Friday, August 30, 2013

In Memoriam, William Talman and Wesley Lau

I’ve been racking my brain for something unique and different I could say today. The idea I had hoped to use hasn’t worked out, so I’ve had to think of something else. And I decided perhaps it’s time to share the memorabilia I’ve crafted for myself featuring the characters created by William Talman and Wesley Lau, the two beloved Perry actors who departed this life on this day in 1968 and 1984, respectively.

I should add immediately: I am making no profit from any of these! It’s pure love for the series, and for anything existing in the physical sense, there is only one of each, just for me. I have not, nor will I ever, sell any of the designs here.

I’ve bemoaned the fact that there are no Perry character shirts. Well, I decided that I wanted some just for me. I crafted several designs, one of which has been turned into a real shirt.

The first one I came up with is humorous, with the famous “Objection!” caption from the Phoenix Wright games atop Hamilton’s head as he exclaims indignantly in court.

The second is a bit humorous too, but was also meant to show my great love for our district attorney. I used a shot of his beautiful smile from the end of The Lover’s Leap. This is the design I have on my shirt.

For Andy, I came up with a bit more of an overtly fangirlish design, utilizing one of my favorite shots of him from The Renegade Refugee. I'm hoping to make this into a real shirt this year.

I also created a keychain, with a plug for the blog on the front and a picture of Raymond Burr and William Talman on the back. I often wear this around on a lanyard when I’m not wearing my Hamilton shirt.

My biggest project was undoubtedly when I decided to make a Hamilton plushie. I first tried to utilize the services of someone who has made plushies for me in the past, but upon having a much more difficult time contacting her, I determined to make it myself. For someone who can sew, but doesn’t like it much, I knew it would be a huge challenge.

I thought for a while that I would have to make the entire plushie from scratch, but then we were at JoAnn’s and Mom noticed a pre-made plushie without clothes or features or hair (or ears). I immediately decided this was the best possible solution. The face shape wouldn’t be quite right for Hamilton, but that was alright. I would do everything I could otherwise to make it a loving tribute to my favorite Perry character.

I based the clothes off of what Hamilton wears in The Twice-Told Twist, during the lunch scene with Perry. I love the blue suit and felt it would make a very nice color combination. I managed to get fabric in just about the right shades of blue for both the suit and the tie, and white for the shirt.

I felt it would be easier for me to sew everything by hand instead of with a machine, when it would be so small. And that is exactly what I did. The pants got a little lop-sided, as did the shirt collar, but overall I think I did pretty well, especially when I used to be extremely sloppy at sewing anything. I was very meticulous here.

The ears were definitely one of the strangest challenges. I have no idea why the plushie was sold without them, so I had to make them. The first attempt was too small and I had to try again. The next attempt went a lot more smoothly, and I was able to get the ears attached without too much trouble.

Then there was the hair. I did not want to try to attach loose hair onto a backing; I wanted something already on a backing. I was just lucky that I found some mohair for sale on eBay. It’s perhaps a bit darker than it should be, but Hamilton’s hair looks darker in the earlier seasons, so I went with it anyway. I sewed it on in pieces and was quite proud of how it came out.

I still haven’t made socks or shoes, both because I really don’t like sewing and was ready to scream by that point and also because I’m a little worried that the black material of the socks might start rubbing off on the plush after a while. That’s what happened with the gloves on another plush of mine (that I didn’t make). But aside from those things, he’s done and has been for over a year.

I have a whole bunch of pictures on a roll of film, but I’m wondering if they’ll even turn out. When I tried to have a few recent pictures taken, I found that they were all extremely light. I have never had that happen with a camera before. It’s like when a printer is running out of ink and prints everything way too light. I tried very hard to darken a couple of them, but the details are still really hard to see. The pictures can be clicked on to see their original size, but I'm afraid that still won't make some details show up well. Oh, I hope that other roll of film is better.

I wanted his expression to be calm, Hamilton on a good day. I based it on a lovely picture of William Talman from before Perry, and practiced a simplified version of it many times over, on paper, before I drew it on the plush with Sharpies.

I have also wanted to make a plush of Andy. My biggest problem is wondering how to do the hair. From asking all around, it seems that for him I would have to work with loose pieces of hair, and I’m not sure I’m brave enough for that adventure. But I’m still looking for a more feasible solution, even a doll wig in the right size and approximate style, because I would really like to have one of him, too!

My love for the characters these wonderful men brought to life has certainly resulted in my trying out new methods of showing that love and being creative. I would never spend time engaging in such projects as plushie creation if the characters involved hadn’t deeply touched me.

And of course, I’ve also explored a medium with which I’m very familiar, that of fanfiction stories. I think with every new series I write about, I learn a little more about writing, and writing for the Perry crew has taught me a great deal. I spent and still spend many happy hours watching the character go on their adventures, and it makes me happier still to craft new ones for them to have. I only wish that the actors themselves could have participated in acting out my little adventures. That would have been a dream come true! I like to think that they are aware of and enjoy the stories, at least, even though some of them are very unusual.

I have even occasionally dipped into making fanart with Perry characters, even though I have mountains of trouble drawing anything resembling real people. Hamilton and Andy have both been drawn by me, although the one of Andy didn't turn out very well. I am happy that I managed to do a fairly good one of Amory Fallon, however. And I certainly haven't given up on hoping to get Andy right.

On August 30th, and on every day, really, I strongly think about and miss our wonderful William Talman and Wesley Lau. Though they were both gone before I was even born, I wish I could have met them. From all that I have been able to find out, they were both people I would have enjoyed knowing—very devoted to family and friends, friendly, good-humored, and fun to be around.

I have tried to take lessons from them, especially in being close to family. I want to thank them both for how they and their characters have touched me and for things I have learned along the way. I may not like sewing, but knowing how to do it better might help me someday! And writing, as always, is my deep passion. I love to express myself, especially when I am inventing new stories for characters I love or otherwise writing about them.

William and Wesley: I know you're both shining wherever you are and whatever you're doing. Stars such as you will never go out.

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