MeTV does another Perry movie week (if they continue this feature for much longer).

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Case of the Ruthless Reporter

Finally caught a title beforehand, as promised. And The Ruthless Reporter, what a fitting title it is. The murderer was such a horrible person. Two murders, completely without conscience or shame.

I’m not even totally clear on why the first guy was killed. He was an all-around creep, but was he really killed just so those pictures could be retrieved? The forced affair was already over, so it couldn’t have been that he was killed to stop that. And ugh, to think the poor defendant was deliberately framed because her job was wanted by the murderer! . . . In fact, maybe that was why the guy was murdered, just in order to frame the girl for it and free up the job. Oh gosh.

I wasn’t really quite satisfied with the cameraman also being charged with first degree murder, though. It sounded like he didn’t know either murder was going to happen. He thought that the fake meeting with the first guy was just to stall while the pictures were being retrieved. Then, after he found out the truth, he thought the explosives were just being set up to scare the second guy into silence. It seems to me that the most he should be charged with would be an accessory after the fact.

The plot was very intense and exciting, but I was rather let-down by the Los Angeles scenes. I was thrilled we were going to go back to the “real” Perry setting, but you could tell those scenes were just filmed in Denver too. And Ken chasing the fleeing suspect. . . . I was thinking, “Didn’t we just do this in last night’s movie? Déjà vu.” And was it Ken and not the suspect who actually shoved that poor guy to the ground?

At least the suspect survived that electrocution and fall. I was worried we were doing another cliché “suspect dies at the conclusion of long-winded chase scene”. It was very satisfying when he walked into court, hurt but alive, right after the real murderer told lies about him.

Another thing I wasn’t very happy about regarding this film was that you could definitely tell it was one of the later ventures. There was a lot more innuendo and swearing than in most of the earlier films. Of course, affairs and even naughty pictures are things that turned up in the original series too; I just feel that they were talked about more discreetly in the original series. I realize that even what this movie did is mild compared to things these days, but it’s still more than what I like to hear.

The best thing about this film, for me, was seeing Jerry Orbach again. And once again, he wasn’t the bad guy! Yay!

I also liked the defendant quite a bit this time. I just wish we could have seen her cat!

Actually, I quite liked most of the guest-starring characters. I was always kind of iffy on Cassie, though, and with the movie’s final revelations, I can see why.

Poor Ken, being so nuts about her. It was certainly amusing when Della said she’d written down the last twelve times he said he was in love, though. Heh! And poor guy, in the epilogue he wants to hurry and snap off the television and not hear the news story about the arrest.

Overall, it’s not an installment I’d readily watch again any time soon, except to see Jerry. As a general rule, I prefer the older movies over the newer ones. (And I prefer the television series over any, but the movies are still fun to check out.)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Wednesday Night Perry Movie

Well, unfortunately, I also don’t know the title of last night’s movie. The problem is that I’ve been watching my season 8 DVDs to see the uncut versions and we haven’t been getting them started exactly on time, so they end slightly after the movie has begun.

But I do know that I liked this movie a lot better than Tuesday’s. It was so intriguing and intense, with both Della and Ken branded as suspects and the bartender going missing and being such a vital piece of the puzzle. Plus, I always find mystery writer settings to be very fun for mystery shows.

As usual, I found Ken much more competent than Paul Jr. The downside about Ken is that he can be kind of a jerk sometimes, both in his insistence of working alone (to the point of it seeming stubborn idiocy in some cases) and in scenes such as the chase through the kitchen in this film. Oh, those poor innocent bystanders. Food being destroyed is one of my pet peeves; I can’t watch that without cringing. That said, I did get a giggle of Ken actually crawling over one of the guys on the floor. Good grief!

It was fun to see Della having a more active part in the investigation by questioning some people. I’m wondering where she disappeared to at the last, though. I didn’t see her at all during the final courtroom stretch.

The victim was, as usual, a complete crumb, ripping off everyone he came in contact with. The naiveté of his last “collaborator” was absolutely groan-worthy. And how ironic and how fitting, that he couldn’t write something on his own for more than a couple of chapters, even his own autobiography.

The suspects were an interesting crew. The Southern belle alternately amused and irritated me. The defendant was alright, although I was fairly indifferent to her for the most part. I suppose the one I liked the best was Garcia/Garfield. He reminded me a little of a couple of character actors I like from the 1960s.

The solution to the mystery was rather shocking. I hadn’t expected the missing bartender to play such a key role in things as to actually be an accessory who ended up not being able to go through with it despite his hatred, but who then stood by and watched while Rita went through with it. He definitely shouldn’t get off scot-free, but I wonder exactly what he would be charged with. I liked that Perry said he and Ken would represent him in his trial.

Rita being a former robber who escaped capture was a motive for murder that came out of nowhere. That’s typical of Perry cases, although I like when there’s clues along the way to point to the killer and the motive. Apparently thinking the victim knew her identity wasn’t her only reason for killing him, though, according to her.

