Happy December, all!
Today I am excited for the second episode of Wagon Train on MeTV’s Sunday Showcase, The Sam Pulaski Story, in which Ross Martin is the main guest-star. And that started me thinking: Which actors and actresses never appeared on Perry whom you wish had done so?
Ross is definitely at the top of my list. Brilliant and multi-faceted, he would have been excellent as any character: defendant, family member, friend, murderer, victim. . . . And along those lines, it would have also been fun to see Robert Conrad. It would have been incredible if they had shared an episode, since they have such amazing camaraderie in The Wild Wild West, but having them in separate episodes would have been wonderful too.
Also, Darren McGavin. He was steadily appearing on many television series during many of the Perry years. I would have particularly loved an episode where he and Simon Oakland both appeared, as they are absolutely stellar every time they have shared a project, but I would have enjoyed seeing Darren in any episode. I could see him playing the defendant, or perhaps a smooth-talking conman. Or even the murderer, but I’d prefer not seeing him do that (even though he certainly could).
To appeal the interest of some members of the younger generations who would have been watching the show, I think Annette Funicello would have been a fun choice to play a defendant, or more likely, a family member of a defendant. I usually enjoy the episodes with teenage daughters, nieces, or siblings (although The Lonely Eloper still isn’t a favorite).
Albeit on the other hand, I wonder if having anyone thought of more as a teen idol type would have pushed the show too much into the pop mainstream, which wouldn’t have been good if it had resulted in format changes. The show changed with the times, it’s true, but the format remained the same. And that was the way it basically should have been, even though I do wish some elements hadn’t always remained steady.
William Bramley, a character actor well-remembered as Sergeant (yes, Sergeant) Krupke in West Side Story, would have been a neat guest-star whom I keep picturing as a store owner for some reason. Or a police officer.
I remember someone’s fan story “trailer”, in which she selected Peter Graves to play the defendant in her story. It would have been really neat if he had actually appeared on the series. And his predecessor on Mission: Impossible, Steven Hill, would have been a fine guest-star as well.
For the past year and a half or so, I have highly enjoyed watching Combat! It would have been epic to have seen Vic Morrow on Perry. Rick Jason too.
And along the same lines of this post’s topic, there are some guest-stars Perry did have that I would have liked to seen some more. I wish Simon Oakland had been there playing a character who didn’t die (and/or didn’t kill somebody). If not a defendant, he would have been awesome as a family member or friend of one.
I also have a wish that William Boyett would have been asked to play a defendant sometime. I don’t understand why, but I’ve noticed that he rarely ever plays a prominent character aside from the series in which he became or was always a regular (Highway Patrol, Adam-12). Oftentimes he pops up in episodes of Perry and other shows for literally 30 seconds to a minute! He’s wonderful even in those bit parts, but it puzzles me why he so often wasn’t offered larger roles. He could certainly play them.
Stanley Clements was on the show twice, both times in very minor roles. He’s a favorite of mine from The Bowery Boys films (yes, I’m one of the only people who really likes Duke, and probably the only one who likes him possibly even more than Slip). I would have liked to have seen him in a bigger role, either as a defendant or a more prominent guest-star of another sort.
I would love to have seen Fay Wray and Gary Collins return as the Germaines from The Fatal Fetish. And of course, H.M. Wynant as Deputy Sampson.
There were so many unexplored possibilities. But of course, there were also many that were, and I’m grateful for all the wonderful guest-stars who helped make the show so highly remembered. They really got people’s imaginations turning (including mine). And two of them became regular cast members (Wesley Lau and Richard Anderson). That's pretty awesome.