Thursday, June 6, 2013

Notable Guest-Stars: Vaughn Taylor

I am so sorry for the complete lack of weekend post. I was going to get it up on Monday, but then things were so busy between finishing up that very long crossover story, writing a quick story for someone’s birthday, and work. By the time it was Wednesday, I decided to just focus on the weekday post.

I decided it was time to highlight another of the wonderful guest-stars, and I chose Vaughn Taylor. He’s one of those classic character actors who pops up in just about every television series under the sun. On Perry he appears eight times.

I find it amusing that IMDB’s bio for him mentions that not only does he look like a stereotypical image of a certified public accountant, he really was one.

He has been in some movies as well as television shows, including Psycho and even Jailhouse Rock. But it’s his television resumé that’s the most expansive and legendary.

On Perry, he has the distinction of being the very first murderer, in episode #1 The Restless Redhead. In season 2, he does it again, in its first episode The Corresponding Corpse.

He makes a second appearance in season 2, as the murder victim this time, in The Stuttering Bishop, the first episode to take place in Los Angeles but use a deputy district attorney instead of Hamilton. (William Talman had laryngitis. I’m guessing The Spanish Cross was the first episode filmed with him after that, since he still has a noticeable touch of it in his scenes.)

Absent from season 3, he returns for season 4 as the defendant in The Fickle Fortune. A somewhat absent-minded character, there are shades of him again in next season’s The Travelling Treasure.

He plays the victim once more in The Witless Witness, a nervous little man, but I can’t seem to recall his characters in either The Drifting Dropout or The Blonde Bonanza.

I think my favorite of his characters is the professor in The Travelling Treasure. He’s the absent-minded type who forgets he’s wearing his hat, but is amiable and patient with the weird and frustrating things going on around him, while trying to find solutions at the same time. He has to put up with his business partner’s temper tantrums, moods, and not paying any of his share of the investment money in their seaweed project, not to mention a diver who’s “drunk half the time and hung over the rest.” But when the guy’s drunk at the time they need to leave (due to thinking they wouldn’t be going that week), another diver has to be hired instead. They end up with H.M. Wynant’s character, which is awesome. But he’s the gold smuggler, which isn’t so awesome. Still, he’s not responsible for the murder.

The professor is the fun type of character I would like to bring back for a repeat visit, if presented with a good opening. Perhaps he would come to Perry with a mystery to be solved.

Hamilton and Sampson made one more cameo appearance in the long Wild Wild West time-travel story I just finished, along with Tragg. Hamilton has to learn that the characters have time-traveled from the past. After everything else he’s seen in my stories, he’s absolutely and completely disturbed to have to accept that something else strange is real. Poor Hamilton! Sampson, meanwhile, thinks it’s a joke. Jim West advises them to talk to Perry, who found out in the previous installment. That would certainly be an interesting conversation to write out.

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