One thing I found interesting was that one of Perry’s cases had become the basis for the controversial book that also ended up being so key to the plot. It’s an interesting footnote on how famous Perry’s cases are within the verse itself. I wonder if, within the verse, there are others of Perry’s cases that were made into books. I wonder if any case could be turned into a book or if certain ones would be off-limits, like if the defendant or witnesses did not give their permission to be featured in the book. Or maybe since it would be a true-crime book, there wouldn’t be much they could say about featured, just like in the newspapers. Although if they felt they were being portrayed wrongly, they could still sue.

Overall, I found this a very enjoyable and intense installment and a favorite among the movies. And hopefully I’ll get the name of tonight’s movie ahead of time, just in case I miss the beginning of the film again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Case of ... what was I watching, anyway?

So I probably won’t have a chance to see The Shooting Star until next week. As for last night’s movie, which I missed the first few minutes of (and hence, the title) . . .

Man, the murder victim was definitely among the top sleaze of Perry villains. I couldn’t feel too sorry for the guy, if any, when he was dead. Even less so when the truth finally came out. He just drew his gun and fired on the General’s friend without even letting him speak! No wonder the killer reacted fiercely to disarm him and ended up killing by accident. It certainly wasn’t good of him not to speak up when an innocent person was then arrested, but I wonder what would happen to him since it was an accident and there most definitely was provocation. I’m also not entirely sure he had all of his marbles, judging by some of what he said in his confession and moreso, how he said it.

Overall, the mystery was mostly unremarkable and not a standout to me. Paul Jr., as usual, bumbled his way through things and managed to get beat up, punched, and attacked by a car. It was interesting to see him interact with the defendant, though, and the scene where he exclaims about his mother enjoying the tabloid rag was amusing. But it would definitely hint again that Paul Sr. is probably dead, even though they’re so careful not to say. If Paul Sr. were alive, it would seem Paul Jr. might have mentioned him too and not wanted him to see or hear about the trumped-up picture and article.

It was slightly amusing when Della noted that Perry likes getting on Paul Jr.'s case and he agreed. He liked doing that with the boy's father as well, although that was never outright noted in the series as it is here. I still think that sometimes he takes it too far with both of them.

Della’s secret admirer subplot was sweet. When there didn’t seem to be any candidates around that were introduced for the movie, I figured it was Perry doing all those things. And after just watching part of that recent interview with Barbara Hale where she mentions how much she loves roses, the gift of the roses in the film takes on even more significance. I’m sure the shippers are delighted by that element of the film, and especially the ending scene.

It is quite delightful. How nice to see Perry so thoughtful, especially after everything he asks of Della throughout the movies and more especially the series. Sometimes it seems like he takes Della for granted, just as he does Paul, but then there’s a nice epilogue where he thinks on his own of taking Della for lunch or dinner after a big case. This is sort of an extended version of that.

And although the victim was a true slimeball, I imagine shippers also delighted in him telling them he had gathered plenty of evidence that they were having a romantic relationship.

Those are the most standout scenes to me. And of course, it was enjoyable as always to see Michael Reston prosecuting.

I look forward to seeing what tonight’s movie will be like. But I look more forward to watching my uncut copy of A Place Called Midnight. I finally have the season 8 and the latter half of season 9 DVD sets, and I’ve been watching the season 8 ones as the episodes progress on MeTV, in order to finally again see (or see for the first time, in some cases) the uncut versions. So far, most episodes have only been missing a little bit, save The Bullied Bowler and The Grinning Gorilla, the latter of which I watched when I first got the set instead of waiting for its arrival on MeTV. There are many scenes missing from those episodes on television, so I’ll need to do posts on them soon. And, I suspect, there is also a great deal missing from A Place Called Midnight. It’s always looked like a very chopped-up episode to me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Well, that was an epic fail.

I thought I was doing pretty well at keeping up with MeTV's mystery movie schedule, but apparently I didn't see this week. It's another week of Perry movies!

I am so sorry I didn't realize this sooner. Those on the Pacific coast, if any are still up and possibly glancing at this blog, can still see/record tonight's movie, The Shooting Star, in its entirety. Hopefully the majority of those interested in the movies already knew of this week's events via other sources. I am unable to watch the movie myself, as Cozi is airing an episode of The Lawyers with Joseph Campanella during part of the time the movie is on, and that takes precedence. Hopefully, all of us who have been unable to see the film tonight can catch it on DVD (or on YouTube, if the movies are still up there).

I am rather curious about this movie in particular, since it's one with David Ogden Stiers as the prosecutor and Joe Penny is one of the guest-stars. He seems to keep popping up in my life lately; he's in the film Lifepod (the 1981 film, not the 1993 one), and he's one of the stars of Riptide, which I'm just starting to get into thanks to a wonderful guest-spot by Christopher Cary.

It's rather neat that MeTV is airing a week of Perry movies this week, as the week will end, I believe, with Barbara Hale's birthday. What a nice tribute, intentional or not.