Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ray Collins and the uncut Fatal Fortune

It was so hectic on Thursday that I neglected to mention that the day, July 11th, was the anniversary of Ray Collins’ death.

MeTV, currently running season 1 in the evenings and season 4 in the mornings, has a lot of Perry offerings with great Tragg moments. The Moth-Eaten Mink and The Clumsy Clown are two of many classic episodes where Tragg has very good scenes. Nevertheless, I still wouldn’t say that either of them are Tragg-centric in nature.

I still puzzle over the fact that Lieutenant Tragg really doesn’t have a proper spotlight episode. Does anyone know if he gets one in any of the books? I think he may have one in The New Perry Mason, but that wouldn’t be Ray’s Tragg.

And on to The Fatal Fortune, one of the paranormal Perry episodes. I detailed the plot last October, so here I’ll try to focus mainly on the many scenes chopped from the standard television version.

The very first scene is when Max is still in the hospital and being released. Beth, the secretary, is there with him and the doctor is giving him instructions. Max is very irritable and cranky (as Perry says, “Max is being Max again”) and tells the doctor not to worry, he’s still going to inherit the money for his clinic when Max dies. Also present in the scene is the whistle Pat gave him, which Max declares he’s going to use.

The next scene is right after Max gives Pat the pearls. Pat takes them back to her office, admiring them, and Beth comes in and admires them with her. They then begin to discuss the men in Pat’s life and she mentions Max’s newest proposal. She comments how she’s just not in love with him and then excitedly tells Beth that Marius’s prediction about meeting her white knight has come true. Beth says she feels Pat should marry Max instead.

Our third missing scene features Gordon Evans arriving at the location where Pat has gone to meditate on the marital issues. He asks the desk clerk about Pat and is told she’s at the pool.

The episode proceeds the same as the cut version for a while, until after Max is heartlessly killed. Our next missing scene is when Perry goes to see Hamilton after Pat has been arrested, wanting to ask for her release. Hamilton refuses, very calmly and maturely. Perry manages to get in a wild accusation at Hamilton, which Hamilton denies, and he explains why he can’t comply with Perry’s wishes. There’s quite a bit of evidence stacked up against Pat.

Our final scene is right after Paul announces that Marius has returned after being mysteriously absent. Perry and Della go to see him and have their fortunes told. Perry uses Paul’s name, which Marius reveals he is aware of as he eerily tells Perry that he is like two people. He finally ends his fun and drops his charade, admitting that Hamilton told him Perry would likely be coming around. He then offers to give Perry a real fortune, for his true self.

It’s certainly preposterous how much is missing from the usual television version! I think there’s even more edits here than in The Impatient Partner, which is also one of the most mangled episodes. There are mainly pieces of scenes missing from the latter, but in this venture, it’s mostly entire scenes gone! Good grief.

The episode makes alright sense without all the absent pieces (unlike some episodes that just fall apart without one or more of the scenes), but it certainly presents a much fuller, more well-rounded plot with all of them intact. I always felt that the standard television version was much too short. Now I definitely see why.

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