Friday, February 22, 2013

Fifty-Millionth Frenchman and Fanfiction

I’m not sure what happened to all the topics that were floating around in my mind a week ago. Wednesday I discovered they had vanished and I’ve been running through my mind trying to reclaim them ever since.

While I’m trying to dredge them up again, I mused a little bit on The Fifty-Millionth Frenchman. It was on Me last night, but I wasn’t able to catch it. I plan to watch the uncut version on my DVDs again soon.

The episode aired several months before David McCallum took on one of his most famous roles, and it’s amusingly endearing to see the differences between the characters. Instead of an aloof and serious secret agent, David’s “Fifty-Millionth Frenchman” is a sweet, innocent, naïve boy. Not to mention very shy around women!

I always feel bad for him when I see that episode, since the girl he’s so nuts about ends up being the guilty party. Ugh. She totally uses him all along the way and seems to have no qualms about letting him get accused for the murder she committed.

One detail that amuses me, and shows the writers’ lack of continuity back then, is where Perry tells either David’s character or his boss that their bookstore is the only one he and Della would ever shop at. (EDIT: It was Della who said it to David's character.) And instantly into my mind sprang the thought “. . . But what about Kraft’s Bookstore?”

I’ve also had David McCallum on my mind because I’ve been considering off and on that for the next installment of that proposed fanfiction story idea where The Wild Wild West characters are running around in the present, I’d cross it over with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well as with Perry.

Yes, I wrote and have now finished the first time travel story (, and although the Perry characters weren’t quite as prominent in it as I had originally envisioned, some of them do play fairly important roles. Perry and Paul have the largest and most important parts, while Della, Andy, Steve, and even Clay also appear. I omitted the scene of Sampson encountering antagonist Pinto; I long ago figured I would have to drop it because I just couldn’t see myself making fun of Sampson, which is what the scene would have basically amounted to. I am planning that both Sampson and Hamilton will appear in the next installment, however.

And why, exactly, am I thinking of throwing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. into the mix? Well, for one thing, it’s basically The Wild Wild West in modern times. It would be fun to have Jim West and Artemus Gordon interacting with Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. And the U.N.C.L.E. organization might serve a plot purpose to get a particular antagonist character I wanted in there and working for the good guys (but I won’t go into the details for that, since I’m unsure if it will work out).

I have an odd mindset in that I am thoroughly fascinated with and love both the 1950s and the 1960s, but not to where I would actually want to live in either time period. Instead, I just wish that the good of both decades could be mixed with the good of the present day. Those feelings, as well as my utter love of spy shows, combine to add to my desire to get U.N.C.L.E. involved.

I am, however, unsure if people feel that it is a show that really can only function in the time period when it was made. I originally figured that, but when I actually watched the show and saw that it really didn’t seem like anyone ever batted an eye at the Russian character Illya being involved, I felt that the time period wasn’t that important and it could be moved to here and now if I felt like it. Maybe I just haven’t seen the episodes where it’s an issue, but every show usually has at least a couple of topical episodes even if it’s not a usual thing, and just a couple per show hasn’t stopped me yet.

The proposed emphasis on espionage for this story is actually why I felt that Hamilton and Sampson could become involved in it, whereas in the previous one, the focus was mostly on character development even though I did try to advance the action in most chapters. And there wasn’t a logical place where I felt I could introduce Hamilton or Sampson in the middle of trying to develop the main characters carrying the story. In this one, I figured they could definitely get involved if certain elements of the case fell under their jurisdiction.

I haven’t forgotten my actual Perry mystery The Malevolent Mugging, either. I wrote a bit of the next chapter and I’m hoping I now have a way out of a corner I started writing myself into. I fully intend to continue this story, but to properly do so, I first have to resolve that issue. Then, once I’m free to get to a main plot point, I’m confident the story will flow again.

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