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!