So I watched the uncut Golden Oranges. I had been under the impression that only a couple of scenes were missing, and that they might not have a direct bearing on the plot. I was wrong on both counts.
Alright, so the first missing scene probably isn’t necessary, but it sure is fun. Hamilton is in his office, dictating into his machine, when he gets a call from the city attorney telling him about the dog bite case. Hamilton wonders why he would be interested and then exclaims, “Who’s defending the dog?!”
It’s just a cute supplemental scene, one of the classic scenes in Hamilton’s office that were one of the highlights of earlier seasons. And unless they usually get cut in the middle seasons, they seem to be absent altogether until around season 6 (excepting one in season 4’s The Guilty Clients). It’s definitely possible that there were some others in seasons 3, 4, and 5, but I haven’t encountered any in the various uncut discs I’ve seen so far of those seasons.
Hamilton also appears to have either a receptionist or a secretary named Mabel. So make her the second one to actually be addressed by name, after Leon.
The next missing chunk is huge and comprises two scenes, one right after the other. The first has Perry and company meeting in the office to talk after the murder and then receiving a call from James Wheeler saying to meet him in the parking lot by his bungalow. They go there and learn that the missing Mr. Keller is staying there. He was gotten out of the way because James wanted him to talk with Perry before the police got to him.
Before they go in, Perry and Sandra Keller talk in the car. She explains what happened last night, as far as she knows, and Perry deduces that she believes her grandfather murdered Mr. Thorton. He notes her illegal behavior in trying to hide the murder weapon, to which she angrily exclaims that she doesn’t care about the law. He tells her that she wasn’t acting in her grandfather’s best interest, and that maybe Mr. Wheeler isn’t, either.
All of that is very important to the main plot! I was baffled when the cut version suddenly showed them at the bungalow and going inside. I couldn’t figure out how they knew to go there and I knew something must have been omitted. I didn’t think it would be that giant of an omission, however.
The one other cut scene is in Perry’s office following the first day in court. Della expresses her unhappiness over Hamilton revealing that Mr. Keller really didn’t win the Medal of Honor and wonders how he could do “such a cruel thing.” Perry explains that Hamilton had to, in order to further his angle that Mr. Keller’s enemies were holding something over him and Sandra killed Thorton partially because of it.
I wonder if Della noticed that Hamilton sure looked like he felt bad about what he had said the next day, when Perry unravels the full truth about the medal and San Juan Hill in court.
It’s interesting that it seems like the main times when Della is vocal on various displeasures concerning Hamilton, it’s around the time of season 6. The first instance that I recall is her comment in The Lonely Eloper, season 5’s finale. Then there’s the exchange between her and Hamilton in The Surplus Suitor about her being hostile (and not just as a witness). And now there’s this.
Even more interesting is that while this was going on, Hamilton and Perry were getting very chummy. Season 6 in general has a lot of good moments for them, and this particular episode has some of them. It’s probably nothing more than a coincidence as far as the writers are concerned, but I do find it intriguing that Della chooses this time to start voicing her feelings. It makes me wonder if she and Paul did not entirely like the idea of Perry and Hamilton becoming friends, perhaps not trusting that it would be a good thing for Perry.
And no matter what season it is, Perry always seems to try to defend Hamilton’s actions to some extent when someone complains to him, whether it’s Paul (The Rolling Bones), David (The Renegade Refugee), or Della (The Golden Oranges). I love how Perry’s respect for Hamilton is shown growing as early as season 1, and how it very clearly develops into friendship later.
I recently encountered an apparent fan of mainly the books, who seemed to like the fact that the characters have no background information in the books (which mostly holds true on television, too) and their relationships with each other are not touched on as much as in the television series. While I’m still interested in giving the books a try, I just don’t think I could feel they could ever hold a candle to the wonderful way the television series depicted Perry and Hamilton through the years. (And personally, I don’t see what’s so great about the characters having such almost complete blank slates, in any medium! I like finding out background information on them. It makes them feel even more fleshed-out and real, to me. That's one big reason why I love to heavily explore character interaction in my stories and sometimes get into background information.)
I think what would interest me the most in the books would be the times Perry and Tragg team up. That’s always fun on the series. I imagine it would be very enjoyable in the books, too.
In any case, The Golden Oranges turned out to be another of the most seriously chopped-up episodes. That was quite a surprise. But discovering the missing material was such fun. I’m anxious to see what other gems are in store on these DVDs.
And I’m further anxious for season 9 to get released on DVD! For any episodes that my local station still airs (about half of the season), I cannot locate the uncut versions (with the exception of the series finale). I just realized this the other day and became excited for the additional new scenes to eventually see.