Sunday, August 19, 2012

First encounters

Next week there will be a lot of tribute posts. And I’m kind of wondering how to do the ones on the 30th, for William Talman and Wesley Lau. Should I combine the tributes into one large post? Should I post twice that day, with them separate? Should I post one of them on the weekend and one on the 30th?

I realize that in May, I ended up doing a combined post for Raymond Burr and Lee Miller, but that was only because I found out about Lee Miller’s birthday while checking up on material for Raymond’s post. Otherwise, the posts would have been separate (and on the proper days, too).

I feel like I want to do the memorial tributes for both William and Wesley on the right day. But I’m concerned that if I post them separately, even if on the same day, the first one may get lost in the shuffle. On the other hand, if they’re combined in one post, I’m not sure that would allot the same amount of attention to each one either.

It seems a problem without a perfect solution. This is the first time I’m faced with it, as last year I was unaware that they passed away on the same day (sixteen years apart). And that is sad and eerie and uncanny to begin with, as they are two of my three favorites.

Thoughts, anyone? What seems the most respectful way to handle this?

While checking up on some of the recurring cast and their birthdays, I stumbled across this: I’ve been on this site now and then; they have some fun and rare pictures for various character actors. The picture of Karl Held they have up suddenly made me realize something. There are certain cast members from our show with whom I was at least aware of for years before I was introduced to Perry. Karl is one of them.

I honestly can’t remember when my dad introduced me to The Student Prince, but I am positive it was before I ever saw Perry. I also think it was before I developed an independent interest in old movies and television. If so, Richard Anderson may very well be the first Perry cast member I ever ran across. The more I think about it, the more I am very sure that his character Lucas was my favorite character from the film.

Isn’t it strange, how that works? He was my favorite, but I knew nothing about the actor, and by the time I became reacquainted with him years later I’d all but forgotten that initial encounter. And yet he managed to once again become a favorite due to Perry, with me not remembering the first meeting until after the fact. The same thing happened with Simon Oakland (whom I first saw on Perry years ago and immediately liked).

I guess it goes to show that my preferences have never really changed much, even after all this time.

As for Karl Held, well, my maternal grandmother had this magazine about cats that I just loved to read and re-read. One segment talked about cat movies. Disney’s 1965 classic That Darn Cat! was mentioned and I was intrigued. In 1996 I looked for it at the library and found it. I watched it, loved it, and my interest in old movies was sparked. It was the first old movie, aside from animated films and The Wizard of Oz, that I deliberately set out to see. That led to many more Disney comedies, and from there, an interest in similar fun family films.

I also watched the old movies my parents selected with greater interest and decided to seek out some of the awesome-sounding television shows my mom had talked about for years. I became so entranced with the golden oldies that for a time, I actually preferred things being in black-and-white to color! I generally prefer color again now, but some things really do look better in black-and-white for the shadows and mysterious effects.

Karl Held appears in That Darn Cat!, as an F.B.I. agent assigned to trail the titular character because there’s reason to believe the kitty knows where a kidnapped bank teller is being held. While he wasn’t my favorite of those agents, I enjoyed his part. The scenes of the agents tailing the cat are among my most favorites in the film.

(And I didn’t realize Karl Held has such pretty blue eyes. I’ve only seen him in black-and-white stuff other than this, I think. And I haven’t seen the film again since becoming better aware of who Karl is. Man, he looks good in a fedora. Of course, people generally do. It’s such a cool hat.)

I find it kind of neat that a Perry cast member was in the thing that sparked my interest in old media. And I’m one of the very few people who honestly isn’t bothered by David Gideon, so that makes it even better for me.

Offhand, I also remember seeing Raymond Burr in A Place in the Sun years ago. I want to say it was before I saw Perry, but I’m honestly not sure on that. It probably was, though, because otherwise my parents probably would have talked about the irony of him playing a prosecutor, and I don’t recall such discussion. What I do remember, very vaguely, is thinking he was very good in the part.

Ray Collins I met prior to Perry because of my love for the Ma & Pa Kettle films. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw him in other things too. I remember The Magnificent Ambersons being on television sometimes and catching snatches of it.

William Hopper I would have seen in Rebel Without a Cause, but even though I liked that film, I cannot bring his character to mind. I regret that. I should get the film out again and refresh my memory.

It’s very possible that I saw Barbara Hale in things before Perry, too. With William Talman and Wesley Lau it’s more unlikely, since their films are sadly more obscure for the most part.

I would tentatively say it’s slightly possible that I saw Wesley in The Alamo, if that film was on television at some point. It’s probably one of the two most commercially available of all of his films. Of course, I also saw him in I Want to Live!, but I think I first saw that film after seeing Perry. I wish I could remember for sure. It’s also possible that even if it was after, it was before I saw any Wesley episodes.

I want to say that I thought the main character’s husband was very cute, in spite of the character being a deadbeat jerk. If that happened, it was similar to how I immediately liked Simon and didn’t want his Perry character in The Frantic Flyer to be hurt, even though he was . . . quite a nasty fellow. Instead of just being completely shallow, I think it was more that the actors themselves appealed to me, rather than their specific characters in those productions. Their goodness shone through.

(Albeit every now and then, I do become downright fond of a specifically antagonistic character, if the personality intrigues me in a certain way. I am extremely fond of Emil Sande in The Alamo and feel sorry for him when he is killed while trying to defend his weapon stockpile that Davy Crockett and the others show up to take. But that is a ramble for another place. Maybe on the 30th, hmm?)

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