Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Uncut Bogus Books

I’m a bad girl: I still haven’t got to The Rolling Bones. But I did watch an episode with Tragg on the 10th! I just couldn’t resist; I wanted to see The Bogus Books. It’s one of my most favorites from any season, and though I did see it uncut once, it was so long ago that I forgot most of the added scenes.

The only one that seemed familiar to me at all is the brief bit where Peter Norland meets Ellen Carter outside the bookstore after she’s been fired and asks if coffee would help. I don’t know why that scene would particularly stick out to me; I’m quite sure it’s missing both in my local station’s copy and on MeTV’s.

I like Peter’s obvious crush on Ellen. It’s cute. And I’m always amused when he tells how it took five people to throw him out of the store when he goes demanding to talk to Mr. Kraft about Ellen and the missing book.

The last time I watched my recorded copy, I deduced that at least two of Gene Torg’s scenes had been clipped. I discovered I was right. They omitted the sequence where he first shows up at the bookstore to talk to Mr. Kraft and encounters Mr. Pickson instead. My cut copy just shows him knocking on Mr. Kraft’s door.

Consequentially, the bit where Pickson flatly tells a bewildered customer, “No, Madam, The Tropic of Cancer is not a medical book; far from it!” is gone, too. Pity; I love that part. And for about the only time in the episode aside from the climax, Pickson has a different reaction to something other than that creepy deadpan stare. His eye-rolling at the lady’s lack of geographical knowledge is too amusing.

Also missing is the scene where Gene arrives at Pearl’s apartment while she’s fixing a book. He’s distressed and tells her that Mr. Kraft is dead. The cut version just shows him wandering the living room when Paul suddenly knocks.

They shortened the scene where Tragg and Andy speak to everyone following Mr. Kraft's death. The scene from the point where a shaken Ellen starts talking (as Andy regards her in obvious concern and compassion) to where Tragg sends some of the onlookers out is gone. Sadly, that also removes one of Tragg's most hilarious lines, when Peter deduces the obvious time of death. Tragg smiles and says in his classic way that he never would have figured that out. Even Perry looks amused.

They also leave out the scene where Perry talks to Ellen after she’s been arrested, before the hearing convenes.

I think that’s all of the chopped scenes. It’s such a shame added commercials have to cause things like this to happen.

I’m still curiously pondering on Gene and what kind of fellow he is, as well as on his friendship/probable romantic relationship with Pearl. He acts a bit like he might be trying to go straight(er) when the episode starts, as he’s alarmed when Pearl tells him the book he swiped is worth $8,000 and not $8. (Or maybe that’s just further evidence that he’s only a small-time operator and prefers to stay under the radar, not getting into big things.) He says he never would have taken it if he had known the real price, and she agrees and says that’s why she didn’t tell him. And she proceeds to tempt him into getting interested in the used book racket.

I think he could really use a better friend. But he’s certainly not guiltless in the matter, as she’s able to tempt him without much hesitation on his part.

Also, I really wonder if Pearl made “their” deal, as she tells Gene she did, and whether she actually cares about him at all. She seems genuinely happy to hear his voice when he shows up at her place, but on the other hand, she sure tries to keep from him the fact that she has the book again (and that she saw Mr. Kraft). And that seems very strange, if she did indeed do as she claimed.

I imagine Pearl definitely goes to jail when everything is over, since she had quite a big part in the racket, but I wonder what happens to Gene. He says in court that he wasn’t really in the racket, maybe thinking about getting in, but he wasn’t in. I suppose technically that’s true, although he seemed to be doing more about it than just “thinking” about getting in. And if Pearl made “their” deal as she claimed, he was in right before Mr. Kraft was killed.

But overlooking that (or considering the possibility that Pearl lied and cut him out of the deal), I question whether Gene would go to jail for that initial swipe of the already-stolen book from the store. (Especially when, at the time of the theft, he honestly believed it was only worth $8!) And they definitely couldn’t arrest him for just “thinking” about getting into the racket. There wouldn’t be any proof of that conversation he had with Mr. Kraft, other than his own words. (And the fact that Perry saw him leaving the office, but that would only prove that he had been there and brought the book back.) Maybe he would end up pleading Guilty, but since he keeps insisting his innocence and, as Paul says, he “looks like [he’s] going to make it stick,” I kind of doubt that. In any case, it would have been fun to have seen him again in another episode, especially considering his past history with Perry and Paul.

(And it just occurred to me that Della doesn’t seem to know who he is. I wonder what she was doing when Perry and Paul met him the first time? Was she Perry’s secretary yet? Was she just on vacation? So many possibilities.)

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